When I started in the fitness industry I mainly focused on helping women lose weight. While strength was a big part of my coaching, weight loss was typically at the center. I now know that weight loss often isn’t the answer, is rarely sustainable long term, and usually isn’t really the goal.
You see, we’re conditioned from a very young age to think that being thinner equals healthier. Well, I’m here to tell you it does not. Weight is not a great indicator of health and in fact, being underweight is associated with more health problems than being overweight.
Oftentimes we think weight loss is what we want when what we’re really seeking is love, acceptance, or perhaps the feeling we had when we were thinner. DIeting is powerful because when we’re successful we feel powerful and in control, and when the diet backfires it can shape our perspective of who we are as a person. Our worth should never be tied up in how successful we are at making ourselves smaller.
So what do I focus on if I don’t coach weight loss? My job is to help my clients figure out what they really want, what they think weight loss will give them. Because that is the real goal. From there we work together focusing on habits that will help them achieve their goal. Focusing on habits breaks things down into small daily tasks and allows you to focus on things you do have control over. For example: eat veggies at every meal; go to bed thirty minutes earlier; do mobility work/stretches for five minutes every day; go for a walk at lunchtime. Not only does it take the focus away from the number on the scale, it puts it on something more tangible. Weight fluctuates and one “bad” weigh-in can make it feel like all that work was for nothing. But if the focus is on eating one serving of veggies at every meal, it’s easier to look at the bigger picture. Missing veggies at one meal usually doesn’t feel as significant as seeing a higher number on the scale. Also, you have far more control over whether or not you eat your vegetables than you do over the number on the scale. While weight loss may very well be a result of these changes, it’s not the goal or the focus, and therefore not a marker of success.
Are you ready to ditch your diet for good?