Is Health Coaching for You?
With a global pandemic at our heels, there’s never been a better time to take care of your health. Whether you’re immunocompromised or at high risk because of factors like obesity and type 2 diabetes, or even if you’re relatively healthy, taking preventative action and building solid foundations for immunity has never been so imperative.
And while you may know that eating well, exercising, and sleep are key to good health, a health coach can help you implement new habits to accommodate your lifestyle and help shift your mindset so that when you are ready to take charge of your health, you’re fully equipped to do so for good.
In this post, I will explain what a certified health and wellness coach does and how hiring one to be your own personal cheerleader could just be the key that unlocks all the mindset blockages holding you back from achieving your wellness goals.
What is a health and wellness coach?
“A guide and a supportive mentor who empowers clients to take responsibility for their health and achievement of personal wellness goals.”
A certified health and wellness coach works alongside you to support you in your goals for improving your physical, emotional, and mental health. Ultimately, they help guide you through your journey of personal development.
Unlike a traditional doctor, who looks at your symptoms and provides (often temporary) solutions through medication or other courses of treatment, a health coach takes a wide-angle look at your lifestyle to determine what areas of your life can benefit from mindset and behavioural change.
Health and wellness coaches often help bridge the gap between your traditional doctor, nutritionist, or therapist appointments acting as a supplemental means of support.
A certified health and wellness coach is well versed in creating healthy eating habits, overcoming mindset challenges, and supporting others with goal setting and achievement. We focus on not only the foods that nourish you physically but the other forms of “food” that nourish our wellbeing like our career, joy, physical activity, sleep, relationships etc. Additionally, a coach can also provide you with educational insights into your health and wellbeing that you may not have considered or been aware of before.
What do health and wellness coaches do?
A health and wellness coach takes a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing. This means taking into consideration the important connection between the mind and body, taking an especially close look at nutrition, gut health, lifestyle, and mental health.
Unfortunately, our health and medical care system isn’t as open to recognising the critical connection between mind and body. This is where a health and wellness coach comes in. First, we may consider your medical history (such as a diagnosis or lab tests). Then, we try to get to the source of the problem by guiding you toward lifestyle changes that help address your specific health and wellness needs.
A health and wellness coach essentially helps with behavioural change. We can help you work toward behaviour modification that promotes lasting change and wellbeing through effective questioning, conversational, and goal setting practices. Behavioural change can lead to outcomes like improved mood and energy levels, better stress management, and better overall health.
My approach to health and wellness coaching:
The mind and body are intricately connected, meaning that if you are not mentally well, your physical health is affected. Likewise, if you are not physically well, your mental health is affected. Our bodies are complex systems that function with delicate balance – hormones and gut health play a crucial role in regulating bodily functions and mental wellness. When the balance is disturbed by factors such as stress or poor food choices, our physical body and mental health suffer.
As a holistic health coach, I believe that good health starts at the very foundation of what we eat. My approach puts heavy emphasis on eating home-cooked whole foods that meet your body’s nutrient requirements for good physical and mental health while avoiding foods that promote inflammation. Now, I know not everyone feels they have the time to spend planning and prepping meals each day, but as a certified health coach, I know all the hacks, tips, and tricks to make eating healthy a breeze, even with the busiest of lifestyles.
My complete approach to healthy eating includes:
- Tips and recipes for preparing, cooking, and eating healthy wholefoods
- Organising yourself and your time to establish better eating habits
- Providing you with the proper support to change your mindset and support the process of change so that you can stick to your new lifestyle plan
When to use health coaching?
People tend to hire health coaches to help them with a wide variety of health issues, such as weight loss, stress reduction, management of chronic conditions, improving diet and exercise, and adjusting to life-altering health events, like a heart attack.
But health coaches aren’t just for those suffering from chronic conditions or those wanting to lose weight; they’re just as helpful with prevention as they are with intervention.
In a lecture given, Dr. Mehmet Oz commented how through taking the relevant preventative measures, we can work smart and not hard. A health coach can help people to achieve their potential when things are going well and when they are motivated. Many people don’t have intensive medical conditions but really need guidance with their health. This support doesn’t have to come from a nutritionist or registered dietitian, especially when often what people need is accountability and coaching to implement changes.
Is health coaching worth it?
The choice to hire a health coach is a personal one. If you’re feeling stuck in some way, be it on your weight loss journey, with your mindset, or with your overall state of wellbeing, then a health coach may be right for you. As I mentioned earlier, a health coach assists with behaviour modification. What I’ve found with many of my own clients is that, often, when they change their habits and the way they nourish their bodies, their health and wellbeing significantly improves. While doctors may run expensive tests and prescribe costly medication to manage your symptoms, the cost of a health coaching program can be significantly lower than some of the medical expenses you may incur when trying to get to the source of your symptoms.
So while I reiterate that a health coach does not replace a medically trained professional, they do help you identify the behavioural changes needed for you to reap the most benefits.
Who hires health coaches?
A health and wellness coach can benefit anyone! If you feel as though your health isn’t optimal in any domain, then a coach is a great partner and teammate to have. If you aren’t feeling right, you may choose to work with a health coach to address any one or more of these needs:
Physical: Lose weight, maintain weight or health, exercise more, increase your energy, sleep better, manage your health after surgery or an illness, reduce high blood sugar or inflammation, manage a health problem (i.e., diabetes, heart disease, gut problems, etc.)
Emotional: Manage stress, anxiety and/or depression, increase life satisfaction
Mental: Increase your performance, productivity, or decision-making skills, work through personal challenges, work towards the attainment of goals
As you can see, there are many ways that a health and wellness coach can help you improve in different areas of your life.
What makes a good health coach?
My life experience has made me somewhat of a “jack of all trades.” An early life built on trauma, grief after the loss of both my parents, a career in one of the most stressful professions – teaching, a 2-year long battle with a debilitating gut dysbiosis, infertility, miscarriage and a cancer diagnosis has meant that I worked hard to overcome intense stress and anxiety and maintain my happiness and success. This means I have not only the experience but the knowledge to support my clients with a range of diverse and complex needs!
A good health coach doesn’t apply a one size fits all approach. Instead, they understand that each client is unique and has particular needs, and that’s why the approach I take with each of my clients is not only based on what’s proven to work, but the plans we implement are also tailored around their specific lifestyles.
A good health coach is supportive, encouraging and creates space for you to express yourself freely and openly without judgment. They’re prepared to support you in a way that makes sense to you, whether that’s through a check-in or reminding you that it’s ok to fall off track and that what matters most is getting back on the horse each time.
What to expect from health coaching
Working with a health coach begins with a discovery consultation to discuss your specific concerns and your health and wellbeing history. You do most of the talking while I hear you out. Once I’ve gained an understanding of your background and concerns, I will share a number of ways in which I can help with a coaching program tailored to your needs.
Over the course of the first few consultations, we’ll work together to identify your top health and wellbeing goals. A health coach can facilitate this process by helping clients connect their goals with their own values and strengths. At this point, attainable goals are set, and obstacles can be managed when necessary.
Over the following appointments, we review progress, challenges and set the next steps.
The coaching process is similar to talk therapy in that it involves two people discussing ideas, issues, and existing limitations. And while a health coach often may provide gentle guidance, the person being coached is responsible for doing a lot of the inner work needed to create goals and create the strategies for how to arrive at these goals in a way that suits them best.
Throughout our coaching journey, I will be there to cheer you on, hear you out, and intervene with helpful advice when appropriate.
What’s the difference between a health coach and a life coach?
The concept of coaching has been around for a while. Life coaching was popularised in the 90s by putting particular emphasis on career development, executive and business coaching, and personal effectiveness. A life coach helps you achieve your personal goals and works with you on overcoming mindset blockages. This is where life coaching overlaps with health coaching; however, as you’ve learned from this post today, a health coach focuses on optimising your health first in order to optimise your overall wellbeing.
A health coach helps you set goals related to your health, be it emotional, mental, or physical. And while a health coach can help you achieve career-related goals, the road we take to get you there is a bit different than it would be through a life coach.
A health and wellness coach can help you go the extra mile toward unlocking the last missing pieces for achieving your health and wellness goals. Health coaching isn’t just for those with chronic health conditions or those wanting to lose weight; it’s for anyone looking to make lasting and meaningful changes in their lives. It’s for anyone seeking to become the best version of themselves.
And by hiring a health coach, you’re acknowledging that we’re stronger and thrive better when we have a solid support system, which is exactly what I aim to provide.
So, if you’re ready to take a chance on yourself, book a FREE discovery call so we can start discussing a tailored plan that works around your needs and lifestyle.
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