If you’ve been listening to me for any length of time, you’ll know how often I talk to you about the importance of channeling your future self and taking the time to really imagine her in all the tiny details. So, if what I’m saying today sounds contrary and confusing, hear me out.
Join me this week as I show you how to push and challenge yourselves just enough, without falling off the edge and giving in to all of your desires. Deliberately pushing yourself into the Growth Zone is the most compassionate, loving way to embrace the weight loss journey, and it’s truly the recipe for success.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 64.
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. I want to share a quick review with you. JD16066 says, “It just works. After so many years of dieting and being a human yo-yo, this time, it’s just working. Natalie’s podcasts are short, sweet, and to the point. I found this series last week and I’m listening from the beginning. Her guidance resonates at times during the day and helps me on the journey.”
First of all, I’m loving the human yo-yo visual. We’ve all felt that way, haven’t we? I’m so glad you found the podcast and are listening from the beginning. There are so many concepts that I share on the podcast that build onto others that I talk about in later episodes.
So if any of you are just joining us, I recommend you do the same. Episodes are short and sweet so it won’t take you a year to catch up. And if you’re like me, you listen at x2 speed you can get through even more even faster. My brain moves fast and I like to listen as fast as my brain is processing. I really have to slow myself down here to not talk really fast too.
I love that you feel like it’s working this time. Keep going. Your success is inevitable if you keep going. And also, I love that I’m the voice in your head at times during the day, or at least that’s what I like to imagine when you say her guidance resonates.
I hear my favorite mentors’ voices in my head all the time and I’m so grateful for my imagination that connects their wisdom to my day-to-day. Happy to be that for you and any of you.
I had a different podcast planned for this week but I met with my brand-new group of amazing clients last week who are taking on this weight loss journey for the last time with me, and I’m so excited for them. I love my clients so much. They are so brave and vulnerable and they work so hard to learn to love themselves and to make peace with food. It’s just awesome to be a part of.
Anyway, so as I was thinking about this new group, I was thinking about what my best advice to them would be as they embark on this process. And my brain birthed this idea and I want to flesh it out and share it with you on the podcast. For you and them.
One of the most important things to embrace in the process of any change we’re trying to make, but especially weight loss is to meet yourself where you are. We create a goal for the future based on who we want to become. We have a vision of our future selves. We know what we want our bodies and lives to look like after, but we’re not there yet.
We are not yet the person who listens to her hunger and satiety and governs her food choices based on what feels good in her body. We are not yet the person who knows how to and chooses to take care of herself no matter what is happening in her life or where she is.
We are not yet the person who has space in her brain because of the absence of food chatter. We are not yet the person who’s free in her mind and her body. And yet, most of us are making our food plan as if we are that person.
We are creating these perfect looking plans that our future self is all about. She’s only eating vegetables; she’s never eating cookies. But we are not taking into consideration where we currently are and what we’re all about now. We are setting goal timelines as if there’s a magical fast track that will get us to future me ASAP with no consideration of who we are now and what we are capable of now, or what skills we still need to build.
We’re looking at our bodies as a nuisance on the way to the perfection that they will be when we see the “right” number on the scale, with no connection to what it feels like to be us now. The opposite is also happening. We’re so in the now, so bogged down by all the “negatives.” I don’t like to use that word but I know we all kind of think of it that way.
All the “negatives” we see in ourselves now, we have no future perspective and no hope. We can’t see past the struggles and the obstacles that we currently face to the possibilities of the future.
Now, you may be asking, “Well, isn’t the first future-focused example the right one? Aren’t you always talking to us about our future selves and really imagining her and seeing her as a reality in all the tiny details?” Yes. But what I’m talking about here is only seeing her, trying to plan your life now as if you are her.
And here’s why that is a problem. Without consideration of your current capability, you are setting yourself up for a fall. And not the useful kind. Not the oh man, I tripped and now I’m going to stand back up and dust myself off and keep going kind. But the, I tumbled down a mountain and need to go to the hospital and I’m going to be out for a while kind. Not good.
For example, I have clients who come into my program and they see that I recommend that they start limiting sugar in order to rebalance their digestive hormones. And they go all in on that, cutting all sugar out and banning themselves from ever eating it again. That’s what their future self does, and so that’s what they will do starting today.
Isn’t that phrase so familiar? Starting today, I will. It’s like a diet mantra golden phrase. The problem with that is that for some of these clients, they’ve been eating mostly sugar most of the day. Sugar, treats, candy, dessert are all a part of their day-to-day and they really love it and they are really afraid to have to give it up.
So we can probably guess what this is a recipe for. If you can’t, let me enlighten you. These clients that try it this way usually do really well for one to two weeks. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But when they reach the end of their willpower stores, they go off.
They eat all the sugar they can get their hands on for days, or sometimes even weeks. I call this rebound eating. We’re restricting, restricting, restricting, using willpower to pull the rubber band tight and hold it, and when we finally release the tension, that band snaps back, usually into the pantry or whatever sugar we can get our hands on.
This is what happens when we plan for the future without regard to where we are now. Now, you may be asking, if we’re planning for where we are now, how do we move forward? How do we become our future selves while still considering our current selves? How do we create success now that will get us closer to her?
And that, my friends, is where the growth zone comes into this conversation. I want you to imagine a Venn diagram, like the little circles. Where one circle, our current selves, our comfort zone, and the other circle is our future selves, our uncomfortable zone.
When we’re focused on the obstacles of now and the challenges of now and the failures of now, or we are living and eating by default because it’s what we’ve always known and it’s what is comfortable, we are standing solidly with both feet in the comfort zone.
When we are solely focused on our future self and being as “perfect” as she is right now and eating what we’re supposed to eat in the future, we jump from our comfort zone into the unfamiliar uncomfortable zone of future unknowns and we can only handle it for a minute before jumping back.
That’s what we see happening when we’re planning and eating kale salads only but really, really wanting chocolate and pushing down the desire and resisting it and then eventually, we have to get back to that comfort zone.
What we want to do in order to create lasting success and change, rather than the temporary kind is to stand in the middle where the two circles intersect, where there is a mix of the comfortable and uncomfortable, the discomfort zone, the growth zone.
If we are used to eating treats all day every day by default, but our vision for our future self is that she eats treats with full permission and enjoyment once a week, we want to move toward that intentionally and deliberately and slowly. One foot in the comfort zone, one in the uncomfortable zone.
This might look like we scale back initially to one or two treats per day. And then one treat every other day, and then one treat twice a week. And on and on. We push ourselves out of our comfort zone just enough that we hang out in the growth zone, but not too far so we get into the uncomfortable zone and end up quitting or falling hard.
I’m not saying going cold turkey with sugar doesn’t ever work for anyone and is never a thing you should do. I just want you to look at your past attempts. How did it work for you? If you found yourself at the end of the package of Oreos at some point on the rebound, you may want to consider finding your growth zone.
We want to push ourselves, challenge ourselves for sure. That’s how we evolve and change and become our future selves. We just don’t want to push so hard that we go off the edge. We want to keep our future self in view while we accept and honor our current self. What she’s capable of now, what skills she needs to build and practice in order to become and embody that future self someday.
We always want to know where we are, as well as where we want to end up in order to create a map, a guide, a step-by-step plan of how we will get there. This requires a lot of love and compassion for and understanding of current you. Ask yourself, why do you do what you do? Why do you choose what you choose? Why do you eat what you eat?
As we are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and into the growth zone, we want to be conscious of what comes up. That’s a big part of this process and why I think it’s so much more doable than trying it all at once. Gives you a chance to look at your brain’s complaints one at a time, to hear its arguments in small doses, rather than the full-on tantrum that happens when we jump into the uncomfortable zone all at once.
All that yelling and noise is part of what has us shoving sugar into our mouths. Kind of the same thing we’re tempted to and let’s be honest, choose to do sometimes with our toddlers when they’re freaking out, right? Shove a sucker in their mouth to quiet the noise. It’s kind of what we’re doing to our toddler brain.
Pushing yourself slowly and deliberately out of the comfort zone, listening to the resistance that happens in your mind as you do this, addressing the complaints that come up, and allowing the discomfort of growth, that is a recipe for success. That’s how we move from our current selves to our future selves and stay there.
Because we have become her in the process. Only you know what is your comfort zone, your uncomfortable zone, and your growth zone. I gave some examples here of kind of cutting back the sugar, stepping it back one little bit at a time, but this isn’t what will necessary look like for all of you.
You don’t need to challenge yourself a week at a time or one food at a time. It might look like pushing yourself into the growth zone in a new way every day. It may be hanging out in the growth zone in one area at a time, a month at a time, and everything in between that.
You want to look at current you. What feels comfortable for you right now when it comes to food, planning, exercise, hydration, journaling, dealing with emotions, social situations? Any aspects of current you that you would like to evolve, you want to consider where you are right now. Either by default or by choice. But either way, what feels comfortable? It doesn’t challenge you, feels effortless.
And then look at future you, which if you’ve been listening to me for any length of time, you have probably done thoroughly already I hope what feels comfortable for her, which will be uncomfortable for you. It’s probably going to be some up-leveled or different version of what’s comfortable now.
So think about her when it comes to planning, eating out, vacations, hydration, sleep, social situations. Think about where you currently are, where you want to end up, and what it would look like for you to push yourself into your growth zone. One thing at a time, small doses, baby steps.
Alright everyone, thanks for being here. Have an amazing week 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.