Health and Wellness Coaching: A Gateway to Sustainable Behavior Change

Do you struggle prioritizing your health and wellness? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I could kick this habit,” but are unsure how to eradicate it? Do you desire having more control over your urges, more energy daily, and more peace of mind?

What would a life free from detrimental habits look like? How would creating healthy habits change the lives of you, your family, and those around you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions in the first paragraph, or desire to make lasting behavior change, working with a health and wellness coach may be what you need. Still a relatively new field, health and wellness coaching is growing, and with the amazing results people are seeing and research to back it up, health and wellness coaching is here to stay. In this article we will discover what health and wellness coaching is and go over steps to determine if health and wellness coaching is the right choice for you.

Health and wellness coaching is a rapidly growing field, and for good reasons (CLICK HERE to see the statistics). One study, done at the Mayo clinic, tracked 100 employees over a 12-week, in-person coaching program, and found improvement in all areas related to quality of life as well as lower levels of stress and depression. Obesity and chronic disease rates are on the rise, and health and wellness coaching has been shown to be effective in addressing those issues as well. So with all the hype around this up and coming field, what exactly IS health and wellness coaching?

Health and wellness coaching can be defined as a growth-promoting relationship that allows people to make meaningful changes to their behaviors and lifestyles. With emphasis on autonomous motivation and increasing capacity to change, coaching is a partnership in which clients discover within themselves why and how they will make these behavior changes. Facilitating change through vision creation, goal setting, and accountability are hallmarks of health and wellness coaching. It comes down to putting the client in the driver’s seat of their health, and empowering them to make sustainable change through healthy habit formation.

Though everyone can benefit from health and wellness coaching, that does not mean everyone needs it right at this moment. When deciding if health and wellness coaching is for you, there are certain things to explore within yourself first.

Readiness to change is a big one. To explain this I will describe two clients:

  • Client A, Amanda, has been dealing with low energy, poor sleep, and wants to make changes to her diet as she consumes mostly fast and processed foods. She wants to change and is willing to put in whatever amount of work necessary to make the changes last.

  • Client B, Bob, also deals with poor sleep and minimal energy, but is content living this way because, “it’s been this way as long as I can remember,” he says. He is also 40 pounds overweight and desires to get back to his “college weight.” Bob has thought about making changes to his eating, drinking, and smoking habits, but thinks it will be too hard and cost too much money.

These two clients are in very different stages of change. Amanda is in the preparation stage; she understands her motivators and is ready to make the changes necessary to get her energy and sleep back on track. Bob is in the contemplation stage of change; he has equal reasons why he might want to change or not, but ultimately is focused on the barriers stopping him from succeeding. Amanda would be an excellent candidate for health and wellness coaching in this moment, as she is ready to take charge of her health. Bob, on the other hand, is still seeking motivation to make lasting change. Bob’s motivation will come, and it may just happen through exploration of health and wellness coaching.

As explained, people are often in one stage of change when it comes to their overall health. This stated, people can be at different stages of change depending on which behavior is being explored. For example, Bob may be ready to lose weight and get his sleep under control, but have no desire to quit smoking or drinking yet. The initial coaching sessions might focus on what changes to diet, exercise, and morning/nightly routine Bob will make, with no mention of smoking or drinking cessation. Over time, Bob may decide he wants to address smoking. It comes down to being mindful of where the client is at, making the changes they are ready to make, and most importantly, it is always the client’s decision. Another important part of health and wellness coaching is finding the right coach.

There is an estimated 109,000 health and wellness coaches in the United States, and each one is unique. Similar to medical doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other workers in the health field, many coaches specialize in helping certain clients with certain goals. For example, as I am finishing up my health and wellness certification, I will be focusing on working with people who have a large amount of weight to lose (30+ pounds), as that is what I have done and where my experience has given me expertise.  More specifically, I will focus on improving client’s relationships with food and daily movement, and emphasize the understanding of how our decisions all compile to create our being in the current moment.

There is a new, exciting wave of health consciousness uprising in our society. With ample, often contradictory, information available to consumers, I will also be a resource for those not seeking coaching. More information about meals, movement, mindset, and masculinity will come, and in the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with any questions about any of the topics covered in this article.