What I've Learned Since Becoming A Holistic Health Coac
Five years ago I was a new graduate from a well-known holistic health coach program. I was so excited to help others and make a difference!
The only problem? I was painfully shy.
The calls I did always seemed to go awry in some way. From the woman who hung up on me in the first five minutes exclaiming “I don’t have time for this!” as I stuttered through introducing myself to the client who did everything “right” down to the letter… the only advice I could give her was to ease up on herself. It felt so counterintuitive from what I had learned.
I felt like a major failure right out the gate.
And I’ll be honest while I’ve sporadically posted here on the blog, wrote my quarterly pieces for The Free Woman, and helped friends suss out their food stuff from time to time… I never managed to get my practice off the ground.
I haven’t made a single cent as a health coach. But the things I have learned since graduating could fill a book (or three).
Since it’s been five years and this September I will officially start college courses as a nutrition major (!!!) I thought this was the perfect time to reflect back on what I’ve learned and how far I’ve come.
Because let me tell you, I’ve come a long damn way.
What I've learned since becoming a health coach
There is a LOT of fear mongering, snake oil and downright nonfactual information circulating out there. And at first, I totally bought into it. But science is fucking important, not something to be feared. Criticizing “big pharma” has led to distrust in science altogether. As if it’s only manipulated and used for evil because science is (rightfully) associated with chemicals and chemicals are “bad”; toxins to be cleansed from your system.
There is a lot of misinformation
But everything is made up of chemicals. Even your whole foods and organic, fair trade sustainably sourced glass water bottle.
Critical thinking has become well ... critical. People who claim to be experts love using pseudoscience to convince you they know what they are talking about. They pick a few choice words from a Chemistry book and throw them around. The health field is LOADED with this. Goop, David Wolfe, Dr. Oz, Freelee the Banana Girl…
All of this is exactly why I’m pursuing nutrition courses to become a dietitian. This stuff is crucial and I want to be able to educate everyone I can how to spot the wolf in sheep's clothing. I want to teach others how to easily navigate the aisles of the grocery store and make food choices that leave them feeling good both physically and mentally. I want to be able to bring science, real proven well-documented science, to the table and show you exactly how these people are deceiving you.
Empowerment is used as a marketing tool
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a holistic approach and identify my own philosophy as a holistic one. But there are a lot of people in this holistic industry empowering people under false pretenses. They are giving a false power, and while a lot of it is total air some of it is downright dangerous.
I love when people want to take control of their health and take power back into their own hands. But I HATE seeing these same people get duped by faux-empowerment movements and tips on Pinterest that just need to use the words “green” or “detox” to get thousands of visits to their website.
Always check double check facts through reputable sources
Taking the advice of a qualified professional is really important. And in every field, there are going to be some lemons and some gems. But the lemons are not reason enough to dismiss the field of work entirely. Always check sources and qualifications of the person you are getting information from. Are they reputable? Are they objective? Do they have credible sources for the data they are pulling or are they cherry picking? These are important questions.
Sometimes study results are swayed in favor of their sponsor
With that said scientific studies on food should be taken with a grain of salt. Sponsored research can sway in favor of the company paying for the results. And oftentimes, they are paying for very specific results. These one-off studies are then taken by the media and spun in a way to have you believe things like blueberries cure cancer, for example.
So, it's no wonder everyone is so confused about food. We’ve got labels trying to claim they are healthy just because they’re fortified with a vitamins, stories based on incomplete truths shared throughout the media and “experts” telling you to fear a new food each week and revere another the next.
Experimentation is key
So what can we do? Start by experimenting to find what works best for your body. Because while science is important there is also a lot we are still learning about how our bodies process and use foods. Seek out factual information, apply it and listen to your body’s response.
The health industry is a machine cranking people in and spitting them back out. And to be honest, in a lot of ways, it’s just the diet industry rebranded to be more appealing to a new generation. A generation where health and strength are prioritized over becoming skinny. Unfortunately, our culture’s definition of health is intrinsically linked to losing weight and becoming thinner.
Diet culture is deeply entangled into our culture and psyche
Because diet culture runs DEEP. We live in a seriously fat-phobic society where we see thinness as a synonym for health. You can not determine someone’s health from the appearance of their body. We glorify extreme weight loss and come up with horrifying ways to go about forcing our bodies to bend to our will.
All to obtain a cultural ideal of what a body should look like. No matter how little you need to eat to stay there, no matter the obsessive behavior behind it, and no matter what harm it does to your body to force it to stay small… these behaviors are applauded and rewarded. But these behaviors can become deadly.
There are so many rad people working to create change
Luckily, there are so many incredible people in the health at every size and fat positive movements speaking out and working hard to dismantle diet culture. They are creating communities for others to gather to feel safe and learn to unravel toxic diet dogma. They are fighting to create a more inclusive culture that makes room for people of all races, size, and ability to be seen and heard.
And that's what I hope to do here at Invoking Joy. To create an inclusive space where we can work to dismantle diet culture and learn how to eat again. To learn how to eat in a way that makes room for all foods and feels best for your unique body. Because there is no one answer or way to health.
Let's Dig In
And as a part my efforts to create an inclusive space and content you want to read I’ve started a project, The Digging In Workshop, to talk with 100 people about their relationship with food. And I would love to talk to YOU.
So what is The Digging In Workshop?
It’s a free 50-minute call that is entirely about you. You get to vent, you get to be honest and you get to take the weight off your shoulders. No judgment, no rules, and no pressure.
And after our call, I’ll create a customized guide with meal suggestions, homework and resources all specifically curated to your unique concerns.
Schedule a call today:
I can't wait to meet you!