My Life as an Eating Psychology Coach: Lena Degtyar
What made you want to become an Eating Psychology Coach?
I have been interested in personal growth since I accidentally ended up attending a Mind-Body Awareness group when I was 24. I have been going to that group for nearly two years and it made me appreciate the power of psychology and how it can contribute to building healthier communication and relationships. Six years later, when I moved to a different country, due to stress, I started overeating and weight became an issue for the first time in my life. Of course I resorted to dieting and it messed up my metabolism and my mind. After obsessing with sports and food I joined yet another weight loss program. I could see straight away that what they were offering is a very restrictive and non-scientific approach. I called them on it and they were so open to criticism that they offered me to become a part of their team. I have been the chief of their scientific division for the past two years. But I got less and less interested in what is the “right” and the “wrong” food, I wanted to look at the bigger picture. Coaching was always my passion and being able to combine it with nutrition and psychology seemed like a perfect match.
What do you love about being an Eating Psychology Coach?
I can help people become better versions of themselves. Being an Eating Psychology Coach is giving them hope that they can leave the vicious circle of dieting and hating themselves. I hope that by simply listening to them, using my intuition and giving them some interpretation of what is really going on will help them find their own way. One of my favorite authors, Irvine Yalom, said “The purpose of psychology is not showing people the way, it is removing obstacles so they can simply follow it”. This is how I look at it.
What does your practice look like?
Since I am one of the leaders in a big organization primarily focused on nutrition and exercise, I can bring new programs to the table where we discuss other aspects of life, making the programs more wholesome. Some of the tools I have acquired I share with our consultants, but mostly I apply them into new programs. Most of our programs are conducted online allowing us to reach as many people as possible. I take on some one-on-one clients too. Those I either see in person or do a Skype session.
How did your education at the Institute prepare you to work successfully with clients?
The whole learning process was one big “aha” moment. I couldn’t stop thinking how unbelievable it was to hear ideas that are completely aligned with my views on the subject. I loved the practicality of it, the usability of the information and the structure. It was lots of psychology given in the simplest of forms possible. The most important part of it was setting the right intention mixed with the appropriate knowledge.
What was your favorite aspect of the Training?
I was so happy to be able to download audio version of the lectures. This was the only way I could learn. Given my busy schedule I had to make use of “dead” time like going for a run or biking from one place to another. I travelled a lot during the time of the Training and I could listen to lectures during long flights and in between. Only later on I have organized the material in the proper form on my computer. I also loved the interaction on the Facebook page. That interaction made me feel like a part of a bigger community of like-minded people.
How has being an Eating Psychology Coach impacted your professional life/financial well-being?
Professionally I am now able to put together programs that will become part of our normal curriculum, which eventually will affect my financial status. I am now in the process of setting up a Center for Psychological Literacy that will offer programs on personal growth and food-related issues. The money will be a nice bonus, but I try to focus on the journey itself.
How has being an Eating Psychology Coach impacted you personally?
Couldn’t say right away, but it must have. Everything we experience in life changes us. We live, we learn.
What do you see for yourself in your future as an Eating Psychology Coach – where is your work evolving towards?
I will continue putting together programs and coaching people. Maybe one day I will set up a program for wellness-coaches. I’d like to gear towards maintaining health rather than fighting disease. Part of it is being a happy person, being free from mostly mental constraints, those we put around ourselves.
Why Would You Recommend the Training to Others?
If you are open to alternative ideas about how to get healthier attitudes towards food and body, then this is definitely the place. The things taught at the Training are so obvious that you are constantly surprised they are not part of school curriculum. They can definitely be life changing for some people.
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you figure out why you want to become one, the real reasons, just follow that dream, you never know where it will take you.
NAME: Lena Degtyar
BUSINESS: Chief of Scientific Division in a nutrition and fitness company called Sekta
BIO: My name is Lena Degtyar and I am a scientist by training. I have a PhD in Life Sciences, but I left a scientific career to become a nutritionist and an Eating Psychology Coach. I am Chief of Scientific Division in a nutrition and fitness company called Sekta (sektaschool.ru). I am also now setting up a Center for Nutrition and Psychology (zozh_psychology.ru) that will primarily focus on improving people’s psychological literacy around food, body and life. We will be all about holistic approach.
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