This time of year often invites introspection about how we want to better ourselves going forward and what we’d like to change in our lives. There’s always a next level we envision our future selves getting to, but in order to truly start down this path of becoming that future person, there’s some unlearning and unbelieving we need to do first.
For all of you on your weight loss journeys, this work is absolutely foundational. The tricky thing about our beliefs is they are sewn into the fabric of our brains, and recognizing them as optional doesn’t come naturally to us. But trying to build a new you on top of old beliefs that are fueling hate for yourself is never going to lead to becoming that future you.
If you want to get out of your own way to go after something new this year, this episode is for you. Letting go of old beliefs that don’t serve us seems like an easy decision, but when push comes to shove, it can be really hard to do. So as always, I’m sharing questions and tips for you to get started approaching this work with love and compassion for yourself.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 47.
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. So last week we talked about micro resolutions, tiny new habits, and I wanted to share one I started experimenting with over the past couple of weeks that I am loving.
So in the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg that I talked about last week, the first tiny habit challenge he offers is this; after you wake up in the morning and put your feet on the floor, say to yourself, “It’s going to be a great day.” That’s it. Just a tiny offering of optimism first thing in the morning.
He does this every single morning, and he has been for years. And that doesn’t mean of course that he’s never experienced pain or suffering, but he starts his day with possibility. So I thought I’d try.
The thing I am really loving about it is that it’s putting my brain to work looking for evidence that it is a great day. So I’m thinking about it throughout the day. I’m reflecting on it at night, seeing the ways that it was a great day.
I feel like even if it’s a day where many things have gone wrong or not as planned, or I’ve gotten bad news, or something is weighing heavily on me, the fact that I am breathing at the end of the day, that I have an alive body at the end of the day is the fact that makes it great. Great is relative, right?
Great could be dreams coming true, or simply surviving. So I just love putting my brain to work for me, for my benefit. Your brain’s job is to confirm whatever ideas it’s currently believing. It will find evidence of whatever you’re looking for, so why not set it to looking for things that make your day great, right?
I spent Christmas week in Florida with my family, which is two time zones away from me, two hours difference. And I’ve been marveling as I have come back to my time zone at my body’s systems and adaptability. Watching it wake up and get sleepy based on Eastern time, a thing it adjusted to automatically in the 10 days I was there and is now trying to shift back.
Two hours seems like an insignificant time period, but I live a fairly consistent sleep schedule in my regular life, so my body’s pretty attuned to it. And a two-hour adjustment is noticeable. I could be focused on how tired I am and how messed up my sleep rhythms are, but as I focus on how my days are great, what stands out is how amazing and wonderful my body is and how hard it tries to take care of me if I listen.
This focus on the wonder of my body is something I am really excited to dive deeper into this year. And I’ll share of course as I learn more with you all here on the podcast. I have several books on the list. I started one last night. More body love is something I want to inject into my own life and my work with my clients.
I love the body positive movement happening in the world and I don’t think that loving your body as it is and losing weight are mutually exclusive or need to be enemies. So I want to tune in more closely to the intersection for me of weight loss and body love, of health and acceptance, and add more of it into the work I do in the world and with my clients.
I think it’s so important to this journey we are on here in weight loss and in life. So stay tuned for that in the future, which brings me to the subject of today. Unlearning and unbelieving. I really want to unlearn a lot of things that I have been taught and have absorbed by default throughout my life. Messages about bodies as objects.
I’ve done a lot of work already to this end. In fact, what ultimately led me here to you today is a decision I made 11 years ago to figure out how to accept myself at any size. I stopped “dieting,” I stopped trying to run myself into thinness, and I started to try to understand how I could accept where I was. Just be in my body.
And I’ve come a long way since then, but I know there’s even more I can unlearn. There’s always a next level for me. We talk a lot about believing new things and creating a new vision of ourselves for the future, but in order to truly become someone different, there is some amount of unlearning and unbelieving we need to do first.
I hear my friend Amy Latta use this term unbelieve, which is not actually a word, but a word she coined, which I love. And it just spoke to me. I thought of all of you on your weight loss journeys and some of you trying to build a new you on top of a foundation of hate. It’s going to be a bit precarious there.
The tricky thing about beliefs is that they pretend to be facts, to be true. There are so many things that are just embedded into the fabric of our brains that we don’t even recognize as optional. As we start this new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to grow my business and serve my clients this year.
Part of that is thinking about all the things I’ve taught you. Future me at the end of this year, who she is, what has changed, how she has grown compared to current me in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish. But part of that is also thinking about what is standing in the way of me doing it and becoming that future me.
And there are so many sneaky thoughts in there posing as facts. Things I am believing, and I need to unbelieve in order to move forward. I’m going to keep this fairly simple for you today because what you really need to do is have a sit down with yourself to uncover these fake facts.
The process of unlearning things you have been taught and unbelieving things you have chosen to believe consciously or unconsciously is simple, but it takes some effort and a willingness to question everything and let go of some, or a lot of it maybe.
One of the things I do as I’m looking to achieve something or do something new, set a goal, go after something, and I know I’ve shared this before, but just for review, I like to look at someone else who has done it or achieved it or accomplished it and ask myself, what’s different about them compared to me? Why were they able to do this? What characteristics do they have? What qualities do they possess?
What it always comes down to of course is what do they believe about themselves, about the world, about what’s possible that I currently don’t. And what am I currently believing that is standing in my way.
As I’m looking at this next year and my goals for my business, and I go through this process, what I notice is that I have a tendency to believe by default she is and I’m not. I’m looking at mostly women in this case, and so I hear that in my brain all the time. She is blank, and I’m not.
I look at this person who has done or is doing what I want to do, and I ask why. And my brain’s like, she is super disciplined and I’m not. She’s a marketing expert and I’m not. She’s more extroverted and I’m not. And on and on. So many sentences that my brain just states as facts.
And as a result, I just gloss over them. I just accept these truths and move on. But they’re not facts. There may be skills I don’t have that they do, or things I don’t know yet that I will need to learn, but those are all within my control.
When my brain offers I’m not, it’s like a period at the end of the sentence. It’s a dead-end thought. It’s like my brain is like, okay, that’s that, moving on. She is and I’m not. That’s something I want to unbelieve. Now that I’ve spent some time and noticed I’m not coming up, I’m onto myself.
Now I’m looking for those I’m nots as things I need to unbelieve to move forward. So look at what is challenging you right now on your weight loss journey. Why does it feel hard? What believe is in there posing as a fact that you might want to unbelieve?
Look at future you. What is different about her versus you in this moment. What is she believing about food, planning, her body, weight loss? What is standing in the way of you believing it too that you need to unbelieve? What rules do you have about food and eating that are holding you prisoner and making this miserable? What do you need to unlearn to move forward?
What about your view of your body, your thoughts about dieting, your beliefs about your worth and value being determined by your body, size, and shape, or whatever? What is holding you back from loving you through this process? What do you need to unlearn and unbelieve to keep going with more love and compassion?
Once you see these fake facts, you have to ask just one question. Am I willing to let this go? You may think the answer is obvious. Duh, yes. But sometimes it feels scary to let go of these beliefs because it means going all in on trying and possibly stumbling a little bit as we do.
It means being seen and heard, even if it’s just by ourselves. It means moving forward into the unknown. Sometimes these beliefs that hold us back also keep us safe in the safety of familiar discomfort. So am I willing to let this go is a legitimate question that I want you to listen for the answer to.
If you notice the whisper of no, or even I don’t know, have compassion as you inquire why not. What would it take to be willing to let this go? And then it requires gentle reminders as you learn how to let go. Your brain will keep offering this practiced belief to you.
My brain is definitely going to offer me she is but I’m not again, for sure, since it’s been offering that, and I’ve been believing it for most of my life. But now when it does, as I’m learning to let it go, I will gently remind myself I’m letting that go.
I often say thanks brain, but I’m letting that go, or thanks brain, but I’m choosing to think something else now. Or thanks brain, but I’m done with that thought. It’s like, I appreciate your input, but I’ve got it from here.
Okay lovelies, best news ever. The wait is over. Applications are now open for my group weight loss program. My next group starts in February and I can’t even wait. My clients are changing their brains, changing their bodies, changing their lives, and it is my favorite thing I have ever been a part of.
If you love what you learn here on the podcast and you are ready to take it to the next level with my help and support, you can apply at itbeginswithathought.com/apply. If you qualify, you and I will meet one-on-one on Zoom of course, so that I can answer all of your questions and we can decide if the program’s a fit for you. I love hearing your stories and offering some help face to face, so don’t wait. 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.