When you think about imagination, you probably think back to your childhood and the ways in which you imagined worlds that didn’t exist, or imagined being someone you weren’t. But did you know we do this all the time as adults too?
Right now, you’re most likely using your imagination to think about the past. Maybe it’s how much you weighed when you were younger, or what you ate or rather shouldn’t have eaten, and it’s creating negative emotions for you. So this week, I want to show you how to capitalize on your imagination to fuel forward your weight loss in a way that serves you.
Join me on the podcast to discover the role your imagination plays in your weight loss journey. It can be really hard to imagine the future you who has her weight figured out and loves her body right now, but starting the work of practicing accessing those feelings with your imagination will enable you to feel and take action from that future place.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 27.
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.
Hello everyone. I have a quick announcement episode out this week with an amazing opportunity for you, so make sure that you check it out. I’m so excited to share it with you. I can’t wait.
I want to share today a review I received from Megan recently. She says this. “Thank you for this personal lifeline to more than just weight loss,” is what it’s titled. “I could not be more happy to have found this podcast. I listen with intent to each new podcast as well as re-listen during the week. Natalie gives clear, concise, and relevant information to help me understand more about my thoughts that can lead me to overeat.
Each podcast ends with an idea of how to apply what she has instructed. Recently, she allowed us deeper into her own thoughts. I was not only surprised, but refreshed to find that I am not alone in my sometimes spiraling negative thoughts. Life isn’t all beautiful and it’s not supposed to be. Natalie has taught me to recognize and work with my feelings, instead of eating them. I look forward to the new and exciting 10 minutes I get to spend with her every Wednesday.”
The episode Megan is referring to is episode 22, Inside My Brain. And if you missed it, I share with you a thought download from my brain because I wanted all of you to know that just because I am a coach, a master coach at that, and have been managing my thinking and practicing the tools I teach for years, I’m still a human.
I will always be a human. I have hard days just like you. I’m just a little farther along on the path of awareness maybe. I acknowledge that it’s my thinking creating the hard, and I own that it’s optional. And I have a little more practice allowing and processing my emotions.
But no matter how much we thought download or meditate or even love ourselves, all humans struggle and suffer. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. So thank you Megan. I am so glad the podcast is helping you. Watch your mailbox for a special gift from me. Thank you so much for your review.
Sometimes my podcast are planned from an experience I have or an issue I see coming up with my clients over and over that I feel they need some extra help on. And sometimes, they feel like they’re born. They’re created in my brain and delivered into the world.
And this particular podcast was born out of a rare caffeine-fueled late night of watching Little Voice. I am in love with this series. First of all, Sara Bareilles is my favorite. Like, hands down, I love her the most. I have all of her music memorized and I sing it at the top of my lungs in my car on the regular.
I literally cried at her last concert because I was just so full of love and emotion at just being there in her brilliance, and that is not something that I normally do. I love music, I love love, and I love self-discovery stories, so this series, Little Voice on Apple TV is my jam in so many ways.
I highly recommend you check it out and I’m including a playlist in the show notes of my favorite Sara songs for your listening pleasure. So you’re welcome for that. Just like this show, Little Voice, came from Sara Bareilles’s imagination and this podcast came from my imagination, I want to talk about the role your imagination plays in your weight loss and how to capitalize on it for your ultimate success.
I think it’s also important to mention here how your imagination can inhibit your weight loss as well, but we’ll make sure to give some airtime to both. When you think about imagination, what do you think of? For most of us, we think back to our childhoods or maybe about our children or our grandchildren.
Kids spend so much of their time imagining. Imagining worlds that don’t exist and monsters that don’t exist, right? Imagining that they are someone that doesn’t exist, or even just imagining that they are someone they wish they were.
I remember spending hours and hours playing restaurant in my next-door neighbor/best friend’s front yard. She had a flower bed in her front yard, which was basically a mound of dirt with some trees and bushes planted randomly on it. And we would play drive-through restaurant for hours. I mean, it felt like all day long, every day.
With imaginary food, money, kitchen equipment, and customers. We didn’t have like my kids have, a kitchen set with a fake grill that made sizzling sounds. And we didn’t have friends in their Power Wheels cars driving around and ordering.
We literally made all of it up. We just pretended someone drove up and ordered and we pretended we were holding a spatula and flipping their burger and handing it to them. My family moved from that house eventually, and I remember going back when I was older and bigger and looking at that mound of dirt and those little bushes and trees and being amazed at the fully-immersed world my brain was able to create with very little in actual reality.
How far away I am now from that little girl who lived in a fun and exciting imaginary world the majority of the time? My goodness. It was all possibility stretched out in front of her. At this point in your life, how much time do you spend using your imagination to imagine fun and exciting possibilities?
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.
Seriously, think about it. How much time do you spend thinking about the past? About what you used to weigh in high school, or how much easier it was to eat healthy and workout before kids, or even about what you ate yesterday or shouldn’t have eaten yesterday.
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 are 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. And what is that regret fuel going to create?
I’m not saying that you should never think about the past, lest you create discomfort now. But I think it’s important to point out that you can think about the past in a way that serves you in the present or not. That’s totally up to you.
The future is also in your imagination. It hasn’t happened yet. So any time we are 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. Imagining the future, however, is a different animal than imagining the past because 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. But in the future, this future we’re imagining, especially the future that you most desire but have never experienced, future you, living effortlessly at her natural weight or living with zero food drama or living a life where she’s totally comfortable in her skin, that future is totally unfamiliar, and therefore much harder to create in your mind.
It’s difficult for your brain to imagine, and even more difficult for your brain to believe that what you are imagining, what has never been, is possible. I want to just take a second to give mention to the concept of positive mantras and why I don’t think they’re useful tools.
Because I think a lot of the time when we’re thinking about the future, about things we want to believe in the future, this is a tactic we employ, and I just don’t think it’s helpful. A mantra is a thought that you want to believe. A thought that you imagine future you believes that is really helping and serving her.
Often, these are thoughts that are very different or even the opposite of what you currently believe. Maybe what you currently believe is I hate my body. And so the mantra you stare into the mirror and repeat over and over is my body is a gift, or I love my body.
But 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, what we currently believe, and where we want to be. But it simply won’t work unless it is connected to, anchored to, tethered to a feeling.
Without a feeling, they’re just words. Meaningless and ineffective. You can chant, “My body is a gift” all day every day for a year, but if you actually believe that your body is broken, what is happening is that every time you look in the mirror and you chant, your brain is in essence doing the like, no it’s not and here’s why every time.
So this is where your imagination becomes your playground and your greatest tool. Because 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 because emotion is what powers action and the switch is our thoughts. How can I possibly imagine believing something that I have never believed or feel something I have never felt before, Natalie, you ask? Well, you actually know exactly how because you do it all of the time.
If you’ve ever felt anxious or worried about an upcoming event or project, or excited about a vacation you’ve planned, you have imagined a future outcome and believed in it and created an emotion as a result. We’re looking forward to a feeling in the future, and we therefore create it and experience it in the present.
We do it by default now without purpose really. So we want to start spending time creating and living in the positive emotion, even for a few minutes at a time on purpose. It’s like trying on a new outfit. You see it on the rack, you think it’s cute, it might work for this event or that occasion, and then you take it in the dressing room and you try it on.
You experience what it’s like to wear it, to inhabit it, and then you take it off and you buy it or you put it back. It may be hard for you to access in the present some of those emotions you imagine you’ll feel in the future. They may not be emotions you ever feel when it comes to you right now with your current beliefs.
So sometimes, if it’s a hard feeling for me to access right now because of what I’m currently believing, I’ll think of an example of someone who I imagine might feel that emotion regularly and I pretend to be them for two minutes.
So maybe the feeling I imagine I’ll feel in the future, want to feel in the future is confidence and I don’t feel that now. So I ask myself, what does it feel like to be someone like Oprah walking around in the world? Someone I think feels confidence regularly. What is she thinking that creates confidence for her?
And I try on those thoughts like outfits and I imagine hard and I experience confidence, even for just a second. It’s okay that it’s pretend at first. Just expanding my emotional vocabulary to include the feeling of confidence is a start.
When we spend time creating and living these unfamiliar emotions, even for a few minutes at a time, we teach our brain new options. We open it up to new things and new possibilities. If you listen to the podcast on homeostasis, this is how we change our emotional set point.
Sometimes when I’m trying to imagine a new future emotion, I also like to think about another place in my life that I experience that feeling. For example, I remember really wanting to feel proud of myself. It was not a feeling I very often felt in regard to me.
And I knew that if I felt proud, I was going to take care of myself differently. With proud fuel, I would be more likely to eat foods that fuel me and journal and exercise, basically do more of the same things I was proud of myself for doing, which is kind of like a kindness circle instead of the vicious circle that’s created by disappointment fuel or frustration fuel.
But proud was not a feeling I experienced relative to myself. So I asked myself where in my life I experience the feeling of proud. I feel proud when I think about my kids. It’s super easy for me to experience the emotion of proud when I think about what they have accomplished and overcome and who they are.
So I can think about them, experience proud in my body, and this opens me up to what it might feel like to feel proud of me. I get curious about which circumstances and thoughts would create the feeling of proud about me, and I can then try on those thoughts like outfits and imagine hard.
I remember growing up, my mom saying something along the lines of don’t wait for company to burn the nice candles. She was saying in essence live in the now. 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 different than live for today and enjoy food while you can because you only live once. That philosophy is actually born of scarcity rather than abundance. This is about not waiting any more to love you. Not waiting until some day to take care of yourself like you want to.
I always say as long as we’re using our imaginations, we might as well create something amazing, right? So use your imagination and ask yourself these questions. What if believed blank? What would it be like to believe blank? That I am worthy or that I can do it or whatever. Whatever that completion of the sentence is for you.
And then ask, what would it feel like? If you believed that you were at your weight goal, that it was possible to get there, that you were someone who kept her commitments to yourself, what would that feel like? What would you do when you feel that way? What if it were true?
It gets easier and easier to access that feeling with practice, and pretty soon, you’ll be able to feel and act from the future. Okay everybody, don’t forget to rate and review the podcast please. I love your reviews so much. And let me know you did it at itbeginswithathought.com/review to be eligible to win a super awesome special prize. See you soon everybody.
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.