If you haven’t noticed, we’re big on health coaches here at TDC. We love having a health coach in our lives and we love telling you why you should have one as well. That’s why today we’re so happy to introduce you to Malak Hamouda, a holistic health coach. Holistic? Is there a difference between regular health coaches and holistic ones? Read the interview to find out.
Tell us a little about who Malak Hamouda is?
I’m not sure what to say, I’m a Mass Communication graduate who’s always had a passion for food. I’ve always been passionate about it. My family growing up was always cooking yummy food. My grandma actually wrote a recipe book with almost 1000 very detailed recipes. It wasn’t actually published but we loved using it for our own recipes at home. She always created very intricate birthday cakes for my sister and I growing up. After doing some odd jobs here and there and including working in the family business in interior decoration I moved to Paris to work in the restaurant industry. There I realized that my love for food does not necessarily mean that I have to work in the food industry so I decided to go back home, back to Egypt where I found a job in digital marketing and that was where I met my ex-husband.
What made you leave your position in digital media?
Shortly after getting married, I quit my job, stayed at home and decided to start a new project. I decided to create a recipe application with a nutritional edge. Food has always been a big part of my life, but I never knew how I wanted to include food in my work life. I thought maybe this was how I could do it, through a recipe application.
What made you take the IIN (Integrative Institute of Nutrition) health coaching course?
The idea behind my project was that I wanted to create a recipe application (again because of my passion for food). I wanted to give the app a nutritional edge. So, I audited a few nutrition courses and I loved them. Funnily enough, because IIN has amazing digital marketing I found ads about it bombarding me everywhere I turn. So, one day I decided to like their facebook page, that’s where I found a mutual friend who liked their page as well. I then moved on with my life, completely forgetting about it. Two months passed before I saw said mutual friend in a family gathering. I asked her what do you know about IIN, and she said ” IIN changed my life” and that was when I decided to go for it and take the course.
Was the course everything you thought it would be?
And more! I already knew a lot of the information they provide you with but they really helped me connect the dots. It’s really so simple, things everyone knows but forgets. It’s so basic it’s insane! It teaches you to become a smart consumer. I know it sounds silly but do you tell a lion or a monkey what to eat? No, they know what they need. We do too!
How did taking the course change your life?
It changed my work life, my career path, and even my personal life. I left the course feeling the need to drop the recipe application I was working on and instead, becoming a fulltime health coach.
From your point of view, who’s a health coach for?
I think everyone should have a health coach honestly, I have one. Yeah, I’m constantly working on bettering myself. Like I always say, it’s not a destination, it’s a journey. I’m constantly growing.
There’s a variety of people that could go to a health coach, like those who want to simply lose weight or want to feel more grounded in their career. Some are a bit lost, not knowing what their life purpose is. Health is not just about nutrition. There’s also primary food and secondary food.
I hear you say “Primary Food” and the “Secondary” food a lot, can you tell us the difference?
You know the food you eat every day, that’s actually the “Secondary Food”. Your “Primary Food” is your relationships, career, physical activity, and your spirituality. That’s what you feed your soul with. These are the four pillars of Primary food. If these pillars are unhealthy or lacking, then it’s almost futile in just trying to eat the right foods and expecting your health to improve. Your life won’t improve unless you approach all its pillars from a holistic point of view. What I like to call a 360 point of view! J
What exactly could someone expect if they go to you as a holistic health coach?
Coming to me as a health coach, I don’t give you something you don’t already have. All you need already exists inside you, I just help you see it for yourselfIt’s really about going back to Nature and listening to your voice again. All I do as a holistic health coach is provide the space needed for you to feel safe, comfortable to start digging inside of yourself. I take the lead, provide the tools needed for your journey but you set the tone.
While I don’t provide specific diets as a dietician would, I can suggest ways of eating. I sometimes even work with clients to just drink more water. If clients come to me with certain diets they want to try, we talk about it and I help them through it. I never push them towards a certain diet. You see for me diets are not sustainable, we need to find a way of eating that is both healthy and flexible and that’s what I work on achieving with my clients.
Other things we could do is a pantry makeover. Change their morning or night routine to help them achieve their health goals. I do giveaways as well, like food samples, flash cards of affirmations, or even a book. It depends on the person and the situation. I could also do a home visit if they’re comfortable with it. The environment you live in has a major role in shaping how healthy you live your life.
What are the programs you provide?
The main program I give is a 6-month program where we meet for 12 sessions including handouts and other material, with email and phone call supporting between. We meet twice a month, every other week at the same time and same day of the week each time. For example, if we meet on Tuesday at 3 pm then that’s our time every session. I love being there for my clients and connecting with them. One time on my annual holiday I had a client call in midst of somewhat of a breakdown, I was there for her and we had a session sort of on the phone. These are the moments I’m really appreciative of my job and what I do.
But because health coaching in Egypt is still not very well known, I have a 3-month program for those who are hesitant to commit to the 6-month program. Everyone who takes the 3-month program request to extend it to the 6-month program if not more. They realize that they just got comfortable with having a holistic health coach and everything the sessions provide and want more.
I usually do a halfway revisit where I check in with the client, make sure that the goals they set when we started are still the same. Nothing is written in stone. Your goals could change halfway through, our life is fluid and we should learn to move in harmony with it.
What exactly does one talk about when they come to you?
We talk about more than just what happened in the past two weeks. We try to dig deep to focus on dealing with and healing the cause, not the symptom. That’s very important to understand, we don’t mask anything. Someone, for instance, is overeating, we try to understand what’s causing them to overeat, instead of just telling them “this is how to stop overeating” we talk about the root behind overeating. If we solve the cause, the symptom (in this case) overeating will disappear.
How would someone describe what it is like working with a Holistic Health Coach?
This one is a trick question actually because a health coach is something different to everyone. I can’t give you just one answer cause then I’d assume that everyone is the same. While actually being a health coach means you adapt to everyone’s bio-individuality. It really depends on the individual. If a health coach is present and listens carefully, they’ll find the person in front of them telling them how they want to be treated and what they need to improve their health and wellness. Something they always used to say at IIN “You are the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage”
We’re so thankful to Malak for opening up to us and enlighting us about what it really means to have a health coach in your life. She currently gives sessions at Nun center. You can follow Malak on her holistic journey here.