This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 20.
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.
Hello everybody. If you haven’t heard, I’m sharing a review each week on the podcast to highlight what you guys are learning and getting from it. So today’s review is titled “Life-changing,” and it’s from Shalese. She says this.
“This podcast is absolutely amazing. Natalie has that unique ability to be relatable, kind, and call out the hard things that need to be worked on all at the same time. Her understanding of what it’s like to deal with the struggle with spot on. Natalie is full of knowledge and easy to connect with. There’s so much amazing and helpful content in this podcast that I listen to each episode twice. I get so excited every time I see a new podcast is released. I’m feeling hope for the first time in a while.”
I love that. I am so happy to hear that. And I love that you listen to each episode twice. That’s exactly what I had in mind when I decided to make them short and sweet. It gives you an opportunity to dive in and really study and focus on the topic that week and a second listen often also allows us to notice even more and dive even deeper. So good. So thank you so much, Shalese.
If you also want to be eligible for the amazing gift box that Shalese is about to receive, head to iTunes and review the podcast and then submit the title to me at itbeginswithathought.com/review.
Okay, so we talked in the last episode about the story of our lives and how to separate the facts from that story we’re telling. The indisputable parts from the optional parts. If you haven’t listened, take a few minutes and do that so you kind of have the background to this ongoing conversation we’re going to have.
I want to dive in today to why any of this actually matters. Why differentiating our story from the facts is even relevant. I want to talk about the experience of our story. How our story, our thoughts, make us feel. Because this is the heart of the story.
Feelings are what we, as humans, are all about. Everything we do or don’t do, and most of the things we eat or don’t eat are because of a feeling we want to have or to avoid. In the end, it’s always the feeling that matters most and a feeling we are after.
In most cases, we think it’s the circumstance that will give us the feeling, something outside of us that will create the feeling we desire. That’s why we’re always looking outside of us for feelings. We want joy from food. We seek satisfaction from money. We try to glean confidence from our appearance.
But you’ll notice, by the long list of people who have all the things most of us think create happiness and are still completely miserable, that it’s never the thing outside of us; never the food, the money, the number on the scale that creates the feeling.
What creates the feeling is our thoughts about it, the story we tell about it. This is the same for the avoiding of feelings. If we’re seeking certain feelings, much of the time, that means we are trying to avoid or escape other feelings; the uncomfortable ones.
Remember the motivational triad? Our brain wants to seek pleasure, to avoid pain, conserve energy. It wants to feel the comfort and avoid the discomfort. Because what our brain has evolved to think is that discomfort equals danger. Any uncomfortable emotion was a message that danger was imminent and we should escape the danger.
In the time where our primitive brain was the only brain we had, that was accurate. We felt threatened because we were threatened. We were being stalked by a saber-toothed tiger maybe or there was a brushfire coming toward our camp.
So, we really learned to listen to and heed these messages. That’s still the part of the brain that’s sending us danger messages about discomfort. Only now, the discomfort comes from us looking at someone’s Instagram post of their perfect family on an awesome vacation and comparing our lives or our bodies or our families to theirs.
Or maybe the discomfort comes from having many things on our to-do list and feeling like we have little time to do it. or even just the discomfort of being bored. In every case, our brain thinks the discomfort is dangerous and signals us to escape.
We escape as we eat, we drink, we procrastinate. We binge-watch shows on Netflix. We play Candy Crush. But now, in contrast to our cave days, our brain has evolved so we can think rationally about and even override that danger signal and see it for what it is. We do this all the time and we just don’t recognize that is what we’re doing.
For example, think about when you’re in a movie and someone is being chased, or they’re walking through a dark house and there is ominous music playing. Have you ever noticed a fear response in your body?
Your palms sweat. Maybe your heart rate picks up. Sometimes you even scream or jump in your seat. For me, I cover my mouth, both hands. I can’t help it. My hands just go straight to my mouth when I’m scared.
But I don’t run away. I don’t use the emergency exit of the movie theatre. When this is happening, you’re feeling fear, but your rational brain is saying, “It’s just a movie. We aren’t in any real danger.”
I refer to these parts of our brain as our adult brain and toddler brain. You guys have heard me say that. Our toddler brain is like, “Oh no, this is scary, something’s going to get us, I just know it.” And our adult brain is like, “It’s okay, it’s just a movie. The monster isn’t real. It can’t hurt you.”
For most of us, our toddler brain is running the show most of the time. Our toddler brain wants what it wants right now. It has very strong opinions and desires, no patience, and can’t be reasoned with. It’s often throwing a tantrum, complaining, whining, high on sugar and living life with no rules or limits, but in desperate need of them, right? Toddler through and through.
Our adult brain is there but it doesn’t feel like it has any real power over this toddler. I kind of imagine it like the scene we’ve all witnessed in the checkout line in the grocery store, or have been this mom, right? Frazzled mom with, like, wild hair trying to unload the cart and pay. And the toddler pulling on her hand and screaming, throwing candy bars up on the belt as fast as the mom can put them away.
The mom says quietly and calmly, “We’re not having candy until after dinner.” To which the toddler responds, with a scream so loud that the mom just resorts to opening the candy bar and shoving it in the toddler’s mouth for them, right? Just like, “Fine, I don’t even care anymore. Just have it if it will keep you quiet.”
Both parties are just operating on default, under false assumptions. The mom feels like she’s at the effect of the toddler and has no power over it, doesn’t know what to do. And the toddler thinks that if they don’t get what they want and they have to feel uncomfortable, even for a second, they will spontaneously combust or something, which results in them fighting the uncomfortable feeling with all of their might and demanding immediate relief.
What the toddler doesn’t know is that feelings can’t actually kill us. And discomfort doesn’t mean we’re going to die. Our feelings or emotions are a physical reaction to our thoughts. We have a thought and two neurons in our brain send a signal for a particular concoction of chemicals to be released into our body and we then experience the physical sensation of that emotion in our body.
Some feelings are more familiar to us than others. Maybe right now, you can probably think about what anger feels like and recall that maybe your ears get hot your heart beats faster. Or that when you’re sad, you get a heaviness in your chest and a lump in your throat. Or that when you’re nervous your palms get sweaty and your stomach churns. That’s all a feeling actually does.
It shows up a certain way in your body. You experience it. And then that particular chemical wave subsides and it’s gone. Feelings are continually changing. Even the comfortable desired feelings don’t last, as much as we want them to.
What most of us do though is build a dam at the first sign of that discomfort wave. We push hard and we fight against particular feelings. We avoid situations where we might have to feel them. Or we eat or numb in other ways so we don’t have to fully experience them. Adding layers of concrete to that dam.
But this doesn’t actually stop the waves from coming. The dam we build may lessen the impact of the emotion initially. But if we have no release valve, no spill-wave for the emotion, the pressure builds and the dam breaks, eventually with much more catastrophic results.
So, being willing to and building the skill of feeling our emotions, allowing our emotional waves to flow through our body is the superpower that can make your unstoppable in your life.
Think about an emotion you don’t like to feel. Maybe it’s embarrassed. Maybe it’s inadequate. Maybe it’s stressed. If you weren’t afraid to feel that feeling, if you knew that it was just a wave of chemicals cascading down through your body and it didn’t mean anything about you except that you were human, what would you do that you aren’t doing right now?
Is there something in your life that an emotion or avoiding an emotion is holding you back from experiencing? If overeating is happening in your life and weight loss is one of your goals, then being willing to feel emotion is going to be one of the secrets to you experiencing living at your goal weight.
I want you to do an exercise with me. We’re going to check in with our body and experience an emotion right now. Make sure you’re somewhere you can pause for a minute, not driving or running or whatever.
I’m going to ask you some questions. I want you to just answer them in your head. There’s no right or wrong answer. So, if you brain offers you an, “I don’t know,” just guess.
Close your eyes and take a deep slow breath in and out and think about what you’re feeling right this minute. I want you to name that emotion you’re currently having. Where is it in your body? What color is the emotion you’re feeling? What texture would you say it is? Is it bumpy? Smooth? Squishy? Maybe hard.
What temperature is it? Is it hot or cold? Does it move in your body or does it stay still? Is it fast or slow? Is it heavy or light? How does it make you want to react? Run away maybe? Move, lay down, freeze? Does it feel open or closed? Comfortable or uncomfortable? Okay, you can open your eyes.
This check in with our feelings can be a super-useful tool to create a catalogue, of sorts, of our emotions and what they actually feel like in our body. The exercise of slowing down and going inside and understanding what the experience of the feeling is can, in and of itself, help the wave to subside more quickly since we aren’t building a dam of resistance against them. In episode 13, I share a more in-depth technique for connecting to our emotions that I encourage you to check out if you haven’t already.
Okay, everyone, next week is the final installment in the series where we will bring this all together and talk about how to rewrite the story of your weight loss and your life really going forward, including some of the biggest obstacles I see happen to becoming the author of your story.
Please rate and review and then let me know by heading to itbeginswithathought.com/review and submitting the title of your review. I love reading your reviews and hearing how the podcast is helping you in your world. So much love to you all 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.