August 26, 2022

Sustainably Healthy: Meet Lizzie Nelson, Holistic Health Coach 

By Emily Merrell

Lizzie Nelson stumbled into health coaching by accident. It took years of her own health journey before she realized that her greatest advocate was herself! Her personal struggles inspired her to pursue the healing of others. She now helps ambitious women transform their lives by teaching them how to live sustainably healthy lives. 

Navigating wellness with holistic coach Lizzie Nelson. Credit – Allison Yin Photography.

SDS: How did you get into holistic health coaching? 

LIZZIE NELSON: My work in holistic health coaching all began with a string of complicated and bizarre GI problems in my early 20’s. What started off as a routine stomach bug led to months of debilitating GI pain, nausea and countless doctors trying to figure out what was wrong. 

After a few months of this, I lost so much weight that my body was failing to thrive and I found myself hospitalized and hooked up to a feeding tube. Long story short, my body had been living in a constant state of fight-or-flight due to the stress I was under living in a hamster wheel kind of culture (think early 20’s, working in tech, long commutes, single, etc.).

I initially dealt with healing my gut via Western medicine – i.e., pills, pills, pills. But after a couple years it dawned on me that this was not a sustainable plan. I didn’t want to take medicine for the rest of my life if I didn’t have to. I slowly started to research more and more into diet and lifestyle, over time totally revolutionizing what I ate and how I cared for my body. In the end, I dealt with many bouts of severe IBS, SIBO, c-diff infections, all kinds of food sensitivities, migraines, brain fog and too many colonoscopies to count. With time and patience, my gut did heal, and I was back to being an active and healthy person with a lot more knowledge of nutrition, self-care and boundaries. 

With this backdrop, I saw firsthand the power of food as medicine, and it blew me wide open to the possibility of what lay ahead, both personally and professionally. When I turned 30, I decided to quit corporate work and pivot to pursuing holistic nutrition. I went back to school to get my degree in holistic nutrition, and while in school I was the practice manager of an acupuncture clinic. Today I work remotely out of Denver and work 1:1 with clients supporting them in creating lasting change when it comes to dietary and lifestyle decisions. 

My experience in navigating my own health saga gave me firsthand knowledge and perspective on just how powerful holistic health decisions and habits can be. I love supporting my clients in achieving their optimal health and wellness. 

SDS: In the last year you’ve gone through some big changes: from a divorce to moving to Denver to getting a dog. What advice do you have to navigate major life transitions? 

LN: Take it one day at a time. I realize I’m not always great at following my own advice when it comes to this one. It’s so easy when you are in throes of change and sh*t is hitting the fan to catastrophize and jump leaps and bounds ahead. But keeping yourself grounded and present is my #1 piece of advice.

When I was making this career change from corporate to coaching, navigating if my marriage was ending, debating leaving San Francisco, spending over a year looking for my next place to live, debating getting a puppy without a new home yet, time and time again I kept wondering how it would all work out. 

In the throes of change it is so easy to lose perspective, but by taking things step by step, showing yourself grace and compassion for bumps and pit stops along the way, the flow of it all unfolds that much smoother and things do (in time) work out. 

Lizzie Nelson, holistic health nutritionist. Credit – Allison Yin Photography.

SDS: During the pandemic you were the ultimate nomad. Do you have any tips on how to navigate a new city? 

LN: Yes! Here are my top five tips for being new:

  1. Spread the word: I found that just by telling people where I was going to be living next, somebody always knew someone else that lived there. I would be put in touch with friends of friends and oftentimes would have a handful of people to meet up with for tea, lunches and walks. I could pick their brain about life in that city, pros/cons, etc.
  2. Try something out of your comfort zone: In each city I lived in last year, I would sign myself up for one funky activity as a way to see the city and put a smile on my face. I did an e-bike tour, segway tour, horseback riding tour, tea walking tour, etc. I loved using Airbnb Experiences to find these activities.
  3. Plug into your community: I am a bit addicted to pickleball. But one of the reasons I became such a fan is because of the community it builds. Before I arrived in a new city, I would research the local pickleball clubs and find out where pickup games were. This was an easy way to meet new people! Whatever your activity may be, researching and reaching out in advance is a great way to find “your people” on day one. 
  4. Find a hangout spot that is YOU: In each city I would also try and pinpoint one cafe or coffee shop that had my vibe and energy, and then go there frequently. I found a funky tea house in one, a women-run co-op in another, and a lovely daily farmers market in another. Aligning with vendors, foods, along with people that inspired me and felt familiar was a great way to “try on” each city and see if I could picture myself living there more permanently. 
  5. Go on dates (either friend + romantic): I utilized Bumble a lot – both their BFF and date modes. I was candid with people that I wasn’t living anywhere permanently yet, but would love to meet up, see the city, and pick their brain about life there. To my surprise plenty of people were happy to show a visitor their city and appreciated the transparency about not being settled yet. I went on both some great friend dates and great romantic dates.

SDS: What are the biggest struggles you find your clients face?

LN: The most common struggles my clients face are not anything revolutionary, but rather they struggle with weaving lasting dietary and lifestyle behavioral change into their everyday lives. This could be anything from drinking enough water, getting movement in every day, how to turn technology off long before they get into bed, how to make sure not to skip breakfast, how to get their leafy greens in every day, etc. This is where I come in.

I love helping my clients by providing action oriented suggestions, holding them accountable and celebrating their successes. One of my clients loves sending me menus before she goes out to restaurants to get my feedback on how to order, or sending me recipes before she makes a new dish so I can provide some tips and tricks on how to make the dish that much healthier. I love being that friend and coach in their back pocket.  

SDS: As a holistic health coach what does “healthy” mean to you? What are your favorite go-to healthy foods? 

LN: To me, being healthy means living in balance and living with self-compassion. We are not always going to eat perfectly and being able to show ourselves the grace to let that slide and continue onwards is a healthy way to live. 

Hand-in-hand with living in balance is being able to tap into our intuition. This applies to both dietary decisions and lifestyle choices. Stopping eating when you’re full, passing on that alcoholic beverage, saying no to another social invite to stay at home solo and recharge, passing on that crossfit class because your body is craving a slow walk: these are all examples of living from a place of intuition. 

As far as my favorite healthy foods, some of my must-haves are: kombucha (only in small amounts), miso paste (great umami flavor for cooking), raw nuts, high quality fats like ghee or EVOO,  quinoa and beans, dark leafy greens, avocados, organic berries, Elizabeth’s Granola, sauerkraut, and some high quality dark chocolate.

SDS: Lastly, how can people learn more about your offerings and you?

LN: Great question! Please go to my website to learn more about my offerings. You can also sign up for my newsletter (sent out twice /month) here, and lastly, connect with me on social media here.

I offer a free discovery call to learn more about possible new clients and to understand if we are the right fit for each other.  You can book that here!

Finding lasting lifestyle changes with Lizzie Nelson. Credit – Allison Yin Photography.

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