The Avenue News
Health coach uses ‘skills not pills’ to help people be healthier
PERRY HALL — One Perry Hall woman has made it her mission to help people improve their mental and physical health in perhaps an unconventional way— by being a health coach.
Dr. Jessia Biondi said she tells her clients that she is not a therapist, nutritionist or a physical therapist. Instead, she is more of a mentor and guide who helps people discover which foods and lifestyle make them feel best.
“A lot of people wait to start making health goals by New Years but there is no reason why you have to start at the new year,” Biondi said.
“As humans, even when we are not motivated, we always want to be more, I just help people reach that.”
Biondi is a certified health coach who helps people reach both their mental and physical health goals by incorporating all elements of lifestyle, exercise, attitude and nutrition (LEAN).
She started her health coaching practice, BeMore Health Coaching, and began consulting people out of her home about a year ago. She also partners with local businesses and organizations to provide their patients with the preventative health care they need.
“I felt very alone at first. It’s a big industry,” Biondi said. “Now, I hold pop-up events and I’m planning a health retreat in January. My next step is to partner with doctor’s offices and hospitals.”
Prior to being a health coach, Biondi was a child life specialist for over 10 years and was a patient experience consultant. She also received her
Doctorate in education and specialized in Human Development. She said she focused primarily with engaging people in their health care.
Her research made her realize she wanted to focus more on preventative health rather than helping people once they were already sick.
“I interviewed over 100 adult patients and asked them how they were being explained things by doctors, what their learning style was and I asked the same questions to their providers,” Biondi said.
“I found out people are ok with not being really engaged with their health care and it was really surprising. People are just willing to trust [health care providers] blindly and it was really scary to me.”
Now, as a health coach, Biondi said she provides people with ‘skills, not pills’ to help them reach their health goals.
“I don’t have a magic pill to get rid of your stress, what I can offer you are a bunch of skills that I call stress busters. I always tell my clients, you can control your health, don’t let your health control you.”
Biondi said she lets her clients decide how long they want to see her and that she tries to keep her costs low as possible.
“Insurance companies aren’t paying for preventative health medicine like this. So people that really need this who are in the lower or middle class can’t afford stuff like this,” Biondi said.
“What’s important to me is accessibility and affordability. My pricing is $60 for one week and this is after a half-hour, free exploratory session. I want to hear what you need and I want to make sure you can hear what I can give you and that we both feel like we can move forward because if not then it’s not worth it.”
Biondi is just one of many health coaches in a growing field that is part of the new era of health care reform.
“Health coaching has emerged as a $6 billion service market, with a strong growth outlook,” John LaRosa, business analyst and President of Marketdata LLC, wrote in a market research blog for Marketdata.
“There are an estimated 109,000 health coaches and health educators that advise and motivate clients to change bad lifestyle habits and to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.”
Larose went on to say that eighty-six percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.
These chronic health conditions are affecting people in Maryland as well. According to the Center for Disease Control, the three leading causes of death in the state of Maryland in 2017 were heart disease, cancer and stroke.
Biondi said all of these diseases can be prevented if people make certain lifestyle changes. Many of her clients, Biondi said, have made those changes.
“Everybody wants a quick fix but really it takes small changes over time. My clients don’t even realize sometimes the changes they have made. A person who is addicted to fast food eventually doesn’t even want that food anymore,” Biondi said.
Joanna, one of Biondi’s clients, has been able to benefit from her coaching and has made changes in her life for the better.
“I really struggle with my relationship with food and I have a history of trauma that has really impacted my quality of life,” Joanna wrote on Biondi’s website.
“Working with Jessie has improved the quality of my sleep, my self esteem, my relationship with myself and so much more.”
There are many supplements, diets, self-help books and other tools in the marketplace that aim to help people with their mental and physical health. The amount of these different paths to take to achieve health goals may be overwhelming and discourage people from even trying to obtain those goals at all.
Biondi said she realizes that people can become overwhelmed. She said it’s her job to help people come up with the best practices that fit them so that they can not only achieve their goals while working with her but continue the healthy habits they have learned once they leave her.
“Nothing makes me happier when a person leaves me and I find out they are still doing the things we worked on,” Biondi said.
“This one women just texted me the other day and said she was down another 8 pounds and that she is sleeping better and feeling better. I love hearing that.”
People who are interested in seeking guidance from Biondi can visit her website at www.bemorehealthcoach.com and can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.