Done with Dieting Episode #50: Evaluate What Worked

Evaluating What Worked

What went well?

Often, when we think about setting New Year’s Resolutions, we’re more than happy to look toward the new & throw away the old. We don’t want to look at the past because all too often, we don’t want to look at our failures.

It’s too painful.

But it’s only too painful if we’re ONLY focused on what we did wrong and have unrealistic expectations for ourselves and how we should be.

That’s why in this podcast episode, I’ll teach you the series of steps that you want to take to objectively evaluate how your year went so that you can learn from it, and set yourself up for success in the future.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Learn the questions to ask yourself so that you can look at your past mistakes from a place of non-judgmental curiosity
  • Understand why we aren’t meant to accomplish every single goal that we embark on. Learn the defining measure of when you should give up.
  • Identify your Bright Spots & use them to help you keep going.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 50.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.

Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.

The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.

I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.

If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Hey everyone, welcome to today’s podcast. So, first of all, Merry Christmas, or whatever holidays you celebrate and Happy New Year. If you’re listening to this in real time, we’re just a few days away from the new year. And I think that so many of us are always just looking forward to that new year.

You know, I am a huge fan of office supplies. And what that means is that I love getting notebooks and just seeing all of those empty pages in the notebook. And just seeing how perfect, and crisp, and clear they are, and they haven’t been written in. And I know that there’s just going to be amazing things that are going to fill up those notebooks.

And that’s what the new year feels like for me. Every single year, it’s like, okay, so what is going to happen this year? It’s a notebook that hasn’t been written in. Now, because I love notebooks and I don’t know if you’re the same. So many of my journals, I’ve started and then they have like blank pages. Right? How many of us do that?

And I think that one of the reasons that we do that is because we have this great idea for what we’re going to do, and then we lose steam. And so, because of that, I am actually hosting a webinar on January 3rd, it’s at 11:00 AM Eastern time, 10:00 AM central, 8:00 AM Pacific time.

And in that webinar, I am going to be talking about how to set yourself up for success so that you get these goals that you want to accomplish in the new year, right? And when you really want something and want it from a good place, it’s not just, oh, this might be nice. But really something that you’ve been wanting. I think that it’s really important to give ourselves the time and space to do it right.

And over the past 15 years that I’ve been working with adults on their health, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes, I’ve seen a lot of really good stuff too. And so, what I want to do in this webinars, I just want to share with you how to set yourself up for success. What are some of the mistakes that I see people making all the time that really aren’t serving us. And then, what are some of the really good things that you can do that will allow you to be successful in the new year.

And so, if you want to do something and it doesn’t have to be weight or health-related, of course that’s where the webinar’s going to be aimed. But the same principles apply to any goal. Regardless, if their finances, or relationships, or even weight and health related.

So, how do you really set yourself up for success so that this isn’t another year that you start with your great habits, you start off with a bang. And then, by super bowl, you’re like, “eh, I gave up.” Right? We don’t want to do that anymore.

So, join me on January 3rd at 11:00 AM Eastern, 10:00 AM central, or 8:00 AM Pacific. And how you get to that webinar is go to and that’ll allow you to sign up. And actually, you’re going to get a bonus from this podcast episode, if you do sign up. So, go over to, sign up for the webinar, and you will get a little giveaway from this podcast right here. All right?

So, onward. Yesterday, I was on a podcast as a guest on my coaches podcast. And I was on the podcast with two other women who are in the program with me. And we started talking about evaluations. And what’s interesting about this is in this coaching program, that I’m a part of. My coach offered that we could submit a client coaching session to be evaluated.

So, this is the second time that I’ve been in this program. And the very first time I did it, when she offered it, it was terrifying. It was terrifying because I don’t know, just all of these different fears like, oh my gosh, someone’s going to find out that I’m a terrible coach. Right?

That someone other than me and my client are going to be able to witness, what happened here and have thoughts and opinions about it. And I submitted my first session in the last six months. And it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. And then, I did it again this session. And she came back, and she just told me all of these amazing things about my coaching ability.

And after our podcast interview yesterday, we were talking about how uncomfortable the evaluation process is. And one of the other coaching programs that I’m in, really strongly recommends that after each of our sessions that we evaluate, what it is that worked, didn’t work, what we would do differently.

And I think that for so many of us, we don’t like to look at what happened in the past. At least, I know that I don’t. And the reason for that is because it seems really super painful to go over in detail, what we did wrong? It feels like a kick in the pants or a kick in the head, really. That what we did, we didn’t do it right.

And that perfectionist inside of our head is constantly on the lookout, even while we’re in it. Right? Oh, you shouldn’t have said that; oh, you shouldn’t have done that; you shouldn’t have eaten that; you shouldn’t have done all of these other things. Right? You knew better. And so, to go through that again, seems really super painful.

And so, I think that many of us, when we go off a diet or when we finish a program, we don’t do anything that allows us to really learn from it. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you hear me talking about nonjudgmental curiosity. And we do that, so that we can learn from our past experiences. When we’re unable or unwilling to look at our past behavior, what tends to happen is we don’t learn anything from it.

And for many of us, what happens is we go on a diet. We go off of it for whatever reason. And then, we blame it on ourselves. We’re like, oh, that diet just didn’t work for me. Even though, it actually did work, it did produce results. But after a period of time, something happened that made it not produce results again.

And so, when we can take the sting away from looking at what happened, and not make it mean anything about us, and how wrong we were. Right? When we can take the sting away from the evaluation process, there’s just a whole host of beautiful information there that we can learn from. That we can glean, that we can improve upon the next time.

I remember walking out of a personal training session years ago. And just so frustrated, and so embarrassed, and tons of shame. And I had this reaction because my client left, and he wasn’t very happy with me. It was actually a turning point in my business. Because I was really able to look at what I had done to contribute to the situation. And I really vowed to myself that I wasn’t going to allow that to happen again.

And so, started the process of really being able to evaluate, what was working with my clients? What was I doing well? What areas did I really need to improve upon? And what pieces did I want to keep for my client sessions moving forward?

Far too often, when something doesn’t work for us, we’re so ready to just put it behind us, not look at it, and just move forward. And what I want to introduce to you today is that it’s possible that one, we can look at our past behavior and not look at it through a place of judgment. But rather through a place of curiosity.

And number two, that when we do this, what it can do is it can actually help us moving forward because we’re actually learning something in the process. And that’s really what we’re here for on this earth, right? Is to be learning creatures. When we think that we know it all, then what happens is we don’t grow, we don’t expand, we don’t experience anything new.

And if you’re listening to this podcast, it probably means that you want to become healthier, you want to lose weight, and you haven’t done it yet. And so, therefore, you haven’t figured it out yet.

And so, let’s take some time, and think about, and really evaluate, what happened in the past so that you can accomplish your goal. So that you can actually be successful moving forward. How cool would that be? Would you be willing to look at what happened in the past, in order to learn from it and do better in the future?

Now, one thing that’s actually really important in this process is that you don’t want to beat yourself up. So, if you’re someone who is used to judging yourself and beating yourself up, it really takes a little bit of self-compassion. Being able to look at the situation from a little bit of an objective point of view in order to make this useful.

And so, hopefully, some of the questions that I’m going to guide you through in this process will help for you to see that. If you only tell yourself off for what you did wrong or didn’t achieve, your end of year review, won’t be helpful.

Likewise, if you think you’re amazing, which you are amazing. But if you’re unwilling to look at yourself critically and think about what you did wrong, your end of year review isn’t really going to work out either.

So, we really need to walk that line between being completely judgmental, and you suck, and being like, “oh my God, I’m amazing, everyone else sucks.” Right?

So, the way that I started out this process is I started out because a lot has happened in the last year. And I don’t know about you, but I just couldn’t remember. I was like, what were my goals at the beginning of last year? And so, I pulled out some of my journals and I started out by writing out each month. And then, putting in like some of the things that happened. Some of the milestones that I had accomplished, or did I take vacations, and things like that.

So, what events happened throughout the year? And then, after that, I listed out my goals and accomplishments for the year. So, when did they start? Did I complete them? And if I didn’t complete them, then why didn’t I complete them? And I want to come back to that in just a second.

But then, number three was pointing out the bright spots. And this is actually where I want to start. This is where I want you to start. Starting out with looking back at the past year, what worked? What are some things that went right? That’s what I mean by bright spots. So, what are you doing well right now?

Maybe it might be something really simple. It might be that, Hey, I’m drinking enough water or I’m walking every day. I get really good sleep. I’m kind to my children. I’m nice to my partner. I enjoy being with my partner. I feel like I do a good job at work. What are the things in your life right now that you are doing really well? Okay. So, I think that it’s really important to be a cheerleader for ourselves.

What is it that’s going well for you? There’s got to be something. And don’t say that there isn’t, because there’s something. You’re alive, you’re breathing. Right?

It’s super important to do this part first, when we’re doing the year-end review. And here’s why? Because our brains are super, super negative, they are. Our brains will always go to the negative part. Our brains will always pick up on what we didn’t do right. And so, it’s really super important to focus our brains on what we are doing right.

And give ourselves a little pat on the back because we don’t do that nearly enough. And I know what you’re thinking right now, you’re thinking; yeah, but Elizabeth, if I only point out what I’m doing right, then I’m not going to want to do the stuff that I’m not doing right. I should be better and I’m going to call BS on that.

Because I am also in that same process, my brain is the same exact brain as yours. And I am still trying to get myself to pay attention to what I’m doing well. Our brains are always going to point out something that we’re not doing well enough. And just a few episodes back, episode number 47 called truthful versus helpful.

In that podcast episode, I talked about how the goalpost is always moving. So, when we start out, we think that perfect eating, or perfect exercise, or perfect health looks a certain way. And as we get closer to that goalpost that we set out for; the goalpost moves.

So, as we get closer, that goalposts really isn’t a fixed goalposts. It keeps moving out. Our brain is always going to come up with the “yeah, buts’.” Our brain is always going to come up with, yeah, but you aren’t doing this still. And it would be really easy for you to do that.

But remember, perfection is the enemy of good enough. And so, when we are good enough, when we can point out, what we’re doing right. What happens is the “yeah, buts’ lose their steam. All right?

So, our brains want to tell us everything that we did wrong. So, what we want to do instead is we want to start with celebration and acknowledgement about what went well. How did we do? And so, for this purpose, what you want to do is you want to write down what successes did you have this year. And if you want to categorize them, that’s great.

You can create categories for career , personal life, finances, and or getting into relationships. So, what areas of your life do you want to segment? And then, what went well in each of those? What were your successes? And then, why does it matter to you? Why is that important? Okay.

Now, the next task is you want to look at what didn’t work. But let’s soften this a little bit. Now, before and I said that I wanted to come back to it. I said, list out your goals and accomplishments. When did they start? And if you didn’t complete them, why not? And I want to suggest that so often, I know that I was brought up in a household where when you started something, you were expected to finish it. Okay.

So, my parents were one of those that were like, well, if you signed up for baseball and you didn’t like baseball. Tough, you signed up, you committed, you got to stick it out. And so often, when we start a goal, we start the goal and we’re like, you know, I don’t know if this is going to work out or not. I don’t know if I’m going to like this.

But yet, somehow there’s something in the back of our minds that’s like, yeah, you need to keep doing it because you committed to it. And if you don’t and if you quit, then you’re a quitter. And quitting is bad, right? Oh, quitting is bad.

I read this quote the other day and thought that it was just so brilliant. Which is when the facts change, I change my mind. You know, I talk a lot on this podcast about moving to Mexico. And when we moved to Mexico, we committed to moving here. Right? We sold our house, we brought everything down here, but we really didn’t know if it was going to be something that we would love and enjoy.

And there was a little piece of my brain that was like, Yeah. Well, once you’ve committed, you have to do it. But that’s not true. We didn’t know if we were going to enjoy living here. We didn’t know if we were going to enjoy the community of people that lived here.

The Mexican culture is very different than the American culture. We didn’t know if we would fit in. And so, as we learn new information, we have the option of deciding that didn’t work for me. But be really careful with this excuse because sometimes when we see that same thing repeated over and over and over again. What can happen is it’s a way of letting ourselves off the hook, instead of keeping our feet to the fire. So, it’s really nuanced, and I don’t really have a good way of telling you that this is how you know if you’re letting yourself off the hook. Other than maybe you already know that you are.

But also, being aware of what things you just didn’t like and what things just didn’t work for you. Again, I think that what you want to do is you want to look for repeating patterns. When you see the same thing happening over and over and over again, as Dr. Phil used to say, what’s the common denominator here? We are, right?

So, when we’re looking at what didn’t work, what we can do is we can list out again; what was the thing that happened? What was the disappointment? What area? What category does it fit into? Is it health? Is it relationships? Is it finances? Is it career? What went wrong? And then, how I feel about it?

And so, what we’re doing there is we’re not just saying, oh, this failed, and that failed, and I was a failure, I just gave up on that one. Maybe that happened, but really allowing yourself to get curious about what was the circumstance in that thing. Right? And then, the next question is why did that break down? Why did I give up? Or why did it not work out? What can I learn from that?

Which is actually the next area. So, what did I learn from that experience? What was the lesson? And I was just talking to a friend the other day, she’s reading the book, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” And she said that one thing that she really liked about the book was that when we encounter a difficult situation or a person. Instead of getting negative, asking ourselves; what is this thing? What’s this person, or this situation, this circumstance trying to teach me?

And she really liked that a lot. And I think that for many of us, we keep hearing this phrase that we need to be learning something from negative situations. And I think that that’s actually very true. But when we’re in the midst of the difficult situation. When we’ve been let down, when we’ve been broken up with. When we’ve been fired. When we haven’t been successful in losing weight. When we are in the midst of that negative emotion. That’s not the time to ask ourselves the question of what’s the lesson here.

Because we don’t have the worldview that, the zoomed out view to be able to look at it and take it all in. When we’re in the midst of our negative emotion, all we know is that this really sucks. Right? And it’s not until afterwards, after we’ve recovered, after we’ve rebounded, after we’ve made peace with it. That then, we can look back on the situation and ask ourselves, okay, what did I learn from that situation?

And so, that’s one of the reasons why I really love this year-end review is because then, we can actually look at the past, and look at it with new eyes. And really realize, how every negative situation that we have is really they’re shaping our lives, shaping our experience so that it’s pushing us into a new place.

Like, going back to that situation that I talked about before of leaving that client session, where the client had fired me, that was a pivotal moment. At the time, I had no idea what that session, what that moment in time was doing.

And if you’d asked me, I would have said, this is just terrible. I don’t know this, there’s nothing about this. Other than that, I’m just a terrible person. I’m a terrible trainer. But what that session, what that isolated incident did for me, was it made me want to grow into a better trainer. Someone who was client focused, someone who didn’t have expectations for what my client should and should not do.

And ultimately it shaped me into, where I am today? Although, not directly, it took me a number of years. But that one isolated incident, it felt terrible. But it was enough to mold me and have me know that I never wanted to experience that pain, and that shame, and that guilt ever again. And so, it propelled me into becoming something better.

And that kind of brings us to the very last question, which is moving forward, what do I want to do differently? If I want to have a different experience moving forward, how can I do things differently?

So, what does that mean? When we look at our year-end review, and maybe we noticed that, you know, Elizabeth, you give up on your goals a little bit too easy. You tell yourself that you can’t do something, and you let yourself off the hook. Okay, fine.

Now, that I’ve learned that about myself, what is it that I want to do moving forward? And for many of my friends who come to me and ask me for advice, one of the things that I will often suggest to them is they tell me, oh, I’m in a plateau, and I’m stuck, and I don’t know what to do.

And one of the things that I will always suggest is that give yourself some time. And what I mean by that is put a date in the future. Never give up on a goal in the moment. So, when you get on the scale, and you see that the number hasn’t budged or maybe it’s not what you think that it should be. Never use that as an excuse for why you shouldn’t continue. Always look at the information from a more objective viewpoint.

So, what this means is set a date when you start your process. So, January 1st, we’re going to be starting our diet, let’s say, okay. And what you want to do is you want to say, okay, I am going to follow this plan for X number of weeks. After X number of weeks, if the diet isn’t working, then I’m going to change tacks. All right?

So, don’t say that after two weeks, and you’ve lost two pounds in another two weeks that you have only lost one pound that you’re like, “oh, I haven’t, it’s not working for me.” Right? Instead, ahead of time decide, okay, within this period of time, I want to have lost a reasonable amount of weight. Right?

So, be realistic here. And if you need help with that, just let me know, send me a message. And we can really figure out what is a realistic goal for you? So that when you hit that goal or you don’t hit that goal, your lower brain isn’t the one that’s in charge. That’s like, oh, this is too hard. we need to give up, this isn’t working. Even though, it is working. All right?

So, many clients and myself included do something called a theme or a mantra for the upcoming year. And going back to what would I do differently, when I was trying to overcome procrastination, my mantra became “just do it.”

And the process that it took for me to get there. This was actually really brilliant for me because I had already processed the information that I knew that if I procrastinated, that I would just have more anxiety. That the more I put stuff off, that the more anxious I would feel. And when I learned that, if I could just do it, if I could just make myself do it, then I would feel better about myself. And I really do. It’s a great mantra to have, by the way. If you are someone that struggles with procrastination.

What you want to do is whenever I found myself procrastinating, I would just think to myself, you know what? Just do it, just get it over with, and you will be so much better off cause you’re going to have to do it anyway. Why not just do it now? Cause you’re not going to feel like doing it later. And so, that was my mantra there.

So, again, thinking about what would you do differently. And then, what are the steps that you are going to take in order to make sure that happens.

All right now, here’s the exciting part. Because you’re listening to this, again, I am going to invite you to sign up for the webinar, conquer your 2022 goals. And in doing that, I am going to send you a list of journal prompts that will help you through this entire process.

Now, if you are listening to this after January 3rd, you can still sign up for the webinar, and watch the replay, and you’ll still get the journal prompts. And these are some really great questions that are going to allow you to start uncovering, what happened in the past from a place of “non-judgmental curiosity.”

I love that phrase. Because what it does is it allows us to really dig in and take a look at what happened from a place of learning, love, and curiosity as opposed to harshness and judgment. Which doesn’t help us grow at all. And if this is something that’s important to you, If losing weight, or becoming healthier, and feeling good is something that’s on your to-do list for 2022.

For sure, I’m going to invite you to join me in the webinar on January 3rd or check out the replay if it’s passed. And then, the other thing that I want to do is I want to invite you to join the Feel Good Sisterhood waitlist.

The next cohort of the Feel Good Sisterhood is going to start at the end of January. And right now, you have the opportunity to put your name on the waitlist so that you can find out more about it. And if you don’t know about the Feel Good Sisterhood, where have you been? It is such an amazing program. It’s a six month group coaching program with other women who are just like you in perimenopause and menopausal years.

And what we do in that program is I will walk you through the process that you need to take. So that you will feel good in your clothes, you will feel good in your body, and you will never go on another diet ever again. It is such a comprehensive program, and it is such a great group of women.

So, I am going to invite you to join the waitlist there, if you haven’t done that already, go to And in that program, again, every single week, we talk about something different. So, you will learn everything that I know about exercise, and nutrition, as well as you will understand all of the mindset shifts that we need to make in order to become successful in our weight loss goals.

So, there really isn’t anything like it anywhere around. It’s just I can’t tell you more amazing things about it, because I just think that it’s the cat’s pajamas. So, everyone have an amazing New Year’s day and new year’s Eve. Please stay safe out there. And I hope I see you in 2022. If not on the Feel Good Sisterhood waitlist, I can’t wait to see you on the webinar on January 3rd. I will talk to you all later, have an amazing week, everyone. Talk to you then. Bye.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the Feel Good Sisterhood. It’s my small group coaching program where we take all this material, and we apply it. We figure out what works for us, and we don’t ever look at another diet ever again.

Join me over at I’d love to have you join me in the Feel Good Sisterhood.

See you there.

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