If I had to outline the fundamental skills we’re trying to build in the process of weight loss, it would be planning with our adult brains no matter how much our toddler brains resist, and becoming aware of our emotions, and listening to our bodies.
Listen in this week as I dive into a lesson I learned about deliberate to automatic thinking. I’m showing you why this is what we’re all working towards, and what is required of you to keep going despite the obstacles and challenges that will inevitably come your way.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 78.
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. I recently added a new facet to my identity. I am a mom, wife, coach, entrepreneur, among many other things, and am now also a super cool biker chick. Okay, maybe more like an aspiring super cool biker chick.
So my husband and son have many two-wheeled toys, mountain bikes, dirt bikes, snow bikes, and the newest addition, street bikes. We live right on the bench of the Wasatch Mountains, and we have access to many amazing canyons, all within 30 minutes of us.
And over the last couple of summers, we have been loving taking evenings rides and weekend rides on the street bikes up the canyons for amazing scenery and fresh air, little bit cooler temperatures, or even to grab a bite to eat with a view.
But we can only carry four of the five of us on the bikes. And so it hasn’t been able to be a full family activity until now. I got myself a three-wheeled toy, a trike motorcycle so that we can all go on rides as a family.
My trike is a manual transmission, so it’s not as simple as hopping on and hitting the gas and going for a ride. It’s actually a whole thing. I drove a manual transmission car as a teenager, so I’m familiar with the concept, but in my car, I was operating the clutch with my left foot, the gas and the brake with my right foot, the gear shift with my right hand, and the steering wheel and signal with my left.
On the trike, the clutch is operated with the left hand, the signal with the left thumb, the gears are shifted with the left foot, the gas is the right hand, and the brake is the right foot. So it wasn’t like hopping on and it all came back to me like I was driving my stick shift car.
It was a whole new set of skills and coordinating all the puzzle pieces in a whole new way. I felt like my brain was on fire while operating a moving vehicle. Very challenging.
I wanted initially just to head to a parking lot to learn and to practice. I thought a parking lot has no other cars, no stop lights, no hills, no pressure. It will be a safe place to hone my skills. Seemed so much easier.
My husband wasn’t having it. Not because he’s mean and likes to stress me out. He’s an excellent teacher and pretty much the most patient human on the planet. And he’s smart and he knows that a parking lot is not like the road.
It doesn’t present the opportunity to stop and start and make left turns and have to shift down to go around roundabouts and pay attention to other drivers. The road conditions in a parking lot are not real life. It would not teach me how to face or overcome obstacles that I would be presented with on the road.
So we went out on a Sunday afternoon at a low traffic time, and we stayed in the neighborhood. About two minutes in, when I came to my first light and stalled trying to start in first gear like, three times in a row, and there was a car behind me waiting for me to get going, I had a little toddler brain tantrum.
It sounded something like, “I don’t want to do this, this is too hard, I can’t do this, there’s too much pressure, this is impossible, I want to go home.” All in one really long loud run-on yell sentence. My husband, being the saint that he is, took the handlebars and guided the trike to the side of the road and told me to take some deep breaths.
He reminded me that in fact, I wanted this trike. So I could ride my 12-year-old on the back of the bike with me and we could go for family rides together. That there was no way to learn but to do it. That it was hard, but I could totally figure it out, and that it would take some practice but if I kept practicing, I would get better and better, and it wouldn’t feel so hard anymore.
And so I took the handlebars and I tried again. It was a struggle, like with a capital S. I stalled 15 more times that day and I kept forgetting to let the gas off when I pulled in the clutch and shifted gears, and a few times I tried to start from first and forgot my foot was still on the brake and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t going anywhere.
Oh, and did I mention that for some reason, I thought doing all of this in Birkenstocks was a good idea? So I broke my toenail shifting at one point and there is a Band-Aid on it still because it was painful and got very ugly afterward. I’ll spare you the details. You’re welcome.
I actually didn’t notice that I had done it until we got home because I was so stressed the whole time about everything I had to think about and do. It was so fascinating to feel my brain working to coordinate my hands and feet and arms and legs to do what needed to be done.
It was tedious and deliberate. It almost felt like every time I was thinking through each step, right foot, press brake, right hand, let off gas, left hand, pull clutch, left foot, shift down, plus having to watch where I’m going and be aware of traffic and speed limits and where I was going next and all of the other regular driving stuff.
Thus the brain on fire feeling. I wanted to quit several other times, let me tell you. My husband was on the back and there were plenty of moments where my brain was tired of all the deliberate thinking and coordinating and wanted to just let him drive me home.
But I reminded myself of why I was doing this, that I could do hard things until they felt easy, that I would only learn by doing this over and over. And by the end of that hour-long ride, it was feeling easier. I was able to start from first without stalling, I was remembering to let off the gas when shifting, most of the time.
It was feeling a little less deliberate, a little more automatic, and I was super proud of myself. I made it home and after a little break, I actually wanted to go out and practice some more. After my second ride, it felt even easier, and each ride has been the same.
I still have a way to go. I am not a professional motorcycle rider quite yet. But I can see how my success compounds each time I go. It’s not like starting over every time. I take what I built the previous day and I build on it the next.
You know where this is going, right? This is the same with all the skills we are trying to build in the process of mindset weight loss. Planning with your adult brain, executing your plan no matter how much your toddler brain tantrums, listening to hunger, being present and aware while eating so you can listen to satiety, becoming aware of emotions, what they feel like, and what’s creating them; your brain. Hint hint.
Noticing all of your limiting beliefs and practicing new thoughts deliberately, like hunger is not an emergency, food won’t fix this, et cetera, et cetera. Being willing to feel your feelings instead of eat, celebrating your wins, assessing how it’s going.
This process is about choosing deliberately and with intention thoughts, feelings, and actions that get you closer to future you. It’s not about staying in the parking lot. It’s about being willing to get out on the road with all of the challenges and obstacles and other cars and show yourself what you’re capable of.
It’s about knowing why you are doing this, loving those reasons, and reminding yourself of it every single time your toddler brain offers you the easier way out. It’s doing the work on your mind. Not just changing what you eat. It’s about patience, persistence, and practice.
It’s about believing on purpose that you will figure it out. That no matter how many times you stall, you will keep going. That even if you feel like giving up, and even if you do give up for a minute, you can choose to take a deep breath and keep going.
It’s about doing the things that feel hard over and over until they feel easy, until they go from deliberate to automatic. Get out there and make it happen, my friends. 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.