What Is Health Coaching
We all understand what health is and can recognize the difference between being in good health and poor health. And with the practice of coaching entering the mainstream, the public has a much better understanding of what coaching is all about. So what happens when you put the two together? A health coach can help you navigate through the challenges of adapting a new lifestyle and keep your resolutions on track. But what is health coaching?
Illustrating the Problem
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that two thirds of the adult population is either overweight or obese. Excess weight is associated with numerous poor health outcomes, including type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
One of the main issues Americans face is the apparent disconnect between wanting to live a healthy lifestyle and facing the everyday mental and physical demands required for a lifestyle change. We’re juggling demands from work, running a home, and getting children to school and extracurricular activities on time. Our health often becomes our last priority, despite our desire to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Coaching Is the Solution
One of the main benefits of health coaching is helping individuals bridge the gap between wanting to make a change and taking the necessary steps to lead a healthy lifestyle. Health coaches provide one-on-one support to clients and help them achieve their goals through a series of evidence-based practices.
What Is Health Coaching?
Health coaches offer a series of activities that help you achieve sustainable healthy lifestyle changes in an area you desire. I became a certified Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition back in 2007. While I learned a TON about nutrition, the core philosophy of the program is that lifestyle factors like career, relationships, exercise and spirituality are equally important to your health as the food you eat.
A Health Coach will take a truly holistic and personalized approach to your wellness. He or she will not replace care and treatment from your medical practitioner(s) but will supplement that care. You will learn about amazing super foods (like goji berries, chia seeds, and quinoa) and about the addictive qualities of sugar. You will dive deep into issues like stress management, sleep quality, job satisfaction, and a variety of other lifestyle factors that contribute to your overall health and wellness.
When you begin your journey with a health coach, you may find your “problem” has several roots. For example, weight gain and compulsive overeating may be indicative of too much stress or a perceived lack of control in other areas of your life. Using a series of techniques such as motivational interviewing and strategic goal setting, your health coach can help you achieve your desired lifestyle change in ways you may have not thought possible.
According to Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal, the cornerstone of health coaching is Rosenthal calls bio individuality. This refers to the simple fact that everyone has different needs and that what works for some won’t work for others and researchers are in agreement.
Am I a Good Candidate For Health Coaching?
The ideal candidate is open to the idea of lifestyle change and is not afraid of hard work and introspection. Health coaching isn’t a newfangled fad, nor does it guarantee instantaneous results. Think of your health coach as your guide on a journey – one that may be long and sometimes hard but will change your life for the better.
Finding a Good Health Coach
Not all health coaches are the same. Ask for references and look for coaches who are certified and have additional coursework in a relevant discipline. Since this is still a relatively new discipline, there are plenty of coaches offering services without proper qualifications. Make the most of your investment by researching your prospective coach thoroughly.
As a testament to the legitimacy and growing need of health coaching, major universities including Georgetown, Vanderbilt and Duke now offer certificates in health coaching. So whether you are someone who thinks you might make a great Health Coach or someone that is considering working with one, Health Coaching is here to stay.
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