One of the most common pain points in weight loss is in regard to trust. Trust in ourselves wavers so often on this journey when it comes to food, keeping our commitments, and sticking to our plan, and many of my clients believe they don’t and can’t trust themselves.
But what is trust? You might believe it’s something that’s out of your control. Someone has to earn your trust, or it’s a character trait that is inherent to some. It might sound strange, but trust isn’t some precious commodity, and this is the best news I can offer you. It means you can choose to create it on purpose, and I’m showing you how.
Listen in this week to discover what trust is and isn’t, and the power of thinking about trust as a choice that is always in your hands. I know trusting yourself is often easier said than done, so I’m giving you three principles you can apply when trusting yourself feels challenging.
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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- What trust is and isn’t.
- Where trust comes from.
- The first time I started thinking about trust as a choice.
- How not choosing trust creates a feeling of disempowerment.
- 3 principles you can apply when trusting yourself feels difficult.
Listen to the Full Episode:
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Full Episode Transcript:
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 103.
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.
Hello everyone, I’ve been thinking so much about trust lately in my own life and I hear it come up so often in weight loss, especially in regard to trusting ourselves. Trusting ourselves with food, trusting ourselves to keep our commitments, or stick to our plan, or show up for our goal. Mostly I hear that people don’t trust themselves or they can’t trust themselves around certain foods, or at certain times of day, or in certain situations, or family gatherings, holidays, vacations, when they drink, at restaurants, et cetera.
So, I took a deep dive asking myself some questions like what is trust? Where does it come from? Where is it hard and why? And I did some digging and some reading and some studying and I wanted to break it down with you. There’ s so much good news here, I’m really excited to share it with you.
So, what is trust? We often use the terms earn my trust, break my trust, rebuild trust, lose trust. We talk about it almost as if it’s a commodity, something that we can hold in our hands. A valuable, tangible asset. But it’s not that for sure. If you have trust in me, for example, you can’t produce it and show it to me if I want to see evidence.
I think it has value, and is precious and is handled with care like some commodities or assets, but not in the way that a rare painting or a gold bar is. So that kind of language doesn’t totally capture it for me.
We also use language like I can’t trust, I don’t trust, or I trust implicitly which infers that it’s an action that we take, a thing we do. We either trust or we don’t trust. But me acting out trust won’t necessarily look like the way you do it and it may not be easy for me to see your trust in action or for you to see mine.
We sometimes use it as an adjective, I’m too trusting or she’s a trusting person, as if it’s a character trait or flaw that we don’t have control over. Like we either are or we aren’t, we are born trusting or not. But if that were the case then it would negate the idea that trust cane be gained or earned because it wouldn’t be possible to change. It would be innate, it would be fixed.
So I thought about situations in my life where trust is involved and the common thread for me is believing that I am safe, that I will be taken care of, that I will be protected or free from physical or emotional pain. It’s a belief. A sentence in my mind. A confidence that something is real or true.
When I believe the sentence, I trust that blank, I feel confident pr peaceful, or content, or unburdened, or free from doubt, or happy, or loved. A whole spectrum of positive feelings depending on how that sentence is finished.
So trust, to me, is a belief that creates a feeling state. That means it isn’t innate to my personality or not. That means it isn’t just an action I take or that someone else takes. That means it isn’t a precious commodity, it’s a choice. It’s a choice I get to make or not that will create a feeling I want to feel for me, that I will then use as fuel to show up in my life the way that I want to.
Think about all the ways that we believe that we can trust each other as human beings every single day. The implicit trust we put in our systems, and agencies, and fellow humans. I was thinking about this a lot while I was on vacation in a foreign country over the holidays, foreign to me I should say.
I traveled out of my country to another country where I didn’t speak the native language there. So all around me people were speaking, and even speaking about or concerning me, and I didn’t understand what they we saying. And I believed I could trust that I was okay.
For example, we met a representative from our travel agency at the airport and he walked us to the shuttle that would take us to our hotel. We waited for a minute while he communicated with the shuttle service driver and he told us the private shuttle we had arranged had been delayed for like 45 minutes. But that we could get on a different shuttle that was going to make a couple of stops but would also get us to our hotel probably a little quicker than waiting.
We trusted, we got on the shuttle, we made it to our hotel, all was well. Now, it isn’t just that we didn’t understand the language and so couldn’t understand the conversation that was had and trusted, obviously. I could be in my own city and I could have someone say something to me in English that is completely false and I could end up in danger. But the language was an obstacle to understanding, that was real.
And it got me thinking, I trusted that the information he gave us was accurate and that he had our best interest at heart. I had no evidence of that, he was a stranger to me and I was in a place I’d never been before so I had no evidence that this is how things work and that this would all be great. I chose to implicitly trust because I also had no evidence to suggest the opposite was true.
I’ve thought about how every day I get in my car and I drive down the road. And I believe I can trust that everyone else is going to stay in their lanes and follow the rules. I go to the store and I believe I can trust the food I buy is going to be safe.
I go to sleep in my bed and I believe I can trust that I will wake up in the morning, that nothing will explode or catch on fire. I go to public places with other humans and I believe I can trust that people will obey the laws and take care of themselves and wait in line and do what’s right.
The reality is people break the law and harm other people with their cars every day. Food makes people sick all the time. Fires and explosions and natural disasters happen during the day and at night all the time. Humans don’t do what’s right constantly. They hurt others on purpose and without thinking. They break rules and they but in line and they do all sorts of annoying things every minute.
There is endless amounts of evidence that this is true, and yet I believe I can trust 99.9% of the time. Of course I worry about things, I’m a human being. But the large majority of my life is spent believing I can trust that I’m going to be okay. I choose to believe it.
Once upon a time, before my 23 year marriage to my husband we had been dating for about eight months. Pretty seriously, like we were planning to get married at some point. When he decided he wanted a break. It’s really hard to argue with a partner who says they want a break. I mean, what do you say, no?
So we took a break. I was in misery, I didn’t want a break. I thought taking a break was a terrible, stupid idea. He loved it. I talked to him like three days in and he was on cloud nine. He was like, this was just what I needed. And he proceeded to say the most devastating sentence he has ever said to me to date, by like a million times. Which was, I love you but I don’t know if I’m in love with you.
Which, seriously, even now makes my heartbeat fast and a pit start to develop in my stomach. I was destroyed by those words. I cried in the fetal position for an entire day I think. And my mom actually slept in my bed with me because she was so worried about me breaking into a million pieces. I realize my words are dramatic, but it is a very accurate description of how I felt at the time.
We were broken up for several months. We didn’t talk, we didn’t see each other and I realized I had some work to do on me so that a single sentence that someone else said didn’t completely wreck me again. I needed to reconnect to me as a separate entity from my then boyfriend/now husband. And so I did, I spent that time getting healthy.
And obviously, the story ends with us getting back together when we were both ready and eventually marrying, having kids, living life together for a quarter of a century so far. Well, a year or so into our marriage I was still having nightmares, like literal bad nighttime dreams about him leaving me without explanation. I still carried around a lot of fear about that having been blindsided with that scenario before.
I didn’t totally believe I could trust that I was not going to be left heartbroken. And I clearly remember a conversation driving in the car that really kind of shook up my attitude about trust and caused me to think about it differently. At the time I believed he was responsible for proving somehow that I could trust that he wouldn’t do that again, that his feelings wouldn’t change and that he wouldn’t leave me.
I put the burden on him. He had broken trust and therefore somehow he had to rebuild it. And I remember him saying there’s nothing I can say or do that will be able to make you believe that I won’t leave you. I married you, we have a baby, we have a home, we have a life together.
I tell you, I show you that I love you but there are no guarantees. I can’t actually guarantee that. But, he said, it goes both ways. You can’t guarantee that you won’t leave me either. We have to choose to believe each other or not.
And it was really the first time I’d thought about trust as a choice. He was totally right. We had done many of the things that could be considered guarantees. We were legally married, we had a child and a mortgage, and a life, and a home together. But every day we still had to choose to believe we could trust each other and were going to stay.
It’s actually the framework that we have built a really beautiful and strong relationship on. We choose every day to stay, to believe we can trust, to love. There are no guarantees or obligations, just a choice by two individuals to be together and to believe that we can trust that we will stay together.
It’s so much more empowering than to put the burden on someone else. And even if at some point he chose to leave, or I did for that matter, I wouldn’t believe he took the trust with him. He doesn’t have a say over my trust, only I do.
And I would rather live a life with him where I choose to trust and risk potential hurt, than to spend 23 plus years wondering if I should choose it and feeling the insecurity and the doubt and the disempowerment that that would create for me every single day. That would be my experience.
I don’t think this is how you or everyone should do your relationship, or that mine is perfect by any means. I share this, really, just to illustrate that trust, believing you can trust in a relationship is a choice, even and especially when we are talking about the relationship with yourself.
When we choose not to believe we can trust ourselves we create an environment of fear, negativity, lack of intimacy, and loneliness. Remember when I said that the sentence I believe I can trust blank? Let’s fill in the blank with the word myself here.
I believe I can trust myself to take care of me or my body. I believe I can trust myself around food. That creates a feeling of confidence, of love, of peace for me. When I believe the opposite, that’s where the fear, the negativity, the loneliness comes in.
And the lack of belief that we can trust ourselves leads to that out of control, chaotic relationship with food that we so often experience and then use as evidence that we can’t trust ourselves, thus powering the spin cycle of shame and overeating, and shame and overeating.
The reality is that we don’t have to have evidence that we can trust in order to trust. When we choose to believe that we can’t, we create a feeling fuel that drives us to prove that true and we fixate on that evidence that we can’t.
Think about my car example, there is plenty of evidence to prove that I am not totally safe on the road but I choose to focus on the evidence that I am. And believing that I am changes my own experience of being on the road. It doesn’t change the other drivers on the road, but it does change my personal experience of it.
Believing you can trust yourself around food, it doesn’t change your taste or your patterns. It doesn’t make a piece of chocolate cake less delicious. It doesn’t decrease the “danger” of being around your favorite foods, meaning it doesn’t make them less appealing and it doesn’t make your desire go away.
But if you believe you can trust yourself to take care of you, to put your best, highest, ultimate desires first, then the chocolate cake can sit there and it can look as delicious as it wants to. You will feel confident that you can make the choice that’s best for you. That you can eat that chocolate cake on your terms or not at all. But that chocolate cake or the absence of it isn’t responsible for showing you that you can trust yourself around it, you are.
One of the things that came up over and over in my researching the topic of trust is how to build or rebuild it, how to increase it, how to repair it. Now, these are all examples of when we think of trust as a commodity, as a thing that exists outside of us, which I don’t buy into. But I think even if we go with my definition here, that it’s a belief and a choice, the following principles can still apply to the situation where you are finding it hard to believe you can trust yourself.
First of all, look for the rest of the evidence. If you are not believing you can trust yourself, it’s pretty likely that you’re seeing only the negative evidence, you’re in the spin cycle. But I can’t trust myself around food is not the truth 100% of the time.
I’m sure you can look at your day or your week and see examples of when you can believe that you can trust yourself around food. Make sure you’re looking at the whole picture and you’re choosing to include the positive evidence as well, even if in the beginning it’s a small amount of evidence. Something is not nothing.
Next, strive to make and keep commitments. Often when we are believing we can’t trust ourselves we avoid making commitments because we don’t want any more evidence that we can’t be trusted. But as Ernest Hemingway said, the best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.
Choose to trust that you will keep your commitments to yourself. Make them doable and desirable. Be realistic, start small but start. Make a tiny commitment today, believe you can trust yourself to keep it, keep it and then add that to the positive evidence pile. Then, of course, take responsibility for your mistakes and missteps.
If and when you fall short of keeping your commitment, which will happen especially when we are learning to believe we can trust, be willing to be transparent with yourself about it. Accept the choices you have made without judgment. You don’t have to feel awesome about it, but disappointment about falling short is different than self-loathing about falling short.
Recognize when you make the choice to not keep a commitment to you. Acknowledge it, own that it is a choice, a decision, whether conscious or unconscious. Ride the wave of disappointment you feel and then decide how you want to move forward. Use the mistake as a learning opportunity. Find the lesson to be learned, the skill that needs to be built, the obstacle and the way through it. And then make a new commitment and keep going. If trust is a choice, the choice is always yours.
Okay lovelies, have an amazing week learning to trust, 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.
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