Looking for a little inspiration to kickstart your New Year’s health resolutions? Meet Chris, a 33-year-old Associate Manager of Process Management at Prudential in Willow Grove, PA. In October 2018, Chris started working with Eric, an onsite WebMD Health Coach. Just over a year later, he’s made significant changes to his lifestyle and exercise routine and lost over 40 pounds.
For Chris, the ability to meet in person with an onsite health coach at his office made a huge difference. He says, “It’s way easier to strike up a conversation face-to-face than with a coach over the phone.” In this blog article, we share a bit about Chris’ journey towards better health and how in-person WebMD Health Coaching kept him accountable and motivated.
WebMD: How did you find out that no-cost WebMD Health Coaching was available to you?
Chris: My company had made health coaching available through our “Health Quotient” program, which encourages employees covered by the medical plan to conduct healthy activities to earn an incentive. But, it was actually an e-mail from Eric letting me know there was a live coach on-site, which I found a lot more beneficial than the coaching already available via phone.
What motivated you to first connect with a coach?
Since April 2018, I’ve been focused on losing weight and keeping it off, and it seemed like a task better done with a support team than alone.
What was holding you back from making health lifestyle changes before?
Laziness! I love carbs and hate exercise, which was a dangerous combination.
How did connecting with a WebMD Health Coach help you overcome those obstacles to starting?
The in-person accountability was great, but Eric has also been instrumental in providing a balanced approach that didn’t beat me up for my own failures like I did in my own head. Instead, it was always a focus on how we can succeed in the future.
How often do you speak to Eric? What specific things does he say or do to keep you motivated?
Eric and I meet monthly. He keeps me motivated by checking my progress against my goals and giving me his thoughts on whether my goal is still feasible at my current level of effort or if I would need to change anything.
How did your exercise regimen change after you started working with a coach?
Before working with Eric, I was focused on all cardio all the time. He helped me balance that out with a basic full-body strength routine that matches my primary goal for weight loss, while also varying cardio so I’m not just running five days a week. He has also taken the time to correct my form on certain exercises that I was not doing right.
What was a typical meal for you before you started working with a coach? And now?
Before working with a coach, it was all burgers, fries, and sodas. I had incorporated some veggies, but it was carb-heavy still. Now, a meal might be a turkey sandwich with carrot sticks, a small handful of chips, and some diet soda. The main focus has been on keeping protein levels up by encouraging healthy snacking—like replacing a bag of chips with a handful of almonds or a candy bar with a Greek yogurt.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about working with a coach, but hesitant to get started?
There are always so many reasons not to and if you listen to them, you’ll be facing your health goals alone. Think about what your “finish line” is, then share it with a coach to get his or her thoughts. Then apply that feedback and be honest about what’s working and what’s not.
What was your perceptions of using the Well-Being Program and Health Coaching before you decided to engage with a coach? How has it changed?
Perception was a good one—I think it’s great that such a service is offered for free, and my perception has been confirmed!
Did you use any other parts of your wellness program to help you lose weight? (i.e. wellness challenges, health goals, fitness trackers, etc.)?
I’m a member of the gym available here in the office, which has also been a huge help.
How do you plan to maintain your weight loss?
Ongoing diet and exercise—I’m still counting calories and hitting the gym five times a week. That will continue, as well as regular check-ins with Eric to be sure I’m on the right pace to cross my finish line and get below 200 pounds.
What is the most important thing you would like people to know about your experience working with a health coach?
That it’s so much easier to work with a professional than to go at it alone or work with a friend who wants to help but isn’t necessarily a professional.
How organizations benefit: what we’ve learned from over 3 million health coaching sessions.
Every day we hear stories like Chris’ that are a testament to the power of our health coaching team. Organizations benefit, too. When you offer one-to-one coaching to individuals within your organizations, you:
- Assure them that the organization values their well-being and is willing to support efforts on their behalf;
- Gain the benefits of on-site coaches who can champion workplace well-being activities like lunch-and-learn sessions, health fairs and screenings; and
- Inspire individuals who receive health coaching to become advocates. When they see positive results in their own lives, they will spread the word through their workplace social networks.
From increased morale to improved productivity to reduced health risks, the benefits of health coaching are clear. Do you have a WebMD Health Coaching success story in your organization? Please share it with us so we can feature it in a future blog. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.