Health Coaching: How I Define Health
Have you done a routine 40-point inspection of your overall health and well-being lately... or ever? Relax that furrowed brow. I'm serious, stop laughing. Have you? If you're wondering what I'm even asking you, you're not alone. "I wake up each day and breathe deeply, visualizing the health goals I've laid out ahead of me for the next 3 months. Today is step 22 of doing everything right. Arrrrchhh <stretching>, it feels good to be alive," say very few people. Nope, not me!
As my dad likes to remind me, "I'm not into all of that healthy stuff." But what is that healthy stuff? How do you define your health? Is it always good or bad? Is it a measure of your youth, or your ability to rebound from a late night out? Is it the intersection of happiness, life circumstance and your genetic roadmap?
According to dictionary.com, health is "the state of being free from illness or injury." That's a sad definition. That's a glass-half-empty definition. I prefer Kaila Proulx' definition:
"In reality, true health is the intersection of our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual state of being at any one time.... Health is the most important aspect of our existence. It affects us every moment of the day, can change instantly or overtime, and is the number one determinant of the trajectory our life takes."
That's powerful! I like it but have my own spin on it. I define health as a location on a map, rather than something weighted as good or bad. Where am I on my health map? Am I moving forward, or backward, or hanging out at the resort pool on vacation? Sometimes my location takes a detour. It can fall off a cliff. But most of the time it's cruisin' along -- sometimes crawling, other times flying. My health location is constantly changing speed and direction, and I have so much control!
I used to be on the path toward medical school, but my human physiology professor required me to go through an exercise before she'd write my recommendation letter. She asked me what health is to me, and to detail what my future medical practice would look like. I wrote that I think of health like a car, and I want to work with maintenance, prevention and performance -- a futuristic body garage to help people thrive and live better. She explained the reality of practicing medicine, the western philosophy that doctors are trained to fix what's broken. My future screeched and swerved. After careful thought, I went to graduate school in public health nutrition instead.
After a long career in health media and writing, I became a certified health coach. I love every minute of it. It makes my soul happy. I use my training and experience to assist my clients in drawing a complete picture of their life that includes diet, exercise, lifestyle, sleep, relationships, work, stress and happiness. It always starts with where you are today. Where you are is where you are. That's it. It doesn't mean you're good or bad. It's you. It's your body. It's your vehicle for moving, thinking, feeling, connecting and producing. Now where do you want to go next? We figure that out together, and I guide you to that destination.
Over the next few weeks, I'm giving you an insider peek into how I work with clients on behavior change and lifestyle transformation. You'll see the philosophy, process and outcomes that are unique to me, understand the model I build my programs on, and learn about the differences between a health coach and a medical practitioner. I'm excited to share all of this with you!