Interview: Michelle Dinsdale, Health Coach

This is the first in a our series of interviews with health coaches who use WordPress for their websites.

These are 15 minute-ish interviews where we dive into the coach’s business, what they do, what they struggle with, and how their experience dealing with their website is.

This one is with Michelle Dinsdale, a health coach from Orange County, California who specializes in helping pre and post menopausal women. Her website can be found at:


Kevin: Okay. Well, Michelle, thanks so much for coming on and chatting with me today. It’s great to have you here.

Michelle: Oh, it’s always such a pleasure, Kevin. Thanks for having me.

Kevin: Yeah. Okay, I’m curious, what inspired you to become a health coach?

Michelle: I have always loved health and I’ve always loved movement, and ever since I graduated high school, I found it really difficult to hone in on one thing to do because I love dancing, I love teaching, I love educating, I love health.

I love training, I did a personal trainer certification. I think I’ve spent the last 30 years just bouncing around within the main industry, which would be the health and movement industry, but I really found it difficult to find a melting pot of all these different ingredients and the things that I love doing, and to just choose one and just focus on that.

Health coaching is such a great melting pot for me because I get to do everything that I love. I get to research, I get to work one on one with people because I love the connection.

I get to train some people and I get to help people on their health journey. There’s so many aspects in one big pot and I get to pull out all these different ingredients, just depending on what everybody or a specific person actually needs.

Michelle: I know it’s a pretty new career and it’s pretty much a big buzzword at the moment, but I don’t think a lot of people know what it entails and I think it’s different for every health coach.

For me it’s just, as I said, it’s a melting pot. I have a lot of experience with a lot of different things, and this is where I get to pull out the different cards, just depending on what a client would need.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m also a believer that we need health coaches. Doctors, while some of them are doing some amazing work, they’re just not enough. With the health coaches place. We definitely need more and people like you that are absolutely enthusiastic about it and are doing a great service for people.

Michelle: Yeah, I think doctors are starting to come on board because they’re becoming very frustrated, they don’t have the time to sit with someone for 40 minutes and explain lifestyle changes or factors to them.

I know one of the frustrations for them is they might sit with them and try and explain to them what they need to do in order to feel better, and the common complaint is that the patient comes back three months later and nothing has changed because they haven’t had anybody actually ally with them in the process and show them specifically what to do.

It’s a very overwhelming thing when you get told there’s something wrong with your health and you venture into the big, wide world and you don’t even know where to start.

Michelle: I believe health coaches become so…
we hold a lot of credit there. We get to ally with that person on their health journey and we get to find out what the motivation is to change, what they need to change, and we work with doctors to get them from point A to point B, which is where the doctors basically would like to see them.

Kevin: Yeah. Right. What is your specific area of focus?

Michelle: I started off just accepting anyone because I believe we need that experience, but I’ve zoned in on menopausal woman. Partly because I’m heading that way, I’m in there [inaudible 00:03:32], I’m heading that way, I am in that process myself. I came from a point of view where I’m really enthusiastic about it and my experience with friends and women my age is they’re just so scared, overwhelmed and negative about the process because there is so much negativity that surrounds menopause.

If you look at the memes, they’re very negative. It’s, “You’re going to be living with the bitch from hell.”

Michelle: So I’m trying to go in from a perspective to encourage women that is what they make it. If we decide to venture this journey with a very negative attitude from the get-go, it’s probably going to be a very negative experience.

But if we walk into the process and we’re in the best shape of our lives and we do absolutely everything we can from a lifestyle point of view, I’ve seen it, I believe that we get experience the lesser of the negative effects.

Michelle: My passion at the moment is just to help women embrace this journey as not something to dread but something to celebrate, because it is. There’s so many good advantages to being in this transitional part of our lives.

Just from working with a woman I have and sang the outcome, and just seeing them sort of develop more goals, becoming a lot healthier, dropping the weight, and becoming a little bit more informed about everything that’s out in the environment that can actually play havoc with our hormones, I love it.

I believe that is where I should be at this point in time. It might change as I get older, but for now I’m loving it.

I’m seeing the proof of the pudding and I’m really finding it really rewarding watching women just transform themselves into loving this part of the life instead of, as I said, just feeling so negative about it.

Michelle: So, menopausal women, hormonal problems, even with younger women, perimenopause, and then, again, post-menopause. That area.

Kevin: Awesome. How long have you been practicing as a health coach?

Michelle: I’ve been doing it for three years. I would say I’ve only sort of honed in on my niche probably in the last year and I’ve gone into studying that. Did a course on menopause at the Burrell Education in London. They’re one of the people who actually give a certification. So I’ve learned so much about hormones and all the factors that actually affect it. So, probably in the last year.

Kevin:  Okay, cool. What is the most rewarding part of what you do? If you have any examples, that would be great.

Michelle: I would say it is discovering somebody’s motivation. The funny thing is they basically know inherently what the motivation is but they can’t verbalize it. When you actually sit down with someone and you talk to them about what motivates them, what gets them out of bed in the morning, what is their purpose, once they discover that, they become so excited to live.

I believe that when discover what our purpose is, that’s when we find energy to actually go after it, and those purposes change during life. It’s just been so wonderful to see people actually realize what their motivation is and why they need to invest in their health and in different parts of their family or their nutrition, and just seeing it as a whole instead of just as a separate area. That, for me, has been the most rewarding, is just watching people find their motivation and then being so on track to just achieve it.

To see them actually achieve goals that they never, ever thought they would, that’s been fantastic.

Kevin: It’s funny. On a side note, that’s one of the things that I do with the Tri Swim Coach people, is get to your why, get to what’s motivating you here.

Michelle: Exactly. Yeah, because without it we’re never going to get to our goal. We won’t. I have found some clients who think they know what the motivation is, and if it’s not strong enough they kind of fall by the wayside. It’s just not all encompassing, it doesn’t create a fire in them to get there.

So we really work long and hard at finding the true motivation, because sometimes motivation isn’t what you think it is and sometimes it only really comes up in the second or the third session. But it’s one of the main things I work on because I know if we don’t have motivation we’re not going to get to the end goal, so that’s very, very important.

Kevin: Right. Are there any specific people that you’ve worked with that stand out as particularly rewarding?

Michelle: Yes. I had a really, really overweight woman who came from a divorced background, raising two children on your own and sort of reached out because she was in a funk. She just so desperately wanted to do things and she didn’t know how, she didn’t even know step one; “What do I do?”

She lost so much weight in the course of a year and she’s doing things that she never thought she would. She’s found true love again, she’s just a different person. Her whole outlook is so much more positive.

I know when she feels like she’s falling off the track, she kind of gets back onto some of the basic things we worked with. She’s been really special because it wasn’t a quick process and I just believe she put the time and the work in that she needed. Even though she fell down sometimes, she got right back up and she just stuck with the process. That’s been so wonderful to see.

Kevin: That’s awesome. I love those stories, people that come from a really low place and then are able to bring themselves up and live a much healthier and happier lifestyle.

Michelle: Oh, yeah. I’m sure you see that even with swimmers. People getting better, people who couldn’t swim and now they’re kind of getting these magnificent times in triathlon. That’s got to be so good as well.

Kevin: Yeah, for sure. Now, on the other side, what’s the most frustrating part of what you do?

Michelle: I would say it’s self-sabotage, and I would say everybody does it and I actually expect it in the process. In fact, I do warn them, round about session five when we’re starting to see a lot of positive things happen, it goes without saying that somebody’s going to do something that just jeopardizes it. We know it’s part of psychology, I know it’s going to happen, and for some people it’s worse than others. But it’s always that they fall down and they start self-sabotaging, and it takes a little bit of work to just get them over that hump.

But that is the most frustrating because you know you’re going to see progress up and to a point, and then inevitably they’ll self-sabotage. It’s really hard sometimes to get them over that hump.

They do, but it is work. I would say that’s my most frustrating factor, is actually helping people believe in the process when they fall down and they kind of start… they plateau or they’ll go and eat the cake when they know they shouldn’t eat the cake. I know it happens, I know the psychology behind it, but I find that really frustrating.

Kevin: Yeah, totally. I hear you.

Kevin: As far as the business goes, do you find any parts of running your own personal business… do you find any parts of that to be frustrating or not as rewarding as the actual coaching
you’re doing?

Michelle: Yes. I hate the technical side with a passion. I’m not a technical person. I’ve tried to self-teach myself. My worry is I put something out there that’s unprofessional or it doesn’t sell me for who I am. I don’t want to come across as being [inaudible 00:11:16], and I think that’s, for the most part, that’s a lot of health coaches’ problems. I think, as I said in the beginning, we come from a place of service, and I think we hate the marketing because it almost makes us look like we’re looking for the sale.

If we could do this for free, we probably would. It’s a problem because I think that’s how we sabotage ourselves. I don’t enjoy the marketing side. I love the social media side, I can do that, but when it comes to putting an online course or something that I want to present on a webinar, I self doubt and I actually become too scared to do it because I’m so worried it’s going to look terrible and there’s my reputation down the line. A lot of health coaches I’ve spoken to, that is definitely one of our pet peeves and our downfalls.

Kevin: Yeah. Have you brought any on any help with your business?

Michelle: I haven’t. The one course I’m doing kind of gives a breakdown into how to host a webinar, how to do this and how did it do that. My concern, too, is there are so many people doing the same thing as health coaches and I personally believe people are looking for connection, so I would love to be able to put something out there that conveys that.

Not as, “Hey, I’m going to have 10 people doing an online course and you don’t even need me there. You’re just going to run through the course yourself.” I have dabbled, I haven’t bought anybody professionally and I think you would be fantastic. I know you, I’ve seen your work, and I love that you’re delving into this side of the industry because we need you, big time.

Kevin: Thanks. As far as your website goes, how do you handle the maintenance aspect of it? Just the kind of little things that you need to be updating and making sure that things are running okay.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s frustrating because I hired someone to actually set up my website and it was a work person. This was maybe a year or two ago. She’s been great, but I don’t think this is her full-time work, so every time I give in a new blog, she’ll do it in her time, so it’s nothing that gets set up immediately. It’s not an urgent thing. I could probably be pressing her to be doing it a little bit more urgently, but I feel like I would love to be blogging a little bit more and having that work put up instantly.

She has offered to sort of give me a tuition in it. Trying to find the time between the two of us where we actually both have the time and the space to sit for a couple of hours [inaudible 00:13:48]. In all actual fact, Kevin, sitting down and thinking of going to tuition for work website is kind of nauseating. I know I need to do it, and I do believe we need to know about a little bit of the function at least so that we can do our own things.

Michelle: So that’s been a little bit frustrating. There’s so much more I feel like I could be doing with my website to get the word out there, and I’m not getting into that potential way enough.

Kevin: Yeah, that totally makes sense. Okay, great. Well, that’s really all I had. Now, what is your goal with your business in the next few years?

Michelle: I would love to be busier than I am. I am working with a doctor and there’s another PT, who’s actually moving into functional medicine, who’s really interested in having me work with him as well. My ideal would be to work with as many doctors as I can, and I think that’s going to be in the functional realm because a health coach, from their perspective, works very root-cause medicine, trying to find out where is the disease or where is everything stemming from rather than just band-aiding it.

Michelle: So my aim is to be working with a lot more functional practitioners in the future and to just expand my business. I believe so many people need help even though they don’t think I do, and I believe if we could be those people who actually step in and stop disease becoming a problem in the first place, we can change the world, especially as far as chronic disease is concerned and moving forward. I’m really hoping that people will see the value in using a health coach and I’m hoping that it just becomes that thing that you do.

I know, I think it’s Frank Lipman calls us the nurses of the wellness revolution, and believe we are. We just need to be known as those people and I think we need to build trust and get people to understand that we know a lot. We work a lot with lifestyle modification.

Kevin:  Okay. Well, let’s wrap it up there. Thanks, Michelle, for coming on and sharing all of your wisdom, that was awesome, and good luck with everything you’re doing.

Michelle: Thanks so much. You too.