Wellness/health coaches are sprouting up like mushrooms on a dewy day! Why? Because a large majority of Americans are overweight and are tired of it. They are not getting their medical needs met by their primary care doctors. As 4th century B.C. philosopher Aristotle said “Nature abhors a vacuum,” thus the rise of coaches.
Simply put, wellness or health coaches facilitate your attempt toward improving both your physical or mental health. They are an advocate and a motivator in your attempt to optimize the person you would like to be. I think the best way to explain the benefits of using a wellness coach could best be answered in typical responses as to why you might NOT need one.
1. “I know how to eat well. I don’t need to pay someone for that.”
A couple of things here. First, do we really know how to eat well? Sure, we know that we should avoid junk food, fast food, fried foods, and sugary treats. That is a well-known mantra that no one could dispute. Indubitably, most people will lose weight by shirking the aforementioned. They are mostly comprised of foods that put the body into an inflammatory state. However, the paradigm for nutrition the last 60 years was championed by Ancel Keyes. He espoused the belief that we should consume more grains, use vegetable oils, and eschew saturated fat.
His viewpoint became gospel and thus ushered in the era of low-fat, high-carb that persists to this day, funneled through the lens of mainstream media and most health professionals. The truth is that this exact diet is horrible to the body, but how would the common person know this unless they researched the topic? If this was the proper way to eat, than why are all the metabolic diseases skyrocketing in the last 40 years? The paradigm of a high-fat, low-carb diet is slowly changing and the Paleo/Primal movement is making significant grounds, but if you were to ask the “Average Jane” if whole grain bread or skim milk was healthy or that red meat or butter is unhealthy they would echo that misguided sentiment. So perhaps we don’t know what to eat. If one has been trying to lose weight or rid themselves of chronic maladies with no improvement using the Keyes paradigm, it is time to switch to another one. Up-to-date wellness coaches would help you to eat foods that optimize your health and avoid ones that destroy it.
2. “I know how to exercise. I don’t need someone to tell me how do that.”
The logic on this question is similar to the previous one. The old paradigm of grueling, regimented 3-5 mile daily runs at max capacity mixed with 2-hour sessions lifting in the gym is still espoused by most in the industry, even wellness coaches and trainers at the local gym. As I will blog later about, this form of exercise is not only time-consuming but inflammatory to the body due to its effect of releasing cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. Here at Integravita, we adhere to the motto “Shock the Body…Move the Body.” The new paradigm highlights infrequent sprinting, low-cardio movement (walking, hiking, biking leisurely), and quick heavy lifting. Again, how would you know that the science is showing this to be the most effective method for optimizing your health unless you had an informed wellness coach to illuminate you?
3. “Even if I agree that the Paleo/Primal method is the ideal manner to maintain optimal health, all of this information I can find on the Internet. Why do I need to pay someone to tell me what I can find on my own?”
There is certainly an element of truth in this argument. So let’s say you are overweight or ridden with chronic ailments and would like to truly make a difference in your life and after extensive reading have decided that Paleo is the best for you, why can’t you just do it on your own? Well, first much of the information is hard to process or often conflicting. For example, the Primal Blueprint advocates sensible amount of unpasteurized dairy, but the Bulletproof diet does not. To which do you adhere? Believe me you will encounter a load of contradictory information on the net and podcast world, most of it will improve your health if you are switching from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to something more organic and cleaner, no doubt.
The benefit of a wellness coach here is that we have spent years of extensive reading, podcast listening, and trial-and-error to concoct what works best overall. A good coach will tailor a plan that fits your needs and meet you where you are at right now. If you love beer, pasta, and bread a good coach will not demand you give those up cold turkey. Most importantly, like a therapist or a priest in the confessional we are an available resource that will help you decipher what is best for you and guide you to your goals. Akin to the numerous studies that show that you are likely to adhere to a healthier lifestyle if loved ones around you are doing so as well, you are more likely to stick to your goals if someone is there to not only keep you accountable, but be understanding when you slip, and be there when you succeed. See us as the little angel that sits on your shoulder!
4. Hiring a wellness coach is too expensive.
I understand completely your concern. Money doesn’t come cheap. Two responses: illness is directly related to nutrition. (This will be blog topic in the future). Hippocrates said “Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.” The cleaner you eat and move the body now the likelihood you will be bedeviled by an illness in the future decreases substantially.
Connected to this notion, my second response is that the cost of prevention over treatment of a disease. For example, the biggest killers in America are preventable diseases, namely cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Studies abound on the links between inflammatory foods (industrial-grade vegetable oils, trans fats, and high sugar diet [along with smoking and ingesting alcohol] and cancer growth. Close to 70% of new breast cancer cases are environmental NOT genetic.So in the long run you are saving money avoiding cancer by removing the aforementioned toxins than acquiring the illness and spending tens of thousands of dollars on treating it with either surgery or expensive medications. Also, the amount you would spend on a coach you spend on eating out twice a week or consuming expensive pre-packaged boxed foods. As Ben Franklin stated “And once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” C’mon he is a founding father for Pete’s sake!
5. I have a primary doctor/naturopath/chiropractor who is holistically-oriented and keeps me on the straight path. I don’t need a wellness coach.
First of all, kudos for you for eschewing traditional, allopathic medicine for integrative medicine. The average patient/doctor interaction is nine (9) minutes. 9 minutes!! In the integrative/holistic world it is 30. Holistic look to treat the cause of your malady instead of treating the symptom like in allopathy. So yes, congrats for that! My sole retort to you would be how accessible is your naturopath? Did you see him/her weekly, much less talk to him/her weekly? Many times it is hard to pick the brains of your naturopath due to his/her busy schedule. Sure, their website might offer helpful advice but when it comes to asking which type of dark chocolate or nuts is more nutrient-dense when you are perusing the aisles at the grocery store, you might not get the answer you need so quickly. A wellness coach is there to answer those questions for you. Think of it this way: your naturopath, even regular allopathic doctor is the mentor, but the wellness coach is the guide. He/she is the Virgil to your Dante. Use them. After all, you are paying them!
I hope this answers a lot of the typical statements as to why you shouldn’t hire a coach. With increasing medical costs and busier primary care providers, coupled by faulty wellness paradigms that still pervade the milieu, it makes sense to have an advocate, therapist, and dietitian at your side. Why hire all three, when you can just a hire a qualified, passionate, compassionate wellness coach.
Reach out to me…I am here to help you achieve your goals!
“Shock the body….Move the body!”
(I would appreciate your comments.)