People are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals just by writing them down, according to Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California. But, most of us never get around to writing them down in the first place!
That probably explains why 25% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions abandon them within one week and only 5 percent of those who lose weight on a diet keep it off. 95% regain it, and a significant percentage gain back more than they originally lost.
But it’s not that we don’t want to lose weight, get to the root of digestive issues, or develop a meditation practice. We aren’t able to hold ourselves accountable to our goals because most of us are givers — willing to drop everything to do what others ask of us, whether it’s the boss, a family member, friend or significant other.
This is where health coaches come in. We hold clients accountable to their most important goals so they can achieve them and maintain healthy habits for life.
What is the role of a health coach in my life?
Just as a career coach mentors you throughout your career or a sports coach encourages you to become a better athlete, a health coach supports and guides you in meeting your health goals. Health coaches come in a variety of flavors, from weight loss coaches to ones like me who are focused on helping people with digestive, anxiety, and fatigue issues — a very specialized focus.
Health coaches help keep clients accountable to the goals they want to meet. They’re a perfect compliment to those who:
- Desire reaching a goal but haven’t succeeded in the past for any number of reasons
- Aren’t sure how to set realistic goals and where to even start
- Want expert guidance from someone who has been where you are!
- …and, really, anyone who just wants a friend in the process and someone to keep them on track!
But what does a health coach actually do?
Health coaches look to treat the whole body, the whole time. Instead of just treating symptoms, we specialize in guiding clients through a customized one-on-one program to identify and eliminate underlying problems. This is done by not only looking at the food you eat, but many other lifestyle factors including your career, relationships and exercise, all areas that can impact your wellbeing.
That’s because we understand how while one food may be nourishing and energizing to one client, it can be inflammatory and painful to another. And while one client may benefit from incorporating more yoga in their life to restore their stress/energy balance, another might need more aerobic exercise to do so.
Taking all of the unique factors of a client’s lifestyle, health history, and goals into account, we:
- Pinpoint the best ways for our clients to recover and thrive
- Develop a roadmap to get there
- Guide clients week-by-week, keeping them accountable and providing motivation along the way
This supportive, realistic, and collaborative approach helps to restore health and support long term goals. It also promotes what our bodies were born to do — heal themselves by themselves with proper nutrition and care. It’s the job of a health coach to enable a path that’s right for each client.
So what doesn’t a health coach do?
To be clear, health coaches are not dietitians, therapists or doctors.
Dietitians give you a list of foods to eat and a list of foods to avoid, but not a plan to incorporate them into your life or fun new recipes to try. Health coaches provide a realistic plan and ongoing support (+ recipes).
Therapists help you talk out important issues and sometimes prescribe medications, but they often don’t provide clear action steps and don’t address how food can impact your mood and wellbeing. Health coaches supplement this care by linking food to how you feel overall.
Doctors take a scientific and prescriptive approach to healthcare, offering quick fixes or medications and slot you into 10 minute appointments. They don’t address root causes or guide clients in a holistic approach to healing, addressing all areas of their life, which is exactly what a health coach does (and we give you about 40 minutes more each session).
Health coaches are designed to complement the work of dietitians, therapists and doctors. Health coaches are able to fuse an understanding of dietary theories with the impact that lifestyle factors can have on an individual, develop a holistic view of a client’s symptoms and a path to recover. This means we take the time to dig into many other factors of your life aside from diet that can have a big impact on how we feel — from exercise to spirituality to career satisfaction and quality of relationships. Taking this all into account, we help clients improve their health on the whole.
We do not prescribe medication nor do we advise you to ever stop taking medication. Especially if you are going through a major health issue or transformation, we encourage you to continue working with a physician even when you are working with a health coach.
Ultimately, it’s our goal to help you be your best, not limit you to one modality or approach.
Is health coaching for you?
If you’ve come to the end of the post, chances you you’re wondering if you should have a health coach, am I right? I’d be honored to give you a sneak peek at what it’s like to work with a health coach! There are two ways we can do this: I offer free 20 minute initial consultations for those interested in a one-on-one coaching program or a 90-minute recharge session (a single session) for those just looking for some inspiration and guided expertise to kickstart their own journey.
“At first they’ll ask why you’re doing it. Later, they’ll ask how you did it.”