The Mind-Body Shift

Certified Holistic Health Coach Renee Canada
In my early years living with chronic illness, I remember feeling so very alone. As I began to share my story, I realized how many other women and men were out there who, like me, faced challenging diseases that lacked a cure or clear-cut treatments, had differing levels of severity, and distinct periods of remissions and relapses, and  frequently baffled even the best of physicians  in both diagnosing and managing disease.

For those of us living with these conditions, whether lupus, dystonia, Crohn’s, Celiac, Lyme or thyroid disease—our careers, our finances, our interpersonal relationships and most importantly, our relationships with our bodies and how we feel about inner selves inevitably will begin to suffer at some point under the weight of heavy baggage we carry on the bumpy roads we travel.

Our doctors are there to offer us a diagnosis, if we are lucky. They offer potential treatments—drugs that mask symptoms or keep disease from further progressing. Sometimes these treatments even save lives. But for many of us living with chronic disease, these serious, and often toxic treatments, just seem to put us in limbo for as long as we take the drugs and maybe a little longer afterward.

We are lucky to get 15 to 30 minutes of one-on-one time with our doctor to discuss lab results, ask questions, share concerns and discuss any latest research or findings. Even the best of doctors lack the time and ability to truly counsel or guide us in between visits. Consequently, we’ve all had to become our own health advocates along the way. But the great news is that you don’t have to go on this journey along. You can do it with someone who has shared your present struggles, who is there to support, encourage and inform you every step of the way.

I too am a survivor of chronic, debilitating disease. Over the years, I have been challenged while learning the steps necessary for finding and embarking on the path toward wellness. Through personal experience, mentors and my education in public health, positive psychology, nutritional therapy, health coaching, Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, I have learned the keys to stay motivated on the journey toward healing. As your health and lifestyle coach, let me help guide you back down the road to good health, happiness and success.

Living in limbo is no way to live your life. So many of us just want to find any way to feel some kind of control over our health, to have a positive outlook and clear direction to move forward in our daily lives. Yes, we have a condition, but the condition does not have us. We are not our condition—we are ever so much more!


I have discovered firsthand the invaluable role a nutritious diet, consistent exercise, radical self-care, work-life balance , a strong support system and a healthy state of mind and play in maintaining optimal health. Over the years of living with autoimmune disease, I learned to navigate Western medicine and the U.S. healthcare system largely on my own, supplementing my own research with graduate work in public health at the University of Connecticut. In addition to conventional Western medicine, I have studied alternative and complementary medicine, including training in yoga, Ayurvedic medicine and expressive arts therapy as a creativity coach at Hartford Hospital.

I received a certification as an integrative nutrition health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I was trained in more than 100 dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle management techniques and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Dr. Deepak Chopra, leader in the field of mind-body medicine; Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center; Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University and Geneen Roth, bestselling author and expert on emotional eating.

Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences and goals. Some of the techniques I use with my clients include:

• Practicing mindful—not absent-minded—eating

• Identifying and treating the underlying causes to food cravings

• Developing a positive body image and strengthening self-esteem

• Building the muscle of willpower and learning the art of saying no

I also share my knowledge of autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disease, environmental allergies, food allergies/sensitivities and more with my clients.

Learn more about my training and my unique approach to health coaching here.