Introducing Erika: My First Case Study

Remember how I went to the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa last month and I came back with an LED light, some fun new skin care products, and some great new contacts? One of those great new contacts is my new health coaching client, Erika. 
She was one of the exhibitors at the show and I happened to stop by her booth and we started chatting. During our chat, I mentioned to her how I was completing my certification to become a holistic health and wellness coach and was really excited to add those services to the Holistically Haute™ business plan. She was curious about what a health and wellness coach is, so I described to her how I would be working with clients over 6 months to help them reach their goals of living healthier and happier lives (that is the abbreviated version, of course). Well, not only did Erika agree to be my client, but she also generously offered to chronicle her experience on her popular food blog, In Erika’s Kitchen. She also is allowing me to share her experiences with you here.

About Erika
In addition to being a very successful and prolific food blogger, Erika is also a wife and mommy to two kids, AND she has a full-time job. Erika signed up for my program because, like many of us, she has some extra pounds she’d like to not have. Although she is doing many things right with her diet and lifestyle choices, the pounds are not coming off. I can totally relate to Erika’s concerns because I felt the same way when I was carrying my extra weight. I felt like I was doing so many “right” things, yet my weight stayed the same. Over the next 6 months, Erika and I will work together to re-prioritize and re-arrange some of the already positive choices she’s made, and kind of re-focus in other areas as necessary.
An Ideal Client
Erika is really a great client (although she will tell you otherwise). She came into this program with several good habits. First of all, she cooks real food from scratch at home. In a convenience-oriented society filled with drive-thru windows, pizza delivery, and packaged processed foods, it is really refreshing to see a busy working mom cook real food for herself and her family from scratch on a daily basis. So there’s one thing I won’t have to teach her the importance of…in fact I am looking forward to learning and sharing some of her recipes.
The second plus is that Erika is not addicted to sugar. At all. Sugar is probably the biggest addiction Americans have, so it is great that we won’t need to focus our time on breaking that pattern. Another great thing is that Erika already has a pretty solid workout regimen in place. She is great with time management and has found ways to fit physical activity into her busy schedule.
The most important reason that Erika is such a great client is that she wants to achieve her goals and understands that there is no magic pill to make that happen. It takes work, commitment, and time. Since she is already doing a lot of the work, and is committed, I will just give her some tips and recommendations on how we can tweak a few things so that she can reach her goals.
Here is Erika’s first post which followed the first “real” session of her program (not counting the initial consultation). Make sure you click over to the post on her blog to get her green smoothie recipe

Green Smoothies for Breakfast

It’s time for me to develop some better eating habits. I’m not a junk food addict or a sugar nut. In fact, I’d say that overall my diet is pretty good compared with most of America. But I lean too much toward white starchy stuff (bread, pasta, rice), and I could definitely stand to eat more greens.


I’m spending the next half-year working with Rachael Pontillo (that’s me!) of Holistically Haute, a health and wellness coach who focuses on incremental change and overall happiness and well-being. (I love how she said that…totally stealing it.) She’s not a doctor and I’m not looking for a diagnosis or a prescription. I need help creating some better eating habits that, with luck, will crowd out some of the not-so-good ones. And if that comes with weight loss, so much the better.


I hate being told what to do and am resistant to “always” or “never” rules when it comes to food – in fact, I’ve already told Rachael I might not be her ideal client. (See? I told you.) She’s been patient with me. In our first session we talked about my daily routine, typical meals, what I might be missing in my diet.


Have a glass or two of water as soon as you wake up!

Rachael’s first requests were that I drink more water, particularly first thing in the morning, and try to get in more raw greens. (Properly cooked greens are great too…but raw is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes) I’m occasionally fine with salad for breakfast, but every day? I don’t think so. Rachael gave me her loose recipe for green smoothies (which I will share with you very soon). She drinks 16-20 ounces of this for breakfast every morning. (Yes I do…and if you would have told me just one year ago that I would be having a green smoothie for breakfast everyday you would have gotten a Maude Face. Change is good.)


I don’t like smoothies much, and I was kind of grossed out by the whole concept of blended kale. (so was I, at first) But, in the spirit of change, I tried it. And I liked it.


Rachael also told me not to worry so much about what I’m eating, but to try to remember how what I eat makes me feel. (This is so important…we all need to listen to our bodies.) Know how the green smoothies make me feel? Like Superwoman. Seriously. I drink it and for two hours I’ve got this light, clear focus. It doesn’t keep me full until lunchtime, but that’s okay. The other day I had an egg sandwich for breakfast. No Superwoman feeling at all.


On the down side, the green smoothies have been a little hard on my early-morning digestion. I’m only drinking about eight ounces and will work my way up as my body adjusts. (I had initially recommended that Erika try the smoothies later in the day at first once her stomach had a chance to “wake up”…but she wanted to try a smaller amount just to see…).


I’ll report back occasionally on the progress I’m making in my work with Rachael. (and I will share it with you all with my comments as well). Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into an uber-healthy blog. There will still be meat and cake. After all, it’s all about incremental change and moderation. (Who knows…maybe in 6 months Erika will be inspired to start a second blog titled “In Erika’s Uber-healthy Kitchen”…I guess we will see!)


Erika, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with my Holistically Haute™ readers. Readers, make sure you check out Erika’s green smoothie recipe and Erika’s other blog posts (don’t worry, she’s not as long-winded as I am!).

Would you like a one-on-one health and wellness consultation with me? Click here to schedule your complimentary initial session.








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