Working in the Wellness Industry When You Have HA

This article is based of a recent podcast episode I did on The Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Podcast. If you’d like to listen to the episode OR learn more about myself and my services, as well as The HA Society, a membership that I run for women with HA, click here.

For a number of years now, I have worked in the wellness industry for a nutrition coaching company (I am not a nutrition coach) which helps people with their goals. 

Naturally, I’ve had a number of conversations over time with people who also work in this industry about the struggle with imposter syndrome because they’re not “healthy” (because they have Hypothalamic Amenorrhea). Many of these conversations have also been with people who have recovered their periods but now feel conflicted about working in the wellness industry because their views have been completely changed by their experiences with over-exercising and dieting.

I wanted to address this issue here because it’s an important one and very very common. This Instagram post I made a while ago sums up my thoughts:

How can I be so open about body positivity AND work for a nutrition coaching company at the same time?

I get tactfully asked this question a lot AND people straight up say (in their own special way) that my art and personal beliefs directly conflict with the company I work for and the job I do.

It makes no sense to people that I would be on a mission for body acceptance and work for a company that promotes dieting. I get it but let’s clear that up:

FIRST: No one in the company I work for see’s the only metric of health/progress/confidence etc as being extremely lean. Not a single person. It’s against our culture and policy.

My colleagues ALL talk about self acceptance and care. They ALL advise people on the true cost of getting lean – something that people often can’t understand on their own.  They ALL promote what’s best for the client and they ALL try to completely transform the clients view of themselves and their bodies’ capabilities.

It just so happens that in order to get there with a client, sometimes you have to sell someone what they want (e.g. weight loss) and THEN give them what they need (e.g. accepting that their body is healthy at a higher weight than they originally “wanted” long term). As a client, if you want to lose weight, then ok. Your coach will meet you there and then figure out WITH you what the next best, healthiest move is. The coach will make sure you know your options and make sure that you don’t crash and burn because of unrealistic expectations.

Your coach is a sounding board. They will bring you back down to reality when you want to keep losing weight. They will tell you when your time in a calorie deficit is up and it’s time to eat more for the good of your health and progress.

We suck at setting goals and sticking to plans by ourselves. So I believe that everyone needs help.  It is a misconception that I work for a company that only promotes weight loss.  A massive massive misconception.

If I feel so passionately about understanding your nutrition, your body and about ditching comparison and feeling great about yourself, why in the world would I quit my job where I have a seat at a table that influences so many peoples health and well-being? That’s like seeing an opportunity for your skills and perspective to be utilized but not joining in because you’re frustrated that your skills and perspective have not already been provided by someone else. That actually makes no sense…

Bonus answer: Say I did work for a company that only promoted chronic dieting and only ever being shredded? That would be EVEN MORE reason to be working there, behind the scenes trying to promote change. That’s not the case, but it’s food for thought.

So yeah. I think it’s awesome that I work for a company that is all about teaching nutrition, loving yourself and promoting positive lifestyle change AND that I make body positive art at the same time.

So, that’s basically my stance on the matter. I really think that if you don’t like something, but you walk away from it that’s fine, but you can’t be mad if change isn’t happening.

We need to have people inside the industry trying to change the conversations directly with the clients.

If you’re feeling like you work for a company that will never change their views on health and you don’t agree with them, that’s ok, go and find a place where you do see that potential or start your own. It’s totally fine. Life isn’t black and white.

-Dani

The HA Society opens every new moon! Learn more and join the waitlist here!

Published by Dani Sheriff

I draw digital images and my passion is in drawing diverse women, promoting body acceptance, and improving our body image. Because we can't do our greatest work when we're so busy being focused on bodies.

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