Imagine, it’s the middle of the night, you’re in the midst of a restful sleep, and your friend calls you asking to hang out. How would you respond? You’d say anything from, “Not right now, I’m sleeping,” all the way through to, “Are you crazy?” For most of us, getting up in the middle of the night to hang out with friends is non-negotiable.
There are commitments we make to ourselves that are just unbreakable. But that doesn’t just happen automatically. Our reasons and convictions are what make these things non-negotiable and our reasoning is so strong that we just don’t bend. So, how do we make weight loss a non-negotiable, unbreakable commitment to ourselves?
Tune in this week to discover why we break our commitments to ourselves so easily, and how to instead make your commitment to your weight loss unbreakable. I’m sharing how to break down your action steps for losing weight, decide on what you want to commit to, and make that commitment non-negotiable.
This is Weight Loss Success, with Natalie Brown, episode 130.
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. I want you to imagine you’re at work, middle of your workday or if you don’t work or work alone from home like me, maybe imagine it’s the middle of the night. And your friend who doesn’t work with you, calls you and says, “Do you want to hang out?” How would you respond? No, not right now, maybe later, I’m working or sleeping.” And if my friend calls me in the middle of the night and says this, I’m probably going to be much less calm than that.
I’ll probably sound more like, “Are you completely insane, what’s wrong with you? Leave me alone.” But anyway, leaving work or getting up in the middle of the night to hang out with friends is a no. It’s a non-negotiable. There are commitments we make that are just unbreakable. But that doesn’t happen automatically. They aren’t just so, we have made them so. We have reasons and convictions for our commitments that we don’t bend on, reasons and convictions that are so strong that we just don’t even question them.
Today I want to talk about making parts of this process non-negotiable or unbreakable for yourself. There are so many skills to build in order to get to our goals and skill building requires consistency. So, we have to intentionally cultivate reasons and convictions that are so strong that we don’t question them. Think about why you wouldn’t leave work to hang out. What are your reasons? For most of us we value our jobs. We want to do what is expected or required at the minimum and excel and go above and beyond at the maximum.
We want to keep our jobs because we want to be able to go pay for our housing, and utilities, and cars, and food. We don’t want a termination on our resumés. We want to contribute to our lives, and our families, and society. Depending on the work you do you likely care about what you’re doing and creating. You value your clients, or patients, or customers. You want to make a difference in their lives. You want to keep watching your retirement account grow so you can buy that beach house, or vacation, or just actually retire and not worry about how you will survive financially.
You value keeping commitments and doing your best. Think about why you wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night to hang out. What are your reasons? You value sleep as an important part of your health. You want to have the energy to take care of yourself tomorrow and you know when you don’t get enough sleep you will overconsume caffeine and sugar, and feel really crappy at bedtime tomorrow. You want to honor your body’s natural rhythms.
You know if you don’t sleep you won’t be clear and productive for work tomorrow and all of the same work reasons probably apply here too then. When it comes to your weight loss journey, especially the places you notice yourself breaking your commitment or negotiating it away, do you know your reasons for making those commitments in the first place? This is a part of the reason it’s so easy for us to break them. They’re not rooted in value connected reasons and convictions.
They are things on a list of things we think are supposed to be doing or accomplishing but there’s no connection to what is important to us and why. Now, listen, just because you have reasons and they are connected to your values, and you have made the thing non-negotiable, it doesn’t mean you won’t be tempted to break them when something comes up. Doesn’t mean it won’t be hard to stay committed. It doesn’t mean that it will be a simple and clear no. It doesn’t make sticking with them fun and easy.
It doesn’t mean there isn’t discomfort when you have to say no to yourself or your friend. Even with all of these powerful and connected reasons that you go to work and don’t randomly leave to hang out with friends every day, or at least some days you’ll probably want to hit the snooze button and consider not going. The path of least resistance which is almost always the most desirable one for us to follow because it’s much more comfortable will seem way better than doing the hard thing and showing up, and keeping your commitment.
I was listening to a podcast with a guy who’s an elite martial artist and a fitness and workout fanatic in a conversation with a former Navy Seal who is still in amazing shape. They’re always talking about discipline, and pushing yourself, and working out every day really hard no matter what etc. I always just assumed that they look forward to and maybe even lived for working out, and laughed in the face of cookies, and their complete dedication to their health was just weaved into the fabric of their beings.
But guess what, both of them said that every day when their alarms go off to get up and go work out, they dread it, and they want to push snooze, and they want to go back to sleep. They don’t but they want to, because making a commitment and keeping it, we think that at some point it will no longer feel like a choice, it will just be something we do with no resistance. And that is true some of the time, with simple and easy things like brushing your teeth, probably don’t fight that every day.
Or maybe we think that if we have the right reason, the reason will make it feel easy and we won’t feel any resistance. A lot of my clients have this false belief that they aren’t reaching their goals and they keep ‘falling off the wagon’ because they haven’t found their ‘compelling’ reason. Like there’s this one magical thing that they will discover that will make it so they don’t even like ice-cream and they want to puke at the thought of McDonald’s and it will just solve everything and make the process a breeze.
I’ve had clients wish that they found out that they had some life threatening health issue caused by their eating habits that would just finally make them stop doing what they’re doing and lose the weight. That one reason would compel them to change. And I mean that does happen sometimes. I have known people who found out they had lung cancer and they stopped having a desire for cigarettes almost immediately. Their desire to live just squashed their desire to smoke.
However, I also know people who have gotten diagnosed with a smoking related health issue and have still struggled to quit smoking. There’s no magic reason that will make it feel easy like that, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But if you set aside that notion and stop searching for the one thing and for it to somehow feel easy, maybe you’ll be able to critically think about it and construct a set of reasons with depth and connection that will help you connect to what you want most and will support you in keeping your commitments.
As you start to think through this I want to remind you to start small saying, “I’m going to make losing weight non-negotiable.” It’s way too big to have any hope of making it happen. There are so many things you need to be committed to individually on a small scale as a part of that. We really need to break it up and get clear about our reasons for each piece. So, what goes into losing weight for you? What are the things you want to be doing and practicing in order to see the scale go down? Which of those include some stumbling blocks or feel hard to remain committed to?
Make a list of all the skills you’re trying to build and all the things you’re doing. So maybe you’re planning your meals, trying to learn from your missteps off the plan instead of beating yourself up about them, trying to be present with emotion and not use food to escape. Maybe you’re working on moving our body every day, or drinking water instead of diet coke, eating less sugar, eating more veggies, relegating food to mealtime only instead of grazing all day.
You want to just take one thing and go through the reasons you want to do this, what benefit you think it will bring, what it will help you to avoid. You can begin this process with my favorite three letter word, why. So, let’s take planning your meals for example. Ask yourself why you want to do this. And ask why to each of those reasons as well. We really want your foundation of reasons to be deep and wide rather than one dimensional.
When you ask why to planning your meals you may answer, because I want to make decisions about my food ahead of time with my adult brain rather than in the moment when my toddler brain’s in charge. I want my highest thinking brain with my future and best interest to be in charge in those kinds of decisions. I don’t want to have to think about it when I’m hungry and only focused on what sounds good instead of what my body needs and what serves my goals.
I want to build the skill of being able to navigate the discomfort to saying no to my impulses that don’t serve me. Planning makes it easier because I’m making one decision about my day ahead of time which saves me from having to use up energy to make a bunch of should I, shouldn’t I decisions throughout my day. I’m learning to use love as the fuel to decide what will feel good in my body instead of deciding based on what emotion I am trying to escape or run away from.
Because this skill will allow me to create a body that’s free and can move around in the world the way I want to, that’s why. Because what I choose to eat has an effect on my ability to create a body that can sit on the floor and play with my grandkids, and get back up again without help. Because what I plan ahead will always be the food that nourishes my body and allows me to have the energy I need to get through my day and thrive. And the food I choose in the moment is usually the kind that makes me crash and feel foggy when I need to be clear.
Planning and being faced the next day with having to choose what I want most over what I want in the moment gives me lots of opportunities to practice this valuable skill. I could keep going and going. Doesn’t this feel so much more rooted than answering the planning question with, “Because I have to if I want to lose weight.” Or for some of my clients, “Because Natalie says I should.”
Now, when it comes to choosing a hot fresh pizza and garlic bread for lunch, or your salad you packed the night before, still won’t feel easy. But if you have a nice deep well of reasons that you love and that are connected to what is most important to you it will certainly be easier. You want to feel good about your decisions even if it’s still uncomfortable to make them. Making each piece of your weight loss process non-negotiable and unbreakable requires some front end work.
And the understanding that non-negotiable doesn’t mean you won’t want to negotiate. It simply means you won’t allow negotiations. One other thing, if you are not sure if all the things you’re doing when it comes to your weight loss process are aligned with future you, that’s a good place to start here. If you don’t actually care about what you’re doing and it has no noticeable connection to who you are trying to become, it’s going to be real hard to come up with some sufficient reasons that will make it unbreakable.
We want to make sure that all of the things we are doing or trying to learn how to do and practice are getting us closer to her. This is also a good in the moment test. You could make doing this exercise in the moment of decision non-negotiable. Just do this exercise, that’s the thing you’re going to commit to. So here it is, using a scale one through five, one being doing exactly what you do now, staying the same, going nowhere, creating your current life and body over, and over, and over. And then five being acting in perfect alignment with future you doing what she would do.
I want you to use this scale to rate your daily decisions. So, pushing snooze may be a two or a three, whereas turning off your alarm altogether and going back to sleep for good is a one. And getting up and going to the gym even through the discomfort because you’re committed to moving your body this way today is a five. You don’t have to be pulling fives out left and right. But at the end of the day, we want the average of all of our actions to be a two or above and just keep climbing as we practice the skills and keep drawing on our reasons that we love in order to keep our commitments.
As you make each decision in your day, ask, where does this rate on the future me scale? And shoot for forward motion, inching toward her one non-negotiable decision at a time. If you want some help making decisions non-negotiable and commitments unbreakable that is one of many skills we work on in Love First Weight Loss. There are only a few more weeks and a few more spots in my September group, a few more weeks to sign up that is. Come get a jumpstart on loving you and on learning how to take amazing care of yourself while losing weight before the holidays.
This group will wrap up right before that fun begins. You’ll be able to make it peaceful and enjoyable without gaining 10 pounds maybe. So, head to itbeginswithathought.com/apply, and 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.