I'm working with an integrative doctor, do I need a health coach?
Health and nutrition coaching is a relatively new area of support in our healthcare system. I sometimes get the question from potential clients, “I’m working with an integrative doctor, how does health coaching fit into this picture?” It’s a great question and one I would love to bring some clarity to today!
Watch the video below or read on to learn about the top 3 ways health and nutrition coaching helps you achieve optimal health, it’s unique and critical role in our current healthcare system, and the best ways to work synergistically with your care team to get the most out of your care.
I understand that depending on where we are in terms of time, readiness for change and finances, we may need to pick and choose what kind of support we are able to get at the present moment.
The goal of this video is to clarify the roles of different practitioners so you can pick what you need most, rather than to tell you that in order to be healthy you need to have a huge care team of fancy practitioners, because you don’t!
Integrative (Naturopathic, Functional Medicine, etc.) practitioners are amazing in that they usually allocate a whole lot more time for patient visits than your standard conventional doctor. It’s because it takes time to get to the root cause of complex, chronic issues and a 15-minute visit just won’t cut it.
That being said they’re still doctors with busy schedules! You’re likely to see them initially and then maybe every 2-3 months depending on their practice or financial constraints. Depending on what’s going on for you, it may take a lot more time and investigating to understand the full picture of what’s going on in your body.
Health coaching is structured in a way where we are able to meet more regularly (weekly and bi-weekly) and have more frequent contact to dig deep and uncover the sources of imbalance in your life.
An example is a client I worked with who had a lot of complex chronic issues going on. She had her initial visit with her functional medicine practitioner and left with a giant diagnosis list and a bag full of supplements.
In that time he was able to uncover a lot through bloodwork and testing which was amazing!
As we worked together over the coming weeks we were able to see that she had blood sugar balancing issues due to how and when she was eating, a very high-stress load, insomnia at 2-3am every night, and 8/10 bloating when eating certain foods.
None of this was uncovered in the single doctor’s visit, so I was able to make a few, basic dietary and lifestyle recommendation and also recommend a SIBO breath test, which came back positive and her doctor was able to treat her more effectively. Time is valuable and necessary to uncover what’s going on in the body, but also to implement interventions and asses results in order to modify for that unique person.
2. Guidance to avoid overwhelm
Since you may only see your practitioner every 2-3 months, they want to make sure that you get all the information you need in that visit. For some people, this may work out really well. If you are the kind of person that gets a list of dietary changes, daily routines, lifestyle modifications and supplements to take and thinks, “Bring it ON!” that might work for you!
For the majority of people I work with, and for myself as well, that approach tends to be really overwhelming.
I had a client who got a giant list of her many diagnoses, a list of foods to eliminate and include, and a supplement regimen that was 5 pages long (I kid you not). What happened in her case (and what I see all too often) is the overwhelm set in, she panicked and froze in inaction.
She didn’t know how she was going to begin to cut out gluten and sugar let alone incorporate meditation every day, or get a routine with her many supplements.
It began to feel like a full-time job she didn’t feel qualified for. She came to me for support, guidance and someone to create a plan with her that felt manageable. At the end of the day, we can have all of the information in the world but if we don’t have a plan to integrate it into our lives in a sustainable way, it doesn’t matter and we won’t see the results we want.
This is the beauty of health coaching and why I believe it to be a critical asset in our current healthcare system. I hear from so many clients, “I know what I should be doing, I’m just not doing it,” and it’s not because you are bad or a failure, it’s just because you haven’t found a way to integrate things into your life in a way that feels sustainable rather than like you’re either “on the wagon” or “off the wagon.”
That’s precisely what I guide you to do though health and nutrition coaching. Together we implement changes that feel simple, clear, manageable, good and sustainable.
Depending on your practitioner and their scope of practice, you may or may not get guidance around nutrition. Some providers give no information, others give templates for elimination diets, and others are more involved in the process. It’s been my general experience that most integrative doctors don’t spent a lot of time understand what it is you are eating on a daily basis, and how you are digesting that food. Pieces that are essential to healing.
Again it comes back to time.
It takes time to review food/symptom/poop journals and gather nuanced information about how what you are eating on a daily basis is affecting you. They have a lot to cover and may not have the time to go as deep as we need to on the nutrition piece!
I partner with a lot of integrative doctors in my local area because they need support and realize that they don’t have time to do everything. Likewise, they have tools and knowledge that I do not that may become necessary in the healing journey.
If you are looking for more targeted nutrition support I recommend health and nutrition coaching in order to find what works for you specifically rather than just going off of a template.
I hope that helps to clarify the role of health and nutrition coaching in our healthcare system and how you can benefit!
I chose to devote my life to this field as an RN and certified health and nutrition coach because I believe it to be the missing piece. The support we need to make health feel attainable no matter where we are at in the present moment. If you have any questions comment below, I’d love to hear your experience!
Are you dealing with symptoms of chronic fatigue, brain fog, autoimmune disease, pain or digestive issues?
You’ve gone to doctor after doctor. You’ve received some answers, have started on medications and notice some relief (thank goodness!) but are still left feeling exhausted, stressed, inflamed and not fully yourself?
Or maybe every test has come back “normal” and your practitioners have told you that there isn’t anything they can do, to come back when things get worse, or to simply manage your stress better?
If yes, then you are someone who would benefit form 1:1 holistic health coaching.
Health coaching is a necessary extension of the health care system in that together we have more time to uncover issues, implement strategies and assess outcomes together. Autoimmune disease is complex and to address it we need to come at it from all angles (pharmaceutical therapies from your doctor while also focusing on root cause factors like gut health, diet, sleep and stress). I offer accountability, a knowledgeable resource and most importantly support.
I always offer free 30-minute discovery sessions to get clear on your major health concerns and what’s standing in your way. Click the button below to set up your free consultation and we can create a plan of action specifically for you.