After becoming an overnight sensation in 2020, “Coach Kiah” launched her weight-loss and life-coaching business to help clients through their health transformations. Since then, Kiah Twisselman Burchett has made a few changes to her coaching strategy and launched a number of exciting new facets to her business — but for those familiar with her advocacy, have no fear; she’s still all about the beef.
A sixth-generation California rancher, Kiah’s health journey sharply changed trajectory when she lost 125 pounds after she couldn’t fit into an airplane’s seatbelt. Kiah did it all without buying a gym membership while still eating the foods that she loved.
After her weight loss story was shared on major mainstream platforms — such as People Magazine, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood — Kiah finally was able to reach 1.5 billion people.
“People started reaching out to me, asking me what I was doing,” reminisces Kiah. “In the summer of 2020, I decided I had to go all in on coaching.”
But what does a weight-loss coach do when something as fickle as the scale starts ticking up? For Kiah, it’s not just about the weight — it’s about helping people find a way to accept themselves.
“The most loving thing you can do for the people and causes you care about is to love yourself first,” she says in an interview with AGDAILY after her presentation at the annual 2023 Ag Media Summit.
Most of her original clientele were people who wanted to lose weight. Kiah quickly recognized that her story went beyond physical health, and if her clients were going to be successful, they needed more than to lose weight — they needed a shift in mindset.
“Weight loss is how I branded myself, it’s why people knew me, so I leaned into it. But it wasn’t my weight loss story,” Kiah says. “I don’t actually care if people lose weight. The things people want go so much deeper than weight loss itself: to feel confident, accepted, to fit in.”
And so, with continued development, Kiah’s branding has shifted to help women find self-love and self-acceptance.
“If you found out that you would never lose another pound in your life, would you just give up and never choose to love yourself?” asked Kiah. “I want to empower women where they’re at.”
With her change in messaging, Kiah has found some resistance, but that resistance has helped her to focus and hone in on her message.
“I’m not for everyone; it’s something I’ve been working on — and it’s OK. I want to do everything, but I’m learning to embrace the joy of missing out,” she says.
Kiah’s health journey has been about so much more than her weight loss. Her struggle with acceptance started at just five years old.
“It’s something that was generationally passed down in my family. We just celebrated 100 years at our local county Farm Bureau, and while looking through a magazine from the ’50s, the Farm Bureau had held its first Fatty Anonymous meeting for women. It was a branded meeting — and that realization gave me so much compassion for people,” Kiah explains.
The revelation has also helped her to represent herself and to understand her clients better.
“Agriculture is an industry full of strong and resilient people. But somewhere along the way, we decided that being strong and resilient means never showing our emotions,” says Kiah. “It’s been a detriment to us and to our culture.”
With vulnerability at the forefront of her message these days, Kiah is helping to dig deeper into people’s personal statements and struggles.
“So often, people have told me I’m confident because I’ve lost so much weight. I want to help women detach those things. You can feel confident even if you gain weight,” she says.
Kiah’s client niche is still rural women, but her business’s client base has expanded over the years to include people from all walks of life, not just farming and ranching.
“I hosted a women’s retreat last year in my hometown, and none of the 13 attendees had agricultural backgrounds,” Kiah muses. “It’s been rewarding to see how I can reach different audiences and advocate for agriculture in my career by living my authentic life and empowering people.”
Kiah is expanding beyond coaching as a “multi-passionate person” — be sure to tune in!
Coaching isn’t where the journey stops for Kiah: She has released Season 1 of a web series with Courtenay DeHoff called Backroads Cowgirls and is working on a larger pilot that she hopes will get picked up by a network. The show takes the two travelers through a diverse set of farmers and ranchers to see how agriculture permeates daily lives.
“Each stop shines a candid light on the people who make up agriculture. From pistachio growers to tatted-up chefs, restauranteurs, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ farmers, mental health professionals, vintners, and more – this digital series focuses not only on the facts but the faces and stories of the people who are as diverse as the industries they serve.”
The duo’s project is funded by Simplot Growers Solutions, with a travel-show-meets-food-show vibe … with agriculture in the mix.
“We dream of landing it on a big streaming network like Amazon Prime or Netflix. We want to humanize agriculture again but know people want to be entertained, too,” Kiah laughs.
In her journey from weight loss sensation to an empowering coach and advocate, there’s no doubt that Kiah’s stories will continue to inspire others to navigate their own paths.
The key? Trust the process, and show up to do the work to live the life you love.
»Related: The invisible yoke of mental health on the farm
Heidi Crnkovic is the Associate Editor for AGDAILY. She is a New Mexico native with deep-seated roots in the Southwest and a passion for all things agriculture.