A New Approach to Tackling Health Issues
A short article today as I have a garden to plant, some sun to catch, and some fresh air to breathe. I just wanted to address this topic and then next week we’ll move on to the question of why blood sugar is important to everyone and not just those who are already faced with a diabetes diagnosis, and its link to weight gain/loss and chronic diseases other than diabetes.
What is Health Coaching?
For me, health coaching is an opportunity for others to gain insight from my experience. Believe me when I tell you I understand it’s hard to get behind preventive strategies. I think we create our own bubble, in which we live, where we don’t want to consider bad things happening. I mean, we can’t live in fear of every possible thing that could go wrong. We would be completely neurotic, depressed and anxious 24/7.
But we do take certain steps to avoid the most common issues. We buy home, auto and life insurance. We install alarms. We check expiration dates on food. We look twice before crossing the street or going through an intersection. I’m sure there are many things you do daily as a form of prevention.
For some reason, when it comes to health, too many people overlook the need to assess where they stand. I mean, we buy life insurance because we know we cannot live forever. Just because it’s a foregone conclusion does not mean we don’t have a choice as to how the story ends. By that I mean, having the choice of whether to age gracefully, with vitality; or with chronic disease, illness and morbidity. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis and so many other illnesses are not automatic. There are ways to reduce risk.
Looking at the Risks
You can read more about these issues and how lifestyle plays a huge role on my About Me page, but here are some compelling statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:
- As of 2012, about half of all adults had one or more chronic health conditions. One in four adults had two or more chronic health conditions.
- Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2014 were chronic diseases. Two of these chronic diseases—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for nearly 46% of all deaths.
- During 2011–2014, more than one-third of adults were obese, and about one in six youths aged 2 to 19 years was obese.
- Arthritis is the most common cause of disability.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations other than those caused by injury, and new cases of blindness among adults.
The site goes on to discuss risk behaviors associated with chronic disease and illness, stating: “Health risk behaviors are unhealthy behaviors you can change. Four of these health risk behaviors—lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and drinking too much alcohol—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions.”
There are many things that can be done to move health in a positive direction, away from being another statistic. The hardest part is always getting started. We look to others who have been successful for guidance, but that doesn’t necessarily work. Why?
If we look back to the first article of the gut health series (and all those that follow) we recall why one diet, or lifestyle, doesn’t work for everyone. If it did, there wouldn’t be an entire market dedicated to weight loss. I’m always amazed at the growing section of diet books in my local bookstore. There’s no way of knowing which one will work for any one person, so I imagine people just start with one, try it and see what happens. Then go back for another one if that one didn’t work. It’s exhausting to put so much time and effort into something just to be disappointed.
But what else can you do? So much information and so little time. That’s where health coaching comes in. It may sound like another gimmick; and for people who feel like they’ve already tried everything, I get it. I’m including some links below for you to browse if you want to learn about how health coaching is changing the face of wellness. From my experience, the health coaches I know are passionate about helping people. There is no promise to health coaches of great wealth, only the satisfaction of making an impact. Many health coaches have lived through some pretty awful health issues or crises and simply do not want to see others struggling like we have. We are a unique group of individuals who humbly want to make a difference, one person at a time.
Just like finding the right physical trainer or doctor or lawyer or dentist or massage therapist or hairdresser is critical to satisfactory results; finding the right health coach is no different, and takes a little research on your part. You need to find someone you relate to and whose approach is one that interests you and fits your health needs. Most health coaches offer free consultations for just that purpose. Because here’s a little secret: health coaches know that taking on clients who aren’t a good fit will not help the client, and not help their business. There must be general agreement on the road to travel, and the coach must be focused on the same issues as the client. You wouldn’t work with a coach whose focus is not your issue. Although you may eventually find success, it may take a lot longer to get there. As with any personal service, unhappy clients do not make for a successful coach. So, no coach wants you to fail; and good coaches will not take on clients they cannot help.
Here are the links. Yes, I threw in a Wikipedia link because I feel it does a good job of providing a short and helpful summary along with links to research on the results of health coaching. And to show you how integral health coaching is becoming, I’ve included links to programs developed to train other professionals in health coaching.
Duke Integrative Medicine – Integrative Health Coaching
Vanderbuilt School of Nursing – Health Coach Program
UC Berkeley – University Health Services
Why You Should Get a Health Coach
You can read more about health coaching, my background/training and my approach to health coaching for more information.
Yours in Wellness,
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