My Zenful Life Blog
My Zenful Life Blog
Zenful Life Coaching is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Integrative Nutrition Certified Health Coach Marnie Dachis Marmet blogs on topics including (but not limited to): nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, wellness, mindfulness, yoga, teens issues and self-c

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Marnie Dachis Marmet

On a cold, gray winter day – how do I find my happy place?

Last year my family traveled to South Africa and Zimbabwe in honor of my parent’s 70th birthdays.  The trip was life-changing – magical in fact. 

How do I put this experience into words that will mean something to someone else? 

Every time I think about, or talk about this trip, the unbelievable sites, the fresh smells, the tastes, the laughter, and the scary moments, the experiences wash over me like it was yesterday. 

I can still feel the hot rain splashing onto my skin as every inch of me, except my face, is covered in rain gear.  It was a sweet, delicious rain in fact, as we cruised along in our open-air jeep.  My family surrounded me and I was utterly content.  The red and orange colors in the landscape were spectacular, the smells were the freshest I had ever smelled.  I felt incredibly alive.  All I needed in the universe was right there beside me.  I envisioned never going home.  I envisioned moving to the bush and living the life of an adventurer.  The memory still makes me smile. 

Deep conversations with our rangers, who became like family to us during our time with them.  And I’ll never forget the magnificent animals.  Seeing the circle of life in front of our very own eyes.  The dung beetles pushing huge balls of dung along the grass, the lions ruling their territories, and the elephants frolicking in the sand with their babies.  I could go on and on.  All I have to do is close my eyes and I can go back to Africa anytime I want.  I am forever grateful.

Marnie Dachis Marmet

What is the difference between a health coach a Registered Dietitian and a nutritionist?

As a newly certified health coach I am asked this question all of the time.  Each of these fields have the same end goal: to help people become healthier, however the processes used are quite different. 

Health Coach

A certified health coach is focused on helping a client achieve their wellness goals while making sustainable, lasting life changes. Most health coaches appreciate that it generally takes a minimum of six months to imprint changes on habits, and so they intend to have sustained relationships with their clients.   An example of some wellness goals may include: weight loss, increasing energy, or obtaining healthier habits.  The job of a health coach is to help a client uncover what is their goal, and to create a personalized road map to implement steps to achieve the goal, with support all along the way.  Health coaches take a whole-body, or holistic approach to wellness.  There may be dietary changes, lifestyle changes, self-care changes, grocery store and pantry visits or a discussion of issues such as relationships, sleep or happiness.  Typically, a client will receive relevant articles and recipes along with bi-weekly coaching sessions.  Regular accountability is a big part of what sets health coaches apart from the others.

Health Coaches can work independently in their own business, alongside medical professionals, or in other wellness settings such as yoga studios or wellness centers. The ultimate benefit for someone who works with a Health Coach is the ongoing support and guidance that doctors are rarely able to provide. 

Think about it like this…the doctor issues a prescription to lower stress, reduce sugar or lose weight and get exercise.  You may ask yourself?… How do I achieve this? A health coach is the next step on the journey.   

A Registered Dietitian or a nutritionist often meets with clients once or twice with very little follow-up or accountability. Their intent is to provide information regarding diet.

Registered Dietitian

A Registered Dietitian is someone who has had more formal schooling in the biology and biochemistry of the human body. RD’s must complete at least a bachelor’s degree and work in a supervisory program for approximately one year at a health care facility. While some RD’s choose to work independently and run their own practice, many are more likely to work in a conventional medical setting.

Registered Dietitians are overseen by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and must therefore follow a certain set of guidelines in terms of the recommendations they can make to patients. While this ensures a certain level of standard practice, it leaves less room for individualized support and does not take into account the non-dietary aspects of life that facilitate or prevent healing (such as stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, relationships, or time for relaxation).


A nutritionist is typically someone who completes an undergraduate or graduate degree in nutrition. They may be working as a research scientist, health and wellness educator, professor at a university etc. Be aware that there are many individuals who market themselves as “nutritionists” with very little or no training whatsoever in nutrition. They may be selling “nutritional products” at a health or fitness center.

There are no specific requirements for nutritionists. Many different professionals, with a wide range of experience in wellness and nutrition, call themselves nutritionists.   

It is important to note that Health Coaches do not directly compete with other healthcare providers like doctors, nurses or dietitians; rather, WE COMPLEMENT THEIR WORK and SHARE THEIR MISSION of increasing the health and quality of life of our clients and the world.

Marnie Dachis Marmet

What is an Intention?

What is an intention? Is it something you intend to do? You hear this buzz word a lot, but do people actually understand it? I've been trying to set daily, weekly, and yearly intentions. I find that when I look at my intention regularly it reminds me of my purpose.  It keeps me on track.  It keeps me focused. Sometimes it can be as simple as one word. I've seen Fierce, Gratitude, Be Present as some examples of single word intentions. They all resonate with me.

Can you start your day with an intention? Can you start your week with an intention? How about a few simple intentions for the year? Write them down and put them in a place where you will see them every, single day. Repeat the word or idea in your head throughout the day. Come back to it. If you fall off track, don't beat yourself up. This is most important. Our minds naturally wander. It is okay if you do not fulfill your intention. It is just that - an intention. But when you do set intentions, they can be a very powerful tool to keep you on track and help you to follow a path that you were meant to go down.

Please click the blog post to share an intention in the comments section.