These episodes are little gifts from me to you, in the form of mini-episodes to help you better digest the information I’m sharing with you, so tune in with fresh ears. If a particular sentence resonates, I invite you to go back and dive deep because I promise, whether it’s your second attempt or the first time you’re digging in, you’ll see some incredible transformations.
Join me as we explore some critical nuggets of wisdom that will help you on your weight loss journey. As always, I’m leaving you with some questions to ponder and answer for yourself because taking action here is a vital component that will help you reach your weight and health goals.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 95.
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.
Hey everybody. I put up all of my Christmas decorations today while watching Christmas Vacation and The Holiday. So, that means it’s officially Christmas at my house. That is the marker, and it also means it’s my children’s favorite time of year. When they have to listen to Christmas music in my car for a month as the Christmas-only rule only goes into effect.
Really, at this point, 2/3 of them can drive themselves. So, they have escaped much of their seasonal torture. But my 12-year-old is still stuck in the car with me a lot. She likes Christmas a lot more than my other two. So, she thinks it’s less painful. But it’s a little bit funny for me to remember how much my kids would complain and protest about having to listen to Christmas music in my car during December.
But my car, my rules, I say. And I love Christmas music. I don’t listen to it any other time of the year. So, it’s extra special to me in this month. There’s a lot of nostalgia in some of the albums I grew up listening to and a lot of joy in the new favorites I discovered through my life. Honestly, I love Christmas music, and Christmas smells so much more than I love any particular Christmas food at this point.
I am so grateful for the work that my past self did to get to this place. I really hooked myself up. Listen to episode 94 for more on that. So, I want to share some more nuggets of wisdom with you from past podcasts. It’s basically like listening to mini-episodes or cliff notes of past episodes. I want to challenge you to listen with fresh ears.
Some of you’ve probably missed episodes here and there. I don’t listen to everybody’s podcast every single week. So, right there’s going to be some new things that you hear. But even if you listen to all of them, listen for new insights. Grab a sentence that really resonates with you and ponder it, write about what came up for you, investigate, and explore. Go back and listen to the whole episode and answer the questions I pose or do the exercise I suggested. Take this work into your life and do it, and you will see the changes happen.
From episode 41, what are you arguing for? Sometimes it feels like there is a constant argument happening in our heads. What to do vs. what not to do. What to eat/not to eat. Who we are/who we want to be; back and forth endlessly? Much of the time, based on how much airtime we give it, one side is clearly winning. And then gathering and presenting more and more evidence of how the argument is true.
This ongoing argument is the thoughts your brain presents as the case for or against something. Sometimes we think of it as a little devil or an angel on your shoulder. But the truth is, it’s all you. A whole courtroom drama is happening in your head, and you are the prosecution, the defense, the judge, the jury, the witnesses, all of it.
Byron Katie, brilliant love of what is, says this in her book Loving What Is. What you think shouldn’t have happened should have happened. It should have happened because it did. And no thinking in the world can change that. And I would add to it, our thinking that it should or shouldn’t have happened differently doesn’t change it. But it does change our experience of it.
It adds a tinge of wrongness, dissatisfaction, inequity, or outrage, or disappointment. And it’s unnecessary suffering we are creating for ourselves. Without the should and shouldn’t, Byron Katie adds, we can see reality as it is, and this leaves us free to act efficiently, clearly, and sanely. Asking what is the reality of it can help bring the mind out of its story back into the real world. I love that question what is the reality of it?
Notice when you are arguing for things to be what they should be. Notice when you are arguing for reality and notice how you feel when you do that. It’s like running in place and hoping to get somewhere. It just breeds frustration, not forward motion. If you are spending your time arguing for weight loss being hard. You are at the same time against it being easy. If you are arguing for it being impossible, you are arguing against the possibility.
If you are arguing for this being how you are, you are arguing against what you could be. If you are arguing for discomfort being unbearable, you are arguing against your capability to feel. If you are arguing for it being fair, you are arguing against it being a gift of learning and growth. If you are arguing for needing a break, you are arguing against your own inner strength. If you are arguing for not having enough time to plan and take care of you, you are arguing against the time and energy you are worth.
If you are arguing for how far away your goal is, you are arguing against this amazing journey to becoming future you. You are the judge in the courtroom of your mind. You get to hear both sides and weigh all that is presented, and then you and only you get to decide which side wins.
From episode 42, The Aftermath. The biggest issue in the moment is that we are not considering anything beyond the moment. Your in the moment toddler brain self gets to do all the tasting, and your tomorrow morning self or your in an oneself has to live the consequences of this moment. So, of course, your toddler brain is all about it. It’s all pleasure and no consequences for the toddler. Your adult brain is the one that has to deal with the brain and the aftermath.
Your adult brain has just become complacent in the whole scheme. Your adult brain has just surrendered and is going along with the toddler because it feels easier. Your toddler brain actually has no power to act. It can pester you with urges and distract you with FOMO. But it is your adult brain that makes the decision to eat. The hand to mouth is controlled by a decision made by your adult brain.
Your adult brain, your highest self, you are the driver. That is why it is so critical to bring a pause to the moment of decision. To get conscious about what’s about to go down and what the aftermath of what that decision will be. It simply requires a willingness to stop before you act. Eating anything is a choice, and by choosing to eat that thing, we are also choosing the consequences of that decision.
But aftermath can also just be the after math. Math is the antithesis of drama. It’s very straightforward, just numbers, facts, data. This equals this. There’s no emotion in math. There’s no interpretation. There’s just the problem and the solution, an equation, and the answer to the equation.
From episode 43, Conflicting Desires. We think the people who are successful in weight loss have all figured out how to have consistently aligned desires that never conflict or how to eliminate desire altogether. Or how to only desire what’s right or good or healthy, or how to only desire what’s right, good, or healthy.
The fact that we have these conflicting desires for bad things or for quitting and starting over tomorrow means that there is something wrong with us, and we are out of control, broken, or beyond help. But those are all lies. People who have been successful at weight loss haven’t eliminated, conquered, or aligned all of their desires. They just don’t make it mean anything personal when their desires conflict.
They don’t panic at the first sign of the desire to go off plan. They don’t freeze when someone brings in a plate of brownies into the breakroom. They don’t think they have to obey the desire to quit. They know the desire is a feeling created by their thinking. That they can have a desire for something and not do anything about it.
That desire can’t hurt them. It doesn’t have to dictate their behavior, and it doesn’t have to mean anything about them. They have learned how to toggle the controls in their brains and decide which desire wins. The presence of a desire that is in conflict with your goals, a desire that doesn’t align with the vision of your future self, is okay. We desire things all the time that aren’t realistic, aren’t possible, or useful. We feel a desire every day for things that we don’t actually act on, and we don’t think it’s a problem.
Our human brain desire lots of things. Desire is a beautiful feeling that drives us to create amazing lives and have amazing experiences. It’s one of those things that can be a tool, or a weapon, depending on how we choose to view and use it. I recognize that my desires don’t have power unless I give them power. My desires do not man the controls. I do.
My desires don’t decide what I do. My adult brain gets to do that. The desire will show up. Both for things you really want that align with your goals and get you closer to the person you want to be, as well as for things that don’t. But you are always the one to decide which desire wins.
From episode 34, Temporary Me. I love this quote by Mr. Gilbert, human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. We are ever-changing and evolving. We don’t stay the same. The me of today is temporary. So much of our personality that we think just is, is optional. The statement strong opinions weekly held the man who developed this concept is a Standford University professor and Silicon Valley-based technology forecaster named Paul Saffo.
If you Google his name, it pulls up as Paul Saffo, futurist. I love that so much. This is what he said. Allow your intuition to guide you to a conclusion, no matter how imperfect. This is the strong opinion part, then, and this is the weekly held part, prove yourself wrong. Engage in creative doubt. Look for information that doesn’t fit or indicators that point in an entirely different direction.
Eventually, your intuition will kick in, and a new hypothesis will emerge out of the rubble, ready to be ruthlessly torn apart once again. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the sequence of faulty forecasts will deliver you to a useful result. As Professor Richard Fineman said, we are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible because only in that way can we find progress.
From episode 45, The Best Part Is. What you may be thinking is the worst part could actually be the best part, depending on what lens you choose to see it through. You always have an option. The thought option you choose will always dictate how you feel, how you show up, what you do, and don’t do. And that will determine your ultimate results. Most of you think the after is the best part.
After you’ve put in the work, and you get to look in the mirror and see a new vision of you. And that is so much fun to be able to live in your new body that you’ve worked so hard for. What we forget is that after only comes after the before, and the during which may not feel as much fun. The reward comes only after the work. The sewing after the reaping.
We have to start and keep going in order to get the sweet after. During the eating feels like the best part momentarily, but makes the rest kind of the worst. Because if we keep living for those false pleasure moments during eating, we will never make it to our after. We have to choose to see the discomfort during the journey that is the comfort that comes from sacrificing the false pleasure of the moment for the lifelong pleasure of living in the healthy body that we want as the best part.
From episode 46, Micro Resolutions. Just a side note, this would be a good one to revisit. It’s a January 1st New Year’s resolution kind of an episode. With a little bit different take, and as we all know, it’s coming quickly upon us. So, check out episode 46 if you haven’t yet. We love a fresh start, the beginning of a goal because we allow ourselves for a moment to feel hope.
To see the possibilities rather than feel the regrets. We let go of the past, and we look to the future. It’s so much fun to dream about how different life will be when we accomplish a goal and change our lives. Usually, we make a list of many resolutions. This seems like a good idea because we want to change so many things. But when we look at that list, what we then feel is overwhelmed.
It seems to shine a light on all that we lack, and it usually leads to giving up. One of the lies of perfectionism is that we can do it all. But we can’t do it all at once. We can’t change everything we don’t like at the same time. John A. Cuff, the author of Finish, puts it, perfectionism magnifies your mistakes and minimizes your progress. It does not believe in incremental success. Perfectionism portrays your goal as a house of cards.
If one thing doesn’t go perfectly, the whole thing falls apart. We want to be better, but then, better turns into best. We don’t want small growth. We want massive overnight success. But the more spall and specific, the more likely you’ll be able to accomplish it. The more times you accomplish this micro resolution and micro celebrate it, the more often you will experience the feeling of success and the more likely it is to become a new habit, an actual real change that you can build on.
The more you experience success, even on a micro-level, your brain will start looking for evidence that you can instead of evidence that you can’t. It’s like the children’s book if you give a mouse a muffin. But with success instead of pastries. Through this process of micronizing our resolution, we meet ourselves where we are. So, that we can move forward, experience success in a sustainable way that allows us to keep going and guarantees that we get there. Doesn’t a series of micro resolutions that lead to a series of micro successes sound better than a big pile of quitting?
From episode 47, Unlearn and Unbelieve. We talk a lot about believing new things and creating a new vision of ourselves for the future. But in order to truly become someone different, there is some amount of unlearning and unbelieving we need to do first. I thought of all of your weight loss journeys and some of you trying to build a new you on top of a foundation of hate.
It’s going to be a bit precarious. When my brain offers I’m not, I’m like a period at the end of the sentence. It’s a dead-end thought. It’s like my brain is like, okay, that’s that, moving on. She is, and I’m not. That is something I really want to unbelieve. Now that I have spent some time and noticed I’m not coming up, I’m onto myself. Now, I’m looking for those. I’m not as things I need to unbelieve to move forward.
Sometimes it feels scary to let go of these beliefs because it means I go all-in on trying and possibly stumbling a little bit as we do. It means being seen and heard, even if it’s just by ourselves. It means moving forward into the unknown. Sometimes these beliefs that hold us back also keep us safe in the safety of familiar discomfort. I often say, thanks, brain, but I’m letting that go. Or, thanks, brain, but I’m choosing to think something else now, or thanks brain, but I am done with that thought. It’s like, I appreciate your input, but I’ve got it from here.
From episode 48, Objective Detective. Objectivity is not being influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. This is a critical piece of weight loss because it’s our cycle of judgment and shame that has us overeating and then beating ourselves up for overeating and then eating more to numb the shame. It becomes a vicious cycle, a punishing treadmill that feels impossible to get off of.
The shame begets more eating to escape, which begets more shame, and on, and on. Seeing an action or a result of yours with objectivity allows you to see it for what it is and get curious about why it is. Judgment shuts us down. It closes the door. It’s case closed. There’s nowhere to go from there but back into the black hole of food for most of us.
Curiosity typically feels open, and it makes us want to move to know more, to do something, to find information or answers. It’s a lighter, more efflorescence feeling. It can also be a quiet, contemplative curiosity that makes you want to think and look around and observe. Sometimes I call that wonder instead of curiosity. I love that feeling of wonder so much. It’s one of my favorites.
If we are to learn anything from our past actions, especially our eating that isn’t in alignment, or overeating that doesn’t feel good in our bodies, and make any real changes, we have to put on our objective detective hats and turn our judgment into curiosity. We have to step back and put on the lens of objectivity first. So, that we can invite in curiosity and focus on solving the mystery of why.
In the absence of judgment and in the presence of curiosity, we can gain understanding. We’re not trying to erase the past. We are simply attempting to understand it. Once we have some measure of understanding, we can start to plan, and prepare for the future, and make changes to how we show up for ourselves next time.
From episode 49, Learning to Listen. The problem arises when we value outside sources over our own inner wisdom. When we ignore our wants and desires, and we disconnect from ourselves in service of becoming something or someone else. It’s a trap I have fallen into many of times. Believing that someone else knows what I should do. That something outside of me knows what’s best for me, better than I do.
And that I need to ignore whatever complaints or whisperings I hear from inside of me in order to meet their expectation or an expectation I have set for myself based on what they told me I should do or be. I was always listening to outside sources for inside information. It’s just not possible.
Learning to listen starts with trusting that you have inner wisdom. That you are the expert on you. Other people can advise you, but they don’t know what it’s like to be you. Only you know that. When you trust that, you can take outside information and weigh it against your inside wisdom and make the decision that is right for you.
One of my favorite questions is, what food do I love that doesn’t love me? Listening feels like kindness. We are not spying to find fault and spot missteps. We are listening for understanding at our ultimate growth. It’s a process, so give yourself grace; as you do this, you will learn how to advocate for you and future you, with love. That is how we make changes stick with love.
From episode 50, The Long Hall. It does not always feel easy. This path and the weight loss will not always be consistent or look the same. If you make contingencies, you will quit. If you expect there not to be any hiccups, you will be sorely disappointed, and you will quit. If you view this journey as ongoing and evolving if you commit to keep going, no exceptions, even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to, even when the scale doesn’t change or goes up some weeks, if you view it as a long hall, and you decide you are in it for the long hall, you will get to the other side. It may not be smooth sailing. It may not be pretty. It may not look like you thought it would, but you will get there.
Changing your body and your brain takes time. It takes patience. It takes perseverance. It requires wholehearted dedication. It is a long hall. But it’s possible as long as you keep going. Weight loss can be a temporary game, but lasting weight loss is always a long hall. It is changing habits and creating new neuro-pathways and believing new things. That doesn’t happen overnight, but most really amazing, worthwhile successes don’t.
From episode 51, Other People and Your Weight Loss Part One. Whether or not your shirt is adequately camouflaging your stomach from being seen as it is, is not a life or death issue. Your survival does not depend on whether your friends at lunch notice that you passed up the breadbasket, and yet we worry about these things as they are the most important things to worry about. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it isn’t what people say about us that has us hiding in our clothes. It is what we think they are thinking. And we can only think they are thinking it if it’s something we think ourselves.
It isn’t what they are thinking that makes us feel embarrassed it is what we make it mean about us with our brains. It’s how we interpret someone’s opinion or thoughts about us that makes us feel the way we feel. Neither people nor their thoughts can actually jump into our bodies and cause us to feel things. They don’t have any control over our minds or emotions. When we worry about what other people might think and how we will feel if they do, we usually then create a little bit of that for ourselves right now. It’s like we prefill it.
The thoughts we have in our heads about us, about weight, about beauty, about discipline, about whatever, our hours based on our life experiences. We have the opportunity to exercise some control over what we think and perceive, and that has direct power over how we feel. Not other people’s opinions, only our own.
From episode 52, Other People and Your Weight Loss Part Two. Friend says you’re not having any, blank, bread, chips, fries, whatever, and we feel immediate shame and panic. But not because the words you and are not, and having, and any are particularly threatening and bothersome. But because of what we infer from the question. What we make the sentence mean about us.
We think that by them asking that question, they’re pointing out how big of a failure we are and will surely be again. It’s a waste either way. Something I always say when it comes to eating leftovers finishing our kid’s sandwich, whatever. Either you waste the energy digesting extra food and storing extra fat, and the rest ends up in the toilet is waste. Or you skip that and waste that extra food into the garbage or the wastebasket.
You don’t have to eat anything, not even leftovers. We have people, parents, peers, siblings, other authority figures from our past who made comments or shared opinions, and as children, we just bought in. We just believe those things to be true. And we take them from our past and through our lives and into our present. The comments and what we made them mean about us in the world and our place in it is affecting us now.
From episode 53, Love. Hate only begets more hate eating. So, if the goal is based to dislike of and dissatisfaction with where we currently are, it’s not a goal-driven by love. It’s a goal-driven by the current unacceptability of our bodies. It’s a goal that comes from all we lack. In essence, here, hope that we will be able to overcome all of it and finally be okay.
Lexie and Lindsey Kite wrote, in their book, More Than A Body, focusing on how you feel and what you can do will get you so much further than simply focusing on decreasing fatness. Lindsey and Lexie say I refer to them by their first names because we’re friends. They just aren’t aware of our friendship yet. They say your body is an instrument, not an ornament. It is a gift for you to experience. Not just to look at or have other people look at.
I love the word instrument here because I think as an instrument as a tool of utility. Our bodies allow us to get stuff done, to work, to care for our families, and friends, and loved ones, to clean, organize, and rest. But our bodies are also instruments of pleasure and creativity, not unlike a musical instruments. Our bodies allow us to experience joy and pleasure, have fun, and create amazing things, including humans.
Focusing on how it feels to be in our bodies rather than how we look in our bodies allows us to approach our goal with love, and that’s when the magic happens. The more love we can feel for ourselves in our bodies now, the easier it will be to take care of ourselves the way that we want to. Love begets more love, less overeating.
It is so much more important to plan what we like. What we are willing to eat, and what feels like love for our future self. Love, when it comes to eating, looks like listening. Listening to your true hunger cues and honoring them. Differentiating between true physical hunger and brain hunger. It also looks like listening to your emotions and allowing them to be there without trying to drown them in wine and avoid them with chips or numb them with ice cream.
Love looks like listening to your satiety cues and honoring them. Paying attention to what fullness feels like in your body. How much food creates that feeling? Tuning into when you feel satisfied, not stuffed. It looks like listening to what different foods feel like in your body. What feels—What it feels like as you eat it and digest it and in the aftermath it creates, or that it doesn’t. There’s some wisdom from Lizzo. She shared this on a piece for NBC News, and I loved it. I don’t think that loving yourself is a choice. I think that it is a decision that has to be made for survival. It was in my case. Loving myself was a result of answering two things; do you want to live, cause’ this is who you are going to be for the rest of your life, or are you just going to have a life of emptiness, self-hatred, and self-loathing. And I chose to live, so I had to accept myself.
I want people first to understand that there are levels to loving yourself. To an extent choosing not to hate yourself can be a choice. But at a certain point, people can develop mental health issues from self-hatred, from bulimia to anorexia, to depression. She goes on to say, and this is my favorite part, self-care is really rooted in self-preservation. Just like self-love is rooted in honesty. We have to start being more honest with what we need and what we deserve and start serving that to ourselves.
What you really deserve is love, kindness, respect, understanding. You deserve to feel amazing in your body to feel free to move about in the world the way that you want to. You deserve to be taken care of, nourished, valued.
From episode 54, Urges and Cravings. We mostly use these terms urge and craving interchangeably, but I do see an ever so slight difference between them. Both are strong desires, but a craving is a strong desire for a specific food, and an urge is an urgent desire to eat something, anything. An urge is usually triggered by an uncomfortable emotion and a need to escape it. And a craving is usually just a strong desire to eat a particular thing for the taste experience of it. And the reward we feel from eating the object of that desire.
When it comes to urges and cravings, listen to understand, not to respond. Changing the habits loop starts with noticing the urge. Bringing it to consciousness and then changing the way we respond to it. And re-examining the reward that we get from it. Listening to understand, and connecting to how the urge or craving feels in our bodies, is a new way to respond. Looking at what happens after eating the reward is the last step in the process.
It takes a little more effort and consciousness to unwire a habit than to create it. But when it comes to cravings and urges, the work pays off because, on the other side is so much more freedom. Freedom in your mind and in your body as you start to tune in to what your body needs and release all the brain chatter about not being able to be in control around food.
Habit change will never be a smooth road with no missteps. But just like if you tripped and fell down while you were walking down the street. The key to success is just to get back up and keep on going. You don’t stay down on the ground beating yourself up about how you tripped, and now you’ll never be able to get back up. You don’t scream and cry about how unfair the world is because you have this body that tripped and fell. You just get up, and you keep going.
Last but not least, for this episode from episode 55, Changing Lenses. I imagine you in my mind’s eye as I think about how to help you. How to help you see that you are enough, exactly as you are. That you are worthy of love and care. That you have everything, you need within you to achieve the life you truly want. I hope that each week you feel that just for even a moment, you can look through the lens of hope I offer and see another way to think, to be, to do. And it gives you that little push to keep going.
The specifications of your prescription are unique to you. So, comparing someone else’s prescription to yours or trying to use their lenses won’t be super helpful to you. Often, in weight loss, we compare our journey to other people’s. We look at what they’re doing, or even what they’re believing, and we just try that. Thinking if it works for them, why not for me?
But this journey is going to be your own unique prescription. What foods to eat, how much, when to eat them, and how you regard yourself. How you talk to yourself, treat yourself, think about yourself, you have to learn how to do for you. Borrowing someone else’s beliefs or thoughts won’t work like magic for you. It’s a process like I always say of ongoing problem-solving, and your prescription may change over time.
Sometimes, we have our gap lenses on. Not like glasses from The Gap, but glasses that only allow us to see what’s missing. They only focus on how far we have to go. Or on what we should have done or shouldn’t have done. They only see our faults, our mistakes, our unmet expectations. These lenses are dark and heavy and force our heads down. They keep out the light and emphasize the shadows. What do your doubt lenses show you? What do they pick up and magnify? What might a pair of belief lenses show you? What might they make clear? There you go. I left you with some awesome questions to answer for yourself.
If you are interested in taking this work deeper and making some real progress in changes in your life and health. I have created a brand new program that will teach you how to love you and make the changes you want to make with the power of that love. It’s a critical component to us reaching our health and weight goals and the missing ingredient in most of our attempts. We are going to go on a journey together. Starting with unpacking the past, moving through empowering the present, all the way to envisioning the future, and learning how to make it your reality. I am so excited about it. It’s such a powerful process. I can’t wait to take you through it.
Applications open in January. The program kicks off on Valentine’s Day. If you want to hop on my waiting list, so you have first access to apply, head to itbeginswithathought.com/waitlist. You’ll get, just by joining the waitlist, my navigating the holiday’s toolkit, as well as my podcast quick start guide that includes study guides for a series of episodes I chose specifically to help you get started making changes right now. So, head to itbeginswithathought.com/waitlist, and I will 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.