Brook Harmon, PhD, RDN
I have been in the world of diet and physical activity behavior change research and academia for over 16 years. A few years ago, I started asking myself what I like and do not like about being a tenure-track professor.
Likes: Mentoring students through career decisions, Guiding individuals as they learn healthier lifestyle behaviors to reduce stress, eat healthier, and become more active; Helping communities address their health needs; Traveling and learning; The structure and attention to detail required in research; The freedom to work outside a 9-5 schedule.
Dislikes: The bureaucracy of higher education; The publish or perish edict; Writing grants that are never funded so never positively impact people and communities; The 80-hour week; 12-month expectations with 40-hour and 9-month pay
Did a similar list bring you here? If so, check out Why a Life Coach.
My list brought me to Martha Beck’s Wayfinder Life Coach Training (MBI). I liked Martha’s mix of traditional behavior change strategies, which align with my academic training, and alternative ways of addressing problems built on thought work, intuition, and mind-body connections, something I was delving into with my own yoga and mindfulness practices. I completed the 10-month training in early 2019. The training helped me immensely as I transitioned my life away from one focused solely on an academic career.
Because I have put them to work in my own life, I know these coaching tools work. I am excited to combine them with my background in lifestyle behavior change and experience in higher education to help you develop your own set of tools. Together we can help you refocus and reconnect with a healthier more balanced you.
My Background and Training
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I hold degrees in Nutrition; Exercise Science; Gerontology; and Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. I also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Epidemiology.
I have always worked at universities. First, as a research assistant at the University of South Carolina. There I taught and oversaw programs in organizations and communities that focused on stress reduction, healthy eating, and physical activity. The goal was to reduce chronic inflammation to prevent and control cancer. I also worked with individuals who wanted to learn how to cook healthier, manage chronic conditions (specifically: Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Polycystic Ovary Disease), and improve their overall fitness.
I earned a PhD because I wanted to teach in higher education and pursue my own research. My doctoral research focused on helping pastors and church leaders prevent burnout and increase longevity by reducing their chronic disease risk.
When not coaching, I teach courses in public health, advise master’s and doctoral students, work with healthcare systems to implement community-based programs, and help individuals prevent or manage chronic conditions through stress reduction, diet and physical activity behavior change.