In this episode, I want to talk about the destination of your weight loss journey and the future version of you.
Today, I am the version of myself that I used to dream about. Back when I was still struggling with my weight, I would fantasize about what life would be like – what I would be like – once I finally figured out how to keep the weight off for good.
I envisioned how everyday life would be when I became this future version of myself. Then, I was able to use this future version of myself as a guide through my weight loss journey.
What did I do? What did I feel? How did I respond to stress, sadness, and uncertainty?
I decided how Future Me would live, eat, and act, and she became my destination.
In today’s episode, I’ll tell you all about why thinking about the Future You can be such a powerful tool on your weight loss journey. We’ll talk about how to choose which aspects of yourself you want to bring into the future, and which you want to leave in the past.
And I’ll explain how Future You can help the Current You manage all the small steps that you will have to take on the way to becoming her.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode two.
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, welcome back. I’m still over here reveling in the joy of my new podcaster identity. I love the challenge and excitement of a new adventure like this. So much fun. I love trying new things, even hard things, and discovering what I’m capable of. That’s a skill I learned, in part, I think from my weight loss journey.
Weight loss for most of my life was a challenge, but the falling down and the getting back up really taught me to persevere until I found an answer. It didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt terrible and hopeless, and I wished it away, just like you are probably doing. But all of it led me here, to the person I am today and that’s what I want to talk about. The destination of this journey.
Hopefully you’ve spent some time questioning your current weight identity, and if you didn’t go listen to episode one, because today I want to talk about the next step. If we want Google Maps to tell us how to get somewhere, we need to know where we are and where we want to go.
For many of you, imagining that destination, that future you is fun. It’s an opportunity for you to think about possibility. Who you could be, what life could be like in the future when you’ve conquered this weight loss thing for good. For some of you, it’s not so fun. You don’t dare to dream because of how many times the dream has been dashed.
Mine was always tinged with a little bit of doubt and sometimes even despair because of how many times I had tried and failed. I remember every year when the People magazine issue Have Their Size came out, do you guys remember this? They may still have it. I just don’t pay attention anymore.
But I would buy it and take it home and read it. But actually, it felt like a little bit of torture. Inspiration mixed with torture. I would read someone’s story about how they just added in more veggies and they cut out diet soda and they started walking every day and they lost 80 pounds. And I would hear that kind of tug of war in my head.
“If she can do it, so can I,” while at the same thought, “that will never work for me.” I kind of had both an addiction to hearing transformation stories and an aversion to them because I believed no matter how much I wanted one of my own, it just wasn’t possible for me.
This makes perfect sense if you understand our default mode network. Research suggests that when we are imagining future scenarios, both the imagination centers and memory centers of our brain light up together. Our brain is a problem-solving machine.
So if we give it a task like imagining us in the future, having accomplished a goal, it’s going to scan the past for any previous experience we have in order to use it to determine the path to take and the probability of us actually accomplishing it.
This is why when we think about trying to lose weight, something we have lots of previous experience with, our brain will come back having scanned all these past experiences and give you a “let’s not even try this because we failed at it so many times” message. Your brain is just trying to protect you from that feeling of failure that feels so terrible and help you avoid wasting your time.
This is super helpful when it comes to not touching a hot stove again. But not so helpful when we want to work toward becoming our future selves. But here’s the thing; if we choose to operate only on the information our brain offers us in default mode, we will just continue to create a life that looks pretty much the same.
This won’t get you anywhere near future you. We have to be willing to feel the discomfort that comes as we push past what our brain can predict, into the unknown of creating something new. Do you guys remember Bill Hader’s character in the movie Inside Out? He’s like, the purple guy that represented fear.
He was always coming up with every possible worst-case scenario for every situation in order to protect Riley from humiliation or loneliness or failure. I love Bill Hader, I think he’s hilarious, so I have to laugh when I hear my brain offering me what if nonsense, and I just kind of imagine him in his voice running around in a panic in my brain like, “We’re all going to die.”
I’m sure you guys have this experience. Maybe it’s not Bill Hader’s voice, but that is what your brain is offering you all the time, especially when we think about trying something new. So we have to make a conscious choice here. Do we want to keep creating the same life, same body, same weight identity, or are we willing to imagine and go out and create something new?
Obviously, my vote is for future you. So here’s one thing I notice as I have my clients do this exercise that I want to make you aware of so you can avoid it. We have a tendency to imagine a future self that is the opposite of where we are. We are in so much discomfort and are so miserable about our current identity that our future identity is as far away from here as we can get.
I used to envision a future self that was 5’9 and had olive skin with no moles or freckles and naturally curly hair, and she never craved chocolate and woke up naturally at 5am to do yoga, and she was quiet and demure. But there is no future reality in which I grow six inches and become an entirely different person.
So as you’re imagining future you, remember that she is an actual version of you. You get to take all the parts of you with you on this journey. You’ll build new skills and habits, but you will still be you. As you’re creating this vision, imagine not just what she looks like, but what day-to-day life is like.
What are her new habits? What does she eat? Does she get up early? How does she handle holidays? What does she do to reward herself? What does she think about brownies? What does she think about herself? What is she working toward? Weight loss is no longer her goal, so what is?
I want you to be realistic. Think about what she says yes to and what she says no to. If you want to eat birthday cake in the future, like a slice on someone’s birthday, not like, half a cake by yourself the day after the birthday just because it’s there. I see you taking a bite every time you walk into the kitchen all day long. I’ve been there too.
But we’re just talking birthday cake, a slice. If you want to be a person who eats birthday cake sometimes in the future, make that a part of your vision. So often my clients say, “Future me doesn’t even desire cookies and she never eats them,” and that’s totally possible if that’s really what you want life to look like.
I love frosted sugar cookies. They’re one of my favorite cookies. Cookies are like, my favorite dessert. Frosted sugar cookies, one of my favorite of that category. And there’s this trend where I live that has these gourmet cookie shops popping up everywhere and they deliver to your house.
Like, fresh baked cookies to your door in 20 minutes. The chocolate chip cookies come warm and melty, and the sugar cookies come cool, and they are each the size of a small dessert plate. Okay, I apologize for making your mouth water and making you start googling where I live so you can move here. Stay with me.
Past me ate these cookies every other day, and I ate two at a time. I had to have some warm chocolate chip and some sugar, right? Sugar cookie. Current me, which is past me’s future me, still with me, eats these cookies maybe once a month and I cut it into quarters and I eat a quarter or two and I just listen to how my body feels and I stop when it’s done.
I’m not a person who never eats cookies because I don’t want to be. I’m a person who is connected to my body and listens to its signals, and takes care of it with love. So think about what’s different and also what’s the same about you and your life in the future. Future you is not a robot. She still has a human brain and she still feels crappy half the time.
But maybe what’s different is that instead of pounding nachos when she’s feeling stressed and then beating herself up about it after adding shame to the stress, she gives herself some time to take a closer look at what’s causing the stress in the first place and she asks what she actually needs.
Like, what is it that she actually needs that her brain is looking for in the plate of nacho? Which is really maybe just some compassion and some alone time. So what parts of your current identity are you taking with you and what are you leaving behind?
I brought my sense of humor with me because I have to laugh about my brain’s belief that joy can be found in chocolate peanut butter ice cream. There is no joy there really. I mean, it’s ice cream and we think thoughts that create joy, but that ice cream doesn’t create joy for us.
However, this is the thing. I brought that sense of humor with me. I have to laugh at that. But I left the judgment of me wanting ice cream in the first place behind. I can want ice cream. I can like it. I can even think it fixes my feelings sometimes. None of that makes me broken, weak, or ridiculous, like I used to believe it did.
But I can also like it and I can think about it and not have to make it a part of my every day. So be realistic. Imagine her day-to-day life. Think about what’s different and what’s the same. What will you take with you and what will you leave behind? What will you say yes to and what will you say no to?
With an idea of where you are, your current identity, and where you want to go, your future you, you can fill in the rest of the route with all of the rest stops. All of the near future yous that you will become along the way, that will get you to your goal. What’s tonight future you like? What about tomorrow’s or next week’s, or even next month’s?
Use future you as the guide and your transformation story is inevitable.
So some really fun news for you. To celebrate the launch of this, my very own podcast, I’m giving away two things I love and use the most. $100 Amazon giftcards, and a brand-new pair of AirPod Pros. You need some if you don’t have some.
The new AirPod Pros are noise-cancelling and they’re redesigned to be so much more comfortable than the original version. I use them every day. And I can leave them in my ears comfortably for hours. And Amazon, I’m not sure how I lived my life before it existed.
I’m sharing these things that I love with some of my lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the podcast. I hope you love the show and I want your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that provides tons of value. Visit itbeginswithathought.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode. 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.