Updated: May 16, 2019
A few weeks ago I sat down to get a pedicure (photo shoot prep at its finest) when the woman sitting next to me asked what my photo shoot was for. “My website,” I replied, “I’m a Food and Body Image Coach and I’m getting some professional shots done.” “Oh girl! I sure need to talk to you. I’ve been trying to lose weight for years. Can you help me?”
Picture this. I answer the phone excitedly because I had reason to believe a potential client was on the other end. The woman introduces herself and says she is recently recovering from an eating disorder and wants someone to talk to on a regular basis about her struggles. She wants to know, am I that person?
These stories are true and they encapsulate the types of questions I frequently receive.
Today's blog post is Part 1 of a two part series that clears up common food and body image coaching misconceptions and fully prepares you for your next round of mental health trivia.
Without further ado:
Chelsea Hester’s Smorgasboard of Frequently Asked Questions!
1. “Oh cool! You’re a Food and Body Image Coach! Can you help me lose weight?”
“Oh… Hm… Well can you at least tell me what foods are good and bad for me? There’s so much information out there!”
Unfortunately, again, no.
One of the biggest confusions I encounter DAILY is that people automatically think the words ‘food and body image’ MUST involve rigorous exercise, weight loss, and meal plans.
-I am well versed in nutrition facts and biology, but I am not a dietitian. If you want guidance about WHAT to put in your body, I suggest you hire a licensed dietitian not a coach with a counseling degree (moi).
-Many people want to lose weight. Demonizing that desire gets us no where, so instead, I will ask you “What would losing weight give you that you do not currently have?”
One of the best things I can do for you is help you get to know yourself better.
Are unhappy with your body, we are going to explore what you don’t like about it.
Think your BMI is too high, we’re going to explore what myths you have heard about BMI.
Think all your friends will like you better if you have a smaller waist, we are going to explore what beliefs you have about size and a person’s worth. And also consider what types of friends you have.
2. “Okay, so you’re not going to help me lose weight? Then what does a Food and Body Image Coach do?”
Different coaches have different approaches. Mine is rooted in mindfulness practices and intuitive eating principles. I wrote a great post about the basics of intuitive eating. Check that out here to get the low down!
Rather than placing emphasis on what you put in your body and how often you exercise, I place emphasis on getting to know your body, repairing your relationship with food, and exploring new ways of movement.
Together, we rebuild the foundation that you make your food and body choices from. Once you mend any tender or wounded parts, you will naturally see a shift in your beliefs about food, your activity choices, and your confidence.
3. “Okay, so do you only work with people reeeeeally struggling with food? My daughter has an eating disorder, will you help her please?”
As passionate as I am about eating disorders (REALLY passionate), I do not work with anyone who is currently battling an eating disorder or in the early stages of recovery.
Eating disorders are a clinical psychological disorder that require a treatment team most commonly comprised of a therapist, psychiatrist, dietitian, and a primary care doctor. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder I would be MORE THAN HAPPY to help you find resources in your area. Reach out to me: yes. Hire me: No.
So who do I work with? EVERYONE ELSE.
"But like, do I have to be reeeeally struggling with food or my body?" ABSOLUTELY NOT.
In fact, you might not like what I'm about to say, but…
You, my friend, are probably struggling with food and your body more than you realize.
I work with people inundated with messages from Victoria’s Secret commercials, Weight Watchers, Barbie dolls, ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,’ Fit-bits, intermittent fasting, and the recent craze taking the world by storm… celery juice.
If you think fat is bad and sexy = skinny, you are a perfect candidate for coaching.
Ya see, being surrounded by all of ^^^ that ^^^ can leave some lasting imprints on the 'ole psyche whether you realize it or not.
I’m here to help you UNDO what you’ve learned over the years. I help you quiet the noise of media, your friends, and your thoughts and turn up the volume on your soul.
Yeah, that’s why I love this stuff. You and me? We’ll talk about your beliefs, your biases, your passions, your fears, your dreams. All the stuff that makes you, YOU!
There ya have it. 3 questions I get asked All. The. Time.
Stay tuned because next week I tackle Part 2 of this series.
Have a question you want to make sure I answer? Leave it in the comments below!