As a health coach, I see it all. No client is the same, and that's a huge part of what makes my job so exciting! But at the core, the one thing that remains consistent is that everyone wants to be a little healthier.

A client who's training up for a big race and wants to boost his performance and a client who is trying to lose weight for her wedding actually end up asking me many of the same questions. It’s surprising what we all have in common…

1. If I want to lose weight, I should eat less and exercise more, right?

No! While diet certainly plays a large role in weight loss, it's about so much more. We like to think about it in terms of habit change.

Look at some of the existing habits you already have that could be unhealthy. Maybe it’s not getting enough exercise, or the types of food that you’re eating, or other habits such as drinking or smoking that hold you back.

Now, instead of beating yourself up over them, let go of the guilt and start taking steps toward changing them. Start small so that you don’t get overwhelmed and give up.

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Once you’ve achieved that goal, reward yourself and set a new one. These small steps will add up and soon you’ll notice that you’ve made big changes.

2. If I adopt only one healthy habit, what should it be?

Commit to evolving throughout your life. It can be so easy to get stuck in the inertia of life, but things that once worked for your body and soul in your teens and twenties are very different from the things that work in your thirties and forties.

Take a pause and evaluate your healthy habits during points of change or major events. You might find that you want to incorporate new fitness components, shake up your diet, or add meditation or breathing exercises — whatever works for you — just don’t be afraid to mix it up.

3. How can I stay inspired?

Let’s go back to the beginning. Think about what inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle in the first place. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see regularly such as your bathroom mirror or on your phone as the screen saver. Often when you reflect on your motivation you’ll find renewed energy.

Next, try to shift your mindset to everything you can have. If you tell yourself, “You can’t have those French fries!” you'll end up fixating on them until you decide to just eat them. This leads to guilt, punishing exercise, or deprivation, which can hurt your health even more.

Instead of focusing on what you can't have, focus on all the things that you get to enjoy and the benefits they have for your body. Fresh berries provide antioxidants that lead to glowing skin; salmon has properties that benefit heart health and also gives a boost to your hair!

Draw inspiration from local farmers markets and select fruits and vegetables that are in season and come in every color — you might find it easier than you think to stay the course.

4. Are there ways to get the entire family involved?

Absolutely! In fact, when the whole family is working to get healthy together you might find it easier to stay on track and it can be more fun.

Start by swapping the processed snacks you have in your pantry and fridge for fresher, simpler options. Stock up on things such as fresh fruits and vegetables to put in a bowl on your kitchen counter; organic kale chips and raw chocolates in your pantry; and a large pitcher of water with berries, mint, or lemon wedges in your fridge. You won’t feel that you’re depriving yourself with so many delicious foods around.

Try turning it into a challenge and set goals as a family, such as trying a new vegetable every day for 10 days in a row. Don't forget to decide on a prize!

When you’re all working together toward a common goal, you'll see motivation levels spike and you’ll encourage each other along the way.

5. How can I become a health coach?

Do your friends come to you for advice on healthy eating? Do you find yourself reading books about diet and nutrition at night before bed, or tweaking recipes for your friends and family to make them more healthful as you cook in the evening? You might be a health coach already and not even know it.

No day is ever the same, we have ultimate flexibility, which was paramount to us as we raised families, and we feel incredibly rewarded as we teach our clients how to live a healthier life and reach their goals.

If you think health coaching is right for you, check out the Health Coach Institute to learn more.

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