Izzy Walton – Health Coach Graduate
My work as a Health and Wellness Coach allows me the privilege of making a lasting impact on people’s health journeys
My journey to where I am now; a practicing Health and Wellness Coach, began many years ago when I was in my early twenties, living in London and working at the time in the corporate world in a busy and buzzy office. Like many young people I was enjoying an active social life alongside working long hours to make my mark, always seeking out that validation and opportunity to grow in my role.
It was very much a work hard / play hard mentality. When I wasn’t at work, I was out. I rarely spent any time in my flat and didn’t really enjoy being alone – looking back now, this was probably a sign that I wasn’t totally happy in myself and was always seeking ways to be kept distracted and busy. Self-care wasn’t a thing back then. Or it certainly wasn’t in my world. Food was fast fuel and exercise was all-night clubbing.
This buzzy, stressy lifestyle of mine continued for a few more years until it reached its logical conclusion – a crisis. From this point onwards I remember beginning to seek a more holistic way of being and coping with stress. I turned to yoga and a friend introduced me to essential oils. My curiosity grew with each self-help book I read until I eventually decided to deepen my understanding in holistic therapies by leaving the corporate world and booking myself onto a complementary therapies and holistic nutrition diploma course. To say this was the turning point is an understatement, as from here everything began to make sense.
How could I have sustained such a crazy lifestyle and believed I could enjoy vibrant physical and mental health at the same time? I realised with a jolt that during the years I had been neglecting my health and wellness, I had missed so many signals that my body was communicating to me – the feelings of overwhelm, the sensation that my heart was always beating too fast, the anxiety, the lowered immune system, the pale skin, and dark eyes…. And a deeper understanding that my body was showing me symptoms as a sign that something was not in balance.
I realised that our bodies are perfect and intelligent and are always seeking homeostasis and manifesting symptoms for us to pay attention and make way for healing to take place. The overriding feeling, I get from this period in my life, is that it was a time of great insights into the mind and body connection. The understanding that health is not a linear thing. Our bodies work hard for us to keep us balanced and functioning optimally, IF we work with our bodies, tuning in with what the body needs and paying attention to the subtle messages it gives us.
My Health & Wellness Coach Journey
Once qualified as a Health & Wellness Coach, I knew this path of helping people to get back to balance, along with applying the holistic modalities I had learned, was the one for me. So life went on, I got married and then spent the next decade growing my family and focusing on being fully present with them. Once my youngest child was less dependent on me, I felt the call to help others with their health and wellness once more. At this point I had gone back to studying, renewed my professional memberships and taken additional courses in nutrition. I had also qualified as a yoga instructor and was enjoying teaching classes locally.
So, although I was practicing holistic nutrition, teaching yoga and meditation, I felt there was something missing as I felt so strongly about wanting to help people tap into their own healing potential. In early 2019, I saw the CNM Health Coach diploma advertised in a natural health magazine and the very next day I had made contact and booked myself onto an open day. I knew this course was right for me. It was in alignment with the Naturopathic principles that the College is founded upon – healing through whole foods, cleansing, prioritising sleep, self-care, and mindful movement and underpinning all of this, the understanding that Nature heals. For me professionally, it felt like the missing piece of the puzzle. Describing myself as a Health and Wellness Coach meant I could anchor myself to a professional title that perfectly described the integrative work I was offering my clients.
I have since added on a few more qualifications, including Gut Restoration, Plant and Raw-Foods Nutrition, NLP and Transformation Coaching. But it is my CNM Health Coach diploma that enables me to make the biggest impact, and with this I can truly offer a 360-degree approach. The human body is incredible and will overcome illness and dis-ease if it is offered the right conditions to do so. And as a Health and Wellness Coach, ‘the right conditions’ is where my focus is.
I must add here that there are no requirements of prior training to be accepted onto the course, however it, of course makes sense that applicants have an interest in natural health. Many students on the course have some training in other holistic therapies, some have medical training, and some have none. It is a wholly inclusive offering. So fast forward to where I am today – happily and gratefully with the awareness and experience of my earlier years to contrast and understand how integral it is that we are always in connection with our health and wellbeing – and as I learnt all those years ago, coaching my clients to honour their health by paying attention to those messages or symptoms that their bodies communicate to them. So, what do these messages look like?
It could be fatigue, low mood and self-esteem, aching joints, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, lowered immune function, prediabetes, high cholesterol, weight gain… the list is endless. The signs might be huge such as a full-on anxiety attack or subtle such as a mild rash. This is the body saying, ‘hey, start paying me attention. Something is off right now, and we need to work together to address it before it becomes something more chronic or serious’.
I learnt myself, that we must tune in with ourselves and live in awareness of how we are always feeling. This is a big area for me personally and I make sure to take enough time with my clients that this is understood. As a Health and Wellness Coach I am also looking at the whole picture with my clients. Of course, nutrition and exercise play a big role into someone’s overall health but it’s not the full picture. When I sit down on that initial consultation, I will ask a lot of questions on all body systems as well as childhood health and diet. I also want to know more about their mindset regarding their health journeys.
Why haven’t they met their goals so far? Can they identify any obstacles that have prevented them from succeeding? This is where the real value lies with Health and Wellness Coaches. We look beyond the quick fixes and diet protocols – we want our clients to achieve their goals, so we help them along the way in achieving that. We provide not only support, education, and motivation, but also accountability and responsibility. I mostly coach women in their 40’s and promote myself as a Women’s Health Coach, but I have coached men and teens also.
My biggest passion is helping women take ownership of their health.
I see many women who feel they have lost their sense of purpose, who feel a bit left behind now their children are growing up and they aren’t so ‘needed’ at home. Often these women will have spent years prioritising others before themselves and may have neglected their health goals and have no self-care routine in place. Some women will have experienced weight gain, inflammation, hormone imbalances, fatigue, and low self-esteem. Some women live with an auto-immune condition and are seeking a more holistic approach to managing it. Many, many women are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. The past two years have been incredibly damaging to many people’s mental health. Coaching is wonderful for pinpointing the areas in their life that need nourishing and we empower them to make lasting positive changes. Health and Wellness Coaches are successful because they work alongside their clients. They understand that consistency is key, and goals need to be realistic. We want, more than anything, for our clients to succeed.
This means the client takes ownership of her journey by creating the path herself, with the guidance of her coach beside her. This keeps her accountable and committed, not to mention more likely to succeed than if the approach had been more prescriptive. So, what does a typical look like for me? Mornings are often where I catch up on my current 1:1 clients, accountability calls and sending any useful supportive information such as recipes, affirmations, eBooks or guides. If I’m having an admin day I will stay at home and work on developing a course or workshop for both individual and business clients which can include yoga studios and gyms.
Some of my 1:1 clients are local to me so I always prefer to meet in person for those, otherwise we are well accustomed to using virtual meeting rooms such as Zoom and Google Meet nowadays. Afternoons are more active; I might teach a meditation or breath work session or yoga in a local studio. I also spend a lot of time in my kitchen filming nutrition masterclasses for my coaching groups or content for my social media.
The rest of the day I spend with my children, we walk our dogs or go for a bike ride. Doing the work, I do makes me understand the importance of looking after my own wellbeing and prioritising the things that are important in my life. My work as a Health and Wellness Coach allows me the privilege of making a lasting impact on people’s health journeys, as well as nurturing my own.