If you had asked me 10 years ago what a Health Coach was, I would have had absolutely no idea. Fast-forward to today: I’m a trained holistic Health Coach, and I see an average of six clients each week, all with their own situations. I’ve had clients who have lowered cholesterol, overhauled their diet, become more in tune with optimal foods for their bodies, and have started cooking more. But I’ve also had clients who have improved their sleep, reflected on and dealt with some personal relationships, and found their new purpose – all factors that have greatly improved their health.
So often people equate health with diet, and no doubt it plays a big role – a major role, in fact. But the food on your plate isn’t the only thing that affects you. Health Coaches are trained to look at the other aspects of your life – like sleep, stress, hydration, career, relationships, and all those things we sometimes take for granted. When these factors are out of line, they can cause detrimental effects on one’s body. It’s amazing what the body can do once some of the oh-so-important basics, like sleep and stress, are in check.
What does working with a Health Coach look like?
Before determining who needs a Health Coach, let’s define what working with a Health Coach looks and feels like.
Health coaching is a partnership. The coach first gets to know the client through an introductory call where the client’s health history is discussed. Within this, everything from childhood meals to parental health is shared – along with the in-between. The client’s initial concerns are considered. These may look something like: “I’m having problems losing weight,” “I am sick of feeling tired all the time,” “I’m bloated and have no idea why,” or “I just don’t feel like myself.” The areas of concern are personal and vary greatly.
After the initial meeting, the client and coach meet again (either virtually or in person). Goals are discussed, and together the two decide on a time frame to focus on these goals. This is a working timeline, meaning it can be adjusted and individualized to each client as needed.
Accountability is one major factor in working with a Health Coach. Sure, many of us are able to do things we want. But have you ever found yourself wondering why you wanted to (you fill in the blank) and you just could not make it happen? Having a Health Coach helps you set those intentions, make a realistic plan to go after those intentions, and not only holds you accountable but continually checks on you in a supportive fashion to make sure things are going well! It can make all the difference having a partner when making changes in your life.
Benefits of working with a Health Coach
There are many benefits of working with a qualified wellness professional who can help you make sustainable diet and lifestyle shifts. Ones I have found to be most beneficial in my work include:
- A second party to talk with and clearly define your goals
- A different perspective when your Health Coach sheds light on other areas of your health and life you may not have realized are affecting you
- Assistance in determining a completely individualized game plan to achieve your goals
- Specific, action-based education, like how to navigate a grocery store, find adaptable recipes, implement mindfulness practices, and much more
- Accountability – like having someone you feel safe and secure with to explore your health and other areas of your life to promote long-term well-being
- Empowerment to recognize what you need and how to achieve it – IIN’s core concept of bio-individuality in practice, learning how to listen to what your body and mind need, and taking the steps to address those needs
Who needs a Health Coach?
If you are having problems sustaining healthy habits or even determining what those healthy habits should be, you could benefit from having a Health Coach!
But here’s the thing: Everyone faces specific challenges when it comes to health and wellness. I believe almost everyone could benefit from having a Health Coach. When else would you take the time (45 minutes, biweekly in my case) to talk about yourself, determine how to better yourself, and then work on it? Having another person listen and help you navigate your unique success plan is highly beneficial.
Don’t expect a cookie-cutter plan – since you are your own person, your plan will be completely your own, too. Even dietary choices will be individualized because the foods that are beneficial to your body are just that. You won’t be advised to try what a random person on Instagram eats or even receive a suggestion out of the gate to just eat 100% vegan, Paleo, or another diet. Your Health Coach can help you explore different ways of eating, but it will be up to you to determine what makes you feel best!
Before you work with a Health Coach
It’s important to make sure you are working with a trained and qualified Health Coach. And just as important, be sure to understand that Health Coaches are not doctors. They can’t diagnose or treat conditions; in this case, you need to work with your healthcare provider, though Health Coaches like me can support this work.
Meetings can take place virtually, in person, or even over the phone. The length of the plan (often three or six months) is clarified up front as are applicable costs. I mentioned one-on-one settings, but there are Health Coaches who do group sessions, too.
I’ve seen beautiful changes come from my health coaching clients. While I may not have known about health coaching 10 years ago, it’s a wonderful thing, and it’s work I’m now truly grateful to be able to do. See if working with a Health Coach doesn’t make you feel the same!