If you’ve been a listener here for a while, you’ll know that last summer, I decided I wanted to become a super cool biker chic and ride with the rest of my family. I got a trike to start with, and at the end of last year, I decided I was ready to switch to a regular two-wheeled bike.
I practiced and felt somewhat ready, but my first ride wasn’t as easy or smooth as I imagined. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty, and truthfully, I was panicky the whole time, trying not to die. I could only focus on what was right in front of me, I felt so exposed, and this experience got me thinking about how this all applies to any journey of change.
Join me this week as I share an update, an analogy, and a story that I think will be extremely helpful to you as you embark on your own journey of change. You’ll discover why we have a limited perspective of what’s possible when we first begin, and how to expand that view going forward.
This is Weight Loss Success, with Natalie Brown, episode 113.
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. If you have been listening for a while you know that last summer I bought a trike which is a three wheeled motorcycle, not a tiny children’s bike. And I learned how to ride so that my family of five could all go on motorcycle rides together since my son and husband have motorcycles. I described what learning to ride it was like in episode 78. So, if you want to go back and listen you’re welcome to.
Spoiler alert, it was very challenging and my brain felt like it was on fire. However, we rode all summer and into the fall and we had so much fun together. But three wheels are different from two wheels in the way that they handle, I learned from experience, mostly in the way that they turn and carry a passenger. Because of the wheel configuration the bike doesn’t lean. And so, when you turn it, it almost feels like it’s trying to throw your body the opposite way off the bike.
So, I had to slow down a lot, I had to adjust my body on turns and around corners. And my passenger had to hold on tight and fight against the momentum as well. It was fine, we figured it out but I couldn’t really keep up with my husband and son the way I wanted to as a result of this. So, at the end of last year, I decided I was ready to switch to a regular two wheeled cruiser motorcycle like theirs. I hadn’t gotten shifting down. I felt like I was ready to add balancing a bike to my new set of skills.
So, we sold my trike and I got a bike. And this past weekend was my first time on it. Oh my gosh, brain on fire again for sure. So, after I practiced in the parking lot and on small side streets I decided I was ready for a bigger ride. We were staying in Moab, Utah, which is a short drive from Arches National Park. So that’s where we headed. Generally, this is a perfect place. It’s a long road, not a lot of traffic at the time of day and time of year that we went, fairly low speeds throughout, places to pull over and take breaks, not a lot of intersections or obstacles.
But right off the bat there is this long steep winding section of the road after the entrance of the park with lots of curves and turns that were so scary for beginner me. My husband and I have microphones in our helmets so we can talk to each other as we ride. So, the whole time I was learning, he was in front of me on his bike sort of talking me through it, answering my questions, giving me pointers, all that.
At this point in the ride, yes, right at the beginning I’m starting to freak out because one of the main differences with my trike versus my bike as I mentioned is how it turns, it handles and balances. My trike no leaning. My bike all the leaning I want, all the way down to the ground if I’m not careful. So, curves and turns felt so, so scary. I was so not used to the maneuverability of the machine on curves.
So, I’m slowing way down around the curves, I’m panicking a little every time because this isn’t just a curvy road, it’s steep. It’s a two lane road climbing up into the park. And there are cliffs on one side of me, sometimes cars passing me as I am shakily turning. My husband is trying to reassure me in my ear and I’m just thinking, this might have been a big mistake the whole time, heart racing, palms sweating, trying not to die.
About halfway up the hill my husband says something that I haven’t stopped thinking about. He says, “Make sure that you’re looking 50 to 100 feet ahead of you, not right in front of you. You always want to be focused on what’s coming and where you are headed so you have a wider perspective. Your brain will adjust accordingly.”
So rather than looking at the next few feet down at the next part of the turn I started looking up at the road ahead. I started focusing on the curve coming up so that my brain and my body started to make adjustments ahead of time. And I got so much more stable. And it felt so much less scary. And I could speed up instead of slow down which actually made it so much easier and not just on the curves. We drove all the way to the end of the park, it was early evening and it was so beautiful.
There are quite a few amazing rock formations that you can see right from the road, the Three Gossips, the Petrified Sand Dunes, Balanced Rock and just endless lovely, picturesque vistas. My husband and I got to talk the whole time on our headsets which is a pretty rare treat, an undistracted, uninterrupted conversation. And he would talk me through anything that came up, like pulling into a rest stop and making sure to turn in wide to avoid gravel, things that I didn’t have to really think about on my trike.
And then right as we pulled up to stop and turn around at the end of the park to head back my headset mic died. I was a little bit panicked at the thought of driving all the way back on my own, not being able to ask him what to do or have his calming voice in my ear when I started to freak out a little bit. But I didn’t have an option. So, I took some deep breaths and we headed out and even with me in front this time. It felt super weird and I felt a little exposed I think is the best way to describe it, the best word.
It was just me and me. And this amazing thing happened. When I got quiet I settled into my own knowing, all the things I’d learned, answers to questions I’d asked, what to do and how to do it, it was all there and accessible to me. I could access it from inside of my brain instead of asking him a question. And I felt the tension in my shoulders and my hands release. And I started to feel a sense of calm as I stepped into my own capability.
I would catch myself looking right in front of me, feeling a little less stable and I would remind myself to look up, to expand my perspective and I would feel stable and I would feel comfortable again. And I just kept thinking about how much this all applies to any journey of change. There is so much to think about, so many new skills that we have to master, so much we have to keep in mind all at once. Obstacles come up, unexpected things happen. We have questions that we need answers to.
And we look outside of us for help at first of course, we want someone who knows to share their knowledge with us. We read, and we study, and we listen to podcasts. Thank goodness you’re here. And we sign up for programs. And what a gift that is to have that help, our questions answered, someone who believes in us, support, a calm voice saying, “You’re doing it and you’re doing great.” We have a tendency when things get tricky to feel our vision narrow and find ourselves looking straight down.
And that limited perspective makes us feel unstable at times. We see only what we can do right now and it makes us want to stop or turn around. It makes us feel like we need to slow down. Makes us feel a little wobbly. It felt so uncomfortable, and hopeless, and out of control to be looking only at what was right in front of me as I navigated the twists and turns of my ride. The longer view as I raised my eyes was so stabilizing. This is true of us as we’re working toward change too.
It feels counterintuitive to look up, to look ahead a little. We feel afraid that if we do we’ll miss something that’s right in front of us that might trip us up. But the reality is if you look ahead a little you won’t miss it, you’ll notice it in advance. And you’ll be able to adjust and correct in time to avoid a problem. Because it’s counterintuitive your brain will want to keep snapping back to your current capability, back into fear of what might happen. So, it will require some gentle reminders to practice raising your eyes to the expanded picture, to what’s coming up, what’s ahead. You’ll be able to glimpse what’s possible but only if you’re looking up.
On our way home from our weekend getaway in Moab I got some news about something I was expecting financially over the next few months that was going to be different than what I had initially anticipated. And as we drove I could feel my vision narrowing. I could feel the tightening in my chest, the tingling in my limbs, the racing of my thoughts, the tension in my head, the fear and panic of what that would mean for me and to my plans.
I had to let myself lean into that feeling, let myself breathe into it, let all the thoughts have some airtime. I allowed myself to hear and to feel how I was reacting. And then I reminded myself to raise my eyes, to look a little further ahead and to focus on what else there is, to expand my view so that I could see possibilities too.
Back to my ride just for a second. After 30 minutes in my head, tapping into my inner knowing, gently reminding myself over and over to raise my eyes to the road out in front of me my husband behind me unseen, he sped up and passed me to get in front of me. And it was right as we neared that last bit of road where it got curvy and steep and I was so nervous on the way up. And I got a little emotional, a little teary because I knew without him having to say anything that he wanted to go in front to kind of protect me, to let me follow him down this part that I was so unsure about.
And I thought about how often I get stuck feeling like I’m on my own in my struggles and how good it feels to remember that the universe has my back. That I’m loved, and I’m safe, and I’m okay, that I have my inner knowing, and that I can also tap into guidance from outside of me when I need to. Things are always working out for me. I can believe that any time. The way down that steep and windy part of the road was so much easier and so much less scary as I raised my eyes and I trusted my capabilities. And with that I am officially a super cool biker chic now.
April is the month for me of experimenting with this expanded view, deciding ahead of time to feel expansion in some places in my life where I feel my vision narrowing, and that panic and instability settling in. I heard someone say instead of April Fool’s, I call it April Full and I think about all the ways this month will be full and beautiful for me. I’m going to copy that, April full of expanding my view, raising my eyes, seeing what’s possible. You want to try it too? Let’s do it.
Follow me on Instagram @itbeginswithathoughtcoaching and leave a comment on any post this month about how it’s going for you. Tell me how you’re raising your eyes, how it’s changing your viewpoint, how it’s making you feel, maybe a little more stable, a little more hopeful. Maybe, you don’t have to share all the details but just give me a little like, I’m doing it and here’s how it’s going. And then I’ll also keep you posted at the end of the month too.
If you want some help on your journey of change I am filling my next Love First Weight Loss Group with 15 women who are ready to change their relationships with themselves, with food, and with their bodies, with love this time. If you want one of those 15 spots, head to itbeginswithathought.com/apply 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.