Hi, I’m Joan Young. As a teacher and counselor, as well as National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, I am no stranger to the perils of being an educator in a stressful, harried, information overloaded world. I know what it’s like to barely find time to get to the restroom, to eat lunch standing in the door of a classroom while supervising children, and trying desperately to balance the needs of myself with the needs of others. I have spent the morning drinking coffee, only to crash mid-afternoon with nothing left in the tank. I’ve “run” out of the faculty room to avoid the donuts, cookies, fill in the blank crap that would turn me into a lab rat in a maze, returning for sugar throughout the day. I understand that exercise, healthier food choices, and getting enough sleep can feel like formidable obstacles instead of options in life. For me, it wasn’t until my own health crashed and burned that I really HAD to make some serious changes.
For years, I thought I was doing okay with diet and exercise; I had given up gluten in 2013 and stopped having sinus headaches, and kept up some exercise by running and some weight training. My thyroid hormone was supposedly in a normal range though I easily gained weight and was often cold. I just shrugged that off, as it had been that way since my teenage years.
The crash and burn
It wasn’t until my health fell apart, in 2015, that I began to investigate how to get well, and fully get my life back. I started experiencing severe abdominal bloating, to the point of feeling like I looked several months pregnant, after eating just about anything, and went on a search for answers. Doctors, from my well meaning Internal Medicine doctor to Gastroenterology experts at Stanford, simply used the term IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and sent me on my way, recommending that I try an antidepressant to stop the “pain.” I wasn’t really in pain, and they really weren’t listening; I was just super uncomfortable when anything at all was in my digestive system. I had four inexplicable bouts of diverticulitis in less than two years and underwent two, probably unnecessary surgeries: a laparoscopy to remove “supposed” scar tissue from a prior hysterectomy, which turned out wasn’t there, and an appendectomy, because the tender area in my abdomen was about where the appendix lies. Neither surgery led to any relief, and I was left frustrated and searching.
Taking my life back
To make a long story short, I had to take my health into my own hands. I was happy to have lost 25 – 30 lbs., but honestly, I looked and felt like crap. I knew I had to become a researcher and find another path to health. I tried elimination diets, such as the AIP (autoimmune protocol), low FODMAP, and the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) with some inconsistent relief. I turned to a naturopathic practitioner who treated me like a colleague, not a stressed out patient making up her symptoms. It took awhile, but by getting my thyroid levels back in range, sticking to a Paleo diet, addressing SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), I was able to finally get rid of my terrible headaches and non-stop bloating after eating.
Making the changes
I began going to bed earlier, incorporating some milder exercise like walking and light strength training, and stress reduction practices, such as journaling, mindfulness and breathing exercises, on a daily basis. I also began to examine my “teacher lifestyle” where I was in the habit of taking care of everyone else before myself. Something needed to change. I was headed for burnout, and contemplating leaving a career that I loved. With a newfound dedication to these lifestyle changes, I slowly but surely, found energy and well-being again. I knew it would be an ongoing journey, especially with the sometimes quite stressful life of a teacher/counselor.
My learning journey
In Spring of 2018, I decided to embark on a journey as a Health Coach, to put my learning to work for others. I enrolled in the Kresser Institute Adapt Health Coach Training Program and will complete my studies in June, 2019. This year-long program has provided a wealth of information and training that will help serve the needs of my clients for years to come. I’ve learned how to use a strengths based approach to facilitate meaningful change in my own life, and in the lives of others. From April, 2021- August, 2022, I worked at a tele-health company, providing coaching to hundreds of clients whose goals included losing weight, reducing stress, cultivating joy and meaning, and overall, living their best lives!
How I can help you
Today I am in the best health of my life: thriving, working full time as a school counselor and teacher, and putting my love of helping others to work as a health coach. Together, we can design the life you want to live by making small, manageable changes to nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. Whatever your goals, I can tailor our work to suit you.
I offer individual coaching, small group coaching, both online and in person. I am flexible with my approach and passionate about helping others re-gain their best health and feel like their middle of summer joyous selves.
You deserve to be the best version of yourself, experiencing the joys of a healthy, life. Come join me on this lifelong learning journey!