Know your inner self and be true to who you are!
Love yourself, and embrace life!
Enjoy the ride!
What is health, and what is a holistic approach to health?
The Romans knew that mental health was an essential part of physical health (mens sana in corpora sano), and we all know that stress can cause both mental and physical health issues. Yet, Western medicine has been treating physical and mental health as two separate and distinct disciplines for a very long time.
I love the very straight-forward definition of the World Health Organization that defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".
Health is also something most of us take for granted, until the body stops working as it should. More often than we realize, our mental well-being interferes with the functioning of our body. We get frustrated, and things get worse.
As a health and wellness coach, I work with you as a whole person. This holistic approach takes into account your physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. After all, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
What does a health and wellness coach do, and how does health coaching differ from working with a therapist or a dietician?
As a health and wellness coach, I assist you in bringing about sustainable lifestyle changes. I also support you in your relationship with your health care providers to enable you to actively take part in developing strategies to put into place sustainable lifestyle changes. The goal is to make you feel more positive and enthusiastic about life, and thus improve your overall wellness level.
Therapy often focuses on past experiences and their impact on your current behavior. The idea behind therapy is to work through your issues, change your habits, and repair and improve relationships. In coaching we start from the present, and move forward. As a coach, I support you in developing tools that work for you to take charge of your life's needs, and to grow steadily towards realizing your goals and ambitions. Just like a therapist, I am on your side! Our relationship is built on trust, and I am not to judge you.
Dietitians support people to improve their health by providing food and nutrition information. They provide nutrition-related advice, and can also change diets to help manage medical conditions. As a health coach, I do not prescribe diets; I provide the support for you to adopt a new way of eating, to deal with cravings, and to replace heavily processed foods by nourishing whole foods, i.e. unprocessed and unrefined foods, or foods that have been processed and refined as little as possible.
Since food is only one part of living healthily, health and wellness coaches also address other factors that may have an impact on your wellbeing, such as: your social life, your relationships, your career, your physical activity levels, etc.
"We continuously make an effort to look good and healthy on the outside. We invest time, money, and effort in how we look, and we usually do not question that investment.
By doing so, we often forget to take care of our inner selves, or we mistake this 'outer care' for self-care.
It seems to be harder for us to nurture and nourish what cannot be seen by the naked eye. On top of that, we too often forget about how proper inner care makes us come alive on the outside as well."
● Sandra Peeters
Whom does a health and wellness coach work with (scope of practice)?
Overall, my clients are women who have been trying different diets for several years, without lasting results. Quite a few of my clients have mild health concerns (slightly overweight, headaches, fatigue, sugar cravings, stress, etc.). Others have no health concerns at all, and just want to adopt new ways to integrate healthy habits in order to live healthier, and more energized and balanced lives.
My own experiences with childhood trauma and autoimmune disorders, have made a difference in coaching people with similar experiences and conditions.
As a health coach, it is not within my scope of practice to diagnose and treat medical conditions or to prescribe medication. If you feel unsure about the medical advice you received from your medical doctor, I will advice and support you in getting a second opinion from another health care provider. If you have health issues, it is your personal responsibility to consult with your health care provider before, during, and after coaching. Any information or advice provided, by me, during the coaching sessions is no replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment for any medical condition; it is to be solely relied upon as nutritional and lifestyle recommendations towards supporting your personal path of growth. Before making any health care decisions, or for advice about a specific medical condition, you should always consult your health care provider.
Do you prescribe supplements?
No, I do not. We can discuss superfoods, and vitamin and mineral supplements, but I will always advice you to consult a health care provider, should you be interested in adding supplements. If you choose to use supplements, keep in mind that they aren't a replacement for healthy nutrition.
How does the program work?
Every coaching program starts out with a free Initial Health & Wellness Consultation. It takes about one hour and includes a complete overview of your health and lifestyle choices and concerns to date. After this initial session, we will be able to define your coaching needs and set your goals.
I'm a firm believer in realistic objectives. Once you have defined your personal goals, I will support you in working towards those goals. You know best what works for you, and my role is to help you implement the tools of self-reflection, self-critique and self-correction, for you to be able to work towards and reach your objectives. My task is to provide you with support to get things done, to help you focus on what you have accomplished, and to assist you in achieving the goals you set yourself.
Each coaching program consists of:
a free Initial Health and Wellness Consultation
a one-hour session every two weeks (six sessions in total for the 3-month program, and twelve for the 6-month program)
follow-up notes, post-session, with supporting materials and personalized recommendations
weekly email support and variety of handouts, recipes, book recommendations, and other materials, to help stay motivated and inspired
unlimited email support between sessions (24-hour turnaround)
What does the client get out of it?
My mission is to empower you to live a healthier and happier life. The more you put into it the coaching, the more you'll get out of it! I'm the person on the sidelines who is cheering you on and backing you in your growth process.
In order for you to get the most out of your coaching journey, it has to be a constructive and positive experience. That's also, in a nutshell, my coaching philosophy. After all, life should be enjoyed, and that also goes for your coaching journey. If you are not 'enjoying the ride', we will look into adjusting your path of growth in order for you to have a joyful experience. If something does not fit into your life, we will be looking into how we can make that fit happen for you. You shouldn't feel as if you are deprived of anything, especially since you want to achieve sustainable lifestyle changes. This is a program, a path of growth, that is in place for you to upgrade your life in a lasting way – to live, grow, and excel –, and not to make you feel miserable in any way.
Do you, as a health coach, follow a particular way of eating yourself?
Yes, I do! I am Whole-Foods, Plant-Based (WFPB). This does not mean I am vegan. I do consume a tiny bit of animal produce every now and then. So, technically, I am a flexitarian. However, I eat mainly plant-based.
I started adopting this lifestyle in 2016, after having watched Forks Over Knives. That same year, I signed up for my WFPB certification at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. I have tried other ways of eating (AIP, elimination diets, etc.) but this one seems to work best for me. Furthermore, the WFPB lifestyle is evidence-based, is no fad diet, and isn't based on hearsay.
However, I know, first-hand, that what works for me may not work for you. We are not the same. You know best which foods nourish you, and which foods you like, e.g., if you don't like salads and raw foods, then please do not adopt a raw diet; you'll feel like you're missing out, and that cannot be a sustainable way of life.
Do the coaching sessions take place face-to-face?
They don't. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all coaching sessions take place via phone, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or JITSI. I do not intend to go back to face-to-face coaching after the lockdown. However, once it is safe to do so, I will be organizing supermarket tours again, as well as pantry makeovers. (Only for clients living in the Brussels Metropolitan Area.)
Furthermore, there seem to be advantages to online coaching sessions, that, at first, may have been overlooked by many coaches:
you, as a client, are able to choose a comfortable and safe environment to work from, even at home
timing is more flexible
it may be easier for you, as a client, to open up
it is easier for both of us, the client and the coach, to ask someone to repeat what they said or to seek clarification in case we haven't properly understood what was meant
it is also easier for both of us to take notes, without feeling self-conscious about what we are jotting down
Will there be any group sessions/events/corporate workshops coming up soon?
I am currently working on 'special' health and wellness coaching project. I can't say a lot about it yet, besides that it takes up most of my free time right now. From October 2020 onwards, I intend to start organizing groups sessions, online events, and corporate workshops again.
If you are interested in working with me, do not hesitate to get in touch.
What do other people say?
"I highly recommend working with Sandra! She's professional, knowledgeable, helpful, compassionate, and a great listener. I've recently completed the three month program. I was a vegetarian but I wanted to eat healthier. I also had health concerns, such as insomnia. Sandra helped me set realistic food and self-care goals, and we worked on realistic strategies for meeting those goals. I am still a vegetarian, but I have moved closer to the Whole-Foods, Plant-Based way of eating. I also feel more confident to make healthy choices. I'm excited to continue to implement the information and strategies in my daily life!"
A.G., European Parliament, Brussels
"With Sandra's guidance, I was able to get rid of my cravings and form new, healthy habits that have become part of my life and are going to last me a lifetime. Sandra's suggestions have opened up a whole new world for me full of wonderful, nourishing foods. I highly recommend booking a coaching session with her to see how you can improve your health and your life!"
J.A., OECD, Paris
"When I first saw Sandra, I knew what to do to regain my health, but I did not know how to go about it. Sandra shared her insights and experiences with me and gave me back my health, and my life! After a couple of weeks into the diet, my energy levels had risen enormously. I'm only halfway into the six month program, and I've already almost reached my weight loss goals. I've even managed to pick up exercising again, which is quite something, given my busy schedule. I didn't think I would be able to manage it all, but taking it one step at a time, has absolutely worked its magic. Thank you, Sandra!"
H.B., Entrepreneur, Brussels
Any other questions...
Get in touch, and I'll be happy to answer them!