GreatLIFE adds health, wellness coaching
Meet GreatLIFE’s first certified health and wellness coach!
Kristen Koeller has worked with GreatLIFE for nearly five years and along the way has cultivated her passion for helping members live healthier, happier lives.
With her leadership, GreatLIFE now offers members this coaching partnership.
Koeller will partner with you to create a plan customized to you, your preferences and your lifestyle and will help you build healthy habits into your life one day at a time. From nutrition, movement and mindfulness to stress-management and sleep, health coaching gets to the root of the problem, unlike traditional diet and weight-loss programs, creating results that last.
We sat down with her to learn more about her and this new offering.
How did you become involved in health coaching?
I feel like life kind of naturally pulled me in this direction. I went to college for psychology, and in my last semester of school, I took a class called the Psychology of Living Well. Having spent most of my life feeling insecure and self-conscious, I was captivated by the idea of having control over my health and happiness.
I was inspired by this class to start my health and fitness journey. I lost 40 pounds through dieting and a lot of running. Unfortunately, as I learned the hard way, 95 percent of dieters gain the weight back because the diet wasn’t sustainable, and I was one of them. This led to an unhealthy obsession with food, calories, my weight and my body, which is also common amongst previous dieters. I spent the last five years learning how to find a healthy balance in exercise and nutrition. Along the way, I cultivated a passion for helping people give up restrictive diets and showing them that realistic and sustainable health is possible, and I obtained personal training, group fitness and health coaching certifications.
Through my journey, I’ve learned that exercise and nutrition alone are not enough. Physical health means nothing if you feel terrible mentally. Health coaching pulls all of these elements together as overall wellness — physical, mental and emotional health. Health coaching is the “healthy lifestyles” piece of the GreatLIFE mission to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles.
What can members expect if they sign up for coaching as far as how the structure goes? How often do you connect and in what ways?
Health coaching focuses on lifestyle medicine — nutrition, movement, mindfulness, stress management, sleep hygiene — and behavior change. It’s evidence-based work and is all about collaboration between coach and client. Instead of meeting up for workouts like in personal training, we have weekly one-on-one coaching calls, plus an app for habit and progress tracking and additional accountability seven days a week via Messenger.
The coaching revolves around four areas, so let’s talk about each, starting with nutrition. How do you address this?
We work together to create a nutrition and movement plan customized for the individual. I have a long-distance client whose personal trainer gave her a meal plan full of meat — and she’s vegan, so she couldn’t use it. So everything I do is customized to the individual’s preferences and lifestyle to make sure it’s something they actually enjoy and can commit to. Some people like to have their whole week planned out, so I can guide them through meal planning. Some people don’t want a rigid meal plan and want the flexibility to decide day by day, so instead we focus on how to build and incorporate balanced meals consistently. We do food reviews so we can see what’s working and where we can tweak to make improvements toward their goals. Overall, we gradually build healthful nutrition habits that are in line with the client’s goals.
Next is movement, which of course GreatLIFE is all about, but what approach do you take in your coaching?
Similar to nutrition, it’s all about helping the client find a movement plan that works for them. Oftentimes, people know what to do, but they don’t do it. They plan to walk more, to go to the gym, to stretch every night before bed — but they don’t know why they don’t do it. I help them uncover the mental or physical blocks they’re running into and create a plan to overcome them so they really start moving.
Third is mindset, which you’ve offered in a group setting with a strong response. How do you help work through mindset as it relates to overall health and wellness?
Mindset is the foundation of everything — it’s the biggest piece missing in traditional diets. Everything we do or do not do is rooted in our mindset. Do you self-sabotage? Are you an emotional eater or over-eater? Do you constantly skip the workouts you swore you would do? Together, we explore the mental blocks you’re facing and learn tools to overcome them.
I’ve also worked with past/chronic dieters who have become fearful of food — constantly thinking about “How many calories are in this?” “Does this have too much fat?” — to overcome feeling guilty and stressed out about food all the time and find a more enjoyable, sustainable, balanced way to approach healthful eating.
One of my poor clients was feeling guilty about eating things like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and cashews because of their carbs and fats, even though they are quite nutritious foods! We’ve worked together to help so that she no longer feels guilty for fueling her body. She’s learned to respect and listen to her body; she’s actually eating more now, has noticed more energy for in her workouts and is feeling more confident in her clothes.
And finally accountability, where it all comes together. How does coaching help there?
We get so swept up in the busyness of life that it’s easy to forget about our goals. It’s easy to say “I’ll focus on my health when things settle down.” But things never settle down. A coach helps keep your goals at the forefront of your mind when things get crazy, helps you see things from a different perspective and offers solutions to the obstacles that are inevitably going to come up. I help my clients break down the overwhelming “big picture” into doable daily action steps.
Are there other areas you plan to work on with members we should address?
Anything that is health behavior change, whether it’s improving the way you eat, reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption, improving sleep, moving more or managing stress, can be worked on with a health coach.
Is this open only to members? How does the cost work? And how can people get started?
It’s open to members and nonmembers! Coaching is a minimum three-month commitment because behavior change takes time and patience, commitment to the process. It can be a one-time payment or monthly payments. I start everyone with a free discovery call to learn about their goals, their history and determine if we are a good fit to work together. Anyone interested can schedule a call directly at calendly.com/great-start or by emailing me directly at Kristen@joingreatlife.com