How do you approach the subject of losing weight delicately?
Weight loss can be a touchy subject. Even for the healthiest of individuals, weight gain has a tendency to creep up on anyone. Suddenly you feel sluggish and tired, and you begin not recognizing who you see in the mirror. It’s so easy for clients to be hard on themselves when they notice they’re a bit heavier than they used to be. It can also be challenging to approach the subject with someone who is already feeling down about their weight gain.
Body positivity is important for your clients to maintain so that their quality of life improves along with their health as you coach them. However, it can be a bit of a double-edged sword because it can be difficult to suggest weight loss while also promoting body positivity. Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, but everyone also should keep their bodies healthy so they can live long and happy lives.
Fortunately, this article contains seven body-positive weight loss methods you can implement into your lifestyle coaching to help your participants take the weight off without having a negative mindset. Your goal as a Realizing DPP lifestyle coach is to improve the quality of your participants’ lives, but they need your support and positivity to achieve this safely and effectively. Let’s begin with some important facts about the connection between weight loss and diabetes.
Weight Gain and Diabetes
After a meal, your body releases the hormone insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin serves as a signal to your cells, informing them that glucose is on its way to nourish them. However, in those with diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin, or the signals telling the cells to absorb the sugar are flawed. Because of this, high quantities of glucose continue to circulate in the body, which is thought to affect many different kinds of cells' structure and functionality. As a result, uncontrolled diabetes has been linked to a wide range of dangerous conditions.
There is undoubtedly a connection between Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and scientists from all over the world are trying to figure out what that is. Some researchers believe there is a link between body fat and the hormones that control hunger and insulin levels. An individual may have greater control over their diabetes if they lose weight and lower their body fat. In fact, research at Johns Hopkins says that if an individual can lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, they lower their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.
The likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes is greatly influenced by genetics and environment, even though doctors and researchers have linked obesity to the disease. It is believed that genes and environment play a role in the baseline risk of acquiring diabetes, despite the fact that doctors and researchers are still working to fully understand this relationship. A low-fat, low-sugar diet and regular exercise can help someone who is obese lower their risk of developing this condition.
To put it simply, maintaining a balance of self-confidence, body positivity, and healthy weight loss is hard — but not impossible. Now that we’ve covered the scientific reasons why it’s a good idea to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, let’s get into some of the best ways for your participants to achieve this balance.
1. Treat Yourself with Kindness
Though it may seem insignificant, this simple step is arguably the most important. It’s not hard to find negativity in life. Your participants can look just about anywhere and feel negative about something. Your participants can control their surroundings or how the world operates, but they can control how they think about themselves. There are a variety of ways that your clients can improve how they think about themselves and treat themselves with kindness.
Affirmations are a great place to start. You don’t have to go looking for a list online of the best affirmations to tell yourself. In fact, you can make your own affirmations. Your participants know what they need to hear to feel better about themselves and stay motivated, so encourage them to take a few minutes each morning to look at themselves firmly in the mirror and say these affirmations. Some examples to get started could be something along the lines of, “I am capable and proud of my body. I am enough.” Not only will these affirmations help your clients stay motivated, but they will encourage them kindly and gently without causing them to view their bodies negatively.
2. Eat a Diet Rich in Protein
Protein is extremely important when it comes to weight loss. A high-protein diet can increase metabolism by up to 80–100 calories per day since your body burns calories while digesting and metabolizing the protein you eat. Additionally, a high-protein diet can help your clients feel fuller and eat less. In fact, according to some research, a high-protein diet results in daily calorie reductions of almost 400. Even a modest change like having a high-protein breakfast can have a significant impact.
3. Incorporate Plenty of Fiber Into Your Meals
Foods high in fiber generally have a lower calorie count, so that means you can eat more of these foods than you can others with the same number of calories. They can make you feel fuller for a longer period of time because they take longer to eat and digest. A June 2019 study in The Journal of Nutrition demonstrates that individuals who consume more fiber are better able to stick to a lower calorie diet and experience more weight loss.
In accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men between the ages of 31 and 50 should consume roughly 31 grams of fiber daily, and women should aim for at least 25 grams. The number of calories and nutrients needed decreases with age; women over 51 need roughly 22 grams per day, while older males need at least 28 grams.
Most of us fall well short of the USDA's recommendations, so it’s important to find methods to include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans), nuts, and other fiber-rich foods in more of your clients’ meals. Black beans and chickpeas, which are high in fiber, can be included in salads, soups, and chili. Or, you may consider suggesting an apple and a tablespoon of nut butter as a snack.
4. Start Small
The importance of setting attainable, realistic goals for your clients cannot be overstated. It is unlikely that your participants will achieve weight loss success if they start out with a broad goal of losing 50 pounds. Sure, everyone wants to take off the extra weight, but drastic changes to your participants’ lifestyles are not sustainable. Instead, encourage them to aim for smaller goals first that will eventually lead up to the end goal.
Start with something like going for a light walk around the neighborhood daily or enjoying dessert only on the weekends as opposed to every day. Once these goals become habits, your participants can move on to the next goal. It’s impossible for anyone to accomplish their goals on day one, so make sure your clients are setting attainable, realistic goals to begin with.
5. Develop an Enjoyable Exercise Routine
Let’s just put it all on the table — getting exercise is usually not something that people enjoy doing. Exercise is hard work, and while your participants may be able to force themselves to get the exercise they need, sticking to that routine can be immensely challenging.
The key to sticking with an exercise routine lies in finding an exercise that you enjoy doing. Your participants are far more likely to continue exercising consistently if they enjoy doing the activity and don’t have to force themselves each time. Someone doesn’t like running? Suggest walking briskly or a water aerobics class. There are plenty of options for low-impact exercises that are great for staying in shape and keeping weight off. Encourage your clients to experiment and find an exercise they don’t mind repeating.
6. Schedule Meals
The importance of a morning meal for weight loss has long been debated. Some nutritionists believe that skipping breakfast may lead to overeating later in the day, but there is no hard evidence supporting this claim. Breakfast consumption was linked to improved weight loss in a meta-analysis published in September 2014 in Advances in Nutrition. However, a different evaluation of data published in January 2019 in BMJ indicated that eating breakfast might not necessarily result in weight loss. There is no concrete answer on whether or not breakfast is, in fact, the most important meal of the day.
Nevertheless, the ADA advises eating breakfast each day. According to experts, having three meals throughout the day at regular intervals will improve the body's ability to utilize insulin. To help control blood sugar levels, breakfast should include fiber-rich, nutritious carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and low-fat dairy. Always read the labels before purchasing packaged goods, and stay away from sugar-sweetened cereals and other highly-processed breakfast foods.
7. Track Your Progress
Keeping a journal of their weight loss journey will help your participants see patterns and create realistic goals. Over time, they'll be able to see progress and identify times when their diet may have veered off course.
Suggest keeping a daily journal in which your clients record everything they consume, including the serving sizes. Pen and paper aren't their jam? Recommend one of the numerous available free apps. As advised by their doctor or diabetes educator, your clients should weigh themselves at least once a week to monitor their progress. You might also suggest recording the time, activity, and post-exercise feelings.
Body-Positive Weight Loss is Possible with Realizing DPP
Through your guidance as a lifestyle coach, your clients have the power to achieve weight loss without sacrificing body positivity. If you are a lifestyle coach in Mississippi who isn't already a part of the Realizing DPP community, get in touch with us right now to find out more information! Our group is a strong network of lifestyle coaches, both present and former, committed to preserving the worth and quality of human life through lifestyle care initiatives. We provide opportunities for you to develop as a coach, exclusive access to lifestyle coaching questions that aren't available on Google, and the resources you need to make money coaching.