Did you know that approximately 45 million Americans use a diet plan each year? Poor westernized diet culture has shifted the viewpoint on losing weight to quick and unhealthy changes in eating patterns.
This can fuel eating disorders like binge eating or increased weight gain and the health risks associated with it. A lifestyle coach can help you get back on track with weight loss and help improve your physical health. They encompass diet, activity, and common barriers to progress.
Lifestyle coaches also work closely with nutritional experts and physicians to ensure that you get the best care for a healthier lifestyle. Luckily, we have put together a complete guide on the dangers of obesity and trendy diets and how you can find better success with lifestyle coaching, so keep reading for more information!
Table of Contents
America’s Obesity Epidemic
Since the pandemic, over 40% of Americans reported gaining weight, with an average weight gain of around 30 pounds. In almost two decades, obesity rates in America increased from approximately 30 percent to over 40 percent.
Unfortunately, obesity is not solely caused by unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. Eating patterns, sleep routine, and genetics can all play a factor. Prescription medications and age can also affect how your body stores excess weight and makes it more challenging to lose it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. Between 25 and 30, a person is classified as overweight. Obesity increases a person’s risk for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes Type 2
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Clinical depression
Excessive weight also increases health care expenditures, absenteeism, and premature death risks.
Food vs. Weight Gain
How does food impact weight gain? Researchers have found that ultra-processed food (UPF) is one of the most significant contributors. A meta-analysis found that UPFs were correlated with:
- Increased mortality risks
- Increased cardiovascular disease prevalence
- Increased coronary heart disease
- Increased risk for strokes
- Increased risk for cancers
- Impaired metabolisms
UPFs were one of the leading causes of individuals becoming overweight or obese. UPFs are the last ranking of food classifications, which includes other categories such as unprocessed and processed culinary ingredients. All of these foods are ranked based on processing methods, including:
Examples of UPFs are processed meats, ice cream, frozen meals, and sweetened drinks. It entails anything with additives such as food coloring, flavoring, or emulsifiers.
What Are Food Cravings?
Dieting can often lead to ‘food cravings,’ which can have physiological or psychological influences. For some, nutritional or caloric deficiencies may lead to food cravings. Psychological food cravings stem from food suppression thoughts.
Food cravings are not to be mistaken for hunger. Cravings are satisfied by a particular food. Hunger is satisfied by any food group.
Cravings can include cognitive and emotional changes in how you see and treat certain foods. In most instances, food cravings do not stem from nutritional deficiencies but rather have psychological components.
Researchers have found that diets strict on food deprivation cause increased cravings for the eliminated food group or item. However, it is also classified as a conditional response that can be managed with behavioral support and qualified coaching.
In addition to re-conditioning these responses, long-term applications reduce food cravings. During this same study, experts found that restricted eating can ultimately lead to weight gain and strict (yet, unhealthy) dieting.
Reducing Food Cravings
Expert guidance can help you identify and manage food cravings. You can start taking the initiative now to identify problematic areas. When you reach for that pint of ice cream, ask yourself:
- Do you feel stress or anxiety?
- Are you hungry?
- Are you craving sweets?
Sometimes, the foods you eat before (or lack thereof) can lead to more intense cravings. Food cravings can also stem from trauma or external pressures.
Start by distancing yourself from the food, using healthier alternatives, and exercising more. As you consult with a professional, you may adopt other habits such as mindfulness, improving sleep hygiene, increasing water intake, and adding protein.
How To Improve Physical Health
Three main contributors primarily encompass physical health:
- Mental health
- Physical activity
- Diet and foods
Physical activity can include your favorite hobbies or simply taking the dog on a walk. Exercise recommendations for adults are 150 minutes weekly. Try getting up throughout the day to incorporate more movement and less sitting, which can provide excellent physical and mental health benefits.
Mental health and physical activity are closely linked, and one can contribute to the decline in the other. Recent studies examined physical activity during the pandemic.
They found that steps declined from nearly 10,000 a day to less than 5,000. Screen time also doubled and socializing dramatically decreased.
The result? Risks for depression increased by nearly 15 percent. Incorporating healthy activities, healthy foods, and socializing can benefit your overall health and wellness.
What Is a Lifestyle Coach?
A lifestyle coach is a health and wellness professional that helps patients achieve goals, identify obstacles, and support long-term changes. Some people seek out lifestyle coaches to help with relationships, work stress, or breaking bad habits.
There are different types of life coaches, and some have an added specialty for facilitating a healthy lifestyle. These fall under health and wellness coaches, who are different than licensed mental health professionals or other health care specialists.
Lifestyle coaches can help you address underlying issues and lead healthier lives. They cannot diagnose mental health conditions and don’t have the same licensure or credentials.
Studies are showing positive results from using lifestyle coaches. They found that lifestyle coaches help:
- Decrease procrastination
- Improve goal achievement
- Improve self-efficacy
- Improve overall well-being
It can also boost your quality of life and indirectly help mental health illnesses.
Lifestyle Coaching vs. Nutritional Coaching
Lifestyle behavioral coaches help you improve your overall wellness through healthy eating and exercise. They address unhealthy behaviors that impact your daily life and prevent you from achieving your health goals.
They may offer emotional support and advice that can help you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It also provides an opportunity to work with others in similar situations and provides the benefits of group therapy.
Nutritional coaches can be part of the lifestyle coaching training. They are specialized professionals that help you create healthy eating habits.
Nutritional coaches can help you develop a customizable dietary plan and create individualized goals. Both allow you to develop healthy behaviors, but a nutrition coach will focus more heavily on diet and nutrition plans.
What Are Assisted Weight Loss Programs?
As the name sounds – assisted weight loss programs are closely monitored and followed by trained professionals. Medically assisted weight loss is safer and more effective. Ultimately, they can offer better long-term weight loss and health outcomes.
The main difference between a medically assisted weight loss program and a standard program is the level of professional expertise. Medical programs are followed closely by physicians and nutritionists.
Other programs are not overseen by healthcare professionals and offer little guidance or customization. Some of the most commonly used general weight loss programs are:
- Intermittent fasting
- Low-carbs or keto
Plant-based diets may have environmental or ethical factors involved. Not every plant-based diet is weight loss-driven. However, other popular diets have become popularized by marketing strategies.
These marketing strategies emphasize quick results. The reality is that they are not sustainable. There is also minimal guidance or direction for these programs.
Often, users read an article or two online before giving it a shot. Limiting calories or carbohydrates can put you at a higher risk for:
- Higher cravings
- Binge eating
- Increased weight gain
- Poor relationship with food
UnCraveRx® is a medically supervised weight loss program. This type of weight-loss tactic involves:
- Professional healthcare guidance
- Nutritional coaching
- Lifestyle coaching
- Behavioral support
This group of professionals can help you identify the crux of your weight gain or lack of weight loss. They help you identify food cravings and incorporate better alternatives.
Lifestyle behavioral support can help you adopt a better mindset and change how you view exercise and nutrition. Personalized support enables you to be a part of group therapy and access immediate expert advice.
Choosing Medical Weight Loss Programs
Program safety is the top priority in medical weight loss programs. You will also want to involve:
- Lifestyle coaches
- Nutritional coaches
- Supportive family and friends
Lifestyle coaches help blend all the components of a healthy weight loss journey. Choosing a medical program is more about building one than picking one off a list. A lifestyle coach will help you determine:
- Eating and meal plans
- Food journaling
- Physical activity
- Offering lifestyle changes and advice
- Weight loss maintenance
- Program length
- Work adaptations
Physicians and nutritional coaches can help you tackle diet plans. Lifestyle coaches can help you maintain weight loss and develop lifelong habits. They can also help you readjust your goals when roadblocks arise, such as:
- Coping with stress
- Social eating
- Inadequate sleep
- Work changes
- Declining motivation
- Injuries and illnesses
Specialists help you remain on track and see the benefit of sticking with sustainable programs. Weight loss is a long journey, and, understandably, stress or lack of motivation may arise. Participating in a weight loss program without sufficient staff and help can lead to dangerous health risks.
Rapid Weight Loss Risks
There are two types of weight loss: fat and lean muscle. When you rapidly lose weight, it often includes critical lean muscle mass. Adequate muscle helps with:
- Blood sugar management
Losing fat can help reduce your risk of chronic illness and help you improve your physical health. Researchers examined weight loss participants who took two years to lose nearly half of their body weight. After five years, more than three-quarters had regained it back.
Rapid weight loss can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, slowed metabolism, and increased food cravings. Weight loss typically occurs in two different stages.
During the first month, it is expected that you may see a higher weight loss percentage as your body sheds water and carbohydrate storage. It is not usually tied to fat loss, which comes during the second stage.
After six weeks, your body naturally loses weight at a slower rate. Overly restrictive diets can cause your metabolism to slow down and prevent weight loss. A gradual and healthy diet and lifestyle habits can facilitate long-term success and physical changes.
Employee Wellness Programs
Virtual apps, such as MyUnCraveRx® Wellness App, give you unparalleled support in healthy weight loss journeys. It can help individuals with no previous dieting or weight loss experience.
The app provides exclusive access to nutritional coaching, lifestyle coaching, and behavioral support. Many employers use these programs to help facilitate health and wellness for their employees.
The benefit of a virtual program is that it can be used anywhere and provides 24/7 support. The MyUnCraveRx® Wellness App also provides:
- Recorded classes
- Online resources and videos
- One on one coaching
- Food diaries
- Live group or individual events
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- And more!
Why should you implement an employee wellness program? These customizable health programs can increase productivity and workplace satisfaction. It can also reduce absenteeism, injury risk, and healthcare costs.
Finding a Lifestyle Coach
What you eat, how much you exercise, and how often you socialize can impact your overall health. Tackling health issues like obesity can seem like a hurdle you cannot clear, which is where a lifestyle coach comes in.
A lifestyle coach combines all the elements that define health and wellness. They can hold you accountable, set up goals, and help you achieve long-term success.
Are you ready to get started with a healthier way to lose weight? UnCraveRx can help. Find a provider and get started today.