Size inclusive nutrition coaching. From an old school for people with bigger bodies this article guides them in the right direction from this point to achieve their goals.
Accurate nutrition counseling is vital for optimal health. This is especially true if you want to lose weight. To help you achieve lasting weight loss, you need to focus on the way you eat. However, with a focus on weight loss, comes an emphasis on eating less. Unfortunately, this can lead to a calorie restricted lifestyle.[ Blog name ] is dedicated to helping people of all sizes find the best foods for them. For most people, food is a way to connect with others and feel better about ourselves. Food is also a source of pleasure, comfort, and social interaction. In your life, are there foods you can’t eat anymore, or foods you overeat, simply because they’re what you’re used to eating? Do you feel guilty about eating something that’s “bad” for you? Could it be that your mood and your weight are connected? Do you feel that something’s missing in your life? So many of us feel like that.. Read more about best way to learn about nutrition and fitness and let us know what you think.
Everyone seemed to be looking at Lili as she completed her exercise.
They were because they were.
Because she waited longer than the rest of the class to finish the group practice, the coach made it a point to have the whole class stay and cheer her on.
“It’s very wonderful that you’re exercising,” the coach and students told Lili afterward. “Congratulations.”
Everyone was trying to be welcoming and pleasant, she understood. Lili, on the other hand, was well aware that she was being picked out because of her 300-pound size. She felt very self-conscious as a result of it.
As a result, she never returned.
A same thing happened to Ranjan. He battled with binge eating and was embarrassed when his coach told him, “It’s not that difficult to avoid fast food,” and “Unless you’re ready to run a marathon, there’s no need to ever eat a bagel.”
He dropped out of a 12-week group diet challenge after just two weeks, despite having paid in full.
Angele also abandoned her coach after months of hard work.
She’d joined up with the intention of becoming stronger and more in control of her body. Her trainer’s remark about how fit she looked was greeted with a blank expression, despite the fact that he knew weight reduction wasn’t her objective.
Angele, it turned out, was still dealing with the effects of a previous attack. Comments regarding her appearance were particularly distressing.
What are these coaching situations like? They’re all based on real-life customer experiences.
Coaches who made these errors had no idea what went wrong. Or how much grief they’d inflicted unintentionally.
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However, the fundamental cause for each is the same:
Many health and fitness experts place an excessive amount of emphasis on weight reduction and body size.
If reading that made you want to punch a hole in the screen, hear us out: We’re not saying that assisting customers in losing weight is a bad thing.
For a variety of reasons, many of your customers may desire to reduce weight.
However, there is a distinction to be made between assisting customers who want weight reduction and presuming that all clients desire to lose weight.
This is particularly essential to know if you deal with clients who have bigger bodies, since many of them may not desire to reduce weight right now or ever.
The most essential thing to remember is that how you speak about weight, body image, and fat loss may make or break the coach-client relationship, regardless of whether the client wants to lose weight or not.
It has an impact on how openly customers share information and, as a result, on their ability to succeed.
This is especially true for customers who:
- having had a traumatic experience with their body or weight, and/or have unfavorable emotions about it
- are in a body that does not conform to their culture’s definition of “fit and healthy.”
(FYI: Many of your customers will most certainly fall into one, if not both, of these groups.)
This article contains the following information:
- 5 techniques for building solid, long-term connections with customers of all shapes and sizes.
- There are a plethora of tools available to assist you get a better understanding of your customers on a deeper, more intimate level.
- What to say (and what not to say) to clients who are dealing with issues such as body image, guilt, and shame.
(Please note that this essay is not meant to “solve” complicated problems such as weight stigma.) However, it may assist you in avoiding repeating negative beliefs about weight, weight reduction, and what true health entails.)
5 methods to assist all customers with dignity, regardless of their physical condition.
It is not the responsibility of a coach to advise a client how their physique should look.
At, we think that every customer should:
- They have the freedom to set their own objectives, whether it’s weight reduction or something else.
- Deserve to feel comfortable and encouraged while discussing their objectives and choices with their coach, whatever they may be.
- They will gain knowledge about methods to enhance their health, including choices that are unrelated to weight or size.
So, how does it really work in practice?
Is this a discussion about body positivity?
However, this isn’t the case.
Initially, the body positivity movement was intended to provide a safe place for individuals with the most stigmatized bodies—those who are labeled as “other” because of their appearance.
The phrase “body positive” is often associated with Instagram pictures of individuals flaunting their cellulite, stretch marks, and tummy rolls.
Surprisingly, these kinds of postings have grown in popularity among individuals who are reasonably fit and conventionally beautiful. To put it another way, the movement has been mainstreamed.
As a result, some activists today, especially those in the nutrition and fitness industries, prefer to use words like body freedom, body neutrality, and anti-diet instead.
If you want to understand more about weight stigma/bias movements like Health at Every Size, how fatphobia is linked to other “isms” like racism or ableism, or other relevant issues, there are boxes throughout this page that offer further resources to investigate.
#1: Treat each customer as though they are a blank slate.
Try to figure out what’s wrong with this coach-client relationship.
Martha, a 48-year-old lady, is a mother of two. She’s always had a bigger physique. She’s been suffering from severe back pain for the last year. She decides to contact a coach she discovered on Facebook in the hopes of making some adjustments to her workout and diet habits.
Martha greets the client in her usual cheerful, open manner at the first meeting. The coach explains:
“I’m very happy you contacted me. You stated in your email that you’re suffering from back discomfort. I believe we can make some adjustments to assist with this! What is your desired weight loss? It’s very clever of you to take the initiative on this!”
Martha is completely drained. She won’t be hearing from this coach again.
Why? There are two major issues:
- Martha has never expressed a desire to reduce weight.
- Martha said that she is suffering from back discomfort, but that is all the coach knows about her condition.
Martha has battled with her weight for what seems like her whole life, something the coach in this situation was unaware of. She’s always felt too large, heavy, and uncomfortable in her own skin.
She’s beginning to feel at ease with herself now that she’s in her late 40s. After all, this body has been a part of the family for almost 50 years.
When Martha hears what this coach has to say, what will she do? She can feel the old feelings resurfacing. She’s irritated, angry, and sick up with people thinking she can’t possibly be pleased with her physique, like this young, genetically predisposed-to-be-fit coach.
By the way, this isn’t simply a novice coaching error. This is something that experienced coaches do as well.
Many of us have concealed prejudices in this area as a result of our cultural upbringing. As a result, it’s critical to avoid equating:
- health and weight
- desire to lose weight in order to enhance health, fitness, or dietary choices
Because when someone thinks you’re not happy with your weight… or implies you shouldn’t be… It irritates me.
Even the most self-assured individuals will have a twinge of, ‘Wait, is my body okay?’ ‘Do I look okay?’ Alternatively, you might say, ‘I was correct.’ This whole exercise thing isn’t for me.’
Takeaway: Don’t make the assumption that your customers desire to lose weight.
Make sure your assumptions are correct. Consider what you don’t know about your customers and how you might find out more.
Wait for them to express their desires.
Otherwise, you risk ruining your connection with your client—and bringing them pain—before you ever begin.
Why is there such a thing as fat activism?
…and why should it matter to you as a coach?
People with smaller bodies are often surprised to discover how life may be for others with bigger bodies.
One client with a bigger frame, for example, told us that if she seems to be purchasing “junk” food for herself at the grocery store, she expects remarks from the cashier, other people in line, and even those passing her in the freezer section.
And what about those remarks? They may vary from “are you sure you want to purchase that?” to “are you sure you want to buy that?” to “Fatty, don’t purchase that ice cream.”
You may be surprised to discover that this ACTUALLY HAPPENS if you’re a straight-size person reading this—that is, if you can go into any shop and find clothing that fit.
Imagine being unable to purchase your foul-smelling ice cream in privacy. Consider that this is just a small part of the bias you face on a regular basis. (Especially if you’re white, cisgender, and heterosexual, in which case you’re not accustomed to it.)
And if you’re in a bigger body now, or have been in the past, you may be wondering, “Do people truly have no idea this happens?!?”
People with bigger bodies are often discriminated against. This is something we know through personal experience and study. People with bigger bodies, for example, are more prone to:
- Because their physicians are prejudiced, they get a poorer quality of health treatment (either consciously or unconsciously) 1, 2, and 3
- Obtain less preventive health treatments and tests, which may result in the failure to detect life-threatening health issues in a timely manner 4 5.
- They don’t go to the doctor because they’re scared of being judged or mistreated 6 7.
- Being turned over for employment, promotions, and educational chances in an unfair manner 8 & 9
- Deal with mental health issues that may be linked to prejudice. 10
These are just a few of the drawbacks that individuals with bigger bodies face. Racism exacerbates these problems for Black and brown people, particularly women. This is especially true in the health-care field. 11 and 12
These issues are part of the reason for the existence of body positivity, fat activism, and other similar movements.
These initiatives, however, are about more than just assisting individuals in defending themselves against prejudice and stigma.
They’re also about assisting individuals in transitioning from feeling embarrassed of their bodies—and as if they’ll never fit in—to feeling actively proud of them.
Despite the fact that he is large. But it’s because they’re so large.
If the presence of fat activism doesn’t make sense to you, consider this: What if society tells you there’s something wrong with your body and it’s all your responsibility, regardless of how you feel about yourself? Reclaiming the story for yourself is one of the most effective things you can do in this circumstance.
Find out more about fat activism and body positivity.
Learn more about the Anti-Diet Movement and Health at Every Size.
The anti-diet movement and Health at Every Size both dispute the notion that dieting is beneficial and that weight and BMI are valid markers of health.
Both groups advocate for adopting dietary, exercise, and lifestyle adjustments based on personal choice and quality of life improvements that aren’t linked to weight.
#2. Look into a client’s objective, even if it’s as basic as “I want to lose weight.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of all Americans desire to reduce weight. 13 (And this pattern is likely to spread to other civilizations.)
There’s also the fact that some customers claim they want to reduce weight since it’s the only societally acceptable choice for their physique. Or because they live in a society that teaches them that reducing weight would make them happy and healthier.
In addition to weight reduction, customers often have significant secondary objectives. For example, nearly all of our Coaching customers want to lose weight. But that’s not all they’re looking for.
Clients often rate the following as a 9 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10:
- Looking and feeling better (81%) is a factor that may or may not be related to weight reduction.
- establishing consistency (75 percent)
- keeping up their good practices (74 percent)
- gaining vigor and energy (59 percent)
These objectives may become more essential than weight reduction over time.
Consult with your customers to determine their objectives and motivations so that you can:
- They realize that losing weight isn’t the only choice they have.
- You’ll learn all you need to know to assist your customers succeed.
The methods that follow will assist you in doing exactly that.
Present a range of objectives, all of which are considered equally legitimate.
Giving clients choices is one method PN Master Coach Kate Solovieva normalizes all kinds of body goals.
“What are you trying to accomplish via coaching?” Solovieva may ask, whether she’s working with a 75-year-old lady or a 25-year-old guy. Do you wish to gain weight, reduce weight, feel stronger, move without discomfort, and enjoy your nude appearance?”
If you let your customers know they have a lot of options, they’ll feel more comfortable telling you what they truly want. You may even persuade them that losing weight isn’t the only option.
This is a question about a hidden weapon.
Krista Scott Dixon, PhD, the Director of Curriculum at, has a great coaching question for every client who wants to reduce weight:
“Do you have anything else going on right now?”
Simply inquire, and then let your customer speak for themselves.
Dr. Scott-Dixon adds, “Being ‘on a diet’ is an A+ method to avoid all the other junk in your life.” People often conclude that being on a diet would make them feel better and more satisfied when they discover they don’t have anything to fill the gap.
Your client may disclose that they’re going through a divorce, have a sick parent, or are dissatisfied at work.
Losing weight will not solve these issues.
It’s for this reason that it’s a good idea to…
Always inquire as to why.
With our customers, we often utilize an activity called The 5 Whys.
It begins with a simple question: “What motivates me to alter my diet and exercise habits?”
Then, regardless of your client’s response, ask why again. And so on, five times more, until you come to the core of their motivation.
To get started, you may use this worksheet.
This activity aids clients in getting beyond motives that center on comparing themselves to others.
When individuals can’t think of a compelling underlying reason to lose weight, they may discover that weight reduction isn’t what they truly want.
(And it may also be weight loss.) That’s OK as well.)
#3. Recognize that body image is a continuum.
“If you deal with clients long enough, you’ll notice that almost everyone suffers from some kind of body anguish. “It makes no difference what form they are,” Dr. Scott-Dixon adds.
As a coach, you may assist individuals in having more productive, health-promoting experiences in their bodies.
Why should you be concerned? Dr. Scott-Dixon adds, “We know objectively that the more you hate yourself, the worse your life is.”
Having issues with your body image:
- It’s more difficult to succeed academically (particularly for women), which may limit future schooling options and prospects to obtain your ideal career. 14
- Increases the risk of disordered eating and eating disorders including anorexia nervosa and bulimia, making everything food-related seem like a struggle 15 16
- It’s possible that you’ll be scared to date or be amorous with someone. (Think of shutting off the lights so people don’t see you, or never speaking out about your love emotions for someone because you’re afraid of rejection.) 17
- Can make you feel that your life is a waste of time (technically known as “bad quality of life”), as well as make it difficult to go through the motions of everyday living, such as interacting with other people 18
- Means you’re less inclined to exercise or be active, perhaps because going to the gym or moving your body seems unpleasant or frightening 19
- Depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem are all at an increased risk 20.
Many individuals think that condemning oneself will help them succeed in altering their behaviors and having a happier, more fulfilling life.
Constant self-criticism and being “down” on oneself, on the other hand, may make it very difficult to develop good behaviors.
Clients with bigger bodies who also suffer with body image, for example, have told us that they don’t feel comfortable going to gyms or other exercise or health facilities. It’s usually because they don’t believe these places are intended for individuals who look like them.
While it’s true that some clubs aren’t especially friendly to individuals of all shapes and sizes, changing one’s body image may make finding a supportive fitness environment and establishing regular exercise routines seem much more doable.
How to React to Negative Body Image
You’ve probably heard a customer say something like this:
- “I despise my chubby legs!”
- “I’m desperate to get rid of this abdominal fat. It’s revolting.”
- “Right now, I despise my body.”
What could you possible say to cheer someone up?
Asking constructive questions, according to Super Coach Lisanne Thomas, is the most effective thing you can do.
You might put it this way:
“Do you mind if I ask you a question about it?”
If they answer yes, say something along the lines of…
“Imagine your closest friend, spouse, or kid having the same idea about yourself. What would you say if they shared their opinion with you?”
“Imagine someone saying anything like that to your loved one in your presence. How could you support and respond to such comments for your friend/partner/child?”
These questions may assist individuals in recognizing how cruel they are to themselves.
Chrissy King, a writer, speaker, powerlifter, and strength and fitness coach, revealed her approach for questioning what our bodies are “supposed” to look like in a recent Facebook Live.
When someone says something like, “My stomach rolls are so disgusting,” think about what makes them so gross and what standard you’re comparing them to.
“This isn’t coming from a position of condemnation or shame,” King added. “There are no correct or incorrect responses. It’s simply that we’re taking our time to consider everything. When we sit with our emotions, we find that many of them aren’t based on our own particular views. We are taught these things. These are the kinds of things we see in society.”
So here’s a question to ponder:
- “What would it imply if you didn’t have that roll on your stomach when you woke up tomorrow?”
- “How would you alter anything in your life?”
- “Do you think you might be a better person?”
- “Would you be a happy person if you were a happier person?”
People may be surprised by their responses.
Of all, you can’t simply decide to love your body by snapping your fingers. So consider your body image on a scale.
Body negativity, or actively hating your body, is on one extreme of the spectrum.
Self-love, on the other hand.
And what about body neutrality, or “meh,” as we like to call it? Somewhere in the middle.
The problem is, we might reside on several sections of the spectrum at the same time. Human beings are complicated creatures, and body dissatisfaction and a good body image are not diametrically opposed. 21
But the objective is to go up the continuum, so we’re spending more time than previously in the body neutrality and self-love portions.
The basic issue is that you can’t force a customer to like their own physique.
You may, however, abstain from contributing to someone’s negative baggage.
Remember that full body positivity and unconditional self-love aren’t always the aim.
“Getting to ‘meh’ is really a fairly decent aim for many people,” says Dr. Scott-Dixon.
Resources for self-love
Lisanne Thomas, a Super Coach, often discusses self-love with her clients. “As a coach, my job is to help a client appreciate and care for their body so they can do anything they want with it,” she adds.
While having a dialogue on self-love is beneficial, sharing articles, films, books, and other materials that “talk for themselves” may also help start a fruitful conversation or offer food for thought.
Coach Lisanne’s preferred resources are listed below.
#4. Use language to send a message.
Consider the following coaching scenario:
Your customer informs you that they had a pint of ice cream the night before.
What is your initial response to this situation?
Consider that for a moment. Then continue reading.
Avoid mentioning anything that may make your customer feel embarrassed as much as possible, Solovieva advises.
Be wary of what seem to be helpful but are really criticisms, such as “Oh, that’s a pity.” “How could you go so off track?” says the narrator. or even “Don’t worry!” Every now and again, we all make mistakes.”
Clients are constantly watching how you speak about things, adds Solovieva. It allows them to assess your trustworthiness while dealing with their most challenging emotions and actions.
This is critical in many sectors, but particularly in the food industry. That’s why, when confronted with a customer enjoying an ice cream cone late at night, Solovieva begins by saying:
“Can you tell me what taste it was?”
She may ask a series of questions in response, such as, “How are you feeling this morning?” or “Did you like it?”
Clients feel more comfortable sharing about what’s actually going on in their minds when they’re asked open-ended, judgment-free inquiries.
All food options should be treated equally.
People have a hard time remembering or calculating what they’ve eaten. 22 When customers claim they aren’t overeating (or undereating), yet aren’t experiencing benefits, this is often the case.
Another reason customers may not properly disclose their food consumption is because they may not feel comfortable doing so.
This may be done either consciously or unconsciously.
Your client is conscious of not telling you about their late-night pint of ice cream because they are afraid of your reaction—and how it will make them feel.
Unconscious: They underestimate their food intake to avoid embarrassment if they consume eight ounces (or thumbs) of cheese instead of the “approved” portion size of one.
In any scenario, it will be difficult for you to see what is actually going on as a coach.
According to Solovieva, one approach to normalize eating choices is to openly discuss items that individuals may think are “off bounds.” (A friendly reminder: There are no such things as “bad” foods.)
For example, you could inquire:
“At work, what do you usually have for lunch?” Is it more like a salad, a sandwich, or tacos?” says the narrator.
If you’re talking about weekend meal plans, you could say:
“Can you tell me what you’re having for supper on Saturday night?” Pizza is a staple in my family!”
You may still urge customers to make their meals “just a little bit better” by including a side of vegetables or increasing the protein amount. However, normalizing your client’s dietary preferences allows you to meet them where they are.
Avoid using “motivational” language that is body-shaming.
Many trainers are unaware that certain words and signals may make individuals feel inferior.
Here are several unintended ways coaches may be telling customers that something is wrong with their body, as well as what to say instead.
(It’s worth noting that many of these signals have been there for what seems like an eternity.) As a result, we’re not condemning coaches that use them. We’re highlighting why changing your terminology will benefit your clients—and your coaching.)
Model a positive, or at the very least, neutral, body image.
You are a role model for your clientele. They often turn to you for guidance on what it means to be healthy and fit.
So announcing that you’re going to “shred for summer” isn’t the greatest approach to reassure your customer that their post-baby figure (or whatever type of body they have) is in good hands.
We’re not suggesting you have to figure it all out on your own.
It’s not uncommon for coaches to:
- They are ashamed of their bodies or have a tumultuous connection with them.
- Feeling like an impostor because you don’t fit into a particular body type
- They are concerned that they do not seem to be “good enough” to attract customers.
- Having had their own bodily change process
- having had personal experience with living in a larger body (whether currently or in the past)
Coaches who have gone through their own journey to health and fitness after feeling embarrassed of their bodies, as Dr. Scott-Dixon points out, are typically the most equipped to really comprehend what clients are going through. That, in and of itself, is a superpower.
If you’re comfortable doing so, sharing your own body image journey with customers after you’ve come to know them may be beneficial.
Vulnerability communicates to customers that they are not alone.
People are also more inclined to be open and honest about their problems if they believe you can connect to them.
Be aware of the words you use, no matter where you are on the body negativity to self-love continuum. This applies to what you say in front of customers, in marketing materials, and on social media.
That way, you can make sure you’re not passing along any of your own body image issues to others, or reinforcing those that they already have.
#5. Be dependable.
In the coach-client connection, trust is essential.
The difficult thing, according to Coach Jon Mills, is that you can’t make customers trust you. “You have to be dependable.”
So, how do you go about doing that?
The art of coaching is being dependable to ALL of your customers, even those who:
- are seen in bigger bodies
- have a persistent disease or disability
- identify as non-binary and/or trans
- are members of marginalized groups
- originate from other civilizations than your own
“I don’t have any customers like that!” you may be thinking. “I don’t really cater to any of those groups,” for example.
The fact is that you most likely do, even if you aren’t aware of it.
Many impairments and health problems, such as ADHD and diabetes, may go unnoticed by others. Looking at someone will not tell you their sexual orientation, gender identity, or race.
And just because you don’t have any customers who are visibly different from you in terms of physical size, color, gender, or any other characteristic doesn’t imply you can’t teach them.
Intersectionality: What Coaches Need to Know
Without discussing race and intersectionality, we can’t speak about weight stigma and prejudice.
Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor, invented the word “intersectionality.” It is the study of how social and political categories such as race, class, and gender interact to produce discrimination and advantage. 23
When it came to discrimination, Crenshaw pointed out that the judicial system needed to know if a Black woman was being discriminated against because of her gender OR her race. There was no foundation for figuring out how it might be both at once. Intersectionality was born as a result.
Fatphobia and prejudice against racist, trans, queer, handicapped, and other oppressed bodies are all intimately linked, according to intersectionality.
As a result, being a size-inclusive coach is fantastic. But it also involves being aware of how various forms of prejudice and marginalization interact, and how this may affect your clients.
Find out more about racism and fatphobia.
Develop an intersectional coaching practice to learn more.
It’s not as difficult as you would believe.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “How can I become an expert in body positive coaching, trans athlete coaching, dealing with individuals with disabilities, and anti-racism?”
It may come as a comfort to learn that you do not need to be an expert.
To begin, you may seek assistance from a variety of specialists. Many of these activists provide courses, publications, and other resources, such as those mentioned in the article’s boxes.
What’s more essential, according to Mills, is this:
Customers are experts in their own lives.
You can usually learn straight from them.
That does not imply that it is their responsibility to teach you.
But, as Mills says, you can listen to and connect with the lived experience of the person in front of you.
“Often, they don’t even need you, as their coach, to be deeply engaged in their personal experience. They simply need to know you won’t take it for granted.”
We have a lot of work ahead of us.
Many of us have hidden prejudices, body image issues, and places where we aren’t as conscious as we should be.
According to Mills, the first step in becoming more inclusive coaches is to let go of the “fix it” mentality. We won’t be able to overcome weight stigma, racism, or any other kind of prejudice by altering the gym’s equipment or enrolling in a class. (Though they may be useful actions.)
Mills reminds out that when we attempt to solve issues, we’re trying to regain control. “And you have to let go of your need to control things and be open and receptive to meet people where they are.”
And meeting customers where they are? That is what is most important.
To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.
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If you’re a coach or wish to be one…
It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.
As most of you know, I have been a size inclusive nutrition coach for a few years. However, there are still some misconceptions in the field, namely, that weight loss is centered on weight loss alone, that this is the only goal, or that anyone can do it. This article aims to dispel some of those myths.. Read more about nutrition mindset coach and let us know what you think.
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