Why I No Longer Coach Intentional Weight Loss | #10

Sep 10, 2019

A woman in athletic clothes laying on her side on a mat doing a leg raise exercise with the words "Why I No Longer Coach Intentional Weight Loss | #10" superimposed over her

When I first started out in the fitness and wellness industry, I coached intentional weight loss because I knew it was expected of me. I preferred to help people get strong, build muscle, and feel more empowered, but I believed that weight loss and fat loss for clients who wanted it was just part of the job.

I eventually reached a point where I truly felt like coaching weight loss as a primary goal no longer aligned with my values. However, I wasn’t sure if I could build a sustainable business without it. So I went into intensive research mode to learn as much as I could about the alternate weight-inclusive paradigm.

I ultimately decided that I no longer wanted to take on intentional weight loss clients, and a lot of other things changed, too. For example, I stopped centering my own thin, privileged body in my social media. I stopped taking measurements of my clients’ bodies and asking them to take progress photos. I also brought social justice to the forefront of my work and committed to “learning in public.”

It seemed unethical to me to promise people weight loss as a solution for my clients’ problems when I knew that I couldn’t help them sustain it for the long-term, and I knew they’d have to adopt potentially unhealthy behaviors to reach their goals.

We’ve been taught that so many things in life can only be attained through weight loss, such as being healthy, being fit, being successful, being sexy, etc. But there are much more direct methods to achieve those things.

That’s because weight loss and aesthetic changes are not behaviors, they are outcomes. The key to my work is to focus on behaviors that can get people closer to their goals instead of getting hung up on an outcome like weight loss that may not be possible for many different reasons (e.g., genetics, hormones, stress, sleep, etc.).

Health At Every Size (HAES) and weight-inclusivity are all about ways that we can adopt health-promoting behaviors without worrying about our weight on the scale specifically. This is in contrast with the current popular practice of telling people in larger bodies that they should lose weight through any means necessary, even if those means are ultimately unhealthy.

Since adopting these practices in my coaching, I am much happier with the work that I do, and I see long-lasting changes in the health and well-being of my clients.

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Shohreh Davoodi, the host of the Redefining Health & Wellness podcast, is a weight-inclusive wellness coach located in Austin, Texas. She is certified in intuitive eating and personal training and helps clients improve their relationships with exercise, food, and their bodies. You can work with Shohreh online from anywhere in the world. Find her on her websiteInstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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