5 SIMPLE WAYS TO COACH YOURSELF TO BETTER HEALTH
Here at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition we provide a holistic education that trains Health Coaches in over 100 dietary theories, numerous approaches to self-care, and coaching skills to help others become healthier and happier.
But no matter what our graduates go on to do, we always say that the first person they should fully nourish and take care of is themselves! By becoming their own first client and interacting with fellow students, our Health Coaches learn that there is no single approach to wellness that applies to everyone, and that the key to lasting health is understanding your unique self.
So with this in mind, we thought we’d unpack the process in a way that anyone interested in better health can begin to apply.
Of course some obvious recommendations might be to eat more whole foods, have some form of movement, address any unique health conditions, etc. But while we’re pretty sure you already know the the what of better health, we’re going to focus on the how today.
Here’s how you can coach yourself to better health:
1. Set an intention to thrive.
Setting specific short-term goals such as losing weight, reducing medication, or cooking more natural foods is good, but the temporary and isolated nature of such milestones can easily leave you slipping back into unhealthy habits without creating any real change. However, when you set the intention (a deep promise to yourself) to thrive in all ways as a permanent new way of being, you leave the door open for real, lasting transformation that goes far beyond short-term goals.
2. Get really curious.
Once you set your intention, the real fun begins. Pretend like you’re a detective on a case to uncover the sources that keep you unhealthy, and the things that leave you feeling great. What happens to your body when you eat bagels? What kind of exercise do you actually enjoy? Which relationships leave you feeling positive or negative? Which shops in your neighborhood have the best selection of natural foods? What happens on the days when you get headaches?
Ask yourself questions and gradually begin to move your actions in the direction of things that make you feel healthy and good, and away from the things that make you feel drained or pained.
3. Keep a record.
It helps to write down your observations. Get yourself a special notebook and jot down your responses from the above, as well things you like and don’t like, things you’ve tried and how your body reacted, things you’d like to try in the future, recipes that sound good, books you’d like to check out, etc. Having your notebook at all times will serve as a reminder and reinforcement to continue pursuing your intention for wellness.
Think of this as your creative side gig and schedule daily time to jot down new observations, questions, or answers as you make progress towards self-understanding and better health.
4. Take baby steps.
Overhauling your health overnight may sound overwhelming – because it is! – so it’s all about taking it one step at a time. See if you can toss out some processed foods from your cabinet one week, check out your local farmer’s market the next week, try a new fitness class the week after that, then experiment with some new recipes, then try a superfood, etc.
There is absolutely no pressure to rush through this process so go at your own pace, just continue moving forward.
5. Create support systems.
It takes a village to raise a Health Coach, and it’ll take one to help you improve your health too. Do your best to organize your life, environment, resources, and relationships in a way that support your intention to thrive. This could mean asking a friend to join you for a weekly morning run, making Pinterest your go-to healthy inspiration destination, preparing your healthy work snacks the night before so you’re more likely to preempt cravings at work, and sharing your wellness intention with family so they can help motivate and encourage you to keep it up.
Make a conscious effort to arrange your life in a way that supports better health.