Inevitably, whenever I tell someone that I specialize in coaching pregnancy and post-pregnancy fitness, their initial response is that I must, “help moms lose the baby weight.”
And, a really interesting comment recently was, “Oh, so you have to keep your body fit all the time?”.
No. I really don’t.
In fact, it’s not the primary focus of my work at all.
Fat loss can be a goal. It just doesn’t have to be the only goal. This is one of my main frustrations with how the fitness industry speaks and markets to moms.
The assumption that every mom wants to and *should* be wanting to lose fat? No.
Let’s stop this, please.
What I strive for with my clients is to impart a deep knowing that they could want to lose fat, but it’s also just as likely that they might want to:
• gain weight
• keep their body composition exactly as it is now
• build muscle mass
• reduce aches and pains
• be able to move more freely
• feel damn strong in their life
• train for a powerlifting meet
• nail their first pull-up rep
ETC ETC ETC ETC.
Fat loss is not the only goal for moms. And, frankly, I don’t think it’s a great goal for many mamas, which is why I try to bring the focus to many other realms of life.
Coaches, don’t think for a second that exercise coaching is the only aspect in working with moms in fitness. It’s not even close to the whole story.
The constant debate on whether this or that exercise is better for diastasis recti? Important, but damn, so much else we need to be working on.
Here are 6 strategies I use to take the focus off fat loss when coaching my mama clients.
1). Try this instead.
Give them an introduction to a different way of thinking. Show them that there is more to women, more to life, and more to bodies than fitting into *this* box you’re told is the only way.
What else might they spend their mental energy on?
2). Give permission.
To not have to obsess about the body. To not have to obsess about what fit looks, feels, or acts like. So many women have been fed the message that fat loss IS their goal for so long.
Do they even believe that it’s a possibility that fat loss doesn’t have to be their goal?
3). Presence, pleasure, play.
Might your mamas focus on really living in this body, in this life, for right now? Finding true enjoyment in THIS body, right now. What happens when we stop imparting the ‘if/then’ principle in our lives and on our bodies?
4). Rebel spirit.
Encourage your clients to change the conversation with their friends, partners, children. To be a leader and use their voice to empower themselves and others.
Don’t like how someone is talking about another woman’s body? Say that you’re uncomfortable with it. Ask why they think that way about that person’s body. Ask why they think it’s their business to be speaking about someone else’s body.
Mostly, start to catch your own narrative on these topics. How do you feel about others’ bodies? Why?
What else are you? What more is there to you than the physical body?
Can we expand our definitions and beliefs of ‘beauty’. Can you start to then believe in and see the beauty of this body? Can you see that beauty in others? Why not in your own body?
6). Me too.
Be an example of another way. Share stories. Build a community. Hold space for comfort and connection.
If I want someone to feel good in their body, I need to show them that it’s possible, this is what it feels like and here’s how I remind myself to stay on this path. It doesn’t have to be perfect or without setbacks, but I want them to know that I know the struggle (because #beenthere) and here’s what I did/do.