Take the Sideways Approach

I met Carly Williams this year while studying health coaching with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It was during one of our coaching calls that we discovered we both had a similar backgrounds and health goals and connected outside of the school.

Carly’s since launched The Sideways Approach, a wellness boutique designed to help women find balance in all areas of life. The Sideways Approach fosters a more connected life, encouraging women to live in a way that is authentic to who they are as individuals.

“I bring groups of women together to talk about their wellness concerns and to spend time really looking inside to see where they are doing well and where they could make improvements,” says Carly. “The hope is that participants will begin to make small, manageable changes to bring about lasting change in their own lives and the community at large.”


Health and Lifestyle Coach, Carly Williams

Health and Lifestyle Coach, Carly Williams

As her business has evolved on and offline, needs being met lean more towards life coaching and overall wellness than specific health issues.

“My belief is that if one area of life is a little off then it is most likely affecting other areas because I see all parts as being interdependent,” says Carly who focuses on six foundations of health:

Carly, a Colorado native, got the cool name “The Sideways Approach” from her love of snowboarding and surfing where you stand on your board sideways.

“Participating in these activities has taught me about presence, courage, acceptance and patience. Being a part of the action sports lifestyle has really cultivated awareness for health, sustainability and community in my everyday world.”


Carly took some time out from coaching clients and action activities to chat to Health Bird about her enterprising business.  

Who can benefit from The Sideways Approach?

My target market is women who know what they want out of life but are not sure how to get it. These women want to make a difference in their own life and the world but don’t know where to begin. I help these women to become role models and leaders in their families and the community.

When did your own ‘sideways approach’ take place?

I started on my journey of real personal growth and exploration six years ago when I was feeling very lost in my career, my relationships and my behaviors. I became like a sponge soaking up as much information as I could get about spirituality, nutrition and fitness and attended workshops and retreats and read numerous books and websites. And although I was immersing myself in all of this information I wasn’t necessarily retaining it or able to find ways to make it work in my life. Eventually I realized that applying these practices to my life was almost like a temporary shot of feel-good vibes but never promoted real change. Things didn’t really start to shift until I examined what it was that I really wanted out of life and what felt authentic to me. Not what my parents and teachers and society and bosses thought I should want.

What have you learnt during your studies with IIN that’s been invaluable to you?

The most important thing I have learned is that all people need someone to listen to them. If people have a safe environment to talk about their life situation and their health concerns then they will heal themselves. A health coach isn’t necessarily armed with all of the answers but they are a sounding board for clients to openly discuss their individual journey.

What else have you discovered that you are busting to share with your clients?

I have learned that there is no “one size fits all” approach to health. Everyone needs to eat, exercise, love, work and live in a way that is authentic to who they are. The key is to spend time with yourself and find out how you want to live your life. Get to know your body and how it responds to different foods and ways of eating, find what exercise really excites you and turn your fitness routine into something fun and joyful.

What small change can we all make today to lead a happier life?

One of the biggest things you can do for your overall health is adopt a gratitude practice. Set aside time in the morning or at night before you go to sleep to write down or say out loud 5-10 things you are grateful for. It is amazing how your entire mood can shift when you focus on what you have versus what you don’t have. If you make this a daily habit, over time you will become a happier person in general.

What does a day in the life of Carly look like?

I require a lot of sleep so I allow my body to wake up when it is ready which is typically around 7:30. My morning begins with a cup of warm lemon water to wake up my digestive system. Then I meditate for 10 to 20 minutes to quiet my mind and re-connect with my inner self. Breakfast is usually a green smoothie because they are quick to make and are packed with nutrients. The rest of the day is spent working on the computer returning emails to clients, connecting with other wellness practitioners, writing blogs or prepping for a group program.

Lunch is typically quinoa and roasted veggies or a salad with Ahi tuna. I like to keep my meals very simple because I don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to cooking. Fortunately, my fiancé is a great cook and he makes most of our meals. Our dinners usually consist of grains, veggies and sometimes fish. We like to experiment with new ingredients and recipes. 

I am a big fan of working out at lunch time, my body seems to respond best in the middle of the day so I will take a break from work and go to a yoga class or run on the treadmill or in the neighborhood. Otherwise I’ll go on a mountain bike ride in the evening when it is a little cooler. Sweat and adrenaline are a great way to end the day!

Many of my group programs for Sideways are in the evenings to accommodate working women so a night or two a week is dedicated to work. The evenings I am not working I spend time with my fiancé, friends or my two-year-old nephew. I love the freedom of owning my own business but I need to keep a structured schedule to stay on track so I stick to a pretty regular routine during the week. Weekends are dedicated to lots of hiking, biking, snowboarding and catching up with family!

 Follow Carly on Instagram