How to choose a health coach

It’s hard to avoid the frightening statistics about obesity, diabetes and cancer. The risks are high if you don’t take care of your body. In the past, we depended on our doctor to guide us through our health issues. Strict insurance guidelines and rising medical costs limit time with a doctor.

Photo 2 Credit Compfight

Health coaches have stepped in to bridge the gap between doctors and people who need help managing health issues and developing a healthy lifestyle. A health coach’s focus is on listening to the client and working with them to come up with a plan to change unhealthy behaviors and develop new patterns.

Within the last several years, the number of health coaches has increased throughout the country. In Charlotte, there are more than 100 health coaches.

Photo 3 Credit Merritt Tracy

Merritt Tracy is an Integrative Nutrition health coach with The Center for Healing Arts in Charlotte. Tracy works within a doctor’s office and specializes in weight loss, hormone balancing, cancer prevention and recovery.

“More and more doctors are seeing the value of working with a health coach,” said Tracy.

Health coaches specialize in a number of areas such as pre-natal and infant health, children’s nutrition or digestive health. Most health coaches offer group programs, workshops and individual sessions. Workshop topics may range from cancer-fighting foods, to disease prevention, to stress management, to healthy cooking.

Health coaching can go beyond clean eating and juicing. Niki Hitch, a health coach with Spunky Avocado, assists clients with eliminating various manifestations of excess, for a simpler, happier life and a more sustainable world.

Hitch said, “We help individuals and families develop the eco-wellness habits of conscious consumption, whether it be eating, shopping, work or technology.”

Costs for health coach services vary. Many coaches offer free workshops and less expensive group sessions. One-on-one packages are available for individuals who want full-time access and strong accountability. For example, Tracy teaches two-week group classes that start at $299. A three-month individual program is $780 and a six-month individual program is $1,500.

Tracy co-founded Health’s Angels, a network of health coaches in Charlotte. She suggests you consider these areas when choosing a health coach:

(1) Specialization

Which coach is specially trained for your particular area of concern? Most health coaches list their area of expertise. They will refer you to someone else if your needs are outside their skill-base. 

(2) Availability

Do you need a coach on weekends or evenings? Be sure the health coach will be able to accommodate your schedule and preferred method of communication.

(3) Fit

How comfortable will you feel working with this person? For best results, you have to be honest with your health coach – perhaps even admit to the chocolate bar you ate during your sugar detoxing program.

Upcoming Programs and Classes

Photo 4 Credit Spunky Avocado

Join the Less is More Movement with Spunky Avocado

June is Mindful Eating


Good Sugar, Bad Sugar with Merritt Tracy, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Tuesday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Pink House (Carolina Breast Friends), 1607 E Morehead St.

Free, no registration needed

Good Sugar, Bad Sugar with Merritt Tracy, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Sunday, August 28, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Yoga One, 1318 Central Ave D2

Cost: $20

Register here.

Photos: healthwellnessandlifestyle via Compfight ccUI Health Marketing via Compfight cc, Merritt Tracy, Spunky Avocado