Coaching offers accountability and support in diabetes management

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​In Canada, 50% of the working population lives with a minimum of one chronic condition which can have a huge impact on quality of life, as well as work performance.

Among these chronic health conditions, diabetes is one of the most prevalent ones of our times and may go undiagnosed as a silent condition in its early stages. With type 2 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on gradually, and you may have insulin resistance for 10-15 years before being diagnosed. Although there is no cure for diabetes, insulin resistance can be managed effectively through lifestyle changes, such as being physically active, eating healthy, limiting alcohol, and having good sleep and self-care habits. The fact that 78% of Canadians are not sufficiently active and 60% have poor eating habits is putting many of us at risk. With a focus on prevention, lifestyle changes, according to research, can prevent at least 70% of major chronic diseases

Health and wellness coaching can play a significant role in the prevention and management of diabetes. You may struggle with compliance to the recommendations by healthcare professionals for a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps you have been told what to eat, how much and when but are struggling to do so consistently and making these changes work for your family and work life.

Research shows the effectiveness of health and wellness coaching in improving motivational processes, psychosocial and behavioral outcomes. You may be well educated in diabetes management but need support in finding the motivation to implement these changes, align them with what matters to you and fitting these changes into your and your family's day to day life. Health and wellness coaches won't tell you what to do but will collaborate with you on small and actionable steps that align with your values and intrinsic motivators.

We also need to take into consideration that healthy habits cannot be considered without looking at you as a whole person, as well as the environment you live and work in. For example, stress and poor sleep can have a direct effect on your energy level and in turn, affect your motivation to eat healthily and be physically active. Do you find that you know what to do but lack the confidence to move forward without a concrete plan and feeling overwhelmed? Do you feel that the stress of perhaps managing a new diagnosis of diabetes and trying to balance your work and home life is paralysing to the point of feeling stuck and perhaps hopeless? The missing link might be what coaches call self-efficacy.

Studies suggest that face to face health and wellness coaching can reduce perceived stress levels after just 12 weeks. The 12 Weeks to Wellness Health coaching pilot confirmed those findings and showed that participation in our 6-hour 12 Weeks to Wellness telephonic coaching program was associated with significantly enhanced: mental health, quality of life, self-efficacy and increased goal attainment. Participants experienced reduced perceived stress and an increase in coping resources.

Another study showed the impact of 12 weeks of wellness coaching on self-care behaviors among pre-diabetic patients. The study showed a significant increase from baseline in self-efficacy and quality of life measures with positive changes already seen after six weeks.

Health and Wellness Coaching can help you prevent or manage diabetes by empowering you to create permanent changes that are difficult to do on your own. It offers you the accountability and support necessary to sustain new healthy habits and helps you challenge existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Coaching can support you in developing new habits to help you meet your goals, whether it is preventing diabetes, reducing or maintaining your Hgb A1C levels and managing your blood sugar through lifestyle changes.

12 Weeks to Wellness also offers nutrition coaching with our registered dietitians using evidence-based nutrition counseling for blood sugar and lifestyle management.

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