Once upon a time, there was a young woman who needed to lose 100 pounds. This woman had a family that didn’t care much about nutrition, a family history of diabetes and heart disease and no desire to become a statistic. Due to her size, this woman could have been the next candidate for weight loss surgery.
She chose a different way- a way that respected her body and her decision to take control of her life.
She chose to take control of her own health.
In today’s world, we have access to unlimited resources when it comes to improving our health. However, unlimited choices can be a paralyzing experience for those who most need the help. I have spoken to many women who assure me that they “know” how to lose weight. If knowing what to do was as easy as doing it, then none of us would struggle!
Plus, there are so many experts and gurus out there that tell you conflicting information. Should you give up all bread and sugar? How about that Paleo thing? Yet, your friend sells this superfood….isn’t that full of antioxidants? It’s hard enough keeping up with your career, your family, and your life without having to vet every health claim that hits you between the eyes.
Today’s post will delve into what health coaching is, what a health coach does, how it is different from wellness coaching and 6 ways it can help YOU achieve your health goals. Plus, I’ll throw in 3 bonus ways health coaching CANNOT help you.Doctors, moms and Google are only part of our #health support teams. Add this person to achieve body… Click To Tweet
Health coaching is a service provided by an expert with experience or education to provide support for a client to improve their health. Improving health is not a one-time event, but a gradual progression of small changes which usually involves some form of weight loss. Therefore, health coaching typically lasts a minimum of 3 months, but can span years.
In my experience of coaching clients, 6 months is the best amount of time to master the techniques and expect the best results. While certain clients can achieve results in as little as 6 weeks, I would rather work with them until they MASTER their daily habits for lifelong health.
Health coaches do not diagnose or provide treatment, and you should be wary of any health coach who tries to “treat” certain ailments, such as leaky gut, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or diabetes. I do personally know some health coaches who are also doctors, such as chiropractors or physical therapists.
Be aware; however, that the umbrella term of “doctor” does not necessarily mean that they are qualified to diagnose specific dietary concerns. We have witnessed the problems from assuming that any doctor can treat obesity, like with the whole Dr. Oz scandal.
Some health coaches choose to align with multi-level marketing products that aid weight loss, either directly or indirectly. I have a simple policy that I won’t recommend any product to a client that I would not take while pregnant or nursing. This is a personal choice, as I strongly believe in our body’s natural ability to lose weight without any supplements or highly processed super-foods. Not all health coaches follow this same guiding principle.
If you hesitate taking Tylenol for a headache, you might want to consider treading carefully in the booming supplement industry. Personal testimonials are not always the true litmus test for results.
Health coaches may do different things based on their clients’ needs. My process involves a Weight Loss Breakthrough phone call to determine the client’s primary goal, an assessment of the client’s daily eating and exercise habits, a paid Planning session to set customized milestones and structure their program, and follow-up sessions to celebrate progress. I believe that we do more “right” things than “wrong” ones when it comes to daily habits, and it is my honor and privilege to cheer on my clients for their dedication and persistence. Check out how to work with me here.
Other types of coaches might also provide NRT (nutrition response testing), meal plans, exercise routines, and online accountability groups. Coaching is extremely convenient for clients, as most sessions can occur via phone or Skype. Coaching packages are generally paid in monthly installments, although pre-paid programs may be offered at a discount.
Wellness is not the same as health coaching, as wellness coaches may include support for smoking cessation, stress management, and work-life balance. The main difference is in the focus.
Health coaches focus on improving health factors such as weight, body fat, waist size, fitness performance, and specific training for events. Wellness coaches focus on overall well-being. Many wellness coaches have a background in psychology or counseling, and can include specific techniques around mindfulness and self-care. Please note, wellness coaching does not follow the same protocol or protections as therapy or counseling. Basically, don’t tell them anything a lawyer would frown at you for.
6 Ways a Health Coach can Help You
- Health coaches bridge the gap between a doctor’s recommendations and daily life habits. A doctor can test for improvement, but the doctor does not particularly recommend a specific course of action. (Remember, most medical doctors have had NO coursework on nutrition or diet!)
- Health coaches meet more frequently with their clients- typically 3-4 times per month, in order to establish accountability for daily habits.
- Health coaches typically customize a plan according to the clients’ needs. For example, I have worked with a wide range of clients, from moms of little kids who are looking to lose baby weight to grandmas in their 70s looking to improve quality of life.
- Health coaches may have additional certifications or training in order to suggest the latest nutrition or fitness support. I have taken coursework in nutrition as well as coaching.
- Some health coaches have experienced their own personal transformation, and are so moved and passionate about their improved quality of life that they now serve others.
- A good health coach should not try to get more money from you every time you meet. In other words, your coaching sessions should focus more on the process of self-improvement, and less on products or supplements that they are selling.
So, those are ways a health coach can help you achieve body bliss.
Bonus! 3 Ways a Health Coach cannot Help You
- Health coaches cannot diagnose you
- They cannot do the work for you
- They cannot motivate you to do something you have no interest in doing
Remember the young woman from the beginning of this article? That woman is me. I remember when my severely obese pediatrician told me as a child that I needed to lose weight. I remember crying when my mom then told me I couldn’t eat potato chips. I remember being teased on the playground by those nasty 4th grade boys because my pant split during kick ball. I remember nearly missing my junior prom because of emergency gall bladder surgery.
At the time I lost 100 pounds, I didn’t even know a thing about health coaching. After I lost weight, it took me several years before I even considered sharing my story with others. Once I started sharing my story, women would come up to me, and tell me about their renewed commitment to their own health.
Now, my mission is to help as many women achieve their health goals as I can. You can work privately with me in a 6-month program, or you can learn more about my most popular group coaching program, Hot for the Holidays. Hot starts on November 21, and is a great way to connect with other women just like you. Enter your deets below to learn more.
Not sure if you can afford health coaching right now? Join my brand-new closed Facebook group, Weight no More. This completely free group provides daily themes and support to either LOSE WEIGHT or MAINTAIN past weight loss. Join Weight no More.
The truth is there is no single person who can possibly provide the right mix of expertise, accountability and support you need to make transformational change happen. Now that you know some ways health coaching can benefit you, and ways to connect with me, what are you waiting for?