Kelly Marshall is a renowned personal trainer and owner of the Body Project. For many of her clients with back pain, weight loss is a priority. But why is losing weight such a struggle for many of us, and how could you possibly lose weight effortlessly? Armand Brevig talked to Kelly recently to explore her views and the successes she has had with clients in this area.
Back pain – obesity connection
Armand: Some experts say being overweight contributes to back pain. Others say there is no proven connection. What’s your view?
Kelly: As far as back pain is concerned excessive weight around the stomach is particularly problematic, as it forces the person to tilt his pelvis forward. This puts excessive pressure on the lower back by creating a curvature that is too large. Also, excessive weight affects the knees and hips. Problems in the hips and knees may then, at some point, manifest as back pain.
Having said that, I do have some obese clients who are not suffering from back pain. So, excessive body weight does not cause back pain in of itself. However, it does add additional pressure on the discs.
Lose weight effortlessly? Can it really happen?
Armand: Even the best diets fail to have a long-term positive impact on most people. Why do you think that is?
Kelly: I agree that diets are not effective. Generally people know what to do, but when it comes to implementation things fall apart. It’s often a question of motivation. In my experience, once a client truly sees her behaviours in a new light, shifts in behaviours can happen instantly and effortlessly. This could, for instance be new insights about eating habits and health in general. It is not enough to “tell” the client what to do, because they already understand that at an intellectual level. The client has to “discover, see and feel” it for themselves. Once that happens you can lose weight effortlessly.
Armand: Could you give me an example of what you mean by that?
Kelly: Sure. One of my clients worked in London during the week in a high pressured high earning job. She would come back to her home town during the weekends. Her life at home was in stark contrast to the way she lived when she was in London.
In London she was professional, well-groomed and cared for self. At home she let everything go and did not eat properly. I talked to her about transferring skills and lifestyles from her job to the home situation.
Eventually the client had an insight about the way she was taking care of herself when at work but not at home. And once she had that insight she effortlessly lost four stone (25.4 kg).
So our conversation had acted as a catalyst for that insight. I didn’t tell her what to do, but pointed her in the right direction to look for solutions. She then “saw” for herself. It’s those types of shifts in thinking that make people lose weight or invest in their health and fitness.
This is why I prefer it when clients are able to use their own intuition and wisdom to make adjustments to their eating habits.
Armand: What are some of the approaches you use in addition to encouraging clients to tap into their inner wisdom?
Kelly: When I work with clients on weight loss, I insist they keep food diaries with daily entries. This allows clients to chip away at the bad stuff while adding more good stuff. Such as eliminating processed food and sugar and adding more vegetables.
In general I encourage clients to tap into what works particularly well for them. This may include taking some of the effort out of losing weight by paying a company to cook for them.
Lose weight effortlessly – Key points
- There is a connection between back pain and obesity, but not direct causality.
- Shift in thinking leads to profound health transformation.
- Tracking what you eat and individualised approaches work – standardised diets don’t.