Becoming the Change-Bringer

What do we do in today’s world, where our food is so denatured and contaminated?

When I began coaching my aim was pretty simply to help my clients make better choices more often. Help them understand how to cook once and eat often, crowd out less healthy foods with healthier options, get more sleep and exercise, try quinoa and kale and eat more greens etc.

Nowadays though, I see people getting less results, finding it harder to follow through on their good intentions. They’re still bloated, not losing weight, have brain fog and low energy. I’m seeing people settle for less, they’re just kind of assuming this lackluster health is the new normal, and are afraid to part with their money to try and remedy the situation because they have tried before and nothing has worked. Or something worked for a while and then it all went back to ‘normal’. They don’t want to pay for yet more information that probably conflicts with the last lot of information, they’re confused and frustrated and tired and low energy and not in great health to be making good decisions in the first place.

Not good for business. Not good for clients.

So what do we do when we recommend people eat more greens, consume more whole foods, real foods, only to find those foods sprayed with Glyphosate or genetically modified? When that leads to just about everyone’s digestive system being compromised with flattened villi, a permeable gut, and an imbalanced microbiome? Once upon a time, there were coaches who specialized in “digestive disorders”, now it seems we all need to.

There are so many voices out there telling consumers what to think, what to do, what’s right and wrong. And they’re all saying something different.

  • How do we, as coaches, not become just another voice?
  • How do we not get sucked into the void of negativity that just fosters apathy and overwhelm, and instead be a beacon of hope and positivity?
  • How do we shine a light on what IS possible and remind people they DO have power, and there ARE good choices and we CAN change the world?

I believe health coaches need to become the change bringers. We need to inspire and motivate people to give a damn, about themselves, each other and this planet. I believe that change can begin with reconnecting people to their food.

We can’t just recommend dietary changes anymore – we need to give them TOOLS so they can actually follow through on those recommendations in a world that has them stressed and working long hours, surrounded by low quality food in a busy, toxic, information overloaded world.

And actually I say information overload because there’s so much conflicting information, but in many ways, there’s not enough information in the right places. It’s not on our labels, for example, we are being told half-truths and marketing sleights of hand on our labels.

So how do we become change bringers?

First of all WE must become informed.

Deeply informed. I think we need to look at both sides of issues, not just the bits that support what we want to believe. If we are to help our clients’ negotiate the quagmire we need to be able to communicate both sides so they can see clearly. Rather than telling your client what to think, help them find enough sensible information from both sides so they can draw their own intelligent conclusions.

Second, We need to question everything.

We seem to be on an ever-changing playing field, the rules keep changing, we discover new info, food changes, we change, our interrelationship with food changes – everything is moving. So surely, my learning, my opinion, the openness of my mind must also be nimble footed and constantly updated and re-informed?

Plus, there are mistruths and downright lies out there, we can’t take things at face value, we need to find the people we trust, the voices we know speak the truth. And even then, we should question and trust only ourselves. And we should be teaching our clients to do the same. Help them find the truth speakers – that’s one of the TOOLS we can give our clients – point them in the direction of people who speak more truth than not, and places they can find them.

And thirdly we need to be guides, not dictators.

Certainly, we can lean heavily in one direction in terms of our values and what we believe to be true, and we can lend weight to those voices that seem to us to speak more truth.  But if we are not to become just another part of the problem, another voice with yet more conflicting information, then our job must be to shine a light, DEmystify, unravel the crazy, so that average, normal, slightly brain fogged people can understand what’s what and make those better choices.

People are busy, overwhelmed and stressed already. Poor health isn’t helping the problem and the state of our confusing, malnourished, toxic food supply is just amping everything up to 9 gazillion.

The final thing we need to do is unravel everything we know, and come back to where our client is: just starting out on this giant food vs. health quest, slightly intimidated, frustrated and confused.

They’re busy, they’re not going to make perfect choices all the time. How do they make a good choice if they don’t know how to read a label? Why would they bother reading a label if they don’t understand that they can’t necessarily trust the pretty picture on the front that says it’s “All natural” and therefore good for you?

We need to explain the situation, help them see and understand the terrain they are dealing with, then we can coach them to find some better habits. We need to give them tools and skills so that they can make those better habits more often in their busy lives. And we need to connect them to resources where they can find those better choices more easily.

I personally believe coaches should be earning from connecting clients to healthy resources, whether they be other practitioners, stores, books, movies, online tools or products. We all have places, people and products we trust. How often do you make recommendations to your clients? Shouldn’t you earn from that referral in some way?

Become a connector – connecting your clients to things and people and places that will open their mind, continue their education, inspire their belief, motivate their desire and help them actually DO what they want to do in a world that is otherwise confusing and cluttered. Try things for yourself, find the good ones and you’ve done half the work for your client. That’s VALUABLE to your client. They’re not going to do that for themselves, but if you’ve done it and they trust you, you can help them hugely.

That trust is crucial though, and it is to be respected. Don’t take advantage of that trust. Make sure you are informed and making the best choices you can with what you’ve got, make sure your client understands that that’s all you can do – make the best choice you can with what you’ve got. Things change, people change, information shifts and moves all over the place, we may make new and better choices later. We can only do our best.

We can be change bringers, we can help open people’s eyes, we can give them tools, teach them skills, give them hope and belief so that they will not give up on their quest for a brighter future. Knowing what to do isn’t enough these days, your clients need to know HOW to do it in their busy lives. And we can’t just get them eating whole foods, real foods, crowding out and sleeping and exercising more without giving them an understanding of the playing field.

We need to know about Glyphosate and GMO, we need to consider the vaccination issue, we need to know how to read labels, we need to understand our food is malnourished, (by poor soils, glyphosate, shipping, irradiation, early harvesting) we need to understand how the gut is compromised by all of this and how that affects everything. “All disease begins in the gut” said Hippocrates wisely 2000 something years ago, and here we are, in the future with imbalanced microbiomes, permeable guts, flattened villi and immune systems crying out for help.

If you are to get RESULTS for your clients, you need to help them in today’s world, it’s not the same world that existed even 30 years ago (first RoundUp Ready crops). We can’t just blindly assume our food will make us healthy and is safe anymore. You need to give them tools as well as info, you need to show them the world they are operating in and then help them negotiate that world. Only results will get you referrals and retention of clients.

If we can start to get those results, maybe we can change the world.

Please join me for this webinar I did with my colleague and fellow Health Coach Mandi Elmore called “Having the Guts to Get Healthy”.  In it we will discuss the microbiome and why it is crucial for you to understand this for both your own health as well as your clients.

We will empower you with lots of new information you will want to know and some amazing tools you can use to improve your microbiome.

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Vallelunga

A professional actress for 20 years in film, TV, Theater and Musicals. Susan has also been a certified Personal Trainer and graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2009. She has coached private clients in New Zealand and the US, set up practices in 2 Brooklyn Gyms and also coached hundreds of students for IIN.

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