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The Missing Piece: What Is a Functional Health Coach and How Can They Help You?

what-is-a-functional-health-coach

 By Health Coach Jessica Gilbreath, MS, CNS, LDN

When it comes to improving your health, the plethora of information can sometimes be helpful, but it often only adds to the confusion. Here’s an example: you have a neighbor who tells you that they lost 30 pounds by going on a ketogenic diet, but a popular podcaster says they’ve seen major health improvements with intermittent fasting. Sound familiar? With conflicting opinions — podcasts, documentaries, bloggers, even health professionals on social media — it’s difficult to determine what is right for you when it comes to a healthy lifestyle and eating. 

 

The solution might not be more information; what you truly need is a personalized action plan and someone to keep you on track. Enter: your functional medicine health coach. 

What Is a Health Coach?

They’re the missing piece in your medical puzzle here to support you in crafting specific action steps in areas like nutrition, stress management, sleep optimization, and physical activity. At Forum Health, your health coach collaborates with your provider to help you prioritize the dietary and lifestyle factors that will have the greatest impact on your health, all delivered with a personalized and compassionate touch. 

 

While your doctor focuses on the “why” behind your prescribed diet, supplements, medications, stress management, and movement recommendations, your functional health coach addresses the “how” of successfully incorporating these into your unique lifestyle. 

 

The Forum Health coaches bring an array of credentials, from Licensed Dietitians to master’s degrees in nutrition or certifications in health coaching from reputable institutes. They’re not just nutrition experts; Forum Health coaches excel at motivating you to make meaningful changes that align with your personal goals and what you’re working on with your provider. 

 

Think of our functional coaches as guides—exceptionally trained and highly qualified individuals ready to assist you on your journey toward a healthier version of yourself. 

Does Health Coaching Work?

The short answer: absolutely. Extensive research confirms its transformative impact, particularly for people grappling with chronic illnesses. In a comprehensive 2018 review of 11 controlled trials focusing on health and wellness coaching, an impressive 82% reported significant improvements for those with a coach. This included improvements in nutrition biomarkers and eating behaviors. The areas improved were in weight management, blood pressure, and overall quality of dietary intake. 

 

For specific health issues such as diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, high cholesterol, and hypertension, health coaching has shown remarkable efficacy. Patients under the guidance of health coaches are not only more likely to follow prescribed medications and supplements but also see reductions in hospital admissions. Most importantly, they feel empowered to instigate positive changes, leading to an enhanced quality of life. 

 

The evidence is clear—health coaching works, yielding tangible improvements across various health parameters. 

How Your Health Coach Can Help You

Functional Medicine Education and Provider Collaboration

Your health coach is like your personal translator for all things Functional Medicine. They break down the nitty-gritty medical details into easy-to-digest information, making sure you’re on board with your provider’s plan. It’s all about empowering you with knowledge, so you’re an active participant in your healthcare journey. 

 

Collaboration is the name of the game. Your coach also works hand-in-hand with your practitioner, ensuring everyone’s on the same page. This teamwork makes your health plan more effective and your overall experience smoother. 

Personalized Tools & Tips

Your Forum Health coach sifts through the noise of daily recommendations, helping you prioritize changes that will genuinely yield positive results. Whether it’s deciphering wellness trends like intermittent fasting, ketogenic, paleo, or 100% plant-based diets, your health coach helps you tailor these practices to your health goals, ensuring they align with your unique body and routine. Struggling to identify foods triggering your IBS symptoms? Your health coach can analyze your dietary intake or review a food journal to pinpoint triggers. Whether it’s figuring out how to fit supplements into your routine or demystifying the world of high-intensity workouts, your coach is your go-to. 

 

No question is too small, and they’re ready to spill all the functional medicine secrets. Just ask—they’ve got the expertise to guide you. 

Accountability

Forum Health was founded with the belief that community and relationships are essential for wellness success. Wellness is a team effort, and your coach is more than an expert; they’re your wellness BFF. When doctors and nurses have limited time, your coach steps up. Your coach serves as your accountability partner—someone to discuss your goals, ensuring they check in on your progress and become your biggest cheerleader. From weight loss and the GDRx program to simply eating better and meditation goals, your coach is right there with you, crafting a plan and keeping you in check. 

Troubleshooting

Encountering challenges in following your provider’s recommendations or seeing roadblocks to achieving your goals? Your health coach steps in to provide personalized support, tailoring your plan to be actionable and sustainable in the context of your life. If you find yourself stuck, reach out to your coach—it’s what they are there for! 

 

At Forum Health, we’re not just about prescriptions; we’re about you (it’s the functional medicine way). The health coaches at Forum Health serve as integral partners in your healthcare journey, combining education, motivation, and practical guidance to empower individuals in achieving their health and wellness goals. 

 

Your wellness path is unique, and your health coach is here to make sure it's a success. Interested in getting started? It all starts with a plan.  

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