What is a Health Coach? How do I find a good one?

Author: PhytoFit, LLC. | | Categories: Cooking Classes , Heart Disease Management , Lifestyle Medicine , Nutrition Coach , Nutrition Coaching , Nutrition Education , Weight Management


An increasing number of people are understanding the important role a healthy lifestyle plays in the quality and quantity of life. Whether you have tried numerous times to reach your desired health improvement goals (without sustainable success) or are looking for a fresh, new perspective on achieving a healthier and more vibrant YOU, a Health Coach can help you reach and maintain your goals. 

Health coaching is a critical component of lifestyle medicine. Like a sports trainer who helps you get active, builds your stamina and enhances your skills, health coaches help you become engaged in your health and wellness. The focus is on helping you make long-term lifestyle changes. 

WHAT is a Health Coach?  
Health coaches help clients with a variety of different health/wellness issues but have a different scope of practice than other nutrition and wellness experts, such as dietitians or nutritionists. Health Coaches do not diagnose, treat, prescribe, interpret medical results, write food plans, nor recommend supplements. Health Coaches typically address key areas of wellness including, but not limited to, Nutrition, Stress, Activity, Time Management, Sleep, etc. Often, one key area may overlap with others. 

Health coaches have the tools, skills, knowledge, expertise, and experience to help clients build new habits and make lasting changes. Using a client centered approach, Health Coaches act as partners and facilitators by supporting clients in taking action, assisting with the creation and implementation of an action plan, and providing the support necessary for success. The clients' ideas, interests, and experiences are the key to successful implementation resulting in goal attainment.  

HOW do I find a good Health Coach?
Health Coaches come from diverse backgrounds, have various levels of training, expertise, experience and may specialize in areas such as weight loss, stress management, etc. The following is list of the important qualities to consider when choosing the Health Coach that is right for you.  

1. Experienced? Credentialed? Have a track record of success?
Before selecting a coach, check out their training, expertise, and experience. A certified health coach will hold credentials from reputable, accredited, professional organizations and/or associations. Here is a helpful link:  Wellness/Health Coach Certification  

Debbie Zimmerman is a nationally certified Wellness/Health Coach with 35+ years of Corporate Wellness Leadership and Health Coaching experience. In the corporate arena, her Wellness Teams were recognized on both state and national levels for their successful and innovative approaches to prevention and disease management. She also holds national certifications in fitness/personal training. She is quite familiar with all disease states, has successfully coached individuals and groups on a wide array of health issues and remains active in her professional/continuing education through Harvard Medical School, eCornell University, Stanford University, American College of Lifestyle Medicine and more.

2. Good role model?
Look for a coach who is a good role model, “walks the talk,” and possesses a long and successful track record with emphasis on “self-care.” A good health coach understands the power of “lifestyle as medicine" and the significance of each of its components, ranging from behavioral psychology to actually planning/ preparing healthy meals. A good role model has experienced the day to day challenges that are present as you begin your health improvement journey. 

Debbie has “walked the talk” over the course of her lifetime and makes healthy lifestyle choices on a daily basis. From a fitness instructor and personal trainer; lifestyle medicine coach; nutrition and culinary medicine instructor to a Food for Life instructor, Debbie epitomizes the lifestyle she promotes.

3. Inspires & Motivates Others? 
A good health coach uses their passion, speaks truth from the heart, and motivates others to live their best lives. This is especially helpful if a client begins to doubt the process. Coaches play an essential role in helping clients move through challenges and barriers that often prevent them from making and maintaining the changes they desire. It is crucial to have a coach who walks along beside you (literally and figuratively) on your way to success. Your health coach can be an incredible source of support for positive change. 

Debbie inspires her clients and others by providing the most current research findings and helps them reach their own conclusions regarding the overwhelming amount of information on health, wellness, and nutrition topics. Her passion for inspiring and motivating others spills over into the community as she serves in various health/wellness roles as a leader, a volunteer, and someone who “gives back” to promote a healthy community.

4. Goal Oriented?
Does the health coach you are considering help you plan, create, and implement your health improvement goals? S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-bound) goals are critical for success. Through careful planning, practical weekly targeted objectives with regularly scheduled accountability, clients can achieve and sustain their health improvement goals.  

Working with hundreds (even thousands) of clients over the years, Debbie has seen great success. Reducing blood pressure, controlling and reversing diabetes, managing heart disease are a few of the success stories. In addition, she has coached clients through weight losses of over 150 pounds and has helped “couch potatoes” transition to gym rats.  

5. Leadership? 
Choose a health coach who doesn’t force you to live their lifestyle. Think of your coach as someone who empowers you to prioritize your unique personal health goals and who can facilitate the change process on your journey to goal attainment. Each step of your journey requires leadership as you navigate the stages of change. A good health coach supports you when you struggle, has a tool box of useful strategies that have helped others just like you, helps you focus on your goals/objectives, provides accountability and continuously opens the door for possibilities. 

Debbie provides corporate wellness leadership to small and large businesses striving to improve employee health/wellness. She leads a local volunteer wellness organizations to provide wellness education to the community, local churches, and partners with colleges and universities to provide internships and practical wellness experiences to students and staff. 

If you’re looking for a Lifestyle and Health Coach serving Central Florida, contact PhytoFit, LLC. Debbie Zimmerman continues her dedication to teaching people how the power of a healthy lifestyle and whole-food, plant-based nutrition can lead to optimal health and wellbeing. There are compelling evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific studies backing a whole food, plant-strong diet for halting and even reversing many chronic diseases. PhytoFit, LLC, can help you become the “best version of yourself!”

To learn more about the services I offer, please click here. To get in touch with me, please click here.