Monthly Archives: November 2017

Health Coaching

We all know how important our health is. We are what we eat, and as we grow older, the condition of our body deteriorates and it is important that we take good care of our body. Many health experts have advised people that they should not smoke, eat more greens and vegetables and also to exercise regularly. However, even though many people are told to do such things over and over again, they fail to listen to these good instructions and only regret in the later part of their lives. Well, perhaps one of the ways out of this is to engage a health coach.

Let me first define what health coaching is. Health coaching is employing a health coach, or if possible coaching yourself through some personal coaching, such that you obtain some guidance on how to improve your health. This also includes addressing your own health needs and making changes to your behaviours to improve your own health. Like traditional forms of coaching such as life coaching, health coaches would formulate goals to reach certain health targets with their clients. This also includes identification of obstacles and the use of personal support systems. The relationship between the coach and client hinges on accountability. The coach would also focus the client and lead him to achieve what was set by his healthcare practitioners as the overall health outcome goals.

There is also some history to health coaching. Health coaching actually began with psychologists treating persons addicted to alcohol in the early 1990s. Then, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a study that compared several methods of treatment for alcohol addiction. The findings revealed that while many of the methods used to treat alcohol abuse were equally effective, motivational interviewing was more cost effective and timelier in reaching the desired results. This has led researchers to be more interested to use this approach. They now study how such motivational interviewing can be used to affect health behavior changes in persons with chronic conditions.

While the traditional approach to patient teaching and education is to give information to the patient, health coaching or motivational interviewing, on the other hand, involves engaging a health coach to guide the patient to talk about what is most troubling to them about their conditions, what they most want to change, what support they have to foster change, and what obstacles or difficulties must be removed or minimized to advance healthy behaviors.

How to Become a Health

Preventative health is a much smarter approach to being healthy as opposed to having a curative approach. It’s much more difficult and expensive to restore health than it is to maintain. Health coaching is becoming a growing career field which has been enjoying a lot of acclaim in recent media stories. Paul Zane Pilzer is a New York Times selling author who once predicted that health and wellness would soon be a trillion dollar industry. His prediction seems to be accurate.

Successful health and wellness coaches should be naturally health conscious. Having a commitment to eating healthy, living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a degree of fitness should be a priority. Clients naturally want to hire health and wellness coaches who walk their walk and talk their talk.

To evaluate whether becoming a health coach would be a good career, do some research in regards to salary, hours, and opportunities which are currently offered to health coaches. Interview local health and wellness coaches to determine the climate in your area for that field. Evaluate the demographics and economy of the area to determine if a health and wellness related business might have a good chance of being successful. Consider whether residents of your area are health conscious and have disposable income.

Most health and wellness coaches work for themselves in the form of a private practice. This requires having solid business skills and experience. Organizational habits, marketing strategies and determination would also be helpful.

There are many schools which offer certification for health and wellness coaches. Some schools offer distance learning, while others offer online classes or weekend attendance. Look closely at several schools and compare their qualifications, tuition, and the success of their graduates.

Contact local colleges to evaluate their programs as well. Options would include getting a degree in dietetics, public health, and other fields such as counseling, psychology or sociology.

The most important strategy when evaluating a school is to search for graduates from the health coach school you are considering to get opinions on current students and graduates experience and get recommendations they might have.

Ask about their experience they may have already have with their health coaching career and find out what type of career options they have discovered. You can also inquire politely about their income they’ve received as a health coach. Some health and wellness coaching schools offer discounts to friends and family of alumni, which could be an added benefit to contacting a recent grad of a nutrition school you are considering.

Can YOU Benefit From Health

Health coaching is right for you if you answer YES to at least 4 of the following questions:

(1) Is now the time to do something to improve your health?
(2) Is your lifestyle unhealthy and out of balance?
(3) Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired, stressed out, and/or under-productive?
(4) Are you ready to make lasting, positive changes in your lifestyle such as losing weight, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, managing blood sugars, or reducing stress?
(5) Are you ready to commit to an honest discussion of your top health concerns?
(6) Are you seeking to create more overall satisfaction by bringing greater pleasure, engagement, and meaning to your life?
(7) Have other traditional treatment programs failed to improve your health?

Competitive sports teach us that individuals learn best and attain peak performance when they receive support and guidance from a knowledgeable coach. So why should we go it alone and regard our health–something that we treasure and that really matters to us–as any less important? In short, Health and Wellness Coaching, an innovative alternative to traditional healthcare programs, is for you because when you’re focused and know what to do, you can accomplish a lot in a short period of time.

There are several steps to the health coaching process:

(1) Intake interview and evaluation (includes a coaching readiness and starting point/goals assessment);
(2) beliefs and values identification and clarification;
(3) development of a personalized plan of action;
(4) measurement of progress toward goals;
(5) adjustment of strategies as needed; and
(6) continual re-assessment of progress.

Candidates for health coaching include those with a variety of chronic health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and obesity (to name a few), as well as those who seek relief from everyday stress, anger, and anxiety, and those seeking to meet the demands of Attention-Deficit Disorder.

A passionate and effective health coach knows from both personal and professional experience that to achieve success, you have to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there–essentially, strategy and structure. “If you don’t know where you want to end up, it doesn’t matter which road you take” (Cheshire Cat, Lewis Carol). Your coach also should be familiar with research into health coaching. Investigators in a Yale study showed that “coaching is a highly effective and superior strategy in reducing total cholesterol and other coronary risk factors such as blood pressure, compared to patients who were prescribed medication but not coached.” If you suffer from a chronic health condition and your physician has recommended lifestyle changes, then coaching can have a positive impact on your ability to control the advancement of your disease. Following parameters set by your physician and working as part of a team approach, your coach can help you understand your current lifestyle choices and how they negatively affect your disease, identify things that you can and are willing to change, and help create a meaningful plan of action that assures success. The goal is to help you begin and maintain new healthy behaviors that will improve your quality of life.

For reducing stress, anger, and anxiety, your coach will work with you to understand the thoughts, perceptions, and events that create stress for you. He will encourage your development of self-observation and self-awareness so that you can learn about how you respond to stressful events in your life, and then help you begin to recognize how you can best manage your stress. This will enable you to select and implement a variety of stress management tools and techniques and to learn how to incorporate them into your daily routine. Through this process, you will receive support you when you need support, receive motivation when you need to be pushed, and receive encouragement and be challenged in order to help you achieve the “less-stress” balance you desire in your life.

All in all, health and wellness coaching is not just for problems, but rather it is for moving your life forward, expanding your possibilities, and realizing your potential through the use of a dynamic plan of action that addresses old and new problems with new and vital solutions. As Albert Einstein once said, “You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it in the first place.” Coaching is very affordable and convenient because it occurs mostly by telephone and through emails, depending on your needs and preferences, with the flexibility to accommodate your schedule.

So, are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Is now the time to do something to improve your overall health and well-being, especially those of you with DIABETES or ARTHRITIS or CHRONIC PAIN? Then what are you waiting for? HEALTH COACHING is right for you!

Dr. Fields is committed to moderation in his own health habits and, certainly far from believing he has achieved optimal health, continues to work at self-improvement by partaking in his favorite activities of hiking, camping, coaching his two sons’ baseball teams, and spending time with his family. He holds a doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

How to Choose a Health Coach

There are a wide variety of types of health coaches available to support your health improvement and weight loss goals. Many are available at no cost from your local health care or managed care company, or bundled with a weight loss program. The right health coach for you depends on several factors.

What is a Health Coach?
The term is applied today to a wide variety of professionals and semi-professionals. A person who provides physical exercise training and nutritional guidance for health improvement and weight loss can be a health coach. There are certifications available which may add credibility as well as knowledge, but may not be required depending on the support you need. These services are often available through a fitness center or may be offered by phone or online and are usually available for a fee.

Personal Trainers are sometimes referred to as health coaches but the distinguishing feature is that a personal trainer is educated and certified to provide physical exercise training with minimal nutrition training as well. Typically a health coach is a more generic term.

A health coach can also be a licensed nurse or social worker providing support to members of a health insurance plan, an employer group or a community health center. These kinds of health coaches can support weight loss goals but can also provide a much wider scope of social and community services and are most often available at no cost but are available only to those with greatest health or psychosocial risks.

Then there are coaches that are trained to provide motivation and support within a limited scope of a particular weight loss process or program. These services are often available as a part of the program and do not cost extra.

Health Conditions
The first thing to consider in determining the kind of support that would be best for you is to determine if you are simply overweight or if you have clinical conditions that makes weight loss more complex for you such as Diabetes, or heart disease. Anyone who has these clinical conditions should visit with their physician about their planned weight loss strategy and have their physician be a part of their health coaching team. That does not mean that your coach must be a clinician, but become a wise consumer and make sure that the guidance from your coach and/or your weight loss program is nutritionally sound for your clinical condition. If you are a diabetic for example, make sure the advice is in alignment with your physician’s plan for your care.

The Value of Health Coaches

Health coaches, if selected with your goals and specific needs in mind, can be of tremendous value in helping you meet your weight loss goals. They often serve a primary function of helping you remain accountable and motivated to meet your goals but they can also offer valuable problem solving when you hit the inevitable bumps in your weight loss journey. If you decide to commit to a program that comes with a structured process or product, you will want to see if there are coaches available as part of that service and use those resources rather than contracting with additional resources. If you enroll in a specific weight loss program, then hire an independent coach with a different philosophy you will constantly be in conflict with the direction provided and while the instruction may not be wrong, it can be confusing causing you to lose confidence in their advice or the program.

Why Should I Work With a Health

Why should you work with a health coach? What is a health coach and how do you use the services of one? Five years ago a health coach was an unknown profession except in the world of corporate executives or large corporations. Now it is a growing business with health coaches, wellness coaches and fitness coaches. In our age of growing baby boomers people are turning to coaches more and more for help with health or fitness related issues that they cannot resolve. We are in a movement of people acquiring more knowledge about health risks and wanting to make sound choices in their lives and prevent catastrophic problems. People are living longer each year and it is of utmost importance to keep ourselves healthy to live those extra years with a good quality of life.

A health coach is there for you to be your partner in taking charge of your health, recognizing bad choices and teaching you to make wise choices. Included in the job description of a health coach is the training that they incorporate into an action plan for you. They empower you, support you, motivate and inspire you, encourage you and challenge you.

A health coach gives you a new approach to your lifestyle in terms of getting fit, understanding what beneficial habits are and learning to stop non-beneficial habits. You and the coach focus on health changes you need to make and also on managing chronic health conditions enhancing your life.

There are some important points to consider when you are trying to stay healthy, reach a fitness or nutritional goal or manage a chronic health issue. Listed are some points to consider;

1. You need to have a goal to reach. That goal is specific for each individual. Examples would be a goal to lose 10 pounds, a goal to increase your endurance so you can go hiking for 5 miles with your kids, a goal to learn to eat nutritionally and decrease junk food, a goal of becoming more fit when you have severe arthritis. You can see what I mean, that goals are different for everyone. When you work with a health coach you and the coach decide what the goal should be, and put it in some concrete fashion. Concrete fashion could be a contract, written goals with specific time lines, you get the idea. Your coach works for you and with you to persevere towards that or those specific goals. Your coach should be able to motivate you, understand what needs you may have and continually promote progress. Your coach should also be able to listen to you and respect your concerns and issues that may be holding you back from reaching your goals.

2. Any wellness program has a fitness program. Your health coach works with you to research and plan for a specific program. The coach also motivates and inspires you to perform the program and push yourself.

3 A change in lifestyle is usually necessary to reach a goal of optimum health. A health coach has the knowledge to promote those changes in you and is your advocate when you are working against yourself.

4. Your health coach educates you about wellness, nutrition and fitness. Your coach should be knowledgeable about anatomy, physiology, disease processes and many other facets about health and disease. A health coach should provide you with informative articles, news, or places of value to you in bringing you to your optimum level of wellness.

5. Your health coach should have the knowledge base to understand your health and potential health issues and involve a medical professional when necessary.

6. A health coach should be persistent, dedicated to you and patient with you.

A health coach is a motivating and inspiring force behind you. A health coach wants to bring you to your optimum level of health. Teaming up with a health coach can help you to achieve success, to emulate models of health and have an advisor who supports you and is a positive change agent in your life.