Celiac Disease & Gluten-free Diet Information at Celiac.com - http://www.celiac.com
Overwhelmed by the Gluten-Free Lifestyle? Consider Hiring a Personal Coach
http://www.celiac.com/articles/21845/1/Overwhelmed-by-the-Gluten-Free-Lifestyle-Consider-Hiring-a-Personal-Coach/Page1.html
Kim Hopkins
Kim Hopkins is the founder of Food Sensitivity Resources. She is a licensed social worker and someone that "lives to eat" despite having multiple food challenges. Her mission is to combine her thorough, personal knowledge of food safety concerns with her lengthy counseling, training, & consulting experiences to help people live fully despite dietary restrictions. She offers personal coaching, an informative blog, the Safe Suppers Dining Club, as well as consultation for businesses & schools. 
By Kim Hopkins
Published on 06/24/2009
 
Adjusting to the gluten free lifestyle no longer needs to be a long, lonely road. Help is available in many forms - including from the relatively new field of personal coaching.

Celiac.com 06/24/2009 - If you are like the majority of people diagnosed with celiac disease, it probably took you many years of experiencing debilitating symptoms, talking to multiple doctors who gave you varied theories and diagnoses, thinking that you would never feel better…before you finally got it figured out.  Whether you had a positive experience with your health care professionals or not, hearing the diagnosis can lead to feeling lost and unsure of what to do next.  It can be quite overwhelming.  After all, food plays an important part in our culture – it’s how we share special moments together, celebrate, and nurture one another.  A big sense of loss can overcome someone when they hear that they can no longer eat wheat, barley, rye, and contaminated oats.  Some people say they go through the roller coaster of emotions similar to the grieving process.

Can you make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to feel better and regain your health?  Absolutely!  Everyone’s pace is different and you need to give yourself time.  Is there a way that may help you to adjust a bit more quickly and with less frustration?  Yes:  consider hiring a personal coach that specializes in food challenges.

What Is A Personal Coach?
Coaching is a powerful, ongoing relationship which focuses on clients making important changes in their lives.  Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build a client’s level of awareness and responsibility, and provides the client with structure, support, and feedback.  The coaching process helps clients to both define and achieve personal and professional goals faster and with more ease than would be possible otherwise.   In coaching, the focus is on designing the future, not getting over the past.

The field of coaching is booming and there are many coaching niche areas.  Business coaching for executives and teams has become quite popular.  Coaching children and teens to help them excel with academics is on the rise, as is parenting coaching.  Many small business owners higher coaches to help them increase revenue.

Coaching usually occurs in the context of a long-term relationship, where the client’s goals, dreams, and vision drive the action.  The belief is that there are multiple paths to reach a goal, and that the client knows the way (though they might not realize it at the time).  The coach assists the client to become a “change master.”  To this end, coaching and adjustment to dietary changes go hand-in-hand.

A Personal Coach Specializing In Dietary Restrictions Can Help You To:
  • Learn the gluten-free lifestyle - Where to buy gluten-free food, product reviews, how to prepare gluten-free recipes, where to eat out, how to become a skilled label reader, understanding the safe & unsafe ingredient lists, decrease cross-contamination risk, how to set up your kitchen, where to find out if your cosmetics, hair care products, and medications are safe.
  • Develop a support network - Website resources, how to get the most out of your primary care doctor, engaging a specialist such as a dietician or nutritionist.
  • Vary your diet, taking into consideration essential nutrients.
  • Adjust for the financial impact- Learn to live gluten-free on a budget.
  • Brush up on your advocacy and education skills – Practice explaining celiac to friends, relatives, and coworkers, advocate to you/your child’s school, learn how to eat out safely, manage your anxiety.
  • Monitor any ongoing symptoms and known associate health risks - Iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, fertility problems, leaky gut syndrome, candida, food sensitivities, other auto-immune disorders.
  • Keep up on the latest research and what it may mean for you – there are many exciting studies happening that may have an impact on how you take care of yourself.
  • Assist with other goals to help your life feel more balanced.
How Does Coaching Work?
Generally, most coaches have a structure that includes three to four sessions each month, with quick check-ins by phone and email in between.  Coaching sessions can be either one-on-one, in small groups, or a combination of both.  They can be in-person, via phone, or a combination of both throughout the month, which allows for financial and logistical flexibility.  In-person sessions can include shopping, practice with advocating, and cooking.

A coach will encourage clients to set goals that they truly want, ask them to do more than they have done on their own, help them focus in order to produce results more quickly, and provide the tools, information, support, and structure to help them accomplish more.   It’s like having a personal trainer to assist you with making adjustments to improve your life.

Who Should Consider Hiring A Coach?
  • If you are feeling unsure as to how to adjust your lifestyle around your food challenges.
  • If you are feeling limited by food allergies/intolerance/sensitivities.
  • If you are not sure where to go for information or are overwhelmed by all the information you are finding.
  • If you are restricting yourself from enjoying going out to restaurants, parties, etc.
  • If you are having difficulty sticking to the gluten-free diet.
It’s important to find someone that you “click” with.  Most coaches offer a free initial session to help get to know them, and to answer any questions you might have about the coaching process.