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Benefits of a Wellness Coach: A Special Report

What is A Wellness Coach?

Wellness coaching is the latest trend in health and fitness. Some people think that they are related to personal trainers but they are not. That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Let’s break it down for you. A personal trainer works with the body. They see your body and can devise a program for you to: lose weight, gain muscle mass, tone up and get in shape. Their concern is for the physical aspect. But, wishing doesn’t make it’so. You still have to show up for the sessions.

How about a sports coach? They have long been touted as superheroes in the area of motivating young athletes to give their best performance on and off the field. They combine their expertise with past athletes and their knowledge of what it takes to succeed to drive their current athletes to win.

Is there a doctor in the house? A doctor makes a medical assessment of your body and your life and can prescribe medication if need be and/or offer a diagnosis for what ails you. Their focus is on the inside of the body and what is going on there. Inner health can affect outward circumstances.

Let’s move on to a nutritionist. Their concern if for what you put in your mouth. They see the body as a machine. It needs the proper fuel to function correctly. There is truth there. Without the proper nutrition, the body will pick and steal what it needs from other systems. When it can’t do that anymore it will shut down functions one by one so it can stay alive.

This is an extreme but you see where we are going. Depending on your history and body profile, a nutritionist will draw up a program to help you eat right and fight the temptation to return to old habits.

Ever consider a psychologist? They are trained to listen to your issues and help you to work through them. Not only can they help you to understand certain aspects of your life but also empower you to take charge and make the changes necessary to move you to the next level.

All of this sounds good doesn’t it? Each person can give you something to improve your life. Making appointments with all of these people would take time and money. Even if insurance paid for some, you still have to make time to see them and maintain a relationship to get what you need. The time constraints are against that type of commitment for most people.

What if we told you that you don’t have to see five different professionals, but just one? It’s not impossible if the one professional you are seeing is a wellness coach.

The Trend

Fitness has always been near the top in priorities for people. How they would define fitness differs depending on who you ask. Suffice it to say, most people want to achieve a level of fitness in their lives. Whether they do or not is a different story.

There is a desperate search for help when it comes to losing weight and changing our lives. These are two separate things but many of us lump them together. We believe that if we lose weight it will change our lives. In many cases it does, but simply using that possibility as a motivator for losing weight will fall sadly short of the mark for many folks.

Wellness coaching has taken the first place rung in the area of fitness trends in the last few years. It is still a new field but one with lots of promise. It has already made inroads in the area of healthy lifestyle change.

A wellness coach is part trainer, part psychologist and part dietician along with other things. Their expertise in several areas gives them insight into our situations that we lack ourselves. Their overall goal is to help people to get in touch with themselves. By approaching an individual’s health from the lifestyle standpoint, it brings a whole new twist on fitness.

The goal is to enlighten the person about their entire life. Most professionals offer information. We are bombarded with information every day. But, what are we to do with all of that information? It is such a jumble that to make heads or tails of it you need a road map to your brain. So, we end up doing nothing at all because we don’t know where to start. Sometimes, all of that education works to immobilize instead of motivate.

The Need

There is an urgent need for health and wellness in society. Millions of adults are overweight. About a third of the American population is obese. This doesn’t include children who are one of the fastest growing segments of the population for weight problems.

We are a sick world that is getting sicker. The issue is not so much that people or society as a whole is indifferent, it is that we don’t know what to do. As everyday people, we turn to society to tell us what to do. Society is just as flustered and turns it back on us. They cite examples of sports stars and movie stars who are fit and healthy. Surely the rest of us can do it on our own too, right?

So what are we fighting against? First, there is a lack of knowledge. We get our information about fitness from infomercials. They are just trying to sell products to the desperate who want a solution to their weight loss issues. Each has a different story to tell about what we need to eat or activity we need to perform for optimal health.

Secondly, there is a lack of understanding of underlying factors. No man is an island and no person is merely one-dimensional. To put it in the words of Shrek, the ogre, we have layers like an onion. What you see on the surface is only that ? the surface. Each piece of who we are is connected. So, problems with weight don’t always just revolve around eating better and exercising. It often goes much deeper. We know that there is a need. Can wellness coaches fit the bill?

Candidates for Services

Everyone is not a candidate for a wellness coaching session. There has to be some requirements met. And, they are all within you. Most people are motivated to do more than write a resolution on a piece of paper but the frustration factor prevents further progress.

Sedentary - These are people who want the weight off, but may be too busy to do anything about it. They are so booked for time, that when they get home all they want to do is sit on the couch and watch television. There is nothing wrong with sitting down but that won’t solve your weight issues. Something else needs to be done, but how?

Stressed - This sounds like most of us. Work puts us under constant pressure. Home life is frustrating at times. The recent economic issues have added to the stress level for lots of people. Your life is literally eating you alive piece by piece. Stress can cause an increase in the hormone cortisol which helps the body store and hold onto fat instead of letting it go.

Poor eaters/ Emotional eaters - Most of us don’t know we are emotional eaters until we are confronted with the signs. Food makes us feel good. When it’s really good, it releases endorphins in the brain. Eating on the run means poor nutrition and an expanding waistline.

Misconceptions

Now, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the common misconceptions about wellness coaching. As with every new trend, there are starry thoughts that have to be brought down to earth. That is one of the reasons that we often pay any price for the latest technology, fitness gadget and pill in hopes of a midnight miracle.

That is not the way that wellness coaching works. It is not a quick fix or microwave solution to your health issues. We mention weight a lot but it is just one aspect of your health. Often it is the reason that people search out wellness coaches.

The truth is that losing weight and making lasting changes takes time. Inside we all know that but the realization of it is still not getting through. In the weight loss or getting healthy process, what is lacking is still an understanding of our bodies and how our mind works to connect it all together to make the change.

Finding a Wellness Coach

Since wellness coaching is such a new field it is not a standardized field. This means that while some groups like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) do recognize certain companies and wellness coaches, anyone can hang out their sign and call themselves one. Because it is new, it is open to the dishonesty of those trying to make a quick buck.

For the person who wants to give wellness coaching a try, you can find a reputable person even among the thorns. Here are some traits to look for:

Energy - a coach should get you motivated to do something just by what they say to you.
Listening ability - they can get you to talk about yourself and then patiently listen to whatever you have to say.

Compassion - it is not a cookie cutter kind of profession. One size doesn’t fit all. Their answers will come slowly and thoughtfully from a place of growing knowledge about you.

Experience - ask for their credentials. Anyone who has them should feel no qualms about sharing them with you. Even if they are not accredited by a body yet, years of experience in the nutrition field, healthcare field, coaching field or therapy can qualify them to work with you. Ask for testimonials as well.

Professionalism - everything that you say is confidential. They conduct sessions over the phone, in person or online with the utmost respect for you and in a timely manner. They are not distracted when their focus should be on you and your situation.
Incentive - Most will be willing to offer a free initial consultation to get to know you and also to allow you to ask questions to see if it will be a good fit for you both.

Getting Started

The process begins with an initial consultation. Depending on the wellness coach you are looking at, this is done in one of three ways: in person, online or over the phone.

First, you provide background information about yourself. This can be in the form of a questionnaire, questions asked over the phone or information taken in person. You will also need to have medical information available. If you are uncomfortable asking for your medical records you can just jot down your pertinent facts like illnesses, medications you are taking and anything else you deem relevant.

You will discuss policy and procedure and how sessions are conducted. At this time ask about pricing and how often sessions occur. Most wellness coaching sessions cost between $50 and $150 per session. Some coaches may require a minimum of three months of sessions to satisfactorily perform their job. How often and when you conduct these sessions is decided between both of you.

Goal setting is a primary target. You will learn to set overall goals and also weekly ones to work on that help you achieve your overall goals. A coach’s job in this aspect is to:
* Commit to what you feel are your values and goals
* Help you take charge of your life and progress
* Provide non-judgmental feedback to you
* Throw out ideas that help you to reach your own conclusions and solutions
* Offer encouragement

But, they will not tell you what to think but guide you as to how to think for yourself. You have a part to play in the process as well. Your job in this aspect is to:
* Be open to suggestions
* Be willing to take charge of your progress
* Do your homework as far as goal setting and be prepared for each session
* Be on time for sessions
* Participate in your own success
* Make a commitment to help yourself throughout the process

Benefits of a Wellness Coash

Many of the benefits we will mention in this section have been alluded to already. It is hard to discuss what a wellness coach does without touching on the benefits of the process. Are you prepared to make a change in your life? If you are, here is what you stand to gain.

Learn About Your Body

The body is our earthly transportation system. We need it to get around. Without it we can’t do anything. Keeping it healthy is a priority. Knowing how to do it is a part of the process of wellness coaching.

You may know how the body works but how does your particular body work? Learn how to feel the sensation of fullness and stop eating. Know your triggers for stress and emotional eating so you can stop the process in its tracks. Sabotage gets us all but it doesn’t have to anymore.

The body is more than food. How it works in different situations can provide a key to proper exercise to strengthen it and lose extra weight.

Learn about Food

We know we like to eat it but there is more to the story. What foods are good for us and which ones are harmful? Making the right food choices is a matter of taste, the right proportion of food and the right ingredients.

Knowing the effects of what you put into your body can keep you from eating that greasy pizza or that donut. Instead you may opt for low fat pudding or homemade pizza. It is a matter of choice and knowledge. No foods are really off limits once we learn the proper relationship to have with food.

Managing Stress

Stress brings with it a host of other issues. It affects your mind, body and soul. Learning to cope with it in healthy constructive ways can change your life. A wellness coach works on goals that are related to finding happiness through a simpler life and making a healthy mind-body connection.

Positive Psychology

Instead of focusing and asking what is wrong, how about looking at what is right. Everyone’s life is not all bad or all good. There are positive aspects of your life that you want to retain and build upon. Part of the wellness process is recognizing your own worth and value. The answers are within us if we know where to look and how to find them. Moving from the positive to further positive is a powerful motivator in life.

Wellness coaching is the new kid on the block in fitness today. It is a health profession that is comprehensive in its scope of providing health and well being to the average person. Achieving your fitness, mental and lifestyle goals has never been so close within you than when you begin working with a reputable wellness coach.

What are your goals? What do you want to achieve in your life? Is weight loss just the beginning? You will be able to design attainable goals, find inspiration for your life, gain energy and balance. You’ll be telling others about those ah-ha moments and how your life has turned around.

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