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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Health Coaches: : The Key to Personal Transformation

Nov 01, 2012 07:22PM ● By Kathleen DeVaul


Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. ~ Denis Waitley

The rising costs of healthcare, along with the increase in chronic diseases, have illuminated numerous issues and problems within America’s healthcare system. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), researchers estimate that 75 percent of all healthcare costs stem from preventable chronic health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Presently, about two-thirds of Americans are overweight, with 36 percent of this group considered to be obese. In September, new projections were released by Trust for America’s Health with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These projections predict that 67 percent of adults will be obese by 2030. Moreover, the rate of type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly and forecasted to hit one in 10 adults by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation. It is sadder still that one-third of all children will eventually suffer from diabetes. The statistics are alarming and concerns regarding healthcare costs, and personal healthcare needs may be the drivers for consumers to seek out options in becoming and staying healthy.

In reviewing the aforementioned statistics, it is evident that there is a disconnect within the healthcare system. The present system is based on an allopathic model and treats disease states; the statistics, however, have not produced positive outcomes in promoting the health of individuals. The contradiction lies within the statistics of increased diseases, yet the surveys have shown that consumers want to be healthy and are seeking alternatives. This suggests that consumers are expressing a need to be healthy, but may lack the direction and education relating to the state of health and wellness. What is the solution?

Prevention, along with education, is the key to the health crisis. Healthcare reform begins with caring for ourselves and includes taking an active role in our health and well-being on a regular basis. Multiple studies have shown that health coaches are instrumental in assisting people in making lifestyle changes that produce positive healthy outcomes. The health coaching model seeks to understand the social context underlying the physical issue; thus, a holistic approach is utilized. Health coaches provide education, support and accountability to their clients. Coaches also provide a safe forum for clients to discuss their health concerns and goals while helping them navigate their individualized path to wellness.

Health coaches work with clients to achieve their goals in areas such as weight management, food cravings, sleep, energy, digestion and exercise. Other areas of focus include stress management, relationships, career, grocery shopping and healthy cooking. Together, the coach and client customize a plan that is specialized for the individual. It is the personal attention that a health coach gives each client at every session that can transform his or her life from ordinary to extraordinary.

Many health coaches also incorporate their expertise from other health-related disciplines. For example, nurses have the unique ability and opportunity to understand both the traditional health model and the holistic model, thus offering integrative care that is individualized for the client. Holism recognizes the whole individual. Nurses are trusted professionals and possess the essential tools to create health coaching programs that are client centered. Nurse health coaches are the vital interface between the healthcare system and the lives of clients who are served by them.

When searching for a health coach, it is important to note credentials and to ask if the coach is certified. Connection is another important aspect in choosing a health coach. A client needs to be able to relate and feel comfortable with the coach as their wellness authority and supportive mentor. Now is the time to become healthy. As Denis Waitley, a motivational speaker, once noted, “We don’t recognize and appreciate health until it has been depleted.”

Kathleen DeVaul is the founder and owner of Health & Wellness Nurse Navigators, LLC. She is a registered nurse with over 30 years of emergency nursing experience and certified as a health coach. Her mission and passion is to guide clients in creating a roadmap for wellness and a healthier life. For a free health consultation, call 484-661-6786.

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