As a young professional scientist in her twenties, Clara didn't think she needed help when her health screening report showed high blood pressure. She knew how to live a healthy life with regular exercise and a low-fat diet, and made plans to ramp up her exercise and fitness. She enrolled in Take Control simply to utilize the gym and personal training benefits that the program offered. The surprise came when the health coaching part of the program became the key that transformed her health. Clara said, "I didn't think I would learn anything new that I didn't already know. Linda came in with such rich information and a new perspective on my health. I had someone on my side who was supportive with anything I said or felt during our sessions."
Even though she qualified for the program with a high blood pressure diagnosis, meeting with coach Linda revealed that Clara was struggling with digestive issues. She had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but doctors’ attempts to find the cause of the problem were inconclusive. Clara was surprised to learn from coach Linda that IBS and high blood pressure can be related. When Linda suggested a naturopathic doctor, Clara was hesitant. She said, "Being a scientist, it was hard. Because when you hear naturopath, you think they're not really doctors." But she took Linda's advice, and the path to whole-body healing began. In addition to Linda's expertise in nutrition, Clara found a naturopathic doctor who she really connected with, plus added a counselor to complete her whole-body healthcare team.
Clara began addressing her digestive issues with small lifestyle changes that included diet and mindset strategies. It can be a slow process to give the gut time to heal, usually involving a lot of trial and error with foods, and significant patience with the process. In the midst of trying to follow implement these changes, Clara was facing a lot of stress from starting a new job, buying her first house, and juggling time constraints. She said, "I think the biggest obstacles that I had to overcome were the stressors in my life, and admitting that stress affects my health in so many ways. It’s not just about not having enough time, but it’s also that the stress actually makes me feel ill." Clara credits coach Linda with helping her have patience to persevere through the peaks and valleys of her lifestyle change. She learned to keep going through the bad days, and gained confidence that the good days would return and eventually become the norm.
Another strategy Clara developed on her journey was coping with influence from family and friends. She learned that what is healthy for her isn't necessarily what's healthy for other people, and advocating for herself became a part of her healing process. Family and friends often don't understand the havoc that takes place in your body when you stray from your nutritional care plan. Holidays were particularly difficult. After learning the hard way, Clara gained the confidence to stand up for herself and not let people push her into foods that she knew would cause problems. She learned to plan ahead by bringing her own food so she wouldn't be in a position to eat troublesome trigger foods that would set back her healing.
Finally, Clara learned to give herself grace as she worked through her health issues. Prior to health coaching, she felt like she was wrestling with her body and was mad at it for what she perceived as failure. She thought she had to be tough on herself to recover. But instead, she achieved success by listening to her body, being kind to herself, and giving her body time to heal. Much of that inspiration came from coach Linda, who supported her by learning how Clara lived, sending customized science-based resources, and providing encouragement through the ups and downs. Clara said, "I could tell she really cared by how engaged she was during our phone calls. It was really nice to have an hour-long motivation session."
For Clara, in the end, the takeaway was treating medical problems using whole-body health. She says if she had focused only on high blood pressure, she would have failed because she would not have discovered the underlying cause. Instead, she learned how to manage IBS which lowered her stress and ultimately reduced her blood pressure.
• Healed gut and managed IBS
• Reduced blood pressure from Stage 2 hypertension to normal
• Lost 6 pounds, 4% of body weight
• Lowered stress
• Gained confidence