Nowadays, it is pretty popular, and I am sure you heard the term “health coach” randomly popping up in social circles, magazines and on TV. When I tell someone that I’m a health coach, they do not truly understand Who I Am and What I Do. Health and wellness coaches are getting more and more popular at wellness centers, spas, gyms, doctors’ offices or just in their own private practices around the country. They offer services and fill gaps that doctors, nurses and other auxiliary health workers don’t have the time for or resources to fill.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school defines: "A health coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, Health Coaches tailor individualized wellness programs to meet their clients' needs.” Health coaches, like me, are highly educated guides in the fields of nutrition, wellness, bio-individuality and mentoring. They have a strong focus on behavioral choices, understanding of dietary theories and overall health. They do not replace a medical practitioner by diagnosing, prescribing and treating diseases but compliment the tasks of health professionals and work with them to encourage positive changes within clients for lasting results and lifestyle adjustments.
When athletes want a competitive edge, they hire a private coach to monitor their progress. When it comes to your health, using this mindset could also be beneficial. Health coaches are increasingly being hired by corporations to help employees stay healthy and by individuals seeking to improve well-being. For some, these coaches offer assistance in managing dietary constraints (due to conditions such as celiac disease or diabetes), and for others, they might focus on teaching stress-reduction methods. In some ways, the health coach picks up where your physician left off, helping you implement wellness strategies suggested after a check-up or diagnosis.
There are different types of health coach certifications available. I got mine from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Graduates of this program, including me, are trained in over 100 dietary theories and lifestyle coaching techniques to help clients understand what is holding them back. It takes a year of training to become credentialed as a health coach through the Institute. Health coaching focuses not only on the food you eat, but also your lifestyle. The concept of bio-individuality is introduced to underline that we are as unique as our fingerprints and we have our own personal stories, discomforts and methods of self care. Some health coaches are going even deeper and study Human Anatomy and Physiology to be able to explain in simple words what is going on in our body when we eat certain food. What this food breaks into and how this affects our overall wellness. I was lucky as I got my training in human anatomy and physiology while becoming certified as Professional Medical Coder about 15 years ago. So nowadays, it is more like a working knowledge for me.
There Is No One-Size-Fits All Approach!
Have you ever been given a list of foods you can or cannot eat without an explanation why? Have you found that making drastic changes works only for a short time and doesn't seem to work for you in the long run? Perhaps a friend of yours lost a bunch of weight on this particular diet, but when you tried it, the results were just minimal. That’s where health coaches come in. We help you to implement small changes you are comfortable with, little by little until you meet your wellness goals. We work with you to help you discover your bio-individuality, it means what works for you and what doesn’t and help you realize what is your true motivation to make any healthy changes.
Summing up health coaches will:
- keep you motivated to achieve your wellness goals
- ask you the right questions and listen to you eagerly
- tailor the right for you approach addressing your concerns
- help you discover where and why are you struggling
- provide nutritional suggestions to establish what works for your body
- adjust foods depending on your dietary constraints
- work with your health practitioner
- check on your life stressors and teach you different reliving techniques
- encourage you to take small steps for long lifestyle changes
- help you to feel and look healthy
My practice offers one-on-one sessions: in person, over the phone or Skype and small group sessions for those who want to lose weight, increase their energy and get healthy in the most efficient way. Those group sessions are provided over the internet or live at wellness centers in Chicagoland. Please, feel free to contact me for more information.