Think about some of the habits you’re trying to change right now on your weight loss journey. Is your brain telling you that it sucks, it’s too hard, and that it would be better to go back to before you tried this new thing?
Recalibration, in tiny or big ways, is an amazing process our brains and bodies undergo without much conscious effort from us. This happens automatically in so many areas of our lives, but the ability to recalibrate is totally possible when applied consciously to the process of change as well, especially when we’re faced with a new challenge.
Join me this week as I share a couple of examples from my own life where I had this a-ha moment about the power of recalibration. I’m showing you why failing is a necessary part of the process of recalibration, and how to start small with it to create massive changes in your life.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 101.
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.
Hello, everybody. I had someone tell me this week they listened to every episode, all one hundred. I was amazed. I don’t think I have listened to all one hundred of any podcasts. I wonder how many of you out there have listened to every single episode too. I wish I could see a raise of hands. If you have, I’m extremely impressed. And I also hope in addition to you listening, you’re also implementing things you learn.
I know the women I speak to who are, are making shifts and changes in their lives and losing pounds as a bonus. So, super exciting to me to know that I’m a part of the change. It’s my favorite part of what I do. Speaking of change, I wanted to share a couple of experiences I had recently that I felt spoke to this concept in kind of a unique way.
So, my family and I love to ski and snowboard. We live at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and we have ski resorts within an hour’s drive. I see it a little bit when I was a kid, and I took it back up about six years ago when my baby was grown up enough to go. I’m not a great skier yet by any means, but I can keep up, and I can get down the mountain in one piece. I’m not making any tree runs or taking any jumps, but I’m content with my level of skill.
And I enjoy the experience of being up there with my husband and kids. I’ve worked really hard to improve every year. So, we decided this year I was ready to trade in my used, beat-up starter skis for my own brand new pair, that I was ready. They’re a little bit longer and brand new, so the edges are sharp. The bottoms are smooth, so I anticipated the experience of skiing on them was going to be a little different.
Let me tell you, we got up to the top of the mountain, and immediately upon exiting the lift, I realized it as a lot different. I imagine my brain on the way up was like, this is skiing. We know how to do this, right? We remember this, and it called up how it’s supposed to feel and what muscles need to do what, at what time.
Then, I got off the lift onto my new skis, and my brain was like, what is happening? This does not feel like it’s supposed to. These skis are not behaving how we expected them to. The muscles are not working in the way they’re supposed to. What’s going on? It was really weird. I felt like a beginner again.
I mean, the first run of the season is always a little awkward, a little rusty as you kind of get your bearings and remember how to do this after a year of not doing it, but this was like next-level crazy. I was basically in a wedge instead of parallel skiing the whole way down. Sometimes we call it making a pizza with your skis vs. French fries because mostly children are skiing like this.
It’s way more tiring to my muscles than the way I normally ski, so I was worn out like halfway down the mountain, and at one point, I caught an edge, and I felt both my skis came off. I mean, it was a mess. I haven’t fallen in years. I take it pretty easy. So, as I lay there in the snow on my back, I could hear the tantrum forming in my toddler brain. I want my old skis back. This sucks. I hate these. This is the worst idea ever, you know, that kind of thing.
I eventually gathered myself, skis, poles, made it down the mountain, and nearly went straight to the car when my husband stopped me and convinced me to try again. His rational brain calmed my toddler brain down, and I decided to give it another chance, one more run. And this is where my mind was then blown.
As I got off the lift, it felt a little easier. I went down the first part of the hill and tried some parallel turns, and I started to feel a little more in control. I was able to go a little faster. I didn’t wreck, and I got down to the bottom of the mountain in one piece, less tired and ready for another. Every run got easier that day, and by the end of it, I felt better than I had on the last day of the previous year. And it all happened automatically. I didn’t consciously think about how to make adjustments to my balance and which muscles needed to engage and release when in order to ski and turn and slow myself smoothly down the mountain. My brain just figured it out little by little.
It took notes about what was different, about how these skis perform, and it made adjustments and changes to how my muscles, joints, tendons all reacted. It sensed how the balance was different, and it adjusted accordingly, tiny little micro-adjustments, big adjustments. It just kept refining it over and over throughout the day until I felt balanced and in control again. But it started happening after only the first run.
It’s like I got on the lift going down once, and my brain was like, all hands on deck, something’s different. We need to recalibrate, and by the time I got to the top of the lift, recalibration had occurred and then was ongoing until I figured it out. How amazing is that? Think about all of the systems and parts of my body that needed to participate and coordinate in this recalibration in order for things to go smoothly again. I was aware of it while I was experiencing it, and I just had to sit back and marvel at the miracle that is my body.
Over the holidays, I went on a trip with my family, and I left work behind. I prepared extra podcasts and got everything and all loose ends tied up. I brought my computer just in case, but I actually didn’t end up opening it or plugging it in at all. Which was a welcome changed from my day-to-day to where I kind of feel glued to my computer or my phone most of the time.
A few days after I got home and back to regular life, my phone let me know that my screentime was up 90% from the previous week. Which just tells you what a contrast this trip was from the usual. So, we went to the beach. There was a lot of swimming, sunscreen, and sunglasses-wearing, and I didn’t end up wearing my regular glasses the whole time.
Obviously, I can see fine enough without them. So, I didn’t need them, but usually, if I don’t wear them, I get headaches. However, the things that usually give me headaches, my computer, my phone, reading the small print on a screen, etc., weren’t an issue there. So, I put them in their case, and I didn’t get them out until we got home.
So, when I first got my glasses and started wearing them back months ago, it took like 2-3 weeks for my brain to adjust to the idea that this was normal now. Every time I put them on throughout that time, the world looked weird through these lenses. My brain was used to seeing the world in a certain way and using certain eye muscles in a certain way to see the world that way, right? So, my new lenses changed all of that.
And it took my brain some time to adjust and recalibrate. It’s interesting because the reason I got glasses was because my eyes were having to strain to work together and create a clear view of the world. It was causing them to be tired by the end of the day and for me to have frequent headaches and discomfort, but even so, my brain really didn’t jump for joy at the prospect of the change. It was very committed to the way things were. Trying really hard even to see through these new lenses the way it used to, even though the way things were harder and uncomfortable, at least it was familiar, right?
So, when I got home from my trip and put my glasses on after not wearing them for almost two weeks, the world looked weird again. My brain had recalibrated back to no glasses mode, so putting glasses on again felt like starting over. Only it wasn’t because my body and brain being the amazing miracles that they are, were able to recalibrate to glasses mode in a matter of minutes, not weeks. This time when I put my lenses on, my brain was like, oh, we know this. This is glasses mode.
We need to adjust this, relax that, recalibrate, and we’re good. Once again, mind blown at the capacity of my brain and body for change without me really doing anything. So, let these two examples of our brain and body’s incredible capacity for adjustment and recalibration be an inspiration to you on your journey of change. If your body can do all of this automatically, imagine the power you can employ when you make a conscious effort to adjust and recalibrate along the way. Your toddler brain, like mine, when faced with a new challenged, uncharted territory, may want to freak out and quit, of course.
It makes perfect sense. Change is hard and uncomfortable. But no matter what we’re trying to shift, adjust, recalibrate, or change, the hard and uncomfortable won’t last forever. You will create a new normal, a new level of comfort, if you give it some time. If you don’t make the discomfort mean that the change is never going to happen, if you keep trying, keep doing, keep working, keep learning, keep going, remind your brain that this discomfort is to be expected.
When we’ve been used to doing things a certain way, we have an expectation that we know how we’re supposed to feel, how it’s supposed to go, but expectations can also be adjusted. The examples I gave are examples of my body and brain recalibrating outside of my conscious awareness. But the ability to recalibrate is totally possible applied consciously to the process of change as well.
Also notice, that in both cases, the recalibration is spurred by something not being quite right. The recognition that something didn’t work or isn’t working is a key part of this process. You have to be doing and trying and failing or falling down in or to be able to recalibrate. It’s not just acceptable; it’s necessary. Think about some of the habits you’re trying to change right now.
Maybe it’s that you’re trying to tune into and recognize when you’re full? Part of the process is noticing when you’ve gotten past that point to over full. Now, your toddler brain will react to this like mine did, after my fall on my first run on my new skis. It will tell you that it sucks and that it’s too hard, and that you want to go back to when you didn’t have to think about this and try this new hard thing. But if you were in the conscious recalibration game, you can remind your brain that this is an important part of the process, and it’s just to signal to adjust and recalibrate.
What was happening while you were eating? What were you feeling? Did you get a signal that you were full? If so, what happened next? Why did you keep eating? If you didn’t, how can you bring that signal to your awareness next time? Maybe you stop halfway through the meal and check-in. Maybe you slow down the process of eating so that you can catch the signal in time? Maybe you turn off the TV and focus on the meal only? Calibrations can be tiny minute, or they can be big and bold.
As always, start small and give yourself grace. And of course, if you want help with this, it’s not too late to apply for my Love First weight loss group that starts in February. The process of conscious change through the lens of love is what it’s all about. There are a few spots left, 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.