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Alternatives to a Personal Weight Loss Coach

<p>Alternatives to a Personal Weight Loss Coach</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 7 min read

For those who need to lose a significant amount of weight to reach a healthy BMI, the approach that will be most effective varies widely from one person to the next. While some relish the idea of having a personal weight loss coach on their side, others cringe at the thought. Whether a person prefers to lose weight privately, cannot afford a personal coach, or simply wants to find other solutions, other options are available and can be immensely practical. 

What is a Personal Weight Loss Coach? 

Before seeking alternatives to a weight loss coach, it is important to understand exactly what the role entails. Many people make the mistake of using the terms personal trainer and weight loss coach interchangeably. While they exist in the same arena, the duties of these professions are actually quite different. A personal trainer focuses solely on the physical fitness of their clients. Of course, many of these clients have the end goal of weight loss, but the trainer is more concerned with improving their physical capabilities than seeing the number on the scale go down. 

A weight loss coach, on the other hand, strives to help their clients lose weight in all aspects. They will work with clients to teach them about nutrition, create a diet plan, determine the best fitness regimes and overcome psychological hurdles. In many scenarios, people who hire personal weight loss coaches have underlying issues that contribute to their obesity. For example, they may have binge eating disorders, may eat out of boredom, or may have serious health issues that are linked to obesity.

Unlike other addictions where addicts can avoid situations where their drug of choice is present while in recovery, this is not an option for those who have food addictions or otherwise unhealthy eating habits. Food is a necessity and it is everywhere. This makes tackling these problems especially difficult. A personal weight loss coach aims to act as a support person to help their client get to the bottom of their food and eating difficulties and to implement healthy lifestyle changes.

What Qualifications Do Personal Weight Loss Coaches Have?

Unlike other careers, those who act as weight loss coaches do not have one specific path that must be taken. In some cases, they may have lost a significant amount of weight themselves and feel inspired to help others do the same. Others have worked in related fields, like healthcare, nutrition, or even as personal trainers. Because of this, there is a wide variety of certifications and qualifications that weight loss coaches may possess. If you are considering hiring one, be sure to ask about their certifications, experiences, and educational background. 

Cost of Hiring a Personal Weight Loss Coach

The cost of a personal weight loss coach varies greatly from one coach to the next. Coaches who are well-established in the industry or have large social media followings are likely to have higher rates than those who are just branching off into weight loss coaching. By the same token, their qualifications, education, and prior work experiences will play a large role in pricing. You can expect a coach to charge anywhere between $200-$500 per month for their services. 

Factors like the frequency of meetings and the full scope of services included will also influence this cost. In some instances, your health insurance may pay all or a portion of these fees if you are working with a fully licensed nutritionist or counselor who also happens to be certified as a weight loss coach. If cost is a big concern, reach out to your insurance company to see which services may be covered when choosing a weight loss coach or an alternative.

Which Options Are the Best Alternatives to a Personal Weight Loss Coach?

There are a number of reasons why a person may be in search of an alternative to a personal weight loss coach. Whether it is financially motivated or a matter of personal preference, those who want to lose weight do not have to go it alone. Explore some of the best alternatives to weight loss coaches:

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are booming with members who are certified coaches, influencers, nutritionist and fitness fanatics alike. Many of these individuals provide free information for their followers. These posts can contain valuable information without the hefty price tags. While all of this is valuable for those trying to lose weight, the biggest benefit of turning to social media platforms is the huge network of support. According to studies, approximately 56.2% of the world’s population (of more than 7.87 billion people) use social media. Of these individuals, a plethora of them are also seeking support through their weight loss journey. 

This allows people to forge genuine, mutually supportive relationships through social media platforms. Because there are so many active individuals on these platforms, those who lean on them as a tool have a wider range of options than if they were limited to one coach’s methods.  Whether it comes to low calorie meal ideas, exercises or motivation, this approach can be just as helpful as working with a personal weight loss coach.

Meal Plans

One of the biggest difficulties when it comes down to losing weight is changing your eating habits. Many of those who are overweight struggle with things like portion control or turn to fast food options because of a hectic schedule. Meal plans aim to tackle both of these dilemmas. They are pre-portioned meals that require only a few minutes to heat up or prepare. Essentially, they take the work out of following a weight loss diet.

Those who opt to sign up for meal plans have a myriad of options. You can opt for keto, vegan, low-calorie, low-carb, vegetarian and everything in between when choosing your meal plan. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can purchase several meals for each day or you can focus your efforts on whichever meal is most difficult for you to prepare. Many who use meal plan services eat low-calorie breakfast and lunch options, like fruits, eggs or salads on their own and institute the prepared meals at dinner time. This often eliminates the temptation of indulging in fast food after a long day of work and can help with learning proper portion sizes.

Weight Loss Apps

A quick search on your iOS or Android’s app store reveals hundreds of options for weight loss apps. While all of them have slightly different features, the biggest similarity is that they aim to help you track your calories and your exercise. Many of them offer free versions with limited features, or full versions that offer more personalized support. In either case, the cost of using an app versus a human weight loss coach is significantly more affordable and effective. According to data collected from 39 different sources, those who use these apps or some other form of tech, lose weight approximately 74% of the time

Before committing to a weight loss app, explore the options that are available. As with all weight loss plans, the same approach simply doesn’t work for everyone. Consider your personal weight loss struggles and opt for one that focuses on that particular issue. Whether that is providing support to deter late night cravings, teaching you portion size or motivating you to exercise, the app acts as a coach that you have access to 24/7 for a small fraction of the cost of a weight loss coach.

Friends and Family Support Systems

Nearly 37% of all American adults are considered overweight and another 26.5% are classified as clinically obese. This amounts to a huge number of people that are also struggling with weight loss. Whether friends, co-workers or family members, it is important to remember that you are not alone on this journey. Despite this, many feel a sense of shame and keep their efforts to lose weight private. Doing this not only increases feelings of shame, but it prevents you from gaining a huge support group.

Because there are likely many others in your direct social group that are also attempting to lose weight, it is most helpful to be honest about your struggles. This can help you to stay accountable for your actions throughout the day. Likewise, people who diet or exercise together can act as a free weight loss coach for one another. From exchanging low calorie recipes to taking evening walks together for exercise, involving friends and family members allows you to build your own custom support group. By the same token, you are able to provide the same level of support to your loved ones as they aim to lead healthier, happier lives.

Gym Memberships

Investing in a gym membership alone won’t replace a weight loss coach; however, it can help you to stay motivated. Because you are shelling out money to have access to the equipment, you are more likely to want to get your money's worth each week. Likewise, the entire environment of the gym revolves around forming healthier habits. If you prefer working out in a group setting, many gyms also offer regular classes. This provides additional opportunities to connect with people in similar positions. For maximum effect, consider a gym membership paired with a weight loss app.

Weight Loss Medications

In recent years, we have seen an emergence of several weight loss medications that have been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some of the approved options include OrlistatContraveWegovy, and Alli among others. While these medications are not recommended for everyone, those who are severely overweight and have health conditions linked to obesity may be able to take them to successfully lose weight. Patients who are most frequently prescribed weight loss medications include those with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Despite this, patients must also meet other requirements before doctors will consider the medication, such as having a certain body mass index (BMI) value. 

It is important to understand; however, that these medications are not magic pills that lead to weight loss. They can make it easier for patients to lose weight by decreasing their appetites and making them feel fuller for longer. That being said, patients should continue to work on their eating and diet habits to maximize the results of the medication and to institute overall better habits into their lives for continued weight loss success and weight maintenance once a desired, healthy weight is reached. 

Before committing to a weight loss coach or any of these alternatives, be sure to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider. Those who have existing health conditions may be advised to avoid certain exercises or diets as they could negatively impact their health. 


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.