The theme on the podcast over the last few weeks has been all about adaptability, because I think it’s safe to say we’re all learning to adapt to uncertainty and change right now. Something I hear from my clients often is that they’re eating right, doing all the things they believe they should be doing, but they’re not getting the results they want. And this is when it’s time to think outside the box.
For years, we’ve tried to escape our negative emotions like stress, overwhelm, or boredom with food. But once the food is gone, the feeling shows right back up, often accompanied by shame and guilt as well. This intuitive solution to eating our feelings away isn’t getting you the results you want, and this week, I’m showing you how to find the counter-intuitive solutions that you have the answers to right now.
Join me on the podcast this week to discover how the real solutions on your weight loss journey are actually counter-intuitive solutions that you can find within yourself. You don’t have to look outside of yourself for answers or to feel better, and this is the best news ever because it means you can feel any emotion with nothing to fear.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 32.
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. Today’s review comes from Jana. She has lots of food references, which makes me smile. “The bite-sized episodes are delectable. I love listening to podcasts and will listen for hours on end, but I love that Natalie delivers some really great food for thought in under 15 minutes. It’s just enough to whet my appetite and leave me with the perfect amount to digest and think about before coming back for seconds and thirds and so on.”
Thanks for taking the time to leave a review, Jana. This is exactly why I keep the episodes bite-sized. So you can listen and listen again and still have time to apply what you learn, which as you know, is where the magic happens. So good.
So have you noticed a theme on the podcast lately? Change looks different than you think, flexibility and awareness in your self-care, open mind when you create expectations. Well, we’re continuing on that theme today. You can tell by the podcast content what I’m working on in my own life and what my clients are currently going through.
Right now, the theme for everyone is adaptability to uncertainty and change, right? The same is true in weight loss as it is in life and in fact, weight loss isn’t separate from life. We are living life in our bodies; we are losing weight while we go about our lives. It’s not like we take a break from life to lose weight or vice versa.
Or at least I don’t think that’s how it should be. Any weight loss strategy you choose or change you make should be something you’re willing to do for life. Not just for a few months until you get this weight off, or you’ll be right back here. But I digress.
Adaptability. Problems present themselves in our lives and sometimes the solution to that problem is counterintuitive. It’s different or even opposite of what we may assume works or what we have tried before. We adapt to the current situation and we find a solution that works now. We think outside the box. True in life and in weight loss. So let’s dive in.
I am a light sleeper. I wake easily and I’m sensitive to light. Maybe it’s a function of being a mom and nursing on demand for like, nine years of my life and needing to be tuned in to the slightest stirring. But I wake up if there’s so much as a creak in the floor outside my bedroom door.
I also love it to be pitch black dark. Even the light from an alarm clock keeps me from getting into deep sleep. And you can imagine how this all works in a house with children, teens, pets, and a husband who is literally the opposite kind of sleeper. He needs the TV on to sleep.
I spent the majority of the last 20 years fighting with my environment to try to meet my body’s nighttime requirements. Putting towels over alarm clocks and in cracks of doors, getting blackout blinds and curtains, making my husband go in another room in the middle of the night if he needed the TV on, threatening my children if they so much as tiptoed past my room, texting neighbors to tell their kids in their yards to keep it down, feeling angry, irritated, and tired.
And then I came up with a counterintuitive solution. Instead of relying on everyone and everything around me to change, I would change. I found some small earplugs that I could wear comfortably all night, and an eye mask that blocks out the light, and now my solution fits in the palm of my hand and can go anywhere with me and I sleep soundly and nobody has to do anything different.
Often, we look to change everything outside of ourselves as the solution on our weight loss journey when the counterintuitive solution actually resides within us. We try to change our environment, removing all of the tempting foods from the house, we follow a strict meal plan created by someone else, we ban ourselves from eating anything from a drive through. We go to great lengths to change what goes into our mouths.
But the real solution, the opposite or different or counterintuitive solution is actually to look at and change why it goes in our mouths. It’s not to remove the food from our lives and never see it again so it can’t control us. It’s to take back control and learn to eat on our terms using the power of our minds. It’s not to use someone else’s plan. It’s to experiment and find what works for our individual body.
So ask yourself, where am I looking outside of me for a solution that exists inside of me? And what are some of those inside solutions? Another problem that requires some thinking outside the box is urgency in weight loss. We want to rush to the finish. We want to get to the part where we don’t have to see that number on the scale or hear the mean things our brain has to say about it as fast as possible.
Our typical solution to this is to take extreme measures. Find ways to lose weight quickly. But the counterintuitive solution to being in a hurry is actually to slow down. That urgency is a message. It is signaling to us that we are believing the lie that something outside of us, the number on the scale for example, will create a feeling inside of us.
That the way to feel better inside is to change the outside. But this is never true. If you heard a grinding sound when you drove your car, you wouldn’t be like, a fresh coat of paint will do the trick, or I’ll drive faster and see if it goes away. That makes no sense. You would slow down and look under the hood. It’s what we need to do here.
Slow down and look at our current beliefs about our weight number and what it means about us. Slow down and look at what we are feeling that makes us want to escape with food. Slow down and remind ourselves that our thoughts are optional.
So ask yourself, where am I feeling urgency and what message is it sending to me? How can I slow down? I am in charge of grocery shopping in my household. My kids are older, teens and tweens, so they make most of their own meals. But typically, I shop for and buy the food, and then I have to unload the food from the car and put it all away myself and then field all questions about what we have and where it’s located endlessly all day long.
You can probably tell how I feel about this process from the way I phrase this. Annoyed. Because for years, I believed the thought I have to do this, this is the way it’s always been done, I’m in charge of this. When we’re believing we have to do something, the likelihood of that thought creating annoyance or resentment is pretty high.
One day, on the way home from the store, as I felt the annoyance rising in me, I had a brilliant counterintuitive solution come to my head. I could do the shopping, which I like and want to do, and my kids could put it all away, so they knew what we had and where it was. Bam.
I’m not the only one who eats the food, so I don’t need to be the only one involved in the process. This may seem like a giant duh to you, but to me it was a revelation because I had just always done things this way and never questioned it.
And this solution made sense when my kids were little and I was the only one making the food, but that’s no longer the reality of my life. So even though the reality had changed, I was still using the same solution and feeling so frustrated.
I see this showing up for my clients all the time. They’re doing the same thing they’ve always done to lose weight and are frustrated that they’re not getting different results. They tell me things like I eat pretty good and I’m doing everything right and it’s not working, but it isn’t good or bad or right or wrong that matters. It’s the results.
Is what are you doing creating the results you want? Do the results you are getting align with your ultimate goals? If the answer is no, it doesn’t matter how right or good or how long you’ve been doing it. It’s time to think outside the box.
I was just listening to Dr. Drew’s podcast, and he and another physician were talking about addiction treatment in comparison to how we approach cancer treatment, in terms of thinking outside the box. We don’t just try one type of chemo. We keep trying different kinds and combinations and address new problems that come up along the way. We don’t give up until we figured it out.
They called it ongoing problem solving. And I was like yes, that is the perfect description of weight loss. There isn’t an exact combination of food that works for everyone at every stage of their lives. We try things, we see what results we get, and then we try different combinations of things and we see what results we get.
We approach it with curiosity and commitment, and we figure it out. So ask yourself, am I doing what I’m doing because it’s what I’ve always done? Is it yielding the results I want? What’s something else I can try? The smallest, tiniest, most cramped and uncomfortable box we need to think outside of is the feelings box.
Only one solution can fit in there. It’s eat crap. That’s the solution to the what do I do when I feel uncomfortable and want to escape problem, and also the solution to the what do I want to do when I want to have fun, celebrate, reward myself problem.
It’s a temporary, pretend, sorry excuse for a solution and we have got to think outside of that eating crap box, stat. The food is not creating the feeling of celebration. If it did, that half-eaten cupcake in the trash, if consumed, would create celebration in you. And my guess is if you have ever eaten a cupcake out of the trash, I see you, it did not feel like celebration.
The food is also not creating actual escape from stress or overwhelm or boredom because after the escape pizza was gone, my guess is that the feeling showed back up, now accompanied by shame, guilt, disappointment, or some other companion feeling. So what’s the counterintuitive solution to dealing with feelings that doesn’t include garbage cupcakes and escape pizza?
The opposite of escape is to stay. To stay in our bodies and allow the discomfort to be there. To go inward where comfort and reward and celebration are actually created and experienced. Outside the tiny one-solution box, we can open up to learning what our feelings feel like in our bodies and that there is nothing to fear about discomfort.
We have the space to discover what else we can believe to create the feelings that we want to experience. So ask yourself, what feeling am I looking to escape or create? How can I stay and find what I’m looking for within me?
If you want more in depth instructions on how to do this feelings work, check out episodes 12 and 13. Okay beautiful people, thank you for joining me today and every week on the podcast. I love imagining that I’m sitting across from you at the kitchen table, or next to you in your car while you’re listening, or walking with you, just having a conversation about how you can lose weight while you live your life and learn to love you more.
Leave me a review if you love these conversations as much as I do. Tell other women looking for help on their weight loss journeys through your review what you love about the podcast and how it’s helping you. And then let me know the title of your review at itbeginswithathought.com/review so that I can share it and send you a special gift as a thank you. 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.