Cardiovascular diseases (such as heart diseases and high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus, cancers and chronic respiratory disease are among the top leading causes of illness, disability and premature death. The good news is that these chronic ailments can be prevented or controlled by modifying our lifestyle.
The World Health Organization has stated that the four risky behaviors which we can modify are:
1. Unhealthy diets
2. Physical inactivity
3. Tobacco use
4. Alcohol consumption (harmful use)
If I were to add a 5 th it would be mental illness, and in particular, stress management. Stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness can erode the quality of life for people struggling with a chronic disorder.
Chronic illnesses tend to have a prolonged course and tend to be life-long health situations with health and social implications. We, therefore, have to ensure that persons living with chronic diseases are equipped with the knowledge, devices and coping mechanisms to self-manage the disease condition and take early corrective measures before getting acutely ill.
It is estimated that 80% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2-diabetes, and 40% of cancer could be prevented through healthy diets, regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco use. These risk factors are fairly common across cultures and socio-economic classes.
Changing Risky Behavior
Despite improvements in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and more practical approaches to diets that help to control blood sugar, stabilize blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, normalize heart beats etc. there is a still a disturbing increase in chronic diseases. Some disease conditions are affecting younger age groups.
One in particular is Type 2 Diabetes, which is increasing among obese children. The missing link here is the necessary lifestyle changes that may not be occurring.
Generally, the doctor and nurse aren’t able to spend a lot of time with each patient during a consultation. Information given along with the prescription can be limited to instructions such as eat less salt and use less sugar, get some exercise, quit smoking and reduce stress. No specific advice is given as to what foods help lower blood sugar; what foods help to lower blood pressure; what are good fats and what foods contain them; what foods would best work with your body to address your specific health condition; what exercises would help strengthen and rebuild your body? Many people know what needs to be done but need support to formulate how to do the work needed to achieve the health goals. Breaking bad habits can be very difficult and frustrating to
attempt on your own. This is where a health coach can be invaluable.
Benefits of having a Health Coach
Clients have a better chance of improving their health status when they work with a health coach who can support them through their journey to regaining their health.
A health coach is one who is trained to help you to find your own solutions and power from within. Health coaching is less about rattling off a list of “do’s and don’ts” and more about helping you to learn what works best for you, and how to identify attitudes or behaviors that sabotage your health. Behavior change interventions are designed to modify and transform behavior to achieve better health outcomes. A coach must remain client-focused and be aware of what is practical and workable for the client’s belief system and lifestyle.
Tips on selecting the right health coach for you
When shopping around for a health coach have friends and relatives recommend a few, if they know of and have used any
Book an appointment with each coach
Assess the coach’s disposition, knowledge and recommendations
Empathy, trustworthiness, non-judgment and patience are great attributes
Demonstrates a sincere interest and commitment to assist you to attain the agreed upon goals
Is inclusive in the development of your health goals and activities
Suggests evidence-based approaches to modify behavior
Will hold you accountable for your actions
Together with your accountability coach a realistic program can be developed with goals and timelines. A high success rate for weight loss, diabetes control, improvement in health and wellness can be achieved and maintained when you both work together to reach your goals.
Are you in need of support in this area? I’m here to help. Schedule your free consultation today at bit.ly/CallBlue