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Can a Health Coach Help Me Lose Weight?

written by Skye Kalil Written by Skye Kalil
Skye Kalil

Skye Kalil

Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.

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reviewed by Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP Reviewed by Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP
Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP

Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP

Dr. Anegawa graduated from the Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed residency at Stanford. She has over 20 years of practice experience and specializes in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

June 3, 2022 Read Time - 6 minutes

What Is a Health Coach?

A health coach is a professional who helps you improve your well-being through lifestyle changes. They can help with any of the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Managing chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and others
  • Stress reduction
  • Nutrition by improving diet
  • Exercise and activity 
  • Sleep 
  • Time management
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Addiction
  • Adjusting to a life-altering health event (such as a heart attack)

A health coach is someone who supports you, guides you, and works with you as a partner to implement changes. They will help you create goals and actionable steps to follow that lead to sustainable habits.

Harvard Health reports that “unlike health fads that come and go, health coaching has strong evidence behind it backing its effectiveness for improving health and well-being.”

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

What Does a Health Coach Do?

Health coaches approach relationships with patients with respect and support. They will not tell someone what to do; instead, they will work with patients to reach goals. The first step will be to help you identify your goals. They will help to discover what is motivating you to change, and will create a plan from there.

Health coaches are there every step of the way, and will regularly communicate with patients either in person or virtually. Over the course of working with a health coach, patients learn to reframe their thoughts about themselves. Health coaches use motivational interviewing, and may integrate elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy to focus on the client’s reasons for wanting to change.

People changing on their own terms proves to be far more successful compared with someone telling them what they have to do, which is why health coaches focus on positive psychology. Instead of focusing on what is “wrong” or thinking about problems, health coaches turn the client’s energy toward what can work better for them, what their strengths are, and how to improve behavior to get where they want to be.

A health coach provides clients with accountability, encouragement, and unconditional support.

Can a Health Coach Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, a health coach can help you lose weight. Health coaches are not focused on a quick fix, or fad diets. They will work alongside you to find what will work for you long term to lose weight, and in turn, improve your overall health.

What Does a Health Coach for Weight Loss Do?

If your goal is to lose weight, your health coach will work with you to create a structured plan with actionable steps you can take. They will check in with you, encourage you along the way, and be there to give you the support you need. 

If losing weight is the goal, your coach will not only help you improve your diet and exercise, but help you to determine if other parts of your life are playing a role as well. If you are not getting enough sleep, drinking excessive calories in alcohol, or have poor time management skills, your health coach will help you address those parts of your life as well. Using a holistic view on health, your coach will help you reach your goal of losing weight, and in the process, improve your overall well-being. 

According to a two-year study completed in 2019, “Primary Care-Based Health Coaching Intervention for Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Adults”: “A weight loss intervention using a fully integrated, certified, health coach was associated with meaningful weight loss in a primary care practice setting. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that health coach-based intervention for overweight and obesity is feasible in the primary care setting.”

How to Choose a Health Coach 

Health coaching is a relatively new profession, and it can be difficult to find the right health coach for you. Word of mouth is always a good option, and asking your doctor for a recommendation can be helpful as well.  Coaches who have a close working relationship with a physician have a huge advantage of being able to work alongside your doctor to help you meet your health goals. 

Health Coach Benefits in Managing Chronic Disease

There are many benefits to having a health coach. Research shows that the support of a health coach can help patients manage and improve many chronic diseases.

According to a 2017 study titled “Clinical Effectiveness of Lifestyle Health Coaching,” health coaching can significantly improve:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose (blood sugar)
  • Triglycerides (blood fat)
  • Body weight
  • Cardiovascular fitness

How Much Does a Health Coach Cost?

The cost of a coach can vary greatly. Cost can depend on variables such as:

  • The amount of time your coach will spend with you: You can choose to have one single session with a coach to address a small issue, or can see a health coach for months or even years for assistance managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or even depression.
  • Whether it is in person or virtual: Research shows that health coaching is just as effective when it is conducted virtually as it is in person. Sometimes people have lower rates for online coaching.
  • Skill and experience level: Someone with no credentials or experience will be much less expensive than someone who has a proven track record.
  • Insurance coverage: Health coaches improve overall health, reducing later treatment in the future, so sometimes insurance providers may cover health coaching sessions.
  • Some practices see the value of coaching in itself and include these along with physician services (such as at PlushCare, where Health Coaching is free with membership).
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Online Health Coaching at PlushCare

Our online doctors can help you establish personalized health goals, and can help recommend a health coach for you. 

Our doctors have each graduated from a top 50 medical school in the U.S., and have an average of 15 years of experience. They are qualified, professional, and focused on your desired outcome. Our doctors typically advise patients to make lifestyle changes as part of a care plan. Doctors know that making these changes is not easy, but with the support of health coaches, lifestyle changes can be attainable and sustainable. 

Preventative care is the best thing to do for your health before developing diseases that later have to be treated. Some common diseases that can be caused by lifestyle are heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. With the help of a lifestyle coach, these can be avoided before developing into a severe problem. Click here to make an appointment with an online doctor at PlushCare.


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Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Cleveland Clinic. Health Coaches: What They Do — and How They Can Help You. Accessed on January 13, 2022 at https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-a-health-coach/ 

Harvard Health Publishing. Peter Grinspoon, MD. Health coaching is effective. Should you try it? Accessed on January 13, 2022 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/health-coaching-is-effective-should-you-try-it-2020040819444 

Sherman RP, Petersen R, Guarino AJ, Crocker JB. Primary Care-Based Health Coaching Intervention for Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Adults: A 2-Year Experience. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2017;13(4):405-413. Accessed on January 13, 2022 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600613/ 

Gordon NF, Salmon RD, Wright BS, Faircloth GC, Reid KS, Gordon TL. Clinical Effectiveness of Lifestyle Health Coaching: Case Study of an Evidence-Based Program. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016;11(2):153-166. Accessed on January 13, 2022 at
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125027/ 

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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