Getting a health coach radically transformed not only my health but even my own understanding of my health. So much so that it drove me to becoming a health coach myself. Healing my own gut issues made me realize just how monumental this could be in helping others. And in 2023, gut health issues are becoming more and more prevalent thanks to the stressful (and gut UNfriendly) lifestyles that much of America is leading. I wanted this blog to inspire all who are fatigued and with much dis-ease. There is another way. That is why I’m dedicating this space to explaining: what exactly is a health coach? And how one might be able to benefit you (or someone you love).
Innately we all want to live long, happy, and fulfilled lives. We want to see our children and grandchildren grow up. All while having the energy to be actively involved in their lives. For those that don’t want children; (or for multi-faceted humans that do but also want to leave other kinds of legacies in the world), we want the energy and vitality to pursue what does bring us joy and purpose. We want to be able to set and achieve goals in our careers, and we long for meaningful relationships. These innate desires are an antithesis to what is praised in modern-day society. “Hustle and grind” culture, productivity, and even idolizing burnout. No wonder work/life balance feels confusing. We all innately want one thing but are praised and rewarded for pursuing the opposite.
This year I really want you to pursue what you truly want, to have that North Star that guides you instead of societies expectations. Health coaches get to remind us WHY and HOW to stay aligned to that.
To understand what a health coach is, it could be helpful to understand what a health coach is not. Understanding that people can hold multiple degrees and certifications, in and of itself, a health coach is not:
It is also important to note that a health coach is not here for the quick fix or short-term gain. So while you might be in and out of a doctor’s office. Health Coaching is an ongoing process of healing versus treating symptoms.
I will use an analogy to explain how the health coaching process might occur.
Suzie (not a real client) gets a nasty and persistent rash. Naturally, she goes to the dermatologist, who runs some tests before prescribing a steroid cream. The average visit with a primary care physician in the USA is 10 – 12 minutes. She can expect to be out of the office in a quarter of an hour, armed with a tool to treat the symptoms. The rash clears quickly, and she discontinues her use. The rash returns 3 days later and is more painful and itchy than before. Now joined by achy elbows and knees. She uses the cream again and goes to a pharmacy to get some meds for her aches. When she finishes the prescription, she returns to the doctor frustrated because her symptoms have worsened over time without access to the aid and relief of the prescribed drugs.
The doctor suggests she might have a genetic predisposition for an autoimmune disease (where the body supposedly attacks itself). They barely remind her of the harsh and potentially deadly side effects of the shot that they have now prescribed her (that she’ll need to have routinely for the rest of her life.) She leaves feeling scared, confused, and overwhelmed, wondering how she’ll afford this treatment that her insurance won’t cover. Once she gets the meds, she jumps back into the grind, armed with strong coffee and pain meds. All to meet her deadlines but only until the symptoms worsen (despite the meds). And she is forced to see another specialist to start the process again.
Suzie might not be a real person, but her story is, and it’s scarily common. I was a version of Suzie myself.
She has sought help from the “right places.” But she is unsure as to how to move forward with her healing or whether she’s on a path of healing at all. She has been prescribed medicines to help her, yet she feels like there is more that she could be doing. She is determined to get to the root cause of her symptoms.
How many times have you set a new resolution, started a new diet, lost weight with a quick fix, or got a jolt of energy for a period of time, only to gain it all back, throw it all out the window and fallen even harder back to into old habits – with an added dose of guilt and shame?
There are always two people living inside of us: the us we are being and the us we aspire to be.
As your health coach, I (and my team at the Gut Health Agency) want to guide you to living as the latter.
Just a friendly reminder that health coaches do not replace doctors or therapists. Modern medicine has been founded on the treatment of acute symptoms and saves lives. Health coaches are not trying to dispute that or take away from the importance of modern medicine. Science has shifted the reality from plagues and once deadly illnesses like measles. With that shift comes a need for a new kind of health. One that focuses on prevention and healing versus spot treatment of symptoms for survival.
There is a paradigm shift happening, and doctors no longer have to do it alone.
I believe so strongly in this synergy that I founded the Gut Health Agency to combine clinical with coaching by putting together a powerhouse team of health coaches AND registered dietitians.
However, as a whole, we no longer need bandages to stop the bleeding; we need to take action to target the source of the wound before it happens.
Adding a health coach to your team is the most timely, affordable, and suitable action for the preventative care and maintenance of chronic disease. Preventing chronic disease is the answer to living long, fulfilled, and happy lives. It is the difference between life span (how long you live) and health span (how healthy you remain and can live illness and dis-ease free.
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