The Most Valuable Transformations Are On The Inside - It Begins With A Thought Coaching

The Most Valuable Transformations Are On The Inside

Natalie Brown CoachingTime for a change

I recently did a refresh of my website with new photos, some new copy and just a new vibe overall. I have evolved in the 4 years since I created it and so it was time for it to evolve as well. It feels like it better represents me and who I am and what I believe now.

Anyway I got messages from friends, family and colleagues about how they loved the changes. I got one email from someone I don’t know, about what they felt I should do differently or better. And based on that feedback, I felt it was important that I addressed what they felt was missing from my website so that you all understand why.

Every aesthetic choice I made was thoughtful and deliberate. My clothing, poses, the pictures, the words I use, the way I tell my story, and how I describe my program. None of it was accidental or thoughtless. And so I want you to understand those reasons. They are inextricably connected to what I teach and believe.

One of the things this person thought was a problem was that I wasn’t wearing clothing that adequately showed off my body. She thought, as a weight loss coach, that I should be showing people more of my after body and level of fitness…basically my results. And that I should have somewhere on the site a picture of me before looking sad and miserable to contrast with my after.

It’s quite a popular thing to take before and after photos. I remember every year getting the people magazine issue titled “half their size” and looking through all of the photos of people standing in their old jeans and holding them out to show how much smaller they were now compared to how they used to be. And I would wish for my own transformation like they had. I loved the Biggest Loser religiously for the same satisfying result images. And I have had my own before and after transformations throughout my life and pictures to show for it.

Focusing on the inside

But…and there is a big but here…before and after photos have us focusing on and valuing only the way our bodies appear. To ourselves in the mirror, but mostly to others. Photos are just representations of our outsides. They only show our exterior transformation. And that is the easiest one. Meaning you can do any number of quick fixes, and take extreme measures and transform your outside.

I remember doing the LA weight loss plan (which was me basically starving myself and calling it healthy) and losing like 30 pounds in a matter of weeks. I watch the contestants on Alone and Survivor lose massive amounts of weight in short amounts of time every season. The most valuable, important, and lasting transformations are always on the inside. They are the hardest fought, but the most valuable changes we can make. They are hard, but they lay the foundation for profound changes in other areas of our lives.

When we focus only on the outside appearance, we disconnect from inside feelings. We do things that don’t feel good to our bodies in the name of outside change. We ignore what we need and instead do what we are told will yield visual results. We prioritize how we look over how we feel. And we create collateral damage in the process.

Lasting weight loss is not a visual, exterior process, it is an internal process. It requires us to connect to our bodies, investigate and heal our relationship with food and ourselves, and feel our feelings. All of those are inside things that are not impacted by how we look.

This is a huge problem with our Western culture and the diet industry that was born of it. The messages we as women are sent is that our value is based on our body’s appearance and that there is a right and acceptable appearance of a body. A particular size, shape and level of fitness and absence of fat, wrinkles, freckles and cellulite. All this has done is damage and disconnect us from ourselves and our bodies and encouraged us to spend money, time, mental and emotional energy on our appearance over almost everything else.

Value what we feel like

We walk around in our bodies, almost constantly focused on how our body’s look to other people around us. I want you to think about this and pay attention to it today. How often do thoughts about how you look and what other people think about it occupy space in your mind? When you got up this morning and got dressed, what were you thinking about? When you walked into that meeting at work, what thoughts crossed your mind? 

My guess is that even when you are home alone and no one is looking, you have thoughts about how crazy your hair is or how mismatched your sweats are and maybe you suck in your stomach or pull your shirt down over your butt out of habit. And maybe you think-I would die if someone saw me like this…I hope no one comes over. I bet for some or maybe a lot of you, your favorite clothes, your most comfortable clothes, are clothes you would never leave your house in right? Because we don’t value what it feels like to be in our bodies as much as we value what it looks like.

I encourage and guide my clients to step out of the sea of body objectification that all of us have been immersed in by our media and culture and to start to get back into their bodies. To start to pay attention to what it feels like to be them rather than just what it looks like to be them. When we can start to develop compassion, acceptance and love for our bodies and value what it feels like to walk around in them more than to be viewed, we start to take care of our bodies differently. When we love our bodies and value how we feel over all else-we nourish them differently, hydrate them differently and move them differently. And one of the byproducts of that relationship change and that subsequent behavior change, is weight loss.

So the clothing I chose to wear in my recent photos, and the pictures I chose for my site-reflect what I value when it comes to dressing my body…how I feel and what I like. The clothes I wore are comfortable, the fabrics are soft, I love the patterns and colors-they spark joy for me. I am not putting pieces together based on a specific style I label myself or others might label me as…or covering up parts of me or showing parts of me to be more acceptable to other people viewing me. My hair is curled and I am wearing makeup because I think it’s fun to play around with and experiment with colors and styles, not because I am only ok to be in a picture if I have makeup on. I am as much me with makeup and a dress as I am with no makeup day 3 hair sweats and flip flops.

I don’t have pictures of me looking sad and distraught at my “before” weight, and happy and triumphant at my “after” weight because the reality is, the number on the scale does not determine your feelings. I have plenty of sad and distraught days in this body as I did happy joyful days in past versions of my body. Some of the happiest days of my life, the births of my children, were my very highest weight days too. And some of my low points have happened when I was at my low weights.

I never want to sell weight loss as a way out of your misery. Because there is no way out. There is only through. You will never find outside solutions to inside problems. And therefore I will not model, on my site or elsewhere, that happiness is found in the number on the scale.

I help my clients lose weight, yes. But not just physical weight on the outside. Most important to me is helping them lose the mental weight of shame, inadequacy and self-loathing, the weight of the past and worry about the future, the weight of objectification-those are what we focus on first and most.

Some of my favorite things about my work with my clients is what they gain-emotional literacy and resilience, self-love and acceptance, the skill of honoring and keeping commitments to themselves, valuing how they feel over how they look, this list goes on and on.

One other issue I have with before and after focus is that my before weight is some of my clients goal weight. And my after weight and appearance is not something that some of my clients could achieve without serious medical intervention or surgery. So for me to put a picture of me up and essentially say…ewww look how gross and miserable and awful I looked before. And look how amazing and perfect and acceptable I finally am now! And I can help you do the same thing! I am sending a message to people about what is right and wrong and good and bad about how certain bodies and certain scale numbers look that I just don’t want to. And don’t believe is true. 


I want my clients to conceptualize their future selves based on how they want to feel and move in the world and what they want to experience and think and be. How they look will change, yes, but it’s such a shallow, disconnected guide. To think about the person you want to become, the relationship you want with yourself and with food, the life you want to live, that is such a rooted, authentic, aligned way to structure your journey. It allows you to develop a rich, deep, connection to you and your body and a love for it that just doesn’t come when all we think about is what we see.

So…I don’t and won’t be posting before and after photos, or retouched or photoshopped photos of me anywhere. What you see is me and who I am and what I believe reflected in an image.

If you haven’t read the book “more than a body”…do it.. I join with the brilliant Kite sisters that wrote the book on their mission to “create a new, more habitable and joyful environment for ourselves and everyone else-one where we have the freedom and security that come from not just believing that our bodies look good, but knowing that our bodies are good, regardless of how they look.”

If you want more help with feeling better about your weight loss goals, and valuing how you feel more than how you look, then let me help. 


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Meet Natalie

I spent over 2 decades battling my weight and hating my body, before I found a solution that worked FOR GOOD. I lost 50 pounds by changing not just what I eat, but WHY. Now I help other women like me get to the root of the issue and find their own realistic, permanent weight loss success. Change is possible and you can do it. I can help you.

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