The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school and certification program, defines a health coach as “a guide and supportive mentor who empowers clients to take responsibility for their health and achievement of their personal wellness goals. ” To summarize, 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.
Here is what Dr. Andrew Weil thinks about health coaches in Self Healing magazine report:
“ 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 to 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 state 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 what is going on in there. I am lucky as I got previous training in human anatomy and physiology to get certified as certified professional coder about 15 years ago so I am familiar with it.
There is no one-size-fits all approach.
Have you ever been given a list of food to eat and not to eat without an explanation why? Have you found that making drastic changes works only for a short time and don’t work for you long-term? Perhaps a friend of yours lost a bunch of weight on one 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 make you realize what is your true motivation to make those changes.
- keep you motivated to achieve your wellness goal
- ask you the right questions and listen to you eagerly
- tailor the approach just for you considering your concerns
- help you discover where and why are you struggling
- provide nutritional advice 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 lifestyle changes
- help you to feel and look healthy
Many health coaches also work in private practices. My practice offers one-on-one sessions face-to-face, over the phone or Skype or small groups of individuals who want to lose weight, increase their energy and get healthy in the most efficient ways. Those group session are provided over the internet or live at wellness centers in Chicagoland. Please, feel free to contact me for more information.