Providing a few essential tools to help you stay on track through life’s ups and downs…
This post comes from Skin Food Talk’s Tara Curran.
Before I became a certified health coach, I knew it was imperative that I first address and change my own dietary habits. Better health and an enriched quality of life empowered me to become certified and bestow onto others what I had learned along the way. It is a joy to work with clients one-on-one, encouraging and helping them to achieve true health by tuning into their own bodies and identifying what they need and don’t need. By providing essential tools my clients are able to stay on track through life’s ups and downs.
During my personal journey, I quickly realized that depriving myself of certain foods was not the way to go. When I told myself I couldn’t have something, I craved it even more — my want for ice cream or chocolate and peanut butter became extra strong and usually resulted in overindulging. I slowly and strategically started to add nutrient-rich foods to my diet and “crowd out” the unnecessary ones. Before health coaching, my food intake consisted primarily of instant or packaged foods, and eating out. I was never one to eat leafy greens regularly so I made it a rule to eat as much as I could each day and then, if I wanted to indulge in sweets, I could because I “earned” it. What ended up happening? My sweet tooth faded away — my body was more satisfied from the nutrients I was giving it. When you are filling up on nutrient-dense foods, your body learns balance and, in turn, happiness.
A good rule to balance and health — increase real whole foods (foods that are grown in the earth and not packaged or processed). For two weeks, try adding one new whole food at a time to help develop better habits. Start with colorful vegetables such as peppers, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus. For the next two weeks make it a point to have those vegetables each day. Know where you can easily purchase them — like the Sunday farmers’ market or your local grocery store — and plan an accommodating meal plan. Will you make a smoothie with the ingredients? Juice, salad, soup or stew? After the two weeks is up, pick another whole food group like gluten-free grains (maybe brown rice or quinoa) and add it every day with your brightly colored veggies!
Increase your intake of real whole foods.
Increase your intake of: leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and clean, lean proteins.
What have you eaten today? How do you feel?
In my schooling, one of my favorite takeaways (and one I encourage all of my clients to try) is food journaling, making note of every breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack, and how each meal made you feel. Did the meal make you tired or energized? Were you full and satisfied or did you crave something sweet or salty? Maybe you experienced a skin reaction, or you experienced stomach pain. Write down what is happening. You also may find yourself eating at odd hours of the day during stressful periods, or maybe you’re not eating often enough. Journaling can help you get the root of your emotions, and help you identify patterns in what makes you feel your best.
These are just a few tools I’ve found to be most effective when working with others and balancing my own health. Be sure you are eating enough throughout the day, incorporating nutrient-dense foods, and feeling good about what you’re putting in your body. I’ll be sharing other tips and tidbits in the next few weeks, and hope that you find something that resonates for you or inspires you to become your own health coach.
+ Are you ready to be your own health coach? Let us know in the comments below!
Photos by Jana Kirn.