After 13 years of undiagnosed chronic illness, I had pretty much given up on doctors, natural and allopathic, and healers of all types. Although a few doctors provided an important piece of the puzzle, no one could figure me out completely. The medicine and supplements they prescribed usually made me worse.
I’ve learned to manage my own symptoms, primarily through diet and carefully selected supplements. My energy is limited, my life is boundaried, but I rarely experience dramatic symptoms if I follow my self-prescribed protocol. I can do so much more than many people with chronic illness.
That doesn’t mean I’m healed at all. With one slip, symptoms return, with multiple slips they compound.
Why I Decided to Try a Health Coach Again
Every now and then I feel prompted to try again. Two years ago, I connected with an Ayurvedic practitioner and the doctor she recommended. Neither of them followed through on their promises in a timely manner and when I finally got the medicine, it set me off.
Last year, I worked with an intuitive health coach. Her diagnosis felt right on. But her treatment plans gave contradictory instructions, the supplements stimulated pain, and the process depleted my adrenals. Even worse, she suggested her treatment wasn’t working because my thoughts were blocking my healing.
I learned something important from both of those encounters so all was not lost. First of all, I practiced standing up for myself. Secondly, I received more clarity on my core health issues. Thirdly, I was able to expand my diet somewhat.
After these less than awesome encounters, I feel back into giving up mode until recently when I happened upon a Health Coach that specializes in Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (this includes mold disease and other bio-toxin related illnesses, not all accepted by mainstream medical), Mast Cell Activation, and Histamine Intolerance (the last two are likely secondary to mold illness) — my triad of main challenges. As you can imagine, that piqued my interest.
After an initial consultation, I decided to take the risk and try again. It wasn’t an easy decision because working outside the mainstream medical system bears a sizable financial cost. And, due to my previous experiences, I can’t help but wonder if the results will be worthwhile. But I see this new opportunity as a calculated risk because this person is so well versed in my major health challenges.
Although I “give up” for periods of time, I’m a true believer in never giving up completely. Because I want to get well, and I’m sure you do too. And anything is possible when the right mix of timing and circumstances come together.
Whatever happens, I know I will learn something worthwhile. I’ve already have seen positive changes, and we’ve barely begun.
6 Ways a Health Coach Can Help You
Here are six way I’ve found a health coach can help, because it’s not always possible to get well on your own.
1. Accountability – Even the prospect of working with a health coach one again motivated me to clean up my diet, especially after looking at her intake form, which hinted at a few things I had let slip.
Confession: I’d been sneaking in carbs and stopped when I thought I might be working with a coach again. I felt so much better when I dropped back to a relatively low carb diet. For me, that means lots of vegetables (5-7 cups a day or more) and some fruit, but no grains, pseudo-grains, or beans.
I also increased my water intake to be sure I’m getting at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day. I fill up a 3-cup glass jar and drink at least two a day, usually three. If only two, I supplement with extra water in a normal cup.
I found it easier to lose the bit of excess weight I had put on too. I struggled with this weight gain for months, but now it felt much easier. I didn’t feel as hungry, which may be the result of properly hydrating myself. That doesn’t mean it’s completely easy. I still need to rely on my will power at times.
It would be nice if we could be accountable to ourselves, but we’re just human, right? That’s why it helps to have someone to be accountable to, whether it’s a weight management program, a health coach, or another type of health care provider.
2. Knowledge and Expertise – I know more about my condition than most doctors, but I don’t know everything by any means. I don’t have the experience of working with clients with one or more of my conditions. My health coach could tell right away that my methylation is not working properly just from looking at my standard blood tests. It’s better than before but not quite right. It may be that my dose of P5P (a special form of Vitamin B6) is not correct or heavy metals may be interfering.
Methylation is a metabolic process critical to countless functions in your body like repairing DNA, turning genes on and off, fighting infections, processing environmental toxins, energy production, sulfur metabolism, brain health, and the breakdown of histamine. Methylation occurs in every cell and organ of the body. Impaired methylation can contribute to any number of disease processes.
Reduced methylation capacity can result from genetic and environmental causes or a combination of them. I myself have mutations on these methylation-related genes: MTHFR, CBS, VDR, and MTRR, among others. A mutation doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, it depends on whether it’s active or not. In my own case, previous blood test results like high glucose, low Vitamin D, and high homocysteine have indicated that some of these mutations are probably active. I’ve been able to return my glucose, Vitamin D, and homocysteine to normal levels through diet and supplements.
At this time, the scientific foundation for defects on the MTHFR gene have been fairly well establish, but less is known or verified about the other mutations in the methylation cycle. A mainstream medical doctor will know very little, if anything, about methylation issues and would probably look at you with raised eyebrows. You’re at the cutting edge when you look at methylation issues and it must be done carefully. You can exacerbate your problems if you don’t get it right.
I know I need someone with very specific knowledge to help me get well again.
3. Holistic Approach – I appreciate and need a holistic approach because so many systems in my body currently function in a less than optimal way. It can seem impossible to know where to begin because the problems are so interconnected. It won’t work to treat one problem only and I’m sometimes too sensitive to tolerate the treatment for some of the challenges.
My new coach emphasize lifestyle factors as well as practical treatments because body, mind, and emotions are interrelated, aren’t they? She reminded me that stress will exacerbate almost all health conditions, and also addressed exercise, sleep issues, and emotional healing.
It’s very difficult to get well if you don’t create a nourishing, low stress environment for yourself and work on your emotional healing as well. Those activities are already priorities in my life, but it helps to be reminded to keep them at the forefront of my mind.
4. A Stronger Commitment – When insurance covers your treatment, you might be tempted to not show up. For example, when I underwent physical therapy, the office constantly had no shows. That wasn’t the case for me. Still, when you invest a large sum of your own money, you’re more likely to put your all into whatever it is you decided to do.
Most coaches will offer an initial consultation for free. After that, they often offer coaching packages, that include 3-12 sessions, rather than single sessions. Once you commit to a coaching package, your payment may not be refundable.
5. Helpful Testing – If you’re seeing a health coach to lose weight, you may not need much in the way of testing. But if you have a complex condition, a holistic health coach can recommend alternative tests. These types of tests are rarely prescribed by physicians, but they may give important insight into the causes of your health challenges
In my case, I took the Visual Contrast Sensitivity test, which is not in itself diagnostic for mold illness, but it can be one indication that it might be present. I will also be getting a trace mineral analysis, gut testing, and hormone testing. I’ve had issues in all these areas in the past so it will be good to know what my body currently needs.
Proceed with caution, however. You can drop a lot of hard-earned money on alternative testing, almost shooting in the dark. So use discernment, and focus only on a selection of tests that seem relevant to your condition.
6. A Customized Plan – Let’s be honest, that 10-15 minute consultation with your medical doctor won’t take you very far. Whereas a typical health coach will do an initial 60-90 minute health assessment and then meet with you for six to twelve 60-minute sessions over the course of three months, depending upon your needs and which coaching package you’ve purchased.
Although a health coach does not diagnose or treat per se, they will provide a customized plan of action tailored to your specific challenges and needs.
Never Give Up Hope!
Yes, I’ve had some rocky experiences with health practitioners and health coaches in the past. But I’m willing to try again. I think so much depends upon finding the right person. Never stay locked in to an agreement with the wrong person if you’re not seeing positive changes in your health.
I’ve just started the testing phase, so I’m in the wait and see phrase. I’m looking forward to seeing what unfolds, and I would like to keep you abreast from time-to-time. I know people are desperately seeking information on mast cell activation, methylation, and mold disease, so whatever we share based in knowledge and experience may be of benefit others.
Of course, I’m not a medical doctor or offering medical advice. I’m just sharing my own experience. You should always check with yours before you start any type of treatment program.
Have you ever worked with a health coach? How did it go? I would love to hear.
- Do You Have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?
- An Overview of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
- Methylation Problems Lead to Hundreds of Diseases
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always. With love, Sandra