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Taking control of your life and your health can mean different things to different people.
These stories and feedback are all from people who have had one-to-one health coaching and kindly agreed to share their story so that other people can see what they've used it for and how it's worked for them.
Names are replaced by 'X'.
X came to the coaching sessions wanting to lose weight, lower his blood pressure and to take regular exercise more often.
Over a couple of months he lost a stone, was doing 8 mile walks with a group, had taken up swimming again and had good blood test results . His blood pressure remained a little bit high but was heading in the right direction and his motivation to keep going with the fitness and weight loss is also high so he hopes that will still reduce further.
X said the coaching sessions time to reflect and he felt listened to. He wanted to set himself some goals around coming to terms with his COPD diagnosis and ways to self-manage the condition. He felt he had been depressed and was disengaged. X became aware of his own need to be more social and started to recognise the benefits of an improved diet. He also looked at his work environment started wearing a protective mask to reduce dust inhaled. Over this period, his lung capacity increased from that of an 83-year-old to that of a 79 -year-old. He knew it would help to stop smoking and was thinking he might try to do this to improve his lung capacity further. He also felt that having a more positive attitude helped with his mood.
The coaching provided X with an opportunity to express her feelings about her health condition, COPD, and to develop a better understanding of it. She says this has helped her to come to terms with her condition and to manage it in an appropriate way. It has also made it easier for her to accept support from her family when she needs it. She has arranged a holiday in the sun over the winter to reduce the chance of her getting ill and is finding ways to work in a team with health professionals.
X requested coaching for help and support in managing her health condition. She has an auto-immune condition and thyroiditis which was causing her to feel inconsistent emotionally and physically. Coaching supported X to research into and find her own solution for balancing her health condition and managing her weight. X spread out her health coaching sessions across a longer period of time than usual, during which time she has lost 2 stone in weight and is feeling better in personal health. X said that it was useful to talk over concerns with someone as this motivated her to find her own solution to managing her health condition and the result has been invaluable.
X attended coaching as she was struggling to cope with life due to a stroke, bereavement and caring responsibilities. Through the coaching X unpicked each area and developed strategies to make life easier. She also found it helped to give herself permission to relax, let go a bit and not be so hard on herself.
"I used the service to think about what I can do to maintain my health and also to get help for long term pain in my hands. It helped me to think about what I could do myself and I am taking a supplement to see if that helps and plan to ask my yoga teacher for adaptations to reduce my pain in the class."
"I didn't think that LWFB was appropriate for me but I now understand how valuable it has been."
X was suffering with severe depression and anxiety at the beginning of the coaching. Over the course of the sessions, X became calmer and more empowered. She recognised the areas where she could affect change and made some positive changes in her life, which impacted on her home-life, work-life and overall sense of well-being. By the end of the sessions she was much calmer and feeling more confident in her ability to run her own life in a way that worked well for her.
"At the start of my coaching I couldn't get out, I had no confidence with walking around my home, the pathway, etc, and I couldn't use the train. My confidence grew by pushing myself with my coach's help and now I am virtually back to myself and I feel I could tackle anything. Without that extra support I would still be stuck indoors."
"Over my sessions, I lost a total of 10lbs in weight. My blood pressure has reduced as well as my sugar levels. I do more regular walking and this has contributed to my overall wellbeing."
Coach helped me with being more positive and confident discussing things with doctors and to set achievable goals.
X has respiratory problems which have been restricting her ability to do enjoyable things. She was scared that her health was going to deteriorate so refrained from doing certain things. Through coaching X realised she was capable of doing more of the things she enjoys, such as going for walks. She is now experiencing far more joy in her life and as a result has better emotional and mental health as well as experiencing physical improvements in her health condition.
X said the biggest thing for her to deal with regarding her long-term health condition was the isolation that she had felt, as those with her condition were usually a lot older or very young. She had received medical advice and support but no emotional support. She feels that seeing a health coach has helped her accept and face her inner fears instead of 'burying her head in the sand'. At the beginning of the sessions, she was already finding it helpful, but also found that by having some additional sessions over a longer period of time she now includes new ideas into her life which have become natural to her. X feels she has accomplished a lot and that the coaching has been invaluable and has changed her life. Her long-term goal is to return to full-time work and she had already gone back part time by the end of the coaching sessions.
X came to the service because he was suffering from anxiety and symptoms of stress. He felt that he needed to make some major life changes in order to eliminate some of the stressors. He worked with his coach on reducing feelings of guilt so that he was more comfortable with making decisions based on his own well-being rather than the opinions of significant others. X was very engaged in the coaching process and reported feeling much more able to make empowering life choices and, as a result, reducing his levels of anxiety.
X is diabetic and she wanted to explore ways to improve her health by changing her diet. She admitted that she wasn't very knowledgeable where nutrition was concerned but she was keen to learn. She began to make small changes, for example cooking more fresh food rather than using ready made food and reported that this felt very positive. Her confidence in this grew to the extent that during her final coaching session, she announced that she was going to request an appointment with a dietican so that she could further increase her knowledge of health improvements through food - especially in managing diabetes.
My coach has understood my personal needs in such an insightful way that she has been able to give me pointers that have made changes (which I believe will be lasting) in my life that no other therapist/coach/advisor has managed. In terms of the speed and depth of the positive changes my time with my coach has been the most effective of my therapeutic experiences.
X was overweight which exacerbated his health conditions. He had also lost motivation and zest for life. X used the coaching to work out what would help him most to make some changes to improve his life. He found that by attending a gym and also enjoying the steam room and sauna to relax, exercise was a pleasure not a chore - so he went regularly. He also managed to stop buying cakes and sweets to improve his diet. As a result, he had started to see a steady weight loss which he hoped to continue and by the time of the follow-up session a month later, was pleased to report that he was still on track.
X has COPD and was struggling to walk without feeling very out of breath. She wanted to be able to be more active as she really enjoys being outdoors. Alongside the coaching sessions, X enrolled onto a COPD rehab course which she attended twice a week. This helped her greatly but she stated that one of the biggest things that changed for her was a recognition she had that she is totally responsible for her own health and well-being. X embraced this fully and started to exercise regularly to improve her physical and emotional health. She reported that she is looking forward to even better health and she fully believes that this is possible - something that she could never have imagined before.
X was suffering from severe anxiety. He decided the first thing he needed to do was to take up an activity which got him out of the house. Having chosen swimming, he made a commitment to himself to take things step by step to achieve this. It took less time than expected before he found himself enjoying attending a weekly swimming session. This gave X confidence to try other things including both a creative activity he'd previously enjoyed and also some voluntary work. He also decided to get a long standing knee problem investigated as this was preventing him from walking more which he wanted to do. By the end of the sessions, X felt he had developed better coping strategies for difficult days. He was also finding it easier to talk to friends about his anxiety and, as a result, was benefitting from more support from those around him.
X has COPD and had ended up feeling both socially isolated and not in control of her medications. She used the support of the coach to address both these issues - talking to her healthcare professionals about her medical needs; and managing to get out of her flat to socialise with other residents in her sheltered accommodation, which she hadn't done for a long time.
X came to coaching unaware of his unit intake of alcohol other than knowing it was in excess of the Government guidelines and wanting to reduce it. Over the course of his sessions, he self-managed a diary of unit consumption and type of alcohol consumed. By the time he left coaching, he had gone three weeks without alcohol - the longest period of his life not drinking alcohol. He also felt able to take a more positive outlook in other areas of his life and was, in particular, enjoying time with his family.
X was living with Fibromyalgia, which she found debilitating. Coaching sessions enabled X to make changes to her attitude, which meant she felt able to say 'no' when she had to in order to manage pain. As a result, X says she feels stronger and in a better place - more independent, enjoying life and has gradually built up exercise so is fitter and happier.
X has Diabetes and needed to lose weight but couldn’t exercise whilst recovering from an operation. X set a target to reduce food intake and increase exercise when he was well enough. By the end of his coaching sessions, X was on track, feeling in control, and felt "able to say no", which had given him a different relationship with food.
"I didn’t know what to expect at first but I quickly realised the benefits of the service. I was a messy ball of wool and my exceptional health coach untangled me and helped me to focus on what was important. I was helped through difficult episodes and have left a stronger more confident person. As a carer for someone with mental health issues for over 20 years, the sessions provided a very special time for me that I won’t ever forget."
X used the coaching to help with pain management. He said: “I have broken a few habits and made changes enough to move forward. The service has assisted with pain management and I've made a plan to keep moving ahead. I've realised I have only have one life to make the most of". X also acknowledged support from several good friends and family and how to make the best of this support.
X has suffered with Hydrocephalus for many years. She has had numerous operations and treatments since her diagnosis. X's main problem was the stress she was experiencing as a result of her work situation. With the help of the coaching, she focused on ways in which she could create a calmer work life whilst increasing her earning. She made a number of changes which enabled her to feel happier and calmer about the situation. As a result she felt more in control of her life and felt that this in turn would have a positive impact on her brain pressure.
X's goal was to lose 3 stone. He has Diabetes and knew this would help. By the end of his third coaching session he had already lost half a stone. One of the decisions X had made during this time to help with this was to go and see a dietician and a diabetic nurse; he had done that and had started following advice from them, especially around portion sizes and easy healthy alternatives when hungry. He knew it would take time but felt on track to achieving his goal.
X was struggling to manage her health condition and other aspects of her life. She used the coaching to make a number of positive changes: She felt it helped her to organise things in her mind in terms of helping with her memory and working out priorities; it helped her to have difficult conversations and to generally manage the relationships in her life better, letting go of certain expectations of herself and others and communicating better around what she can and cannot do. She felt some counselling would also be helpful and organised that. She accepted that she needed to take ongoing medication and managed to get into a better routine with her medications which resulted in her feeling more relaxed about it.
X was wanting to make some changes to his lifestyle habits, especially his alcohol intake. In the coaching sessions, he found it very helpful to think about how he had made changes in the past - especially in giving up smoking - and how he could use those skills to make changes now. At the end of the sessions he had significantly reduced the amount he was drinking on a daily basis and had also achieved one alcohol free day in the last week and he intended to build on these changes. Feeling confident of his ability to make changes he had also decided to take steps to lose weight. He had decided what his target weight was, had started thinking about how he could make changes to his diet and build more exercise into his life and felt confident that he would be able to do this.
X was very resistant during her first session as she didn't know much about the service and didn't believe that it would help her much. However, she really engaged in the process and made great changes in her life. X was suffering with depression due to difficult relationships with her children as well as unresolved feelings around a very challenging relationship with her ex-husband. During the sessions, X began to understand the power of assertive communication and she became more honest in her interactions with her children. This has had mixed results but X recognises this as part of an important process of learning and self-discovery and is working very hard to change some deeply ingrained patterns. X is doing far more creative projects which she feels is very good for her and she is getting a great deal of satisfaction from this. Overall, X has taken far more of an active role in her life and as a result she feels calmer and less anxious and depressed.