What is a Health Coach?
A Health Coach is a wellness professional who works with clients one-on-one or in group settings to help them achieve their personal wellness goals including weight loss, boosting energy, or sleeping better. It doesn’t stop there, though. Health Coaches act as a supportive mentor and guide to help their clients discover which foods and lifestyle makes them feel best. Coaches are accountability partners and even friends who give an unbiased approach to their clients and empower them to live the lives they love.
To put it simply, Health Coaches are changing the world and reversing the pervasive health care crisis. Health Coaching is one of the quickest growing careers and Health Coaches are seriously in demand.
What makes a Health Coach unique?
There is no one perfect way of eating that works for everybody. This is called bio-individuality. Each person has very specific needs for his or her own health according to age, constitution, gender, size, lifestyle and ancestry.
Your primary food – career, relationships, spirituality, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors – plays an equal if not greater role in improving your overall health and wellness than what’s on your plate. We’re not just hungry for and nourished by food; we need love, movement, stability, adventure, a higher purpose, and self-expression in our lives to thrive.
Health is not only about diet and exercise. You can eat a perfect diet and work out daily, but if you have a stressful job or are in a relationship that doesn’t serve you, you won’t reach your potential for health and wellness.
What are the Institute for Integrative Nutritions Core Values?
- Be a source of positive change
- Do what you love and love what you do
- Set an example of self-development and growth
- Live each day with the freedom to choose what’s right for you
- Support each other in the global shift to better health
- Embrace learning and new ways to do thing
- Create balance in all areas of life
- Simplify everything
Benefits Of Using A Health Coach?
A Health Coach will give you specific insight and knowledge into how your body and mind work and what it needs in order to improve your health and fitness.
- Increased weight loss
- Better nutrition and diet
- Increased strength and fitness
- Increased motivation
- Improved lifestyle habits
- Improved self-image
- Increased health knowledge
- Improved self-care
- Improved management of chronic conditions
- Decreased health-care costs
- Look younger
- Increased energy
- Better sex
- More time
- More productive
- Less stress
- Less fatigue
- Sleep better
- Better posture
- Control cravings
- Eat guilt-free
- Less back pain
- Reduce illness
- Reduce disease symptoms
- Reduced doctor’s visits
- Keep weight off
- Live Longer
A key difference is that a Health Coach provides a complete solution who can help you with:
- Time Management
- and most importantly create sustainable habits that will last your lifetime.
“A Health Coach can be a helpful guide on your journey to living a healthier life. You can achieve your best health and you will be able to achieve your goals with a professional coach who has the proper knowledge and experience on your side.”
What A Health Coach Can’t Do:
- Diagnose, treat, or cure disease
- Write prescriptions
- Guarantee success
- Give you a magic pill for instant results
Are there different types of Health Coaches?
There is a broad spectrum of Health Coaches. On one end, there are those who have no training or certifications. On the other are doctors and licensed medical practitioners who offer coaching as part of their services. Here are some of the most common types:
- Health Coach: is a authority in multiple disciplines who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices in nutrition, exercise, stress, sleep, etc. The majority of Health Coaches are certified.
- Registered Dietitian: Someone who has formal schooling in the biology and biochemistry of the human body. RD’s must complete at least a bachelor’s degree, work in a supervisory program for approximately 1 year at a health care facility, and pass a national examination to get their license.
- Nutritionist: There are no specific requirements for this term, with the result being that many different types of professionals who have a wide range of experience in wellness and nutrition calling themselves nutritionists.
- Life or Holistic Coach: approaches every aspect of a person’s life – body, mind, and spirit – in relation to the whole. Typically health coaching is not their area of specialization.
- Wellness Coach: this term is admittedly a bit fuzzy, falling somewhere between a Life or Holistic coach and a Health Coach. Many Wellness Coaches are not certified.
- Personal Trainer: a fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. Most Personal Trainers are certified.
- Naturalist Coach: while not always visibly identified as such, these coaches favor organic foods and are biased against processed foods and Western medicine.
Do I have to have a serious health issue to benefit from a health coach?
No. We know that no two people are exactly the same and your health status may vary from day to day. Health coaches help you to assess your level of health and well-being and to work on the issues at hand. Your health coach will provide the human touch to motivate you toward setting and achieving your goals through a personalized plan of action. However, if you do have a serious health issue, your health coach can help. If you need to modify your lifestyle due to an issue such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or musculoskeletal injuries, a degreed and highly trained expert health coach can assist.
Why Not My Doctor?
- There is very clear distinction between a doctor and a health coach. The doctor treats acute conditions; the Health Coach helps patients help themselves. The doctor advises and the coach collaborates.
- While doctors are getting better at informing their patients when their body mass index is too high, they often do not tell them how to lose weight.
- Many doctors report they don’t have time to talk to patients about health strategies, while others struggle with being overweight or unhealthy themselves and feel uncomfortable broaching the subject with a patient. Many doctors simply haven’t been trained.
Why Not A Dietician or Personal Trainer?
Many clients have worked with trainers or dietitians, both of whom are qualified to help people within their subject-matter expertise, but may not always have the knowledge or skills to help people make changes they can sustain for the long-term (once the prescribed diet or exercise program ends).
A Health Coach may offer the best bang for your buck:
- Health Coaching is more cost effective than hiring a nutritionist and personal trainer separately.
- Dietitians can talk about food but not exercise.
- Personal trainers specialize in exercise but not nutrition.
- Medical professionals are focused on the treatment of specific disease complaints.
Most people know exactly what they need to do in terms of eating better and exercising more. It’s taking action on this knowledge that is the challenge. Health Coaches are trained to ask the tough questions that will have you exploring your deepest motivations for change, and connecting your goals and behavior so that acting on what you know you need to do becomes second nature.
Why Not A Life Coach?
- Coaches come from all kinds of backgrounds and careers. The common thread amongst them all is a deep and strong desire to help people thrive and reach their fullest potential.
- There is a core difference between a life coach and a Health Coach. Life coaches may come from any field of education or experience, and they often help people make broader changes in their lives (relationships, parenting, organization, careers, etc.) rather than specializing in health-related goals. A certified Health Coach has a background specifically in a health-related field (fitness, nutrition, medicine, psychology, etc.). Many have worked in the health field for several years before adding coaching to their services. For most, health coaching is an extension of the work that they have already been doing.
- Health Coaches believe that wellness is the foundation of personal growth and development. So, no matter why you hire any type of coach, the coach begins with a focus on self-care. Change is difficult, and when working to reach your greatest potential in your health or fitness, the Health Coach believes you must begin with a healthy perspective (i.e. ‘take care of yourself first’).
- Health Coaching is not an evolution of Life coaching; it is a different specialty. Health Coaches help people develop individualized strategies for improving their health, exercise and eating. Life coaching addresses the individual’s entire life.
Does Insurance cover Health Coaching?
- It depends. There are a few insurance companies that cover Health Coaching, and you’ll see that more and more doctors are hiring health coaches to work alongside them in their practices, but other types of coverage does not. We recommend that you ask your health care provider if these types of services are covered to be sure.
- It’s important to know that recognition of health coaching as a career and of Health Coaches as an essential component of the health care system is on the rise. As recognition grows, there are an increasing number of people who are looking for preventative and lifestyle management services from a Health Coach rather than typical doctors’ visits. We are working tirelessly with policy makers to make health coaching more accessible to all.