From our archives: Wellness Coach Shaun Miskelly describes how a coach can guide you toward better health and losing weight.
Physician’s Weight Control Center has never approached its clients with a one-size-fits-all strategy. Instead, it works to approach each person with a supervised individualized plan to promote a sustained change in behavior in his or her lifestyle. Each patient PWCC works with is unique and therefore deserves a tailored plan that will have the best results for his or her particular lifestyle and health needs.
The concept of how PWCC implemented wellness coaching was born from the philosophy that an individual must change habits in order to create a positive change in his or her health. Many of us lead busy lives that include demanding jobs and children with their own busy school and extracurricular schedules that we’re responsible to organize and maintain. Our eating habits become what we know to be easiest and fastest which can often lead to unhealthy choices. When our day-to-day depends on sticking to a routine, bad habits can unfortunately become the norm. This is where PWCC’s program and enlisting a wellness coach can help you to get on track toward a healthy lifestyle.
In a post titled, “The Role for Health Coaching in Primary Care” for Harvard Medical School’s Lean Forward, Monique Tello, MD, MPH discussed a study done by Massachusetts General Hospital of overweight or obese patients who received weight-loss coaching for at least three months:
After one year, the coached group lost 7.2% of body weight, which was fifteen pounds on average. This effect stuck even at 24 months, with a maintained weight loss of 6.8% of body weight. And most visits with the coach were by phone. These findings are incredibly important, because we know from the Diabetes Prevention Program that a weight loss of just 5% total body weight can lower the risk of developing diabetes, and is associated with many other positive health outcomes.
Health and wellness coaches help clients make positive and lasting changes to their health by guiding clients through the process of creating a vision for their health and well-being, developing a healthy mindset and healthy habits, and encouraging them every step of the way until they accomplish their goals. Habits are not just behaviors like biting our nails for example—they are thoughts as well.
The worst of these “thought” habits is how we think about ourselves and our abilities and potential. Many of us are in the habit of thinking “I can’t” or “I will fail” or “I am not good enough.” That inner voice that invades our mind with constant criticism leads us to believe that trying something different, new, or challenging is just not worth the effort because it will end in failure. There is a science behind how that happens, and I am sure there are many psychologists who can explain those theories in great detail, but as wellness coaches, our role is to support you in partnership to prove those thought and behavior habits are just temporary visitors that have overstayed their welcome in your life. Our goal is to pinpoint which behavioral habits are affecting your health and change that behavior. This begins by identifying your behavioral and thought habits and exploring how you subconsciously apply them to eating.
What is your perception of food? When are you eating meals or snacking? Oftentimes, we develop habits and routines in our behavior without considering how they are affecting our health. It takes creating new ways of thinking and being conscientious of how we approach food. It essentially takes rewiring our brains and getting ourselves out of auto-pilot. When we become self-aware, we allow these changes to occur. It can be difficult to identify which daily habits have a negative effect on our health. A wellness coach will help you uncover the obstacles keeping you from living your best and healthiest life. We’ll help you make incremental changes that will have lasting results.
While wellness coaching has effective and lasting results, it is not an alternative to our program at PWCC or meant to work as a stand-alone service. It is meant to compliment your program. Taking advantage of adding wellness coaching to your program means you’ll have someone who’ll familiarize themselves with your medical history and discuss an action plan in a non-judgmental way. We will explore the potential you have that you may not be able to see yourself and will explore your “wellness vision.”
“What is a wellness vision?” you ask. Imagine your life now or in ten to twenty years down the road. What are some of the goals you want to set for yourself in terms of your health and physical abilities and capabilities? Some might say they want to run a marathon. Some might say something as simple as wanting to bend down and play on the floor with their grandchildren without getting tired and then stand up with little to no struggle. Whatever your wellness vision is, a coach will explore options with you on how you can achieve your vision and how you can believe that you are capable of achieving it.
Whether you have long-term goals or short-term goals like losing 10 pounds, for example, a wellness coach will help you find ways to reach them that are achievable and attainable. We have a conversation to better understand who you are as an individual and how your daily habits can help or hinder your progress. After exploring this, we will develop an action plan that suits your busy lifestyle. Over time, you’ll slowly make changes in your habits and lifestyle that positively impact your health. You will get used to the idea that you can in fact be successful in changing negative habits and you will incorporate healthy ones into your life. Once you have created these good habits, we will continue to build on that momentum. The timing of how and when this all happens is unique to you and your lifestyle.
Our goal is to guide you back to self-efficacy—to believe that you can be successful in making positive changes and sustaining those changes over time—and show you just how successful you can be with reaching your wellness ambitions.
The process of behavioral change is both enlightening and empowering and it is that experience of empowerment and enlightenment that makes the changes you make sustainable.
Contact us today for more information on how Physician’s Weight Control Center and our wellness coaches can help you.