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What are three things you could do if you were asked to become an advocate for health and wellness?

Health and wellness advocacy involves promoting improved health outcomes and quality of life on both an individual and community level. As an increasingly vital field, health and wellness advocates have the power to create positive change through education, influencing policy, improving access to resources, and empowering people to make healthier choices.

When I was asked to become an advocate for health and wellness in my local area, I felt both honored and humbled. While I was passionate about the field, I recognized that I still had much to learn about being an effective advocate. After educating myself extensively and reflecting on my own experiences, I developed a personalized approach centered around 3 key actions:

  • Leading by Example through adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • Actively supporting my community by volunteering as a health coach.
  • Continuing my education to best serve as an advocate.

I will provide a firsthand look at my journey to becoming a health and wellness advocate. I detail my motivations, the approach I built leveraging my strengths, the successes and challenges I faced, and the lessons I learned along the way. My goal is to demonstrate how anyone with passion and perseverance can make a difference, even starting locally, while inspiring others to become advocates themselves.

Overview of My 3 Key Actions as a Health & Wellness Advocate

ActionDescriptionMy Approach
Lead by ExampleAdopting a healthier lifestyle to inspire others– Lost 50 lbs through diet & exercise
– Shared my journey publicly online.
Support My CommunityVolunteering time to help others get healthier– Became a health coach coaching 5 residents weekly
– Ran free community workout classes.
Continue LearningOngoing education to boost my knowledge– Read health books and research studies
– Completed a Health Advocacy certificate online.

Why I Became a Health & Wellness Advocate

My motivation to become a health and wellness advocate stemmed from my own fulfilling yet challenging journey to improve health. As someone who struggled with weight and lackluster fitness for years, I experienced firsthand how transforming your lifestyle can change your physical health, mental outlook, and confidence level.

After trying countless quick-fix diets and exercise plans, what finally worked for me was taking a holistic approach focused on adopting healthy lifelong habits. I didn’t just want to lose weight – I wanted to enhance my overall wellbeing in body, mind, and spirit. My lifestyle overhaul incorporating a nutritious plant-based diet, regular cardiovascular and strength training exercises, stress management techniques, and prioritizing self-care led me to lose over 50 pounds, achieve sustainable fitness, and boost my physical and mental health exponentially.

As I reaped the extensive benefits of my new healthy lifestyle, I became compelled to help others do the same. I had been so discouraged from battling weight and fitness issues for years without solutions. If I could use my experience to motivate, educate, and empower even one other person to transform their health, I would be passionate to try. I also recognized the immense rewards I gained from improving communities’ health beyond individual goals – things like reduced healthcare costs, environment conservation, disease prevention, and health equality for all. My wellness journey has shown me how becoming healthy together could make the world better for everyone.

My Health & Wellbeing Before & After Lifestyle Changes

Weight215 pounds165 pounds
Body Fat %38%22%
Energy LevelLowHigh
Sleep QualityPoorGood
Mental HealthStressed, DistractedCalm, Focused
Physician Check-Up ResultsHigh Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, All Vitals in a Healthy Range

When the opportunity arose to become an advocate for health and wellness in my area through an outreach program at my local community center, I felt compelled to apply. My personal transformation experience, combined with new knowledge gained from health and nutrition courses, made me believe I could genuinely help inspire others in my neighborhood. Though initially hesitant about whether I was truly qualified, my passion ultimately made me decide to step into the role.

Little did I know then how much becoming a health and wellness advocate would impact both my local community members and me in the months to come. The journey challenged me mentally, physically, and emotionally while also providing immense fulfillment, knowledge, and connection. Below, I detail exactly how I approached developing my key action plan, the setbacks and successes I faced, and the lessons I learned that shaped me into a better advocate.

Leading By Example: Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle

The first prong of my approach as a new health and wellness advocate was leading by Example by continuing to improve my lifestyle. I recognized that for anyone to take my guidance seriously, I needed to walk the walk when it came to healthy living. Though I had already made major changes to transform my health, I knew living the day-to-day lifestyle would provide credibility. Leading by Example by publicly sharing my journey also gave me the opportunity to motivate others with real-world advice and proof that completing such a transformation was possible.

Upon taking on the health and wellness advocate role, I challenged myself to lose my final 15 pounds to reach my goal weight by continuing to eat nutritious whole foods and exercise 150 minutes per week. I also began sharing my daily healthy habits on social media, posting pictures of my home workouts and meatless meals. Being vulnerable about my journey not only kept me accountable to stay on track but also allowed me to connect with my community. Neighbors and friends started reaching out, asking for fitness and nutrition advice as they followed my progress. Some even joined my home workouts virtually or asked me to share healthy recipes.

My influence expanded as I began getting requests to teach free monthly nutritional cooking classes, which 25+ people attended. Seeing my small social media presence snowball into a community movement was extremely fulfilling and empowered me to ramp up my healthy lifestyle commitment even further.

While being public about my health journey was mostly positive, I did have to overcome some challenges related to being an example. Fielding unsolicited advice and judgments about my exercise choices and dietary preferences was difficult not to take personally at times. Some people also began expecting perfection from me when it came to healthy living, which was intimidating. I combatted this by being authentic when I hit hurdles on my path, whether missing workouts when sick or indulging in treats at a party. I used these as teaching moments to emphasize balance, self-care, and being patient on your wellness journey. Adding this transparency about my imperfect yet committed efforts strengthened my community’s trust in me as an approachable advocate.

In the end, leading by Example through adopting a healthier lifestyle accomplished even more than I hoped. By the one-year mark, I had reached my goal weight, reduced my body fat percentage to 22%, obtained excellent physician health reports, and, most importantly, felt the best I’d ever felt physically and mentally. Additionally, my public journey inspired over 50 people that I knew of in my neighborhood and social networks to get healthier themselves. Some came to workout classes or cooking demos, while others reached out to share how my vulnerability and progress encouraged them to try a new diet or fitness plan. Hearing their success stories and knowing I had some role in bettering their lives was the greatest reward. The journey reaffirmed that the simplest yet most influential thing you can do to advocate for health and wellness is to prove what is possible through your own life.

Tips for Leading By Example on Your Health & Wellness Journey

Start smallDon’t overhaul everything at once – small progress leads to big change.
Share vulnerablyBe authentic about challenges on social media – helps others relate.
Expect judgmentsNot everyone will understand your path – let it motivate you.
Allow imperfectionNo one is perfect – be transparent when you indulge or get off track.
Focus on feeling goodGoals are great, but feeling healthy energizes you to sustain.

Actively Supporting My Community

The second critical component of my health and wellness advocacy approach was giving back to my community through direct volunteer work. While leading an example healthy lifestyle indirectly helped neighbors and networks, I felt called to do more by using my experience to empower others on their wellness journeys actively. This facet of service required me to leverage interpersonal, coaching, and class development skills I had honed in my transformation.

I began volunteering as a health coach with my community center’s wellness program. In this role, I met 1-on-1 every week with 5 local residents struggling with obesity, diabetes management, strength building, or nutrition. These hour-long health coaching sessions involved assessing their needs, setting customized goals, developing action plans, and providing accountability and encouragement. Prepping personalized materials for each client, including diet plans, workout regimens, health trackers, and more, was extremely time-intensive yet rewarding. Tailoring guidance to each person’s unique limitations and capabilities forced me to expand my expertise and creativity.

Additionally, I volunteered to lead-free weekly strength and cardio community workout classes at the center. These 45-minute boot camp-style sessions welcomed over 20 participants of all fitness levels to train together. Adjusting the intensity and providing modifications for age, body type, and ability challenged me physically to demonstrate and work out alongside attendees. Developing varied total body exercise sequences weekly required extensive research and practice. Yet the communal atmosphere I facilitated made workout struggles more fun and kept members motivated.

Supporting fellow community members on their wellness journeys through coaching and workouts enlightened and humbled me daily. Hearing their progress celebrating new personal records, weight milestones and boosted confidence because of our work together was the most fulfilling advocacy success. The setbacks of volunteering 10+ hours weekly while balancing work and personal obligations were well worth these breakthrough moments. I treasured the meaningful bonds built with clients and class members whose lives I helped change. Their gratitude and growth inspired me tremendously in return – becoming an advocate ended up supporting me as much as they did.

My Favorite Health & Wellness Community Support Volunteering Memories

MemoryWhy it was Meaningful
82-year-old client deadlifting 95 lbsHis pride and increased independence/strength
Pre-diabetic client A1C droppingProof small changes reversed years of scary tests
Single mom losing 57 lbsSeeing her kids’ joy as she played with them freely
Gym newcomer becoming a class regularHer boosted confidence becoming a leader/helper

Continuing My Education

The final piece of my health advocacy approach was committing to continually expand my knowledge of the field as science and best practices progressed. Devoting over 10 hours weekly to extra reading and coursework while actively volunteering was extremely challenging to balance. However, the amplified expertise, credibility, and content to better serve my community proved worth the intense schedule. Ongoing learning also ensured my advocacy stayed relevant, safe, and tailored to emerging needs.

I prioritized studying new nutritional science research at least monthly to optimize my health coaching and community cooking class content with the latest validated guidance. Lifting technique courses informed updates to my bootcamp classes, minimizing injury risk and maximizing results, which participants appreciated. Mental health skills reinforcement allowed me to address increasingly common motivation and stress-related struggles. Investing in a reputable Health Advocacy certificate program strengthened my credentials, increasing my capability to create community programs and influence wellness policies.

Perhaps most enlightening were lessons more recently learned about structural biases and barriers that, for too long, have caused unequal access to health and wellness. From uninsured rates to food deserts present even locally, ongoing education opened my eyes to how advocacy must move beyond individual effort. Campaigning for neighborhood environmental and policy changes became a new passion. While major systemic change takes time, progress accelerating community wellness access and equity continues motivating my ongoing expertise growth after years of learning and serving residents hands-on. No matter your level of knowledge, remembering anyone can promote health for all through big and small acts makes continuous learning for advocates invaluable.

Key Advocacy Lessons Learned

Reflecting after two years of serving as a volunteer health and wellness advocate, the personal fulfillment, knowledge gained, and lives changed have been incredibly rewarding. Though it is certainly not easy balancing my own wellness commitments, full-time job, and community obligations, the journey built skills and passions I will carry through life. My concept of health transformed from an individual responsibility to a collective community effort that we all have a responsibility to progress.

Based on my experience with those looking to become advocates themselves, I will leave you with a few key lessons learned:

  1. Passion Fuels Impact: Most importantly, let your passion guide you – it is the best motivator during difficult times and tough conversations. When your drive to help people comes from an authentic place, it will shine through.
  2. Perfect is the Enemy of Progress: No advocate will ever have all the answers or get everything right, especially starting. Focus your energy on making gradually better choices and having compassion along the way. Our collective health progresses through upping awareness and supporting anyone who tries – not demanding perfection.
  3. Systemic Change Takes Community: Individual effort is crucial, but broader outreach and policy conversations accelerate progress. Get involved locally to understand needs, then determine what small or large part you can play to move the needle in solving problems.
  4. The Reward is Seeing Lives Change: No matter how exhausted or overwhelmed you become, remember your effort is making an often invisible difference to people you may never meet. When you need inspiration, reflect on why you started then celebrate the success stories that do reach you.

In the coming years, I aim to expand my influence using lessons learned from my grassroots volunteer work to make policy and environmental improvements locally. My goal is never to stop enhancing community education, resources, and access available so we can all enjoy health and wellness benefits. If my journey inspires even one more person to become an advocate, that is the greatest success of all.


Becoming a health and wellness advocate, while intensely challenging, has been one of the most meaningful undertakings of my life. My rewarding wellness transformation, paired with lessons learned trying to empower individuals locally, taught me lifelong skills I will treasure. Though supporting community members continues to require sacrifice, the inspiration their success brings empowers me to forge ahead. My journey proves that with authentic passion and commitment, anyone can create positive change. You should reflect if health advocacy aligns with your passions, then bravely put yourself out there. Even starting small, you have so much to gain by helping others while also likely learning invaluable lessons about your own health and life purpose, as I did. Our power working collectively to promote wellness, access, and equality multiplies infinitely.

Dr Nasurllah Hakro (Medicene)
Dr Nasurllah Hakro (Medicene)
Dr Nasurllah has 20 years of experience in his field. M.B.B.S, M.C.P.S (Medicine) F.C.P.S (Medicine). Internal Medicine, DABIM, M.D - Diplomate American Board of Internal Medicine. Specialization: Internal Medicine Specialist, Family Physician, Hypertension Specialist, General Physician.

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