Want to know the secrets that I would tell myself – the version of me who was starting out on this journey?
Of course, we can’t change our past. But if I were to go through my journey again, this is the advice that I’d share with my beginner-self in order to save her a ton of money, mind-drama, and in turn, help her achieve her goal to success faster.
Regardless of what journey you’re setting out on, wouldn’t it be valuable to talk to the version of yourself who has actually achieved the goal? What would she say to you? What advice would she give you so that you can get there faster and with fewer mistakes?
In this podcast, I’m sharing the advice that I’d give to my beginner self. I want her to succeed. I want you to succeed, get there faster, and avoid the mistakes that I made.
When we take that pressure off of ourselves, that there is no finish line and there is no date that we have to cross that finish line. That when we can take our time, when we can enjoy the process and really focus on what it is that we’re doing versus the outcome.
Then, I think that we can enjoy the process a little bit more and not give up. And that right there, if there’s anything is the key, when we talk to our beginner selves, we want that person to not give up. So many of us do.
You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women in midlife, who are done with dieting, but still want to lose weight and feel good in your clothes. You know that diets don’t work long term. But you feel like there’s this secret that everyone else knows that you just haven’t figured it out yet.
I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And I’ve helped hundreds of women get off the diet roller coaster change their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies. Through this podcast, my goal is to help you too.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the done with dieting podcast episode number 56. And today, what we are talking about is advice that I would give my beginner self, if I could have a conversation with her today. And I love this topic, it was inspired actually by someone who listens to the podcast, and she sent me an email, and I responded to it.
And then, I thought, you know what? I think everyone needs to hear this information because one of the things that I love asking folks about, whether they are my clients or not is after they’ve been successful with getting to their goal. I asked them, what could you say to your beginner self that could have made the process easier or that could have made her start it earlier. Right? Because so many of us have regret about waiting too long and gosh, you know, if I had just started this earlier in my life, then things would be so much easier.
But that type of ruminating or regret isn’t always helpful because we are all on our own path and the information that we need comes to us exactly when we need it.
So, the first thing is whenever we start on any adventure, whenever we start any project, or whenever something comes to an end, right? Like, our relationship, or a job, or something like that, we always feel anxious because we don’t know what’s going to happen next.
And I think that this is true also in the weight loss journey. In the journey to become healthier, our brains love certainty. When we don’t have that certainty of am I going to be successful or what exactly is going to happen along the way, then we feel a lot of anxiety and we feel a lot of uncertainty.
But here’s the thing is it’s so ironic that we go to movies, we watch television shows because we don’t know what’s going to happen. And I acknowledged that watching a television show where you’re not invested in the outcome, that it’s not your actual life is completely different. But a TV show or a movie that’s predictable is boring.
And I think that the same thing is true with our lives. That for those people out there who have predictable and repeatable lives, they find their lives not super exciting. That’s the first thing that I want to share with you is that we’re all on a journey. And this journey is actually the journey called life is actually what creates wonder and excitement for ourselves.
And I think that that’s especially important because when we start this process, when we start out and say, okay, I want to lose 30 pounds. I want to lose 10 pounds. I want to lose 50 pounds, whatever the number is for you. We always have this idea of the end. But what I want to share with you today is that there is no end and it’s just an ongoing process.
When I started my journey years, and years, and years ago, back in 2000, I don’t know that I knew what the end was going to look like. And quite honestly, I don’t even feel like I’m at the end. Even though, for all practical purposes, I’m where I want to be.
But I know that there’s still growth available to me. I know that they’re still learning. I know that there’s still more that I can do as far as my health goes, as far as accomplishments go, as far as anything that I want to do towards my life.
I think that that’s the first piece is understanding that there is no end goal. That everything that we do when it comes to health, everything that we do is just part of the journey. And if you can look at this whole process as a journey, as something that there isn’t a finish line that you have to cross over.
Then, I think what happens is when we take that pressure off of ourselves, that there is no finish line and there is no date that we have to cross that finish line. That when we can take our time, when we can enjoy the process and really focus on what it is that we’re doing versus the outcome.
Then, I think that we can enjoy the process a little bit more and not give up. And that right there, if there’s anything is the key, when we talk to our beginner selves, we want that person to not give up. So many of us do.
So, would that being said, I received an email from Kimberly. And Kimberly said, “I’m so enjoying reading your podcast, it has such easy to understand information, and I love the content that you offer. I identified with your story about your mom getting cancer. I have watched my mom and do our cancer three times both breast and ovarian. And she had a double mastectomy five years ago. It was horrifying to stand by and watch her suffer. Thankfully, she’s alive today and doing quite well. I want to start eating healthier and getting stronger. I appreciate your information.”
Me being me, I can’t just say, well, thank you. What I had do was I had to offer her something. What I want to do today in this podcast episode is just share with you exactly what I shared with her. Except, I’m going to be expanding on it more because I can.
So, the first thing is if I was talking to the beginner Elizabeth, here’s the information that I would share with her. First, there aren’t any shortcuts. When I look back at my journey, I went through a whole process where I was buying tons of supplements. I was doing all of the fad diets. And I was looking for this magic pill.
I remember going to the grocery store and pulling all of the magazines, health magazine, and eating well, and women’s health, and all of the magazines. Just trying to pour through them, looking for that magic pill that was going to make the difference in making weight loss easy for me.
I wanted it to happen immediately. And I wanted to take shortcuts. I still wanted to overeat brownies and at the same time lose weight. I was looking for how do I cheat the system? What’s the shortcut that’s going to get me there faster?
So, as a result I would restrict, restrict, restrict during the week. During the week I was on point, I would drink my water. I would eat all my vegetables. I would restrict my calories, logging it all in my fitness pal.
But then, when the weekend came, I had restricted so much and I didn’t allow any treats, or anything that was bad, or even stuff that was even questionable. I wouldn’t allow that into my diet during the week. On the weekend, I completely binged.
And in fact, I wouldn’t even log my food on the weekend one because it was too impossible to log. Because I was just eating everything in sight. But then, also the other piece was, I just didn’t want to know.
And I remember one Saturday , I made an effort to log my food and my fitness pal. And it came back as eating somewhere around 5500 calories, which we know is way too much. The number of calories that someone should be eating is somewhere around 15 times their body weight.
For someone who’s around 150 pounds, 150 times 15 is 2,250. I was eating well over, double that in one day. And probably, canceling out the progress that I made during the week. I took diet pills like ally, and do you remember that fat substitute that they used to make and put in potato chips and other high-fat foods called Olestra, I was fascinated with that stuff.
But that was such a horrible product, right? Because if you overate that food, what would happen is you would get diarrhea. And it was just a terrible, terrible thing that we were doing to our bodies. Right? But it was the allure of oh, if you take this supplement or oh, if you eat this food, it’s actually going to burn calories for you. Right?
Not buying into all of that negative marketing hype that’s telling you that there’s a shortcut. Because quite honestly, there isn’t. Okay. So, that’s my first piece of advice that I would give to my beginner self is there aren’t any shortcuts?
The second thing that I would tell her is you are going to fail. And that may sound very negative. Okay. Cause no one wants to fail. Right? However, and if you’ve listened to this podcast before you’ve heard me say this, that one of the things that we really need to do is we need to desensitize ourselves to the process of failure.
Whenever we are a beginner at anything, whether it’s dieting, learning to speak Spanish, learning to play guitar, learning to roller-skate, or any other sport, or learning how to cook. You are going to have failures. There are things that are going to happen that you just didn’t know ahead of time. And the more experience you have, the better you’re going to be at it.
Like, think about that with cooking. I can remember some of my terrible cooking flops, when I was learning how to cook. And it was just part of the process, you need to know by sight, by smell, by feel, how something is supposed to look, so that you know that it’s actually going to turn out well. Right?
The same thing is true when it comes to changing our diet, or exercising, or whatever it is, we are going to fail. And as long as we don’t use those failures as a moral failing, right? That there’s nothing wrong with us. And if we can look at those failures as teaching us just what we don’t know yet, then we’re going to be okay. It’s just a matter of how we look at that thing.
In episode number 54, called maintaining success. I talked about how if today, I woke up and my business was 10 times the size that it is today. I wouldn’t know how to deal with that because I know that on the path from where I am today, to that 10 X business, I’m going to be making mistakes. I’m going to be learning along the way.
And the same thing is true with learning how to manage a smaller body size, or learning how to eat less, or learning how to exercise, or whatever it is that you’re trying to do. When we are in the process, when we are learning, we are going to fail. And we need to learn from those failures rather than seeing those failures as examples or evidence of why we need to give up.
If you can walk into this process of losing weight, or learning to be healthier, or creating and establishing these new habits, if I were to say to you; okay, so you are going to fail 100 times. Just expect it.
But on the 101st time, you are not going to fail anymore. How would that change your experience? It may give you certainty, right? Okay, so all I have to do is go out there and do this 100 times. When we can take the judgment out of the failure and we can really just look at it as, okay, what do I need to learn, that I don’t know yet?
Then, what happens is the failures no longer mean that we’re not capable of doing what we want to do. That we don’t deserve the goal or the success that we so badly want. Because I will tell you, I do not believe that the universe gives us something that we can’t achieve. When we want something, know that if you really want it, it is yours to have.
The third thing that I would tell my beginner self is that the answers aren’t outside of you. Okay. So, let me explain this one a little bit. When we start the process of changing our habits, we go outside of ourselves, right? We read the internet, we buy diet books, we go, and we seek out, what do I need to do?
And I think that for the basics in terms of health, if you don’t know how many glasses of water you should be drinking or how many servings of vegetables you should be eating. You know, I think that there’s some validity to that. However, we will often go to someone and ask them, okay, tell me everything that I should be doing.
And I think that we don’t trust our own inner wisdom enough. And when I tell people this, when I tell my clients that we need to trust ourselves to guide the way, they’re very skeptical and rightly so, right? Because we’re like, oh, if I only trusted myself, then I would eat ice cream and cookies all day long.
And you know, that might be true at the beginning. But after a while, after you eat it for a few days, you’re going to be like, Ugh, I don’t feel good. And Then you change. Far too often, we look outside of ourselves for someone else to give us the answer. We look at my fitness pal to tell us how much we should be eating, right? How many calories we should be eating.
Instead of looking internally and paying attention to our hunger signals to tell us how full we are. And the problem with that is that a computer algorithm doesn’t know how many calories we should really be eating. I mean, sure, there are calculations around that tell us how much on an average, how much we should be eating.
But there are going to be days when you are hungrier, and there are going to be days when you’re not as hungry. That’s all going to be dependent on how you slept, what you did and ate the day before, how much you moved the day before. And also, some hormonal things that are going on inside of your body.
So, you might find that on certain days of the month, you are just a little bit hungrier than on other days of the month. And when we go into my fitness pal and my fitness pal says, well, every day, you need to eat 1500 calories. how does it know?
If I overeat one day, then it’s going to put those red numbers in there, which everyone hates. And then, on other days when I’m just not as hungry, it’s going to praise me, right? With green numbers saying, Hey, you did a great job.
But if I’m under eating, but I’m not hungry, then sometimes and I know that I did this myself is I would say, oh, I have calories leftover. And then I would tell myself, Hey, I get to eat ice cream. When I really wasn’t hungry for ice cream. When we look outside of ourselves for that information that we inside know that only we know, then we’re abdicating responsibility, and we’re just not listening to our bodies. And our bodies are where our inner wisdom actually is. Our bodies tell us exactly what we need. To have someone outside of you tell you that this is exactly what your body needs. No one except for you can actually tell you that.
So, pay attention to how you feel. Pay attention to how food makes you feel, how exercise makes you feel, how much sleep do you need. Yeah, it’s a recommendation that we need eight hours. But there’s a huge host of variation from person to person. There aren’t any exact standards for what everyone needs. Okay. So, the answers are not outside of you, that is number three.
The fourth piece of advice that I would give myself is the more you can focus on behaviors versus the outcome, the better your journey will be. And I talked about this a little bit before, but I want to readdress it.
Oftentimes, when we think about, I’m going to lose 30 pounds, I’m going to weigh 150 pounds, whatever the goal is. We think about what we’re going to look like, and we think about how we’re going to feel because of that result. And what I want to suggest is that when we focus on the behaviors of what we need to do in order to get to that result.
And that when we are that result, that we are going to have to be doing things on a regular basis in order to maintain that result. Far too often, I think we think that when we get to the result, that then it’s going to magically take care of itself.
But the reason that we are, the weight that we are is because of the habits, the behaviors, the things we do that actually produce us to be the result that we are. Right? The more that we can focus on the actions, the more that we can focus on how we need to feel in order to do those actions.
And then, the more that we can focus on how we think about ourselves, how we think about the food, how we think about our bodies, how we think about that so that we can produce the feeling of feeling confident, of feeling motivated, of wanting to take care of ourselves.
Then, those behaviors that we are all so focused on. That diets are focused on, that exercise programs are focused on. The more that we can focus on the thoughts and the feelings that then create the actions that produce the results. The more we are going to be able to maintain that once we get to the results.
You know, one of the women in the Feel Good Sisterhood just recently said, you know, I realized at some point when we were talking about it. That if I could just pay attention to the behaviors instead of the outcome, that’s where we really want to be focusing. And she was like, once I did that, everything else just became easier.
And she said, I’ve lost weight since then, but it just became so much easier when I started focusing on the behaviors. The things that we’re doing on a regular basis, instead of the actual goal of losing weight.
And I think that this right here is a huge piece, that so many of us forget is that when we are doing the things, and then we stand on the scale, and the scale doesn’t validate our efforts. Then, what happens is we get frustrated, and we give up. When we can focus on doing the things that we need to do to be healthy, not to lose weight, then the body will automatically fall in line.
And I can’t stress this enough, that the more that we can focus on doing the things that we need to be doing in order to just be healthy. Then, the weight loss will come along and the more our body will right size. Okay. So, that’s number four. Focus on behaviors versus the outcome and the better your journey will be.
And then, the last piece of advice that I have for my beginner self is that I remember thinking that life was going to be so much better when I lost the weight. And this is something that my coach and mentor talks about a lot is life is 50 50. Whether you are at the weight you’re at right now or whether you’re at the weight that you’re going to be later.
This is the same idea around money. If you’re broke, you’re going to have problems. If you have lots of money, you’re going to have problems too. They are just different problems. Right?
When you’re broke, you’re trying to figure out how do I get money so that I can pay my bills. And potentially, when you have a lot of money, you’re trying to figure out how do I invest this so that I retain the money. And it’s going to be the same thing when you lose the weight.
You are still going to have problems and those problems are still going to be around food. They’re still going to be around your body and they’re still going to be around exercise. It’s just a matter of how do you want to manage those problems? They’re going to be just different problems. Okay.
Again, it’s not going to be any better there, than it is where you are right now. The problems that you’re going to have when you get to goal and when you move past goal are just going to be different problems. And going back to number two is when we fail, we are learning how to manage those problems.
Again, I can’t say this enough, but the more that we can desensitize ourselves to the failure and understand how to work through those problems, the better off we’re going to be. Okay. So, just to recap. I have five different pieces of advice.
If you are starting out right now, then those pieces of advice are there aren’t any shortcuts. I’m sorry, I really am. I wish there were shortcuts so that I could share them with you. But the real thing is go to elizabethsherman.com/habits and download the eight basic habits. Those are your foundation for health.
And if you’re doing those eight basic things, you are going to be healthier than most people you know. And that right there is the shortcut. Unfortunately, it’s the basics. So, there aren’t any shortcuts. Number two is you are going to fail and it’s okay. It’s expected and get used to it. Okay. And the more that you can learn from those mistakes, the more you can learn from those failures, the better off you’re going to be.
Number three, the answers aren’t outside of you. The more you can pay attention to how you feel, how food makes you feel, how exercise makes you feel. And really discover, what’s going on with you, the better off you’re going to be. Because no one else knows you, better than you know yourself.
Number four is the more you can focus on the day-to-day versus the outcome, the better time you’re going to have in the process. And really thinking about identity goals instead of outcome goals. So, identity goals, being things like, I am the type of person who doesn’t overeat, or I am the type of person who enjoys exercising. So, the more that we can think about who we want to be on the other side of our goal, the better off we’re going to make this.
And then, finally, it’s not better there than here. And that one, I cannot stress enough. You’re still going to have problems when you reach your goal. They’re just going to be different problems. Just be aware that being a smaller size isn’t going to make unicorns, and daisies, and rainbows appear everywhere. All right?
That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing week everyone and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, thanks for listening.
If you’re done with dieting and would like to work with me as your coach, I’d like to invite you to reach out to myself and my team to ask about programs and pricing. Go to elizabethsherman.com/contact to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you.
See you next week.