I've had a ton of questions lately about what Health Coaching entails, so I've lumped most of them together into one post. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions!
**Reminder: As a 2018 kick off celebration, your first month of coaching is only $125***
How does working with a health coach differ from working with a nutritionist or dietician?
Working with a health coach is similar to working with a nutritionist in many ways. The biggest difference in my experience is that as where a nutritionist or dietitian will asses your dietary needs, give you the appropriate meal plan and education about nutrition, a health coach -at least, in my practice- will help you understand nutrition and eating patterns using a more holistic (not to be confused with homeopathic) approach.
A holistic approach means not only considering what is being eaten, but why certain things are being eaten. For example - mindset around food can impact how long someone lasts following a meal plan, certain emotional situations can impact eating behavior, poor scheduling, lack of sleep, resistance to planning, fear of food - etc.
It’s my strong opinion that many of us know how to eat properly or have access to information about how to eat properly. In coaching, we will pay as much attention to addressing and learning to modify certain behaviors as we do to the actual food you’re eating. If it was as easy as just following a diet, we’d all be in great shape. I think taking the time to understand why we eat how we eat, even when we know certain decisions aren’t the best, is just as important as knowing what to eat.
*To be clear, more and more RDs and nurtionists are now treating nutrition from a holistic standpoint - so if that’s the direction you’re leaning, definitely look for someone who takes that piece into consideration! :)
What’s the coaching process actually look like?
We’ll begin with an assessment that familiarizes me with where you’re at nutritionally, your history with/ relationship with food, your current lifestyle, preferences, some of the factors that have held you back from reaching your health goals, and more. I’ll work with you to create flexible menus that appeal to you, create shopping lists, and find a way to make meal prep as efficient as possible. Those are the basics - the rest of the coaching varies by client, but over the course of the program you might expect to keep some journals that allow you to identify what was going on when you “fell off the wagon,” address strategies and mental shifts to prevent it from happening in the future, and do some deep dives into mindset around food if necessary (it is for 90% of the clients I’ve worked with!). Some clients want to spend time learning about eating for energy, some clients need help integrating a healthy lifestyle into a hectic schedule, some will want to learn to eat to control certain digestive issues, others really just need someone to help hold them accountable is helpful. Coaching can go in many directions, but you can expect to walk away feeling more in control, more energized, healthier, and happier :)
How much weight can I expect to lose?
It depends- factors such as current weight, genetics, mindset, lifestyle, etc all come in to play. I like to shift our focus away from actual weight loss to improving health habits and mindset - when this happens, weight loss is almost certainly a byproduct- I can’t think of a single client I’ve had who’s done a 3 or 6 month program and has not lost weight. However, when weight loss is a byproduct of new habits and a new mindset, it feels far more effortless. When health feels effortless, it’s sustainable long term.
Will I get a meal plan?
I have started helping design flexible meal plans as most of my clients have a hard time completely letting go of structure so quickly. However, the end goal is always to get my clients eating intuitively and not reliant upon “diets”. When we do a meal plan, it’s for the sake of structure, planning, and economic/ time efficiency and not to be looked at as a diet. But the short answer is that we can do meal plans if my clients would like one.
What will I be expected to eat?
I work to understand my clients food preferences and design plans around that! Unless we are doing an elimination diet to identify a food sensitivity, I like my clients to focus on a concept called “crowding out” instead of restriction. Meaning, that adding enough nutrient dense foods to each meal eventually takes up the space of less healthy foods. So you can expect to eat a lot of nutrient dense foods - but we’ll work to prepare them in a way that you’re excited about. I also LOVE doing food makeovers (healthier but yummy versions of your favorite “naughty” foods). When you add nutrient dense food that you actually like, and make over the less nutritious stuff in a way that;s still satisfying - I promise your cravings for the rest will start to go away.
How often do we communicate?
I have an hour long call with my clients every other week, with a 20 minute check-in call in the weeks between. However, I do make myself available on an as-needed basis.
What if I don’t live locally?
I take most of my meetings over the phone or Skype - many of my clients are not local!
Can you help with medical issues?
Yes and no. I have lot of education and experience in general GI issues and food sensitives and love helping people find relief around both. However, if you have a more serious medical condition I recommend working with a registered dietitian specially trained in that area. I have and can absolutely work hand in hand with either a doctor or RD to help you integrate a new style of eating into your life.
Am I locked in to 3/6 months?
You are not. I ask for a longer term commitment because I don’t believe that fast change works in 99% of cases, and most of my clients start noticing the big changes around those time frames. However, I if you decide that coaching isn’t for you, I will always honor that.
What are your areas of specialty?
I’ve worked with clients on all ends of the spectrum, but my some of my favorite areas are mindset work (it’s so so important), GI issues, and binge eating (not related at all, I know)