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From Patient to Team Member & Health Coach

by Functional Medicine of Idaho

I am so excited about the ReNew Program coming up in January. As an FMI Health Coach, of course I would be excited, right? An opportunity for transformation is what health coaching is all about, and I absolutely love being able to be a part of a patient’s journey to wellness. I also have a more personal reason why I love the Renew Program. I love it because it transformed me! 

Just a few years ago I was dealing with depression, fatigue, stomach issues, and some other health complaints that were dismissed by my doctors before I became a patient at FMI.

I was told, like so many people are, that all my symptoms were normal for a busy mom with typical stressors and was only offered medication as an answer.

But I just couldn’t accept that it was normal to be so exhausted that I slept 10 hours at night and still needed a 2-hour nap, or that I was so depressed, I was getting jealous when I heard about someone who had passed away. I knew that was not normal, or okay! I was desperate for some direction. As someone who was interested in nutrition, had a degree in health education and knew how important lifestyle was, I felt like it was important to talk about this aspect with my doctor. However, when I tried to talk to my doctor about taking it from that angle, I felt laughed at. I was doing a lot on my own but something was missing. As a last resort, I decided to try functional medicine.

After I began working with a provider at FMI, besides finally feeling heard, I started seeing improvements as we worked on supporting my body, getting my nutrient levels up, balancing my hormones, and healing my gut.

Progress was slow and I was okay taking it slow because it was really all I could handle with my depression and fatigue. After a couple of months of slow and steady progress, I was ready for more. I heard about the ReNew program and I decided that I was going to do it — and I wasn’t just going to do it, but I was going to do it RIGHT. As a cash pay patient, it was a big investment so I was going to make sure I got my money’s worth, which meant I was all in. I knew that in order to be successful I needed to set myself up for success by really preparing mentally, emotionally and physically.

I sat my family down and explained to them that I was going to take 5 weeks to really focus on myself; that I was going to be following a food program that introduced a lot of recipes that they were not used to eating and that they could either eat it or cook for themselves. I explained that on top of eating nourishing food, I was going to take time to exercise, meditate and go to bed at a good time. I asked for their support – these 5 weeks were going to be about taking care of myself so that I could be the wife and mom I knew my family deserved. 

I cleared out my pantry and did meal planning and grocery shopping for the food on the plan. I planned out an exercise routine, made goals on how much water I would drink, committed to doing an app called The 5 Minute Journal to help improve my gratitude and mind frame, committed to doing daily guided meditation, and chose a bedtime. I also focused on my self-talk and not feeling guilty to take this time to improve myself. I leaned on the Nutritionist / Health Coach and used the group meetings and weekly check-ins for accountability and a sense of community. I knew that improving my lifestyle had to come from every angle – mind, body, and spirit – and that in order to really see if I could improve my health through lifestyle, I needed to give it my all.

After just a few weeks, my health progress skyrocketed! I couldn’t believe it! My depression was almost non-existent, my sleep was improving, my energy was increasing, my digestion improved (TMI – I had regular solid bowel movements for the first time since I was 15 years old). I felt so good and felt so much hope again.

I have been able to maintain the health benefits of the ReNew program and working with my provider over the last two years by continuing with many of the habits I started, and when I feel things shift back towards poor health, I refocus and prioritize again to make sure I am doing the things it takes to feel good.

Yes, these changes take work, but everything worth doing takes work. 

I was so inspired and transformed by the ReNew program that I decided I had to be involved in helping other people improve their health. I chose to become a Health Coach and enrolled in the year-long program through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy the week after ReNew ended. Now, 2 years later, I have a new career as a Health Coach and get to be a part of the team that helped me heal.

Sometimes I think about where I would be today if I didn’t choose to do the ReNew program. It was the impetus for my good health and a renewed sense of purpose and joy in my life. I know that a program like ReNew will bring anyone’s health up a notch when they really decide to give it their all. Our wellness team at FMI is so excited for the next Renew program starting this January and we hope anyone who signs up will find value.

If you are thinking about doing it or planning on doing it, here are a few tips from my experience that will hopefully help you be successful:

1. Get your head in the game!

Decide to go for it 100%- the more you put into a program the more you’ll get out of it. It can be overwhelming but that is why you have the support of providers, nutritionists, health coaches, and other participants. And if you don’t think you need the support, take it anyway, because everyone can use support.

2. Clearly set your vision and goals and your “why” for doing it.

The health coaches and nutritionists can help you figure this out and the weekly appointments will help you stay connected to your goals. Most importantly don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is in a different stage of wellness and healing. Along with nutrition, this program tackles your whole lifestyle and also focuses on exercise/movement, stress management, sleep, and relationships.

3. Align your environment to support your goals.

Prepare by telling your supportive friends and family what you are doing, clean out your pantry, or at least a cupboard just for you. Plan out all your meals and snacks and have the food on hand. If you have a busy schedule, plan out some time to prep, chop, and prepare food. If one of your goals is to do daily yoga, make sure you have a place to do it. If you want to drink more water make sure good, quality water is always available and with you. If you want to go to bed by a certain time, set a timer to remind yourself.

4. Have a positive mindset!

Think of the 5 weeks as an experiment. If I live this way, what benefits will I see? Is it worth it? Did my energy improve, headaches lessen, sleep feel more restful, did my skin clear up, was I more patient? What did I learn? What do I want to continue doing after the 5 weeks are over to support my health?

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