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That being said, we only promote authors, products, and services that we use ourselves and wholeheartedly stand by. To learn more about how we earn money here on Autoimmune Wellness, head on over to our Promotional Policy.
Ever since our first cohort of coaches graduated from our AIP Certified Coach Practitioner Training Program, we’ve been watching with pride and excitement as they bring the AIP to the traditional healthcare landscape. Our AIP Certified Coach Spotlight features give you a look at what it means to be an AIP coach, and what you can expect when working with one as part of your healthcare team.
What started as a desire for weight loss for Jamie Nicole ended as a complete health transformation, and a new career path. When her chronic fatigue became debilitating and conventional “calories in, calories out” advice didn’t move the needle, she channeled her type-A energy to unraveling the root causes of her symptoms, and discovered so much more along the way. Today she has a thriving AIP health coaching business and has become a leader in this space.
How did you become involved in the healthcare field in the beginning?
My passion for Natural HEALing was born out of finally finding the keys to improving my health and wellness after years of pain, disappointment, and struggle. After discovering that I had food sensitivities, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, leaky gut, and fatty liver disease, working to find answers to reverse them, and doing so successfully, I had a newfound peace and joy that I didn’t have before. I was able to find the root cause of all those illnesses, research natural ways to put them in remission, implement a plan of action, and have success.
My health journey started over twenty years ago. Prior to the above diagnosis, I struggled with dieting and my weight fluctuated. I was at my highest weight when pregnant with my first child. I gained a whopping 80 pounds.
As life slowed down, I began to focus on my health again. However, I wasn’t successful with diet, exercise, and supplements like I was taught to believe I could be. At that time, I dabbled with supplements (legal ones!), fad diets, and pills for weight loss, muscle tone, and sports performance. I went through many phases of eating highly-processed, ultra-convenient, and nutrient-free “foods” under false pretenses that these were healthy for me.
I was eating the right things (so I thought). I was working out daily (as we had been told to do). My calories in were less than my calories out, yet the movement on the scale was not commensurate with the effort that I was putting in. Although I was able to lose some of the weight, it was difficult balancing work, school, family, and a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep, stress, and fatigue derailed my weight loss goals and worsened my health. I wanted to GIVE UP.
I was tired, frustrated, and confused. I couldn’t help but feel totally and utterly discouraged. How was I working so hard with such negligible results? This was because, at the time, I didn’t have the knowledge to recognize what my body really needed. My weight gain and inability to lose weight along with my chronic fatigue were symptoms. I needed to find the root cause of my weight gain and associated fatigue.
As I transitioned from the long days and sleepless nights of college-life, to the grind of corporate life as a single mom with two kids, my health continued to spiral out of control. Despite the symptoms I was experiencing, I continued to put my health on the back burner and began to relentlessly focus on climbing the corporate ladder because my type-A personality would not allow me to do anything less.
At the time, I had managed to be promoted to upper management. I prided myself on my capacity to get the job done at work with excellence. However, over time, my ability to perform at a high level was decreasing at an increasing rate. My symptoms started to take over my life.
I had a hard time with memory recall. I would space out. It took three times as long to do things that I used to do with ease. I had become accustomed to downing coffee to help get me through projects and deadlines. However, the effectiveness of this caffeinated “drug” began to lose its effectiveness. At night, I would have a hard time getting to sleep. My brain just wouldn’t cut off. When I finally did fall off to sleep, I would often be awakened by debilitating acid reflux that would choke me awake out of my sleep. I would then be exhausted when I woke. After multiple alarms and sometimes a few tears, I managed to gather myself enough to fake through my day yet again like everything was ok.
As would be expected, my personal life started to be affected. I didn’t have the time or the energy to go out and do things that were fun. I was working later because it took longer for me to complete tasks during the day due to brain fog and excessive daytime sleepiness. On weekends, I would still be in catch-up mode… and just exhausted. I would get cranky. I would snap at my family, my friends, or anyone that caught me at the wrong time on a wrong day.
This was one of the most frustrating periods of my life. I had hit a dead end with my attempts at getting better. I felt as though my symptoms were holding me back from achieving my dreams and aspirations. I would often mourn the person that I thought I could have been if I did not have these debilitating symptoms holding me back.
Luckily, I didn’t give up on myself. This is when I decided to shift my mindset by focusing on the root cause of my health issues instead of focusing on a symptom, weight gain.
I researched my health issues religiously on the internet and by reading books. I went to my family doctor and other specialists to address my health concerns and obtained diagnostic tests. In 2015, I received an initial diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
After finally getting the right diagnosis, tons of research on autoimmune disease, and lots of journaling, I was able to find the root cause of my health issues and could start preparing a roadmap for my journey to better health and reversing my symptoms.
I regained control of my body by learning what it needed to thrive. Unfortunately, I had to do this on my own because the doctors only prescribed medication and provided no information on the diet and lifestyle changes that I needed to address my health issues and live an optimal life.
Overcoming my own health complications associated with food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases provided me with hard-won and extremely valuable first-hand knowledge on integrative wellness solutions. In a way, I was my own first client.
Healthy eating and active living along with changes in my lifestyle, including eating organic, detoxing, and proper nutrition, changed my health and my outlook on life, so much so that I started to share this information with everyone I knew. This was easy because my friends and my family saw firsthand how my lifestyle changes improved me physically and mentally, so they wanted whatever information I had that could help them on their journey as well.
Once I was able to move from surviving to thriving with autoimmune disease, I became passionate about sharing what I learned with others outside of my friend and family circle. In 2016, this passion led me to become a certified health coach and subsequently become certified as a certified AIP coach to help others with autoimmune diseases who are on the verge of losing faith in healthcare and cookie-cutter wellness solutions.
What prompted you to use your skill set and training to specifically focus on serving the autoimmune disease population?
I wanted to focus on those with autoimmune disease because I know first-hand the difficulties of living with, getting diagnosed with, and then finding the root cause of autoimmune disease. But I also knew the freedom felt and the burden that is lifted when you can find solutions that lead you to better health. What I found out is that the best way for you to begin your health journey is to invest the time into learning how your body functions (or doesn’t function). In the beginning, this task was a struggle for me, and I recognized what a struggle it is for others with autoimmune disease as well.
It is not easy being your own health advocate. We have so much stuff on our plates, so many responsibilities, so many competing priorities. We don’t need our bodies to fail on us. We need someone to guide us to learn what will work for us as individuals. We need a coach.
I have taken multiple health certifications along the way so I can be the best possible advocate for myself and the best possible coach for others. No matter where my clients are on their journey (not yet diagnosed, newly diagnosed and don’t know where to start, or have been the AIP journey for a while, but have been unsuccessful), I help take back their LIFE so that they can finally figure out what optimal health looks like for them and how to remain in that place of health and vitality.
You recently became an AIP Certified Coach. Were there aspects of the program that you feel were particularly beneficial?
Absolutely. I was impressed by the way in which the principles and science behind the autoimmune protocol can be tailored to everyone. Many times with protocols, you are made to feel as though it is an exact science. I would see that type of mindset all of the time on the internet, and it would bother me to my core. Not every diet and not every protocol is perfect for everyone because we are all different people at different places in our health journey, at different stages of our autoimmune disease, at different stages in life, and at various stages of the socioeconomic spectrum.
The certification provided tools to use in every part of the coaching relationship. From the initial assessments to determine how to best introduce AIP, to the lifestyle assessment quizzes to determine what area of life needed the most attention at the current point in time, to various resources for different socioeconomic levels, to tips on troubleshooting for specific people including kids and pregnant women. The AIP Certified Coach program helps you prepare for any type of client and provides the tools you need to go beyond a one size fits all to a truly bio-individual way of coaching someone on AIP.
What kinds of plans do you currently have for your practice? Anything exciting coming up?
I currently have a waitlist for my new program, The Autoimmune Health RESTORATION System, which is a combination of my one-on-one AIP coaching, plus an on-going low-cost monthly membership. It is set-up into three phases:
Phase 1, The Dangers of Choice: A Holistic Review for those Living with Autoimmune Disease, is where the choices and behaviors that impact autoimmune health are reviewed. In this stage, you will complete various assessments designed to recognize wellness inefficiencies that interrupt your daily functionality, evaluate your wellness behaviors, and survey the effectiveness of your previous wellness efforts.
Phase 2 is where you are guided through The Habitual Practice Autoimmune Health Program. In this stage, we implement a holistic approach that trains you to recognize optimal health versus deficiencies, optimizes behaviors that demonstrate positive reform, and regulate and amend lifestyle management techniques that impede optimal health.
The foundation of this Phase is the Autoimmune Protocol. The Autoimmune Protocol is a diet that teaches you how to identify the foods you love that help YOUR immune system, so that you feel healthier, happier, and are better able to manage your autoimmune disease.
In the third Phase, The Autoimmune Wellness Circle, I guide you in transforming your old habits to a newly cultivated formula, which in-turn inspires you to operate with healthy intentions, not lose hope despite chronic health conditions, move forward, and nurture a lifestyle that produces lasting results by way of healthy eating and active living.
The Wellness Circle is our ongoing monthly membership-based mentoring & educational support with featured guest trainers. Here is where you continue the work from Phase 2 and then enter the Maintenance Phase of AIP. You will receive access to exclusive training on health-related topics that are critical to your autoimmune health journey but cannot be covered fully in Phase 2.
In addition, in collaboration with Autoimmune Wellness as a sponsor and The AIP Summit as the host, I have started having monthly AIP BIPOC Roundtables which has led to us to start the process of creating The AIP BIPOC Community and The AIP BIPOC Network, a non-profit whose mission is to improve the quality of life of the BIPOC Autoimmune Community through Awareness, Advocacy, Action, Assessment, and Access.
In relation to autoimmune disease, the root causes are complex and genetics can play a role, but we KNOW that environment (including food, toxins, stress, etc.) can all be triggers for autoimmunity.
As a person with autoimmune disease and as a certified autoimmune coach, I have begun to do the work of educating my community about the WHAT and the WHY of getting an autoimmune diagnosis and implementing AIP lifestyle changes, but that does no good if I make no effort to help them with the HOW.
We can shout to the mountains the importance of getting to the root cause and ELIMINATING harmful (trigger/inflammatory) foods from our diet, but if we sit idly by without recognizing the need to ELIMINATE food deserts, to expand opportunities and access to health education, to educate doctors about how to better diagnose and treat the BIPOC community, to advocate to require safe & toxin free neighborhoods that aren’t used as dumping grounds in lower-income communities, and address the century’s worth of trauma, ongoing stress and mental health issues that are specific to the BIPOC community, then how can we actually make an impact in the lives with those with autoimmune disease in the communities who need us the most. The roundtable is just the start of a conversation to bring awareness and change.
Can you share an autoimmune client success story?
One of my success stories was extra personal to me because she was such a young girl and was experiencing all of the symptoms that I was when I was her age, if not worse. She was dedicated and went above and beyond most people I know her age to figure out what her health issues were.
After working with me, Isabel said, “Before I started working with Jamie, I spent years trying to figure out what would work for me and failed many times on my own. Right before I started seeing her, I was feeling hopeless and had given up on myself because nothing seemed to work for me. Once I started sessions with Jamie, I’ve not only improved, but I also feel a lot more empowered in my journey to get better.”
People like her are why I continue to pour my all into doing this work. There are so many others like Isabel who are suffering needlessly. From my experience and education, I am able to help guide them and empower them to take back control of their life.
Where can our readers find you or learn about working with you?
You can learn more about me on my website at www.naturalhealing.coach, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn at @healcoach.