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How to Lose Weight (or Not!) & Diversity and Inclusion in Triathlon


Wow!! I was delayed in sending out the newsletter this week because of Labor Day, and I'm kind of glad because a very heated, very important conversation erupted on Instagram yesterday about my new Forbes article... Hey, Health Coach, How Can I Lose Weight?


A client I worked with many years ago was upset that I would write anything about weight loss. She believes (rightly) that the weight loss industry is a behemoth that profits from fat phobia and misinformation. But she also indicated that anyone who wants to lose weight is worshiping "thinness" and has been brainwashed by diet culture.


This is not accurate.


People want to lose weight for all kinds of reasons, and none of those reasons are anyone's business but theirs. People have medical conditions, aches and pains, inability to participate in activities they once loved or lots of other situations that could be improved by moving more or eating more fruits and vegetables with a goal of moderate weight loss.


I've been trying to figure out how to communicate around this issue for a long time, and I am hugely grateful to her for pushing me to clarify my thoughts. (Also, grateful to the other folks who spoke up about their experiences!)


I hear from people all the time who want to lose weight, but they feel like that desire isn't "body positive." This dichotomy causes immeasurable pain, confusion, and guilt... and it can stop people in their tracks.


Body positivity means WE ALL GET TO CHOOSE what is right for our bodies. We get to decide what we need to feel well. We are grown ups, and we are capable of adjusting our choices as the needs of our bodies change and learning to love our bodies fully—at the same time. There is too much shame and judgment out there. Nobody gets to say what anyone else should do about their weight.


My job is to offer the best science available to support everyone—regardless of their size or situation. The reader had a right to have their question answered with generosity and evidence-backed research. You can read the article here.


The column coming next time (in two weeks) is about BODY IMAGE. Hey-ya! That's my jam, and I can't wait to share it with you!


You can send your own questions to Hey, Health Coach if you want. It's always anonymous! You can also reply to this email or comment on IG if you're itching to get in on the weight loss convo. A few years ago, I might have been ashamed to write about weight loss—too scary—but not anymore! We're all in this gooey concoction of a life together, and I've got room for everyone's stories.


Sending you power to make whatever choices feel best for you and your body.


Sarah


One more thing! This is the first in a 5-part series for Triathlete Magazine, where I got to interview leadership at Zwift, Peloton, and more who are making way for diversity, equity and inclusion in triathlon. Those articles are coming soon, but first... Shannon Woods at Brooks Running in Seattle!


The series isn't just for people interested in endurance sports. It's for anyone working to make a difference. I feel like what's often missing from DEI coverage is info about how the people who are doing the heavy-lifting got into the positions they now hold. Triathlete gave me the chance to find out.


"According to a 2016 USA Triathlon Membership Survey, 84% of participants identified as white, 5% Hispanic/Latino, 3% Asian, and just 1% Black. Not everyone feels welcome, and not everyone has equal access... But I am a white woman writing this story, so I went to the source to hear, in their own words, from the people and companies leading the way."

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Past posts can be found HERE.

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