In celebration of what I like to call Love Month, we are talking all about love today on the podcast. The experience of weight loss for so many people is filled with misery and as a result, not too surprisingly, failure. If your journey is currently being run by feelings of fear, disgust, and frustration, I’m inviting you to inject some love in to see the difference it could make.
I believe that love is the missing ingredient in the weight loss world. We so often hang our self-love and self-worth on finally getting to that goal number on the scale or on our dream body, but we’re existing in the world through hate for ourselves. If you can relate and you’re not finding the success you want, I’m inviting you to see how implementing some love might just be what you need.
Join me this week as I show you 4 ways we can inject more love into the process of weight loss, and why examining if you’re approaching it from love or hate is such valuable information to have. I’m offering simple questions throughout this episode to guide you in seeing where you can feel more love and gratitude for your journey so you can finally drop the self-hatred that keeps you stuck. Because, friends, you deserve to be nourished and valued.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 53.
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. Since we are in the midst of what I like to refer to as love month here in February, I want to share some love, I want to give some love, and talk about love. Valentine’s Day is a bit cheesy, but I love seeing everything decorated with hearts and just thinking about love as a result.
I want to share a review with you that touched my heart. It’s from Brianna. And it’s titled, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” She says, “Hi, my name is Brianna and I’m a 15-year-old who had been struggling with my body. Some days I would starve myself while others I would just binge on all sorts of food, making me feel so guilty. And I’d listened to other body image podcasts and they all sounded like they were trying to sell me something. But this podcast is actually life-changing. Thank you so much.”
Brianna, I love you. I am so, so glad the podcast is helping you. I was a 15-year-old once who struggled with my body and I tried the same things. I’m so happy you’re here, finding a new way of doing and thinking about things, and hopefully, finding some love for you and your body in the process.
I want to send you a gift, so if you’re listening, head to itbeginswithathought.com/review and submit your name and email to me so I can get in touch with you and spoil you a little bit. Speaking of spoiling people I love with gifts, I want to just remind you of the anniversary giveaway coming up in March.
The podcast is almost one year old already. Can you believe it? Growing up so fast over here. I really want to celebrate this fun anniversary mark by spoiling one lucky reviewer with a gift box worth over $500. I mean, come on. There’s so much good stuff in here.
I can’t wait to give it to one of you. I’m going to be picking a reviewer at random to gift this box of goodness to, so head to Weight Loss Success in your podcast app and scroll down under ratings and reviews. You’ll see a little highlighted write a review option. Click there and let me know your favorite episode or something you’ve learned and applied or why you listen.
I’ll announce the winner on episode 55 on March 3rd, so you only have a couple more weeks to review and make yourself eligible for a box of things I love that I know you will love too. We are all about the love today. So fun.
I think love is the missing ingredient in most of the weight loss world. For most of us, we are waiting to feel love for ourselves and our bodies until we get to our goal weight. We’re hanging self-love and self-compassion on finally seeing an “acceptable” number on the scale.
We’re planning and eating and existing from the opposite of love. From hate or disgust. So to me, it’s no wonder that we are not only feeling miserable on a weight loss journey, but we’re not finding the success we want.
Hate only begets more hate eating. It just does not end well. I want to share some places on this journey where I think we can inject more love and end up being much more successful at getting to our weight and health goals as a result.
So let’s start with a goal itself. For most of us, the goal is to look the way we want to, based on being the weight number that we think is acceptable, according to the widely accepted, but I think rather arbitrary and flawed BMI chart. Or maybe a number we used to be that we thought was better than the number we currently see.
So the goal is based on 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 and a sincere hope that we will be able to overcome all of it and finally be okay, finally be enough.
It’s often a punishment for the body we have, based on the choices we have made to this point, right? It’s underwritten by all the negative self-talk about our bodies, the constant criticism of how we gain, how we carry, or our inability to successfully lose weight.
And all of this makes it near impossible to achieve and in the cases where the hate and disgust work temporarily completely impossible to sustain. So how can we inject some love into the setting of the goal?
First off, we need to recognize what’s driving the goal itself. Usually the goal and our vision for the future only consider how we want to look and very rarely how we want to actually feel in our bodies. We’ve been cultured to see our bodies as things to look at and to be seen, rather than the vessels that carry us around our lives. Like miracles, gifts to be cherished and appreciated and experienced.
I’m currently reading a couple of amazing books on this topic and I just feel so passionate about it for us as women, and especially women on weight loss journeys. In their amazing book, More Than a Body, Lexie and Lindsay Kite wrote, “Focusing on how you feel and what you can do will get you so much further than simply focusing on decreasing fatness,” which is what most of us are doing.
So think about your goal. Is it simply a number you want to see on the scale? If the answer is yes, I want you to investigate why. What does that end number mean to you? What will it mean about you when you get there? What will you get to think and feel about you then that you don’t think and feel now?
Notice if what comes up is appearance based. Notice if the thoughts you have will be about your worth or value based on that appearance. Try to expand your vision beyond the scale. How do you want to feel, be, and move around in the world in your goal body?
When I ask this, many of my clients start to list all the things they don’t want anymore, like I don’t want to feel uncomfortable in my clothes, I don’t want to be obsessing over food, I don’t want to see my stomach sticking out farther than my chest, I don’t want to have a hard time getting in and out of my car anymore.
When we think and frame our goal in this problem-focused way, we’re not setting it from love. It’s from fear, from dislike, from frustration, and it’s really difficult to feel amazing about it and have any sort of fun along the way if we are coming from fear, dislike, or frustration.
So challenge yourself to think about what you do want. How would you love to experience life in your body someday? Be specific. If your goal is to be healthy, quantify that. Make it measurable with specifics about how your life will be and be different when you are at that healthy place you want to be.
I wanted to bend over and pick something up with ease. I wanted to be able to run pain-free. I wanted to have the energy to sustain me throughout the day. I wanted to be able to walk into my closet and put on anything and know it would fit and it would be comfortable.
I wanted especially to live into old age and be active with my kids and my grandkids. Really think about where you want to go, about day-to-day life and activities. What would you love to feel? Not just what would you love to see in the mirror.
As Lindsay and Lexie say, I refer to them by their first names because we are 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 that they use the word instrument here because I think of 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, rest, all the things. But our bodies are also instruments of pleasure and creativity, not unlike a musical instrument.
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.
Another related place we can inject some more love into this process of weight loss is into our view of our bodies now. So not just at our goal when our bodies are moving and functioning the way we want them to, where we imagine it will be easy to feel gratitude and love, but into this moment right now.
The more love we can feel for ourselves and our bodies now, the easier it will be to take care of ourselves the way we want to, ongoing. If you are loving and appreciating your body, it’s going to be dang near impossible to stuff it full of Oreos after dinner. Seriously, think about it.
If you were feeling love for your body, thinking about all your body does for you and how wonderful it is, how likely are you to then eat or overeat something that you know will create extreme discomfort? Much less likely.
Love begets more love, less overeating. I promise you. The best way I know to find some love and gratitude for your body is to get present with it and ask some simple questions. Focus on function and feeling and not shape or size.
When I notice my brain complaining about something on the outside, I like to stop and take a deep breath and bring me back to this moment and turn my focus inside. Drop into my body and really think about how it is to be in my body right now.
There are lots of really great meditations that are just kind of like a guided body scan. I think it’s a really helpful thing to do, just to get really present and aware of your body in the moment. I think about my heart beating and my lungs breathing in and out and my blood pumping all around my body, bringing oxygen to all my tissues and organs.
I like to think about what my eyes have seen today, what smells I’ve experienced, where my legs have taken me, what my hands have done or touched or created. Today alone, my body allowed me to give my kids hugs and feed my dogs and walk outside and coach my clients and teach my students.
I saw an amazing sunset and my husband’s cute smile. What was it like to be in your body today? Do you ever think about it? What did you love? What you are grateful for about it? Stretch yourself to come up with something and then keep stretching to expand your list every day.
Another place I think love is transformative is in planning and eating. I have my clients plan their meals 24 hours in advance so that the food decisions are made ahead of time and out of the moment. Made with their adult brain, instead of their toddler brain.
But quite often, even though the adult brain is in charge, the plan that is created is void of any love for the future self of tomorrow that has to carry the plan out, that has to live the plan. It’s often planned with unrealistic expectations, with disregard for what they actually like and want to eat, and sometimes even as a punishment for what they eat today.
Maybe they overate today and so they under-plan some ridiculous starve-a-thon for tomorrow. There’s no love involved in that case. If this sounds familiar, ask yourself as you are planning, what would feel like love for my future self tomorrow? What foods would feel like love? What amount would feel like love?
It’s so much more important that we plan what we like, what we are willing to eat, and what feels like love for our future self. Love for your future self probably won’t look like a dozen donuts. But it might look like planning in one for after lunch if you think you will likely eat one anyway.
Sometimes love looks like loving limits and saying no, and sometimes it looks like planning for the things you like and how much will feel good, and then eating them on your terms, with full permission and enjoyment, rather than shoving it in your mouth while you have the chance and not tasting it at all and feeling terrible in your body afterwards.
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. So let me give you an example of this. That’s just kind of my term for cravings and urges and things like that.
If you think you feel hungry but it’s for Oreos, that’s likely brain hunger. Your body doesn’t require Oreos to survive. It’s not a nutrient that your body actually needs. So as much as it might protest and try to convince you that it does need these Oreos to survive, you know you’re actually hungry when it’s a chicken breast that sounds good, or some avocado will fix it, or steamed broccoli.
It also looks like listening to your emotions and allowing them to be there without trying to drown them in wine or avoid them with chips or numb them with ice cream. Love looks like listening to your satiety cues and honoring them, paying close 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 it feels like as you eat it, and digest it, and any aftermath that creates, or that it doesn’t.
The last place I think we need more love injected into this process as after. Yes, the dreaded after we eat all the things/eat things that weren’t on the plan/eat things that aren’t aligned with our ultimate goals. We can berate ourselves for choosing food as a solution to whatever we were feeling, but that hate just drives more hate and hate eating.
Compassion is the real solution here. What’s done is done. And judgment over what we have eaten never leads to learning. As Lexie and Lindsay say, we can change and grow and react differently because we respect and care for ourselves. Not because we hate who we are and are trying to punish ourselves.
I want to leave you with some wisdom from Lizzo. She shared this on a piece for NBC news. “I don’t think that loving yourself is a choice,” she says. “I think that it’s 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? Because this is who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. Or are you just going to have a life of emptiness, of self-hatred, and self-loathing? And I choose 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 and beyond.”
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.”
If you were honest about what you really need, what would it be? Would it be rest? Would it be compassion and understanding? Would it be a long walk? If you’re being honest and you were coming from love, the answer to what you really need is probably not cake. It’s also probably not an extra serving of dinner, even though you’re full.
And what you really need is not a beatdown after eating off your plan. What do you really need and how could you serve that to yourself? If you were honest about what you really deserve, what would it be? Oftentimes we think we deserve a treat or a reward, right? We’ve been so good. But what does that actually get you?
Do you feel rewarded in your body when your reward is food? Especially the kind of foods that we usually choose to reward ourselves with. What you really deserve is love, kindness, respect, understanding. You deserve to feel amazing in your body, feel free to move about the world the way that you want to. You deserve to be taken care of, nourished, valued. How could you serve that to yourself?
Okay lovely friends, don’t forget to leave me a review to be eligible for the awesome anniversary giveaway. I can’t wait to hear from you. 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.