I want to be a health coach but . . .

Health coach

So I’ve been saying for awhile that I need to figure out my next thing.  What I want to do when I grow up.  What I’m going to do now that our old way of life will never be the same.  (I mean OBVIOUSLY.  But some things take longer to get there in my head.)

My head is pinging with ideas.  The two buckets seem to be writing and health related.  On the writing side, I’ve thought about working on a book proposal.  Or really optimizing/monetizing this blog and writing more regularly.  Or doing a podcast.  (This one doesn’t quite fit into either bucket.)

For health, I’d like to be a health coach.  I’d also like to learn more about fitness.  Either to be a personal trainer or to be a more sort of full service health coach package.

I definitely have more time now that the kids are in school.  (Although it does seem like things are always coming up.)  But I will need to be more focused to make something happen.  Right now I feel like I’m making an inch of progress in twenty different directions.  I need to pick a lane.  Which currently feels intimidating on top of settling in to our new home, travel planning, and general life stuff.

In the spirit of picking a lane, I’m doing a brain dump on all the reasons I’m scared to try to be a health coach.  Here we go.

I feel under trained

I don’t have any sort of formal training or education in this field.  Basically I’ve read a lot of books and used myself as a guinea pig for the last five years.  But any official schooling?  Not so much.

I have looked at different programs, but there are SO MANY options.  I’m sure that many are great, but some sort of seem like pyramid schemes.  If you google Health Coach, you get a bazillion different programs on how to be a health coach.  Websites of health coaches that want to work with you?  Decidedly lower in the rankings.  Hmm.

Also, I’d always love to learn more, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think classes would change my basic approach at this point.  I have an idea of what I’d like to do.  It’s the same thing I’ve been doing for awhile now.  Would any class fundamentally change this approach?  Probably not.

Am I allowed to be a health coach?

The lawyer side of me is worried about complying with legal requirements.  Dieticians generally have state registration and licensing requirements.  Nutritionists can be a bit different.  A health coach is really like a different sort of life coach and you can do it if you definitely don’t cross into any acting like a doctor territory.

I think?

This is something that I’ll have to keep looking into to feel comfortable with.  I’m a rule follower.  (Upholder, yes.)  I’m worried that even if I research this a ton I’ll still be worried.

I’m not sure how to do the business side

If I’m doing any kind of training, it should probably be more on the business of health coaching and client relationships.  The thought of sitting down with a real live person is both thrilling and terrifying.  What if my bedside manner sucks?  What if I can’t listen?  What if I can’t communicate my message?

I keep saying that I like to talk about this stuff for free and I totally would, but I worry that some people wouldn’t take it seriously that way.  But if I am charging for services, what on earth to charge?  I’m sure I can keep googling to get a sense of going rates.  I’m also sure that I can just try something and then adjust as needed.  Just like all businesses, right?

Right now it seems like a bit of a catch 22.  I feel hesitant to charge people if I don’t have experience or an amazing program.  But I can’t get any experience or improve the client experience without actually doing it.

I don’t have slick marketing materials

I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with social media here before.  It seems like every blogger/writer/entrepreneur/anyone really must have a robust social media presence across multiple platforms with avid followers.  This seems hard.

Putting social media aside, it seems a website is at least in order.  This isn’t impossible, but it just feels like a lot of steps.  Figure it out, write the content, populate it with healthy pictures of kitchens with vegetables or some such that I don’t have yet, decide which add-ons and such are needed to make the site work, etc. etc.

Even if the website is delayed, I do need to put my program in writing.  See, I have an idea for a program.  There are specific steps.  I need to capture it.  BUT then I keep thinking about how this needs to be properly formatted and PDFed with tasteful graphics.  Essentially, I keep turning it into an e-book in my mind.  Which is not particularly helpful on getting ‘er done.

Basically I know what I need to do.  Get something in writing.  Sketch out the plan.  Add bells and whistles later and only if needed.  But everyone else on IG looks so slick and polished and I get intimidated and don’t even start.  Lame.

I’m not healthy all the time

I’ve been walking my health journey path for a few years now.  I know I’ve made great strides on how I relate to food and how I feel.

Do I eat “perfectly” all the time?  Absolutely not.  Who knows what that would even mean.

Sometimes I mindfully decide to have chocolate or a drink  or nachos because it is what I am choosing to do.  Huzzah.

But sometimes I still feel out of control.  Sometimes I’m still eating the thing that I know I don’t really want but I just want to feel the taste of food in my mouth.  Sometimes I can’t stop eating the chocolate in the fridge not because I want it but just because it’s there.  Sometimes I still choose to eat a food knowing that it will make me feel terrible later, even though I know Morning Me will not be thrilled with the consequences.

In other words, I’m normal.

Even though I’m sure it would be exceedingly off-putting to have a health coach who was practically perfect in every way, I feel like a bit of a fraud to think I can coach people on this stuff when I still struggle.

I know, I know.

One of the reasons that I like thinking about nutrition is that it reminds me why I like to eat the way I do.  It’s why I like to read books on this stuff, listen to podcasts on this stuff, and talk about it way too much.  I’m not perfect, but thinking about it keeps it fresh in my mind.  It helps me remember the WHY.  It makes it easier.

Do I look like a health coach?

Have you ever wanted to get kinda depressed?  Just start spending too much time looking at the beautiful people on Instagram.

People with six packs.  People who churn out inspiring recipes, seemingly effortlessly.  People who eat healthy meals even when strutting around in bikinis in gorgeous tropical locales.

I know, I know.

Social media shows us the highs.  Photos are edited.  But STILL.

I’m 35.  I’m going gray.  I’m actually pretty happy with my body and my health.

BUT.

I still worry about the visual aspect of this situation.  Maybe I’m wrong, but on some level, it feels like selling yourself.  Look at me, I did this stuff and I feel great, and you can too.  You are your own best advertisement.

I think a lot of this is just my ego and me being in my head.  But it’s just a fact that we like to look at nice things.  It feels like pressure.  Even if it’s imaginary.

I would love to do this, but I want friends more

Did you ever have a friend who started selling some vaguely pyramid-schemed product and then that’s all they talked about?  I SO do not want to be that guy.

To be fair, I’ve known people who have done this well.  They merge life and business, and they let you know about their offerings without being up in your grill.

But I’ve also known people who have turned into a sort of one trick pony.  People that you almost want to avoid because YOU KNOW that their thing is going to come up and make you feel uncomfortable.

I don’t want to make people uncomfortable.  I don’t want people to avoid me.  It sounds easy enough not to be that guy, but with a new business I’m excited about without much sales experience, I worry things could tip that way without even realizing it.

It’s not what I want to do first

So this is one of the reasons I love writing.  It helps me to figure out what I’m actually thinking.  I’ve been writing this post over several days weeks, and I’ve realized:  I’m still very interested in this, but it’s not what I want to do first.

What do I want?  Writing.  I keep coming back to writing.  You know how they say to think about what you wanted to do when you were 10?  Writing.  Granted, I didn’t know that health coaching was a thing then, but I’ve been interested in writing or a long time.

So I’m publicly declaring to you guys that I’m starting the book process.  Figuring out how to write a proposal.  Get an agent.  I’m doing it.  2018 is the YEAR OF THE BOOK.

In the meantime, I still like to talk about nutrition for fun.  Maybe you’ll see me hang out a health coach shingle later.  I’m certainly not ruling it out.  We’ll just see how this other thing goes first.

And you know what?  Maybe I’ll even send a casual message to a listserv here.  Just mentioning that I’d love to have a no expectations conversation with anyone if they are interested.  Because I really do love to talk about this stuff.  I think I’ve been feeling some pressure to have something in place to launch for the new year to take advantage of people inevitably turning to thoughts of resolutions and getting in shape.  Now that I’ve clarified things?  I feel like a weight has been lifted.

What does this mean for blogging?  Dunno.  It could mean posting (even) less frequently while I figure things out.  It could mean that writing more will make my writing cup runneth over and I’ll be posting ALL the time.  It will probably mean that eventually I’ll try to grow the blog to show a platform to make a book pitch more enticing.  I don’t know exactly what it will look like, but I’ll still be here posting in some kind of capacity.

What are your plans for 2018?  Do you have resolutions?  A theme for the year?  Monthly goals?  18 for 2018?  (I’m working on my list to share soon.)  This resolutions geek is dying to know!

12 thoughts on “I want to be a health coach but . . .

  1. Melissa says:

    Hey there! I just enrolled in a program to become and health coach. I was a personal trainer in the past and I do have a bachelors in communication but other than those this will be my only credentials. No one is healthy all the time! Also what’s cool is you and your peers coach each other. I don’t plan on selling anything to my friends. I’m with you on how annoying is she I get late texts about buying some lipsense or a last minute pampered chef whatever. Your reasons for wanting to be a health coach are almost exactly why I want to. I encouraged a good friend to go for it last summer. She has enjoyed the program so much she told me I should just do it. There are a lot of programs out there I chose the one I’m doing because my friend is in it and she did all the research for me! Haha good luck to you! I’m happy to meet someone with the same values and interests as myself.

  2. jennytchavez says:

    I am similar boat as a lawyer seeking a more fulfilling career and trying to consider health coaching and now am getting my personal trainer certification. As a lawyer, I also get caught up whether I’m doing the right thing or not…ugh. Thanks for sharing your experience because it made me feel less alone. Good luck with the book! Can’t wait to read it!

    • Melissa says:

      GAH. I did that thing whee I got really excited about your comment. Went and read all over your blog. Nodded along about all the stuff you said. Wanted to give you a virtual high five. And then FORGOT to actually respond. I’m so sorry.

      The stuff that you are doing is really cool. Which personal trainer certification are you doing? Look forward to seeing more of your stuff!

  3. Fernanda says:

    Thanks for your post! I am 23 and feel the same way. I want to share my passion about health and nutrition with others but definitely feel conflicted since I do not have a background in nutrition.
    I always tell myself that people don’t eat the way they do because of the science behind the food, but because of the way it makes them feel. The experience is so much more than counting calories and restrictions.

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