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Wisconsin Parent

Using a Health Coach: Health Matters

Dec 11, 2014 08:15AM ● By Julie Henning
As we round the bend towards 2015, many of us are dreading the inevitable influx of emails and stories that remind them they need to get back in shape, drop bad habits, make resolutions, pay down debt, or ditch the clutter that is otherwise weighing them down.

In fact, for the first time in my life, I saw a poster at my doctor's office last week offering focused lifestyle appointments that help you develop a plan for better health. Health Coaching has been around for some time, and is not unlike Career Coaching, Personal Training, or Marriage Counseling.

The journey begins by identifying a challenge or area where you want to make a change for the better and for me that was getting my kids to eat better food.

In 2014 I was a member of the Madison Chapter of the Holistic Mom's Network and the guest speaker at one of our monthly chapter meetings was Amy Urbanek, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Owner of HealthMatters Family Wellness.

In a free consultation Amy came to my house (food processor and recipe sheet in hand) and worked with my kids to create some easy and tasty snacks they could enjoy all year round.


Being a mom, Amy understands the "nature of the beast," including the challenges we face raising our kids in a society that thrives on convenience and cutting costs. Impressed by my initial interaction, I decided to hire Amy as my personal Health Coach and focus on my own health and happiness.

The process began by filling out a confidential health history and listing some of my initial challenges and concerns. (Sometimes the first step in reaching a goal is simply writing it down.) Amy and I met twice a month for about an hour each time (mostly in person, but on the phone when my schedule was too full).  The topics of our discussions varied based on both my interests and lifestyle. Amy came prepared with handouts and materials we used as a jumping-off point for our discussion.

Topics ranged from the importance of staying hydrated to the types of foods I should eat/avoid to support my brain and body. I asked about natural remedies to give my kids when they are sick, how to detox in a way that didn't require a three-day diet of cucumber juice, what the heck gluten really is anyway, and why I should care more about my dental health. I had different "homework and goals" between each session and I tried my best to implement many of the new things I learned on a daily basis. And, as a bonus, Amy always sent me home with something new to try (gluten-free cereal, flax seed oil, and Himalayan salt, for example–all things I would probably have never been compelled to try on my own).

One year later, I feel more educated and better prepared about the things I put onto and into my body. Many of the changes I made in the past several months are now daily habits and my medical records have changed in a good way.

I've asked Amy to write a story detailing more of her services, but if you're looking for a more comprehensive approach to improving your health and lifestyle beyond a blanket New Year's Resolution, 2015 might be a good year to hire a coach.