Making big changes to your diet and lifestyle is hard work. It takes preparation, a carefully crafted routine, troubleshooting when times get tough, and a heck of a lot of self control.
For some, this type of discipline comes naturally. But for the vast majority, it doesn’t. Completely overhauling your routine to lose weight, heal your body, improve digestion, and/or manage chronic conditions is incredibly challenging. In fact, one study shows that 92% of people fail at their goals.
This is why health coaches are quickly rising in popularity. In addition to being well versed in a variety of holistic health principles, health coaches are experts in behavior change. Their mission is to be an ally in your wellness journey and empower you to create sustainable, healthy habits so you can achieve your unique health goals, enhance your well-being, and live the life you want.
If you’re wondering if working with a health coach might be right for you, read on to find out!
6 REASONS A HEALTH COACH COULD BE RIGHT FOR YOU
1. You’re overwhelmed with the competing health information out there and don’t know where to start.
“Should I try paleo or vegan? Is red meat going to give me cancer? I hate running… do I really have to start running? Is consuming 1200 calories a day the right way to lose weight? Why is everyone talking about meditation? Is coconut oil going to kill me?!”
With all the competing health philosophies out there it’s no wonder you feel like a deer in the headlights.
If you want to make a lifestyle change like losing weight, improving your digestion, healing a skin condition, or managing a chronic condition (just to name a few), but don’t know what will be the best way to go about it, a health coach is the perfect place to start.
They’ll help you narrow in on your health goals, cut through the confusion by providing curated information, and then support you in discovering and implementing the lifestyle changes that feel right to you.
And the great thing about health coaches is that most either have referral partnerships with or work directly with a network of licensed medical professionals, so if your coach notices a sign or symptom that could benefit from blood work or a consultation with a doctor, they’ll be able to make the appropriate referral and then help you implement your doctor’s recommendations.
Coaching decreased healthcare utilization by 86 percent. – BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
2. You’ve tried to make diet and lifestyle changes on your own, but you always end up right back where you started (or worse).
How much more likely are you to show up for a friend who’s waiting for you than you are for yourself? If you answered “way more likely,” than a health coach might be just what you need.
It’s easy to find a meal plan or an exercise routine online, but when it comes to actually doing it, most people either never start or their motivations fizzles out a week or two in. That’s because the mind craves pleasure and creating new habits – literally creating new neural pathways in the brain – is difficult. Unfortunately, it’s natural for the mind to start making excuses and letting things slide until your well-intentioned habit-to-be disappears in a puff of smoke.
With a health coach, however, you’ve got partner that will hold you accountable and keep you showing up for yourself. A health coach will help you determine your action steps to be completed in the period between sessions, any obstacles or challenges that might stand in your way (and how to get around them), and then set up accountability to keep you on track between sessions. This accountability could be as simple as reporting back to your coach at the next session or sending a text or email to your coach upon completion of a task.
Ultimately, your health coach will empower you to get out of your own way and keep showing up for yourself so you can see your goals through to the end and really make this time different!
3. You want to lose weight naturally – and keep it off!
Forget the diet pills, the weight loss shakes, the obsessive calorie counting, and “quick miracle fixes” because while these strategies may help you lose weight temporarily, the weight always comes back, and more importantly, they’re not doing your health any favors.
As the title suggests, health coaches exist to help you become your healthiest self. This means that when you work with a health coach to lose weight, you’ll be creating a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
There are many holistic strategies for losing weight and a health coach will support you in choosing a method based on your unique body, health history, and circumstances. Whichever route you go, you can bet that it will be rooted in a diet of real, whole foods, and other vital lifestyle factors like sleep, movement, and stress management.
Health coaches are also highly attuned to reasons why weight loss might not be occurring, such as thyroid dysfunction, stress, emotional eating, etc, so if you’ve hit a plateau, they’ll be able to help you reformulate your plan or refer you to a doctor to gather more information.
Not only does this holistic approach help you lose weight safely and naturally, but the healthy habits you’ll build with a health coach are what lay the foundation for a lifetime of keeping the weight off.
Participants that were coached with habit formation techniques lost seven times as much weight as those that weren’t coached.
– International Journal of Obesity
4. You want a partner in your health journey who will keep you showing up for yourself, especially on those tough days when you feel like quitting.
Starting a new diet and healthy lifestyle can feel very isolating. Unfortunately, judgement, criticism, and peer pressure are common place when spending time with friends or family who don’t understand why you’re making these changes (or become defensive because they see your action as a reflection of their inability to make changes themselves).
In times like these, when you’re at your most vulnerable, the temptation to throw in the towel on your new routine and say “forget it” can take hold and send you into a downward spiral. One “cheat meal” turns into a cheat day, which then becomes a cheat week, and before you know it, all your progress and motivation has fizzled out.
Working with a health coach is often the difference between getting back on the horse (or never falling off the horse in the first place) and quitting. Because in addition to being knowledgeable about health, a health coach is also your support system and cheerleader! Your health coach will continue to hold your highest vision of yourself – even when you don’t.
Slips ups are part of the change process. Your health coach won’t judge you or think less of you and they won’t yell at you. Instead, they’ll be compassionate and understanding. They’ll help you examine what led to your self-sabotage and then coach you around creating a plan to stay true to your goals the next time you’re faced with a similar situation.
Many health coaches also offer chat support between sessions, which can be just the extra support you need when faced with a situation that’s threatening to derail your goals.
5. You need support implementing a complicated care plan from your doctor.
Sometimes, a doctor’s visit can feel like a trip to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. Even when doctors do their best to explain a diagnosis or recommended treatment, it can still leave you confused, upset, overwhelmed, angry, and unsure of what to do.
Unlike a doctor, who often speaks in medical jargon and has just 15 minutes with you before moving on to the next patient, a health coach will be a partner, meeting with you every week or two, usually for an entire hour. Your health coach will view you as an equal, treat you with respect and empathy, and take the time to listen to and understand your concerns.
With your permission, a health coach will collaborate with your licensed medical provider (doctor, therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, etc) to not only help you understand everything you want to know about your diagnosis and your treatment options, but then help you carry out your doctor’s recommendations in a way that utilizes your strengths, compliments your lifestyle, and ultimately sets you up for success.
Health coaches are the missing link between you and your doctor. Not only will they increase your odds of successfully carrying out your treatment, but they’ll help you feel confident and empowered throughout your healing process.
6. You want a personalized approach to health, one that takes into account your preferences and your life.
Health is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Just because a particular diet or fitness class works for your friend or thousands of people on social media, doesn’t mean that it will work for your unique body. And on top of that, there’s no guarantee that it will work for your individual lifestyle.
For example, if you’re constantly traveling for work, a restrictive diet like Keto or Carnivore might not be the best fit for you. In fact, if that’s your situation, instead of implementing a new diet protocol, a health coach might propose focusing on stress management and optimizing your sleep (which you can, of course, choose to take or leave).
But that’s the great thing about working with a health coach. They don’t just see you as a diagnosis or a set of goals. Instead, they see you as a whole person, and take the time to get to know you, your likes and dislikes, what works for you and what doesn’t, what’s important to you, and your unique set of life circumstances.
Weaving this complete tapestry of your life enables your health coach to help you create a completely individualized plan that simplifies the process of building new habits, and ultimately, sets you up for the greatest chance of crushing your goals, feeling your best, and operating at your fullest potential.
One study found that “in 6 months or less [of working with a health coach], 89% of participants met at least one goal. Significant improvements occurred in stress levels, healthy eating, exercise levels, and physical and emotional health…”
GET STARTED WITH A HEALTH COACH
If you identify with one of more of these points, working with a health coach may be exactly what you need to lose weight, clear your brain fog, increase your energy, or manage a chronic condition, and increase your longevity and overall quality of life!
Every health coach has a different style and area of expertise so do your research and don’t be afraid to sign up for a free interest call or consultation with several coaches. The purpose of these free consultations is to give you the opportunity to meet your prospective coach to decide if you’re a good fit before making an investment (it also gives the coach a chance to do the same).
Once you’ve found a coach that makes you feel comfortable, supported, and heard, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and laying the foundation for healthy habits that will last you a lifetime!
Ellen Jaworski is a holistic health coach passionate about helping busy, overstressed professionals lose stubborn weight the healthy way via a nutrient dense diet and relaxing self care practices that work with their busy schedule so they can heal their bodies, quiet their minds, and feel their best at the office and in their free time. Ellen also loves to hike, road trip to national parks, cook delicious meals, and is currently doing 200 hours of training to become a member of Explorer Search and Rescue!