Food For Thought

Crossroads between health, wellness, and happiness

Invest in Your Health by Hiring a Diet Coach (for the Long Haul)

Coach Caroline, 02/23/2016

Which of these values is most important to you?

  • Wearing nice clothes? 
  • Living in a nice house? 
  • Having good health? 
  • Driving a nice car?

Please choose one before continuing.

Now, I hope you chose “health” as your number one value—otherwise, this post should be entitled, “Why Health Should Be Your Number One Value.”

Assuming health is at the top, here’s another question: how does the amount of money and time you spend on health enhancement compare to the amount spent on the other values listed above? If you’re like most people, you probably spend more money on fancy coffee drinks, rhinestone-studded pedicures, and expensive golf clubs than on gym memberships, organic produce, and health coaching.

But if watching your grandkids graduate from college, balancing your own checkbook well into your dotage, and attending your 70th high school reunion are truly important to you, maybe it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

Then again, why should you hire a healthy eating coach when you already know what to eat—you just need to eat it, right? Get committed and stick to the plan! What’s a diet coach gonna tell you that you don’t already know?

A lot, it turns out.

The problem isn’t that you don’t know what to eat for health and weight loss—the real problem is that you don’t know how to change deeply entrenched, decades-long food habits. Think about it: you have been reinforcing your current eating habits several times a day for decades. Did I say decades? I meant to say decades.

Do you know how many people actually succeed in permanently adopting a nutrient-dense diet? Very few.

I’m sure you’ve known plenty of folks who’ve lost lots of weight only to regain it and then some. How many people do you know who have lost weight and kept it off for five years? Three years? How about just one year? And if you’re like most, you happily ride the same sporadic, evanescent waves of motivation when they come along, only to flounder back into old patterns when they subside, leaving you feeling hopeless and frustrated. That’s no fun and does nothing to further your health goals.

A good diet coach will teach you not only what to eat for health and longevity (spoiler alert: it’s fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds), but more importantly, how to keep yourself motivated after the honeymoon.

The honeymoon’s the early easy part of a new eating style—in which you’re highly motivated and tell yourself stuff like, “I’ll never go back to eating that stuff again!”

After the honeymoon is the rest of your life, when you’ll probably rejoin the American public in its slow march towards heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Long-Term Commitment

Every now and then someone asks me for a one-hour nutrition consultation—they assure me that they just need to know what to eat, and then they’ll eat it. As much as I hate saying, “no,” to money, I turn them down, explaining, “I’ve never known anyone to succeed after a one-hour chat. I wouldn’t feel good about taking your money when I know it’s not gonna help you.” And then I turn them to some websites (like this one) so they can begin learning about nutrient-dense eating.

And thus arises another problem—most people who finally are willing to acknowledge that they can’t do it on their own hire a diet coach and then quit after a handful of sessions.

Unfortunately, making the switch from ubiquitous, highly addictive American fare to naked plants in their natural unsalted, unoiled state takes a lot longer than a short while. In fact, it can take two years or more of weekly coaching instruction and support for enduring change to really take effect.

Remember how long you’ve been reinforcing unhealthy eating habits? Luckily, though, due to neuroplasticity, your brain will change—allowing you to consistently choose healthy nutriment more and more frequently, until, at long last, you can claim the title of full-fledged nutritarian.

If you do decide to hire a diet coach, make it a long-term commitment. My clients generally commit to at least six months of coaching, and most continue well beyond that point as they start to realize that the tools I teach them work—but only if they use them daily—and that long-lasting change takes time.

Make sure your diet coach can teach you techniques and strategies for dealing with cravings, etc., so that this time you’ll reap the benefits of lifelong health and permanent weight loss.





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