Not your one size that fits all approach when it comes to health and wellness!
Sipping a cup of mint tea on a quiet afternoon in a beautiful hotel in Dubai with Margo Samant; is Maya Sama, who is generally hopping cities and continents – her lifestyle for the last few years.
From New York and San Francisco to Delhi, London and more – we are just lucky to have caught up with her while she engages in an interactive session with us.
This warm, sweet, smart and radiant woman of Indian origin believes that around the corner, there always awaits a new road or a secret gate!
Which evidently explains her exciting journey from being a family woman, building her home, raising her brilliant kids, to now – entering the world of health coaching and defying the cage of age to pursue her true calling in her 50s!
This exploding ﬁeld of health coaching makes much-needed noise with universally ﬂattering experiences of people having their health needs addressed by interacting with coaches on a much deeper level.
Let’s jump right into asking Maya, a professional health coach certiﬁed from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, about everything related to health coaching to get ﬁrst-hand knowledge of this trending profession.
So Maya, who exactly is a health coach?
A health coach is someone who works on health in holistic way.
Let’s say you just want to live healthier, or perhaps, you want to lose a little weight. Maybe you have trouble sleeping or feel tired all the time. A health coach will hep you identify your health goals and then support you in your journey to achieve them.
I believe health deﬁnitely starts with the right nutrition but it certainly doesn’t end there.
Earlier, people would try and see a nutritionist, but a health coach oﬀers you a more holistic approach. They’ll treat nutrition as one piece of the puzzle of your health. The other pieces include your relationships, spirituality, exercise and your work.
(Margo nods in agreement) Of course…
All the pieces of the puzzle need to work together if you want to live healthily.
You can eat the best food – kale, broccoli, and other organic foods, but if you’re in a toxic relationship, you certainly won’t feel well.
A health coach is someone who helps you evaluate all the areas of your life and attempts to bring a balance.
How do they do this?
Trying and looking at your whole life to bring about the balance.
One of this profession’s game-changing dimensions is to focus on listening to you and learning from you.
One of the ﬁrst things we do is to look at a circle of life by dividing it into twelve parts, and then the person plots where they are in each of those parts.
In terms of education, career, relationships with their spouse and others, exercise routines and more.
The health coach tries to determine where your life is oﬀ-balance and helps you to correct that. That’s pretty much what we do in a nutshell!
(modesty sparkling across Maya’s face while she makes it all sound so easy)
How long does it take to bring that balance?
Normally we recommend people sign up for six months, during which we meet our client twice a month.
This long time-frame allows you to experience seasons and life changes with all the health coaching behaviouralintervention. It even allows the coach to see how you cope in all sorts of situations—Ex: Working days, holidays, summers and winters, indoors and outdoors and more.
So Maya, for the intrigue of our readers, clear some of the myths about health coaching….
(laughs) There are plenty!
For once, a health coach is not a personal trainer, a counsellor or a dietician.
A health coach doesn’t just tell you, ‘Hey, this is your diet’ or, ‘I’ll give you this diet to follow”. They give you general ideas and build upon suggestions that come from the clients themselves.
You know, the client will know deep down what they need to do to feel healthy, and the coach just supports them to reach those goals.
So, who, according to you, needs a health coach?
Well, I believe everyone needs a health coach because one can always change or ﬁne-tune something in life to become healthier.
You’re never at perfect health, right? There’s always something you can tweak to be even healthier. Talking to someone who can give you diﬀerent perspectives certainly helps.
Plus, sometimes you just want to experiment and try out something you’ve always wanted to do. Like the trendy low carb- high protein diet – knowing how to go about it isn’t easy alone. Sometimes you may want support with food shopping in a more healthy way. In such a scenario, your health coach may even start you oﬀ by going through your fridge with you!
Oh, really!? (fascinated) Please elaborate…
We even give you suggestions and alternatives for things you consume or knowledge about items in your pantry. Like instead of buying canned produce, we would always suggest you try a fresher option. Health coaches can help out with such tips if they are specialized in oﬀering that kind of advice.
In fact, you can also have a health coach go shopping with you.
A lot of people don’t know how to read labels and make healthy choices. So, having a health coach step in and help you out is great!
Okay! So, like a guide to get started with clean eating?
Clean living, actually!
Health coaches focus on improving your life, one step at a time.
If you’re someone who doesn’t exercise at all, they will encourage you to go on 5-minute walks. If you are already working out for half an hour, a coach pushes you to do 45-minute sessions.
That is how organically the process ﬂows!
Do health coaches help clients identify their goals?
Well, yes and no!
Let’s say you decide to try diﬀerent diets to lose weight. In that scenario, your health coach would support you as you try out what works and what doesn’t. But a health coach won’t be the one to tell you that you need to lose weight.
They’ll talk about how you can get your life back in balance – overall health, feeling good inside and feeling grounded.
If weight loss has to happen while you’re learning balance, it will. The main goal is ﬁnding your balance and everything else follows
Is age any factor for working with a health coach?
Health coaching is for people of any age.
I’ve used a lot of my coaching ideas on my parents, who are in their 80s. And my children’s friends who are in the 20s. And irrespective of their age, I’ve discovered that most people don’t really need health advice; they primarily need support.
They want to feel like someone is listening to them. In fact, I’d say listening is one of the most critical skills a health coach should have.
A health coach is like a very wise friend, in a way…
I think the health coach’s wisdom helps clients unearth their own.
Deep down, we all know what we need to do to become healthier, but we’re mostly just caught up with life, and we feel like we don’t have anyone who understands us. So, a guide in the form of a health coach could easily ﬁll in that gap!
Maya, how do you coach people with diﬀerent personalities?
Each client has to be coached in a very distinct manner.
Ex: if my client is an anxious person, I would ideally want to start slow and build upon their progress slowly. If the person is more of a high-ﬂyer, a diﬀerent approach will be needed.
Being a coach, you just start reading between the lines. (twinkles
What about coaching acquaintances and friends? Is it harder?
In a way, yes!
The conﬁdentiality and all of that is obvious. That’s a golden rule!
But what is interesting is to unravel their secrets and give them the same trust despite history. I’ve done a few sessions with friends and even when you’ve known the person for 20 years, you’ll still discover something new about them.
The most important thing is just letting them talk and supporting them.
Do you have to meet your clients in person?
Not at all!
The sessions can be all online – and COVID has taught us that you can do almost everything online!
If you’re in Dubai, you could still have clients in London. We’ve all gotten familiar with Zoom and video conferencing.
I will not deny that I miss my sessions in person as you lose out on some cues of the body language, but I think that’s alright one should make the most of what we have!
Finally, tell us, Maya, how did you get into health coaching?
I got into health coaching through meditation, honestly.
I’ve been meditating for many years, and I think with time, meditation makes you more intuitive and connected. So, health coaching was a way for me to deepen my relationships and connection with people.
Even if I’m a health coach only to my friends, I’m not just a lunchtime buddy because you can talk to me at a deeper level. I don’t really enjoy superﬁcial connections, and I think health coaching allows me to have meaningful conversations with people and help them.
That is such a noble trigger to pursue what you are doing so amazingly!
Health Coaching is a shi0 in focus from reaching out to an ‘expert to solve problems’ to ‘getting on a journey together to help you change your life!’
We hope that you get inspired by this emerging opportunity that helps individuals tap into their inner motivation and create programs that work for their unique lifestyle.
Nude cheers on this unconventional career option and actual transformations through health coaching!
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