Star Jones Before and After
Have you ever lost weight, only to find the pounds creeping back a few months later? Or have you made a commitment to eat healthier foods but found it difficult to understand food labels and to measure foods? Have you made any effort to cook healthy meals? If you’re having trouble meeting a health goal, or if you’ve tried in the past and failed, you need a health coach.
Unlike, say, a workout buddy, “a health coach is trained to help you break your goal into manageable steps, track your progress, and identify and overcome personal roadblocks,” says Karen Lawson, MD, program director for the health coaching track at the University of Minnesota. Lawson notes that the number of health coaches has exploded in recent years, and until national credentialing standards are implemented, you’ll need to choose one with care.
Ask about the Health Coach’s training (you’ll want at least 80 hours of education), whether he/she has prior experience in a health-related field like nutrition or nursing, how much he/she charges per session, and how many clients he/she has seen in the past (Lawson advises a minimum of 30). Once you hire a coach, what kind of advice can you expect to get? Five pros share their best tips.
Today Clean, Tomorrow Lean
“If the thought of taking a big step (like losing 20 pounds) feels overwhelming, try making a small change in an unrelated area. Spending a few minutes each day cleaning out your junk drawer or organizing crushing paperwork, for example, can help you feel successful-and provide you with the motivating energy to subsequently tackle the more difficult task.” -Claire M. Stuckey, Plymouth, Minnesota
Lying in Wait
“On days you don’t feel like exercising, tell yourself you’re going to simply lie on the floor. Some days you might lie there and do nothing. But often, once you’re down, it’s easy to motivate yourself to do a few crunches, push-ups, or stretches.” -Juliana Brafa, New York City
“In restaurants, use the ‘plan, scan, or can’ technique. Beforehand, decide on a food plan-for example, that you’ll start with a fiber-rich salad or vegetable-based soup. When the waiter hands you the menu, give it a cursory scan to hone in on your choices, and ignore everything else. (Once you lock in on the fettuccine Alfredo, it can be tough to resist.) If you want to order a favorite, less nutritious dish, make your selection healthier by asking, ‘Can I have steamed veggies instead of fries?’ or ‘Can you grill the fish tacos rather than fry them?'”
-Lisa Cummings, Westport,
Connecticut Set Down the Cookie Crutch
“When you’re feeling frazzled, it can be tough to think of a quick pressure-releaser that doesn’t involve chocolate. Instead of stuffing your desk with snacks, create a ‘nourishment menu,’ a written list of simple actions (like sending your partner an ‘I love you’ text, or treating yourself to a hand massage) that make you feel good and ease stress. When you need a time-out, just look at the menu and choose an item.” -Terra C. Pfund, Red Bank, New Jersey
The Remedy for Salad Fatigue
“For a healthy lunch, try this easy, low-cost alternative to salads: Before leaving home, load a one-quart container half full of frozen vegetables and fill the rest with a matching protein and low-fat sauce (think Southwest vegetables with black beans and salsa, or Asian vegetables with canned salmon and sesame ginger vinaigrette). No need to refrigerate: By noon the veggies will be defrosted and everything will have marinated to perfection.”
-Jennifer A. Ford, Huntington Beach, California
I personally, would advise that you look at a weight loss program which incorporates exercise as opposed to going on a diet. The word “diet” is so cliche but when you look at the person saying that they are on a “diet”, it is difficult to see any weight loss.
If you or someone you know would like to lose weight and is tired of focusing on just trying to fit into a skinny jeans and would like to tie weight loss to the big picture–your dream life, then give me a call.
Janice Learmond-Criqui – Certified Professional Coach
My aim is to train clients to reach goals instead of dreaming about them.