By Sarah Sutton, MS, CPT, NBC-HWC, National-board certified health and wellness coach and faith-based transformation coach
As a weight loss coach I have coached clients and been in enough body satisfaction (or, rather, dissatisfaction) conversations with my own female friends to know that if we women actually spoke to passerby on the street in the same constantly disparaging ways we talk internally to ourselves (particularly about our bodies), we’d end up in some serious hand-smacking, hair-pulling, tear-inducing fights.
Those kinds of body image thoughts and mis-beliefs are simply not in line with the gift you are in this world. But, since you’ve likely carried this subconscious attitude for a good long time now, what do you do about it, and how can weight loss coaching help?
I describe coaching as four overlapping and ongoing phases:
- Discovery—uncovering your blind spots or judgments about life that are unknowingly causing you to get in your own way
- Perspective Shift—choosing a new way of looking at your particular challenges that opens up possibilities for action
- Commitment, and
When you apply coaching (at least my brand of health coaching) to the weighty body image conversation, all sorts of transformative shifts happen. I’ll give you an example of a pivotal a-ha moment that helped a client of mine named Emily completely change course. And then I’ll invite you to try a mini- coaching practice to help you start to let go of your own warring mindset.
Emily’s initial revelation (Discovery) came during a simple 5-minute visualization exercise I led in one of my group coaching classes. When I asked participants to envision their ideal experiences of body health, the overwhelming feeling Emily got was that she was having FUN. Now, if you know Emily, she is fun. She’s funny and always upbeat. But when it came to her wellness, she was seeing that piece of her life through the lens of what the industry tells people they “should be” doing—going to the gym 5 days a week and swearing off desserts. Ugh, so not fun!
Emily decided to suspend this previous belief and choose a way of being that was more integral to the woman she already was (Perspective Shift.) I challenged Emily only to commit (Commitment) to actions that felt fun for her. If it wasn’t fun, she was not to do it. So, she started playing more with her kids and getting in the pool with them (gasp!), tried new zesty foods, and instituted a healthy homemade pizza night on Fridays (Action.)
When Emily called me a month later, she exclaimed, “This is the easiest weight program I’ve ever done.” And the cool thing is that when she started relating to her body in a new way, in addition to tracking down to a more natural weight, Emily made all sorts of new ground in her career and relationships, as well.
Next post: A coaching exercise to help YOU make peace with your body