I went along to the introductory talk for the No Weigh programme at Chalkwell Physio. The talk aimed to introduce the concept of No Weigh, and a very interesting premise it is! No Weigh is a new programme being piloted by counsellors Helen Kellythorn and Katy Grange. In a nutshell it aims to take a holistic approach to emotional and physical health in individuals in order to address weight loss, focussing on the relationships people have with food and how this can affect their attempts to get healthier and lose weight, and ditching the idea of weigh-ins and counting every pound lost.
It will be a 12 week programme, and quite intense in nature, aiming to really look at and address the deep-rooted issues the people attending the course have using a group counselling method. Katie and Helen have a shared history working in the prison service with people who have problems drugs and alcohol, and while a weight loss programme might not seem to have many similarities on the surface, it actually seems this experience will serve them well in addressing the more addictive aspects of over-eating, of loss of control when it comes to food, of using food to self-soothe and even of using food in response to emotional upheaval.
Certain aspects of the programme are radically different to a ‘normal’ weight loss class: they plan to have their clients sign a contract saying they will not weigh themselves for the duration of the course which will probably send a lot of people into a bit of a flap. But it makes sense: as Helen pointed out, most people have an idea in their heads of where they want to get to when they embark on a diet: they can imagine how they would look as a size 12, for example, quite easily, but can they really imagine how they would look if they lost 50lbs? What does that arbitrary amount even mean when we all look so different, are different shapes, sizes etc. 10 stone on me may look good, on one friend may look overweight and on another may look too thin. They hope to get people to realise that the amount you weigh isn’t actually that important if you are fit, healthy, can fit into the clothes you want to fit into, run around after the kids etc. That we should stop focussing on the negative idea of ‘losing’ something and instead look at it in a more positive light of what we hope to achieve, of making real lifestyle changes that we can maintain and enjoy.
The group will provide an open and honest environment for people to share their experiences and look at boosting self-esteem and general wellbeing. I have to admit, when I first spoke to Katie about the group, I thought it sounded great but probably not suitable for me. I’m trying to lose weight, but I don’t really think it’s a self-esteem issue for me. I’ve never been a yo-yo dieter, I’m not dieting now, just trying to improve my diet and think more about snacking etc., and I don’t really feel that food is that closely tied into my emotions. I just like cheese too much. However, during the talk, Katie had us do a little exercise to start thinking about our relationship with food, and encouraged us to close our eyes and think about an early memory as a child that had something to do with food. Despite me thinking I wouldn’t really gain anything from the group, I actually had a bit of a revelation about my own approach to food just from this small exercise, which really rather surprised me, so I can see how their methods could be an amazing way of completely rebalancing your attitudes towards food, and in learning to understand yourself.
My only concern about the programme is that people will be put off by the commitment of it. Unfortunately when it comes to weight-loss, people tend to have a tendency towards wanting a quick-fix, rather than dedicating themselves to something that takes more effort and involvement. As the group will be delving into some emotional issues, they ask that attendees commit to the full 12 weeks and come to every session unless absolutely unavoidable. It’s clear they are truly dedicated to making this work, and they ask the same of people joining in. Helen explained that in a group counselling session people come to really rely on one-another and the dynamic changes too much if people aren’t there. The groups will be made up of 8-12 people so will be very intimate and personal, another reason why it’s so important people can attend the entire course.
They hope to run a few workshops over the summer to give people a taster of what the programme will be about, so hopefully that will persuade enough people that this could really work for them. I do hope so as the idea itself sounds really interesting, and I think it could genuinely change people’s lives if they allow it to. I’m even thinking I might join myself!
No Weigh, I really look forward to hearing of your successes, I do think this could be something that really changes attitudes towards Weight-loss and for the better!
For more information or to book a place on the course call Helen on 07729 532474 or Katy on 07954 669047