Can Weight-Loss and Body-Posi Go Hand-in-Hand?

By Coach Mel 

How long have we been pressured to feel bad about our bodies and, consequently, ourselves? The media - magazines, movies, talk shows, and even kids’ toys - pressure us to be smaller or bigger or taller or stronger or more masculine or more feminine… It seems that no matter what we look like there is pressure from somewhere to be something else. Our culture has finally hit a breaking point and is fighting back against not being good enough. The Body Positive movement has been integral in this shift and has influenced women and men to help them feel good inside their own bodies, whatever shape, size, or image they may be. It has been a key player in raising awareness and bringing to the table an alternate way of how we are trained by the media to see beauty. For these reasons and more POINT Gym and Kitchen embraces this movement wholeheartedly. Since we encounter a lot of talk about weight loss through our gym and our nutrition coaching we have given a lot of thought to the question, Can you be Body Positive and still want to lose weight?  

We strive for POINT Gym and Kitchen to be a body-positive place. We are not a gym that focuses on getting you to look a certain way - to tone up or slim down or get huge biceps. We are a gym that celebrates what you can do with your body and we focus on how you can constantly grow and feel like a healthier person. It is why we don’t have mirrors in the gym; it is why we will never advertise a “bikini body boot camp” or “fat blast” program. It is, in fact, why we opened in the first place - to create a community of positivity around celebrating what we can do with our amazing bodies and empower people to go beyond simply feeling okay in their own skin to being the healthiest, happiest version of themselves. It is our tagline: Be you. Only stronger.” Stronger physically. Stronger mentally. Stronger emotionally.

The “kitchen” in POINT Gym and Kitchen refers to our nutritional therapy services. We are not nutrition coaches that focus on getting you to look a certain way - to shed pounds or melt fat or bulk up. All those things miss the point! We are nutritional therapy practitioners who look at lifestyle past and present, life stress, food, and all the other factors that go into a healthy body and lifestyle. We help support and manage things like allergies, headaches, and yes, even weight loss for health and lifestyle reasons. Nutritionally speaking, while a certain weight does not equal health, weight can be a symptom of something going on internally. The only difference between this and a headache being a symptom of dehydration, is that weight is worn on the outside for everyone to see and judge. You can’t see a migraine or asthma but all are health-related issues. Unfortunately, discussions about about weight-loss are intensely emotionally driven. If we didn’t have the problems the media gives us by throwing certain body types in our faces all the time and fueling eating disorders and body dysmorphia then the discussion around a person wanting to lose weight could be more black and white. It could be as simple as someone coming in to get help with allergies… they have something bothering them, it’s affecting their health and well-being, and they want help addressing it so that they can live more optimally. It is not like this with weight loss. When people tell us they want to lose weight, we need to dig deeper to find out why because there are so many other factors that could be playing into this person’s desire: Is it to feel a certain way? Is it to be able to do a certain thing? Or is it to look a certain way? Because even though initially the goal might be aesthetic, the deeper concern might be that excess weight is hindering them and keeping them from a happy lifestyle. It is our mission to address these cases in a body-positive way - we focus not on the literal weight a person might want or need to lose, but on how they can achieve more health and happiness through lifestyle changes. When the focus shifts from weight-loss to living your desired lifestyle, the weight, along with other health concerns, might begin to shift along with those changes. The focus is always health- and happiness-driven… Body Positive!

Body Positive at POINT - One client traveled a lot and wanted to be able to lift her own bag into the overhead bin of an airplane. After some personal training it was a huge success for her that we celebrated knowing she could not have accomplished this a month prior. Others might have still looked at her on the plane and judged her without knowing she was feeling like a champion on the inside. After conquering that goal she was excited to come up with what she wanted to do next. She wasn’t bummed because she could still lose 70 lbs. She was excited because she was stronger and feeling better than she was before. Her end weight goal could have been her focus but instead she created a set of new tangible goals. In doing this she freed herself of the worry that she wouldn’t end up looking like a picture someone else has conjured up as beautiful. She chose to start finding happiness within her own body. That is true beauty. How much time do you think you’ve wasted caring about your appearance? But really, how much time? Be you. Only Stronger.

Owning a gym and being in the nutrition field I get to see the best and the worst the industry has to offer. Thank goodness the Body Positive movement exists because, as much as media is responsible for people hating themselves, the fitness industry’s marketing tactics aren’t far behind. If we wanted to see sales rise faster at POINT we would advertise some sort of “weight loss” offer. But Coach KB and I agreed before opening our doors that we would never do this. Blanket weight-loss programs only imply that everyone needs to lose weight and that nobody is good enough as they are unless you eventually look like the photoshopped and airbrushed image plastered on the poster advertising the dumb weight loss program. These programs are horribly unethical for so many reasons, up to and including false advertising because you can’t even guarantee weight will be lost. It is simply a way for gyms to take money from people who usually end up feeling worse about themselves than when they started.

We want to help those that walk through our door invest in a lifestyle that will bring them health, happiness, energy, and hopefully some mental freedom; life is about so much more than a number on the scale. We are pro-loving your body at any size and celebrate everyone finding confidence and happiness in their appearance. We also want to acknowledge and validate people when they tell us they don’t love how they feel in their bodies. Not because it is not what society wants, but because they can’t live the life and have the experiences they want. When weight is the health concern it is important not to frame your mind around where you currently are as being “bad” but to celebrate and validate and still love your body all along the way. Be excited about getting stronger. Be happy about feeling good. Be stoked for mental freedom. Be amazed at what your body can do. Be body positive. BE YOU.