I’ve been dropping hints lately of big changes coming to my business. My team and I have been working hard on creating an amazing new membership site for my clients, and this process has involved me going over all the podcasts I’ve done so far.
I can’t believe it’s already been a year and a half of podcasting, and it’s been so much fun to go back and review all the podcast episodes, refreshing my own mind of everything I’ve put out. So this week, I’m bringing you my favorite nuggets of wisdom from just the first 17 episodes, with more coming to you soon.
Tune in as I refresh your memory of the fundamental tenets of the first 17 episodes of this podcast. I’m highlighting some of my favorite insights and analogies, and I encourage you to listen out for what speaks to you today.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 88.
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. I’ve been dropping little hints of changes coming, exciting things happening, and so I want to fill you in a little bit today. Stay tuned to the end of this episode for that.
I mentioned previously that my team and I have been working on a brand new membership site for my clients. It is so beautiful and so exciting for them and for me, but mostly for them. It brings all the program content together in one place, all the videos and workbooks, all their weekly call archives, as well as some exclusive bonus content just for them.
And one of the other new things I’m super excited about, which is a searchable podcast page that includes a podcast study guide for each episode that they will have access to that will really enhance their program study.
It’s all so easy to navigate, so simple and lovely, I can’t wait for it to be all done and ready to go. One of the projects I’ve been doing as part of this is going through each episode and categorizing it with topics so that my clients will be able to search for and find episodes that apply to their questions, or to something they’re struggling with or want to dive deeper into.
It’s been so fun to go back through and review all the podcast episode transcripts that exist so far and remember the process of coming up with or being inspired with the ideas for each episode, creating them, putting them out into the world, hearing all of your reviews and your feedback, and how they landed for you and have helped you.
I started from episode one and I went through each one. It’s been a year and a half since I started the podcast so it was really fun to refresh my memory of each episode. I started pulling out some favorite quotes and some concepts and some analogies and I decided I want to do a podcast highlighting some of them.
I ended up with like, 31 pages, just from episodes one through 43. Just half of the total episodes I’ve gone through so far. So I opted to boil it down and break it into a few highlight episodes. It still completely blows my mind that I have 88 episodes of awesomeness out in the world. So fun.
So that’s what we’ll do today, highlight some of my favorite insights, favorite nuggets of wisdom and inspiration so far. I encourage you to listen for what speaks to you today and then re-listen to some of these episodes.
If you’ve been listening from the beginning, it’s likely been a minute for you as well and you could probably also use a refresher. Or maybe you haven’t listened to every episode and you’ll hear something that piques your interest and you can listen to just that episode and dive deeper.
I also see us as ever-changing and evolving beings. So you may have heard episode three as one version of you from the past, and you may hear it with totally different ears today. So I just encourage you to revisit, reassess and re-experience some of those episodes that you maybe haven’t heard in a while.
A couple of fundamental tenets of the podcast dropped in episode one. The changes to our lives come as we apply the things we learn. Still true right now. That is why in every episode, I include something for you to do, questions to ask yourself, something to try, something that helps you take what you’re learning and take it deeper, actually see it start to make changes in your life.
Because hearing it is awesome. Hearing it oftentimes raises awareness and starts the ball of change rolling, but when we apply it, we make a conscious effort to bring it into our lives and do the work. That’s what changes everything.
Another fundamental tenet, question everything. Everything you’ve been taught about weight loss, everything you believe about your size, everything society has told you that you should be. All of it. And then one more from that episode, if it’s not a fact, that means you have the power to change it.
Episode two is about our future selves. 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 accomplishing it.
In episode three, we explore the idea of our weight creating happiness. Your current weight is someone else’s goal weight. The number you hope you never see again, they can’t wait to see on the scale. It isn’t the size of their body creating their feelings. It’s what they’re choosing to think about it.
What is truly rewarding isn’t just pleasurable in the moment but contributes to our overall satisfaction and moves us forward. Oftentimes the things we find truly rewarding aren’t necessarily pleasurable in the moment.
Episode four is I think maybe my favorite ever and contains some really good nuggets. So this is a quote from Heidi Priebe. I don’t know if I said her last name right.
“To love ourselves long term is to attend a thousand funerals of the person we used to be. The person we’re too exhausted to be any longer, the person we don’t recognize inside ourselves anymore, the person we grew out of, the person we never ended up growing into. We so badly want ourselves to get our spark get when it burns out, to be speedily found when we are lost.
But it is not our job to hold ourselves accountable to the person we used to be. It is our job to travel between each version and to honor what emerges along the way. Sometimes it will be an even more luminescent flame. Sometimes it will be a flicker that disappears and temporarily floods the room with a perfect and necessary darkness.”
This is from me now. That was the end of Heidi’s brilliance. Weight loss is simple. It requires us to learn one skill. The skill of choosing what we want most over what we want in the moment. That is it.
This is not a journey of sunshine and rainbows. It’s a journey of commitment and determination and deliberate decisions. Crossing the river of misery is not moving from comfort to discomfort. If you’re seeking change and you’re not totally comfortable right now anyway, crossing the river of misery, in this case losing weight is trading the misery of now for the misery of growth. One keeps you where you are, and one gets you somewhere new.
The river is there, it’s cold, it’s hard, and it sucks. But on the other side is the life of your dreams. Necessary darkness is taking that step into the unknown. Necessary darkness is what makes the sunlight on your skin when you come up for air feel so amazing.
Your weight loss is going to be your own unique journey, moving from this version of you to the next over and over again, a thousand funerals of the person you used to be. Traveling between each version and honoring what emerges. Darkness and light. Reveling in the rest you find in the hammock on the other side of the river until you’re ready to cross the next one.
From episode five, our toddler brain is not about long-term solutions. It’s about short-term answers. Deprivation means the lack or denial of something considered to be a necessity. Deprivation is a feeling. It’s not something you are, it’s something you feel.
The thing that makes dieting feel like dieting instead of deciding is our relegating the choice to something outside of us. When we think, “I can’t,” we feel like something outside of us is controlling the decision. And if the rule comes from outside of us, so does the enforcement of the rule and the consequence.
We think that the rebellious eating that ensues is a rebellion against that outside force that is telling us that we can or can’t eat the things, but it is really rebellion against ourselves. The truth is if you’re an adult human in the world, you can eat whatever you want, no one has the power to tell you you can’t except you. Always your choice.
Telling ourselves that we can’t eat something is a lie. This is one of my favorite Natalie quotes coming up. Can’t is a poison apple. It looks and sounds noble and helpful, but it is usually a weight loss killer. That’s a really good one. Sometimes I really like my brain. Sometimes I don’t.
From episode six, when we know our adult brain is in charge of the decision making, it makes it much easier in the moment to say no to our persistent toddler brain. When we have these strong desires for things and we don’t answer them, it’s like having an itch on your back that you can’t scratch because you are driving your car down the freeway.
Super annoying, feels very urgent, makes you want to go to any lengths to make it go away, but you don’t because you don’t want to get into an accident. So you just tolerate it. And it eventually subsides.
What I have found about curiosity is that it is impossible for it to coexist with judgment. When you are curious, you can’t be judgmental and vice versa. And when you are compassionately curious, you open yourself up to even deeper understanding.
From episode seven, this is a Stephen Covey quote that I love. “Frustration is a function of our expectations and our expectations are often a reflection of the social mirror, rather than our own values and priorities.” We are all walking around seeing life through our own should lenses.
These lenses are shaped by the way we were raised, our parents’ beliefs, our culture, our families. We see ourselves and the world through this lens of expectation, which puts us in an almost constant argument with reality. We are rarely looking at who we are and what is, and are instead focused on who we aren’t and what isn’t.
We see our shoulds as noble and moral, keeping us in line, showing us what’s right. But clinging to these shoulds to make us better is like eating a little bit of poison every day thinking we will build up a tolerance and it will make us stronger.
The reality is it just keeps us sick. The antidote to the poison of shoulds is acceptance. Taking off the lens of should and seeing you and your life for what they currently are.
From episode eight, the thing about worry is that it seems important. It seems necessary even. It seems like it is helping us consider all the options so that we will be prepared when things happen. This is the actual purpose that worry serves and why we evolve to function this way.
Worry focuses our attention on things we can be preparing for, preventing, taking action on. But there are two kinds of worry. The helpful kind that has you wearing sunscreen at the beach, and the unhelpful kind that has you quitting on yourself and hiding in shame.
I want you to notice something about worry here. It’s always about something that’s in the future, which is in our imagination. Something that hasn’t actually happened. It’s totally made up.
Sure, it’s possible and you may have had a similar experience in the past, but the thing you are worrying about right now hasn’t happened yet. When we hear a sentence in our brain that starts with what if, we’re in essence saying let’s pretend something bad.
However, that pretending creates real feelings now, like anxiety, panic, and desperation, and those feelings do not typically drive helpful actions that are aligned with your weight loss goals. When you feel anxiety, you don’t reach for chicken and broccoli. When you feel panic, you don’t typically take a minute to pause and evaluate and make a conscious choice.
From episode nine, our sense of smell is tied strongly to our memory of past experiences and our experience of taste. There are only two to three synapses that separate our old factory bulbs or smell receptors from the amygdala and hippocampus, which are our emotion and memory centers.
This super close connection explains why we can smell something and be immediately taken to a particular memory and feel the emotion of it. It is possible for us to enjoy a smell simply for the pleasant experience it is and do nothing else about it. We can breathe deeply the warm sweet smell of cinnamon rolls or bright sharp smell of garlic bread without any effect on our goals.
From episode 10, we are constantly questioning and doubting our value and saying we’re not enough. Not good enough, thin enough, strong enough, smart enough, pretty enough. But what determines if we are enough? How do we know when we are enough? What does enough mean?
It’s a measurement we can’t define. And if we can’t define it, we can’t ever know when we’ve reached it. And therefore, we’ll never get there. It’s a moving target.
We think this trying to be enough, this striving to reach enoughness is helping us become something else, something more. But it’s really keeping us stuck where we are. When we think, “I’m not enough,” we feel shame, discouragement, despair, and from these emotions, we typically don’t see forward motion.
We hide, we eat and gain weight, we’re in a mode of constantly seeking and never just being. We are living life at a perpetual deficit. I started to imaging myself as this lump of clay. Whole and complete and enough with the potential to become so many amazing things.
There are goals and achievements and new roles I can take on and excel at, and weight I can lose, but they’re all formed with the same clay. When I can imagine myself as whole and complete, my value not flaking away with mistakes or weight gain, not being chipped off when I fall short of my expectations and eat off my protocol, just continually moldable and changeable and me, I feel peaceful, I feel free.
There’s beauty and goodness in all of my forms. When I imagine my wholeness and completeness, it becomes up to me to decide where I want to go with no fear that I will ever be less than the perfect amount of clay I am made of.
This is what I want for you, to release enough from your vocabulary. Banish it. And know for certain that you are the perfect amount of clay and that it’s up to you what you become. You have everything you need within you right now.
From episode 11, how your body feels is the reality of right now. As Byron Katie so brilliantly and simply put it, when we argue with reality, we only lose 100% of the time.
When we see our bodies through the lens of judgment, we deny reality. We increase our physical discomfort with the emotional pain of believing things should be different than what they are. When we choose to take off those lenses and see our bodies as they are right now, we will change the way that we feel.
When we choose to love ourselves in our bodies, when we can see and feel them for what they are, instead of only what they are not, and start making different decisions about how we take care of them, that is fully inhabiting ourselves. That is how we find comfort in our skin.
From episode 12, our emotions are like the weather. Always happening and always changing. We experience a wide and varied range of emotions as humans every day. Our full human experience includes every season, every kind of weather, or in other words, all the feels. Joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure, guilt, pride, peace, and frustration.
The contrast is the key. We have to know one to know the other. We try and try to sustain a level of constant happiness or peacefulness because we think it is, A, possible, and B, what all humans are supposed to do. But where did we get this idea from?
Where on Earth is there a human living a life that is a constantly happy one? And more importantly, is that actually al life that we want to live? Our unpleasant emotions, despite what your toddler brain offers you, are not dangerous or threatening. They can’t harm you.
Your feelings are your friends and they’re there to give you a message, to teach you a lesson, but only if you’re willing to open the door, let them in, and listen to what they have to say.
I love this quote by Rilke in the final frame of the movie JoJo Rabbit. “Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
From episode 13, our default reaction to our unpleasant emotions is to contract, to tighten up and fight or hide. When unpleasant emotions come knocking, we see them as monsters that we need to keep out, and so we resist and we fight and we push against them.
We overeat and we overdrink and all sorts of other things in order to muffle the sound of the knocking. We mistakenly think if we accept and allow our unpleasant emotions, they will overrun our lives, but the opposite is true. As we increase our ability to accept and allow our unpleasant emotions, we decrease the intensity and duration of the unpleasant emotions and we increase the frequency and duration of our pleasant emotions.
As Brené Brown says, when we numb the dark, we numb the light. So if we open up to the dark, we also open up to more light in our lives.
From episode 14, when we’re telling ourselves that chocolate is bad, it’s a pretty mixed message, right? Doesn’t taste bad, it doesn’t feel bad. Everyone who eats it doesn’t gain weight, so it makes it pretty hard to believe it’s bad.
And yet they say it’s bad for us, right? That we shouldn’t eat it if we’re trying to lose weight, but we really want to and we really like to. And we do anyway. And then we beat ourselves up for being a terrible person who eats bad foods.
The truth is no food is inherently good or bad. Food is just food. Just ingredients, nutrients, molecules that we ingest. It has no moral value. Different foods have different nutritional value and different effects on our individual bodies for sure, and we have taste preferences and cultural food traditions and regional specialities and family favorites.
But the food itself is neutral. If anything less than 100% is zero percent, but you eat 90% of what is on your plan, your all-or-nothing thinking disregards all of the choices you made that did align with your goals, to focus on the few that didn’t, the 10%.
If you wanted six brownies but you ate one, your all-or-nothing thinking will still chalk it up to failure. You’re either on or off, you’re doing it all the way or you’re not at all, you’re successful or you’re failing. But what about everything in between?
This is what the all-or-nothing thought error ignores. All of the grey area in between the black and the white. It fails to consider any other way of looking at things.
And from episode 15, any change we make or result we are after, including weight loss is most effectively accomplished by small changes and efforts executed consistently. Weight loss is about learning to choose what we want most over what we want in the moment and that doesn’t happen with a snap of your fingers. It’s not an overnight transformation.
It’s a series of small decisions, individual choices made over and over. I love this quote by James Clear. “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. Meaningful change does not require radical change. You don’t need unanimous votes to win an election. You just need a majority.”
We don’t have to fear discomfort, we don’t have to push it away. We can move toward it and decide how we want to experience it. Our willingness to experience discomfort opens up amazing opportunities. Our journey through discomfort can allow us to become more than we were before.
From episode 16, if the goal is disconnected from what matters to us, it will not hold up. If this current moment is not connected to that value-driven goal, we will not make decisions that line up. If we are not connected to our bodies in the moment, we will not show up.
We can’t show up for ourselves or really at all without connection because being present, showing up requires connection. That purposeful disconnection from what does matter and our value-driven goal in the moment never leads us closer to where we want to be.
“Might as well” is rarely followed by just eat some veggies. Might as well moments never lead to value-aligned decisions. I love this quote by Rollo May. “Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between stimulus and response, and in that pause to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.
The decision you make in this moment is a big deal because it’s part of your journey to the goal. It’s all part of becoming the kind of person you want to become. It’s a big deal because you are a big deal.
Much of our desire to eat comes from a desire to numb and escape emotion, to disconnect from feeling. So being present in our bodies is a willingness to reconnect.
And last but not least for this episode, a snippet of a beautiful poem by Morgan Harper Nichols from episode 17. “And grace is unmerited favor but it might not always look the way you want it to, it will invite you out into the open and it will also reveal what has been broken. You might have to unlearn the way you thought things would be. You might find that being undone is the best way to move on humbly, mindfully, wholly. For how liberating it is to pursue wholeness over perfection, finding that grace is more than a beautiful word but a daily act of being undone and awakening a direction.”
I love her so much. If you don’t follow her, you should. Okay friends, an update on what I have been up to. I have been coaching women through their weight loss journeys for nearly four years. I have coached hundreds of women for hundreds of hours.
And have changed as a human and evolved as a woman and as a coach in those hundreds of hours and handful of years. I’ve seen so many women and listened to their stories and their struggles and felt what they are up against and I feel a push to evolve my program using all of my knowledge and experience gained through my intimate connection to my clients.
I’ve learned so much and about humans and human brains and my amazing clients and what they really need. They need help achieving their health goals. But they need even more.
More focus on how they see themselves and why they see themselves that way, more help learning to accept and love themselves, more guidance to unpack the years and years of programming that has left them disconnected from their bodies, their feelings, themselves, more support to rebuild trust, confidence, and belief in their goodness, more kindness and less judgment, more curiosity, wonder, and gratitude, and less criticism, punishment, and rules. More hope, less despair.
And so I’m currently creating The Last Beginning 2.0. My signature weight loss program all grown up and up-leveled. It’s a seed of an idea right now, but it inspired an amazing one and I’m so excited to nurture and develop it over the next few months and offer it to those of you out there who really need it in 2022.
I have a waiting list of women who are ready and excited and they have a desire to make real and lasting changes to how they show up for themselves and to their bodies in the process. It’s not for you if you’re looking for a quick weight loss fix, or if you think that extreme calorie restriction is the answer to all of your insecurities, or if your only goal is to look amazing in a swimsuit.
It is for you if you have tried everything and you realize it’s about so much more than food. If you’re looking for a holistic solution that includes your mind and your body. And if you are ready to unpack your past, empower your present, and envision a new future that includes loving you completely, and creating the life and body you want.
I have some super fun bonuses coming to my waiting list while they wait in joyful anticipation. A podcast quickstart guide including a workbook of study guides so they can use the podcast to start making and seeing some changes now.
I have an awesome Navigating the Holidays toolkit they will get as we move into the season of nostalgic food and overeating, and so much more. So if this sounds like you or like some help you’d like over the next few months, all you have to do is head to itbeginswithathought.com/waitlist and get yourself on the list. 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.