Today we’d like to introduce you to Aycha Williams.
Hi Aycha, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Six years ago, I promptly decided to leave behind a 17-year successful executive-level marketing & project management career. I was working 12-hour days for the last four years of my career, with two very young children of my own. I was exhausted. At the time, I thought that I was maybe hitting the pause button. Perhaps I was burned out. Surely I would go back to pursuing my career as a marketing professional. After all, I have an M.B.A and am certainly not of the right age to retire! But time went by and I found myself at peace tending to my family, not having to rush all the time, finding new interests, and being strangely content and at peace living a slower-paced life. Not sure why, one day, I started playing with dirt, and that turned into growing my own vegetables, as in backyard gardening. I picked up running around the neighborhood a few days a week (which would turn into running marathons later.) The gardening was a hit with my little ones, which lead to healthier, clean home cooking experiments.
While all of this was happening, I started feeling a shift in my family’s energy. We were slowly but surely becoming more aware of how we chose to spend our days, noticing how we got all tense if the day was overly busy with too many commitments, which led to choosing what we said yes to. My husband and I could see how much happier, calmer and content our kids were when we lived a slower, more “present” lifestyle. Something else that was happening outside of our little family bubble was my personal friends noticing some kind of a change in me. More and more girlfriends started asking interesting questions and making comments like why my hair was different (!), that my skin was glowing, and what was I doing for exercise because I looked so fit and was agile. It took me a while to figure out how I could pool my newly found interests/turned to my passion for healthy living to help others arrive at this more content, happy place that I was journeying into. I wrote a blog for a while with easy-healthy recipes, shared my experiments in running as a started running marathons. I delved into explaining the benefits of a slower-paced life and mindfulness through breathing and meditation exercises.
Meanwhile, still thinking something was missing. Eventually, what I realized was that there were a million other recipes like mine out there. People have been looking to find ways to become and stay healthy and happy for a long time. Weight loss programs, exercise routines, mindfulness retreats, you name it. All the while, what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. I noticed one day, this was the key missing link. Cookie-cutter solutions are hard to individualize. Because. Every. Person. is. Uniquely. Different! While there are some foundational cornerstones to make change become a reality, the true starting point is finding what works for each individual and helping them perfect that “what” so it becomes sustainable. I found the methodology for supporting, mentoring and empowering people to make healthy living changes at Duke University’s Integrative Medicine Health Coaching Program. I got trained to be a Duke University-trained health coach in 2018 and became a National Board Certified Health Coach in early 2020. I have been offering my health coaching services since early 2019. I work with clients from all walks of life and ages: people suffering from chronic illnesses like Diabetes Type 2 and Coronary Artery Disease, to people who would like to create and sustain healthy living routines such as exercise, healthy eating, and even stress management.
I also have been offering workshops in college settings and community centers in Orlando. With Covid-19, I was able to shift gears and offer workshops online and meet with clients either electronically or outside, doing sessions while walking or sitting outside in fresh air, socially distanced. All change starts with awareness. It is most rewarding for me to see that light bulb moment in a client’s eyes during my sessions, realizing that there is a different way to do what they had thought was impossible. And it becomes possible! Most of the time, the overwhelm comes from seeing a mountain to cross when you feel you can hardly lift a finger. For example, if someone has been struggling with their weight most of their life, what helps is to break the big goals down into small bite-size chunks in a way they might not have thought to do on their own. Big enough that it still feels like a challenge, but small enough that it takes the procrastination away. I tell them about my journey starting running, from no previous experience, going from walk-running to qualifying for the Boston Marathon in six years. Some people have more ambitious goals. Others are like me and like to take their time. There is no single “right” way. There is certainly “your” way to discover the power to show up for yourself.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It certainly has not been a smooth road. But this is how learning and growth happens! My journey to figuring out how to help others find their path to healthy living was through trying different methods, leaving behind what did not work, and keeping and improving on what did. And then trying more and more new methodologies. For example, when I was blogging about healthy living, from the feedback I received, I learned that what worked for me did not necessarily work for others. For example, I love to cook. If you are not someone who cooks, not only will you work to eat a different way, but now you have to also learn to cook! This makes the healthy eating goal much more challenging. Are we working on cooking lessons or simply working on eating healthy? We all come from different walks of life, have different responsibilities, routines, habits. That is why it is crucially important to create a healthy living plan that fits each person.
I work with clients to break the goals down to the level of “so easy, you can not say no.” Another area that is still in the growth stage for me is to continue to create awareness on what health coaching is and what it can do for you. In some other parts of the U.S., health coaching went from “what is that?” to a mainstream service utilized by the thousands. In Central Florida, there is still room for increasing awareness on the benefits of health coaching. When I accept speaking engagements around town, I work on clarifying what wellness really is and what “feeling vibrantly-healthy” really means: There is a tendency to think of our health in separate pieces, like eating healthy or exercising. Meanwhile, our health and wellbeing include many more aspects like quality sleep, mind-body connection, strong-healthy relationships with our loved ones, stress management, our physical environment, and more. When one or more of these areas are out of balance, it affects many of the other areas. It becomes very helpful to have a bird’s eye view to our overall wellness and health and how we rate ourselves in each of these areas so that we know which area(s) we are focusing on and setting goals to bring back to balance. I would say these are great struggles though, the growth I see in the people I work with is very rewarding.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Orlando Health Coach offers health coaching services and group workshops focused on teaching how to maintain a vibrantly healthy lifestyle. Our clients are from all walks of life, including people with chronic illnesses due to lifestyle habits, clients working to lose weight and maintain weight loss, people looking to adopt regular exercise, or even manage and minimize stress. In today’s fast-paced world, when it comes to prioritizing one’s health and wellbeing, we hear people say: “I know what to do. I just need to do it.” Our response is: ” That is wonderful. But do you do what you know is best for your health?” It turns out establishing healthy living habits may take more than just knowing what to do. Many people feel stuck and eventually give up with this feeling that they are accepting the mediocre over a possible best life option.
At Orlando Health Coach, we help our clients put into action what they know about themselves about how they work best. We help our clients create and fine-tune the health goals they choose through our guiding principles trademarked by Duke University Integrative Medicine. We then work on the steps to get there in a way that fits their life and commitments and support them while they make forward motion toward those goals. In that way, what seems hard to accomplish becomes easier and attainable in the long term. We walk alongside our clients as they continuously show up for their goals and utilize their learnings to continue to fine-tune their plan to make it fit like tailor-made. Our clients deserve to bring out the winner in them to live their best life. Our health and wellness program strategy when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes is: “Small is the New Big” and “Slow is the New Fast.” After all, the habits that stick around for the long term are the ones that can take time to establish.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that our brand message and our mission is to spread the message about this new way of living: When it comes to health, wellbeing and habit change, the health coaching plans that incorporate small healthy steps will have the most success in bringing big changes in the long term. We have a limited-time 360 Health-Workshop Package offering that we just brought back for the Spring. This package includes three one-hour health coaching sessions to be completed in six weeks. You must have a health goal in mind to sign up. This workshop is instructed using health coaching models, guided imagery, and other health and wellness planning materials and tools for self-assessment, customized goal setting, and action plans. During the 6-week period, you will be able to leave each session with goals to work on in between the sessions, reflect on learnings during the sessions, to set and practice new goals between sessions. At the end of the 3-session 6 week program, you will have decided on your one-year health goal and will create the backbone of your one-year health plan.
Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
There are so many wonderful things about our city of Orlando. One of my favorites is that it is constantly changing and evolving and open to new ideas. Well, this makes it a wonderful place to introduce those new ideas and trends. Especially when it comes to healthy living, organic foods, local farming and produce, sustainable living, Orlando has come a very long way in the past 13 years that my family has lived here. I can tell you that when we moved to Maitland from Laguna Beach, California, Orlando did not have half as many healthy living options or awareness on healthy lifestyle habits that it has now.
The wonderful aspect of a town that is constantly evolving and adapting to healthy trends is that it provides room for a health coach like myself to continue to create that awareness about all of the things we can do to look, feel and live better. Not only for us but also for everyone around us! The challenge about spreading awareness on health and wellbeing and its coaching roots from that same place that many people in town do not know much about what wellness really means, that it is not just lack of illness. It is a continuum. But I am up for the challenge! Once I have an audience and we start doing wellness awareness exercises, seeing the expressions on people’s faces, noticing their wheels turning is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
- $199 – 360 Health 3 One-Hour Sessions Workshop
- $450 – 3 Month Six One-Hour Sessions Package
- $75 – 1 Wheel of Health-Evaluation One-Hour Session
- Complimentary 1 45-minute Phone Session
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: orlandohealthcoach.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/healthcoachorlando/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/healthyhabitshealthcoach
Susan Torregrosa Alley Hassen