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Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 Nov;3(6):42-8. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2014.059.

Innovation in diabetes care: improving consumption of healthy food through a "chef coaching" program: a case report.

Author information

1
Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Polak), United States.
2
Working Together for Health, Belmont, Massachusetts (Ms Dill), United States.
3
Center For Integrative Health and Wellness, Joslin Diabetes Center (Dr Abrahamson), United States.
4
Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Pojednic), United States.
5
Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Phillips), United States.

Abstract

in English, Chinese, Spanish

Nutrition therapy as part of lifestyle care is recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. However, most people with diabetes do not follow this guideline. Changing eating habits involves obtaining knowledge and building practical skills such as shopping, meal preparation, and food storage. Just as fitness coaches use their specific knowledge base in fitness to enhance the effectiveness of their coaching, credentialed chefs trained as health coaches might combine their culinary expertise with coaching in order to improve clients' food choices and lifestyles. This report documents the case of a 55-year-old white male physician, single and living alone, who was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and reported chronic stress, sedentary behavior, and unhealthy eating habits. He participated in a chef coaching program of 8 weekly one-on-one 30-minute coaching sessions via Skype delivered by a chef trained as a health coach. During the first five meetings, the patient's goals were primarily culinary; however, with his success in accomplishing these goals, the patient progressed and expanded his goals to include other lifestyle domains, specifically exercise and work-life balance. At the end of the program, the patient had improved both his nutritional and exercise habits, his confidence in further self-care improvement, and his health parameters such as HgA1c (8.8% to 6.7%; normal <6.5%). We conclude that chef coaching has the potential to help people with diabetes improve their practical culinary skills and implement them so that they eat better and, further, has the potential to help them improve their overall self-care. We intend to further develop chef coaching and assess its potential as we learn from its implementation.

KEYWORDS:

Coaching; cooking; diabetes; lifestyle; self-care

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