Steps to Take to Become a Health Coach
Today’s “I Want to Be” Series features Sandra Aristodemo, a part-time dentist and part-time health coach. She is also mom to three children--a son who is 9 and two daughters who are 6 and 3. Her son is the one who inspired her to learn more about nutrition and ultimately find work as a health coach helping others. Find out how to connect with Sandra at the end of this article.
How long have you had your business?
I have been a certified health coach for about a year. I got my certification in March of 2012. What's really great about the program (Integrative Nutrition through SUNY) is that after 20 weeks you can start seeing clients. Some people are able to pay for their tuition before they even finish the program!
What led you to pursue it?
I originally decided to sign up for the program for personal reasons. I wanted all the information so that I could help my family. You see, my son was diagnosed with ADHD 3 years ago, and I wanted to pursue all other options beyond prescription meds. I learned nutrition had a lot of influence on a child's behavior.
Are you full time or part time? If part-time, do you anticipate switching to full time?
I do my health coaching on a part time basis. I also am a licensed dentist with my own practice that I share with my husband. I love dentistry and couldn't imagine giving it up. What I found myself doing, though, was every time a patient came in and told me how their "arthritis was flaring up", I asked them about their diet.
"What kinds of food are you eating? Dairy? Gluten? Red meat? Eating those foods too much can cause a great deal of inflammation in your body." I started to give out nutritional advice to anyone in earshot :)
How do you market your business?
I have brochures in my office. I also align myself with other wellness type businesses like local, private gyms, yoga places, and naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, etc.. I have a website and a Facebook page, and I send people on my list newsletters. I do some health fairs as well, if I can fit it into my schedule.
What is your favorite part of the business?
My favorite part of the business is the amazement of people when they learn that they can heal their body with natural choices instead of pharmaceutical ones.
My most favorite thing just recently occurred! I had a client, who was also a very close friend of mine, ask me for help. She had been battling with her inability to conceive. She was at her wits end. Literally. She had done in vitro several times, saw several fertility doctors and nothing. I met with her and gave her 6 months of meetings in one day! She wanted all the information as once so she could get started. I educated her about the proper foods she should be eating, went through her pantry and fridge, discarding anything I felt was not helpful to her and gave several other options instead. I gave her a list of supplements to add into her NEW and Improved diet (because, supplements are just that...they are meant to supplement a GOOD diet. They won't do much good if you continue to eat McDonalds, you know what I mean?) I told her she really had to take this seriously, no cheating! and told her it would take at least 3-6 months. Her body had to heal. Anyway, I just found out she is 8 weeks pregnant!! I'm ecstatic and I better be the godmother! (Just joking!)
What one question do you get most from people about your business?
They don't really understand what I do....
What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about the work you do?
I have to make sure people understand I don't take the place of a doctor. I can actually work with your doctor. But, my job is similar to a therapist. I guide you to the right answers for YOU. You see, my practice is based on something called BIO-Individuality. What works for one person might not work for another. So we discover together what works best for your body! I am a guide with plenty of resources to help you. :)
What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?
Oh, easy! I got my degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition- based out of SUNY. Classes are done via the internet. They send you an iPad with all the class modules already loaded on it. A new module is "released" every week. So, the great thing is you can listen to your class anywhere, anytime! This was ideal for me--I work and have 3 kids. It would have been insane to try to get to class every week! Homework is also listed right after the module and exams are taken online. You have 2 chances to take the exam and get a passing grade - with one hour to take it.
What is the first step?
Contact Julia at CoachJulia@integrativenutrition.com and let her know that I sent you! She will set you up. Oh here's a little secret too...I don't know if I am supposed to say this or not but anyway...they do offer several scholarships throughout the year. If anyone emails me, I can let you know about them as soon as they come up. Currently, there aren't any. But, because I am an ambassador for IIN, there are special times that I am can give people scholarships! It's a fabulous way to create the ripple effect of wellness & health!
To learn more about Sandra, stop by her website, Sandra Aristodemo. You can also find her on Twitter.