Dr. Oz calls them the next tier in health care professionals, saying health counselors (or coaches) can help change the culture of wellness in America with their prevention strategy. With the best medical, research and pharmaceutical resources in the world, why are chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease on the rise in this country?
It’s not altogether our fault… but. his isn’t about blame. The only way to become healthier is to take responsibility for your health, get educated about how your body works, which foods nourish it and which habits are making you sick, lethargic and not able to live the life you’d like to live.
You may already be doing your due diligence, trying to figure out how to get healthy. But, you’re up against a $30 billion weight loss industry designed to sell you stuff, industries and government agencies trying to sell you stuff and marketing professionals making a living trying to sell you stuff.
Plus, nutrition is confusing. It’s the only science where there can be multiple opposing theories and all be proven right!
This is where a health counselor can help you…. they are your neutral party.
Their only interest is helping you reach your health goals. Let’s face it, you probably already have a few changes in mind, that if you implemented today, your health would improve, right? So, why don’t we take those and run with them?
Because food is affected by everything else in our life. When our relationships, career and interests are fulfilling, food is less of a concern. When things are out of whack, we turn to food to make up for the imbalance.
Health coaches fill a gap that doctors aren’t able to. Even if they are trained in nutrition (most aren’t), doctors probably don’t have the time or skills to help you navigate what’s going on in the rest of your life and address the real reasons you’re not making healthy choices.
Depending on their philosophy, a health counselor can help you see a bigger picture. They can help you get your food in line so you feel better, while also creating a holistic, or “whole life” roadmap for better relationships, career, creative pursuits… whatever you want your life to become.
So, how do you choose a health counselor?
• First, look at their training. There are several certification programs available. These programs ensure they’ve undergone a training regime. This Oprah.com article about health coaches suggests looking for at least 80 hours of training.
• Next, see if their philosophy or specialty connects with you. Ask which school or certification program they completed and read their web site. Then, look at the coach’s web site, read their blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds. Those will surely give you a feel for their outlook on life.
• Find out if their program would fit your schedule. Health counseling can be done over the phone, Skype, in person or in group settings. In fact, this article says counseling can be just as effective over the phone (one less place to drive after a long day of errands or work). Some counselors might offer all or one of these approaches. Some programs might be 30 days, 90 days, 6 months or more. Keep in mind that it takes awhile for lifestyle changes to settle in… a longer program offers longer-term support.
• Finally, ask for referrals as you would with any other health care professional.
My training is from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, based in New York City. I chose their 12-month certification program because of their holistic, neutral, long-term approach. They believe no one diet is right for everyone. Every one is different. It’s up to the counselor to partner with the client to uncover the best approach for them. They ensure their counselors are exposed to (and respect) hundreds of dietary theories, understand how the body works, the science behind nutrition, and have the skills to help uncover a person’s true potential and passions. The curriculum is taught by the world’s leading experts in disease prevention, nutrition and wellness and the students are given counseling processes and programs that have been helping clients reach their goals for over 15 years.
If you’d like to try health counseling on for size….
I’d be happy to give you a free 1-hour session over the phone or in person if you’re in Tucson. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to check out my web site at yourbestselfhlc.com and Facebook Page to see if we connect!