FAQ Post: What on Earth is a Health Coach?? (and other questions)

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As the crowdfunding campaign and other fundraisers roll forward, I wanted to dedicate a few posts to questions that have come up either since it began or in the last few weeks while I was in the planning stages.

Just What Is a Health Coach, Anyway?

A health coach, first of all, is not a registered dietitian or a nutritionist, but doesn’t compete with them either. In fact, in many cases they can and do work together.  Also called a wellness coach, a health coach is someone who comes alongside you and helps you figure out what works best for you and your personal health.  A health coaching relationship helps people learn how to take their health and wellness into their own hands, and how to implement change in bite-sized increments over a certain period of time.  When I hear and read these things, I think it boils down to two words: Being Intentional.  There are hundreds of nutritional theories out there, and when you make a decision to get healthy, it can be tricky to know where to start.  This is one time when a health coach can play a pivotal role.  As a health coach, I will take the time to listen to clients, and then teach them how to listen to their own bodies as they respond to different foods, of course, but also different aspects of their environment.

When Jeff and I first began to realize that certain changes needed to be made for our health (I’ll be honest, at that point I thought it was for his health), the flood of possible “right ways” of eating and drastic changes was overwhelming.  I ran across a few bloggers who all insisted, “You cannot change your family’s eating habits overnight.  You need to pick one aspect of your health at a time, and go from there.”  But what “one aspect” do you choose?  Do we switch to raw milk? Cut dairy out completely? Eat more meat? Less meat? No meat?  Do we soak or sprout our grains, or toss them out altogether? IIN focuses on a principle called bio-individuality, that basically means, “everyone is different, so what works for one person may not work for another.”  This is an important key, but if what works for one does not transfer to all, how do you know what works? You have to learn how to approach nutrition with critical thinking and how to listen to the tiny signals your body sends after you consume certain foods or spend time in certain environments.  For instance, during a web summit I went to a little while back, I learned about a method of testing for food allergies that involves just holding the food in your mouth, and taking your pulse before, during, and after.  This is an example of “listening to your body.”  I know sometimes when people use that phrase it can sound a little mystical, and perhaps too much so for your average individual, so I wanted to break that down. A person may have several easy-to-miss responses to things, and ONE purpose of a health coach is to teach you how not to miss them.

Another function of a health coach is accountability and moral support.  Let’s face it, even a change you desperately want to make can be hard.  Life may always be changing, but change can be hard to adapt to.  You can desire a change, but lack the tools to break it down into a stick-to-able process.  The job of a health coach is to be “in your corner;” cheering you on, giving you ideas on strategy, and helping you focus. Especially for those whose personal circle does not include people who are supportive of their changes, this can be a vital necessity to making your new nutritional path and/or lifestyle work for you.

That’s the one-on-one work of a health coach, although coaches also lead workshops, seminars, and classes in communities, places of employment, and the like.

For more information on health coaching, you may find this wikipedia article helpful.

So, for those of you who still were not entirely sure what it is I mean when I say I am going to be a Health Coach, I hope that answers your questions!

Why the Institute for Integrative Nutrition?

I first encountered IIN when I was looking at the sponsors of a web summit I attended.  Honestly, it looked too good to be true, so I let it lie for a little while.  But curiosity did get the better of me, and I took some time to check them out.  When I did, I found out that their experts weren’t just “world famous” because they said they were (We’ve all encountered companies and institutions that boast “world famous” people we’ve never heard of, right?), but because they really were the renowned experts I already knew of.  Sally Fallon Morell, David Wolfe, Mark Hyman, Andrew Weil, and Chris Kresser, just to name a few.  “Okay,” I thought, “so they at least have some well-respected professionals, that’s good.”  So I began to look into it a little more.  I found out that they have affiliations with colleges and universities (including SUNY campuses) so that if you want to continue your education, the work you’ve done there will count for something.  That said a lot, even though at this point in time I have no need to go beyond the health coaching program.  For me, it spoke volumes about the credibility.  Additionally, I learned that they do a lot to make sure the students have what they need to succeed, including hosting a professional website for as long as you keep it active.  Beyond that, the cost of tuition covers all the books and materials, and several other resources (including my own health coach to help model for me what I’ll be doing and experiment with some of what I’m learning).  So instructors, materials, affiliations…everything checked out.  And then on top of that, the format of their schooling is particularly appropriate to my crazy-busy-mama lifestyle.  When all was said and done and I had all my questions answered, I knew this was the program I wanted! I am not saying it is the perfect program for everyone, but I am saying this looks like an ideal program for me, in order to be equipped to do this well!

If you want to support my gofundme campaign, you can do that in two different ways:

1.  SHARE or Tweet this post, or my gofundme site itself.

2. Click this link and donate!

Other Options:

Love skin care and wellness products? Join my Virtual Arbonne Party! Enter code 1169542

You can also shop through shop.com and the commission off of Market America products will go to my fundraising efforts when you include my email address in the “referral” field (melody . joy . buller (a) gmail . com without the spaces).  To shop the Market America lines click on the “All Stores” tab and select Market America from the “M” list.

There will be another FAQ-styled post coming soon!  Until then, thank you for your support!

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