Life Makeovers - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Life Makeovers

(WFLX) - Christine Silva was stressed to the max, trying to balance work and family, with no time left over for herself. "I was constantly exhausted. I felt like I was never able to keep up."

So she decided to try something new, hiring a wellness coach to help her regain control of her life. "Within the very first session, I realized this is not about just getting exercise. It was about how do I see myself and where do I want to be."

Unlike personal trainers, who concentrate on physical fitness, a wellness coach takes a more holistic approach, focusing on both the body and the mind. They meet clients one-on-one and help them create an individualized health plan. "The coach is really trained to help you take a bigger picture of you, over all aspects of your health and wellness, and then come up with a formula that combines all of these things together," said Margaret Moore, the CEO of Wellcoahces Corp.

Wellness coaching used to focus on helping individuals coping with one particular disease, and life coaching, in general, was reserved for busy executives.

But now a new trend is becoming more mainstream: wellness coaching which blends life coaching for regular people. It's even endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine.

"It was seen in the workplace with executives that they were more productive if they were healthy and fit, and they were handling their stress well and addressing all the issues of wellness. So now it's showing to be advantageous for the average person to pursue wellness as well," said Dr. Holly Benjamin, of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The medical community is taking notice. A limited pilot program from Harvard Vanguard allows patients with weight and health problems to try a coach at no charge. "The coaching world has come up with skills to help people make changes that last," said Moore.

Of course hiring the right coach is key. Right now, there is no national certification for wellness coaches, so experts suggest you ask a lot of questions. "They should make sure they know the fees up front. They should know what the wellness coach is offering, communication, how many times they meet," said Benjamin.

Christina's been working with her coach for two years and is amazed at how her life has changed. "I'm more relaxed almost on a almost daily basis," she said.

Wellness coaches can come from a variety of backgrounds - fitness, psychology, physical therapy, nursing and others.

The national consortium for credentialing health and wellness coaches is currently working to develop a national certification for wellness.

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