Shaun Miskelly is a recent addition to the Physician’s Weight Control & Wellness Center team. He is Head Coach to our team of certified health and wellness coaches as well as our in-house staff trainer. Shaun also covers our free health related seminars that are held periodically at our Arlington office. We sat down with Shaun to discuss wellness coaching and how it adds value to PWCC patients. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for the next event to secure your seat.
What is wellness coaching and why is it important?
So many people who struggle with weight issues feel like they are failures because that’s the message society bombards them with. But let’s stop for a moment and look at this from a different perspective: those same people who feel like failures and maybe also judge themselves negatively are not failures at all. They have probably tried countless fad diets and weight loss plans throughout their lives. They may have lost weight dozens of times only to regain again. That’s not a failure, however. That shows determination, perseverance, and tenacity. Failure only happens when you stop trying, right? A wellness coach can help redirect that effort for positive and sustainable change after identifying a patient’s habits.
Our brains were at their healthiest when we were young. Everything was a learning experience and life was full of curiosity. There were no successes or failures…just learning. With learning came confidence, joy and self-discovery. Between then and now, life has gotten in the way. We have become over-stimulated and stifled by expectations. Expectations that were gradually heaped upon us from every corner of our life experience—from school where how high our grades were defined our success to television and media where success is decided by how beautiful or handsome we are. Later, work, where success is decided by how much we earn. Even the clothes we wear and the cars we drive are meant to say so much about us, defining our character through the eyes of others.
All of these expectations say one thing: if you’re not as smart as this or look a certain way or drive a certain car, then you are a failure. Along with these expectations, weight gain carries the most stigma and emotional and psychological burden.
Wellness Coaching helps people identify these habits and thoughts. We then create a plan to improve habits and the way we approach eating and exercise that is tailored to the patient, rather than a one-size-fits-all plan.
When and why did PWCC decide to offer this service?
PWCC became aware of wellness coaching several years ago. Although we were interested in the science of wellness coaching, we first wanted to research programs being implemented at clinics around the country. This would help us better understand the benefits and results. After exploring studies, we knew we would integrate it as an additional service to our patients. A study done at Massachusetts General Hospital shared successful results from implementing this method. It showed patients were able to sustain weight loss when working with a wellness coach. With this evidence available, we wanted to begin offering this service to our patients ASAP. It is now available at both our Arlington and Waco Clinics and has proved to be immensely beneficial to our patients.
What do you wish more people knew about the path to weight loss?
Sustained weight loss requires changes in behavior. This includes changes that support us in personal growth and the way we see ourselves, in the way we think about our abilities and potential which greatly affects self-esteem, self-autonomy, self-confidence and self-efficacy. We want our patients to understand that the pathway to our best selves is a gradual, consistent, and self-realizing process. Wellness coaching is designed with that at the core.
What do you find to be a patient’s biggest challenge when overcoming negative eating habits?
Navigating through the challenging obstacles of behavioral change can be frustrating and testing. These obstacles can take many forms for different people and depend largely on individual lifestyles. It may be that you have regular family get-togethers that are based around food. How do you maintain a new eating behavior in that environment and not feel like you are offending mom or grandma when you reject second helpings of a meal she has labored over with love? Or it may be that you have a very busy schedule and fast food or sugary snacks are the fastest and easiest options. How can you manage your time more effectively to make space for healthier options? Maybe you have a partner who doesn’t want to change his or her eating habits.
How do manage your healthier lifestyle without upsetting your relationship? Identifying these challenges is what allows us to begin making positive changes.
How long does it take for a patient to identify the habits they need to change and see results?
We fully understand that committing to a healthier approach to life and our overall behavior can affect those around us. But we also know that you are the expert of your life. Even if you don’t know it now, you have all the solutions to any and all obstacles that may come between you and your health and wellness goals. As wellness coaches, we know how to help you find those qualities and solutions while keeping you on track and inspired to change. This discovery process can happen in the first session but can take time depending on the individual.
How can someone get started with your wellness coaching program?
We are excited to get started on your journey to better health. We will help you discover what obstacles and habits are standing in your way to get you on a positive path and help reach your goals. No two treatment plans are the same. A consultation at our office will allow us to get to know you and your history to better understand what will work for you. Contact us today!