This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 25.
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 to share Laura’s review with you today. Different Laura than the one from last week. It’s titled, “Worth a listen,” and here’s what she had to say.
“I feel like Natalie is reading my mind. Everything she says I can relate to, and she breaks things down into small bites that I can actually take action on. She’s looking to change your life, not just your weight.”
Oh my gosh, every word of that, yes, yes, yes, yes. I hope you all feel like I’m reading your mind and I hope you realize it’s because, A, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to struggle with the things you are struggling with. B, I work with women every day. My clients who struggle with these things too.
I tell their stories through what I share, which leads me to see that I hope you also see that you are not alone. You’re not broken. You’re not the only one who deals with or thinks these things. You’re a human having a human experience in the world, and this is part of it. I’m not actually reading your mind. I just have a human brain too. And I am all about changing lives and minds. The weight loss part is just a bonus, right? Thank you so much, Laura. So good.
Speaking of reading minds, tell me if this sounds familiar. You decide you’re fed up with your weight and today’s the day you’re going to finally do something about it. You get on Amazon, you order yourself three books on keto or paleo or whatever the diet of the moment is and some MCT oil and some green tea pills or whatever else your cousin swears are what kicked her metabolism into gear.
You go to the store, you purchase every green vegetable you can see and a three-month supply of chicken breast. You are super excited about doing this for real this time. And things are going really well for a couple of weeks. You’re super motivated. You’re doing everything right. You laugh in the face of temptation. You’re killing it.
And then week three hits and you wake up and you think about eating eggs and salad and chicken again and you feel like screaming. This food that once excited and motivated you is now going to be the death of you. Death by chicken and boredom, right?
Pretty soon, you’re ordering pizza and you’re swearing that this was never going to work anyway and you don’t even care. Now, for some people they don’t eat pizza or any food for that matter when they feel feelings. They just feel them. And maybe they pout or they cry or they yell or go for a run. This podcast is not for them.
This podcast is for those of you who eat when you feel feelings. You eat to escape feelings. Eat to avoid feelings. And if you eat when you feel feelings, the food you typically reach for in that scenario is not broccoli. So we feel bored and frustrated with our “diet food” and we eat the pizza that we think is going to solve it for us.
But what comes after that pizza eating? Especially when we’re working toward the goal of losing weight is thoughts like, I can never stick to anything. And like we’ve talked about before on the podcast, it’s not the pizza that signals our doom. It’s the quitting that follows. The eating all the things, the F it attitude that lasts for days, weeks, and sometimes months.
Today I want to focus on what’s happening here and what we can do when we find ourselves headed for the temporary relief of quitting. So what changed to drive us to want the pizza instead of eggs and salad and chicken? It’s the same food you’ve been eating, just a different day, so it wasn’t that the food itself went from exciting to boring overnight.
It isn’t that some foods are just boring and some foods are exciting. We know that because the pizza you think is exciting food to someone else might be basic or even disgusting. Or if they are gluten and lactose intolerant, sickening.
And it isn’t even that eating the same thing for a certain number of days in a row is boring. My son ate Eggo waffles every single day for breakfast for an entire year. Probably more than that. And he loved every minute of it. He was so excited for breakfast every day.
What changed is your thoughts about the food and with those thoughts changing, your feelings changed about the food. At first, you were thinking things like, I can do this, this is what my body needs, I love how I feel when I eat this food. And because you were thinking those things, you were feeling the feeling of motivation and determination.
Somewhere between week one and week three, I found with many of my clients, those thoughts change. You start thinking things like this is hard, this sucks, I wish I could eat whatever I want, I want a break. And those thoughts create feelings like frustration and discouragement.
And I want you to just think for a minute. When you are feeling motivated, what do you do? What do you eat? Now I want you to think about when you’re feeling frustrated and discouraged. What do you do then? What do you eat?
When I’m feeling motivated, I eat food that fuels me and it’s an easy choice. I eat salad, I drink water. When I’m feeling frustrated and discouraged, I want sugar, I want soda, I want peanut butter. Like spoonfuls of it, you know?
Those are the foods that give me a dopamine hit and a little lift. I get some relief for a minute. But as you well know by now by listening to me, food doesn’t fix or create feelings. It wasn’t the food that was creating the motivation in the beginning. It wasn’t that we just had motivation and now we don’t. It’s not lost. And we can’t go looking for it and just happen upon it. We have to create the feeling of motivation on a continual basis on purpose with our thinking. We choose motivation. We don’t just have it or not.
So aside from your motivation thoughts changing, the other thing that is happening when we feel like quitting has to do with willpower. You were riding high on willpower for a while, thinking it would do the work to carry you through. Willpower is really just us resisting our desire for things.
There’s a lot of I can’t and I won’t happening to create willpower, or to engage willpower. There’s a reason people often refer to willpower as white-knuckling it because it is fighting. It’s pushing against what we want, but “can’t” have. That’s why willpower is a limited resource. Willpower runs out because it’s exhausting to push and fight and resist.
And once the willpower runs out, you’re left with all those feelings of desire you’ve been resisting. In the first few weeks of this new lifestyle you’re trying on, when you saw a brownie, you had the thought, “I can’t eat brownies. Even though they look delicious, I’m being good.” You felt stressed and instead of getting a Coke like you usually would, you thought, “I can’t drink Coke, even though I want to. I’m being good,” and on and on.
These thoughts engage our willpower. What happens between week one and week three is that willpower supply is exhausted. We’ve used it all up resisting our desire for sugar and telling ourselves we can’t have all the things that we want.
Imagine that desire is like an intruder getting into your room. You’re holding the door shut with all of your might as they try to push their way in. I don’t want brownies, I don’t want brownies, I don’t want brownies you’re saying to yourself over and over. You can hold them off, but not forever.
We spend a lot of our time trying to resist and wish away our desire, not realizing that desire is not a dangerous intruder on the other side of the door, but really just our toddler, desperately wanting to show us the picture they drew so they can leave and make another one.
Have you ever had that experience where you’re on the phone or otherwise occupied and your toddler’s like, “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom,” like a billion times? And when you finally answer with an exasperated what, they’re like, look. And you say wow, and they skip happily away.
Now, just a little side note. One of my favorite things when I work with clients is when they have those a-ha moments during a coaching session, when they learn something or something just clicks and all of a sudden, a whole new idea and a whole new way of looking at the world opens up.
They say, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never thought of that before,” or, “Wow, that makes so much sense.” So this next thing I’m about to tell you is one of those for me. Desire is a feeling created by our own thinking. It’s not the brownies or Dr. Pepper or donuts creating desire. If it was, everyone, every time they saw one of those foods would desire it and I know quite a few people who would pass on a donut every time.
I myself never desire donuts in the morning. In fact, the thought of eating a donut right when I wake up makes my stomach turn a little bit. Now, hit me up with that same donut at 3pm however, different story. My brain’s like, this is the time when I could really use that sugar.
Desire is not something to fear or fight against and it’s not something we have to act on or do anything about. You can desire brownies and not eat one. You can desire Coke and not drink it. Think about a non-food example of something you felt desire for and not acted on.
When we’re angry and we have the desire to scream and punch someone or sometimes when someone cuts me off, I just want to – I kind of want to ram my car into the back of their car but I don’t act on that desire. My best friend got marries way back when on a hot summer day. I think it was over 100 degrees. I’m sure it was. It was in the summer in Utah and it was hot.
And the reception was in the backyard of a beautiful home with a pool. I have never desired to jump into a pool with all of my clothes on so badly. But I was in my bridesmaids dress and it was not appropriate to go swimming, and so I didn’t answer that desire. It felt strong, it felt urgent. I knew if I did it, I would feel relief, but I just allowed the desire to be there and I didn’t do anything about it and I survived. I’m here to tell the tale.
I bet if you think about it, you can come up with a bunch of examples of your own. All of this not wanting to be bored and our lack of motivation and our fighting with desire because of the poisonous can’t, all of this is what makes quitting seem like an attractive option.
When we believe the discomfort is coming from the food or the program or what we can and can’t eat, the only option for relief that we see is quitting. So we don’t have to eat the food or be told what we can or can’t do by the program. Quitting so we can start over tomorrow or Monday or after summer’s over means relief from having to resist desire.
But it also means relief from all the guilt and shame we create for ourselves when we do. When we quit, we allow ourselves to let go of what’s happened in the past. We say it doesn’t matter, I don’t even care, screw it, which feels like relief compared to what’s wrong with you and you screwed up again.
It also allows us to look forward to the possibilities. We think Monday will be different, I’ll totally be able to do this once the kids are back in school and things aren’t so crazy. So we get to take our eyes off the past mistakes and all of the guilt and regret and turn them toward the future and all of the hope that lives in what could be.
But this is a gift we can give ourselves any time. It isn’t the quitting that creates the relief. It’s the change in our thinking. We don’t need relief if we aren’t resisting and piling on guilt with our thoughts in the first place. We don’t need a break if we aren’t believing that we can’t, shouldn’t, and aren’t supposed to.
When you believe you are always choosing every moment, every bite, you get to feel the truth, which is that you have the power. So take inventory. What are you believing when you feel motivated? How can you create that for yourself on purpose? What are you believing about what you can and can’t eat and why? What is believing that creating for you?
Where do you notice you are fighting using willpower instead of allowing the desire to be there and just not do anything about it and why? Why are you choosing the fight? How is it harder to keep quitting and starting over than to keep going? If you’re going to be uncomfortable, which version do you want to choose for yourself?
Alright everyone, please leave me a review if you love the podcast. I love hearing from you and what’s working and what you’re loving so I can just keep creating more of it. And then don’t forget to submit the title to me at itbeginswithathought.com/review and then if I pick your review, I get to send you a fun gift in the mail. Don’t you love getting surprise packages in the mail? Me too. So do it. 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.