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Why I Became A Health Coach

Kia ora, my name is Doro. I'm a mother of two young adults and live with my partner in Motueka at the top of the South Island. I grew up in Switzerland and have been living in NZ since 1999. My professional background is Social Work/Counselling and Community Support Work in aged care. Today I am a Prekure Certified Health Coach, I run my own health coaching practice, and I also work in mental health support.

"During my teenaged and early adult years I felt like an ugly duckling, just dreaming of being a beautiful swan".

I was embarrassed about my weight and disproportionally big lower body and I struggled with mood swings and eating issues. Being shy and very self-conscious did not help. All attempts to manage weight, emotional eating or to regularly exercise failed. Food and eating were connected with feelings of guilt, shame and not being in control of my life.

"In my 50's a cancer scare forced me to rethink what is important and what I value in life."

The parenting years were busy and demanding. We worked hard, living the country life, setting up an accommodation business, establishing gardens and bringing up the kids. Hosting guests in our home, while trying to keep little unsettled kids asleep (one had colic, the other eczema) was stressful. Trying to manage and fulfil everybody’s needs was difficult and a real balancing act, even more so as, I was sleep deprived myself and there was no practical support from my whanau who all lived overseas. I started having chronic colds and low moods. I was trying to run on an empty tank, resulting in exhaustion, burnout and a marriage breakup.

I moved to town and I started rebuilding my personal and professional life. Being a working solo parent was new to me. The financial uncertainty and being on my own felt scary. I succeeded with my new life, but was forced to rethink and get my priorities in the right order, when a cancer threat became reality in my life. Thanks to modern medicine, all turned out well. Today I’m fully committed to te tiaki-whairaro/self-care and to te whare tapa wha/holistic understanding of well-being for others and myself; these are at the top of my value and priority list.

"It wasn't until I began working in the community's aged care, that I fully understood the real impact of poor health in the middle and the later years of life"

As a Community Support Worker in aged care, I witnessed the pain and suffering of the people in our community on a daily basis; heart conditions, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's (dementia), cancer, obesity, depression & anxiety, disability and loneliness. It was heart breaking to watch and raised three important questions I needed to find answers for.

Growing Old Healthily

"Why can't we grow older in good health? What and where are things going wrong?"

A lot of learning and reading about ageing and health followed. It took several years till I was happy with some of the answers I found. Ageing is not preventable nor is it a disease. It is a natural process and means being human and mortal. 60 to 70% of the most common chronic diseases prevalent in middle/older age are influenced by lifestyle choices. While ageing is one risk factor not in our control, several others are. It's our lifestyle, daily habits and routines we can control. They are our downfall AND our POWER and strengths. People are resourceful and capable to learn and change, to choose and form new habits and build routines. As Tangata whai ora - person seeking wellness, we have the ability to reflect on how we live and how we treat our bodies and mind. Health is a DOING word - we can self-care and minimize health risks.

"After learning about health coaching as a profession, I knew this was a real game changer and it is what I needed and wanted to do"

There was no way I could keep working with the sick and dying, if there were paths to prevent people from suffering and from ending up as long-term patients in the already stretched primary health care sector and hospitals. I needed to work with the still capable and healthy but at risk. Most of us are born with well-functioning and healthy bodies, and many of us stuff that up at some point and time in our lives. Work and other life pressures, personal loss, grief and trauma all contribute. To say it simply - life is stressful and the need for comfort, convenience and short-term satisfaction are understandable and real. Modern life, society and our financial situation offer plenty of that.

"Today I’m fitter, in good shape, and healthier than I have been during most of my adult years"

Studying health coaching has made me more aware of what I value and treasure in life. I’m 57 now and my days feel more balanced, low stress and healthier than ever before. My daily routines have improved sleep, nutrition and energy levels. Besides work, I take the time to do the things I enjoy most: being in nature, walking and tramping, cycling, preparing and eating healthy food, spending time with family and by myself. My new daily routine improved my sleep.

I keep learning about us human beings, about the science of lifestyle medicine and I am excited and passionate about working as a health coach, supporting people to make lifestyle changes, and to be the best healthy-self they can.

Professional membership(s), qualifications and standards

I'm happy to talk to you about my professional qualifications and work experience at any time.

I'm a Prekure Certified Health Coach, I hold Health & Wellbeing NZQA L 4 (Advanced Support Work In Aged Care) and a Swiss Qualification in Social Work/Counselling.

For references from people I have coached in the past, please contact me on 027 930 5310.