What does an integrative nutrition health coach do?
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
I have been asked several times what is it exactly that I am doing, what is integrative nutrition health coaching. So I thought I'll bring more clarity around this to a wider audience.
Photo by Portraits by Katery
What is an integrative nutrition health coach?
I am a wellness guide and a supportive mentor for people looking to improve their health or wanting to achieve specific health goals. I empower clients to choose health-promoting behaviours that work for them. I am guiding people through the too many dietary guidelines and diets in the world, help them to discover the way of healthy eating that works for them and also that works with their lifestyle. It's very much a bio-individual approach towards every person as we all have different backgrounds where we come from, how we were brought up, how was our diet and how is our diet today, health challenges in the past and present, physical movement practices we engage in on a regular basis, our emotional needs etc. Health coaching is definitely NOT about one diet or one way of living. I raise awareness and offer support as clients move in their own bio-individual ways- I help to make connections, identify patterns, shift limiting beliefs using a growth mindset. I coach clients to be experts on themselves and find their own answers.
Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where I studied for a year, emphasises that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness. I am helping my clients to discover how to fuel their bodies, live a healthy lifestyle, and how to become the happiest, healthiest versions of themselves by discovering exactly what works for them. I consult clients all around the world, in English or in Estonian.
What IIN has also taught me to discover both about myself and my clients, that there are things that feed us on the plate (which is what we eat and drink and what IIN calls secondary food) and off the plate (relationships, physical activity, social life, spirituality, career, finances, joy, home environment, home cooking, and what IIN calls primary food). And it's in many cases where the primary food is much more important to focus on and improve in order to heal.
How do I work with clients?
When a potential client reaches out to me, we first schedule a free health history session together, where a client fills in a healthy history form that I send to her/him that covers questions about family, past and current health concerns, diet and health goals. We then have a call either via a web meeting room (Zoom, Google Meet) or face to face and I go through the filled health history form with the client. At the end of the health history session, I will be able to tell the client how I can support and guide him/her around the health. If a client agrees to wanting to work with me, I offer either a 3 month or 6 month program depending on the client's health concerns and goals. What I have found is that in order to change habits, it takes time for the client to implement different changes and recommendations in a daily life, so clients mostly choose to go for the 6 month program.
I would then meet virtually twice a month with a client for 45 minutes, where the client tells me what they want to focus on around their health and goals, what has been going well and after every session client receives a few recommendations and commits to 2-3 things to do during the next two weeks before the next time we meet. Clients can definitely extend to another 3 or 6 month program if they feel they need further support and guidance.
With the majority of my clients, they come to me with a goal to loose weight, heal their relationship with food, heal their digestion issues or hormonal issues, improve their sleep, improve their skin etc.
I often recommend the client also to go and get their most important blood markers tested through their primary healthcare practitioner, family doctor or go directly to the laboratory (like Synlab in Estonia), so I know where the client's health is at physiologically when I start to work with the client. I recommend the client to experiment with different foods depending on their health issues and we'll see together how and were to adapt during the months.
Depending on the client, I'll also bring in after couple of sessions the primary food areas and I get the client to evaluate where they are at in the areas of relationships, physical activity, home environment, home cooking, career, finances, social life, joy, spirituality and we'll see together how to bring more balance into these areas.
If a client wants to make healthier food choices in the grocery store and wants advice on what to buy in the store, what not to buy, how to read the ingredients and nutritional information on the packages, we can make a trip to the store or the market together, where I can advise on what would be better to focus on when buying food.
As an integrative nutrition health coach, my passion is really to be there for the client, to actively listen, to look at my client holistically, to support and to guide my client towards the best and healthiest version of themselves and addressing how all the aspect's of person's life affect their wellbeing.
If the above is something that raises interest in you, whether you have health issues you want to heal or health goals you want to reach (or know someone who could benefit from a health coach), don't hesitate to reach out to me. You can contact me via e-mail at email@example.com or reach out to me via Facebook Messenger or Instagram.