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  • Jackie Day

Holistic Health Coaching: A New Approach to Disease Prevention and Losing Weight?

First a little history.

Health and wellness coaching started about 20 years ago, beginning with entrepreneurs in small, private foundations and organizations doing educational programs—sometimes private one-on-ones but also within private corporations and for large employers. Within the past 10 to 12 years, the field of health coaching has really taken off with most of these coaches coming from the private sector and not from conventional healthcare. Health coaches bring fresh eyes and while medicine in general and healthcare more broadly have done some wonderful things, looking through the lens of health and wellness has not been the direction of those fields.

My interest to become a Holistic Health Coach became apparent while employed as a worksite wellness representative and witnessing the positive impact wellness programs had on employee behavior and overall well-being. As a life-long runner, fitness and wellness advocate, I was excited to explore more about health coaches and what they do. I participated in a sample health coaching class provided by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and three months later started my journey to become a Holistic Health Coach.

What makes health coaches different from other healthcare professionals?

Many people don’t have intensive medical conditions but really need guidance with their healthier choices. This support doesn’t have to come from a nutritionist or registered dietician, when often what most people need is accountability and coaching to implement changes. Health coaches do NOT replace dieticians or nutritionist. These professionals require advanced degrees and generally reside in hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, public health or government. Majority of health coaches are self-employed and are not diagnostic and do not treat. Although general dietary nutrition is discussed with health coaches, it is not the primary focus, it is a secondary focus. Health coaches discuss other non-food forms of nourishment, which may include spirituality, career, physical activity, relationships and other lifestyle factors in a holistic way. In other words, treating the whole person with regards to health and wellness. Holistic health coaches play a crucial part in health maintenance, disease prevention, and even disease reversal supporting the mission of all healthcare professionals to increase health and quality of life.

Life coaches share a similar approach, but they specialize in different areas. Life coaching involves examining a client’s life right now to identify obstacles or challenges to living a fulfilled life and then choosing a course of action. While life coaches have general training in a wide variety of areas, health coaches receive intensive training and specialize in aspects of life that impact a person’s health.

Wellness coaches work with clients to achieve a balanced lifestyle, but may not necessarily be goal-orientated, such as losing weight or improving a health issue. These type of coaches generally receive training and a certificate to practice. The title of Wellness Coach is used broadly to cover many individuals who sell services or products in the areas of wellness such as essential oils, supplements, or beauty products. These types of coaches do not require certifications or degrees. They are in the business of selling a wellness product or service and may use the title of Wellness Coach to describe themselves.

When searching for the right coach for you, do your research and think carefully about what your overall goals are. If you are currently under the care of a healthcare provider, it is recommended to speak with your provider first before starting any type of diet or program. Your healthcare provider can work with a health coach to come up with a plan of action together to help you reach your goals.

The Heathy Living program offered by First Wave Wellness will teach you how to integrate sustainable lifestyle changes to improve your overall well-being and happiness through mindset and habit change with support and responsibility. Whether your goal is to boost your energy, decrease your stress, improve your sleep, address poor nutrition choices, lose weight or get in shape, we will work together to create a customized Healthy Living program to support you.

Find out more information about our health coaching and fitness training programs by visiting us online at and schedule your complimentary consultation!


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