I’ll Give You Three Reasons …
A few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing my marketing approach. I was complaining about how other programs, specifically calorie restricting, meal supplementing, and macro counting diets seem to be getting more attention than mine. I know, I was wallowing in some major entrepreneurial self-pity and comparing my success to the success of strangers on the internet. My friend suggested that I start promoting the weight loss component of my programs, “Why don’t you stress how women lose weight on the cleanse? Tell them that they can lose a few pounds before bikini season or something like that?”
“No,” I said. Well, I might have said mmm hmm ok maybe while the idea churned my stomach. I felt defeated after we hung up, not at all because of my friend, but because maybe she was right … That the only way to really “achieve success” was by feeding off of women’s insecurities and buying into this idea of a ‘bikini body’. She wasn’t the first to suggest selling weight loss. I’ve been told many times that women want to hear only one thing during a sit-down with a health coach: I can make you thin.
I know that good-hearted women are out there hustling “Slim Down For Summer” and “Get Your Bikini Body” weight loss programs with the very best of intentions. Some of those women are my friends. I am not criticizing them at all. I am just doing something different.
Why? I’ll give you three reasons:
1. Weight-Loss Marketing Is Often Shame-Based and That’s Some Lame BS
At a time when some feel women’s confidence is at an all-time low and many feel their appearances being judged daily, it would be easy to profit on those insecurities and offer women “a solution” to what they see as flaws. But. I am not the kind of coach who is about that finger-wagging, body-shaming, or fear-based motivation. I also think your body is perfectly fine, sweetheart. Let me say this again: I think your body is perfectly fine. I am concerned about your energy levels, your gut health, your hormones, those achy joints. and your sugar dependency. I am concerned about your health and well-being.
2. I Ditched The Diet Thing A Long Time Ago
Research shows that dieting can fuel disordered eating, but I can just go ahead and speak from personal experience. I don’t believe in diets or labels anymore. I believe in a balanced lifestyle and finding what works best for my body. I want you to find what works best for you. Also, I don’t weigh myself anymore and I certainly don’t weigh my food. I was once a slave to the scale and portion control and calorie counting. Yes, I lost major weight, but I gained serious stress, self-loathing, and a general feeling of unfullfillment. So, I’m not going to preach something that I don’t practice. I lay the foundation for health here, so that if you choose to weigh your food and count calories later on, then you’ll at least know which ingredients are best for your body and understand that no two calories are created equal.
3. Because Skinny Doesn’t Mean Healthy
A great deal of evidence (here and here to name a couple) points to the conclusion that healthy habits make healthy bodies in a variety of sizes. Once upon a time, I wore a size zero and weighed 30 pounds less than I do now. My diet consisted of mostly non-fat foods, artificial sweeteners, tons of processed crap, diet sodas, and booze. Organic, grass-fed, and nutrient-dense were completely foreign terms. I was a cardio-crazed hangry young woman who practiced zero self-care. Guess what? I landed my skinny ass in the hospital. My hair was thinning, my skin lost its shine, and I was just generally unwell. My hormones were out of whack, my gut was a hot mess, and I was constantly fatigued. Fast forward a whole bunch of pounds, two sizes, and several years later. I am at my healthiest with plenty of muscle mass, wearing a size 4, eating a balanced diet, and taking time for myself. I sleep well, I know which foods support my body, which foods make me feel less than fabulous, and I developed a major self-care regimen that keeps my stress levels in check.
Look, I definitely exercise and you aren’t going to catch me face-first in a pint of ice cream every night. Maintaining a healthy weight is part of a healthy lifestyle. And the truth is that you do lose weight on my programs. You lose it naturally. I just don’t market my services as “weight loss” programs because that single result becomes the focus. When the number on the scale dictates how good you’re going to feel about yourself, then you may not notice how that yogurt is affecting your skin or those sugary treats mess up your energy levels or how the whole wheat pasta has your joints feeling all kinds of achey. You may not notice how people pleasing and limited sleep is wearing you out. You are’t mindful, you’re driven by weight. Again.
Even though my bank account could use some of the $60 billion that Americans pump into the diet and weight loss industry every year, I’m going to pass. Instead, I’m going to believe in the kick-ass women out there who are smarter than marketing and want more than thinner thighs and a flatter stomach (by the way, it’s ok to want these things, but what else do you want?!) I am going to respect these women by sharing this truth about myself: I don’t really want to make you thin, I want to help you form a healthy relationship with food and yourself.
I want you to listen to your body.
I want you to cook and eat intentionally.
I want you to stop avoiding restaurants that can’t accommodate your diet.
I want you to have ZERO anxiety at parties, on dates, in the grocery store.
I want you to indulge with absolutely no shame. Eat a slice of birthday cake and enjoy it.
I want you to start celebrating your body rather than punishing it.
I want you to stop food shaming. This means not attributing values to foods such as “good” or “bad”. Banana bread is not evil.
I want you to fall in love with yourself.
I want you to stop giving up entire food groups unless those foods harm your body.
I want you to feel free and empowered around food.
And this is the truth, ladies. I believe the marketing is wrong. I believe in you.