Before clocks were invented, everyone had a sundial. These sundials often had mottos emblazoned on them that reflected the nature of time. One that really stood out to me was ‘tedious and brief’. And this really got me thinking about how sad time spent focused on weight loss can be.
What do you want your sundial motto to be? How much time do you spend thinking about your weight and your body, instead of being present? How much of your time with family, loved ones, or even your precious alone time is spent obsessing over how your clothes fit?
Tune in this week to discover why eating more than you intended to this Thanksgiving doesn’t take you all the way back to square one. But most importantly, I’m showing you how to take the focus away from your weight and create the kind of presence that allows you to create the kind of life and body you want.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 145.
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.
Hey, everybody. You may be listening to this episode the day before the US thanksgiving holiday. And if so, you may be stressing because weight loss and holidays just don’t seem to go together very well for you. Thanksgiving has often been the beginning of quitting for you maybe. Because you tell yourself you won’t eat certain things and then you are there and it looks so good and you’re enjoying or maybe not enjoying the company and eating it just sounds fun, and free, and so you do.
And then you’re mad at yourself for giving in and you punish yourself with more food, or you’re mad at yourself for giving in and you throw in the towel and eat more food and eat more food all weekend. Well, I want to offer you a couple of options/ways of approaching this maybe a little differently this year. The truth about any holiday meal is that it won’t make or break your weight loss. Eating more than you usually do or eating things you don’t usually eat at a meal it’s not really a problem.
Sure, you may notice some water retention on the scale tomorrow, yes, but it doesn’t take you all the way back to square one. You don’t have to start over. You did not ruin everything. Every next bite is an opportunity for you to make choices that take care of you. So instead of beating yourself up, look forward to the day after tomorrow. Drink lots of water, reconnect to your body. What would feel like love and kindness to your body?
When we get ourselves in a tough spot is when we make the one meal or the one day mean we’ve failed, and we give up, and we disconnect, and we start eating against ourselves. Another way to look at it is from a proactive standpoint. What I just described is more reactive. We eat all the things or overeat more than we usually would. And then we decide after how we react and respond to those choices. That’s one way.
The proactive way of approaching it would be to think through the choices ahead of time and make some commitments and some decisions going into it. Think about the meal or the day ahead of you, think through what is most important to you about it. Think about what food feels important to you and why. Understand the role that food plays for you and why. Think about how you want to feel at the end of the day physically and mentally. Think about what it would look like to participate in the holiday meal and take awesome care of you.
Either way this holiday doesn’t have power over you. You have all the power, you just get to choose how you wield it. This actually kind of the leads me to what I wanted to talk about today. I get reflective at this time of year and I feel especially so this year for some reason. It usually starts at the end of October for me because that’s my angel baby’s birthday. When I think about her and the brief time that I had with her in this life it’s so easy to feel my perspective shift.
I had nothing but gratitude for my body at the time that created her, and cradled her, and connected me to her because that is all I had with her. I did not look in the mirror at that time in my life and think how big I was or how hard it was going to be to lose weight after, none of that mattered. I know I’ve shared my personal feelings about thanksgiving, that it was really special to me because my grandma made it so. I would love to be able to turn back time and spend another thanksgiving in her warm house, eating a meal she so lovingly and masterfully prepared.
When I think about my memories of thanksgivings past, my thoughts are not about all of the food I should or shouldn’t have eaten, it’s about the people I’m grateful to have had in my life. I recently heard something about sundials, time meaning the concept of time in seconds, minutes and hours is something that humans invented. Obviously we didn’t invent time, time passes without us. We see the sun rising, we see it setting. We see humans born and we see them grow up, we see them get older. Obviously we know time is passing.
But measuring time the way we do now is a pretty new concept in human history. Prior to the 19th century we humans used sundials. And there was a tradition of carving a motto into the sundial about time, often in Latin and there were all sorts of different. There were sweet mottos like, be as true to each other as this dial is to the sun. And hours fly, flowers die, new days, new ways pass by, love stays. The sun shines for everyone.
were wise mottos like, springtime does not last, use the hour, it will not come again. The brightest day has its shadows. Consume not thy time in idleness, what is swifter than time. And humorous mottos, if the sun’s gone, nobody looks at me. Make haste but slowly. I shine or shroud. Now is the time to drink.
And mottos about death, lots of those. All hours wound, the last one kills. It’s later than you think thus passes a lifetime. Be gone about your business, I stay for no one. As an hour, life flies. And the one that really stood out to me, time, tedious and brief. Or in other words, time, tiresome and monotonous, and short.
That one just felt so sad especially when I reflected on the fact that this is often how a life spent focused on weight loss can feel. How much time do we spend not being present and thinking about food and our bodies negatively instead? How much of our time with our families and loved ones or a precious alone time do we spend focused on how we appear, on how our clothes fit, on what we ate, or shouldn’t have eaten, or wish we had eaten?
I feel like for some of us our sundial mono would be, consume not thy time in idleness but in obsessing over your body’s appearance. Or maybe use the hour to criticize your body, it will not come again. Or think only of every bite you ever or will ever put in your mouth, thus passes a lifetime. I’m not advocating for you to carpe diem by quitting and eating everything. We don’t want to disregard our health and our bodies for the sake of being in the moment.
We want to make sure we’re balancing the idea prioritizing our health so we make the most of our time here on Earth with our focus on things that don’t affect our health at all and occupy too much of our precious time. I love these questions from More Than a Body to help us assess our health rather than our weight in order to help us know how to move forward with changes we want to make. I think I’ve shared them before but it can never hurt to remind you so you can review and reevaluate.
So without focusing on your weight or shape, not on how it looks but how it feels. I want you to answer these questions for yourself. How do you feel in your daily life, not what do you look like, but how do you feel in your body in your daily life? How do you feel when you play with your kids, or walk down the street, or take this stairs, or go on a hike? Does your body serve you how you want it to? Are you able to do the activities and tasks you want and need to do in your life without getting too winded and struggling through it or ending up in pain due to lack of cardiovascular fitness or muscle strength?
Are you satisfied with the amount of energy you have on a typical day, or are you more tired and sluggish than you would like? Do you feel generally well or do you feel that something might be out of balance inside your body nutritionally, digestively, metabolically, cardiovascularly, or in any other way that affects your physical wellbeing? These are the things that impact our ability to be present, to say yes to everything we want to do in our lives, to the lives that we want to live.
You know how people say, “No one on their deathbed ever said I wish I worked more.” I bet no one on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I focused more on how I looked. I wish I was more disgusted with my body. I wish I went on more diets. I wish I was meaner and more critical to myself.”
When our focus is on the life we want to live and the body that will allow us to live that life, versus just the way our bodies look living our lives, we’re going to make different decisions. We’re going to take different care of ourselves. And we will be able to be present which is where we create the life and body we want. This process of change is a series of right now’s, that’s it. Living in regret of what got us here, or only in anticipation of the life we will finally be able to live once we fix our bodies, takes us out of this moment.
And this moment, not the ones that have passed, or the ones that have happened yet, this moment is what matters most, this moment, our ability to connect to who we are now and what feels good now. And what we need now is where we make the changes that will impact our health and support our amazing bodies to the place we want them to be. Being present in this moment right now we will never regret.
Our time here by many measures is brief but it doesn’t have to be tedious and brief, it can be fulfilling, and engaging, and happy, and beautiful, and genuine, and connected and brief. That part is up to us, so what do you want your sundial life motto to be? 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.