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The 5 benefits of health coaching on a weight loss journey

Health coaches can help you reach your weight loss targets.

The 5 Benefits of Health Coaching on a Weight Loss Journey | Juniper

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight — or are currently on your weight loss journey — you may have adopted all the usual strategies: changing your eating habits, upping your exercise, cutting carbs, cutting calories, cutting snacks…

But, you may have also found that these tactics weren’t overly effective, or if they were, they didn’t keep the weight off for good.

While there might be many reasons for this, one could simply be the fact that you ventured alone — without support to get to the root of any weight issues or to figure out if the weight loss plan you undertook was actually the right one for your needs.

This is where health coaching can come in. Health coaches support you in setting a goal, seek to understand your strengths and challenges and deliver a tailored plan to help you reach your weight loss targets.

Here’s what you need to know about this emerging practice.

What is a weight loss coach?

A weight loss coach is focused mostly on exactly what’s in their job title: coaching you to lose weight. They may advise you on a nutrition plan to follow, in conjunction with an exercise routine and other lifestyle tweaks, to help you lose body fat. 

They also act as a mentor throughout your weight loss journey, offering you support and keeping you accountable. You might attend 1:1 sessions with a personal weight loss coach (either in-person or virtually) or group sessions with others trying to lose weight.

What does a health coach do?

There’s also a practice known as health coaching. Many health coaches provide holistic weight loss coaching and also treat more serious weight-related conditions, like obesity. On the surface, this might seem near-identical to weight loss coaching, but there are some key differences.

Health coaching is a broader term that refers to a fairly new practice in the world of medicine. Health coaches don’t just specialise in weight loss. They assist with managing all kinds of chronic health issues — like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma — and addictions including alcoholism and smoking [1][2]. 

They work across different stages of these issues, too, from prevention to treatment and management.

Often working in conjunction with traditional medical practitioners — like GPs — health coaches deliver interventions designed to change the patient’s health behaviours. 

These interventions are typically evidence-based and incorporate approaches from various disciplines, including behavioural medicine, various fields of psychology (like cognitive behavioural therapy) and performance coaching [2].

The difference between a health coach-client relationship, as opposed to a doctor-patient relationship, is that it’s more of a partnership [3].

While traditional medical practitioners usually deliver information and tell the patient to follow their instructions, health coaches work to empower the clients they work with. They typically provide personalised advice and adopt theories around self-determination to give them the confidence and know-how they need to effectively self-manage their condition [3].

What's involved with health coaching?

If you’re thinking about engaging a health coach for weight loss, you’re probably wondering what the process will involve.

Early on, your health coach will ask you a range of questions related to your weight loss goals: how important it is to you to lose weight, why you want to lose weight, how willing you are to adopt lifestyle and behavioural changes, and what benefits you think weight loss will bring.

Their goal is to understand your goals and motivations, as well as your willingness to lose weight.

They may also ask you about any barriers you’re anticipating on your journey, like a lack of confidence or willpower. They’ll also find out your history with losing weight, including approaches you’ve tried in the past and what worked and didn’t work.

Together, you’ll then set your weight loss goals. These could be around implementing lasting behavioural changes, like curbing binge eating or emotional eating or making exercise a priority. They could also be more quantifiable — such as losing 5% of your total body weight. 

Your health coach will then create a plan to help you achieve these goals, taking into account your challenges and strong suits.

Throughout your weight loss journey, your health coach will provide ongoing support, motivation, accountability and information to keep you on track. 

What are the benefits of personal health coaching?

Where do we begin? Health coaching delivers a number of benefits — here are 5 of them.

You’ve got a personal cheerleader

Undertaking weight loss on your own can be tricky. You’re navigating different eating plans, exercise routines and other weight loss approaches solo, and you may not have someone keeping you motivated to stick to them. Nor is anyone keeping you accountable.

With a personal coach, though, you’ve got someone on your team. They know intimately your strengths, challenges, mindset and behaviours, so they can deliver tailored guidance to help you establish and reach your goals.

You’ll understand yourself better

A health coach works to determine your mindset — including your motivations, mental or behavioural barriers, and the reasons behind any weight issues — and incorporates aspects of behavioural medicine and psychology. This means they gain a fairly deep understanding of how you work.

As a result, you’ll likely learn a lot about yourself. You might have an improved comprehension of what motivates you what challenges you when losing weight, and why you might have struggled to lose weight in the past.

You’ll take a more comprehensive approach to weight loss

Health coaches look at more than just the number on the scales. Beyond supporting you with losing weight, their approach typically addresses multiple aspects of your well-being — including nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress, habits like drinking and smoking, and other factors such as your day-to-day responsibilities and time management skills [4].

When you take a more multi-pronged approach, you may find that everything you do gets an overhaul, helping you to implement and maintain healthy habits across multiple parts of your lifestyle.

You’ll learn to manage your weight independently

Rather than simply delivering information and expecting you to follow instructions, health coaches aim to provide self-empowerment, confidence, responsibility and personalised feedback on your weight loss journey.

Everything from goal-setting to working towards your weight loss targets is done as a partnership with you. The benefit of this is that you’re more likely to achieve sustainable change and results [2].

You can access coaching whenever, wherever

Health coaching is designed to be flexible. You can generally access health coaching in a mode that works with your lifestyle, schedule and preferences.

You can attend appointments in person, either individually or as part of a group. Given the increasing prevalence of telehealth, many health coaches also offer virtual coaching, which could be over the phone, through an app or via video conferencing software.

Does health coaching work?

According to a lot of research, it does. There have been several studies and reviews that have assessed the success of health coaching, and many have revealed positive outcomes.

Compared to a traditional medical care approach, health coaching has been found to improve weight and body fat loss in a number of studies [5][6].

One study also found that health coaching can be an effective strategy for helping clients implement positive dietary changes, like reducing fat, salt, sugar and overall energy intake [6].

Another concluded that health coaching techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing had a profound effect on increasing physical activity levels among study participants [7].

Yet another found that health coaching provided notable improvement across many different aspects of the participants’ lifestyles, including nutrition, exercise and weight management [8].

The researchers also mentioned that the most effective health coaching strategies were goal setting, motivational interviewing and undertaking health coaching in conjunction with other healthcare providers.

How to access health coaching

Convinced that health coaching might be an effective way forward? If you’re looking to lose weight with the benefit of health coaching, look no further than Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme.

The programme gives you unlimited access to a team of weight loss experts, including traditional healthcare providers like clinicians, dietitians, pharmacists and, you guessed it, health coaches. 

Juniper’s qualified health coaches provide tailored recommendations around everything from nutrition and movement to stress and sleep, as well as meal planning advice, health education and health tracking.

After undertaking an assessment around your motivations, behaviours, challenges and strengths, your health coach will work with you to set your weight loss targets. You’ll then be able to contact them at any time with questions and concerns, helping to keep you motivated and on track to reach your weight loss goals. 

As part of the Weight Reset programme, you’ll also receive clinically-proven weight loss medication, free smart scales that let you measure your biometric information and access to a private weight loss community.