CINCINNATI -- At 26, former dancer Lindsey Armor felt unhealthy, stressed out and disconnected.
Years of body image issues, unhealthy habits and extreme diet and exercise had taken their toll.
"Once I retired from dancing, I realized I had basically wrecked my body," Armor said.
In a world where there's a pill to treat just about any ailment, she could have sought out a prescription drug (or two) to help relieve her symptoms. Instead, she decided to treat the root cause of those issues and turned to yoga, meditation and integrative nutrition.
That was in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and Armor describes herself as healthy, balanced and full of self-love.
That wellness journey and deep exploration of what she calls "radical self-care" transformed her life, her relationship with her body and her career path.
Armor left her job in the performing arts arena to become a certified integrative health coach. Today, she shares her passion for healthy, balanced living and aims to help others find "a similar space of well-being" through her business, Nourish Cincinnati.
"Nourish blossomed out of my own experience," Armor said. "I wanted to empower people to reach their own wellness goals."
Integrative health focuses on the whole person and not just their symptoms: Stress management, mindfulness, nutrition counseling, meditation, gentle movement and practices like yoga are all part of the plan, according to Armor.
As more people seek a more holistic approach to health care and wellness, integrative health coaching has grown into a more than $34 billion dollar industry, she said.
"People are tired of the traditional approach that simply focuses on the symptoms rather than the root cause of their issues," Armor explained.
Holly Cohill of Covedale knows that approach to health is sometimes merely a short-term fix.
Looking for something more, she turned to Armor for help nearly a year ago.
"For me, it was pretty simple. I wanted to learn to take better care of myself," she said. "I needed to learn to concentrate on me without feeling guilty about it."
After struggling for years, Cohill says a more integrated approach has finally helped her to overcome self-esteem issues and learn lasting strategies for better managing stress and her weight.
"Traditionally, when you see a doctor for something like weight loss, the first course of action is a strict diet plan or medication or even weight-loss surgery, but that doesn't get to the real root of the problem," she said. "I knew a more holistic, integrated route would be better for me."
Like Cohill, most people will have more success reaching their weight loss goals if they focus more on overall wellness and less on restrictive diets and strenuous exercise plans, Armor said.
The reason: For sustainable weight loss, shedding pounds is not enough.
"You have to discover the 'why' behind it," Armor said.
Integrated health coaching helps guide people on the journey to find the 'why' behind their wellness goals as they develop a new awareness of their body, stress triggers and their relationship with food and exercise, she said. They also explore how all areas of our lives, including their job and relationships, could be affecting their success.
Armor helps them come up with a game plan and offers support along the way.
She sees clients individually and hosts group sessions. She also conducts workshops for large groups, including an upcoming weight loss workshop April 30 at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center.
Although she sees clients from all walks of life who are all working on different wellness goals, there is at least one piece of advice she shares with everyone: Slow down, and always practice self-kindness and self-care.
"You have to keep it positive. Sustainable change happens with baby steps," Armor said. "It's a lifelong journey."