I have some exciting news…I have been accepted to the Duke Integrative Medicine health coach program and will be heading down to Durham next week for my first on-site training module. Wellness has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to study at Duke Integrative Medicine.
You may be wondering:
Q: What makes you qualified to become a health coach?
A: In college, I was an AFAA certified group exercise instructor. Teaching fitness in a group setting is surprisingly difficult, especially if you’re a stickler for form. While teaching, I saw imminent injuries everywhere. Ultimately, I decided that group fitness instruction wasn’t the right path for me. I am, however, grateful for the form awareness that I gained through my AFAA training because it has enabled me to avoid fitness related injuries.
In my early twenties, I was surrounded by, and ultimately adopted, disordered eating and excessive exercise habits. In my mid-twenties, I broke the binge-purge cycle by focusing on many of the areas delineated in the Wheel of Health. I stopped running and started walking and doing yoga. I reconditioned myself to crave healthy foods. I ditched the bad influences and reconnected with healthy friends. I stopped pursuing a career in law, which would have made me miserable, and I set my sights on real estate finance, where I could utilize the analytical skills I honed as an undergraduate math major. Last but certainly not least, I found my faith, which has evolved into a strange amalgam of Judaism and eastern religions. Ironically, I implemented the Duke Integrative Medicine approach on my own, well before The Mindful Diet was published. I'm sort of a retroactive success story.
I believe that my experiences, when combined with formal training, will enable me to be an extremely effective health coach.
Q: Why did you choose the Duke Integrative Medicine program?
A: After researching the curriculum of various health coach training programs and reading reviews by graduates of those programs, I chose to apply to Duke Integrative Medicine because it was the most consistently well-regarded program on the east coast. For those of you on the west coast, Dr. Andrew Weil has developed a similarly regarded program at the University of Arizona’s Integrative Health Center. Through my research, I discovered that there is a general consensus in the wellness community that these two programs are the best in the country. There are a few for-profit institutes that offer health coach certification programs, but their exclusively online curricula did not seem to be sufficiently comprehensive. I understand why people are drawn to online programs because they are convenient and do not require travel or the use of vacation days, but the on-site and telephonic training required and supported by Duke and the University of Arizona better prepare students for in-person coaching sessions with actual clients. Moreover, the focus on lifestyle counseling and the emphasis on mindfulness set the Duke Integrative Medicine program apart.
Q: What is the difference between a health coach and a nutritionist/Registered Dietitian?
A: Upon completion of Duke Integrative Medicine’s program, I will be a “health coach.” Health coaches are wellness counselors, whereas nutritionists/Registered Dietitians are healthcare professionals. Working with a well-trained health coach is an excellent option for those seeking to make lasting changes by replacing unhealthy habits with healthy alternatives. By contrast, patients seeking to use diet to cure or diminish the negative symptoms of a particular illness should consult a Registered Dietitian or Naturopathic Doctor.
A health coach is qualified to teach you how to:
- Make healthy homemade meals
- Decipher restaurant menus
- Implement a sustainable fitness routine
- Manage unhealthy relationships
- Meditate or use faith practices to bolster your wellness
- Make lifestyle decisions that support your personal and professional development
- Seek enriching environments and avoid sabotaging surroundings
I am so excited about my latest endeavor to share the health. Stay tuned for more posts about my training experience.
I’m not going to lie – I’m also pretty excited to be joining my husband as a Blue Devil – Scarlet was never my color ;)