What is a Health Coach and Who can Benefit from Using One?

A Health Coach is a specially trained, certified practitioner who specializes in creating awareness and offering education and goal-setting around behavioral patterns to help improve your health.

Health Coaches are widely utilized throughout the conventional and integrative medicine fields, and studies have shown their effectiveness in helping people better control and overcome mild, chronic lifestyle-driven ailments including but not limited to:

  • Pre-diabetes
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Weight gain
  • Sleep problems
  • Stress

This is exactly why I joined Knew Health.

Knew Health Supports the Work of Health Coaches

Knew Health is aligned with the same philosophy that helped me reverse the autoimmune condition that was brewing in me several years ago. Integrative medicine steers the ship, comprised of a team of doctors, health coaches, nutritionists and other health care providers who search for root causes and work on balancing the body.

While training to be a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, or FDN-P, I learned how to become my own health advocate and found the resources I needed to heal my body. Functional lab tests revealed hidden healing opportunities. When addressed with a natural, step-by-step, drug-free protocol, they went away as balance was restored to my body.

Lifestyle changes can be a challenge to implement.

I had to:

  • Learn how to swap out foods with ones that were less inflammatory to me.
  • Modify exercise so that my adrenal glands weren’t being taxed further.
  • Go to bed earlier so I felt and functioned better.
  • Learn techniques to minimize mental/emotional stress and shift from being in a fight or flight stress mode to one of relaxation and rest.

Important note: A rested state is the only one in which you can digest your food, optimize your hormones and fight infections.  

Information Does Not Change Behavior

This reminds me of the 1980s, when I worked as a registered dietitian at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. I worked on a cardiac floor and met with post heart attack patients right before they were discharged. I had a few minutes to go over what they were going to eat at home and how they were going to modify their diets. After, I gave them a handout with instructions, I wished them well and sent them on their way.

I still think about this, 30 years later, because I knew what I told them wasn’t going to sink in and result in lifestyle changes. In this job, I was going through the motions, but felt bad because I knew I was not truly guiding them to change their lives for the better.

For most people, information does not change behavior.

People need support, guidance and mindset shifts to do things differently. They also need the desire to want to change and become healthier. And, they need courage to redirect their lives onto a path they envision for themselves.

In addition, we are bombarded with information on social media, oftentimes conflicting, on what the best diet is or the next nutritional or exercise program that will be the solution for our health woes.  A health coach helps decipher what is right for you, as no two people have the same genes, biochemistry, metabolism, food sensitivities, preference, reactions, thoughts, feelings, etc. – all factors that must be considered when creating a health plan that will optimize your best health.

A Health Coach acts as an ally, helping clients raise self awareness, develop new skills and be held accountable for implementing and sustaining new behaviors. Once they build confidence, clients are encouraged to become their own health advocates.

It is like raising children – you want them to be independent and fly the coop when they are equipped with skills to navigate the world.  Health coaches teach people how to read their own bodies and dig into their toolboxes to give themselves what they need to function their best at any given time.   The end goal is for the client not to need the health coach anymore!

It’s a win-win. Support health, teach people to be their own health advocates and lower health care costs at the same time!

How I am Saving Money and Getting Better Health Care

In the end, having a dedicated Health Coach lowers costs by providing health and wellness support when the participant needs it.

It is great to have a trained professional to turn to when your health habits get off track or you come down with a mild, chronic condition. They ensure you get the inspiration, education and support you need to get back on track…which saves everyone money.

And let’s be honest, we all have moments where we fall-off-the-wagon…especially if we’re not yet surrounded by a strong culture and community of health-conscious friends.

A Change in Mindset

I’ve got to be honest here – growing up, only medical therapies, drugs and surgery, were considered legit.  I was raised to believe doctors in white coats had all the answers.  Alternative therapies were considered out there and w00 woo.  I recently heard someone who labeled the work I am doing as a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist as voodoo medicine.  Interesting to hear.

What I do know is great strides in health are reported by clients who work with FDN practitioners (over 3,000 worldwide and climbing!)  and other health coaches!  I see success stories, with my own clients and those of my peers and there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing a client with renewed energy and a zest for life again because they feel better.

Mark my words – a lot of the work holistic practitioners, often considered alternative, will become mainstream 20 years down the road!  That’s how long it takes for new information to become accepted by people who are stuck in traditional way of thinking.

A question I ask my perspective clients is, “How are the traditional ways you are approaching health working for you?  I know a few of these people who are battling weight, and serious illnesses.  Do you know these people, too?  I ask them, “How will you feel 6 months from now if you don’t try something different?”

A Brief Look at Some Holistic Approaches

  • Naturopath – The Naturopath I visited spent over 2 hours getting to know me. We set goals together and a plan to achieve them.
  • Massages – I was given a Thai massage as a holiday gift.  Best therapy ever!  Even though it hurt, I felt looser and so relaxed after.  The lemongrass tea handed to me as I exited the appointment was a welcome and refreshing end to a therapy experience.  It was not lost on me that the experience of feeling welcomed, pampered, and nourished, also lessened my stress in my entire being.  I never felt this way going to a doctor’s office.  Have you?
  • Chiropractor – physical stressors, such as past accidents, injuries or misalignments, contribute to overall stress and subpar health.  It is essential to unblock and realign areas in the body that are interfering with function.
  • Acupuncture – releases blocked energy in the body and thus allows the body to start healing on its own.  By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture treatments can help resolve pain, improve sleep, digestive function and sense of well-being.
  • Functional lab testing – while these tests are initially done as part of an assessment, they are also an integral part of yearly maintenance.

The Freedom of Choice

I truly appreciate having the freedom to choose health services that align with my holistic health philosophy.

I appreciate paying lower premiums (than what I was paying before with traditional medical insurance), which add to a pool of resources to cover medical conditions when they arise.  What’s left over allows me to invest in alternative “wellness” visits, that I know support my well being.

I appreciate that we look for root causes rather that just treating symptoms. In the end, identifying the source of dysfunction and rebalancing the system restores health and symptoms often fall away.

Working with a  Health Coach and becoming one myself has been a game changer for me and my family’s health. I would love to speak with you further if you have questions on how a Health Coach might help you!


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