When weight loss is a goal we’ve been working on for so long, with inevitable lows and failures among the seemingly small successes, it’s so easy for us to access practiced feelings like frustration, inadequacy, and shame. And if I asked you to genuinely generate feelings of pride, compassion, love, and patience, I bet it wouldn’t come as easily.
Emotions are a crucial and powerful part of our weight loss process. Because they fuel our actions, it is so important to generate ones that have us paying attention to our bodies and giving it what it needs, rather than generating feelings that have us throwing out our plans and overeating. So how do we do that when accessing those feelings feels like a challenge?
Join me on the podcast this week as I show you how to borrow a feeling from other situations in your life that can serve you on your weight loss journey. I 100% guarantee that you can bring up a memory that fills your whole being with pride and love for yourself, and this is going to fuel so much success.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 58.
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, Master Certified coach, Natalie Brown.
Hey everybody. It is story time today on the podcast. This podcast came to me as I was sitting on the balcony of my hotel room overlooking Lake Las Vegas. Yes, that is a thing. A lake in the middle of the desert of Las Vegas.
I was at a dance convention with my daughter. She is an amazing little dancer and we spent many a weekend from January to May traveling to and attending dance conventions. She would correct me for saying we attend because technically I don’t attend the convention or compete.
But even though I’m not dancing, it is a team effort to get her here and ready and fed and hair and makeup done for competition and all the things it takes to make it happen. I’m the support crew basically.
Anyway, she loves it and she works super hard and one of my favorite things in the world is watching her dance. So a couple of summers ago we went to a Nationals competition with her dance team. She competed her solo there as well as competed in her team’s dances, and she ended up placing in the top 10 overall for the solos in her age group.
We were super excited and so proud but what we didn’t know about this particular competition was that this was basically like making the finals. The competition wasn’t quite over. Usually your solo places in the top 10 and we call it a day.
But this time, a little bit different. The top 10 soloists then perform a one-minute improvised solo to a random surprise song they had not heard before for the judges and then both scores are combined for the final placement.
Well, my little 10-year-old had never done improv before. And as much as she loves to dance and get on stage and express herself through the movement and perform, she’s a little bit shy and a little bit reserved. And this idea of getting on stage and making something up on the spot in front of the judges and an audience had her feeling super scared and really vulnerable.
I think her getting up and doing someone else’s choreography that she has rehearsed and perfected over several months felt altogether different than getting up and doing her own thing without practice. At one point, she had a little breakdown.
We had gotten together with a few other dances from her studio who are also in this improv competition and her dance teachers to kind of practice a little and share ideas before the competition started. We went oldest to youngest and each girl got up and improved for one minute for each other just to kind of see what it was like.
And as my little, she was 10 at the time and she’s tiny for her age and she’s my youngest, so I often refer to her as my little. So as she sat on my lap and it got closer to her turn, she started shaking like a leaf and just sobbing. She was terrified and she felt so much pressure and she didn’t feel like she could do it.
Her teachers sort of cleared everyone out of the room but us and reassured her so sweetly and so kindly that she could totally do it and they would help her. And eventually she got up and she tried and got through her one minute of improv practice and we headed to the stage for the competition.
I stood backstage with her while she waited and she literally stood on my feet facing me and hugging me like she would never let go. It’s like she was trying to get as close as possible to me. And she stayed that way until it was almost her turn and I needed to go get in my seat to watch.
So I gave her a kiss and I told her it doesn’t even matter if you get on stage and your mind goes blank and you just do cartwheels for one minute. The fact that you’re facing your fear like this and choosing to show yourself that you can is amazing.
So I sat in the audience and started kind of watching the girls her age come out on stage one by one and my stomach was in knots. It was clear that many of these girls, unlike us, had known about and expected this improv portion of the competition, maybe having been to this competition before.
They had costumes; they had clearly been practicing this skill of improvisational dance. They were confident and sassy and so cute and they didn’t skip a beat. No one even hesitated for a second.
I was more and more nervous, knowing my daughter was back there watching this and knowing how already all up in her head she was. I finally hear them announce her name and I have seriously never been so nervous before in my life. Even for myself, in any of the singing and performing I have done for audiences of different sizes.
So she comes on stage, she stands facing the back and the music and the lights come up. And she starts to dance. And it is amazing. She owns the stage for that one minute, she’s confident, she’s beautiful, she doesn’t skip a beat, and when the minute is over, she exits the stage like she has done that a million times.
And I literally ran backstage as fast as I could and she ran to meet me and I picked her up and we were both crying and I was just squeezing her so tight and kissing her little face off and honestly, I have never in my life felt so proud of anything or anyone.
It gets me a little bit choked up just even talking about it. To watch her go out and conquer her fear like that and do something so hard and so scary and so unknown, her willingness not only to just try something hard and do something she didn’t really want to do in a lot of ways, something she had no idea if she could do, especially being someone who has really high expectations of herself and really loves to be certain of the outcome as much as possible, it blew my mind and it filled my heart with more pride than I have ever felt before and I will never forget it.
About a year later, in a session with my coach, we were talking about some things I had accomplished and how my brain was wanting to only see the lack. What was missing and what was next.
I was skipping the part where I celebrated and gave credit to myself for what I had done. So she asked me what feeling would I like to feel about these accomplishments, and I said proud, but proud was a feeling that felt completely foreign when it came to myself.
I so rarely if ever felt proud of myself for anything. So she asked me a question that shifted my brain a bit. She asked me to think of a time I felt proud in my life about anything or anyone, and that was easy. I could immediately go right back to that ballroom in Florida, watching my little girl dance from her little heart and right over her fear on that stage. I could generate that feeling immediately just with the memory.
Now, the feeling of pride and love that filled my whole being in that moment as I watched her on stage was not because she is a beautiful dancer. It wasn’t about her ability to execute turns or her straight legs or her pointed feet. It was about her feeling afraid and doing it anyway. Her choosing to believe in herself enough to overcome her doubt.
Her going all in on trying something new, even if she might mess up, because of what she wanted to show herself she was capable of. There was no pressure from me or her dance teachers. Not one of us said she had to. She chose to stand on that stage and see what she could do for no other reason than for herself and who she wants to be and who she believes she is.
So the only question was can I also believe some of those things about me? Can I see examples of when I feel afraid and I do it anyway? Are there times when I have chosen to believe in myself enough to overcome my doubt? Have I gone all in on something new, even if I might mess up because of what I want to show myself I’m capable of?
Yes, yes, and yes. And you know what is magic? When I think about those times I have felt afraid and moved forward anyway, I can totally access that feeling of proud for me. When I think about times I have chosen to believe in myself enough to overcome my doubt, I can close my eyes and feel the feeling of proud rise in my chest.
When I think about the times I’ve gone all in on something new, knowing I might mess up, and I have shown myself what I am capable of, I feel so proud of me. Those thoughts I have about my daughter, I can also choose to believe about me. I don’t believe them every minute of every day, there’s still plenty of doubt an inadequacy happening, but I can borrow the feeling experience from that time in Florida with my daughter and use it for me.
There are so many emotions that are useful and powerful in our weight loss process. When we think about emotions being the fuel for our actions, we can see how important it is to be able to generate or access feelings that will move us forward. Most of us have inadequacy and shame and frustration and hopelessness down pat.
We can bring those up in our bodies with hardly any effort. And those feelings are what drive us to overeat, to throw plans out the window, ignore how our bodies feel, and give up on our health goals. We want to learn how to generate and access feelings like love, compassion, gratitude, pride, and patience so we can use them as fuel to take the actions we want to take, like eating only when we’re hungry, not in order to escape shame.
Like listening to our bodies and stopping when we’re full. Like paying attention to how foods feel in our bodies and giving it what it needs. Like looking at our missteps with curiosity instead of judgment. Like moving an exercising in a way that feels good instead of like a punishment.
What are some of those feelings you think would be helpful for you in this process? What might you do if you could feel proud of you? How would you show up with the feeling of love as your fuel?
If it feels hard to generate or access some of those feelings, where could you borrow them from other situations in your life? Notice I’m not trying to just generate the feeling of proud from nothing. I’m also paying attention to what I was thinking or believing in that moment watching my daughter that created that proud feeling in me.
Noticing the particular sentences and looking at how they could also relate to me. If I can believe them about her and feel proud, then could I also believe them about me and feel proud? If this transfer feels hard or blocked, like you notice the sentence you had in your mind about someone else that created compassion in you, but when you try to think that same sentence about you to create the compassion feeling, your brain offers arguments against it.
Look a little bit closer at those arguments. What exactly is standing in the way of you believing the same thing about you? Let’s just look at my sentence. I felt afraid and did it anyway. I might be able to look at a situation where this might be true but at the same time, my brain might offer, “Yeah, but what about the other time when you didn’t? You don’t always do it anyway. Sometimes you let fear stop you because you’re weak.”
That sounds like an argument my brain would probably offer. In fact, I’m sure it has offered that to me. It was super easy for me to come up with that just now because it’s something I’ve chosen to believe at times for sure. So your brain may throw up an argument like this as well.
We don’t need to add judgment to the mix about these arguments. Just notice them and look at them one by one. I like to look at them and acknowledge them. Yes brain, it’s true that I don’t always do this. Sometimes I do let fear stop me, and that’s okay.
But there are times like – and here I would probably list a few of them for myself – where I felt fear and I did it anyway and that is awesome. It’s awesome that I’m capable of that. I seriously have these kinds of conversations with myself all the time. It may sound funny to you but engaging in conversation with yourself is so powerful.
We’re doing it anyway, mostly by default. You know that voice in the back of your head that’s bossing you around and berating you? The conversation is happening. It’s just that for most of us, we think it’s passive, like it’s just happening. We don’t realize that we can engage and talk back. We can converse. Not just be lectured.
We can proactively start and stop conversations that do or don’t serve us. We can change the conversation. We can guide the conversation, monitor the conversation, and stop the conversation. It just takes recognizing and believing it’s a thing.
If you think I’m crazy, just start listening. Notice what is going on up there outside of your awareness. And wherever you can, borrow feelings from other places in your life to use as fuel for you.
Okay everybody, good news, I have a new weight loss group starting in April. So if you’re ready to lose weight for the last time and you’d like some help from me in doing so, I’d love to assist you in the process. 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.