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Resolve to Work with a Certified Health Coach This Year

By |2018-08-20T09:05:57-04:00January 15th, 2018|Categories: Health A-Z|Tags: , |

What if 2018 was the year that you actually stuck to your new year’s resolutions?

‘Tis the season to make health and wellness goals for the next year. While most of us have no trouble making goals, keeping them can be a challenge.

Attaining your goals requires accountability, support and reliable, medically sound advice. A health coach certified by the National Society of Health Coaches can help clients meet their specific goals while also helping them manage chronic diseases like diabetes, congestive heart failure and hypertension.

Clients can be self-referred or referred to a coach by a physician, who may prescribe health counseling for a specific medical concern or wellness goal. The process begins with an initial consultation that lasts about 30 minutes. The coach will meet one-on-one with you to discuss your goals and priorities, your health status, lifestyle, medications, what changes you’d like to make and brainstorm healthy ways to make those changes. A typical coaching program lasts four to six weeks, but it varies according to the level of support needed.

Instead of telling clients what they need to do, we work with them to find out what they’re willing to do. The client is in charge; we let them steer where the program needs to go. They pick what they want to work on and choose how aggressively they want to make changes. It’s an important distinction that leads to greater success.

Some patients come to us with information that they’ve found online, and sometimes that information is misleading or clinically unfounded. Because we’re licensed health professionals, we have evidence-based, medically sound information about healthful eating, safe weight loss, medication management and more. We work with clients to set actionable, specific goals based on accepted medical guidelines. For example, if a client wants to lose 30 pounds in three months, we’ll explain why one to two pounds per week is a safer – and more achievable – weight-loss goal. For others, no longer needing to take medications to manage chronic conditions is their objective, but it’s a complex issue that needs to be addressed safely with clinical input.

Coaches provide education, support and feedback about what goals are feasible and which aren’t. We’ll focus progress on short-term goals and break down the steps necessary to achieve each goal, taking into consideration each client’s particular lifestyle. Clients can be referred to more targeted services, like smoking cessation, diabetes education or mental health programs, and can be paired with a licensed clinical social worker if needed. Goals are reassessed during the program, and clients can choose to build on their progress, or “reboot” and restart their program without judgement.

When I was working with a client recently, we sat down to review his list of medications. I asked why he was taking each medication, what the dosage was and how often he was taking them. We discovered that he was taking one medication incorrectly. With a simple adjustment, his blood pressure is now better controlled. It’s important to ask these questions because sometimes clients have been on medications for so long that they don’t remember the instructions. For a client who had been paying for a gym membership but not using it, simply discussing what was preventing her from using the gym and brainstorming ways to overcome those barriers spurred her to get back on a regular exercise plan.

The key is not to teach at our clients but to work with them through positive reinforcement and truly listening to their questions and concerns. We track progress, provide accountability and help our clients stay focused.

The certified health coaches at the Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center at CentraState Medical Center will provide a free coaching consultation. We inspire our clients to be actively engaged in improving their health, and at this time of year, it’s especially helpful.

If what you tried last year didn’t work, now is a good time to work with a certified health coach.

For more information, register for a free health coach consultation or call 732-308-0570.

Health Coach in Freehold NJTerri Brown, RN, BSN, MEd, is a certified health coach with CentraState Health’s Live Life Well program in Freehold, NJ. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health education.

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