Leaving the diet culture behind

I have been chatting to a lot of people recently about exactly what they’d like from me when they sign up to get more active. Weight loss comes up time and time again. Initially that really saddened me, because I always want to help people feel comfortable in their own skin and strive to be the best version of them. I felt that this desire to lose weight showed that my clients were unhappy as they are now and were looking for yet another diet.

Then I had a really honest conversation with a friend, who I believe is typical of so many people. She wants to lose weight to be healthier. She worries about specific health issues that are related to her weight being higher than ideal. What she doesn’t want is yet another diet, yet more guilt, yet more chasing her tail. However, and this was the “aha” moment for me, she doesn’t want to “love the skin she’s in”, she doesn’t want to do the body confidence/boudoir photos thing, because actually she still won’t be healthy.

Interesting, I thought. I had been seeing the term weight loss as synonymous with dieting, when actually it needn’t be. Perhaps rather than looking at the diet options that are out there we can dig deeper into our relationship with food. I know I am absolutely an emotional eater. I know I don’t have it nailed on. I do, however, know that I am comfortable in my own skin and am fit and healthy.

Because of this, I feel I am better equipped than some in the fitness industry to help people who over eat, or eat food that doesn’t support their health – I get it. I totally understand the link between boredom and reaching for chocolate; having a crazy busy day and wanting a “reward”.  I am not a nutritionist or a dietician, and as such I would never dream of offering advice beyond my remit, but I have tried most of the diets, I have walked the walk. I have learnt what little swaps really do make a difference, so you aren’t depriving yourself or counting every last calorie. I have worked out how to have a more normal relationship with food, and how to couple that with being more active. It’s pretty cool!

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