What Is a Health Coach? Should You Get One in Addition to Your Doctor?

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Let’s face it-the health of Americans as a whole is absolutely horrible. Levels of obesity are steadily rising, more and more chronic diseases are popping up-and this is all during a time where we are making the most progress we ever had in medical science.

Considering all of this, why is our health so poor? Many of us regularly see a physician as well as doing other routine maintenance that the body requires-so what gives? Much of our health is tied to our diets, which is believed to be the root of all of these issues.

While it is great that so many people are now seeking medical advice regularly from their doctors-admittedly they may not be getting everything that they need. The knowledge that a doctor needs to acquire in order to properly treat his patients is vast-and they are going to be deficient in some areas more so than others.

With that being said, medical school understandably doesn’t focus too much on nutrition. Many general practitioners get less than 20 hours of schooling in nutrition period-and this is usually during their pursuit for an undergrad degree. Most medical schools don’t offer a class in nutrition period, making a health coach a good option for many of us out there.

What Types of Health Coaches Are out There?

The first thing you need to know about health coaches is that the term isn’t protected like say the term doctor is. Essentially anyone can proclaim to be a health coach as there are no specific requirements to be one.

With that being said you are going to want a health coach who actually has a formal education in this area-so make sure to check out their credentials first. Many certified nutritionists for example are also health coaches, so you want to look for someone with similar credentials to help you.

As far as which health coach is best for you, well that is going to vary from individual to individual.

For example if you are someone who is just overweight and is looking to drop a few pounds, a nutritionist is your best bet. If you are someone who is trying to lose weight but is also someone that experiences gas, bloating and discomfort from their diet often, you may want to see an allergist.

It all depends on your specific situation, the more specific the problem-the harder you are going to have to look to help you. Just like with other medical conditions, you may have to seek out a specialist to remedy you issues, such as in the cases of hiring an allergist.

What Can Health Coaches Offer That a Doctor Can’t?

The major differences between what your doctor can offer you versus a health coach all comes down to specificity. A health coach can sit down with you, and break down your diet step by step to determine where your problems lie. They will then develop nutritional plans tailored both to your body type and how many calories you will need based on your activity levels.

This is a relationship that is ongoing, and strategies developed are meant to last for the long term. This includes not only changes in the diet, but lifestyle changes in general which can also help you here.

Health coaches will develop plans and strategies for you to not only stick to your diet now, but so that you can maintain a healthy diet down the line. This includes aspects such as goal setting and general problem solving that revolve around improving not just the diet of the client, but there overall well being.

Health coaches can also help you to experiment with a new diet too, and to do so in a safe manner. Health coaches are popular among people looking to transition from a typical “western diet” to one that is more plant based-especially vegan and vegetarian diets.

The key here is that you want to find an expert you really like and are comfortable with-someone you can see yourself having a relationship with in the distant future.

Our diets along with our bodies are extremely dynamic, and you may have to alter your diet down the line. Sticking with someone who knows you well and of course knows what they’re doing is your best bet as far as maintaining optimal health is concerned.