To boost your impact choose a weight-neutral approach. As health and fitness specialists, we frequently work with clients who want to lose weight. But are we doing our customers a disservice by assisting them in accomplishing their purposeful weight loss goals?
According to research, the current weight-focused worldview does not result in slimmer or healthier bodies. Long-term purposeful weight loss is not always successful, according to research.
We should also be aware that this method can be damaging to a large number of people. It may lead to food and body obsession, disordered eating and workout behaviours, and recurrent cycles of weight loss and regain, and a weight-reduction strategy can lead to stigmatising and discriminating actions toward individuals.
Fortunately, there has been a significant amount of study conducted on adopting a weight-neutral strategy. This method may not only lessen the problems associated with a weight-focused approach to health, but it may also result in more long-term success and improved health outcomes.
What exactly is the Weight-neutral Approach?
A weight-neutral strategy entails working outside the constraints of weight loss or the pursuit of thinness as the primary aim. The objective is to learn to appreciate one’s body and to establish healthy behaviours. Weight is not utilised as an indicator of health, as it is in typical approaches to weight loss. Rather than focusing on weight, the emphasis is on behavioural adjustments that will help clients improve their health at any size and enhance their health outcomes.
Helping clients of all sizes shift their weight-loss objectives from outcome-based to behavioural change can boost motivation, pleasure, and involvement in physical exercise in the short and long term.
One widespread misunderstanding is that this technique is anti-weight loss; nevertheless, there is a distinction between weight loss and deliberate weight loss. When weight loss is not the primary aim, our customers can eliminate weight loss as the primary goal and divorce size or weight from health. They can choose a strategy that emphasises behaviour modification, health enhancement, eating for well-being, and moving more to improve life rather than weight loss as a measure of success. Adopting new habits may result in weight reduction; nevertheless, adopting healthy behaviours will have an influence on a client’s health regardless of weight consequences.
As health and fitness specialists, we believe that focusing on behaviours and habits, which the person has control over, is more empowering than attempting to control a result such as weight reduction, which is significantly impacted by both controllable and uncontrollable elements.
How Can You Assist Your Clients in Adopting a Weight-Neutral Approach?
Create programming that focuses on boosting strength, strengthening cardiovascular conditioning, and other non-weight-related objectives. Offering alternatives (progressions and regressions) for all bodies will also help make programmes more accessible, pleasurable, and sustainable for a broader range of customers.
Pay attention to your coaching and keep in mind that the words you use have an impact. When coaching clients via movement, it is critical to reinvent aesthetic objectives and work together to redefine goals to focus on life betterment at all sizes. “A few more curls and you’ll have your summer arms,” for example, could be substituted with “another curl may mean it’ll be easier to pull that bag of groceries in from the shop.”
Despite the fact that obesity is a serious health concern, little progress has been achieved in treating or preventing it. Instead, let us concentrate on behaviour modification and have a stronger effect by approaching health and fitness in a weight-neutral manner.