This blog has been written to mark the launch of my new Weightloss coaching package.
In the last few years I have done a lot of thinking about women losing weight.
Or wanting to lose weight and not succeeding.
Or not wanting to lose weight and accepting where we are.
And how I can coach clients through this area.
There is a lot to think about.
Before and when I began health coaching I was all about weight loss, having lost and maintained that loss for many years (without using conventional diets). I thought if I could do weight loss, for so long, then I could share what I knew and help others. Then, for many reasons, my mind and body started to change, in some ways you could say rebel. In a blog last July I wrote about this. My journey since then continues in body acceptance, balance and real health, and how these bring me PEACE. I also learn so much from my clients, every client brings me a new experience.
I thought I might share some things I have learnt on weight loss from me and my clients : –
- Losing weight is rarely the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It does not, by itself, bring happiness.
- This is partly because when you lose the weight you so desired, you can worry the whole time about putting it back on again. There is little relief or relaxation from this. It is a false life, particularly for serial dieters.
- Losing weight may bring some health benefits, particularly if this was a motivator for losing weight in the 1st place. It can help women feel better about their bodies, boost their confidence, bring energy and more mobility. BUT ….
- Life does not have to be on hold until the scales show the magic number (and weight does not dictate body size – think about the role of muscle). It is a shame and a waste to let life pass by whilst dreaming of being smaller before you can start ‘x’ or do ‘y’.
- Being very healthy, or ‘healthism’ can just be dieting under another name. Because it involves restricting foods, e.g. cutting out many foods for no sound reason, trying some weird and wacky things. This is a delicate balance, a bit like with exercise – eating well and exercising are good for us but they can easily be taken too far.
- I love Christy Harrison‘s description of dieting as ‘the life thief‘. Trying to lose weight, or maintain weight loss can dominate, distract, reduce lives. You can live a shadow of a former life when eating patterns and food obsession take over, whether or not the weight comes off. And when attempts at weight loss don’t work this can be devastating.
- Our bodies have a set point weight which is higher than we might want them to be. And unfortunately over time, set weights go up but rarely go down (for long). Our bodies fight to get back to the weight they are comfortable at. Quirky little video on this here
- You will know when your body is in the right place, as everything kind of slots into place. You can feel good, even it not at your smallest, if you abandon the fight. It is peaceful.
- Having a flexible mindset on food and eating (and actually everything) can be a great asset and something to be strived for.
I have had to ask myself recently, many times, given what I have learnt from my body and for clients, can I work with clients on weight loss?
And when it comes to formal learning, it can be just as confusing. I have qualifications in Weight Loss, yet also trained in Weight Inclusivity and Body Acceptance. I support the principles of original HAES, and Intuitive Eating. Statistics show that being underweight is not healthy, despite what images the media expects us to aim for. As an Eating Disorder Practitioner I know for approximately 35% of serial dieters, their weight loss efforts will result in an Eating Disorder.
So weight loss is a very tricky area to work in. How to coach women to lose weight – without dieting – without triggering disordered eating – whilst learning to accept and respect their bodies – it is a tightrope.
Most of the clients I have had have looked to reduce their size, and were / are unhappy with their bodies in some way. This is not a surprise, given that studies show that at least 3/4 of women under the age of 45 are unhappy with their bodies. And this doesn’t go away with age – another study showed for almost 80% of women over 50 weight played a moderate to dominant part of their body image. This is our normal.
In our Western world, for many women, success = being slim (and even better if fit and toned too). Yet confusingly diets don’t work for 95% – 97% in the long run. The diet industry is still booming – why, and how? And how come some women lose weight so easily, or maintain slimness, yet eat twice as much as a ‘failed’ dieter? How can intelligent, educated women at the top of their career with almost everything under control, crumble, at the wrong number on the scales?
So many questions …..
To repeat, can I work with clients on weight loss?
So, after much pondering, soul searching and training, my answer is YES.
I do choose to coach women to lose weight. I want women to be at PEACE and in good health with their bodies and live the best way they can, no matter what their size. For many women this means aiming to be smaller. WHY this is the aim is a good place to start with clients. Ever thought really thought about that – WHY do most women want to be smaller??? Anyway, that is for a different blog.
So, my approach to weight and size is: –
- anti-diet and anti-rules, an emphasis on including gentle nutrition
- boosting self-esteem, self-compassion and body respect
- focusing on gaining health and whole life wellbeing, rather than taking things away
- has an awareness of triggering disordered eating
- happy to coach women on weight acceptance and body positivity as well
To mark my conclusions I have launched Whole Life Weight Loss. . You can read more about that HERE.
If you have found this blog resonates with you please do get in touch, I would love to hear from you.
We are all on a journey, and that is OK wherever you are. If I can help you with your journey, I look forward to meeting you.