Oola had the opportunity to chat with Erin Wathen, a Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, and ask her questions about nutrition and coaching. She specializes in coaching people with emotional eating issues, in need of a life coach, and those wanting help with exercise and sleep. Read on to find out more about this health coach!
Oola: What inspired you to focus on the field of diet and nutrition?
Erin: A lifelong love of sports and being active. It has shown up in various ways as biking, teams like soccer, now I surf as often as I can. I have taught group exercise for over a decade now. I thought I ate right, when I was really eating trendy or what celebrities told me to for decades. It was not until I got my food right, I was able to resolve my own long standing struggles. Then I was able to consider myself an expert, then I wanted to help others.
I thought I ate right, when I was really eating trendy or what celebrities told me to for decades. It was not until I got my food right, I was able to resolve my own long standing struggles.
Oola: You specialize in Holistic Health and Wellness Coaching? Can you elaborate on what that entails?
Erin: Sure, Holistic Health is looking at the whole person. We aren’t just our weight or sleep or even our relationships, but everything combined makes our entire being. Wellness Coaching is helping a client learn the best way to make choices for themselves. Not every person should be eating the same food, or sleeping the same amount. I don’t have a cookie cutter approach to coaching, but taking all of my knowledge and the client’s lifestyle, health history, lifestyle and preferences do we collaborate together to come up with what is the best plan for them to reach their individual goals.
Oola: What’s a common misconception people have about working with a coach?
Erin: That we don’t have any real training or knowledge. Many pretty people call themselves some type of coach, but many don’t have any real education. Sure, a social media influencer might have a rocking body on their Instagram, that doesn’t make them knowledgeable in Health and Wellness.
Oola: One day we read in the news that something is bad for us, the next day we read it’s good. Is there a rule of thumb or method to use to figure out which to believe?
Erin: This is so frustrating, especially for something like coconut oil over the last couple of weeks. I completely understand why consumers are so confused. Unless it is your profession, why should the average person be able to discern what is manipulation and what is factual? The way I explain it to my clients is this: there has yet to be a study where eating mostly green vegetables, unprocessed foods, high quality meats, clean drinking water, fats within reason and getting plenty of sleep has proven to be detrimental to one’s lifespan.
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A lot of these crazy studies are when the participants eat a ridiculous amount of eggs, or butter, or coconut oil. It is usually more than the average person would ever eat in a lifetime. Or, the study was done on only 25 people for a month, or maybe it wasn’t even done on human beings! Who is funding the research? Is it an Organization for Sugar Awareness or a University with a huge endowment from a Big Food? Be a good consumer of your research and don’t just respond to headlines, drill down and find out what exactly was researched and if they are a reliable source. A few summers ago, a big health movie was pointing the finger at processed meat for all of the US’s chronic diseases. The summer before, a similar movie was villainizing sugar, so I was a tad confused. Who was the real big bad??? So in a 10 minute Google search, I found out the health movie blaming processed meat, was funded by a Sugar Lobbyist! A lot of of information is out there for the average consumer. We need to just look.
Oola: What’s a food that a lot of people consider healthy that is actually pretty unhealthy?
Erin: The first thing that comes to mind is yogurt. Most commercial yogurts have as much sugar as ice cream, and yet we put them in our kids lunches with the best of intentions.
Oola: Eating healthy while traveling can be a real challenge. Any tips for making it more manageable?
Erin: Plan ahead, not just in the physical sense of having some back up food in your travel bag, but mentally. Know what you can eat at an airport if your plane is delayed and you can’t leave the terminal. (My go to is a hamburger patty with grilled onions, a side of avocado and a salad.) I travelled all over Asia for a month and I managed to figure out what to eat the entire time. If you are dedicated, it can happen.
Oola: What’s a big trend in American diets that you think is really positive or negative?
Erin: Diet hopping is missing the point to me and is VERY NEGATIVE. So many of us participate in a diet and when it “fails” we blame ourselves. Then we go on to the next trendy cleanse or diet everyone at the gym is loving without ever spending any time figuring out why we gained weight in the first place. We ignore why kept the extra weight for 10 years and why we thought starving ourselves for a few weeks would solve it.
Diet hopping is missing the point to me and is VERY NEGATIVE.
Oola: If you could only keep one of the following items in your diet for the rest of time, which would it be: Coffee, Ice Cream, or Bacon?
Erin: This is a brutal question not because of the ice cream (I am lactose intolerant) but because of the coffee. I get to keep tea, though! So, bacon 100%.
Oola: What advice do you have to give to our readers for living life to their tastes while maintaining a healthy diet?
Erin: The further apart you can keep your emotions and food the better. A good place to start with this is by making your regular food as routine as possible. Try to eat the same meals or types of meals as often as possible. My lunch M-F is one of two things during the Fall, without exception. I do not look to food for excitement or for entertainment or a way to express my creativity. If you are having an extreme feeling, and you feel as though you need Phish Food ice cream NOW, know it is emotions, and not real hunger. True hunger comes on slowly and you would eat a chicken breast, it might not be your first choice, but you would accept it.
The further apart you can keep your emotions and food the better.
Oola: Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Erin: Food is great and let’s make it as healthy as possible, but we are not supposed to be tortured by it.
Erin Wathen, Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, owns Erin Wathen Wellness. She is Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, Food Addiction Counselor, Health Blogger Community Certified Influencer, Star 3 Spin Instructor, and finally, a Mom of 2 kids! She is the author of Why Can’t I Stick to My Diet?: Feel Better, Look Good, and Never Ask That Question Again. You can visit her site here: https://erinwathenwellness.com/.
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