By Kelly Maynard
I think people are confused about why they would need a health and wellness coach if they have lipedema. What exactly is a certified health and wellness coach, and what do we do that is different from a doctor or other medical professional? After all, I can’t diagnose. I’m not allowed by law to prescribe treatment for a specific medical condition. I’m not a coach in the traditional sense, like a sports or fitness coach. So, why would you pay someone like me if you have lipedema?
One thing I help women do is sort through all those questions that come with finally discovering lipedema. In recent years, there are more groups, webinars, videos, and articles than ever about lipedema. While that is great news, it can also leave you completely overwhelmed about what you should do next. Each day can melt into the next, with no clear direction and a fear of what the future will hold. A health and wellness coach can help you (and even your doctor or other health professionals) sort through all of that information and work with you to develop a plan.
I use the understanding I have of lipedema and its comorbidities, the training I have about nutrition and the body, and the information clients give me about their unique circumstances to help them determine the best way to manage lipedema and improve their symptoms and quality of life. While we would all love a magic plan that would fix lipedema, the truth is that your preferences, your budget, your lifestyle, your level of mobility and fitness, your pain levels, and even where you live and the resources you have available, all play a part in determining what will work for you. There isn’t a “lipedema diet,” but I can help you find what foods work best for you. I can help you learn what types of therapies (like cupping, massage guns, vibration, etc.) might be best for you and how to use them. I can explain to your doctor or trainer or massage therapist what lipedema is and what you might need from them to improve your health and quality of life.
A holistic approach to managing lipedema involves your mental and emotional well-being. The new U.S. standard of care for lipedema emphasizes the importance of managing stress and elevating mood. Many women with lipedema have given up things they enjoy and find it hard to be positive. Others are simply bogged down in how much this disease takes to manage and how much it has changed their lives, to the point they are depressed, anxious, frustrated, and not hopeful about the future. My undergraduate and graduate studies in psychology and counseling provide me the ability to be an emotional support for women who may be struggling to find joy. I also discuss how clients can find peace in their souls through their faith and spiritual life, because the best approach to wellness involves our whole selves.
Clients come to me feeling as I often have, since my body began refusing to cooperate with my best efforts because of lipedema. It is hard to feel that each day is an opportunity to live our best lives when we’re in pain, don’t recognize ourselves in the mirror, feel defeated, and may be angry, sad, and frustrated. Whether women are at the beginning of their lipedema journey or somewhere down the path they’ve taken, it can be almost impossible to know what decisions to make, how to care for ourselves, or even have the desire to try another thing.
A health and wellness coach is a supporter and a guide to get you back to a place where each day can be a fresh start, and life no longer feels out of control. Like a coach for a sports team, she can give you tools, encouragement, and a plan to help you reclaim your health and your life. Figuring out a nutrition plan, conservative treatments, balancing responsibilities and health symptoms, emotional health, and working with your healthcare team doesn’t have to overwhelm you. A health and wellness coach could be just what you need to finally figure out what your best self and best life look like.
Kelly Maynard is a certified Biblical health and wellness coach who founded Wildheart Wellness to help women with lipedema. She has lipolympedema and its comorbidities Hashimoto’s Disease and Ehlers-Danlos, hypermobile type. Kelly is a long-time homeschool mom of four who is married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Texas. You can find her at her website, Wildheart Wellness, or on Facebook.