Most people who live in Dubai are looking to improve their health and overall well-being. However, despite the plethora of gyms, yoga studios and “healthy” cafes, the UAE has a very high rate of lifestyle related diseases. According to Government figures, approximately 20% of people are diabetic, 50% are overweight and 60% feel overly stressed. The missing piece appears to be the lifestyle with people struggling to improve their eating habits, exercise and manage stress and sleep. There has never been a better time to invest in your own health and health coaching can be very effective but as it’s a new industry, it is important you are aware of why it is beneficial, how to choose your coach and what to expect.
5 Reasons for having a health coach in Dubai
- Nothing has worked so far: if you are considering a health coach, the likelihood is that you’ve probably tried a diet or tried “being healthy” by exercising but it has not worked and you feel run down or can’t lose that excess fat. Hiring a health coach should help you to finally get the results desired whether it weight loss, improving energy levels or sleep or reducing stress.
- You don’t understand why you have gained weight: A lot of the time in Dubai, we feel as though we are eating well, exercising etc but may have put on a few kilograms. The reasons will vary for each person. For example, you may simply not be sleeping enough, you may be low in vitamin D or you simply may be too sedentary even though you go to the gym. A health coach will educate you on your current lifestyle and health and educate you on simple tips that you can sustain that are good for you and will help you improve your health.
- Surrounded by temptation: let’s be honest, there probably isn’t a city in the world with more temptation all around you. We are constantly surrounded with fast food, fantastic restaurant openings and social obligations and people all around you seem to be going out all the time. A health coach will support you and help you plan going out so that it does not damage your lifestyle and can be sustained as part of your health journey.
- Stressed out and don’t have time for yourself : it is difficult to make good lifestyle decisions when we are busy with work, socializing and generally dealing with expat life. A coach takes away a lot of the guesswork and “thinking” and will help streamline good lifestyle in you’re your everyday routine.
- Confused with so much information: should you be vegan? Is crossfit better or running? What time should you go to sleep? Which yoga is best? Should I be intermittent fasting? Every magazine, newspaper and friend seems to have a different view on health and it gets so confusing. Your health coach will understand your lifestyle, your health goals and culture and advise you on what is actually going to benefit you and help you improve.
5 things to look for when hiring a health coach
- Education and Training : your health coach should have proper educational qualifications in health and be investing in continuously learning and educating themselves. Health and wellness is a new industry where constant upgradation of knowledge is key. You should pick a coach who takes learning seriously as it shows a real passion for the subject. You would not pick a financial advisor who does not read about the stock market so you should not pick a health coach who is not continuously upgrading their skill set.
- Track record : your coach should have a track record of helping clients get the results you want to achieve. If your aim is weight loss then your coach should have helped people similar to you lose weight and you should ask the coach for a testimonial from a previous client. You will be paying for this service so should expect results and do not want to be a guinea pig.
- Rapport : you are going to be interacting with your coach on a daily basis and it can be a tough journey so make sure during the first meeting that there is a rapport with the coach and you can relate to one another otherwise look for a different coach.
- Listener : judge in the first meeting or call whether the coach is good listener. No 2 clients are the same so it is important the coach listens to you and wants to understand your lifestyle, your goals and does not try to copy and paste advice from other clients.
- Expertise : pick a coach who has expertise in what you want to achieve. For example, if your aim is to complete a marathon then pick a coach with a stronger fitness background. If the aim is to reduce stress then find someone with more knowledge in this area.
5 things to expect from a health coach
- Defined Goals: defined monthly goals should be set based on what you want to achieve and these should be reviewed by the coach on a weekly basis. For example, if you are looking to reduce sugar levels or to be able to run 5k after 6 months then a measurable goal should be set that can be tracked each week by you and your coach. It is important to set measurable goals so that you can track how much progress you are making and whether the coaching is working.
- Accountability: the coach should make you accountable on a daily basis to make continuous improvements. You should feel proud to check in daily and let the coach know you’ve hit all targets and be ashamed when you fall off track. The feeling of accountability, like you are at work for your boss, means that you are more likely to reach your goals and follow the advice.
- Support : coach should be approachable and constantly there to support you in difficult times. For example, if you are planning a holiday, the coach should support you over the phone to ensure you’re able to plan and make good meal choices throughout the trip and give you convenient exercise regimes for when you get time.
- Figure out the “how” : the coach must help you understand hoe you can take on board the advice and incorporate into your life. For example, if you are lacking vitamin D then the coach should understand your routine and advise when is best for you to easily get enough sunlight. Similarly, if you are extremely fond of some foods that aren’t the healthiest, the coach can help you understand how to manage your diet even with these foods included (if possible).
- Sustainable : it is unlikely that you’ll stick to an extreme dieting plan or execise regime so you should expect your coach to focus on making continuous improvements to your lifestyle that you can sustain for the rest of your life.
The author is Ankit Ruia, co-founder of The Health Concierge. The Health Concierge is a Dubai-based wellness company that offers 1 on 1 health coaching to help people become healthier and happier. Each customer is assigned a personalized health coach who focusses on supporting and educating them and making them accountable to reach their goals. The coach offers personalized advice and interacts 3-4 times each day with the customer and ensures they get sustained results. Book a consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0526253332