Taking on health coaching from a holistic perspective has taught me the food that we eat is only a small portion of what makes up our overall health. Can happiness, love, fun, laughter, creativity help circumvent bad eating habits? Can hating your job, feeling lonely or being overwhelmed and sleep deprived override good eating habits? “Let thy food be thy medicine”, however, food as I’m learning is just one piece to a multi-faceted puzzle that makes up our health. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains aside, what makes you healthy?
“Five years ago, I started working in an integrative medicine practice. My new patients were some of the most health-conscious people I’ve ever had the privilege to serve. Many of them ate a vegan diet, worked out, slept soundly each night and took vitamins every morning. But some of them were also mysteriously sick, complaining of fatigue, aches, gastrointestinal disturbances and other symptoms. I was baffled! I ran batteries of tests, and occasionally I would pick up something that eventually resulted in the complete resolution of a patient’s symptoms. But more of then than not, I would find nothing…Instead of focusing exclusively on physician-recommended behaviors, medical history and other traditional factors, I dug deep into their personal lives. I asked them questions: “What do you love about yourself? What’s missing from your life, What do you appreciate about your life? Are you financially stable or are you stressed about money…They were unhealthy not because of bad genes or poor habits or rotten luck, but because they were lonely or miserable in their relationships, stressed about work, freaked out about their finances or profoundly depressed. On the flip side I had other patients who ate junk, forgot to take their supplements, rarely exercised and enjoyed seemingly perfect health. Their responses revealed that their lives were filled with love, fun, meaningful work, creative expression, spiritual connection and other traits that differentiated them from the sick health enthusiasts.”