I spent all of 2021 struggling with a particular conundrum: how can we love and accept ourselves and still want to lose weight?
For many of us, this feels like a contradiction. While the world has moved towards more inclusivity and a more realistic view of women’s bodies, there’s also a lot of shade being thrown at the weight loss industry and there are women wanting to address real weight-related health issues.
This is why I decided to shift gears in my coaching work away from a food-first weight loss focus and towards a love-first focus. And since I launched my brand new program where we work on occupying the space between learning to love ourselves and lose weight, I figured it was time I brought you a detailed explanation and invitation for you to come do this work too.
Join me this week as I show you how there’s so much more to this work than calories, carbs, or points. I’m sharing how I set out to create a program that fills the gap between self-love and weight loss, and the skills I’m teaching my clients inside.
This is Weight Loss Success, with Natalie Brown, episode 110.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, certified life and weight coach Natalie Brown.
Hello, everybody. Can I just tell you how excited I am that I will never have to remember to change my clocks back an hour or forward an hour ever again? The US Senate just passed a bill getting rid of daylight savings time, and I say good riddance. I realize it’s just an hour, but that hour variation in daylight makes a difference to our bodies.
There’s a really fascinating Huberman Lab podcast about it with Dr. Samer Hattar. I think that’s how you say his name. If you’re interested in why, learning about it a little bit. Anyway, I’m just really glad that our bodies and our circadian rhythms can just regulate and stay that way without having to try to adjust and compensate every six months.
I am just really super interested in humans in general, our brains, and why we do the things we do and are the way we are. This is very clearly reflected in my viewing history on the many streaming services I now have to subscribe to in order to see all the things that I want to watch. It was really nice when it was just Netflix, remember that? It’s all about reality what I watch, not like reality TV per se although I have watched both seasons of Love Is Blind. I will admit, but it’s more like it’s all about real people and their real stories.
Sometimes dramatized versions of real stories like Inventing Anna and The Shrink Next Door are very interesting. It varies really, my viewing content from documentaries about crime and fraud cases and such all the way to sports documentaries and series like The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Bulls and the All or Nothing series on Amazon Prime about NFL teams and rugby teams and soccer/football teams, and literally every single thing ever produced on Colts in all of their many forms.
I have seen them all. I’m so fascinated by that whole situation. It’s any of that or a stand-up comedy special because I either want to learn or laugh, I guess. When I think about why I’m interested in the things, I’m interested in it because it’s not just because of documentaries about anything. I’m not like watching anything about space or wars in my free time, and it’s not even documentaries about any humans doing anything.
I’m not watching biopics about inventors unless you count Elizabeth Holmes, the inventor, and founder of Theranos. I did watch that, everything about that. I’m really interested in humans struggling and falling down and finding strength and testing it and winning and being duped and figuring it out and solving mysteries and writing wrongs and getting justice because those are some of the same issues I focus on and deal with in my life.
Somewhere in my little mind when I was young, I assume it was then because I don’t really remember its impetus, but I learned to look out and be wary. My reticular activating system got tuned in to look for any expectations of me so I could meet them to really watch out for anything that could be embarrassing and avoid it like the plague, and gather evidence of how I was another and I didn’t quite fit in.
Those are like my default filters. I have and am continuing to work on tuning it differently, tuning my RAS differently. To look for what my expectations are of me. To see how I don’t have to be afraid of any emotion, including embarrassment, and gather evidence of how I’m okay exactly as I am and I don’t need to be the same to belong. I guess in documentaries, I seek out stories that give me insight into myself.
And this work that I’m engaged in to help other women develop emotional resilience and to determine their own expectations of themselves regardless of what the world has taught them, and to learn to love themselves in all of their lovely, imperfect uniqueness so they can belong to themselves first. That is because of my challenges and struggles that I have worked to transform into strength.
I want to share with you a little about why at the end of last summer, I decided to shift gears in the premise of my work away from a more food first weight loss focus with a heaping side of mindset to a love first focus. I’ve been inviting you to join me in my new program for the last few episodes, so I figured giving you a little insight and context is warranted.
The work I do is personal to me. I choose to work with women like me. Women who are successful in many areas of their lives and just don’t feel like they can find success when it comes to their weight and health goals. Women who have tried everything realized that there is more to this equation than food, points, calories, and carbs. And women who feel they are fundamentally flawed, that their bodies are wrong their inability to fix their bodies is evidence of how broken they are.
Women who can’t look in the mirror or at a picture without cringing. Who would never say out loud to anyone the words they say to themselves in their heads. It’s personal to me because it was me. People say to me all of the time, you’re in my head. You seem to know exactly what I think and how I feel, and that’s because I do. I’m not you, but I know you.
Here’s the other beautiful thing I’ve learned through working with hundreds of women. We all think we are the only one who thinks these crazy, silly, ridiculous, weird, embarrassing things, all adjectives that my clients profess all of their statements with. Still, we are not the only ones, not even close. We all feel things similarly.
We worry about similar things; our struggles are similar. None of us are the same, but we are all humans, and we have all been sold a bill of goods, especially women, about our value and where it comes from, our bodies and how they look. That is false and damaging, and oppressive. So, our suffering has similar roots too.
All of 2021, I spent struggling with a particular conundrum. How can we accept ourselves and still want to lose weight? It felt like a contradiction. On the one hand, the view of bodies has changed since I was a teenager. There are women in some ads and on shows and running companies now who reflect a more realistic picture of what women look like.
I walked by Athleta yesterday in the mall. There was a curvy real-sized manikin in the window modeling workout clothes. That was not even in the realm of possibility or discussion when I was growing up. I love it. I love that we are moving toward this more inclusive, more accepting, more welcoming, more realistic view of women’s bodies.
In that camp, though, there’s a lot of shame being thrown at the weight loss industry for totally justified reasons. It doesn’t really work to buy into weight loss and loving yourself at the same time in the body positivity realm. And I’m all in on loving and accepting yourself and your body, thus the conundrum, right?
On the other hand, weight-related health issues are real, and there are women who want to address them. They want to prioritize and improve their health, and they know that losing weight is part of that. So, it’s this seesaw, so many women are on. Can I both love and accept myself and lose weight? I felt like there was this space in the middle that was empty and available that contained the answer to that question, which is, absolutely. Yes.
And so, I set out to create a program to fill that gap that would address how we would regard our bodies, all of the objectification and social programming that has us seeing ourselves as bodies first, just a quick side note here, you know I love the work of Lexi and Lindsey Kite and their book More Than A Body.
One of the things they bring to light with their work is that although quote on quote plus-sized models and older women in beauty ads is for sure a huge step away from the 20 something size 0s that have dominated that landscape for decades, is still supporting the narrative that it’s about how bodies look. They argue that our bodies are instruments, not ornaments that focus on the size of a woman’s body, even if it’s a more realistic representation of the size of most women’s bodies is still a focus on the appearance of the body that a true step forward would be to take the focus off the body, shape, and size, and onto who and what we are on the inside of that exterior.
So, I wanted to address this very important part of the work to love ourselves fully. That is to understand why we have placed so much of our value and worth on our bodies’ appearance because we’ve been told and shown that’s where worth and value comes from. I also wanted to help my clients address how they regard food and the role that it plays in their lives.
All of the jobs we’ve assigned it, outside of physical hunger and how to fire it from all of those other roles in order to better connect with our bodies and what they want, need, and feel when it comes to food. I wanted to help my clients develop emotional intelligence and resilience because this is what drives so much of our eating, our emotions. And more specifically, our inability to feel or our unwillingness to tolerate uncomfortable emotions.
This is one of the main jobs we assign to food to help us cope with or avoid or numb or escape emotions, and it does that job temporarily. It distracts us for a moment, but in order to find peace around food and to allow food to take its rightful place in our lives as a solution to physical hunger and a means to survival, we have to build the skill of allowing our emotions to flow through us, of recognizing and being willing to ride the waves of emotion.
It takes practice, an understanding, and consciousness. Still, once we become proficient, we become capable of showing up for and handling anything that comes our way without turning to food. I wanted my clients to see that it’s possible to change the conversation about their bodies, to change the conversation in their heads about themselves, to heal their relationship with food, to eat and live their lives with connection to their values, to start to take charge of their perception of the world by learning how to become a compassionate observer of their minds.
I felt so compelled to create a container to facilitate all of this very special, very important work and I have. That is the work we’re doing in my Love First Weight Loss Program. It’s a place where we are accepting ourselves and changing our bodies with love. Learning how to put on the lens of love and walk through this process, seeing things in a whole new way. My clients are shaking up their view of themselves.
They are slowing down and learning to be present and connect to themselves. They’re facing fears, obstacles, and beliefs that they have held for decades that have driven their lives. They’re starting to see them differently and beginning to let them go. It’s not easy work. It is not perfect work, but it is amazing mind-bending work, mind, and body-altering work. I am honored to facilitate it for my clients. It is everything I wanted and envisioned for them when I set out to create it and more.
I had a client comment that our group calls are her favorite part of her week, and I wholeheartedly agree. She doesn’t love it because it’s fun and easy even though we do have fun. There is often a mix of laughter and tears. She loves it because it’s the kind of work that feeds your soul. Connecting to yourself and being willing to open up and share and be vulnerable with others that is soul work.
That is what we are engaged in. If this appeals to you, if this is speaking to you if this sounds like you. If you want to occupy that space in between and learn to love yourself and lose weight, come apply and schedule a call with me. Yes, this episode was one giant overly detailed invite for you to come to do this work in your life that you have been desiring to do. To do this work in your life that you have been a little afraid to do. To do this work in your life that you know it’s time to do. Head to itbeginswithathought.com/apply, and I’ll see you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.