I have been in the health and fitness game for a few years now. I have worked in gyms, in people’s homes, and online guiding clients through their health, fitness, and weight loss (let’s be honest, primarily weight loss) journeys. As the years go by I am continually learning and growing as a coach and every new lesson has helped me shape myself into the type of coach I want to be. Recently, my evolution has been steering me in a new direction and I have come to a pretty significant realization.
I am very uninterested in selling weight loss services.
I know that as a fitness professional, this may seem like career suicide, but trying to help clients lose specific amounts body fat from specific parts of their bodies, in a specific amount of time has never been something I’ve enjoyed, or even really believed to be worthwhile. Frankly, after years of training, learning, and living, I think weight loss is bullshit.
Sorry, let me clarify: I think the weight loss industry, and the diet culture that upholds it, is bullshit.
Now, that I have gotten my emotionally charged statement (and click-bait title) out the way, I’d like to explain why I feel this way and what I am going to do about it.
I do not think that weight loss is inherently a bad thing. People lose weight for many reasons, some good and some bad. For example if a person with diabetes begins to eat less processed food as a method of bettering their blood sugar regulation and also loses weight as a result, I do not see this as a bad thing.
My problem with weight loss is that this example is almost never how it works. People are not “accidentally” losing weight as a side effect of adopting wellness promoting behaviors. They are trying desperately to change their behaviors for the primary purpose of weight loss. I do see this as a bad thing.
The culture that the weight loss industry operates in is a diet culture. Diet culture tells us that lean physiques with minimal body fat are the beauty ideal, the health standard, and the universal goal. It tells us that the only people of value, the only people worthy of respect, happiness, love, and success are people with certain types of bodies. So, we make it a priority to manipulate our bodies into being leaner and smaller so that we can earn these privileges.
Putting weight, body size, and body composition at the center of human worth does not promote health and wellness. It promotes crash diets, food restriction, over-exercise, and obsessiveness around food, fitness, and measurements that is destructive to our physical and mental health.
In my opinion, weight loss and diet culture are so intertwined that it is nearly impossible to separate them. So, while, I do think that weight loss in and of itself is bad, in the context of the destructive nature of diet culture, it is fair to say that, yes, weight loss is, in fact, bullshit.
The weight loss industry, and by extension, the fitness, health, and wellness industries at large make money by upholding diet culture. These industries have used decades of marketing to conflate weight (fatness/leanness), health, and worth in the minds of the public. This message is incredibly internalized and entrenched in the institutions of our society. Our healthcare system strongly upholds the “weight = health” philosophy, and our media perpetuates the idea that “weight = worth” by giving more representation and value to smaller bodies. This creates a population that is easily manipulated by companies ready to capitalize on their insecurities and fears of worthlessness.
As a coach, I believe it is time to change the narrative around weight, health, and worth that health and wellness practitioners tell to the public, and radically change the types of services and products we offer to clients.
A common theme in holistic medicine is to treat the root cause of an illness instead of just addressing the symptoms. The idea is that this is the only way to truly help a patient heal. When clients come to me for fitness and nutrition guidance, they often ask for help losing weight. Diet culture has made them believe that the fatness and size of their bodies is the root cause of most of their problems from mental health struggles and physical diseases to failed relationships and generally feeling unwell.
The truth is, most of the “problems” that people are hoping weight loss will fix are not actually caused by their weight. Most of the time, I believe that it is the other way around. Excess weight and weight gain is often a side effect of a lack of self-care. Eating damaging foods, under and over exercising, getting poor sleep, working too much, playing too little, repressing emotions, and engaging in unhealthy relationships are the real, root causes that are preventing us from feeling well. Losing weight is not the way to address these issues, as it is just covering up a symptom.
Losing weight, or being at an “ideal” weight or body composition also does not magically make us confident or give us good self-esteem and positive body image. The way your body looks and the way you feel about how your body looks are completely separate from each other. But the weight loss industry and diet culture would have you believe they are one in the same. This is why there is so much demand for programs that will help you lose the “last 5 pounds.” We have been brainwashed in believing that just a little more fat loss is the only thing standing between us and a life of confidence and happiness. In reality, the only thing actually standing in our way is the belief that our bodies needs to change in order for us to have the permission to be confident and happy.
I want to give you that permission right now. Because the truth is, you are already valuable and deserving of happiness, love, respect, and success regardless of how your body looks. No one in this world is better nor is their existence more valid because of the appearance, size, composition, or even health of their body. However, it is hard to feel like we are valuable when we are constantly engaging in media and mindsets that reinforce the opposite.
As a coach, it is time for me to finally and completely separate the work I do from the diet and weight loss culture so that I can truly help people. I do not want to help you lose weight, I want to help you feel WELL.
I want to help you engage in healthy eating that feels nourishing, healing, and enjoyable.
I want to help you find a way to move your body often, in a way that you think is fun, and that empowers and energizes you.
I want to help you detach your self worth from your weight, body fat percentage, pant size, and reassign this worth to the parts of yourself that you actually value.
I want to help you be present and passionate in your life, relationships, and work.
I want to help you expand your energy, your spirit, and your self into the world instead of shrinking into obsession about your body.
I want to help you to feel happy, confident, and valuable in the world.
I want to help you live the way you actually want to, not the way that diet culture has told you that you should.
If you are struggling to engage in health promoting behaviors and participating in self-care practices without falling down the diet and weight loss rabbit hole, I just want to say that it is absolutely not your fault. The current culture that we live in makes it extremely challenging to live and think in a way that is independent of our body size. But with practice, you can unlearn diet culture and have a positive, caring relationship with your body.
If you are considering working with someone to help you cultivate healthy behaviors and mindsets around fitness, nutrition, wellness, and your body, I may be just the right coach for you. There is so much more to you, your life, and your health and wellness than the number on the scale or the calories you eat. I want to help you live a life like that.
To set up a FREE consultation with me, start by filling out the form below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.