Living a healthy life can be challenging at times. A state of optimal health and well-being means more than just the absence of disease. To pursue good health we need to make individual lifestyle choices that support our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. Lifestyle habits in the area of diet, physical activity, sleep and stress management can greatly impact the quality of our life and ultimately impact our long-term health.
A Need for Change
Over 75% of chronic disease is preventable. We know that most chronic disease can be prevented by eating well, being physically active, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. According to the World Health Organization chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide.
Most of us want the benefits of being healthy. We want to avoid disease and have energy and stamina to thrive in our lives. Many people know that getting proper exercise, eating well and managing stress are healthy behaviors but do not practice these things. Many people have tried to improve their fitness levels, manage their weight, improve their sleep or reduce the negative effects of stress… only to find that behavior change is hard. Whether you have failed to make your health a priority, have found it difficult to implement long-term change, or you are not sure where to begin, a health coach may be able to help you on your journey to well-being.
A health coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority that can help you create personalized, lasting mental and physical changes. Your doctor may have advised you on healthy changes you need to make. A health coach can act as your partner to support you and help you in developing the skills needed to embrace new behaviors.
Doctors and Coaches Working Together
In her internal medicine practice, Dr. Geni Abraham recognized that patients weren’t feeling better just because she gave them medications and treatment protocols. So, she explored what else she could do. In that process her office transformed into a wellness focused office and she added a health coach. As her health coach, I help patients develop healthy nutritional habits with a “food is medicine” focus, encourage exercise that they enjoy, and work on stress management and sleep hygiene. It turns out that these measures are going to promote health and wellness and prevent disease. This integrated approach helps patients feel healthier, more energetic and they are able to meet the challenges of today’s stressful society. It is also what is going to reduce our overall healthcare costs in the future.
We offer lifestyle and stress management programs to our patients and members of our community. I spend a lot of time with each person, often regularly scheduled 30 or 60-minute appointments to help them stay motivated and accountable as they make positive changes to reach their health goals.
How will a health coach help you to make lasting lifestyle changes, from weight management to overall wellness?
- Goal Setting: Your coach will challenge you to focus on your ultimate outcome. What is your long-term wellness vision? Perhaps you want to change your diet and lifestyle to have more energy and vitality, and to make sure you can be around for your children or grandchildren. This long-term vision will help you to break through the obstacles you may face when embarking on behavioral changes such as a new way of eating or exercising. With an understanding of your personal interests and your readiness to change your coach will help you to establish SMART goals which are: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. You will establish both short and long-term goals that you will continually revisit as you transform them into reality.
- Maintaining a Positive Focus: You can retrain the way you think and establish positive self-talk. A health coach can help you shift to a more accurate and positive way of thinking. The focus will be on your strengths rather than your weaknesses to make behavior changes. Do you feel that you’re not motivated enough? Do you feel you lack time or discipline? Does the weather, an injury or financial constraints hold you back? A health coach can help you break down and overcome these barriers so that you can get back on the path to better overall health.
- Implementing Small Changes: Have you found that making drastic changes all at once were unsustainable and didn’t last in the long-term? Have you discovered a lot of contradictory advice in the overwhelming amount of information on the internet and in the media? A health coach can help you implement small changes at a pace that is comfortable for you so that you can meet all of your health goals.
- Creating New Habits: To find success in realizing your health goals it is important to develop healthy habits and stick with them. These new habits will turn into automatic behaviors. Start by committing to something easy and practice this new habit regularly. It is not hard to form a new habit when you relate it to an important goal. Your health coach can support you in forming new healthy habits and reversing unhealthy ones.
Working with a personal health coach could change your life. Take the next step on your health journey and let a health coach provide you with the guidance, expertise and support you need on your path to achieve optimal wellness.
-Diane Duvall, CLC, CHHC, CPT Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine. We offer health coaching sessions to help you reach your personal goals.
Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462. Phone: (561) 432-8935, Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook