Cu•li•nar•y Well•ness Coach: (a) A culinary professional (chef and instructor) who teaches clients to prepare and cook the foods that will enable them to reach and maintain a specific health goal. (b) a person who helps others reach the health goals they have always wanted — by teaching them to cook the things they never knew they'd enjoy.
Here it is — the start of another New Year. It's always exciting; the promise of a fresh new year brings hope that one's life and health will become better, no matter the current status.
That said, as a Culinary Wellness Coach, I hear so many who are discouraged before the year even gets under way. Their annual resolution to get healthy by eating better and losing that excess weight has never yet made it into the month of February. Why? Because as insane as it sounds, humans seem determined to do the same things year after year, while expecting different results. No surprise, that happens to be the definition of insanity! To make matters worse, most view themselves as failures for the remainder of the year.
If this sounds all too familiar, you may be asking yourself, just how does one make that "healthy" resolution a success? What is the complex secret known only to the few who have achieved - and maintained - their goals? Oddly, there is no complicated formula, exclusive vitamin, food-group-elimination, elite exercise regimen or magic calorie threshold that will make it happen.
In fact, success sounds downright unexciting; it isn't found in a flood of major life-altering deviations, but rather in small changes applied daily that slowly add up and build a healthy momentum within us. It's a counter intuitive thought; major transformation in our physical health is not necessarily linked to major modifications.
In fact, I encourage clients to take it slow. If a person normally eats lunch out multiple times a week, I'll teach how to prepare tasty but healthy alternatives at home, then urge them to still enjoy one lunch out each week - as long as they're making a nutritious choice. And if you don't exercise at all, walking briskly even 4 days a week for at least 35 minutes will make a huge difference in your overall well being.
Whaaaaat? No strict 900-calorie a day plan paired with a killer boot-camp style workout 5 days a week at the gym???? Why would anyone consider small, incremental changes? Because those changes not only work - they are DOABLE! Major lifestyle alterations are simply not sustainable, but when we embrace a few minor changes for 4-6 weeks, those changes become habits. That is where the magic is, because once those actions develop into habits, they become a part of our life-routine and we no longer have to think about them.
Once that happens, one more small, beneficial change can be added, like shifting from a twice-weekly splurge of coffee-shop frappuccino-style drink (600-850 calories), to a scrumptious homemade version that rings in around 150 calories. Added bonus? The $12 a week you save will provide an additional $624 to spend on the new clothes you'll need by year's end, since you will have avoided over 83,000 calories - which equates to a whopping 23-lbs you won't be gaining!
The bottom line is this, "when you've dug yourself into a health hole, the first rule is to stop digging; the second is to start cooking your way out." That's my mantra and I'm sticking to it, because I can positively guarantee that nobody will get healthy and lose weight by consistently dining out and/or eating processed food.
If you're still not convinced that making small changes can be more impactful than a huge sacrificial commitment, I'm going to borrow a line from Dr. Phil... "So how's that been working for you?" If not so good, then it may be time to consider heading into your kitchen - and making small changes!