Do I Need a Diabetes Life Coach?

If managing your type 2 diabetes is starting to feel like a full-time job, a life coach could be for you. He can work with you to make lifestyle tweaks that can help bring your condition under control.

The Difference Between a Diabetes Educator and a Life Coach

You may have heard your doctor talk about a diabetes educator. That's a little different than a life coach. An educator will teach you about the basics of diabetes and how it will affect your life. He also helps you manage your medications, teaches you how to inject insulin if you need it, and shows you how to use a blood sugar meter.

Your life coach takes a different approach. He mentors you to help keep up with all the changes you need to make in your daily life.

For instance, he works with you to help you stay on track with your diet plan. He'll help you make the right food choices. And if you're trying to lose weight, your life coach can help you follow your doctor's advice on the heathiest way to drop pounds.

He'll also work with you in other important lifestyle areas, such as fitness. Exercise is one way to help you manage your blood sugar levels. Your life coach can help you stick to a workout routine.

A life coach can help you put into action a plan to get better sleep. And he can also show you some relaxation techniques that lower your stress.

With encouragement and insight from your life coach, you'll learn how to take care of yourself through awareness and actionable changes.

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When Should I See a Diabetes Life Coach?

Even if you're managing your diabetes like a champ, things can come up that make it worthwhile to get an extra boost. Some key times that you may want to see a diabetes life coach are:

After you've been diagnosed. Once you've got an improvement plan in place from your doctor or diabetes educator, a life coach can give you the support you need to put words into action and make changes to the way you live your life.

After your yearly check-in. Once your doctor gives you updates on your health, your life coach can help you take charge of any changes you've made in your diabetes management plan.

When life throws you a curve. Get support from your life coach when new health, financial, or emotional issues knock you off track.

How to Find a Life Coach

One key difference between a life coach and a diabetes educator is training and certification. Diabetes educators have to take classes and pass an exam by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.

There aren't any national guidelines or standards for life coaches. Talk to your doctor for advice about how to find one. When you hire a coach, ask about his background and experience, and ask for and check his references.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on June 22, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms and causes," "Type 2 Diabetes: Treatment," "Type 2 diabetes: Self-management," "Blood glucose meter: How to choose."

Mayo Clinic Health System: "Diabetes Education."

American Association of Diabetes Educators: "How a Diabetes Educator Can Help You."

Diabetes Council: "Everything You Need to Know About Certified Diabetes Educators."

CDC: "2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report."

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