My name is Elena Gonzalez, and I am Advance Community’s first Nutrition Coach. I am thrilled to be a part of the Advance team leading our new Nutrition Coaching Program!
I am passionate about building client-centered relationships and improving my client’s outlook on food and the impact it has on health. As every person’s nutritional needs are unique, it is important to provide attainable and culturally appropriate interventions in each coaching session. With a background in nutrition and dietetics, my personal mission is to educate and empower others to take steps and make changes to achieve optimal health and well-being through nutrition.
Coming from the Latino community, I understand the unique barriers and health challenges that our community is currently facing that often lead to poor nutrition.
Advance’s nutrition coaching program is a 12- week, 1:1, customized curriculum offered to community participants who have graduated from Advance’s Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP), Su Salud con Sabor Latino (Your Health with a Latin Flavor), or Lifestyle coaching programs. This next step marks a dedicated investment to improving health in a more personalized way.
The goals of Advance’s Nutrition Coaching Program are to support, guide, and – most importantly – empower community participants to lead healthier lives by transforming unhealthy eating behaviors and lifestyle habits through a series of private sessions, utilizing the motivational interviewing counseling approach. During these 12-weeks, participants have conversations that help identify key behaviors that are impacting their health and create weekly plans to work towards long-term behavioral transformation.
Something unique and fun about this program is the grocery tours performed with each participant. During the final session, I get to meet with my participants at their local grocery store and educate them about the importance of reading food labels and what to look out for when making food decisions when shopping. The goal of these grocery tours is to create a grocery list and purchase at least one item from each food group. Advance contributes $30 towards those groceries and participants are left with this knowledge and tools to continue their health and wellness journey. This is a great hands-on learning experience that can help solidify their learning throughout the program!
The Power of One-on-One Coaching
One of our participants began the program a few months after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. As her Nutrition Coach, it was vital for me to guide and support her through the process of making modifications and identifying the behaviors that were impacting her health. Over 12 weeks together we worked to form a plan to progressively make small changes in her lifestyle. As the weeks went on, she was finding herself embracing more and more new habits. That’s what you call empowerment, which is what this program is all about!
Towards the end of our time together, she shared her appreciation for the opportunity to take these sessions with me that helped her improve her health. She was extremely grateful and excited that her levels were stabilized and all back to normal!
Congratulations to all of our graduates thus far!