Hello Summer!

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Hello Summer!

Summer officially begins today, June 21! But if you’re like me, you tend to think that summer started around Memorial Day and for sure after the kids had their last day of school. For us, there was definitely a count down during May and early June.  We just get so excited about summer and the change in routines and activities!

Last week was the first full week of no school and we needed it to decompress, transition, and take a break. My girls just wanted a chance to sleep in and not have much on the calendar. We sorted school papers (and burned some!), loaded up with library books, went to the Farmer’s Market, worked on a puzzle, and watched movies.  And we talked about our summer plans and goals.

Our family has several things on our calendar for this summer. Birthday parties, appointments, various camping trips, family vacation in Traverse City, church activities. We also like to leave open space in our schedule so that we can have spontaneous fun like boating, beach, blueberry picking, and back yard games.

Whatever your routine or summer plans, I hope you take time to pause from the busyness that summer often becomes.  Go to the beach and enjoy a sunset. Build a sand castle. Take a deep breath of fresh summer air and truly enjoy this new season.

What are you looking forward to about this summer?

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Step by Step

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Step by Step

Step by Step. One Step at a Time. The Next Step. A Step in the Right Direction…

All of these phrases set a picture in my mind of steady, moving forward progress. In this fast-paced world of instant everything, the idea of long-term goals is not particularly popular. We want results now. We want to reach our goals now. We are hungry now!

It’s so easy to think about what we want now.

“I want to run that 5K right now.”

“I want to be 20 pounds lighter now.”

“I want to advance in my job now.”

We all know that these things take time and dedication. We know that the first thing to do in training for a 5K is to get up off the couch, lace up shoes, and literally take those first steps. We know that to lose weight we must make intentional, healthy choices every day. And we know that to advance in our job, we must be consistent in the work before us each day and to continue to grow and develop new skills. These things don’t happen overnight.

When I look ahead to my goals as a Health Coach, it’s easy to get caught up in what I want it to look like in a few years instead of focusing on where I am now.  A helpful practice has been to set 6-month, 1 year, and even 5 year goals for my career. It’s inspiring to learn about other Health Coaching businesses and also healthy for me to recognize that they developed their skills step by step, just as I am doing.

Part of my next step is writing this blog! As I thought of what to name it, the phrase “Step by Step” just kept coming in mind. It makes me think of active participation and consistency. That’s what I strive for as a Health Coach and in other areas of my life. I am taking steps each week towards building my health coaching business.  I continue to take steps each day to maintain and increase my own health.

Let’s remember that in order to reach big goals, we must take it “Step by Step.”  All of these steps will lead to big distances over time and eventually we will be able to look back and see a lot of footprints along the path that got us to the point where we are now.

 

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What is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach?

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What is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach?

The term “integrative” means “serving or intending to unify separate things.” What we eat is important, but it’s not the only factor in health. Physical activity, relationships, career, and spirituality are all vitally important aspects of our overall well-being.  As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I am a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through both food and lifestyle changes.  Instead of dictating one way of eating or exercising, I tailor individualized wellness programs to meet my clients’ unique needs.

Part of my journey to becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach started with my own health crisis.

“Really? You don’t have a headache all the time?” I remember asking my husband this and realizing that not everyone had a terrible headache every day. Frequent headaches had been a part of my life since I was a child, but the consistent headache pain I had been living with for years as an adult was gradual enough that it took me awhile to realize that feeling that way was not normal. I was in my early 30’s, married with 2 young daughters, living my dream of being a wife and Mom. But, I had a headache every single day and the pain was increasing in intensity.  

My journey to really seeking answers began in the summer of 2008. After a visit to the doctor and 5 days on a strong medication and feeling even worse, I got off the medication and spent the next year and a half trying to figure out what was going on in my body. I had an MRI (all clear), tried chiropractic care, massage therapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, and physical therapy. While these are all wonderful services that benefited me in other ways and may help some people with chronic headaches and other health issues, I wasn’t experiencing consistent headache pain relief.  My prayer during this time was, “God, you know exactly what is going on in my body. Please give me wisdom to know if there is something I can do to stop this headache.”

Reading and researching topics of interest are one of my hobbies, so I started learning all I could about headaches, which also led me to learning more about nutrition. It wasn’t until the spring of 2010 after an experiment of not eating white flour and sugar for a time, that I made the connection between what I was eating and how I was feeling. I realized gluten was the culprit behind these severe headaches. 

Looking back on this time, it’s frustrating that nobody asked me about what I was eating. Frustrating, but not surprising. The practitioners I saw knew their particular area of expertise and were not nutritional experts. However, if they had asked, I would have proudly told them that I ate really healthy. I made most of our meals at home, enjoyed a variety of fruits and vegetables, used whole wheat flour in baking, and made my own granola and sprinkled wheat germ all over it. Little did I know how I was contributing to my own pain!

I started tuning in to my body and recognizing how the food I ate affected how I felt.  A term that is common among Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches is “bio-individuality” which means that we are all unique in how things like food, environmental factors, exercise, therapies, medications, and stress affect our bodies. I know people who have benefited greatly from chiropractic care and massage therapy to manage headaches. But for me, the underlying issue was a sensitivity to gluten.

When I gave up eating gluten, I actually had to go through a process of mourning. It sounds silly to say I was mourning the loss of a food, but I loved baking (and eating) muffins, cookies and bread! Gluten was in many of the foods I was eating and the selection of gluten free options at the grocery store was limited at this time. What was I going to eat? Reading labels and experimenting with gluten free cooking and baking became necessary. And it also became fun! I liked trying new recipes and I especially liked not having a headache.

There have been many mistakes along the way, like forgetting to read a label or ask for an ingredient list, especially when dining out or eating food I didn’t prepare.  But now, I am an expert at reading labels and preparing gluten free food! If a food containing gluten looks really delicious to me, I remind myself, “Nothing tastes good enough to be worth not feeling well.”

Food has the power to make us sick and it has the power to heal. We are all unique in how foods nourish or negatively affect our bodies.  The concept of bio-individuality has been powerful in my life and in those I support and coach.  If you are not feeling your best, have you considered how you are or are not nourishing your body through the food you are eating?

I know that the information available for health is abundant and can be overwhelming. Let me come alongside you and coach you through your wellness journey so you can feel your best!

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