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Health Coach Helper: Lesson 4

Health Coach Helper: Lesson 4 | Jessie Newell | Exam Preparation Blog | 1/17/2014


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ACE Health Coach ManualThis fourth lesson addresses the physiology of obesity and weight-management concepts. Being an obesogenic society (which literally means obesity producing), the behaviors that our culture values and engage in tend to leads to obesity. Unlike so many other unhealthy behaviors that we can simply cut out of our life (i.e., smoking, drinking alcohol), with food we have to master the art of portion control and variety in the diet. In other words, we have to eat to stay alive, but we can’t eat too much AND we have to figure out how to get all the essential macro- and micro- nutrients through eating the right combination and variety of foods. For those who are obese, this becomes even more of a challenge because they have to create a caloric deficit through the combination of caloric restriction and physical activity, which is much easier said than done.

Chapter 8 focuses on the who, what, when, where and why of obesity. There is both a “nature” (genetics) and “nurture” (surrounding influence) component to why we are the way we are, and this chapter discusses the roles that each of these play in obesity. Chapter 9 discusses the concept of energy balance (calories in = calories out) and how we can manipulate that balance through diet and physical activity to create either a positive balance (weight gain) or negative balance (weight loss). It also discusses many of the different diets, pharmacological agents and other methods people use in attempt to control their weight.

This portion of the material emphasizes the importance of practicing the art of empathy and leaving any judgment behind. To many, food can represent SO much more than a snack. Maybe dinner-time was family bonding time, or perhaps they grew up in an overweight household that only ate unhealthy foods so it’s all they know. Changing the diet is a huge lifestyle adjustment, and it’s a process that takes time. Serve as your clients’ support system during this period of change, and not as another source of guilt if they happen to lapse or relapse with their diet.

Because these chapters had a lot of overlap, I’m going to include them on the same “Key Points” list:

Key Point Chapter 8 & 9:

-Overweight vs. obese: definitions
-Body Mass Index (BMI): use and limitations
-Hypertrophy vs. hyperplasia: definition
-Health consequences of obesity: risks associated with obesity (Table 8-4)
-Etiology of obesity: energy intake and active vs. passive overeating, energy expenditure and long-term vs. short-term control of energy intake, components of energy expenditure [Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), thermic effect of food and activity thermogenesis]
-Influence of genetics vs. environment
-Various diets, pharmacological agents, and other methods used to attempt to control weight: and if there are any benefits or risks associated with each

Thanks for reading my blog—I hope this information was helpful to you! The next lesson will cover chapters 4, 10 and 13 so look for that shortly. If you have any feedback on these blogs or if you have a study questions you can comment on this blog or you’re always welcome to contact our Resource Center at 800-825-3636, Ext. 796, where our Study Coaches are attending the line Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST.