A taste of my own medicine
This website’s blog page holds more than 300 posts: that’s a lot of writing about nutrition and health.
And most of the posts boil down to a few basic Integrative Nutrition® principles I introduce my clients to:
- The foods we put in our mouths are secondary to everything else in our lives that nourishes us (or doesn’t): our primary foods can be anything from our spiritual practice to our physical activity, our physical environment to the quantity and quality of sleep we get, our finances to our relationships….
- Bio-individuality: we’re all unique, and we can’t take anyone else’s health journey. That means we need to figure out what primary and secondary foods work for us. And we need to be open to adjusting them over time: what worked for us as teenagers normally won’t serve us as well in our 50s.
- There are no silver bullets: health journeys take time and involve a lot of experimentation—and our bodies are our laboratories.
In addition, my clients learn a lot of tools, tips, and tricks for the journey: how to tune into their inner wisdom, how to look at themselves with curiosity rather than judgment, how to celebrate the wins—no matter how small, how to use their words in a way that supports more positive communications—with others and with their inner voice … and a whole lot more .
At least once or twice a month, I get on phone calls with people who are considering becoming health coaches, and one of the most common concerns is that they feel like they need to be “perfect” and “healthy” to start coaching.
I think that’s a fallacy for two reasons:
- We’re always a work in progress—perfection is usually unattainable and fleeting if not (and let’s face it, it’s boring).
- If I were looking for a health coach, I’d find someone who is apparently flawless to be really intimidating and unrelatable.
I’ll freely admit that I love chocolate, wine, and cheese way more than I should, and I still struggle mightily with sugar addiction. At least I know I’m in great company.
even coaches need a coach (or 2 or 3…)
One of the aspects I loved most about the Integrative Nutrition® program I went through during my certification as a health coach was that for the year you’re in it, you’re really coaching yourself on your own journey.
Another great part of the program is that we’re encouraged to connect with classmates and “peer coach” each other to get some hands-on practice. I’m still in touch with mine 6 years later…. It’s still so good to get an outside perspective.
After a while, you learn to coach yourself—not always with success, but it’s a start, and it comes in handy!
the next stage of my journey
My clients very quickly learn that I have two trigger words: should and used to. Say those in a session, and you know I’m going to tell you to check yourself.
This past month, I’ve been presenting a few workshops about secondary foods and meal planning, and one of the topics was on why and how to successfully, sustainably eliminate certain foods from your life. Whenever I do this workshop, I find myself examining my own eating style and poking at it a bit.
Needless to say, I sometimes have to slap myself upside the head because I hear my mind going to, “I should give up dairy” and “But why? I used to be able to eat it without any problem.”
But the fact of the matter is that recently, I’ve been having some symptoms that are making me question whether dairy is still a good choice for me.
So I’ve decided to go all in and join my clients who are working hard on changing their eating styles in various ways. It’s definitely not going to be easy. Because cheese. And because it means giving up coffee: I’ve tried all the alternative milks (no, really, I think I’ve tried them all—store-bought and homemade—and no, really, they don’t make a good substitute in coffee, and I won’t drink it black).
I’m finishing off the cheese in the fridge and am on day 3 without coffee, having finished the milk already. Two cups of black tea in the morning seem to be keeping any caffeine withdrawals at bay, and because tea just isn’t coffee, I’ll be gradually reducing and then eliminating that as well.
I have discovered that chai tea with homemade coconut milk almost satisfies the desire for coffee with milk in it, and I’m a huge fan of herbal teas, especially in the winter.
make the connection
Getting healthy is a journey—and we’re all on it, even us health coaches! There are no silver bullets, and in most cases, it’s a matter of retraining your palate rather than substituting a highly-processed food-like substance for a whole food….
Leave me a message and let me know, where are you on your health journey? And if you live in the Ann Arbor area and want some help with your secondary foods along the way, register by February 7 for the Fl!p Your K!tchen Group Coaching program that starts February 9.
Great advice, Liza! I’ve been finding my way with my own health journey for about 20 years now, and have experimented with veganism, intermittent fasting, and various spiritual practices over that time. Guarding against perfectionism is definitely one huge hurdle to get over. In the tech industry, many refer to a phenomenon called “imposter syndrome,” which is much like that which you described; a sort of “not measuring up.” Getting beyond this is definitely key to both personal and professional development. Thanks for all that you do, and good luck giving up coffee…I’m not sure I’d even way to try!
Oh yes—impostor syndrome does not confine itself to the tech industry! Thanks for adding that nugget to this conversation. I call it being a teenager because in a weird way, it’s really a form of self-centeredness: we obsess over others “finding out” we’re not who we represent ourselves to be—and the whole time, nobody is even paying attention to us.
Really helpful post Liza. You are good at gently boiling something down to simple issues that one can think over and focus on. And I recall you have another trigger word “but”. Thank you for calling out (kindly) and helping me watch my “but” or “buts”.
Hahaa—you’re right. Perhaps I’m too easily triggered—”but,” “have to,” “should,” “used to,” …? Happy to (kindly) kick your but/t any time. 🙂
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