As an active Whole30 Certified Coach, blogger, recovering sugar addict, exercise physiologist, and a mom, Autumn Michaelis has her hands full. To kick off our Whole30 Coach Blog Spotlight, this Whole30 Coaching Coordinator graciously carved out time to share with Model Meals about her experience with Whole30 and the ability it has to transform lives through coaching and nutrition. Read more to get Autumn’s amazing insight about what to consider when looking for a Whole30 coach, if coaching is right for you, and so much more. Get ready to be inspired!
Share a little about your background and what got you interested in Whole30 and then becoming a coach.
My name is Autumn Michaelis, from Wholefoodfor7. I am a mom to five boys ages 6-14. I am a Certified Whole30 Coach, easy clean recipes for families food blogger, and I work for Whole30 as their Coaching Coordinator.
My background is actually in fitness - I have a degree in Exercise Science, am an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer, aerobics instructor and used to be a total gym rat. But, I realized I couldn’t outwork a bad diet and that nutrition was a bigger piece of my health than the gym than I ever could have thought.
Whole30 is a game changer - it has made me the best version of myself, including helping me overcome a sugar addiction. I had done 5-6 rounds personally and coached locally for 2 years when they announced the certification. It was a no brainer - everyone deserves to know how good they can feel through clean fuel!
Whole30 certified coaching is a relatively new thing. Tell us more about what being a Whole30 certified coach means!
Becoming a Whole30 Certified Coach is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am a part of a coaching family and tribe that is seeking to change lives by empowering them with tools and understanding about the foods we eat, and how it affects your body. The support, education, and opportunity to connect with like-minded people through becoming a coach is fantastic, as is the opportunity to have Whole30’s stamp of approval on you as a Certified Coach. Legally, being a Whole30 Certified Coaches means you are allowed to charge for leading someone through a Whole30.
How did you know you wanted to help others by being a coach?
It was a natural progression - I spent years throwing myself into trying to manage my sugar addiction. I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition and sugar. I was blown away by how much food could change when I tried a Whole30 - I feel like a bad infomercial every time, but it literally changed my sleep, mood, adult acne, seasonal allergies, energy, athletic performance, and more. Others noticed and wanted to know more. There is so much information out there about food - I wanted to help be a part of helping people understand it and find the right long term path for themselves.
How has Whole30 and being a Whole30 coach changed you and your family’s life?
I already addressed a lot of this personally, but after a few years (once I had it figured out to a solid level for myself), I felt very strongly about extending my clean eating lifestyle to my family. That was incredibly intimidating - I had five PICKY boys ages 5-13 who had been raised on goldfish and cold cereal. But, I stopped empowering my excuses and dove in. Our goal was to go gluten/dairy/and refined sugar free for a month. After a month, literally NONE of us wanted to go back and that’s been our family’s path since July 2017. You can read more about that journey on my blog post here and some answers to common questions about being a clean eating family here.
Before being a coach yourself, was there ever a time that you found yourself really wishing you had the support a Whole30 coach can offer someone?
Most definitely - I failed my first Whole30! I failed because I didn’t have any support and I didn’t use all the resources. I feared telling friends I was doing it because I didn’t want it to be public if I failed. I would have loved someone more experienced than me to help guide me through it and hold me accountable, as well as a coached support group helping me not feel alone in it all.
The Whole30 community is quickly growing. How do coaches play a role in spreading the positive health benefits of Whole30?
Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Headmistress, calls the coaches her “boots on the ground.” It’s been amazing to see this group of like-minded people who truly care about the health of others and the direction nutrition is headed come together and, little by little, change the direction of nutrition. We are putting our foot down and saying we are NOT ok with the Standard Diet and that we, YOU, deserve more, and that more is possible - even if you are a working parent, single young adult, have more years of life under your belt, have a large family. We are doing it and want to help you do it as well.
What are the advantages of investing in a Whole30 coach?
You don’t have to have a coach to be successful in your Whole30 - the program and so many resources are available on www.whole30.com, as well as in the program books. But, some people really want that targeted accountability, experience, group support, and guidance that come from a coach. There’s a really great set of “hiring a coach FAQs” on the Whole30 Coaching website here I recommend you read if you are considering it! I’ve coached over 800 participants through a Whole30 and a very large majority of them say hands down it is worth the cost.
As a coach yourself, what questions would you encourage someone thinking about seeking out a coach to ask themselves or a potential coach?
Take the time to look through our coaches here and find one who’s background and approach you connect with. What are your biggest challenges to completing this round of Whole30? Make sure you share those with a potential coach from the get-go. Are you synergized by being in a group or feel like you need the higher accountability of one-on-one coaching? And come ready to be honest and open to change. A coach can give you tools and accountability, but you have to be ready to pick those tools up and do the work!
What advice do you have for someone who’s ready to become a Whole30 coach?
Being a Whole30 coach is right for you if you are passionate about the Whole30 and really want to share that with others. Don’t wait until you are a “perfect” example - no one is perfect and other people will learn the most from your honest sharing of your imperfections.
Keep in mind, to apply you have to have completed at least 3 rounds of Whole30 (including 3 reintroductions) and have guided someone else through a Whole30. When you apply, make sure you let your passion for Whole30 come through! See here for more FAQs or don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with the Model Meals/Whole30 community?
If you are at all on the fence about doing a Whole30, I highly recommend you read It Starts With Food or at minimum start following Whole30 on Instagram. I absolutely love that Whole30 is based on whole, real foods and teaches you foundational skills like how to build your plate for success and step away from the scale and calorie counting. I literally get emails or DMs daily through my work for Whole30 of people saying how this program has changed their lives. It absolutely has done that for my family, and I am forever grateful.
If you are interested in talking more about clean eating for families, sugar addiction, getting easy clean recipes, and budget Whole30 - come hang out with me @wholefoodfor7 on Instagram or www.wholefoodfor7.com.