What is a Health Coach and Why the American Medical Associations Recommends Them!

Well hello!

I am sitting in Cafe Gratitude eating nachos and tacos on a Tuesday in Venice. I know soooo LA of me. But by the time this goes live on my blog it will most likely be Thursday. Just some BTS for you of the blog life.

On my way here I was listening to an episode of the Tony Robbins podcast featuring Chris Kresser, one of the most influential names in health and wellness. The conversation dove into how the modern medical system is not helping mitigate the continued rise of chronic illness in America and why health coaches are necessary for the future of medical care.

1 in 2 Americans has at least one chronic illness including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity and 1 in 4 Americans has multiple chronic illness. What is even a harder pill to swallow than those statistic is that these illness are predominantly related to lifestyle, behavioral patterns and environment.

They are less likely to be generic or hereditary. According to a study published last year an estimated 85% of chronic disease is a result of factors other than genetics.

That means, and I say this with love, our choices in what we eat, how much we move our bodies, how we manage stress and if we make time for sleep are the driving forces.

Someone might have family members with obesity or Type 2 Diabetes and as a result they are more susceptible but that is likely because as a family they choose to eat the same foods or collectively are less active. It’s not necessarily that they share a bloodline rather that they have similar environments and behavioral patterns as family.

I’ll be the first to admit that behavior change is really challenging and many of us do not know how to do it successfully.

Chris has envisioned the future of medicine and believes that health coaches are key players in decreasing chronic disease by supporting patients and doctors in facilitating lasting lifestyle change.

Interestingly enough the average face to face time for a patient with a doctor during an appointment is 12 minutes. How is a doctor able to get a clear picture of someone’s life and help them implement changes in that short of time? It’s challenging if not impossible.

And it’s not that the doctors are to blame, they are not trained in nutrition, behavioral change and have a large client load. They simply don’t have the time for that level of engagement.

Doctors got into medicine to help people, they genuinely want the best for their patients but research has shown that simply telling patients to stop an unhealthy behavior is unlikely to yield successful results.

Which is where health coaches come in.

According to the American Medical Association “Health coaching is a collaborative approach to care that informs, engages and activates patients to take a prominent role in managing their health. By bridging the gap between the physician and patient, health coaches can help practices improve patient engagement in their care, leading to healthier patients with better outcomes.”

When a patient is supported by a health coach they are able to slowly implement changes in their life, like going form drinking 5 sodas a day to 2 which can greatly impact their health, wellbeing and decrease the amount of medical care they need. In the long run it saves the patients, doctors and insurance agencies money. If you’re a business owner this also means it can save you money by investing in a health coach for your employees.

A health coach is a trusted ally in the journey and process of prevention and treatment. Together the coach, following the doctors protocol, helps implement lifestyle adjustments with the patient over time that yield slow but steady results. Chris explains that “even a Functional Medicine practitioner, who might spend 30 to 60 minutes with a patient, will be hard-pressed to instill lasting behavior change.

Information and knowledge is not enough, because utilizing the information happens at home and not at the clinic or doctor’s office. I’ve recently discussed why forming new habits is so hard and having the knowledge to do something doesn’t actually yield action so it makes sense why having a coach would be instrumental.

Studies consistently find that having a health coach improves patient outcomes and satisfaction predominantly in the area of cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

SOOOO you must be wondering what a Health Coach is and how they help?

A recent review defined health coaching as “a client- or patient-centered process that assumes a working relationship/partnership develops between patient and [coach] to advance healthy lifestyle behavior change using tools such as nonjudgmental dialogue, goal setting, and accountability”

In my own words a health coach is a trusted team player in your journey of health. Together we form new habits and reverse old ones, I help you get connected to what your health and wellness goals are by creating a link between new behavior and your deepest desires, and support the changes by using positive phycology meaning I focus on your strengths rather than weakness to create change.

I help you transform your relationship to food and health so that you can feel empowered in your body and show up more powerfully in the world.

In essence a health coach will facilitate a transformation in how you live your life daily such that all areas of your life benefit.

Pretty cool, huh?

If you think you might benefit from a health  coach, contact me for your free discovery call to see if we would make a create team!

xo C

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