In this interview, I speak with Tamara Flanders, Certified Health Coach and Holistic Counselor. Tamara explains what health coaches are and how they help you find the natural balance you’ve been looking for in your life!
What is a Health Coach?
Health coaches are pretty diverse in how they work and who they work with, so I can speak for myself and how I have formed my practice. I work as a holistic health coach. That means I work with individuals to help them make healthier food and lifestyle choices as well as see how those two aspects are related to each other. Primarily I help women heal their relationship with food, which means helping them also improve their relationship with the life they are living. Every person I work with has their own personalized program that takes into consideration their own unique strengths, struggles, goals, and areas of focus.
How Did You Get Into This Field?
I spent many years working in domestic violence and social work. I got to a point where I knew that for my own personal health and wellness, I needed to shift my work into something that allowed me to create change in a different way.
As I had a long term interest and investment in natural wellness and a keen awareness of the impact that healthy eating can have on a person, I began to pursue that as a career. I knew that a degree as a dietitian or nutritionist wasn’t going to help me put the whole picture together like I knew it needed to be. I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and signed up to go to school there for my degree in Holistic Health Coaching.
What Types of Services Do You Provide as a Health Coach?
I primarily provide private one-on-one sessions with women. When working with local clients we meet at my office. I do also work over the phone to work with clients who are not local to me and that works out very well. I also work with groups of teenagers and young athletes, both in group and individual settings, teaching them mind/body/food awareness so that they have the tools to take good care of themselves as they grow their independence.
Describe a Typical Client/Coach Meeting
I always begin working with a client by having a consultation where we go over their full health history, their relationship with food, and their personal goals, struggles, and strengths. From there I build a personalized program for each client. Our sessions are based on assessing recent challenges, successes, and learning moments.
I focus on helping women learn how to listen to their body and tap into their own intuition and re-learning how to listen to messages like, how hungry are they, are they getting full, how much food fuel do they need at different times of day, and other measures that help give a strong foundation.
We work a lot on intentional living, making intentional choices about food, relationships, how stress is managed, exercise, and then some. I work on a philosophy of crowding in good things, good foods, good experiences with people, exercise that is enjoyable, and letting those changes crowd out things like poor food choices, unhealthy relationships, and other areas that individuals want to move away from.
This creates an empowering transition that the client can take charge of, rather than being prescribed a way of living that won’t necessarily last any longer than the time they spend in a program with me. I want to see my clients learn new ways of living that can last them a lifetime.
How Does One Become a Health Coach?
I am certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. http://www.integrativenutrition.com/ When I went to school there it was a physical school and classroom in Manhattan. At this time it is exclusively a distance learning program that anyone can do from anywhere. It’s well structured so that the academic load can be managed while still working a full time job, raising a family, and being otherwise busy.
What is the Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Job?
The most rewarding by far is seeing women find their power in themselves. Often when people come to me they feel they have been defeated and are desperate for something to work. I love when they are able to come back to me bragging about successes and triumphing in finding strength, passion, and success that they didn’t know they were capable of.
Are There Any Aspects of Your Job That You Find Difficult?
There are some small parts, like that I have chosen to open a private practice, which can be a lot to manage. Sometimes I struggle with clients who are not invested in their change and want me to do the work for them. That’s not how I work, because that goes against my primary philosophy of working with women. But for the most part, I love so much about what I do!
How Can Potential Clients Reach You?
My website is here: http://www.yourbodyawake.com/ and all of my contact information is in there!