I have coached clients and been in enough conversations with my own friends to know that if we actually spoke to a 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 hair-pulling, tear-inducing fight.
Those kinds of thoughts and mistaken 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 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 (or, at least my brand of 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 – Emily – completely change course.
Emily’s initial revelation (Discovery) came during a simple 5-minute visualization exercise that I led in one of my group coaching classes. When I asked participants to envision their ideal experiences of body health, the overwhelming feeling that 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 intrinsic to the woman she already was (Perspective Shift.) I challenged Emily onlyto commit (Commitment) to actions that felt FUN for her (since that’s what losing weight represented for her). If it wasn’t fun, she was not to do it. So, she started playing more with her kids and even getting in the pool with them! She tried new zesty foods and instituted a healthy homemade pizza night on Fridays (Action).
When I coached with Emily a month later, she exclaimed, “This is the easiest weight loss 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 trimming down to a more natural weight (by a difference of 100 pounds!) – Emily made all sorts of new ground in her career and relationships, as well.
So, now it’s your turn. What’s one way you can start to make peace with your body this week? Please comment below.
–Posted by Sarah Sutton, MS, CHWC, CPT