I’m celebrating Health Coach Week and am proud to be a graduate of the Integrative Institute for Nutrition (IIN), the largest health coaching school in the world and a pioneer at the forefront of a worldwide wellness revolution. What do health coaches do? We help clients integrate all aspects of their lifestyle, balance them and ultimately improve their mental, physical and emotional well-being and decrease health care costs. Here is an excellent article that explains how health coaches can help people with chronic illnesses; and here is another article that shows how health coaches help people break unhealthy habits.
When I was studying to be certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I had to learn about more than 100 dietary theories. One of the major tenets of the learning was that of “Bio-individuality,” meaning, no one person is the same when it comes to our physical needs, such as food. That dovetails beautifully with what I have experienced over the past nine years of dietary journey, during which I experimented with different kinds of diets and finally chose to adopt the Blood Type Diet as my “default” lifestyle.
While the school did not point to any single diet that is best for our bio-individuality, I know, through my own experience, and that of hundreds of thousands of others, that the Blood Type Diet (+Genotype and SWAMI) can easily be counted as the best example of a diet that supports our bio-individuality.
As a student, I was taught to work with clients and help them find out, on their own, what works best for their unique bodies. This requires a lot of trial and error, a lot of guesswork and of course, time, energy and expenses. But if you start off with the BTD system, it’s like a short-cut that allows you to skip all the trial and error that can be not only time-consuming and costly, but also result in unpleasant or even devastating physical conditions (such as how going vegan wrecked my health once upon a time!).
Having said that, there is still a certain amount of trial and error if you follow the Blood Type Diet, because it is a broad-stroke categorization of people into 4 types (and 8 subtypes). The more advanced version of it is the SWAMI, which goes deep into your genetic information and generates a unique food list that is just for you and no one else. For many people who have been on the BTD, moving to SWAMI helps make the diet even more supportive in turning on the “good genes” and turning off the “bad genes” so you will see maximum health benefits.
Still, bio-individuality as a principle is highly valuable to me, and I continue to use it to guide my work. I believe that even if we each have the blood type, genotype or SWAMI to help guide our food choices, there is still room for tweaking. In addition, there are aspects outside of food and exercise that influence our health. In fact, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I have learned that the physical foods we eat are actually secondary to the “primary foods” in our lives. That’s right! As much as I appear to emphasize eating right all the time, that is just the tip of the ice berg of good health and well-being. There is a lot more under the surface.
So what are those “primary foods”? Check out the following circle to find out. Both types of foods are inter-connected. When there is imbalance in certain areas of our lives as shown in the circle, we may find that we resort to emotional eating to fill the void or numb certain emotions.
The Circle of Life
Becoming aware is the first step. The next step is learning how to trust yourself, not just how your body responds to food and exercise, but what the “little voice” in your soul is whispering to you, and telling you what to pay attention to. For if you consciously or subconsciously ignore that little voice and omit the “hidden” needs of your being, physical symptoms will eventually crop up as a loud signal for you to pay attention!
If you feel that you want to go deeper than just focusing on physical food and exercise, or if you know what’s right for you but need some hand-holding or “kick in the butt” to establish healthy habits, I am here to help you. Having someone to cheer you on and ask you high-mileage questions can make a huge difference. Book a free consultation with me and see if we’re a good fit to become “partners in health.” Click here.