Growing number of people using health coaches

Health coaches offer advice to help you improve your quality of life


DALLAS, Texas – More than 66 percent of men and women in the U.S. are overweight. Worse yet, a third of all adults are obese. Getting in control of your weight can feel impossible without the right help, which could be why more and more people are turning to health coaches to improve their quality of life.

Kim Wilson is a certified health coach with a passion for teaching clients to eat smart and live happy.

"It's not just about diets, but it's also about how to manage your stress levels and it's also about the emotional side of eating," said Wilson.

A health coach digs to find the cause of your unhealthy eating and helps you break bad habits, create manageable goals, track progress, and overcome roadblocks.

"My night time snack that I loved, it's embarrassing to admit, was hot fiery Cheetos and several glasses of wine," said Liz Smith, a health coach client.

Smith was tired, overweight, and ready for a change so she turned to Wilson for help.  She slowly began replacing her daily dose of junk food with green leafy vegetables and fresh juices.

"I just wanted to try to get me healthy on the inside. It was not necessarily about weight loss," said Smith.

"People are tired of feeling tired.  A lot of people are bloated and our digestive systems are very impaired," Wilson explained.

Wilson said a good starting point when shopping for food is if the label shows more than five ingredients, forget it! Also, make sure sugar is not listed in the top two ingredients. Keep a list of ten things to do, other than eat, like taking a walk or playing with your pet, so you can avoid eating when stressed or bored.

Smith lost fifteen pounds in two months without starving.  

"I think I am eating as much as I ever had. It's the quality of food," she said.

Smith adds that those nightly cravings for Cheetos are gone.

Hourly sessions with a health coach can range from $50 to $200 an hour. Be sure to ask about their training and certifications before choosing one.

Additional Information:

HEALTH COACHING:  Health coaching is an important trend that is happening in health care.  It is a trend that is moving away from traditional health teaching, which refers to the regular patient/client relationship.  Health coaching actively engages the person to change their unhealthy lifestyle, but there are many different programs available.  So, The National Society of Health Coaching put together a list of seven questions to help guide people to a program who are interested in health coaching:

#1. IS THE PROGRAM BASED ON ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE?  The answer should be "yes."  Programs based on research and scientific evidence are more likely to result in a positive outcome.  Not all of the programs are evidence-based.  So, ask what the scientific principles are for the bases of the foundation.  They should include motivational interviewing, stages of change, medical research, and agenda and goal setting. 

#2. WHAT CREDENTIALS OR EDUCATION IS REQUIRED FOR PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY?  Some programs are designed only for those with a license to give medical advice to all clients.  Other programs require degrees for those desiring to coach only "wellness."  There are also still programs that accept coaches from all types of backgrounds. 

#3. SHOULD PROGRAM COST BE AN INDICATOR OF QUALITY?  No.  For example, those with a license in clinical practice will pay far less for a program because these people already have a medical and psychosocial background needed for health coaching.  Some programs cost more due to the length of the program. 

#4. DO I WANT TO WORK IN A HEALTHCARE, WELLNESS, CLINIC, OR OTHER SETTING? Some programs prepare you to work primarily in wellness settings, like wellness centers and low-risk employee health, while others are more appropriate for those in medical settings, like hospitals and health clinics.  Ask if the program prepares you to "coach" primarily in one setting.

#5. WHAT REPUTATION AND CREDIBILITY DOES THE PROGRAM HAVE?  Ask who endorses the program and what entity bestows continuing education credit. 

#6. WHAT IS THE FEEDBACK FROM THOSE HAVING COMPLETED THE PROGRAM?  Ask for testimonials of those who have succeeded in the program you are interested in and who also has similar work and educational background similar to yours. 

#7. WHO ARE THE PRIMARY PURCHASERS OF THE PROGRAM?  Ask who is best suited for your program material; for example, those with college degrees in science, nurses, personal trainers, etc. (Source: http://www.exercise-science-guide.com/blog/which-health-coaching-program-is-right-for-me/)