In honor of Health Coaching Week, a unique week dedicated to recognizing the important work that integrative health coaches are doing throughout the world, I would like to highlight some of the greatest takeaways from my journey to becoming a health and wellness coach. It is hard to convey all of the immeasurable ways that this path has added value to my experiences and elevated the quality of my life, but I know with a great deal of certainty that I am more more fulfilled and energetic at this point in my life than I have ever been before. In learning how to support others in creating a balanced life from the inside out, it was Imperative that I first learned how to become my own personal advocate for health and happiness and that I had the opportunity to experience the transformations firsthand.
Nutrition Is Highly Individual
It is only natural that we each have highly individual nutritional needs. To live a life in which we are truly thriving, we must understand and cater to those unique needs. The idea that there is a cookie-cutter healthy lifestyle that works for the masses no longer holds true. Nourishing the whole self requires mindfully tuning inward in order to understand the messages that our body is conveying to us on a minute by minute basis about how different foods affect us and make us feel. Factors such as ancestry, blood type and metabolism can all play an important role in our overall health constitution, and should be given consideration in order to create realistic and manageable health goals. By understanding the ways in which my body was communicating with me, I learned that it is crucial for me to eat many small protein rich meals throughout the course of the day to feel my best. Daily food journaling was an eye opening way for me to get reacquainted with my personal nutritional and physiological needs. The consistency and detailed nature of recording what I ate, when I ate it and how I felt afterward helped me better understand how my food choices were playing out in my life and how I could modify them to better serve me.
Nourishment Comes in Many Forms
Understanding that what nourishes and truly feeds us involves so much more than what is on our plate has really been game changing information for me. As a life coach, I always believed that our thoughts and perceptions played a large role in how we felt, but my health coach training has further proven how true this theory holds. According to my school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition the foods that we eat are actually secondary to all of the other elements that feed us such as relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity. Personally, any form of emotional pain in my career or the experience of conflict in my relationships have left me feeling far more weak and run down than any form of food ever has. It makes complete sense that we thrive on connection, personal growth and other life achievements as our primary sources of energy and enrichment in life. Acknowledging this important insight gives us the confidence to put our time and energy into properly nurturing these important corners of our lives concurrently with our actual food choices, to further improve our health.
The Importance of Lifestyle
The word diet has always held a great deal of stigma for me. I am confident that many people share my viewpoint since most diets are quickly dropped after the first few weeks, if not sooner. The concept of dieting is restrictive in nature, putting us in a lack mentality, and ultimately setting us up to lose before we have even begin. I believe that it would be to our greatest advantage to design a healthy lifestyle that is always accessible to us and sustainable in the long run. Putting the control back in our own hands and giving ourselves permission to live in a balanced, more free flowing way is empowering and effortless, essentially setting us up for success. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. If eighty percent of the time, we eat whole nutrient dense foods and commit to some form of physical activity, then we free up twenty percent for indulging in our favorite foods or taking a lazy day off from the gym, without feeling any guilt or disconnect. Setting ourselves up to win is key, by creating healthy habits that are achievable and free of overwhelm this process becomes a welcomed reality.
Today, a healthy lifestyle for me, means eating more greens, decreasing sugars and eating whole foods whenever possible. It also means that I treat myself to that glass of wine or that delectable sweet whenever I crave to do so. Above all, living in a healthy way, consists of surrounding myself with people who light me up, working in a career that I am truly passionate about, and committing to my spiritual practice consistently. This beautiful balance of nourishing my mind, body and soul has given me the confidence to help those around me to restore their health, but perhaps even more significantly, has been instrumental in helping me access the most joyful and healthful version of myself.