Welcome back to part two of my favorite nuggets of wisdom series! I’ve been going through my podcasts and compiling the fundamental teachings from each one of them, and I’m here to offer them to you in a short-and-sweet tasting menu, so you can decide to dive deeper if you wish.
Your weight loss journey is full of learning new tools, unlearning some unhelpful beliefs you’ve brought with you along the way, and some pretty uncomfortable growth. This is why I’m giving you bite-sized pieces that you can easily take in and comprehend, and today, we’re continuing on from part one!
Listen in this week as I review episodes 18 through 30 and share the core lessons that are going to be absolute game-changers on your weight loss journey. We’re covering everything from the detriments of food rules, how to become the author of your life, to what self-care truly means and how to facilitate it in a way that serves you.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 90.
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.
Hello everybody. More nuggets of wisdom from the podcast for you today. I love quotes and little nuggets that I can take in and easily comprehend but take my time to digest.
It’s part of the reason I created a short and sweet podcast and why I love finger foods. Because you get a taste and you can decide how much more you want to consume.
So look at these nuggets of wisdom podcasts like that. It’s a tasting menu of the whole podcast that will allow you to grab a quote or a concept and ponder it for the day or hear a nugget that makes you want to consume more, and you can go search for and listen, or re-listen to the whole episode.
Episode 18 is one of those episodes. If you haven’t listened to it or it’s been a minute, go back and check it out. Our food rules are one of the biggest sets of obstacles there are to our weight loss. The many rules that don’t make sense, that don’t come from us, that don’t consider what we like, what feels good. They inhibit our ability to listen to and to honor our bodies.
Here are a few nuggets from that episode. The longer you’ve been alive, and especially the longer you’ve been conscious of your weight and trying to lose weight or not gain weight, the longer your list of food rules has likely gotten.
I kind of imagine it like a binder full of random pieces of paper and Post-Its and pages of books and things ripped out of magazines and posters, all folded up and shoved in. Our brains really like rules.
We like them because our brain wants as much predictability as possible. Predictability means safety, and since our brains’ jobs is to protect us from danger, it’s all over the safety of predictability. We think if we follow rules, we will be able to predict outcomes.
If I do this, this will happen. If I eat leafy green veggies, my heart will be healthier. If I eat too much fat, I will get fat and have high cholesterol, et cetera. One of the rules I don’t believe, I think there’s a lot of scientific evidence to prove it otherwise, but one of those that we adopted a lot of us nonetheless.
And so by paying attention to and following the rules, I will be able to have some control over what may otherwise be uncontrolled and therefore dangerous. So many of our rules around food and eating we adopt in the name of health and weight loss.
We think that following the rules will lead us to freedom in our bodies, but I think it’s the opposite. Think of all those rules like bars in a prison cell. Every rule you adopt and hold on to is one of those bars.
So that rule you adopted when you were seven about rice cakes being basically calorie-free, or the one you picked up when you were 15 that told you that candy is fine if it’s low fat, or the one when you were 22 about cream soups contributing to heart disease are all bars in the mental prison of all your food rules.
Our judgments about whether or not something is good or bad, or healthy or unhealthy, and all the rules we use to punish ourselves thin are actually keeping us stuck right where we are and are often creating bodies that are feeling more and more limited in the way they move around in the world.
This leaves us feeling like we don’t have a choice. We have to, can’t, need to, shouldn’t, aren’t supposed to. The rules are deciding for us. We don’t have any power. And when we feel disempowered, our brains’ response is to try to take back the power.
That’s why we so often find ourselves rebelling against these food rules we’ve created. Steven C. Hayes put it so beautifully when he said, “Like a lion trapped in a paper cage, human beings are generally most trapped by the illusions of their own mind.”
From episode 19, rewriting our story means feeling some discomfort. It requires trading the discomfort of now for the discomfort of growth. The thing I find interesting is that most of us are mostly unaware of the story our brain tells us about our lives.
I see optimism not as an ignoring of reality, but a conscious perspective choice. We create the experience of our lives with the way we choose to tell our story. Your story about it determines your experience of it.
Imagine your brain is the ocean and you’re floating on a boat in the middle of it. The ocean is full of sentences floating by. Something happens in your world, some sentences float by, and you reach out and grab the one you want to believe and pull it on the boat.
Building this skill of consciously choosing our thoughts can change everything. Our entire experience of our lives, despite our circumstances, even those we can’t control, we determine with our thoughts.
No matter what happens outside of you, you have the power to control what you make it mean and your experience of it. You are the author of your story.
From episode 20, the experience of our story, how our story, our thoughts make us feel is the heart of the story. Feelings are what we as humans are all about. Everything we do or don’t do, and most of the things we eat or don’t eat are because of a feeling we want to have or to avoid.
In the end, it is always the feeling that matters most and a feeling we are after. For most of us, our toddler brain is running the show most of the time. Our toddler brain wants what it wants right now. It has strong opinions and desires, no patience, and can’t be reasoned with.
It is often throwing a tantrum, complaining, whining, high on sugar, and living life with no rules or limits, but in desperate need of them. Sound like any toddlers you know?
What the toddler doesn’t know is that feelings can’t actually kill us and discomfort doesn’t mean we are going to die. That’s all a feeling actually does. It shows up a certain way in your body, you experience it, and then that particular chemical wave subsides and is gone.
Being willing to and building the skill of feeling our emotions, allowing our emotional waves to flow through our body is the superpower that can make you unstoppable in your life.
From episode 21, the thought matters, the feeling matters. Weight loss is like a scientific experiment. We wonder, we research, hypothesize, test, assess, conclude, and go again. Over and over until we find what works and what doesn’t, and then that changes and we go to work again.
One of the first obstacles we come up against is what is called fusion. Our brain offers us a thought and we totally buy in hook, like, and sinker. We believe it is just true. We become one with it. Fused with the thought.
We lose sight of the fact that our thoughts are just sentences, just words and pictures floating around in the ocean of our brain and it’s up to us to grab the one we want and believe it. We forget we have a choice.
The sentences have no power unless we give it. They can’t threaten us or direct us or hurt us or control us unless we fuse with them and choose to believe them. Good news though, there is an antidote, and the antidote to fusion is delusion.
You’ll have to go listen to this podcast to learn more about that. If this is – this is a Glennon Doyle quote. “If this is our shared human experience, where did we get the idea that there is some other, better, more perfect, unbroken way to be human? Where is this human being who is functioning correctly against whom we are all judging our performances? Who is she? Where is she? What is her life if it is not these things?”
Remember that you are always in charge of how you feel and the experience of your life based on the thoughts you choose. Don’t spend a second of your 50% amazing, regretting or resenting the 50% that isn’t. That is what it truly means to be the author of your life, to be brave enough to choose to feel all of it.
From episode 22, there is no one who is living all of the time in a space of goodness and love and light. We are humans. We suffer. It’s important to extricate ourselves from that toxic gratitude pool. We have so much to be grateful for and we also suffer.
One doesn’t negate the other. They can both be. So rather than a but, it’s an and. I am struggling right now and I have a beautiful life. And I don’t think it’s useful to minimize it or compare our suffering to others.
You’re allowed, even though you don’t live in the worst of circumstances, you’re allowed to struggle and to suffer and to feel the spectrum of human emotions. This is a lot like your brain and thought work.
Most of us are living with brains like my room of shame. You’ll have to go to this episode to learn more about what that was. We know there’s a lot in there to sort through and organize, but without any means to do so, we just keep throwing stuff in there and shutting the door so we don’t have to look at it, but it’s not going away. Not by itself. You have to pull it out, sort through it, and decide what you want to keep and what you want to let go of.
Doesn’t matter how it comes out. It just matters that you get it out. And you can see, I am human. I am both imperfect and amazing, I both struggle and am strong.
From episode 23, you can lose weight, but your brain comes with you. So it won’t last unless the change goes more than skin deep. My clients see and use the scale, the idea of planning, overeats, questions as weapons against themselves.
They attack and harm themselves with these things, rather than engaging with them as tools that can allow them to build the skills that will help them lose weight, keep it off, and grow in the process. It keeps them stuck spinning and suffering, and it’s not necessary.
We have lots of evidence of what didn’t work or went wrong. The good news is you don’t have to get rid of this evidence or ignore it or pretend it didn’t happen. We can instead use it as a tool to figure out how we want to do things now.
Even though you didn’t miss out on eating a cookie, you did miss out on honoring you, on a learning moment where you could have realized that saying no to the cookie and feeling discomfort doesn’t kill you, it strengthens you.
Saying no to someone else often means saying yes to us. When you step on the scale, you have a choice of what you make that number mean about you. That number is a reflection of what you are putting in your mouth and its effect on your body.
It’s free totally neutral digits. It’s information, it’s data. The process of healthy weight loss is a scientific experiment that helps us learn what works for our body and what doesn’t. And the number on the scale is a metric that we use to evaluate if the things you are eating work for you or not. That’s it.
There’s no and next to the number. There’s not a little equal sign that pops us that says “lazy” or “disgusting” after it. That’s just your brain offering you unhelpful thoughts that sling arrows to your heart.
Our brains are so dedicated to proving our thoughts true they will create whatever you have decided on, even if it’s crap that doesn’t serve you. It will serve up the very thing you are telling it will happen.
Have you ever been somewhere loud and raised your voice to try to talk to someone over the noise and then the sound went off all of a sudden and you’re left yelling in a room of silence and feeling very awkward? It’s kind of what happens when sugar’s effects wear off.
The emotion that you were feeling or that you were trying to numb seems so much louder in the void that it leaves. The feeling itself isn’t a threat. It’s your teacher. Through allowing it, you increase your capacity to feel and tolerate discomfort, and though questioning it, you learn why it’s there in the first place and what incredible power you have over it.
Overeating is like an atomic bomb. It’s destructive in the moment but then has some pretty insidious effects after as well. Because after the overeating comes the judgment, and our judgment of ourselves for the act of overeating can in many cases be as bad or worse than the initial action.
We are overeating to numb the experience of some emotion in our body. A full body is a numb body. If you think about a glass full of water versus an empty one, if you were to tap each one with a spoon, they would vibrate differently based on their contents. The same is true for your body.
This after moment, after we overeat, after we eat off plan is a critical one. A moment of learning or of looping. You know if you’ve listened to any of my podcasts that questions are my favorite, but some of my clients’ questions are not.
Their brains are offering them poisonous thoughts disguised as questions, questions that appear helpful and useful but are rendering them powerless. Questions like, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I figure this out? How will I ever be able to do this?
These questions do not produce helpful answers that move us forward. When we ask what’s wrong with me, what we’re really thinking is something is wrong with me, and the list of things we find wrong in answer to that question goes on and on and does not serve us.
It’s a problem rather than a solution-focused question and it will therefore set us spinning in circles. You know your questions are useful tools when they get you looking for solutions.
From episode 24, we tolerate okay-ish because it’s harder to figure out how to make a change or truly take care of ourselves than it is to just stay in the relative discomfort of our current lives and bodies. We settle for it’s fine instead of going after our dreams.
The moment between you stepping off the scale that hasn’t moved and the subsequent eating of pizza that you may do in response, that is your moment. That moment, not the number on the scale, is what will determine your success.
Believing the lie that this number means it’s not working and never will guarantees you quit on yourself. But what you believe and then do in that moment is your choice. When you believe different thoughts, you will create different fuel, and you will do things differently. Simple as that.
Our brains will choose comfortable and familiar over uncomfortable and unfamiliar any day of the week because at least we can predict what the familiar discomfort experience will be. There are no surprises or potential dangers there.
Your emotions are created by your brain but experienced in your body. Reciting positive mantras to ourselves, or trying to believe opposite thoughts to escape our familiar feeling state is kind of like bringing in the fan to cool down the house instead of adjusting the thermostat.
It might be temporarily useful but isn’t actually effective long term. Changing our emotions set point is best done a degree at a time.
From episode 25, it’s not the pizza that signals our doom. Pizza in any form. I feel like pizza comes up a lot. It’s the quitting the follows, the eating all the things, the F-it attitude that lasts for days, weeks, and sometimes months.
It wasn’t the food that was creating the motivation in the beginning. It wasn’t that we just had motivation and now we don’t. It’s not lost and we can’t go looking for it and just happen upon it. We have to create the feeling of motivation on a continual basis on purpose with our thinking.
We choose motivation. We don’t just have it or not. Willpower is really just us resisting our desire for things. There’s a lot of I can’t, I won’t, happening to create willpower.
There’s a reason people often refer to willpower as white-knuckling it because it is fighting, pushing against, what we want, but can’t have. That’s why willpower is a limited resource. Willpower runs out because it is exhausting to push and fight and resist.
And once the willpower runs out, you’re left with all of those feelings of desire you’ve been resisting. Desire is a feeling created by your own thinking. Desire is not something to fear or fight against, and it’s not something we have to act on or do anything about.
When we quit, we allow ourselves to let go of what has happened in the past. We say it doesn’t matter, I don’t even care, screw it, which feels like relief compared to what’s wrong with you and you screwed up again. It also allows us to look forward to the possibilities.
We think Monday will be different, I’ll totally be able to do this once the kids are back in school and things aren’t so crazy. So we get to take our eyes off the past mistakes and all of the guilt and regret and turn them toward the future and all of the hope that lives in what could be.
But this is a gift we can give ourselves any time. It isn’t the quitting that creates the relief. It’s the change in our thinking. We don’t need relief if we aren’t resisting and piling on guilt with our thoughts in the first place.
We don’t need a break if we aren’t believing that we can’t, shouldn’t, and aren’t supposed to. When you believe you are always choosing every moment, every bite, you get to feel the truth, which is that you have the power.
Episode 26 has these nuggets to offer. It is so important to stay connected to ourselves and what we want on any journey of change and transformation. You’re on a weight loss journey of some kind, you’re wanting to lose weight, working to lose weight, or thinking about losing weight.
But how often do you ask yourself why? How often do you pause and connect with what it is you really want and why it matters? I don’t think everyone needs to or should lose weight. I think weight loss is just a conduit to finding freedom in our minds so we can have freedom in our bodies.
I don’t think it’s a necessary step that everyone should take in order to be okay in their bodies. Y’all know by now that doesn’t work. Weight loss is a goal and a challenge that can grow you in amazing ways. Weight loss should be driven by and led by love for ourselves.
From episode 27, how much time do you spend in your imagination period? I bet you’d be surprised if I told you it’s just as much as when you were young, only now it’s not about fun and exciting possibilities. It’s about doom and gloom and regret.
The past is in your imagination. It doesn’t exist. It already happened. So you thinking about it now is you using the power of your imagination to conjure the image and create feelings about the past.
When you’re thinking about something you wish you’d done in the past and you are feeling regret, you are experiencing the emotion of regret now in the present. The thought you’re having creating that feeling is about the past, but the emotion is happening in your body now.
And what we feel now drives what we do now. So if you’re feeling regret, regret is the fuel you use now to show up in the world. You can think about the past in a way that serves you in the present or not. That’s up to you.
The future is also in your imagination. It hasn’t happened yet. So any time we’re thinking about the future, we are using our imaginations as well. And just like with the past, when we imagine the future, we feel emotions in the present.
The past was the present at one point in time so we don’t have to work very hard to recreate it in our minds. A mantra is just a disconnected sentence. We don’t actually believe it. We often want to employ a mantra to span the gap between where we currently are and where we want to be, but it simply won’t work unless it’s connected to, anchored to, tethered to a feeling.
Without a feeling, they are just words. Meaningless and ineffective. Once you can imagine not just the thought but what it will actually feel like to believe it, you will be connected to power, plugged in to possibility.
We have to use our imaginations to conjure the emotions. Emotion is what powers action and the switch is our thoughts. You don’t have to save the joy for later. The best time to do it to feel it is now. You don’t have to wait to lose the weight to experience proud. You don’t have to see a certain number on the scale to feel confident.
These are feelings you can open up to and create for yourself now. This is not about waiting any more to love you. Not waiting until some day to take care of yourself like you want to.
Okay, from episode 28, believe the change is working for you, ahead of you, and with you. Life is always trying to give you what you need. Sometimes it is not the way you expect it. I love that quote.
I say if you learn something and it resonates with you and believing it serves your life and helps you be the highest version of yourself, believe away. You don’t have to be anything anyone tells you that you are. No matter how much research they have done, or how convinced they are that it is the capital T truth.
As we’ve discussed before, your personality is just what you do based on your thoughts and feelings, so, so much of it is in your control. I don’t ever want my focus on my after or my future to infer that who I am now is not okay.
When I am only thinking about what I want that I don’t have, what I want to change, what I wish was different, I’m focused on what I lack. Not on all that I possess.
Episode 29, setting out on a journey of learning, discovery, or change isn’t always what we think it will be. Doesn’t always look or feel like we thought it would. I was thinking about how the process of change isn’t always pretty. How it’s hard and messy and not fun much of the time.
But on the other side, someone altogether new waits for us to inhabit her. Do you ever feel like your brain and your insides are so uncomfortable they might be turning to mush in this process? Now you know the mush is necessary. It’s the stuff your future self is made of.
This episode was all about butterflies becoming butterflies from caterpillars. There’s some mush involved. Sometimes in the process of change, things seem like they get worse before they get better. Metamorphosis, the definition of metamorphosis is a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one by natural or supernatural means. I love that idea.
Changing the nature of a person into a completely different one by supernatural means, yep, that’s my brand of weight loss. Changing your nature supernaturally. So good.
I love this quote from Cynthia Occelli about the magic of nature. “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out, and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
Last but not least for this nuggets of wisdom episode, episode 30. Self-care is not just about what you do. It starts like all other things, with our minds and it includes all components of your health. Physical, mental, and emotional.
There’s no exact prescription for self-care that’s going to be the same for everyone, and there’s likely not even a prescription for self-care that will be the same for you every day, every week, or every year for all of time.
We want to connect to what self-care looks like for us and be open to it changing and expanding and receding and evolving over time. Your emotions are like the weather. Always there and always changing.
We want to tune into them so we know how best to take care of ourselves in that emotional season. An important aspect of self-care, it is not a separate or independent concept. It’s not like we do self-care from three to five on Thursdays.
It’s a thread that runs through everything. If self-care is taking care of your physical and emotional health and you live in your physical body and are driven by emotions, then there’s a component of self-care in everything you do. Sometimes kindness looks like freedom, and sometimes it looks like loving limits.
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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.