What is a Health Coach?

Today I thought I’d address a couple of questions that I get asked frequently. What is a Health Coach? and What is the difference between a Health Coach and a Nutritionist?

Health Coaching is a new and fast growing industry. Basically what I do as a Health Coach is I help people get healthy by coaching them to achieve their unique health goals. I provide structure, support and accountability for my clients to make healthy lifestyle changes they wouldn’t be able to make on their own.

How many times have you tried to lose weight? How long have you known you shouldn’t be eating wheat or should be eating more vegetables but aren’t doing it? Many of us know what we should be doing to get healthy but just aren’t doing it. Why is that? Well, there are lots of reasons but one is that it’s hard! You may have tried and failed many times and have lost faith in yourself. Sometimes we even undermine our best efforts.

Or maybe you’ve just found out from your doctor that you have a condition like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or pre-diabetes and were told that you really need to change your diet to turn that around. But making that lifestyle change seems practically impossible! We often have habits in place that don’t support a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes we don’t know how to cook healthy food or even what healthy food really is. Especially when there is a nutrition news story practically every day that contradicts the news story from a month ago.

In both of these cases, I can make a big difference. I have programs that provide structure to gradually and gently shift my clients to a healthier lifestyle, help them make better choices, and I give practical advice and lots of recipes to set them up for success. I hold my clients accountable to the goals they set for themselves and make sure they stay on the path to get there.

The second question, “What is the difference between a Health Coach and a Nutritionist?” is an interesting one. My approach is different in that I look at the whole person and their lifestyle not just the food. The concept is that we have areas of our lives that nourish us on a primary level: our relationships, career, exercise and spirtuality. We call these Primary Foods. If one of these areas is out of balance, our health suffers no matter how great our food choices are. The other aspect of Primary Foods is that they are intrinsically connected to the food choices we make. For example, if we are stressed out from work, we might make food choices (take out pizza, drive through Micky D’s, vending machine raid) that we might not make if we weren’t as stressed. So we talk about all of that in my coaching sessions. We get underneath the real causes for the food choices. Sure, I do a lot of educating about nutrition and healthy eating, but sometimes it’s not just about the food.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below what Primary Foods you think might be out of balance in your life.

To your health,

Laren Watson

Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach

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