This post was written and submitted by Shelby Gordon. Connect with Shelby by emailing her at [email protected]
If there were an award for dieting – I would win it, hands down. I’m beyond an Olympic medalist, World Champion, PhD, or Rhodes Scholar in dieting. I could win a Nobel Prize.
I first realized I was “different” at age 6, when my mother felt compelled to drive me across town in her 1963 stickshift Volvo to the “fat girl” dress shop, so I would have the prettiest dresses to wear to church on Sundays. Yes, the dresses were pretty, but why did these ladies in the dress shop look at me odd? Yeah, first – I was black (still am). Second, I was six (now plus 50). But then – I was fat (I really wasn’t – but that was the agonizing perception).
Fast forward 50 years through innumerable diets, disappointments, brief successes, crushing shame, and never-ending guilt.
In 2018, I discovered and wholly embraced the Health At Every Size lifestyle and am currently in a HAES Coach Mentoring program with Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, EPC. My niche coaching target is women of color, and my work will intersect the issues of body liberation and social justice. I became highly motivated toward this work when I discovered there was no coach of color who I could work with to do deep work regarding healing my body image and releasing diet culture.
Remember, I’m a Nobel Prize winner. There was no coach to help me get to the next level of my body acceptance journey. Oh – and so much of the Body Positive information is still dominated by European-centric messaging. What?
I’m dedicated to capturing the pertinent scientific, social, and philosophical information and developing a compassionate, empathetic coaching style to fill a tremendous gap in the HAES coaching space. I don’t take this work lightly. I understand the dual responsibility of serving as a HAES coach and social justice advocate. The two elements are undeniably intertwined and must be addressed jointly. I’m up for this challenge.
Based on general conversations with people about my HAES coaching training, the response has been wonderfully overwhelming. This has been verification that people are really interested in having discussions regarding weight-neutral living and understanding how race and weight stigma intersect.