0784 111 8162 david@sunlightmind.com

Lifestyle Coaching

What is Lifestyle Coaching?

My speciality is Holistic Lifestyle Coaching but what is that exactly?

You ever heard the phrase “You are what you eat” but you also are what you think, how you feel, what you drink, how you move, how you sleep, what you dream etc.

We can often be held back by poor habits, mental and physical health challenges, inconsistent routines, not to mention stress, burnout, anxiety to name just a few.

I address all these and any other unique challenges you may be facing over a 6-session Transformational Coaching package that will literally have you feel like an improved version of you, who you were born to be.

What is Lifestyle Coaching?

As a qualified Holistic Lifestyle Coach via the renowned CHEK Institute and qualifying with a Nutritional Diploma via the Health Sciences Academy, I realised that I needed a more holistic and balanced approach to improve my own life & food choices, health & wellbeing, especially listening to my own body and not being too strict with myself. After decades in Technology, I struggled with lower back pain, stress, chronic fatigue, irregular and unhealthy food choices, addictions etc and all of this training put me in a very good position to firstly help myself, and then other clients. I realised I needed to “Follow My Dream” which was to work on myself first and to help others achieve optimum health in all areas of life.

We can focus on diet, focus on exercise, focus on doing more of what makes us happy and also having downtime. However, for me personally, I realised I needed to have a balanced approach focusing on all these aspects and analysing where I could improve in each of these areas.

We all struggle in life, at different stages, to different degrees, with different aspects of life, health and commitment. Some of the more common issues I’ve helped people with over the years include -:

  • Chronic neck/shoulder/back pains
  • Digestion problems such as gas, indigestion or bloating.
  • General or chronic fatigue (especially post-Covid!)
  • Depression, anxiety, anger and mood swings
  • Weight gain, binge eating and food disorders/comfort eating
  • Frequent bouts with the flu or colds
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Toxic Relationship patterns
  • Grief and Depression
  • Constipation. digestive issues
  • Addictions and Poor Habits

The reason why I sought a solution and training in these various issues, is because I myself struggled with ALL of these at various times throughout my life and I wanted to help and support people that also had one or more of these similar challenges, based on my own experience, knowledge and healing.

I firmly believe the adage, “You are your first client.” And if I can do it, you can!

Common symptoms progress with long term stress, poor diet & lifestyle (over months and years):

How I “healed”

First things first, we are never truly “healed” – it’s often a lifetime and a daily challenge, but it’s awareness, commitment and consistency helps, don’t be scared!

When I completed my 2 year training via the CHEK institute a decade ago, I had resolved all these issues by following the methodology, combined with self-hypnosis, yoga etc, and saw with my test clients when first starting out, just how effective this approach is. It is not just dealing with the symptom(s), it’s delving deep into the underlying causes and working to bring more balance on a Holistic level to life. It’s also about being kind to ourselves on the journey, forgiving any slips and having the right support and healthy friends and habits in place to lift us back up.

Since this training I have quit my job in Technology, re-trained as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Coach and Yoga Teacher and applied these principals to my own life, which has radically, and dramatically improved as a result, so I know this s**t works, basically!

Of course, we all have setbacks in life, addictions, poor coping strategies, divorce, toxic people, bereavement, life challenges. However, if we know what works for us and can have the support we need from friends, family etc, we can get through these “life blips” as I call them.

From someone who has been through separation, divorce, lost both parents and had various health challenges through the years, I can empathise with whatever you may be struggling and in need of support for right now, wherever you are in life.

Some of the symptoms

In fact, in the face of chronic stress, our fight or flight system can have the following negative effects on our body-mind:

  • Radical swings in energy levels during the day as blood sugar levels change
  • Progressively reduced energy levels over the long term
  • Weight gain, including in particular the accumulation of fat around the middle in response to blood sugar fluctuations and hormonal stress
  • Low self-esteem caused by weight gain/body issues
  • Self-identity issues
  • Digestive troubles including gas and acid reflux
  • Chronic constipation, common to approximately 90% of people worldwide today
  • Strong, smelly body odour
  • Persistence of glucocorticoids and other stress hormones in the body trigger:
    – Chronic elevation of blood pressure and heart disease, not to mention elevated triglycerides (fats)
    – Weakened immune system – the more stressed out the body is, the more susceptible it is to colds or flus that go around

Enter the 4 Doctors -:

  • Dr Diet
  • Dr Quiet
  • Dr Happiness
  • Dr Movement

Lets dive into these into more detail and how I can help support you on your journey to better health, wellbeing, fitness and happiness.

Dr Diet

I’ve said before, “You are what you eat” and that is true, to an extent. Let me explain.

Dr. Diet provides the foundation for wellbeing. Food and drink dramatically affect our energy levels and our biochemical reality, which in turn influences our emotional and our mental reality.

I’ve seen over and over again that when the diet is deficient, there just isn’t enough energy or clarity of mind to initiate and sustain the changes needed for self-healing. Dr. Diet won’t necessarily guide everyone to eat the same foods. In fact, the kinds of foods and the proportions of those foods that are right for you may vary quite radically from your friends and loved ones. Dr. Diet gives you the information you need to make the right nutritional choices for your unique body.

In my coaching, we always start with an initial questionnaire which then also includes a 7-day food diary of a typical week so I can relate how you are feeling, how sleep is impacted, energy levels etc, compared to the foods you are eating, and at what intervals, snacking etc. For this to work it’s important to be as honest and upfront as possible as I also integrated hypnotherapy and mindfulness/relaxation techniques to help support you going forward, especially if there are any “bad” habits like lack of sufficient water, too much alcohol, sugar or inconsistent meal times. We look at all of this together and there is no judgement, just kindness, compassion and finding solutions together.

There is not 1 Rule to eating healthy

You are unique, what works for someone may not work for you, which is why I use a 7-day food diary and speak to you about what and how you feel most energised, and when you don’t and what you would like to change. It’s not just about coaching, often the subconscious makes the decision for us, and this is where I may use Hypnotherapy to empower you to make good choices and be free from habitual patterns around food.

If you want a doughnut, have a doughnut, but I will help you recognise whether it’s a habitual response, a craving or just rewarding yourself for being really good 80% of the time with your nutrition, because life is also about the pleasure and not restriction and self-judgement!

Dr Quiet

I have to be honest now, Dr Quiet is my favourite Doctor 🙂

I worked in Technology and an office environment for 30 years and trust me, it almost destroyed my soul! I had deadlines, I had targets and for the first 25 years I actually enjoyed what I did.

However, I herniated a disc at 35 which restricted my movement, my eyesight was shot by 35 years old, due to scaring at a screens all day. I was also eating crap food, too tired to cook, too much coffee, too much sugar. My joints and muscles were tight leading to shoulder and neck pain and I was generally miserable doing something that no longer excited or inspired me, working for “the man”. I lacked purpose and my health deteriorated.

When I discovered yoga and meditation, it all changed. I also started going to Pilates and Yoga at lunchtimes 2-4 times a week, started a 1-Year Mindfulness Teacher program, and learned how to meditate. That was the catalyst for change, it may not be yours, but we will find what works for you, together.


Let me say one thing about meditation. I don’t meditate sitting on a cushion every day! Sometimes my meditation is getting out in nature with the dogs and being present, regardless of the weather, cooking a healthy meal for my loved ones or just being present with a good book. You don’t have to sit and stare at your belly button, and I will find what works for you that you can integrate into your own life.

Walking – Underrated!

When I worked in Technology I learned to take walks during my break, round the block, setting up Mindfulness Walks and facilitating Mindfulness sessions and workshops at work, just walking down by the river, taking time to connect with nature. Sometimes all you need to do is walk, not sit at your desk with your sandwich, or going to an unhealthy lunch, maybe prepping your own healthy lunch and eating it in the park or in nature if you can. Fasting is a good thing to often avoid the post-lunchtime fatigue. That fatigue is telling you something. You were meant for more in this world than sitting at a desk, working for someone else, making yourself unhealthier. We will work together to find what “happiness” is for you, some of it starts with just walking more and avoiding doing what everyone else is doing. That is Dr Happiness though, and I’ll get to him shortly.

Sometimes Dr Quiet is simply doing what takes you out of the stress state, it could be painting, gardening, a warm bath, a spa day, walking the dogs and just noticing everything around you in full presence with your surroundings.

My Mindfulness walks and courses help with Dr Quiet, but only you know, intuitively what helps YOU to feel calm, and part of the coaching service is to help you realise that and utilise practices like meditation, breathwork etc.

Dr Happiness

When you aren’t living in accordance with your core values, the challenges you face are potentially harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As long as you continue to live this way your survival systems are going to be active, and as you now know, long-term activation of fight or flight is the source of much of the aches, pains and illnesses we humans suffer.

You can often tell when people aren’t living according to their values because they’ll suffer from some combination of:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Pimples or redness in face
  • Nervousness
  • Poor sleep
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck/shoulder pains
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentrationEach of these can be traced back to the chronic activation of our survival systems due to lifestyle choices that now cause us stress.

I enjoyed about 90% of the time I worked in Technology. I was creative, had fun working colleagues, but sometimes your heart and spirit knows it needs a change. What are the changes you want to implement in your own life? We will work together to find tools and strategies to uncover your deepest desires. Maybe, like me it’s travelling more, so when I was offered redundancy from my job in I.T. I snapped at it and volunteered around the world and took yoga, mindfulness and Qi Gong training in the UK and abroad. As an introvert it was mostly outside my comfort zone, but my comfort zone expanded as a result of viewing all these things as “experiments” and I met some amazing people and realised I had to change my lifestyle and how I wanted to be living each and every day.

After my father died when I was in my 30’s and later when my mum died after months of caring for her and sorting out her probate and possessions, I was reminded of the phrase “Don’t die with the music still in you” – Grief is hard, especially when you witness death first hand but it is also a wake up call. We get one go at this thing called life, and we have to do what makes us happy, each and every day. We will uncover all of that and I can help you heal and come to terms with the grieving process.

Dr Movement

How do you move? When I was working in an office I used to avoid the lift, and take the stairs, even doing so instead of standing in the coffee area. I would walk to Pilates & Yoga classes at lunchtime, what can you integrated into, and around, your working life? When I attended a few yoga classes I had realised I wanted to deepend my practice so I trained to be a Kundalini and Yin Yoga teacher over a period of a few years. When I was caring for my dying mother, the movement and the meditative benefits from yoga helped me so much and that combined with going to the gym regularly to increase my strength helped me so much. What works for you? We will work together to see what kind of movement works for you, what do you enjoy, maybe there is a sport you loved to play as a kid that you’ve lost touch with, maybe it’s running, or cycling?

There is a key concept with Dr Movement, you need to balance “working out” with “working in”.

Working In

If your body is already drained of energy and displaying various kinds of symptoms, adding vigorous exercise will more than likely add further stress. Think of it this way. A workout quite literally works the resources right out of your body! So a visit to the gym may be doing you more harm than good. The main effect of the exercises in a work-in routine is that they cultivate more energy than they expend, leaving enough energy to stimulate and fortify your healing processes. Some examples:

  1. Mindful Walking: Mindful walking is a very easy, beautiful, effective work-in technique. Simply commit yourself to 20-30 minutes a day (up to one hour is fine) of walking slowly in a relaxed manner. To get the tempo of your slow walking right, I suggest you do it immediately after a full meal. When your pace is right, you will feel that your digestion is being supported and you will not feel uncomfortable at all as you walk. While walking, dump the mind. Simply listening to nature sounds can be very healing. I trained for a year to be a Mindfulness Teacher with Youth Mindfulness in Glasgow and was inspired to setup regular Mindful walks to share the benefits with others. These will be starting up again soon in 2024 in Paisley, Glasgow and East Lothian on a regular basis. Check out the Mindfulness page for more information.
  2. Natural Breathing Squats: Pumping the body is essential to good circulation, digestion and elimination, but also important to do it at a pace that enables you to breathe regularly and slowly.
  3. Stretching: Stretching is a lovely, gentle and effective way to balance the body and improve posture, while at the same time cultivating energy. By stretching the tight muscles of your body you’ll immediately start improving your posture.
  4. Tai Chi or Qigong: Either of these ancient forms of exercise has been shown to be very effective at lowering stress levels and increasing vitality in the body-mind. I trained for a month with Body & Mind Healing in Qi Gong in Thailand in 2018 after feeling burned out from my career in Technology, and that combined with Mindful walking was of greatest benefit to me.
  5. Yoga: Yoga has been shown to relieve stress and restore optimal vitality for millenniums and is now a very popular practice. Not all yoga is the same though. You’ll do best with Hatha, Yin and restorative types of yoga. This soothing practice offers you the opportunity to leave your stress behind so that you feel nourished and well rested. After my mum died and I was grieving, stressing over sorting out her estate and arranging over her funeral, my partner Nicola and I trained to be Yin Yoga teachers with the awesome Gem Maryan Yoga in Glasgow as well as completing a 1-Year training in Kundalini Yoga through the Sahej Academy. These regular practices have made a massive difference to my overall health and enabled me to have the energy and vitality to start working out in the gym again. I’ll be starting up regular Kundalini and Yin yoga classes in the 2nd half of 2024 and organising retreats in 2025.
  6. Zone Exercises: Try any of the energizing Zone Exercises found in Paul Chek’s book, How to Eat, Move & Be Healthy! (p.104-116). Each of these work-in exercises will help channel energy to a specific zone of your body, related to Chakra points. Try them all and choose your favorites. The ones I tend to come back to are those based around Qi Gong and I share these with clients.

I recommend a daily commitment of 20-30 minutes of working-in. You can do work-in exercises during breaks at work or when your mind is tired. As you work-in, you will notice one or more of the following changes:

  • Your body feels better and better day after day
  • Your body tone improves
  • Your energy improves
  • Your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate all typically move toward optimal rhythmic harmony
  • Your moods level out and you feel more emotionally capable
  • Sleep deepens, becoming more restful
  • Your mental functions improve
  • You start looking younger and younger!

When your body feels good and you have a natural desire to go to the next level, feel free to use the work out resources I describe below. Don’t rush to work out until your cup runneth over with energy. Your body needs all the work-in energy you can cultivate in order to transform it into body-mind vitality before you spend it otherwise.
This may be the most important piece of advice that Dr. Movement offers you.

Working Out

Once you’re ready to workout, I suggest that you consider the following:

  1. Intensity is often better than duration. The most important tip I can give anyone, particularly anyone over age of forty, is to lift weights. This is because, on average, your body loses a pound of muscle every year after the age of forty. Starting around this age, the body’s ability to produce sex hormones, or androgens, begins to slow down. This leads to a loss of sex drive and a loss of muscle mass and strength, and increase of poor muscle tone and weight gain.
    Resistance training sessions of 30-45 minutes three times a week can do amazing things for your body and your mind. You can put muscle mass on, helping keep your body lean and aiding your ability to enjoy food since resistance training is the very best for stimulating your metabolism. For people age forty and older, resistance training also helps to balance the hormonal system. I’m fortunate to live 5 mins walk from Pure Gym in Paisley and also that one of my friends Steph Green is a certified P.T. there who has competed in Body Building tournaments, is also a qualified Yoga Teacher and and offers private coaching 4 times a month for me, alongside my own training, as it’s important to work out with intensity and correct form.
  2. Take up a sporting activity such as golf, tennis or anything that requires a regular commitment to moving and exercising your body.
  3. Choose to do some hard physical work. Maybe you have gardening or landscaping projects that you’ve been putting off. Why not make them your daily workout routine! I added a bit of adventure to my exercise by taking regularly volunteering projects including manual labour at an organic farm in Spain, a project in Italy to rebuild a house and farm work, all via Workaway. I also took part in challenges with Discover Adventure including hiking Ben Nevis and the Great Wall of China, raising over £4000 for children’s charity Barnardos. What can you do to be active and make it fun, by combining interests and having a sense of accomplishment and making a difference in the world.
  4. Walk briskly for a good 20-40 minutes several times a week. Walking on trails is best because natural settings give the body more variety of stimulation. If you choose this method, really go for it. Get out there and put someeffort into it. Generally, holding a pace of 3 mph is a good
    effort for someone without any orthopedic or cardiovascular restrictions. For me it’s walking 2 big black labs out in nature each day at a pace that suits both them and me. You can also work-in by taking more mindful walks for half the duration of the dog walk.
  5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Find a high-rise building and walk flights of stairs two or three times a week, which should be put between the less intense sessions of your other forms of exercise. Start out with 10:00 minutes of stair climbing and add a couple minutes every other workout, or progress faster if you are able to do so without making yourself too sore. Again though, really go for it. Dawdling around on the stairs is just a waste of time so if you’re going to do it, really do it!
  6. Ride a bicycle. In Scandinavia and other parts of the world, you see people riding bicycles everywhere, even when it’s cold and rainy, and these people are very healthy in general. Have some fun on your bike. If you want a good little workout, try this:
    Warm up with ten minutes of easy riding. Next, ride as hard as you comfortably can for one minute and then ride easy until your heart rate drops down to 135 and then ramp-up again. Repeat this ten times at about 85-90% of your maximum possible effort, and you’ll get a workout
    that affects your body much like lifting weights will. Give yourself several minutes of cool-down riding to bring your heart rate and core temperature down too.
  7. Get a Swiss Ball! The Swiss ball is a fantastic, simple way to workout. Today, there are many videos on YouTube on how to do it.

Each of Dr. Movement’s recommendations above offers you great ways to get the movement you need to build muscle and pump the body to stay fit. Just remember that as work outs, each of these exercises depletes the body of energy, so you’ll need to provide yourself with as much energy as you can by eating right, drinking water, getting sleep, working-in regularly and taking time to relax and enjoy your life. It’s all about balance and I cover all of this and more in my 6-session transformation Health Coaching program.

Please Note: Cost per session is £33 and Total Cost for the whole 6 sessions is £198. Book your 6 sessions weekly or fortnightly, whenever is convenient. All sessions must be booked in advance.


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