What is Healthy Life Coaching?
The consequences of neglecting our health are severe:
* One in two Americans has a chronic disease; one in four has multiple chronic diseases.
* Seven of ten deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic disease.
* 27% of children now have a chronic disease.
* Chronic disease will account for $47 trillion in healthcare expenditure by 2030 if the epidemic is unchecked.
Not surprisingly, studies have consistently shown that coaching improves health outcomes for several chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. This is not a small effect. In fact, some research has shown that applying evidence-based principles of behavior change can increase the chances of success by over 1,000%!
Research suggests that up to 90% of chronic disease is caused by diet and lifestyle factors, it is behavioral – people making the wrong choices about diet, physical activity, sleep and other lifestyle factors that ultimately impact their health. Changing our behavior is hard, and most people don't know how to do it successfully.
Fewer than 5% of adults engage in the top health behaviors, and only 20% of adults are thriving according to a recent study.
In fact, a recent study found that 85% of the risk of chronic disease is due to these environmental factors. Another study found that fewer than 5% of adults engage in the top health behaviors, and only 20% of adults are thriving.
Given these statistics, it should be clear that 1) chronic disease is the biggest threat to our health that we face, and 2) changing our behavior is the most important step we can take to prevent and reverse chronic disease.
Most people know that eating poorly, not exercising, not getting enough sleep and engaging in other unhealthy lifestyle habits is not good for them. Yet they continue these behaviors anyway, or they chase quick fixes that don’t last for more than a few weeks, such as briefly following intense New Year’s resolutions surrounding crash diets and extreme exercise regimes.
Doctors, most of them have neither the training nor the time necessary to support people in making lasting behavioral changes. Doctors are trained in the “expert” approach of simply telling people what to do and expecting them to do it. That might work well when someone is facing a serious, acute health crisis (like appendicitis), but it fails miserably when it comes to long-term behavior changes like losing weight, managing stress or adopting a sustainable exercise routine. Doctors aren’t trained to work collaboratively with their patients.
That’s where health coaching comes in. What do I do? I am trained in a number of disciplines that support people in making lasting change. These include (but aren’t limited to):
Positive psychology, which leverages people’s strengths (rather than focusing on their weaknesses) to make changes
Motivational interviewing, which helps people to link behavior changes to their deepest needs and goals (e.g., “I will change my diet because I want to live to see my grandchildren graduate from college.”)
Habit formation and reversal, which supports patients in making positive habits, or breaking negative ones
I am trained to work with clients in a more collaborative way. I act as a partner or ally, encouraging you to discover your own solutions and become your own advocate and I support you in developing the skills you need to embrace new behaviors. Frequent visits are important to support effective behavioral change in the beginning. I recommended seeing me twice a month for 3 months with email and texting support between sessions.
This collaborative approach empowers you to become the primary driver of change. That’s why you need a health coach – it also builds confidence, self-awareness and self-actuation – all of which are crucial for long-term change.
By no means should you stop seeing a doctor entirely. Doctors and other licensed clinicians will always be required to order lab tests, analyze those results, diagnose disease, prescribe treatment and coordinate care. Health coaches aren’t trained to do those things, just as doctors aren’t trained to support behavioral changes. However, to not only remain in top physical health but to modify negative behaviors, you should see both a doctor and a health coach.
Quick fix diets don’t work. It has to be behavior and decisions made daily that you can do for your lifetime. There are days when the support of a coach is critical to keep moving forward. I help people understand what true health feels like and REAL food looks like. Elevating your health and fitness together can have a transformative effect on every aspect of your life. (And in some surprising ways!) The more energy you have, the more results you’re able to create — in your relationships, in your career, even in your finances.