If you’ve ever encountered a client with an eating disorder were completely lost on how to approach/address the issue at hand, don’t feel bad. It’s a delicate situation, because there are typically so many layers involved behind the cause of the disorder. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a dynamic coach with the biggest heart who has not only recovered from an eating disorder herself, but is also helping countless others recover as well. Read below for tips on helping clients with eating disorders and emotional eating.
1. What prompted your decision to become a health coach?
I was in recovery from an eating disorder in high school when I was looking at possible career paths for myself. I knew I wanted to help people who were struggling with their relationship with food and with their body. When I found IIN, it seemed like the perfect fit, because it allowed me to coach others not just about food, but about the importance of looking at a well-balanced life.
2. What has been the biggest challenge in the field that you’ve overcome?
Feeling confident that I had the ability to coach others and that people would want to learn from me.
3. What did you do to overcome it?
Dialogues with myself. I realized I couldn’t make the changes I was wanting unless I stepped outside of my comfort zone. I did a lot of volunteering – at a learning center for Heifer International, as seasonal staff at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, and at The Option Institute. These experiences enhanced my knowledge and taught me so much more than I could ever learn from textbooks and lectures. I also noticed in the Facebook forum posts for IIN that a lot of coaches were working with eating disorders with absolutely no experience. This lit a fire under me, reminding that my work is needed. It was no longer “I want to be a health coach”, but “I need to be a health coach because there are people out there who need me.”
4. What is your niche?
Helping women who are struggling with emotional eating and yoyo dieting to ditch the diet, love their body, and lose weight.
5. What 5 tips would you like to share with the health coach community that would help other coaches in their practice?
*don’t take on something you don’t specialize in
* be extremely clear on what you do
* don’t spend all your time researching
* it’s okay to say you don’t know something – people will value your honesty & respect you more, plus you won’t be misinforming anyone
* being clear on who you help & how you help – you don’t have to help everybody
* the best way to help people is to be really good at one thing
* know that a business doesn’t grow overnight. Keep putting yourself out there. There is no such thing as an overnight success.
* you don’t have to be perfect at everything you do, be real
* keep motivated, keep tapping into why you became a health coach
6. Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
When working with emotional eaters and eating disorder, you have to realize that it’s never about the food; it’s about covering up an emotional issue. It’s something that they’re avoiding. You have to approach your clients from a non-judgmental place, with no attachment to the outcome. You can’t make them change, you can only love and support them while they grow. Keep in mind the Circle of Life exercise – this is so critical in the lives of our clients! Their health and wellbeing is dependent on how they balance the different areas of their life.
Find Shannon’s information in the Health Coach Directory. Feel free to reply to this post or contact her directly.
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