On the Ellwood Thompson’s Health Team, we have a small number of health coaches who we feel really embody the values of Ellwood Thompson’s including local food advocacy, holistic nutrition and community focused health. Sara is one of these fantastic health coaches, offering her expertise not only as an Institute for Integrative Nutrition trained health coach, but as a gifted fitness instructor, engaging health teacher and recipe developer. I’ve had the pleasure of taking several of Sara’s Barre classes and they’re absolutely amazing! Her nourishing recipes and daily inspiration for clean eating are so inspiring, and it’s clear that she has a gift for partnering with others to find alignment in their health journey and setting them up for sustainable success. She has a deep passion to help others reach their individual health goals, one step at a time, and works in partnership with her clients to make their goals a reality.
Tell us a bit about your health coaching practice and what influenced your decision to take this career path?
I established my health coaching practice (Share the Health Nutrition) almost 4 years ago now. At the time, it was very apparent to me that people were confused about nutrition and health, especially as it pertained to them as an individual. And after a very positive experience with a health coach myself, I was inspired to pursue this path and provide guidance to others.
The areas I focus on with my clients are weight loss, emotional eating, digestive issues, food intolerances, as well as working with those who simply want to feel good and in control of their health and body. I firmly believe in the holistic aspect; that even when wanting to work on the physical side of things (be it nutrition, exercise, etc), you can’t separate those areas from the mental and emotional, as it plays such a large role in the way we view food, our bodies, and ourselves in general. In this way, no matter what one’s goals are, I take the whole person – and their unique story – into account.
What makes your approach to individualized health coaching unique?
I have been (and continue to be) on my own journey with health. Therefore, I believe I offer a level of compassion and understanding that people are looking for in a coach. Additionally, I’m focused less on the numbers (calories, carbs, scale), and more so on how the person feels, her energy, how she is speaking to herself on a daily basis. As mentioned above, everyone has a story; not only a background, but a story they tell themselves about nutrition/food/health in general, and more often than not, these stories are preventing people from realizing their truth. More importantly, they are likely standing in the way of one achieving his/her goals. In working with me, it’s not only about the science-based nutritional information that I provide, but also about the mindset shifts. Ultimately, I want to set my clients up for success long-term. It’s not about telling them what to do (or eat etc), but coaching them on how to think about the bigger picture differently, more positively. That’s what leads to sustainable change.
Who do you feel benefit most from your expertise? (i.e – What sort of health concerns do people show up with when they come to see you?)
Most of my clients come to me for weight loss, but after we peel back the layer of the onion a bit (pardon the food pun), it’s quickly discovered that there may be something deeper going on with his/her relationship with food. There’s an emotional component we need to address. I believe I attract these clients because of my own personal journey and history with emotional eating.
Who are your favorite people to work with?
The people eager and willing to work with me! Nothing lights me up more than someone who is excited about learning, growing, and bettering his or her health. After doing this for a few years, people not only have to be ready to commit (to me and to their health), but be open to the information and idea of change. It’s work, and while I do provide accountability and support, it’s those people who take responsibility for their choices that see the most success.
What can people expect from their first appointment with you?
The process begins with an initial consultation, which is basically a conversation so that I can better understand one’s background, health concerns, and goals for working together. We discuss nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress and everything in between. This first session allows me to take a deep dive into one’s story so to speak, allowing me to gain more clarity while also providing a bit of insight. This is when I want the person to start making connections, while establishing that trust that is so important in a coach/client relationship. From there we determine the next course of action, and whether working together is in her best interest to help her achieve her goals.
How do your nourish yourself holistically and what do you do for your own self care?
The concept of “self-care” has completely evolved for me over the years. I used to think it was all about eating right and exercise. While those aspects are important, self-care is now more about self-love and creating space mentally. This is evident in how I speak to myself on a daily basis. I used to be someone who would beat myself up. Releasing that pressure has been so freeing (although I admit it is sometimes easier said than done). Overall, my inner-dialogue is so much more kind ☺
In terms of specific self-care routines, my mornings are my “me time.” I wake up early, fix myself a cup of coffee, and sit in stillness while I write in my gratitude journal. Over the past couple of years I have fallen in love with yoga and it’s the time I feel most connected to my body. When things get particularly stressful, or life gets busy, I try and take moments of pause throughout my day to refocus on my breath. That small but might practice always brings me back to the present. I also put a lot of emphasis on sleep and know that to be well rested is the ultimate way I take care of myself!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com