We often talk about juggling things or dropping balls because we’re trying to hold and carry too much at once. We are carrying responsibilities, obligations, ideas, resentment, goals… and it can be a lot because, after all, we only have two hands. So, sometimes, we need to set things down for a moment, or let them go altogether.
If you want to hold onto the things that are important, you have to first get clear on everything else you’re carrying, especially when it comes to health and weight goals. Imagine each belief you had about yourself was a one-pound rock. What would you carry around in that scenario?
Tune in this week to discover how to set aside the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that you’re carrying around with you, weighing you down, and making everything more difficult than it needs to be. I’m sharing how this concept relates to weight loss.
This is Weight Loss Success, with Natalie Brown, episode 120.
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. So, I’ve received a super fun Mother’s Day surprise this year in the form of a one pound eight week old ball of fur that I named Henry. You can see a picture of him on my Instagram @itbeginswithathoughtcoaching if you want to see how stinking cute he is. I’ve always had big dogs. We have a 130 pound Burmese Mountain dog and a 100 pound English cream retriever. So, this new tiny baby dog that I can carry around everywhere and fit in my purse even if I want to, it’s just a whole new experience.
I have had quite a few puppies in my lifetime. I’ve done lots of potty training of puppies and taken care of puppies. It’s around the clock full-time job. But this tiny puppy has an even tinier bladder and needs so much more help, and care, and love. My big dogs are pretty independent kind of from day one. He’s literally the opposite. He can’t even get down the step to go outside. I have to carry him to the grass to go potty. I have to prepare his food so it’s small enough for his little tiny teeth to be able to eat it.
He runs as fast as he can to me to pick him and protect him when my big dogs so much as bark because it scares him so much. He follows me everywhere. I just hear little pitter patter running feet behind me everywhere I go. He sleeps on my feet when I get ready in the bathroom and under my desk when I work. He’s a baby. And he’s a baby that wakes up at 5:00 or 6:00am and needs to go potty and then he wants to eat, and play, and run around, and he wants to be held, and he wants to be cuddled, and he wants to take naps on my lap. And I’m just totally indulging all of it.
My baby, my human baby just turned 13 years old, she was my Mother’s Day gift 13 years ago. And my older kids are 17 and 21. So I’m loving having a little tiny thing that needs me, and loves me, and wants to be around me all the time again.
But I noticed a couple of days ago as I sat in my bed in my pajamas at 11:00am trying to distractively work on my computer that this was feeling like back in the day when I had a baby, an actual baby. And I was sleep deprived, and I was consumed by their care, brain a little foggy, sugar cravings because of the raised cortisol due to lack of sleep. Choosing to sit and cuddle him and let him sleep on me rather than doing housework or work, work, or getting a workout in, forgetting things that I normally do every week.
All sorts of going on along with me super judging myself for all of it. I should be doing all the things I normally do, it’s just a puppy, Natalie, I’m being so lazy. I’m so embarrassed. And then I had a call with my friend who is also a coach. And after telling her my embarrassing story, she just said very matter of factly, “Okay, so some circumstances have changed, how do you want to show up?” And it gave me pause, it’s true. Some things have changed in my life. I’m still staying up late for my teenagers, giving them rides at midnight. But I’m now also getting up early for my puppy.
I am not getting the sleep that my body needs and that is affecting me in numerous ways. Sleep deprivation is no joke. And I also have this sweet little puppy who’s only going to be a puppy for a short time, and it’s new, and it’s fun, and it’s fleeting. So, I want to rest a little more during the day because I am tired. And I want to let him take a nap on my lap while I do nothing because I want to be here for an experience, this little window of his life. But while I’ve been doing that anyway I have been doing it while carrying around a bunch of guilt and embarrassment about doing it.
I’ve been doing it while carrying around the idea that I should be being productive and not having a foggy sleep deprived brain and not forgetting things and not making excuses, and not be resting and enjoying him. That’s a heavy load. And it’s making it harder to hold the things that I want to hold onto. We often talk about juggling things or dropping balls because we are trying to hold and carry so much all of the time. We are carrying responsibilities, and obligations, and ideas, and resentment, and discomfort, and goals, and dreams. It can be a lot.
We only have two hands. So sometimes we need to set things down for a season, or let them go to make it possible to hold onto the things we most want to. So, I want you to think about what you are carrying that is making it hard to do the things that you want to do, especially when it comes to your health and weight goals. Imagine you have a bag or a purse and you’re going to put inside of it a one pound rock for each of the beliefs you are carrying around. I’m going to list a bunch so just imagine for every one of these that you also believe, you’re putting a one pound rock into that bag.
And then add in all the other things that I don’t even mention here. Maybe you’re carrying around things your past taught you about food. So many of us believe that there are good and bad foods, that there are foods and food groups that should be off limits. That our inability to stop ourselves from overeating or our desire to overeat and overeat the things that are bad for us means that we are weak, and lazy, and we lack discipline. We believe that food is the enemy or that food is love, that we should be in control around food, that food will solve our problems, that food’s a reward.
We believe that if we don’t think about what we’re eating that it doesn’t count even though we know it does. We think that not eating is better than eating and being the wrong size. That we don’t know what to eat or that we never eat what we know we should be eating, that we have to eat what someone offers us. That how we feel about ourselves depends on what we eat and what the scale says, that I should be ashamed of how I eat. Maybe you’re carrying around things your past taught you about your body.
We believe that we can’t trust our bodies and that we can only love our bodies if they’re a certain right size and shape. We believe that there is a right size and shape. And that if you are that right size and shape, your life is amazing and perfect as a result. We believe that losing weight is the key to being happy. We believe the scale is our enemy or that it’s our savior. And that the number determines our value, that we don’t deserve to wear clothes we like or that fit our bodies, that no accomplishment or character trait is as important as what we weigh.
That the purpose of our body is to look good, that what other people think of our bodies is more important than what we think. Maybe you are carrying around beliefs and judgments about your roles, that what you do and how well you do it is who you are, that you should be able to do it all. That everyone around you should be happy and taken care of before you. That making sure your responsibilities to work and to others are fulfilled, that that’s primary. That you should be good at everything you try, that your value depends on it in fact.
That what other people feel about you is more important than how you feel about you. That what other people think about what you do and how you do it is more important than what you think about what you do and how you do it. Maybe you’re carrying around shame about how you look right now, what your body is like right now. And so, you’re trying to hide in your clothes, or by not speaking up, or are actually hiding by not going out into the world and doing the things you want to be doing.
Maybe you are carrying around resentment about all that you feel you have to do and be for everyone. Maybe you’re carrying around hopelessness about your ability to make changes. Maybe you’re carrying around frustration about it not going the way you want it to, or as fast as you want it to. Maybe you’re carrying around guilt about what you ate yesterday, or this morning, or are eating right now as you listen to this episode, I see you. Maybe you’re carrying around self-loathing from seeing yourself in the mirror.
It’s a heavy load, no wonder you’re tired, no wonder it feels so hard. You’re carrying so much, it’s keeping you from holding the things that you want to. What would it take for you to set it down? You don’t have to abandon it. You don’t have to get rid of it forever. I know it can feel impossible and scary to think we have to let go of things we’ve always believed, even if those things are not helpful, if they’ve been a part of our identity for a while, we can feel a little lost at the idea of letting them go.
So sometimes the idea of setting them down instead to be picked up later if you want to, can feel a little less scary. Start with some radical honesty, telling the truth to ourselves about what’s happening, what we are doing or not doing, requires us to see and accept reality, accept our responsibility in the situation and own our reaction to it. Radical honesty is a thorough telling of the truth that results in an autobiographical narrative, a healing story and telling healing stories about the here and now allows us to move forward.
One interesting idea I recently read about is the powerful effect that honesty may have on the prefrontal cortex or what I typically refer to here on the podcast as the adult brain. A research study was done with lying and the prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain that’s involved in decision making and emotional regulation, future planning and many other complex processes. When the prefrontal cortex was stimulated, lying went down by half among the participants in the study.
So, the idea the author postulated was that the practice of telling the truth might also stimulate the prefrontal cortex, strengthening those dedicated neural circuits. So, what excites me about this is that telling the truth about what is going on in our lives gets our adult brain involved in the process which is always a good idea. Your adult brain will be the part of your brain willing to pause and see things for what they really are.
So back to my example with my puppy and my embarrassment for a second. My toddler brain was in control, something’s gone wrong, I shouldn’t be this way, I’m uncomfortable and that’s a problem. And as soon as my friend told the truth, some circumstances have changed, things are different. And I agreed, my adult brain got involved, I paused, my adult brain reasoned, yes, circumstances are different. I’m getting less sleep, I have a new little life I’m responsible for.
And I was able to set down my story of being lazy and feeling embarrassed so that I could hold what I want to, literally my baby puppy and figuratively, compassion for myself and kindness, and understanding. And what’s crazy about it as I started thinking about it is that since that day that I had that conversation where I was honest and I told a healing story, I’ve gotten more done. And I’ve still cuddled and loved my fur baby as much as I want because I’m not weighed down with all of the embarrassment and the beliefs about what I should be doing instead.
Sometimes all setting it down requires is permission. In my case permission was suggested by my friend and embraced by me. So, if you need someone else to suggest permission, consider this that suggestion for you from me. What would it take for you to embrace it? What is standing in the way of you embracing it?
What would be the downside to setting whatever it is that you’re carrying down for now? You could always pick it back up. But you also might find that the lighter load feels better and it allows you to hold whatever it is that you want to. Try setting it down and go out into the world and live. 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.