Let’s be honest, making a change to your lifestyle is hard. Whether that is due to lack of time, motivation, or not knowing where to begin, there is one thing that makes it easier: accountability. This is where health coaching comes into play. Going through the process with someone and having another individual to talk about it with, makes the change seem more achievable. The bottom line is that people need support. When it comes to changing one’s lifestyle and adapting new healthy behaviors, individuals who have support are more successful.
A health coach can be defined by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition as, ” a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices. Health coaches educate and support clients to achieve their health goals through lifestyle and behavior adjustments.”
Health coaches are becoming more and more essential as modern medicine continues to improve. Now more than ever, the medical field is advancing at high rate speeds and practitioners do not always have the available time some patients need. Here is where health coaches come into play. Essentially, the position of a health coach was created to fill the void in many doctor offices. Many doctors contribute but do not have the time or resources to help each patient build healthy habits on a day to day basis. However, health coaches are available to be a supportive mentor who help and guide patients in making healthy lifestyle changes.
Health coaches play a vital role in modern medicine. Health coaches can work in multiple settings including for a doctor, a spa, a gym, wellness centers, or even have their own private practice. Health coaches help individuals make lasting changes and keep patients on track to feel their best. In addition to this, health coaches motivate, push, encourage, and create plans with patients to optimize energy and decrease stress and fatigue.
Health coaches are not just for diet and exercise help, but for other aspects of life as well. Health coaches are able to help with stress, sleep, relationships, habits, and even one’s career.
Health coaches work with individuals to go through the problem areas in their life and give them tools to improve their lifestyles. By working with a health coach, the individual begins to learn and create habits that will affect and improve their lives while also giving them the essential life skills they can use for a lifetime. One of the main things that coaches do is aid patients in setting goals. For many, goals are set but are not attainable, healthy, nor realistic. Health coaches work to break down these goals with patients into smaller, more reachable goals. This helps patients push themselves and not get discouraged because they are hitting these smaller marks along the way.
Aside from setting goals, health coaches also prepare the patient for the emotional fallout that can occur. As mentioned earlier, lifestyle changes are not easy and do not occur overnight. This being said, it is normal to have negative emotions regarding the subject along the way. Health coaches are prepared for this and will help you to not only work through them but learn to adapt to these situations and how to overcome the barriers.
In the United States, over half of the adult population is affected by at least one chronic disease, many having to do with joint inflammation (Pecoraro, 2019). Integrative health coaching allows patients to visualize their goals and work with their health coach to properly identify their values and create action steps to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
People can utilize health coaches at any moment in time. However, many people choose to have a health coach help them after they receive a diagnosis or are overall unhappy in their health and lifestyle choices.
Health coaches are respectful of the personal knowledge one has of their own life and body. Thus, letting the patient have a say in their plan and protocol. This is beneficial because if a patient is included in the creation of their health plan, they are more likely to comply and make it attainable. Not only does this build trust in the professional relationship, but it allows a health coach to consider all areas in the patient’s life.
Individuals can benefit by learning to lessen health issues, problem solve, and gain a new perspective on their life.
A health coach can do a lot more than just aid in diet and exercise. As one can see, health coaches are helpful in many different aspects of one’s life. The qualifications for a health coach can vary. Personally, I have a bachelors degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Health Education from Grand Canyon University. In addition to this, I gained my Exercise Physiologist Certification through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). With this background, I am knowledgeable in the pillars of health and how to successfully guide an individual. Almost every person can benefit from a health coach in at least one way. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
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