My first client

I have a client! (Insert stadium crowd cheers here.) I graduated from IIN in July, but I’ve been dragging my feet about finding health coach clients for a while. I wanted to have my website perfect, my coaching materials organized, more practice under my belt…I wanted to feel ready.

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An opportunity presented itself recently that I couldn’t pass up, so I took on my first client. It’s been a couple weeks so far, and here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Lose the script! You’re going to alienate your client if you work too much off your prepared agenda.
  • Listen more, talk less.
  • Start with goals for the client, but be flexible. If they want to take on more, go with that. If they need to slow down another week, that’s cool too.
  • You don’t have to take on a completely different persona when you run meetings or write your emails. They chose to work with you for a reason- don’t change your voice in order to prove you’re professional.
  • Check-ins between sessions are appreciated, even if it’s just a quick email or shared Pinterest board.

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  • Test the homemade granola bars BEFORE you send them to a client. As delicious as toasted coconut peanut butter flax seed bars may sound…they’re really, really not.
  • Just because the client does most of the legwork doesn’t mean your work as a coach isn’t valuable. Having someone hold you responsible for your actions is a big part of the puzzle. And supplementing that with tips and recipes is just icing on the (carrot) cake.
  • You don’t have to use up the whole 50 minute session- if you can both cover the ground you need to in 30, go with that.
  • This kind of work lights me up from the inside out.

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Allergy Testing 101 (or, GIVE ME ALL THE CHEESE)

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At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), I learned that a lot of body pain is linked to food allergies. The most common allergies are to gluten, dairy, citrus, and/or soy. One of our lecturers recommended testing yourself or your clients for these allergies by eliminating them from your diet altogether for a week, and slowly adding them in one at a time to see if you notice any changes.

Trevor has always known he is slightly allergic to dairy, and has some reactions to gluten- not enough to cause him issues if eaten in moderation, but bad enough that we found it best to share a kiddie ice cream cone this summer, lest he demolish one on his own and feel its wrath.

10433945_10202629278832657_4594114856409764443_n(OK- this was also because we decided to eat about a million ice cream cones this summer. Sharing cut our guilt in half.)

This week, I decided to allergy test us- we’d go for a week without the four dangerous elements of gluten, dairy, soy, and citrus. We’re also eating a LOT less meat recently, so we decided to try going vegetarian while we were at it- you know, just for kicks.

Easier said than done.Read More »

Let’s Learn: Primary Foods

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Primary foods. What are they? The food you eat first in the day? Nope. They’re not really foods at all, but they fuel you just as much as “real” food does.

Here’s the definition of primary foods from IIN:

Food is more than what you find on your plate.  Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.

Secondary foods are what you’re used to eating- chicken, veggies, rice, chips, pizza fruit, dairy, chocolate, tea, etc. They provide us with the nutritional value that allows us to run, jump, play, work, and get about our days. But primary foods are what really help you live the life of your dreams.

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Often times, we reach for secondary foods- usually unhealthy choices like a big bowl of cheesy pasta or chips, a candy bar, ice cream, a Slurpee- to help us cope with a lack of primary foods in our lives. If one of your primary food needs is not being met, you’ll likely seek something else to try to balance your body, and alleviate the stress/pain/anxiety/boredom/etc. that you’re feeling. For example, if your relationship with your partner is on the rocks, you might look to alcohol to cope. Or maybe you feel stuck in a career rut, and find yourself driving into the fast food lane after work almost subconsciously.

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Life today is fast paced and really hectic, and our inner voice often gets drowned out by all the noise. But ignoring your primary food needs almost always results in an unhealthy habit in another area of your life, and prevents you from becoming your most authentic, energized, and happy self.

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Print out the Circle of Life chart at home to see where any imbalances may be hiding in your life. Simply put a dot in each primary food triangle depending on how balanced you feel in that part of your life. A dot near the outer ring (closer to the red ring) means you feel 100% satisfied with that part of your life. A dot near the point of the triangle/center of the circle means you feel very unsatisfied with that part of your life. Put a dot where it feels true for you.circle-of-life

Once you have put 12 dots on the circle, connect them to see the shape of your primary foods, and notice where there are dips. Those are the areas you want to devote more time to. Right now, I am trying to focus on more physical activity, education, and career.

Interested in learning more? Visit IIN’s page on primary foods, and reach out to me for a 100% free (seriously) health history. I can help you examine your Circle of Life, identify the imbalances, and help create an action plan for us to bring both your primary and secondary foods into balance. When your circle is whole, you’re able to be your best self.

 

Homecoming

In IIN, I learned to treat your kitchen as a sanctuary. Cooking is a form of alchemy- you literally transform food into bloodstream. Each thread of hair, cell, or fingernail was created by food!

It may seem obvious, but it’s something we often forget. Foods also have their own energy which constitutes your energy. Ever eat a steak and feel rearin’ to go? Or enjoyed some grilled organic vegetables and feel very grounded? The same is true for the energy you bring into the kitchen- your mood while cooking will influence the energy of your food.

By calming your presence before entering the kitchen and setting the stage (with a candle, saying a prayer, or a glass of wine) you’re better able to produce a more nutritious, enjoyable meal. As this was a very special meal, I had two glasses of wine to prepare!

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