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9 Mind-Blowing Lessons I Learned When I Hired a Health Coach

Sometimes you come to a pivotal point in your life where you need to turn to someone else besides Dr. Google to reach fitness and weight loss goals. For me, hiring a health coach was just what I needed to get myself back on the right path.

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 I was eating poorly

Well, technically I was eating healthy, but I wasn’t eating for weight loss. I hired a health coach, Alex Salzberg, a certified yoga instructor who specializes in both fitness and nutrition: A year after having a baby, I knew my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I still had one size left to lose and I was determined to fit back into all the clothes hanging in my closet.

We took a look at my diet together and saw that I was focusing on high protein, low carb, but a lot of my carbs were still coming from grains that weren’t helping me shed fat. So instead, we decided to switch things up by introducing a ketogenic diet (high fat, low carb, moderate protein) that would help my body burn fat.

I ended up loving the diet so much—I dropped a size during the first 2 weeks—that I’ll probably stick with it in the long run, and shift to a maintenance version once I’ve reached my goal weight.

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My long runs weren’t doing me any good

Though I love to run, it actually took a long time after my second child was born for me to get back out. Once I did, I didn’t want to stop. Alex explained that while running is great for overall health (especially the heart, the brain, and endurance), nothing really compares to the fat-burning power of interval workouts (known as HIIT—high intensity interval training). “HIIT is much more effective for burning stored fat,” Alex says. “When you’re busy, the fact that these intervals take a shorter amount of time is just the cherry on top.”

One reason HIIT is so effective is that it increases your metabolism and allow you to burn calories even after your workout, she says. “For a busy mother of two who is already active and exercising, there is no question that HIIT is the best for your goals.” Here are some other calorie-burning alternatives to running.

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I had to tune out the noise

When you’re trying to lose weight or focus on your health in any capacity, everyone around you always seems to have an opinion. For me, it was my husband. He’s in the military and feels that the only weight-loss plan is what he learned in service—and that it will work for everyone—including his postpartum wife. Being armed with Alex’s information, I had the mental strength to just focus on the best plan for me to reach my goals. Need help staying on track? Check out these mantras for making your goals a reality.

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It was time to be accountable

When I was dieting on my own, no one besides me knew if I snuck in that chocolate chip cookie before bed. I wasn’t being accountable and letting myself get away with more than I should. (Maybe your social media circle can help keep you honest.)

When I hired Alex, I knew we would be meeting once a week, and that I’d be logging my daily meals and fitness routines to share with her. And she would be telling me where I needed to improve to hit my goals. I almost felt like a kid bringing homework to school: I didn’t want to be scolded and I most definitely wanted a gold star—and that made me stick to the plan.

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Long-term goals had to be my focus

I came to Alex with one short-term goal: To drop one pant size. But from the beginning, she was insistent upon making this a long-term process, and it really shifted the way that I thought tremendously. When I sent over my first few days of food logs, she instantly pointed out that I was eating about 30 percent fewer calories. To make the change sustainable, I needed to eat more, Alex said, and she encouraged me to only limit calories by 20 percent so that I would lose gradually and would find it easier to maintain the loss.

She reminded me that, “it’s always important to focus on your motivation and your long term goals. By focusing on emotional reasons like feeling more confident, you give yourself a more powerful and tangible target.”

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I could still eat pizza

This was the biggest surprise for me. Obviously in the beginning stages of the keto diet, this is a “no no,” but I had explained to her how sometimes my husband just wants pizza for dinner and I roll with the punches. She really wanted this diet to be sustainable for me in the long run, so she taught me how and when to add it into my diet and assured me not to stress about it. There are also some seriously healthy pizza crust alternatives.

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 Act, don’t react

Logging everything I ate every day was tedious, but it helped me think about what’s actually in the food I’m ingesting and how to balance it throughout your day. I got into the habit of waking up in the morning and immediately opening my Lose It app and planning out my day instead of just logging everything that I ate after the fact. This helped me to stay on track but also work things like wine or a special treat into my day—especially if I knew I would be out with friends that evening.

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I started a dialogue with my body

OK, this one sounds a little bit silly. But talking to my body every day served as daily mantras to help get my weight down. When I first met with Alex, she encouraged me to start talking to my body throughout the day and, as weird as it sounded, it stuck and became a part of my routine.

She shared, “Thoughts carry energy that affect how we feel. If you think about how you can’t lose weight and that you’re unhealthy, you send a negative signal to the body. On the other hand, if you reinforce our healthy behaviors by thinking about how we are getting stronger, feeling better, and losing weight this gives our body an extra positive push in the right direction.” Struggle with negativity? Build a positive attitude in six easy steps.

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I couldn’t have done it without Alex

I have always been able to resist “bad” foods when I was watching my weight, and I would work out at least four times a week. I never thought that I needed someone to guide me when it came to my health. I was wrong.

I couldn’t do it on my own. I had been trying to lose the baby weight for almost a full year and while I dropped a lot of it, the last push required more dedication and support than I was able to give myself. I needed advice, direction, and to have someone on my side who knew the best path for me.

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