Health Coaching

Taking Care of Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

"Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings.”  
   Pubilius Syrus, 1st century BC

What is a sure way to improve the quality of your life?   
*Take the best possible care of your health*

Everything we do impacts our health and our health impacts everything we do.

I coach from an integrated perspective because all the parts of our lives affect each other.  What we eat and how we sleep affects our energy.  Our energy affects how we think.  What we think affects our moods.  We are whole beings, we don’t live in parts.  There’s a direct connection between quality of life and physical health.  Taking proactive care of ourselves in the important areas not only saves time and medical expense later, but affords us better quality of life.

Gail told me that she wanted to get a new job.  She dreaded her daily commute which took one hour each way.  By the time she got home she was exhausted.  She didn’t have the energy or attention to research new employment.  Meanwhile, another goal was to meditate and do yoga.  From our work, she agreed to take a yoga class one day a week at lunch time.  In addition, she promised to do five minutes of meditation or yoga immediately upon arriving home after work each day.  (If she felt like doing more, perfect, but her commitment was five minutes.)  Then she created a list of small ways to refresh her energy during the day on the job.  She came to understand that until she addressed her worn out condition, she wouldn’t have the physical energy or mental drive to pursue a new line of work.  The result was that within two weeks of implementing these self-care strategies, she felt rejuvenated and was highly motivated to dive into her job search.

What is Integrative Health Coaching?

We begin where you are now. What are you willing to focus on at this time? Oddly enough, what you "should" focus on might not be where your energy or attention is at this point. But if you choose a goal that you are interested in and move forward on that, it’s likely that you will open new brain pathways, and then move more easily toward working on areas that in the past have been challenging for you.

Do you:

  • Want to lose weight?
  • Want to feel better about your body?
  • Want to begin or increase exercising?
  • Know what you “should” do to take care of yourself, but feel guilty about not doing it?
  • Have self-defeating thoughts or behaviors that undermine your progress?
  • Feel caught in stress reactions which you don't know how to manage?
  • Want to lower your blood pressure or reduce your cholesterol?
  • Want to protect yourself against genetic risk factors?
  • Want to manage a specific health concern?
  • Need to figure out what to focus on first, and feel you'd benefit from having specific health goals?
  • Need to discover what truly nourishes you?
  • Wish you had someone who would accompany you and help to figure out the right health regimen for you?

If moving forward in any of these areas is challenging for you, it's very likely that I can help you get on track and into a good, restorative and energizing health routine.

"I lost 100 lbs in eight months in 2004, it’s still off, and I could not have done this without Andrea Shaw: She was a fabulous coach for me. Our work gave me the foundation I needed to take care of myself for life..."   Read more

If you think about the main parts of your life like the sections of a wheel, as for example in this Wheel of Health created by Duke Integrative Medicine:

Can you see that when one or more parts is out of balance, in some way that is going to affect all the other areas, and the ride on your wheel is going to be bumpy?  Plus, there may be other areas, for example, finances or time management, that are challenging.

“My doctor woke me up.   To live a long life, I had to lose weight.  But working with Andrea showed me the way.  And I got there! She was by my side every ‘pound of the way’.  That was truly a gift.”  Roberta Taylor, Arizona


If your health and self care aren’t where you’d like them to be, don’t despair, it can be challenging to shift habits and behaviors that you’ve had for a long time.  Some great ways to begin making changes are by:

1. Taking Small Steps: Focus on steps that are the right size and content for you at this time.

  • Taking very small steps to get started helps build momentum, and you can see results quickly. This is an ideal way to reactivate hope, recharge your energy, and create a new habit.  A small step is better than no step!

2. Connecting your actions to things you deeply care about

  • Perhaps you need to lose weight, but you’re having a tough time staying with your program.  Think about what’s very important to you, and ideally outside of the realm of “You should lose weight for health reasons.” That’s true, but that logical approach hasn’t helped so far.  But do you have grandchildren you love and want to watch grow up?  Is there a sports competition you’d like to qualify for?  Is there a trip you’d like to take, but you feel self-conscious because of the extra weight?

3. Getting a partner.  This is often where I come in.

  • Do you have someone on your side, helping you clarify what you want and what’s getting in the way?  Being accompanied can make a tremendous difference.  Also, being accountable to a friend or coach who keeps their eye on your goals and wishes provides unique support.

Professional Background

  • I’ve been interested in the best health and wellness approaches for twenty-five years.
  • In 2002, I joined the Health Coaching team at Duke Integrative Medicine, as one of the four first coaches in the department.  We began with a randomized, controlled study of participants at moderate risk for coronary heart disease (CHD).  The result of that ten-month study showed decrease risk for CHD.
  • Starting in 2007, I was one of three co-creators of the Integrative Health Coach Professional Training Program (IHCPT).  I’m a Duke Certified Integrative Health Coach, a trainer in the Integrative Health Coach Professional Training, as well as a supervisor and trainer in the Integrative Health Coach Certification Program.