The value of a certified personal trainer or weight loss coach can be understood more by knowing how they can help you achieve your goals. A fitness coach can help you become more fit through some or multiple forms of exercises, sports, or activities, a gym coach can help you perform exercises and movements correctly at the gym.
But more than that, the added value that personal coaching gives is the scheduling, the rigor of sticking to a plan and being accountable for it. For some, it may be easy to stick to a plan and then execute it. But things are not so easy with others, many do not have the knowledge that is required or relevant to lose weight safely and keep them off at different age ranges, medical conditions, medical history, personal circumstances, and socioeconomic backgrounds. These things that we take as a given may be relevant in order for us to lose weight safely and effectively.
A Weight Loss Coach Can Help
The truth is losing weight is simply a matter of burning more calories than you are putting in your body. But we all understand that it is not that simple. The fitness industry in the US alone is worth over 33.21 billion U.S. dollars as of 2021. Despite having more and more obese people every year, we are obsessed with looking beautiful, staying healthy, and having the appearance of fitness. (1) Here’s another truth: the weight loss equation may be a simple thing to understand, but it is not an easy thing to do.
There are two ways that a weight loss coach can help anyone of varying levels of fitness lose weight. They can help you with their knowledge, and they can help you with your commitment. First, with their knowledge, they can help formulate a specific weight loss program or diet that will help you shed the pounds safely at a healthy rate, with one where you can avoid long-term issues. Though even with that knowledge, many people would still fall off the wagon, so to speak. The other way that a coach can help you is by making sure that you stick to the plan. Call it what you want, focus, discipline, commitment, stick to it-ness. Whatever it is, no matter how good your weight loss regimen is, however good the diet and exercise plan, it means nothing if you do not have the follow-through. Coaches help with that follow-through.
And perhaps thirdly, they can help you achieve permanent weight loss. The truth is, a lot of people regain the weight they lose and relapse after a period of time when their diet ends. (2)
That’s a lot of pressure. It’s so much easier to just drink beer and watch TV, isn’t it?
Most people would fall off if there wasn’t somebody there to help them achieve their goals. It’s effective in the same way that AA’s buddy sponsorship or buddy systems work, we all need someone that will help us be more honest with ourselves, someone who keeps us focused on our goals. Having coach things help us lose weight effectively and successfully. Actual weight loss was found to increase with the development of a plan and with ego strength, factors that were assumed to increase control over goal attainment. (3)
1. Look at Your Weight Loss Needs Objectively
A weight loss coach will see your health from an outside perspective, keeping you from getting distracted and reminding you why you wanted to lose weight in the first place.
Not everyone is in a position where they can devote a lot of time and money to reaching their goal weight. People have biases as well which keeps them from being able to objectively criticize their habits, food choices, or routines. It is easy to get overwhelmed not just with finding a workable weight loss program but also with managing everything else in life and your weight loss journey. A good weight loss coach will help you avoid distractions and objectively determine the things that need to be done and what needs to be included or excluded. (4)
Having a goal alone leads to a greater weight loss compared to not having a goal, and having realistic and attainable goals set in a timeframe helps even more. (5) Goal-setting strategies are essential especially when pursuing dietary change. (6) An objective, unbiased look is needed in order to set the right goals.
2. Design the Best Weight Loss Plan for You
They say failure to plan is planning to fail. Having a plan, a program and a set goal are very useful and some would say essential when it comes to losing weight. A coach will develop a weight loss program to suit your specific needs, finding the right balance of proper nutrition and exercise to fit your metabolism—and your lifestyle. There are a lot of things to consider and having an expert put things into perspective and then set standards that are not only in agreement with the general goal of “weight loss” but are responsive both to safely losing weight and keeping it off in the long term is a great help.
There’s nothing worse than a diet of foods you dislike, or a workout you resent. A weight loss coach will make sure your diet is manageable, your fitness, improving, and your weight loss journey, is not a miserable slog through hell. A plan helps to actually achieve goals, especially in weight loss management. (7)
Another study that compared the use of weight loss tracking through the use of personal activity trackers vs a control group found that those using personal weight loss trackers to stick to a goal lost more weight than those who did not and recommended their use to personal trainers whose goal is to achieve the same. (8)
Just having a plan is better than not having one. Even having access to the website which provides resources, unlimited access to social support, including online meetings that were moderated by a professional, online bulletin board support groups, and a 24-hour a-day help desk staffed by customer service representatives was proved to have been more effective than just having a simple weight loss manual. (9)
A weight loss plan is important. Weight loss was greater among clients who were retained in the program longer. The findings from this study suggest that a commercial weight loss program can be an effective weight-loss tool for individuals who remain active in the program.
3. Help You Stay Focused on Your Weight Loss Goal
A weight loss coach will help you stay focused on your goal, not just the big picture goal but your goal for the day or week, or month. Managing to chop down your goal into attainable tasks on a smaller basis allows people to succeed more often. Even if you do skip a workout or backslide on your diet, a weight loss coach will get you back on track perhaps with a few minor adjustments or course corrections.
We can’t always adjust to what life gives us and having another person there with you to help you find solutions toward your goals makes it easier to stick because you are not just doing this alone. Some people may value competition, while some may value encouragement and support more.
When it comes to goal management, calorie, and weight management applications, a study confirmed that users of a calorie tracking app do indeed receive higher utility from goal achievement (relative to goal failure). (11) Having those small victories is important towards building to the big one.
Having a visible goal helps a lot. A study compared promotion focus – related to achieving aspirations and positive outcomes – and prevention focus – related to fulfilling responsibilities and preventing negative outcomes and found that the closer you are to your goal, the greater your focus is to reach it. (12)
So while it is a cliche to say that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” each step that you take from the beginning takes you one step closer to seeing your goal realized, each step, even those taken at the very beginning, while seemingly insignificant, is equally important to the end goal you have in mind.
A study that supports the idea that consistent check-ins, not necessarily face-to-face but even digital communications were sufficient to help improve weight loss among participants. It found that participants who were given a structured behavioral treatment program with weekly contact and individualized feedback had better weight loss compared with those only given links to educational resources. Thus, the Internet and e-mail appear to be viable methods for the delivery of structured behavioral weight loss programs.
4. Motivate You When You’re Not Motivated
Most diets and weight loss plans start to falter after just a few weeks before they fall by the wayside altogether. This happens to the best of us. The reasons are myriad, but a weight loss coach will get you off the couch and back on track even when you don’t want to.
You’re not the only one who’s experienced the inevitable lack of motivation. By being objective and focused, a weight loss coach will get you up and moving.
This study found that self-motivation and self-efficacy together were predictors of a successful weight loss. (14)
Social support, encouragement, suggestions, and feedback, even when given through the internet, these things matter. They can make a difference with adherence to the plan and they help with losing more weight. (17) Even remote or mobile support with a dedicated weight loss coach matters, some teleconference, some do it via video calls, but consistent check-ins help out a lot. (18) Adults who received support via teleconferencing or telephone managed to lose more weight than those that did not. Adults can be educated and motivated via telephone to change behaviors leading to weight loss, and a weight-loss supplement can be included to increase success. (19) Having a community around you trying to do the same thing just helps a lot for day-to-day motivation. Having a person fully supporting and helping you set goals and motivate you can be just as invaluable.
A weight loss coach can also help you focus on the process of improving rather than the sometimes abstract numbers or goals. Focusing on the process rather than on the outcome of dieting, then, might help achieve difficult health-related goals and support self-regulation but does not contribute directly to affective well-being. (20) Another found that focusing too much on the end goal may actually be harmful, so having a coach there with you to help you keep things in perspective to what can be done now to achieve your goal can be invaluable. (21)
5. Keep You Honest and Hold You Accountable
Accountability is a word we like to use a lot in the workplace, we use it and a lot of us believe that if no one is accountable, then it won’t get done.
In the same way with weight loss, It is difficult to keep yourself accountable especially when you are the one making deviations to your plan. It is easy to justify things to yourself, it is easy to let yourself off or give yourself a pass saying that “you’ve earned it.” And before we know it, we have retreated and devolved to our old habits, often abandoning the original weight loss plan altogether. Even family members and friends who have a stake in maintaining a personal relationship with you may not be able to keep you fully accountable.
A weight loss coach fixes this issue, holds you accountable and responsible and with that kind of assistance, you’ll reach your fitness and weight loss goals far more quickly and effectively.
Personal accountability can help but it can only do so much, and not everybody has the same level of rigor to hold themselves accountable. (22)
A study showed that having teammates or people who root for you to keep you honest and accountable helps in weight loss. (23)
Now I am not saying that the only way a person can lose weight is with the help of weight loss coaches. We certainly can and it is undoubtedly that with the right mindset and discipline, anyone can achieve their weight loss goals. But that right mindset and discipline isn’t something that everyone has. For many of us, someone has to help remind us to behave differently, not just with our food choices or diet options but with how much physical activity we choose to do every day. For most of us, the discipline and right mindset were lacking, which might have led to us being overweight in the first place.
However, what I can speak from experience is that having another person to help you through your own personalized weight loss journey is a different experience altogether. It doesn’t feel like a slog or a monumental or impossible task. Weight loss becomes something that is routine and part of your life, indivisible from the other parts of my life, which made it easier to stick to the weight loss plan and after achieving my goal weight, maintain it for a long time without backsliding to another bout with the weighing scale.
It certainly isn’t for everybody, for some the cost of weight loss coaching may be too high, and for others, it may have to do more with the stigma, but as far as the doubts about its helpfulness and efficacy, I hope this article sheds light on that. You may not always have to spend a lot of money in order to lose weight, but if you do, it sure does make it a lot easier.
Ultimately, the question of whether or not you need a weight loss coach is up to you.