Will Pilates Help Me Lose Weight?

2/13/2012
by Layla Khashoggi
"Will Pilates help me lose weight?" Hmmmm. THAT is a loaded question. Many Pilates instructors have faced this question from clients, and surely provided a wide range of answers.

I've always been in the camp of offering, "Well, that depends," trying to assess this person's life and all the influences in it that pertain to the clinging or shedding of adipose tissue, then delivering some modicum of sense as to how Pilates fits into that complicated matrix. Not only that, but consider that it is entirely possible to transform your shape, as well as your mind-body relationship, and see no change on the scale. So we must also question what measure is being employed to gauge satisfaction.

That's why I loved seeing this short, succinct posting by personal trainer and yoga instructor Sadie Chanlett-Avery on the promise of weight loss with exercise in general:

"Working in fitness I constantly hear claims about weight loss and promises to change your body. As a personal trainer I will never sell the possibility of weight loss. Let me explain why…

I’m unable to:
• Diagnose sleep, hormonal, or food sensitivities
that can stagnate a metabolism.
• Control your genetic expression.
• Manage your behavior in our obeso-genic environment.

I’m unwilling to:
• Prescribe a one-size-fits-all diet. Having studied nutrition in graduate school, I don’t believe in them.
• Lead punishing, unsustainable workouts for short-term results.
• Perpetuate our culture’s ubiquitous, unrealistic, and homogenized image of a fit body.
• Be an accomplice to your insecurities. You may not need to lose weight or change your body.
• Blame you if the plan that I suggested fails.

I’ll promise to:
• Teach you to move gracefully and efficiently.
• Safely push your cardiovascular capacities.
• Help you get stronger and more flexible.
• Educate you to take ownership of your exercise program.
• Celebrate your accomplishments.
• Address and prevent injuries.
• Inspire you to get out of your comfort zone.
• Have fun while we sweat.
• Foster mindful movement.

If we introspect while we move, we get to know ourselves more clearly. We will know when to rest, when to exert and how to choose more optimal foods. I promise our work will make you healthier but I have no idea if it will make you thin."

Thanks to Sadie for painting the bigger picture with great skill and perspective.

You can read more about Sadie and her thoughts at Active Body Still Mind.
Pat Guyton at Pilates Anytime
Layla Khashoggi
Comments on this Article

1 person likes this. Like 
As a recovering exercise and diet addict, I was moved almost to tears by this post. I have been doing pilates to the exclusion of other workouts for about a year now, and have been learning about my body in a new, slow, sometimes frustrating, and always challenging way.
2 years ago

1 person likes this. Like 
I have been doing pilates from the book by Alycea Ungaro and Pilates Anytime for about 2 months now and lost a couple of pounds. The difference is that I enjoy doing pilates and feel better afterwards so I am consistent - almost every day.
2 years ago

2 people like this. Like 
Its not how you look, its how you feel which can navigate change. Once we know how to feel good, I mean feel really good about ourselves and adopt those ways into our weekly being, we can begin to love ourselves and give ourselves what our bodies deserve, which is a lot of care and attention. Nobody is going to do it for us, we have to make ourselves feel good, then we can know ourselves a lot better, than just sticking to a gruelling diet and exersise regime. OneLove
2 years ago

1 person likes this. Like 
I love this!
Thank you Layla.
2 years ago

2 people like this. Like 
Perfectly said. Thank you for sharing Sadie's words.
2 years ago

1 person likes this. Like 
Wonderful! I could´t agree more....

2 years ago

1 person likes this. Like 
great way to approach this question. thank you
2 years ago

1 person likes this. Like 
ThankYou for sharing this article. It is what we need to hear more.
Big thumbs up :)
2 years ago

So glad this article has resonated well. It feels good to hear a voice that bolsters understanding.
2 years ago

Hi Layla, I am currently learning to be a health coach through IIN. I completely agree with your wise words displayed above, it makes me even happier to eventually to be able to serve the community as a wellness coach when I know there are other professionals out there in the field of health and wellness like yourself that will supplement my teachings on the community in a wise and honest manner as displayed above.
2 years ago

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