A Path to Wellness Leads to A Journey Of Helping Others

Posted by Loukia Mastrodimos on May 19th 2017

Why I became a certified health & wellness coach   In June 2014, my mother passed away. She wasn’t sick very long and her quick passing took me by surprise. Like all mother-daughter relationships, ours was complicated - full of love and tension. At the time, I had established some healthy behaviors: my yoga practice, avoiding fast food (mostly). I struggled for about 9 years with consistently incorporating healthy habits. I had been mildly successful at losing weight and keeping some of it off. However, the weight was just one area in my life where I struggled. I regularly used negative self-talk and had other self-sabotaging behaviors that kept me from living my best life. Overindulging in food was just a symptom of my unhappiness and inability to cope with stress. I never really got to the core of WHY I continued to repeat behaviors that were not contributing positively to my life.

After my mom’s passing, whatever healthy behaviors I had in my life went out the window. The last 6 months of 2014 came with an immense sadness and grief along with feelings of guilt. I was eating badly. The first Christmas and New Year without my mom was very hard. By January 1st, I had hit my rock bottom and my grief was all consuming. I had gained weight but even worse, I had lost hope. At the urging of my sister, I started seeing a grief counselor. Shortly after, I began utilizing the services of a health & wellness coach. Slowly, I started feeling more positive about my life and the future.

Before I was working through my grief, I had been debating on changing careers for some time.I was a high school assistant principal at the time, I was constantly stressed and anxious every time I stepped into the office. I was no longer fulfilled. At the one year mark of my mother’s passing, I went on a wellness and mindfulness retreat. That sealed the deal for me:I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Yoga and my health & wellness coach were the tools that helped me stop the negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behaviors. I knew that this was the career path I wanted to follow so I could help others live their best life. I wanted to give back and devote my time, energy, and passion for wellness with others seeking the same for themselves. After a successful 20-year career in public education, I decided to make a career change in 2016 and became a certified yoga instructor and health & wellness coach.

Why use a health & wellness coach?  When an individual struggles with stress it bleeds into relationships, work, and all areas of their personal life. When an individual is overweight, there is a reason why knowledge of good nutrition is not enough to make that person eat their veggies. Health and wellness coaches assist clients in connecting the dots between who they are and who they want to be. Wellness coaching focuses on the whole person. Clients work in partnership with their coach to take incremental behavioral steps to enable them to succeed in their desired changes, ultimately leading to a higher level of well-being. Other experts in fitness and nutrition, for example, can assist with focused solutions in their area of expertise. A wellness coach “zooms out” and focuses on a client’s whole life, all those interconnected parts that result in a thriving individual: controlling stress, practicing mindfulness, exercising your body, engaging in self-care habits, improving nutrition, building relationships. A wellness coach gets to the root of WHY a person is engaging in behaviors that are not resulting in a thriving life.

Through consistent weekly coaching sessions, I help clients shift their perspective and stretch their mind so that they can live a life of thriving not just surviving. A doctor certainly wants their patients to thrive, but unfortunately they don't have the time to work with patients to develop and cultivate the necessary, long-lasting behavior changes. A client that works with a well-trained wellness coach, focused on the whole person, combined with scientifically validated coaching techniques rooted in positive psychology, will create long term life changes to achieve a higher level of well-being.

Wellness Coach Credentials

In this fast growing field, just about anyone can call themselves a health & wellness coach. It’s important for an individual seeking the expertise of a coach to investigate their background and training. In addition to “walking the walk and talking the talk” having been through the process of change and transformation myself, I am a trained and certified health & wellness coach through the Wellcoaches School of Coaching (http://wellcoachesschool.com). Since 2002, Wellcoaches has delivered a gold standard of coach training, education, certification, and support, in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine. Wellcoaches programs are high-impact, science-based, and innovative. To obtain certification in addition to formal classroom training, , I was required to work with practice clients, develop my own wellness vision and goals, complete an online course called “Organize Your Mind” that covers brain science, coach science, and self-science, pass a written exam based on the coaching psychology, theories, and models of coaching, and demonstrate mastery in an oral practical skills assessment, a 30-minute “mock” coaching session, conducted live with an examiner.

The coach-client relationship is important and shouldn’t be entered into without careful consideration. Not everyone is ready to embark on this work. Wanting to make changes and actually being willing to do the work necessary to implement change are two very different states of readiness. In addition, not every client seeking a wellness coach is a fit for every coach and not every coach is a fit for every client. The client looking for a “quick fix” to lose 10 pounds for their 20 year class reunion is typically not a candidate for wellness coaching.

To see if my style will match your needs, I offer an initial 30 minute consultation, by phone or in person. Through targeted questioning about your current situation and your desired goals, we’ll get to know each other. If we both agree that working together will be beneficial, weekly sessions, done virtually or in person, are scheduled for a minimum of three months. Our work consists of the client creating a wellness vision, establishing three-month goals, and setting weekly SMART goals based on the wellness vision to achieve success. The work is not easy. It’s messy. It’s hard. There will be setbacks. There will be frustration. Through it all, you will have the support, expertise, and accountability of a trained professional to collaborate with you on your journey to wellness.

I want you to live your best life!

Loukia Mastrodimos, Certified Health & Wellness Coach and 200 hour RYT (registered yoga teacher) can be reached at lmastro23@gmail.com or by phone at 312-730-3252. In addition, you can visit www.eriniyogawellness.com to read more about her journey and her services.

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