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Hiring A Health Coach

April 28, 2014, 6:26 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Hiring A Health Coach

From the Internet to your doctor's office, you can find information about your health in a wide variety of places.

A growing number of people are seeking advice from a health coach.  You should consider several factors before booking a session.

Susan Johnson has been meeting with a health educator for about a year. She's lost her goal of 16 pounds and has been able to maintain her weight loss.

"My goal is to help people focus on their goals that they want in their life, to walk with them each step of the way," Avera Health Educator Becky Hanzen said.

Hanzen is one of a growing number of health educators, or coaches, across the country.

"Because everybody is so busy that we need that hand-holding, or guidance, or buddy to help us focus on ourselves," Hanzen said.

Hanzen has training to teach clients what foods are best for their bodies.

"Really focus on working with the bio-individuality of each person because broccoli, as we know, is a great food, but not for all people. What is it you should be getting individually," Hanzen said.

Along with healthy eating tips, health coaches can also educate patients about how to manage their stress and sleep better.

"We also work with career, relationships, exercise components--all these different components," Hanzen said.

Retired cardiovascular surgeon, Leycester Owens, even gets advice from a health coach. He says it helps hold him accountable.

"You don't want to disappoint that person. Not only that; you don't want to disappoint yourself," Owens said.

But Owens says you should consider several factors before hiring a health coach. First, look at the coach or educator's training. There are no formal requirements, so anyone can call themselves a health coach.

"(Look for) someone who is knowledgeable. Someone who is committed," Owens said.

Also, select a coach who can motivate you in the best way for you personally.

"Education is important, so being able to look and make sure they are credible but also making sure, just like a personal trainer or physician, you need to interview and see if your personalities are meshing together," Hanzen said.

Find the right health coach and Hanzen says you are more likely to meet your health goals. 

Health coaches also work in a wide variety of settings.  Some are employed by hospitals; others have their own private business.

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