Our interview series continues with Maksym Dziarmaga, a health coach who left the corporate job in order to start Healtherprise and focus on his passion for nutrition and balanced lifestyle. We asked Maksym to share his journey with our readers.
First of all, why did you choose to become a health coach and how did it all happen?
Since the beginning of my career, I worked in recruitment sector in many different companies. I learned a lot about people, work relationships and the reality of the corporate world. I have noticed many patterns and ways people behave and interact in different situations. At some point, I realised how work, relationships and the foods we eat interchangeably affect one another and came to the conclusion that with that knowledge and my love for cooking, nutrition and a balanced lifestyle, I can help people on a larger scale – a health-coaching scale.
I decided to act fast. I was determined to make a change and move things around when I learned that there is a profession of a Health Coach that embodies all the things I would love to help people with. Assist everybody who needs genuine attention and make people see how balance in all aspects of life is crucial to be truly happy, as a whole.
I have created Healtherprise to live my dream of entrepreneurship and to make a difference to the world we live in now. After graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition based in New York, I set up my business hoping to promote healthy, but more importantly a bio-individual lifestyle.
Tell us more about Healtherprise – what kind of services do you offer?
Healtherprise is a multidimensional business that offers holistic health coaching programs applying the rule of bio-individuality. Bio-individuality means building dietary support based on clients’ individual response to certain food groups, environment, ancestry and generational eating habits. In other words, I listen to my clients and together we try to align their eating habits with other aspects of their life such as career, social life, finances, spirituality, physical activity, etc. I help discover and solve potential issues that undoubtedly influence their relationship with food. I support my clients with cravings, insomnia, home environment, career change, etc. always remembering the importance and impact of balanced meals. For example, you may eat everything and feel fine in your stomach, but you might have a food intolerance that manifests in fatigue, headaches, bad mood, skin problems etc. Hardly anyone would link those ailments with food. At Healtherprise I look at my clients holistically – that’s the only way. I always start with the first free-of-charge session to determine how (or if) I can help a potential client during which we discuss the general health condition. That session is extremely revealing as I often discover that emotional eating is linked to something much deeper. Moreover, I offer group corporate sessions and webinars, cooking classes and soirées, such as a Friday evenings with friends where we cook plant-based dinners or prepare healthy and nutritious tapas.
This is a fairly new concept in Europe but on the other hand, there has been a steady growth in the number of different types of “coaches” lately. What makes you different?
That’s a very good question. I think that the biggest difference is that I am truly there to help people transform on their own terms. It’s not a therapy because we focus on the now. It’s not a nutritionist appointment as I don’t just give meal plans and it’s not a life coaching session as I strongly link food and the relationship we have with it to emotions and life situations, and I guide people to take control of that. As a part of my program, I offer groceries shopping and pantry makeovers to show my clients that kitchen and cooking are not as scary as they seem. I like to use a metaphor: Imagine I give you a plane. That would be awesome, right? However, are you able to fly it? Most probably not and that is exactly the difference I offer compared to other helpers. I not only give you the plane, but I also sit next to you guiding you step by step until you feel ready and comfortable to fly it on your own. On top of that, since I worked in the corporate world, I can relate very well to those who struggle with balanced eating in the context of a 9-5 job, which is often stressful, emotionally draining and challenging.
What do you think about living in Brussels? Do people have mostly healthy habits and are they aware of the importance of integrative nutrition?
I love living in Brussels and I consider it home at this point. I think the city has an enormous potential to accommodate the dietary needs of its people, both in terms of groceries and eating out. Sadly, integrative nutrition is still pretty unknown, although the concept of integrative medicine is gaining lots of attention these days. When it comes to healthy habits, I think people in Brussels still have lots of misconceptions about certain foods and dietary paths such as “meat is unhealthy” or “being vegan is always the best option”. Those might be true, but it depends on so many factors and that’s why looking at it holistically is the only way. In nutrition nothing is black and white and listening to your body is the key.
Any quick nutrition tips that our readers can apply in their daily lives?
Eat vegetables! Sounds simple but surprisingly, lots of people still have a problem with that. Use online tools such as “Healthy Eating Plate” to learn about the recommended amount of proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies and fats per day. Also, avoid sugar at all cost – it is addictive and besides a moment of pleasure, it has no positive effect on our health. I know people must be mad at me right now, but I have good news – moderate consumption of fruits is more than advised. The last tip I could give is that when you read labels on different products and you can’t pronounce or read some of the ingredients, it might be a sign that this food is highly processed; therefore, we better stay away from it. I also strongly recommend food journaling where you register what you eat for at least two weeks and note down how you felt both emotionally before eating it and physically after. Trust me, things you discover yourself will be eye-opening.
Your favourite places in Brussels? Things you love or would like to change in the city?
I love small markets such as the one in Parvis St. Pierre every Sunday. I also think there are plenty of cute and tasty places in Place Chatelain. What I particularly appreciate about Brussels is that it is so amazingly communicated both within the city itself but also internationally. The only thing I’d change is definitely the driving culture – I have been living here for a few years now and I am still astonished when I see a car stopped in the middle of the street just because the driver had to “quickly” go and buy bread or chat with someone. In terms of food, if more places offered exact info about the number of calories and macronutrients in their meals, that would be a blast. More and more people monitor those and if they are under a certain dietary regimen, they could easily go out without breaking the diet.
How does your business work in those difficult times? Do you offer online alternative to live sessions?
That’s the beauty of this job. Regardless of pandemics, it is perfectly okay to sign up for any program and have your sessions online or over the phone. I personally prefer them with the camera. It adds a personal touch and it is easier to understand the emotions, but it is absolutely up to the client. An amazing thing is also that I provide programs to people all around the world, so this allows everyone to adjust their agendas to their preference. For corporate programs, webinars and online workshops are amazing. And for the soirees, you can gather with your friends and we can always cook dinner or snacks together, without leaving your own kitchen.
To get more info & contact Maksym, visit Healtherprise website.