This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 21.
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. I have another review to share with you today. This one is called “Solid weight loss advice for real women,” and it comes from Megan.
She says, “Listening to Natalie’s podcast is like sitting across the table from a friend. A friend who’s lost the weight and is ready to tell it to you straight. She has a friendly but no-nonsense way of giving you the thought processes that make a difference for the long-term. In her first episode, I felt like I could really identify with her and the weight struggles. The second episode, Future You, gave solid advice, especially when those cravings or urges hit. I’m looking forward to hearing more of what she has to say.”
That is exactly what I imagine as I record these podcasts. You and I sitting across the table, talking about what’s going on in your brain. I’m so glad that you feel that. I’m so glad you’re here, Megan. Hopefully you’re still listening. I can’t believe we’re at 21. So fun.
So we were talking last week about how our feelings, whatever they are, dictate our behavior. What we do and don’t do is driven by the feelings that we have. I like to think of our feelings as fuel. How we feel fuels how we show up. Let’s talk about some examples of this in life and in weight loss.
So let’s say you look at your list of 15 tasks that you need to get done in the next two days, and your brain offers the thought, “I have so much to do,” and then you feel overwhelmed as a result of thinking that thought. What kind of fuel is overwhelm?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe you procrastinate even starting on the list because you don’t know where to begin, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may do a little bit of everything on the list, moving from task to task as you frantically try to get it all done.
Or you may sit on the floor of the pantry and eat chocolate, or you may cry and complain to your best friend about how busy you are and how everyone expects you to do everything and then watch six episodes of Mad Men on Netflix in bed. None of which helps you get any of the things on your list done, and none of which came directly from my life experience, of course.
So we can see that overwhelm, not a very effective fuel if you’re wanting to accomplish things. Super effective if your goal is to power through two seasons of Mad Men in a day. Not so effective if you want to get things done.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re most likely not going to jump into action and start checking things off left and right as you organize your time effectively and execute. The thought matters. The feeling matters.
What if instead, when you look at your list of tasks, your thought is, “I’ll figure out how to get this done.” Maybe with that thought, you feel committed. What kind of fuel is committed? You are likely going to take some time to organize the tasks in order of priority, delegate, or even delete some, figure out how long they will each take, get them on your calendar, and ultimately get it done.
So committed is clearly a much more effective fuel. The thought matters. The feeling matters. Let’s say you’ve been planning your food, eating what’s on that plan and only eating sugar, which you love, once a week. And then you step on the scale at the end of the week and it hasn’t moved. Zero weight loss.
What story would you tell? Would it be the I worked hard all week for nothing story? What fuel does that create? Frustration maybe? Maybe it would be the I’m never going to lose weight story. What fuel does that create? Hopeless?
When you believe you’ve worked hard all week for nothing and you feel frustrated, what does that fuel? What action? Probably eating a bunch of sugar all weekend in rebellion, right? What about when you believe you are never going to lose weight and the number on the scale is proof and you feel hopeless? What does that fuel? Probably throwing in the towel and eating pizza and ice cream for dinner, and maybe even breakfast, right?
The thought matters. The feeling matters. Things happen around you, your brain offers you thoughts, and the thoughts you choose to believe, those thoughts create the feelings that fuel your actions. The thoughts are optional, and what you create in your life and your weight loss comes directly from the thoughts you choose. From that story that you tell.
You can start to see that rewriting your story is in your hands, right? So what would that look like here? Does zero weight loss after a week of doing what you thought would create weight loss have to mean that you will never be successful? Of course not.
You can choose that thought, but you can see that your brain works hard for you to prove that the thoughts you choose are true. You believe you’re never going to lose weight, your brain is going to show you how right you are.
Weight loss is like a scientific experiment. We wonder, we research, hypothesize, test, assess, conclude, and go again. Over and over until we find what works and what doesn’t. And then that changes and we go to work again.
So if we were going to rewrite this story, we could start with the moment after the scale shows zero weight loss. What are some other thoughts we could choose to believe in that moment?
I will figure this out. I was successful at maintaining this week. That’s hard for some people and you did it, right? That’s a thought you could choose. I’m going to try some different things next week. I’ll make some adjustments and go again. My success is inevitable if I keep going.
With those thoughts, you might create determined fuel, content fuel, maybe curious fuel or empowered fuel, which all drive effective actions that get you closer to your goal. The thought matters. The feeling matters. You are the author of your story. It’s that simple. But it’s not always that easy, right? We’re coming to find out.
There are some common obstacles that we find in the way. One of the first obstacles we come up against is what is called fusion. Our brain offers us a thought like I will never lose weight, and we totally buy in, hook, line, and sinker. We believe it’s just true. We become one with it. We fuse with the thought.
We lose sight of the fact that our thoughts are just sentences, just words and pictures floating around in the ocean of our brain and it’s up to us to grab the one we want and believe it. We forget we have a choice. The sentences have no power unless we give it. They can’t threaten us or direct us or hurt us or control us unless we fuse with them and we choose to believe them.
Good news though, there is an antidote and the antidote to fusion is defusion. Here’s a super simple exercise you can try to defuse the power of the thought. What is a thought you have about you or your weight loss that you currently believe that feels uncomfortable or painful?
One that isn’t really helping you become the best version of yourself. Maybe you have the thought that you’re lazy or forgetful or broken or unloveable. Think that thought and notice the feeling it creates. Is it discouraged, inadequate, overwhelmed? Maybe sad or hopeless?
Now I want you to try putting this phrase in front of that thought. I am having the thought that I am lazy, or whatever that thought is. I’m having the thought that I’ll never figure this out. Notice how the feeling changes a little. Maybe it feels more like curiosity or just a less intense version of the initial feeling.
Taking a step back from the thought, I am blank, to I am having the thought that I am blank, lazy, inadequate, whatever, it gets us closer to neutral. It creates some space for your brain to see that for what it is, which is just a thought, just a sentence, just a group of words and pictures.
The further back you get from it, the less likely you are to find yourself fused with it. Another common obstacle I see with my clients once they recognize that they are the author of their story is the idea that they should just write a super happy story filled with sunshine all the time. But that just isn’t how it is meant to be.
Our human experience works out to be 50/50. Half of the time we feel comfortable and half of the time we feel discomfort. There is happiness but also sadness. There is pain and there is joy. There is love and there is hate. We need the contrast in order to recognize the difference.
If everything was amazing all the time, we wouldn’t even know it because we would have nothing to compare it to. When you look around the world, you see this contrast everywhere. There is birth and there is death. There is light and there is dark. There is kindness and there is cruelty. It’s everywhere, in every country, in every home, in every human.
We have a tendency to want to deny this reality, to fight against it, to argue with it. How often do we say it shouldn’t be this way and how often do we judge ourselves for not being able to accomplish a super happy life filled with sunshine all the time?
Question this hard. I love how Glennon Doyle questioned this human tendency to judge ourselves for falling short of our expectation of perfection in her book, Untamed.
She says this, “If this is our shared human experience, where did we get the idea that there is some other better, more perfect, unbroken way to be human? Where is this human being who is functioning correctly against whom we are all judging our performances? Who is she? Where is she? what is her life if it is not these things?”
Isn’t that amazing? There isn’t a human on earth who isn’t subject to this contrast of life. So I want to offer this to you as I conclude. Think about life as a pie and divide it down the middle into the 50% comfort and 50% discomfort that this life offers to us.
50% of your weight loss journey, you’ll be feeling good, successful, confident, content. 50% of the journey will feel challenging, painful, empty, miserable, and even impossible sometimes. That doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. That means you’re doing it right.
Remember that you are always in charge of how you feel and the experience of your life based on the thoughts you choose. And don’t spend a second of your 50% amazing regretting or resenting the 50% that isn’t. That is what it truly means to be the author of your life, to be brave enough to choose to feel all of it.
Okay beautiful friends, leave me a review please and submit the name of your review to itbeginswithathought.com/review. If I choose your review to share on the podcast, I’ll also send you a thank you gift of some of my very favorite things. I’ll see you all 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.