I was Ready for Change and Health Coaching Gave me the Support I Needed










I’ve had the same doctor since I was 19. I have 5 wonderful granddaughters now, so you can guess how long this doctor has known me, my habits and my condition. He knows I want to stay healthy as I age. So, when my A1-C stayed up around 6.7 for a while, and I didn’t really do much about it, my doctor started nudging me toward meds to keep my sugar in line. I absolutely didn’t want to go on meds unless it was absolutely necessary, and I was thinking about making some lifestyle changes, but I guess I wasn’t quite ready.

That nudge from my doctor may have been the final motivator because I finally decided to DO something.

I heard about Manatee’s health coaching and read a couple of testimonials like this one about Mirabai. It sounded like the kind of help and non-judgmental support I needed to get on track. So, I contacted her.

We talked about my issues, set some goals and together we came up with things I would actually do to reach those goals without going nuts and giving up. Health coaching helped me focus.

We also came up with gradual plan for exercise. We incorporated intervals of light cardio with short spurts of more intense cardio that helped me become more aerobically fit.

Mirabai introduced me to the Mediterranean way of eating and sent me information that showed me what it’s all about, what you should eat and what to avoid. She sent me healthy recipes that I could make to help empower me to stay with it. My husband was very supportive too.

I’m a cruncher and I used to eat late morning carbs like pop chips and rice cheddar snacks. But now I feel much better eating a hard-boiled egg, red peppers or celery with low fat sour cream dip. I’m happier having a few almonds or apple slices with natural peanut butter to keep me away from empty carbs and sugary snacks.

I had done weight watchers in the past, so I already knew how to read food labels and I went back to doing that and not eating the yucky stuff. I lost a few pounds and it felt good.

As for my A1-C, it came down too. And I didn’t have to go on meds to do it.

Health coaching has helped me become more conscious of what I was doing and helped me wake up and simply get back on track when would get off.

This process could have taken a year or more but Health coaching with Mirabai helped me get it done in 3 months. But I was ready. And that was the key for me. The help, information and lifestyle I needed and wanted were there waiting for me. But I had to be really ready.

So, if you’re really ready to make those changes. I would recommend Mirabai and health coaching for you.

 Mary Beth Tollise, Clerk’s Office

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Health coaching helped Juan stay on track, lose weight and stay focused









When I started health coaching with Mirabai I weighed in at 389.4lbs. In order to be eligible for Bariatric Surgery I had to lose 10% of my body weight.

It wasn’t easy. The hardest part was not seeing the instant results to reach my goal weight before surgery.

I lost quite a bit of weight up to that point and I was 10lbs away from my goal. But I was at a stand still and became frustrated that I wasn’t getting the results. During my next health coach session with Mirabai I told her that I am going to stop and leave the program. And said I don’t think this is going to happen. I am going to leave with what I have right now and try to keep this weight off. During that session we tried to figure out what was keeping me from my goal. We looked at everything; my food choices, my exercise routine, and my stress level. We figured out if I could eat a little more protein and little less carbs, use a combination of weights and cardio to keep my heart rate up and increase the duration for my workouts a little bit, I had a good chance of dropping that last 10 lbs.

I did it and it worked!

I had successful Bariatric surgery and I lost a total of 122lbs over the last year and half. I am now at 267lb and counting.

Mirabai and I are a good fit. She asks me what I am looking for, gives me resources, and researches information that can help me. I feel that Mirabai and I communicate well. She knows how to keep me focused and progressing, and she’s constantly giving me new input. You need it after surgery. You still have to find more ways and support.

  • I’m more active now outside of the house.
  • I’ve kept up playing basketball with my son.
  • As I lost the weight, I got more fit and ate better, healthier foods.
  • I have more energy to do many of the things that I couldn’t do before. 
  • Having the weight off helped me climb in and out of the truck, and my knees don’t hurt me any more.
  • I have more stamina.
  • I’m taking more responsibility at work.
  • I have more confidence in myself.
  • I feel and look better.

I would definitely recommend health coaching.

You need the support, dialog and resources. It is really hard to do it on my own. Outside the coaching box and talking person to person, it was more like talking to a friend who I trust. I am continuing to work with Mirabai and I am shooting for 250lb.

Testimonial by Juan Acevedo
YourChoice Health Plan Member

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Debby dropped 5 pant sizes and lowered A1C with help from her Health Coach









Debby dropped 5 pant sizes and lowered A1C with help from her Health Coach
Health Coaching has been a big help to me!
• I went from 212lbs to 135lbs.
• I went from size 18 jeans to size 8 and from XL shirts to medium shirts.
• I lowered my A1C and my total cholesterol which was a result of changing to a healthier diet and more active lifestyle combined with Bariatric surgery.
• I have more energy after my weight loss.
My health coach, Mirabai Holland, has been like a rock and has encouraged me to keep going and never to give up. I learned to take one step at a time and to accomplish a small goal every week instead of going all at once to get to my bigger goals. By taking little steps I eventually, over a year’s time, was able to change my behaviors, make them sustainable and achieve my goals.

I always looked forward to each session so I could tell Mirabai what I accomplished, and she would give me a pat on the back and encourage me to continue and make new short term goals. I tracked my food and exercise and every session we went over my nutrition. I was able to substitute healthier food choices and slowly changed my diet from empty sugars and carbs to lean protein and fresh fruits and veggies, adding more fiber to my diet.

After the first two weeks I gave up my diet sodas. It was rough, but eventually I didn’t miss it.

My coach gave me good suggestions and resources to help me learn and educate myself to make healthier choices. The method was brainstorming together each session with short term goals that led to long term behavior change combined with positive feedback and encouragement.

Talking to Mirabai made me not feel guilty if I didn’t meet the goal. We would change it, adapt it or give me more time to complete the goal.

I began to exercise slowly. Mirabai told me go slow and ease-in so we decided to start with easy slow walking. It took me an hour just to walk 1.5 miles 2-3x a week. I also added biking because I found at the beginning that it didn’t bother my knees as much as the walking. Eventually, Mirabai gave me a light strength exercise program using exercise bands. I now have progressed to walking with intervals of running 3.5 miles in 30 minutes, 7 days week. I also got on my roller blades, 2x a week 30-40 minutes.

Exercise at first was grueling and now its fun and when I don’t do it, I feel like something is missing. It has become an integral part of my daily life.

I measured the hanging flesh from the back of my arms. It was 3 inches after the Bariatic Surgery and now it is only 1.5 inches. Again, Mirabai came through over the last 3 months with upper arm exercises to help me tone up my arms and buttocks. The back of my arms look so much better; I am really pleased with the results.

Even after Bariatric surgery, I continued my health coaching sessions with Mirabai a month after the surgery. Over the last seven months I lost more weight and increased my exercise intensity, duration and frequency. Mirabai updated my exercise program to include strength training for those trouble spots like my upper arms, inner thighs and buttocks.

I am so empowered to embrace my weight loss and the new me.

Debby Farmer
Retired, Manatee Sheriff’s Office


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How Health Coaching and Mindfulness Helped Sharon Reduce Stress and Lower Her A1C









My wellness vision is to live a long and healthy life, but I struggle with managing my stress level. Mirabai has coached me on getting it under control.

I am learning how to react to stress in a more mindful way, which has led me to be more centered and balanced. Mirabai has helped me to step back, take time to think before I act, and set boundaries for things I do and don’t want to do. I realize it’s ok to say no to situations that cause stress. This has caused a positive change in my behavior.

For example, I lost someone very close to me and it had an impact on my health both physically and mentally. Plus, I am Diabetic and a stress eater. When I am stressed, I tend to reach out for the sugar, eat more and in less healthy manner than I should. Mirabai has given me tools to be more mindful of my eating habits. She helped me plan my meals instead of eating on impulse. For instance, now I take my lunch and am less likely to go out to eat or grab food that is less healthy with bigger portions. Now If I go out to lunch, I try to balance it and have a lighter dinner.

Another strategy that Mirabai suggested and really works well for me, is when you know you’re going out to eat, look up the restaurant’s menu online and choose a healthier option ahead of time. Doing this really took the pressure off going out to eat and I succeed in eating healthier.

In general, I have changed to eating more chicken, fish and less red meat. I eat more grains, beans, fresh veggies and fruits. I’m tracking my food, looking at my nutrients, and my calories. I’m keeping my saturated fats lower because of other health risk factors I have and I am learning how to be more vigilant about food so that I will lower my chances of getting other health problems.

My A1C went from Diabetic 7.0 to Pre-diabetic 6.2 in 5 months. I am still on meds but I think what made such a difference in my labs is the change to a better diet. Managing my stress and sticking with a regular exercise program have been particularly challenging.

This is still a journey for me but I feel better and I have more energy. I am concentrating on getting my life more in balance and Mirabai is a great resource to help me achieve this goal.

Mirabai and I are a good fit. I don’t feel I am being judged – I feel Mirabai is compassionate and listens to me. She realizes it’s not going be a quick fix. It’s more than eating better and losing weight, it’s all aspects of my life that impact my health. She also helps me look at my blood work, manage health issues and be more informed so I can ask the right questions of my health provider.

Health coaching has given me tools to help manage my stress, make better food choices, and encourage me to exercise more. I think health coaching has been so beneficial for me. It has enabled me to better my well being mentally and physically. I have recommended many people to do health coaching and continue to do so.

If you have health issues and need guidance, resources and support in a confidential environment, health coaching may be for you.

Sharon Tarman

Public Safety, EMS

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