Nutrition has to be one of the most complex subjects on the planet. While I believe a healthy eating plan is relatively simple, there is such a huge amount of noise in the public domain that can lead us to constantly question what the right approach actually is.
So many ‘experts’ telling you to eat less of this, more of that and pop a pill for just about any condition or reason you can imagine.
While there is a lot of great information out there, the vast amount of information means many of us are overwhelmed at knowing which direction to turn. Further, the ‘one size fits all’ approach to nutrition no doubt stems from good intentions, however creates polarization between the nutritional camps. I find many are not willing to budge on their philosophies or accept that perhaps, just maybe, each individual is ‘different’.
For people who have been struggling to find an approach that works for them, the services of a wellness mentor may be a prudent investment. Perth based Sarah Hopkins is a Holistic Health Coach dedicated to mentoring clients in their journey to adopt a simple, holistic and sustainable diet and exercise regime.
Sarah makes it her mission to simplify the health and wellness journey for her clients as much as possible. Clients come to Sarah with a range of health issues from weight loss to digestive issues and insomnia (and countless others). Sarah spends time tailoring her programs to ensure any individual health issues, personality traits and lifestyle factors are addressed.
Sarah was kind enough to give us some insightful answers into all things wellness….
Tell me how you help your clients as a holistic health coach
As a health coach, people come to see me to help them achieve their specific health goal. It could be related to weight loss, fitness or a particular health issue that is compromising the quality of their life. Most clients come to me with a sense that something is not quite right but do not know where to start. They have a wealth of information at their fingertips but don’t know who to believe and what the right path for them is. As a holistic health coach it is my role to empower them to take action on their health as well as support them through the changes that will be most powerful for their specific needs.
What do you believe are the most prevalent health problems in an affluent Western lifestyle today?
Obviously the quality of our food has diminished significantly and every client I see has some digestive distress. This has a significant impact on our health and is a major contributor to most of the modern diseases in my opinion.
The other thing that I think is absolutely catastrophic for our wellbeing is our exposure to light. Thanks to modern technology, we are now exposed to way more light per 24 hour period. Light from electronic devices suppress essential hormone processes and also contribute to many of the most common health conditions.
What sort of conditions and health problems do you deal with on a regular basis?
Weight loss is probably the primary driver for many clients who come to see me however often there is a health condition underlying the weight gain that, once resolved, makes shedding kilos much easier. I see a lot of people with digestive issues and adrenal exhaustion and I believe these are related. Similarly, I see many people with autoimmune conditions which have a strong connection back to healthy gut function.
There is a lot of dietary advice, diet pushers, confusion and general ‘noise’ out there which makes it very confusing for people wishing to improve their health. Do you believe there is a simple formula for our readers to follow? How can they change their health (through diet and nutrition) while avoiding the latest fad diet?
I honestly believe that health, vitality and wellness is achievable for everybody and that it is much simpler than most people believe. Eating real food, drinking clean water and ensuring you sleep well are the basics for long term health.
What training have you undertaken to get where you are today?
I studied through the C.H.E.K Institute and was fortunate enough to study under the founder Paul Chek for my more advanced certifications. As certified advanced C.H.E.K trained professionals, we must be able to exhibit both a theoretical and practical understanding of how to apply the sophisticated assessment, program design and coaching systems that Paul Chek himself uses. We are taught to identify and address the root causes holding people back from maximum vitality and effectiveness, whether this involves the musculoskeletal, hormonal, organ, digestive or any other system of the body. I am also a Master Trainer (Cert 111 & 1V) as well as Reiki Level 1.
What sort of exercise do you do and/or recommend?
I like to take a balanced approach to exercise (after many years of punishing “cardio”). I like functional strength training and think that this is important for musculoskeletal and metabolic health as we age. I love walking and also incorporate some high intensity interval training in every week. What I recommend to clients really depends on their individual needs but I believe that everybody needs to move their body on a daily basis.
People are always on the run and busy. How do we eat healthy when there is no time to cook?
I don’t really buy the whole “there is no time to cook” statement. We all have the same amount of time in the day, it is just a matter of what we prioritise into that day. Our health determines the outcome of every other thing that is important so it must be a priority. You cannot achieve any other goal if you are bed ridden or suffering with an illness. Having said that, being healthy does not have to be a time consuming affair. When I work with my clients, I show them how to make healthier choices when eating out or how to prepare fast and healthy meals.
Do you find Perth an inspiring place for fitness and wellness?
If you had asked me this 18 months ago when I was starting out as a health coach I would have said no but in the last 6-12 months the level of interest in health and wellness has increased exponentially. There is a really great community of health and fitness professionals and I’m lucky enough to call some of the best ones close friends. I’m so grateful for their regular support and inspiration.
Who are the most influential guru’s in your life?
Obviously Paul Chek has been instrumental in my journey as a Holistic Health Coach and I love everything about the C.H.E.K curriculum. Chris Kresser is my go-to for quality resources so I really love his content. Locally my dear friend Carmela Lacey continues to support and inspire me on my journey and most importantly all of my amazing clients who achieve such incredible personal results on a daily basis.
Finally, Burn & Learn‘s themes are food, fitness and fulfillment. Please give our readers your hottest tips under each of these themes.
Food – eat real whole food, avoiding packaged foods most of the time and focusing on grass fed protein and green leafy vegetables will greatly improve overall health.
Fitness – listen to your body, do what feels natural, have fun and if you can, do it outside.
Fulfillment – write down every day 3 things that you are grateful for right now. No matter how small or silly. Think about what you love to do and aim to incorporate more of that into your life.
If you are looking for a partner to help you in your wellness journey, contact Sarah Hopkins at www.health-wellbeing.com.au.
By signing up to Sarah’s blog, you will get a copy of her ‘Healthy Eating Plan‘, a quick and useful guide on navigating meal choices throughout the day.