Diet Self-Coaching

February 2, 2012

self-portraiture — may 21 (day 21) © by theogeo


In the weight loss coaching group that I’m in, our coach, Sandra Ahten, has a goal for us to learn to be our own diet coach.

As I’ve thought about it, it’s become clear what a huge objective that really is.  There are two main components inherent in being your own diet coach – one is that you have accepted you NEED an ongoing diet coach, and two is that you have the skill set to coach yourself.

Why have a diet coach?

Having a diet coach at all – whether it be someone else, or yourself, means that you have recognized that you need a certain amount of attention on diet to meet your weight goals.  Whether that be losing or maintaining, the diet coach role is to keep you connected to the part of yourself that has weight goals.
I’ve spent time in my life in Weight Watchers and other groups where the “leader” is the coach.  I’ve had one on one sessions with medical people who I guess one could call the diet coach.  I’ve spent a lot of time dieting on my own, where I suppose you could say I was doing some of the role of a diet coach, although I never called it that, and I probably left some important stuff out of the “coach” role.  I’m currently working with Sandra Ahten of the Reasonable Diet, and she calls herself a “diet coach” (and I’ve worked with her before).

Accept an ongoing need to check in on your weight

The big insight to being your own diet coach is recognizing a need to check in regularly on your weight.  And to know that you’ll need the skills of a diet coach to get you through the ups and downs of the dieting (or maintenance) process.
Right now I’m in a 12 week group coaching program.  I like the format (weekly calls, plus materials to read and listen to) and I like the 3 month chunk of time – enough to get some momentum with weight loss, but a manageable period that doesn’t feel overwhelming.


What a diet coach does

  • Provides advice and perspective
  • Provides encouragement
  • Provides accountability
  • Gives some structure via periodic check-ins

Some tools a diet coach uses

  • Reframing : other ways to look at the situation
  • Intuition : you know the right answer for right now
  • Reasons behind what you are doing (what Sandra calls “Top Down”)
  • Concrete actions you can take for your diet (what Sandra calls “Bottom Up”)
  • Find your path of least resistance (what you are actually willing to do)
  • “Parenting” (gentle but firm) voice

When will I be ready to be my own coach?

I’m pretty confident on some of the elements of what a diet coach should do, and my ability to do some of this for myself.  But there are some key aspects that worry me.  I’ve fallen off the weight-control path before, adding 20, 30 or more pounds very quickly.  If I’m to be the ongoing coach, how do I break that cycle of yo-yoing?  How do I bring the right tool to bear to get me off the regain cycle really early, instead of really late? And when I’m in the doldrums about how I’m doing, how do I get my coach voice to bring the peace I need?
The truth is that I feel I’m a long way from being able to be my own coach for this.  I actually do believe I can get there, but that it will take time.  I think I could be a good coach to others sooner than I could be a coach to myself, and I wonder if an in-between step might be a small peer coaching group of like-minded dieters coaching one and other to build our coaching muscles before moving on to coaching ourselves.


If the idea of being part of a small peer-coaching group appeals to you, let me know via email.

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