This week, I’m sharing with you the story of my past. We’re taking a trip down memory lane together, and I have a feeling you’ll find it very familiar.
Most of my life was a complete rollercoaster of shame and self-loathing, believing I would never be able to change, that I would never be the “right” size. Yet, here I am today, a master life coach and an entrepreneur, with an entire business and community built around weight loss. I never would’ve thought it was possible.
Listen in this week as I ask you, if your past self got a peek at your life today, what have you achieved that she would have never thought possible? I’m showing you how our brains love to indulge in disbelief and doubt while disregarding all the amazing twists and turns that are inevitable in your future, and I’m inviting you to start dreaming of the latter instead.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 71.
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. Want to take a trip down memory lane with me? Once upon a time, I was a girl at war with her body. I was obsessed with food and eating and not eating it, and what I should be eating, and what I wasn’t supposed to be eating, and hiding food and eating it in secret, and beating myself up ruthlessly for doing that.
I was convinced that something was really wrong with me. I remember sitting and crying as I ate mine candy bar after mini candy bar, feeling like I could never stop but wanting to so badly. I stayed home from many a social event because I had tried on an outfit, looked at myself in the mirror, told myself I looked fat and disgusting and put on sweats and got in bed instead because I couldn’t be seen in public looking like I did.
I covered up and I hid and I camouflaged myself with oversized clothes. I didn’t get dressed up or buy anything new because I was waiting until my body was the right size. I did have some cute clothes that I liked from the few times I had successfully lost weight, but they were like ghosts from the past haunting me or taunting me really with how I had messed up again.
I regularly uttered the sentence, “I’m so fat,” like a mantra. I lived to eat the things I restricted and then was so angry at myself for giving in that I restricted even harder. I gained 70 pounds with my first pregnancy as a reaction to a lifetime of restriction.
Burgers and shakes every day because I’m pregnant? Yup. Nonstop candy to quell the nausea? Yup. Eating with abandon all the things I never allowed myself? Yes. Confusion and disgust at why my body didn’t go back to the same size right after my son was born? Yup.
Fun story, eh? My life from 13 to 30 was a rollercoaster of shame and self-loathing and trying to fix it by fixing my body. Overeating and under-eating and overexercising and counting calories and points and fat grams, rejecting myself over and over and over. Blaming my body for my feelings, blaming my past for my body. Struggle and strain and sadness. Constant rejection of myself over and over, day after day.
That was the story of my past. Well, some of it. There was also a lot of beauty and joy but always with an undercurrent of all this. I would look at the “half their size” issue of People every year and I just knew that a transformation like that was never going to be possible for me.
I was too broken. I had tried. I was never going to be able to change and be different. I would never be able to love me because I would never be the right size. I hadn’t been able to figure it out and I didn’t believe I ever would.
I never ever ever in a million billion years would have thought that I would be sitting here, having not only changed my body and my story, but created a whole life and career around it. I never would have thought that I would even have a career. I was “just” a stay-at-home mom, which is another detrimental untrue story I used to tell myself.
I never would have thought I would certify as a life coach. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I never would have thought I would become an entrepreneur. My husband was an entrepreneur. My parents were entrepreneurs. My best friend was the entrepreneur type. Not me. And yet, here we are.
I never would have thought I would become a master coach and build an entire business and tribe around weight loss. What? Weight loss, of all the things, seriously, did you just hear the story I just told you about my past?
I never would have thought that I would find peace with food. I never would have thought, like never ever that I could have a bowl of perfectly good peanut M&Ms on my kitchen counter in all their glory and not even think about or want to touch them for weeks at a time. Like not even notice them.
I never would have thought that I would prioritize sleep over staying up late and night eating. That was my favorite pastime once upon a time. I never would have thought I would ever look in the mirror, see my body with all of its “imperfections,” stretch marks, sagging, cellulite, and feel love.
I never would have thought that I would put imperfections in quotes because I didn’t really believe that was a thing anymore. I’m exactly as I am. I’m perfect is made up garbage, therefore, imperfection is too.
How many times have you uttered this phrase in the last year especially? I never would have thought. I never would have thought I would have a collection of cloth masks for every occasion and to match every outfit. I never would have thought everything on Earth would close, especially Disneyland. I never would have thought I would miss crowded places and other humans and on and on and on. And yet, here we are.
So as you think about your current life and you imagine your past self of five years ago or 20 years ago, getting a peak at it, what would she have never thought of that is real for you?
Of course this will be a mixed bag, as life is. There will be some I never would have thought I’d be divorced in there, along with the I never would have thought that I would graduate with a master’s degree from blank. There’s so many things about you and your current situation that your past self couldn’t even conceptualize back then.
Think about computers for example. When I was born, it wasn’t a thing to have a computer in your home. I never would have thought I’d be holding a computer in my hand, walking around with it all day long. Think of how many things you have done and experienced and become that your past self never would have predicted.
So many places you’ve gone, roles you’ve filled, accomplishments, missteps, U-turns, right turns that you’ve taken that she never would have imagined. So why do we sit here in the present and try to pretend that we can predict the future and know for sure what is possible for ourselves?
Why does your brain tell you you will never figure this out? Why does your brain tell you you aren’t capable of lasting weight loss? Why does your brain tell you that you won’t ever be lovable? How does your brain know what will happen in the future?
Newsflash and spoiler alert, it doesn’t. Now, I’m not talking about the work you are doing to create a vision of and believe in future you. That is useful, powerful, important imagination work. Your brain doesn’t know that that will happen exactly but opening up to the possibility of it changes the trajectory of your life in its own way.
What I am talking about is all the other useless, disempowering, waste of your imagination work that you do the rest of the time. All of the disbelief and the doubt and the decisions you make to choose to focus on the worst-case scenario or on the past or on what you don’t have evidence as possible right now.
What about all the things that will happen in your future that will be amazing and life-changing and tiny and wonderful? What about all the twists and turns in your story that will come about naturally and by choice? Where’s the consideration of that reality?
We seem to forget about this. We seem to hyper focus on trying to have control or on our lack of control or getting control or losing control. The truth is there is so much we can’t control in the world around us. But we always have control over what we make it mean, how we feel, and how we react.
I never would have thought there would be so many gifts in the experience of the last year. Time with my family, slowing down and truly seeing what’s important, letting go of some things and holding on tighter to others, perspective, heartache, gratitude, simplicity, connection.
I never would have thought I would feel gratitude for my weight journey. I had a conversation with one of my beautiful clients the other day who is working so hard on changing her brain and her life and her body in the process.
It’s rare to come across the resilience and commitment and determination to keep going that she has shown. My clients just amaze me. But this is something we were discussing. This idea of gratitude for our weight struggles and all of the transformative changes we have made in the process of discovering our solutions and traveling this path.
I have learned so much about me and humans in general and about struggle and emotion and the brain and the human spirit through this journey. So much of who I am and what I have in my life is a result of the lessons I’ve learned and the skills I’ve built on this weight journey of my lifetime.
Let’s stop trying to pretend we know for sure what will happen and start focusing on what is possible and how we want to show up in the face of what comes. Let’s use our imaginations more and worry less about what we don’t know. Point yourself in the way you want to go and move forward, open to being guided and surprised along the way, as we know will happen to us as we go.
What do you hope you are saying in the future? I never would’ve thought what? I want to leave you with this poem by one of my favorites. Morgan Harper Nichols.
“You’re going to look back on your life and realize that seemingly fragmented moments of your life came together in ways you couldn’t see at the time. And through it all, you were fine. Not perfect, but fine. There were losses along the way, dreams that stretched out of shape, unfulfilled, and yet you were okay. Love found you anyway.
Even when you were lost in a cold wide sea, years and countless miles from where you wanted to be, you will look back and find your soul was steady. You were still finding rhythms beyond what was spoken, you were not as broken as you thought you were, even though it felt like it in the moment. So take heart. Breathe deep. Hope is still in the lining, even if you cannot see it.
Hope holds within it a promise of new horizons as long as you are alive. Tomorrow is unknown but you’re free to dream of that moment, tasting the quiet strength of morning air, singing, you will arrive where you are meant to be when you are meant to be there.”
Have a beautiful week, dreaming of the future and all of its possibility. I’ll 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.