Today’s guest on the Done with Dieting Podcast is a client spotlight: Annie.
You are going to want to listen to Annie’s story because its one that so many of us resonate with: being first aware of our body & how it doesn’t fit in in our early teens, followed by years of dieting with some success only to find ourselves inexplicably gaining the weight back – unable to stop it – and then the cycle continues over and over and over again.
When Annie started coaching, she had no solid belief that she would be able to get to her goal and stay there. Listening to her body seemed like a platitude that sounds nice, but what does it actually mean? And the idea that she could sit down in front of a pizza with her family & not want to eat all of it was a pipe dream.
Annie’s journey was full of obstacles and barriers – the biggest were her long plateaus – sometimes upwards of 6 weeks!
But Annie kept her focus – not letting the delays completely derail her progress. And as of the recording of this episode, she’s suuuuper close to her goal.
What she realized was that she needed those plateaus in order to grow into the person who is capable of maintaining her weight without food logs, or weighing herself, but rather with trusting herself, and being able to give her body what it needs instead of what her brain wants in the moment.
Tune in to listen to Annie’s incredible story of growth within the plateaus.
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.
For even more resources on becoming healthier, get my free download: 8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do. If you do these 8 things on a consistent basis, you will be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right-size!
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
- How to reframe your perspective when the scale doesn’t reflect what you want it to.
- How to start building trust with your body so that you don’t have to weigh, measure, or log it all.
- How after losing weight, the weight is just the cherry on top – It’s all the personal growth work that we do underneath that ultimately creates the change necessary to lose the weight.
- The simple things that Annie attributes to her success.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Full Episode Transcript:
You are listening to the done with dieting podcast, episode number 20.
Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high-tech executive turned life and weight loss coach, but it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet. You know, the one that would finally be the magic pill to lose the weight that I so desired, best Ford, past tons of failed diets, endless hours of exercise, painful lessons learned.
And although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana body love lifts that I truly desire. My relationship with food, exercise, and my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently, as three years ago. This journey has allowed me to ditch my scale.
Stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that wasn’t prepared by me. And I can easily maintain my weight. Something that I never thought was possible. I created the done with dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do in sustainable strategies and ideas to help you do the exact same thing without all the drama that I went through.
If you’re a woman, who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and exercise and her body get off the diet roller coaster. And free of all of that had based on calories, how you look, what you should eat, and yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.
Let’s get started.
Elizabeth: Hey everyone. I have an extra special guest on the podcast today, and I’d like to introduce you to my client, Annie. I knew immediately when I decided to start the podcast that I wanted to have Annie on as a guest, because her journey before us working together is going to sound so freaking familiar to you.
It’s the story of going on a diet, getting some success only to not be able to maintain that success. And then the frustration that goes along with that, us asking ourselves what is wrong with me that I can’t make this happen? I wanted to have Annie share her story with you because she is an example of what is possible.
And so, I want you to be inspired about what can happen when you don’t give up? When giving up just isn’t an option. So, keep listening and tune in to be inspired. Here we go.
All right, everyone. I would love for you to meet my client, Annie. So, Annie, tell us a little bit about you, your history with dieting and weight loss and weight gain.
Annie: Hi Elizabeth. I’m excited to be here. I’m honored. I’ve never done anything like this before, so, well yeah, I’m 46 going on 47. I would tell you that I have been in what I call a prison of, you know, weight loss, weight gain, probably since I was 18, 19. And that’s as far back as I can remember being aware of my weight, getting on a scale, thinking about weight, looking at other women looking at myself, comparing all that stuff.
And you know, like so many other people, I’ve been through a variety of, you know, try this, try that, try this, do this, do that. And sometimes I’ve been temporarily successful and then other times not. And I see, most recently what I realized, you know, this past summer before you and I started coaching, was that if I really longitudinally look backwards at how much time I have served in this prison? It was heart-stopping for me.
I mean, just thinking about how much I’ve thought about this in the last twenty-five years. And so that was sort of the evolution. The awareness that this is not how I want to spend the second half of my life, right? Surely there has to be other things to think about that I want to think about, but I have the brain space and capacity to think about, but I wasn’t letting myself think about those things, because it was like this all-consuming thought process that I have.
And so, I still to this day, do not know, cannot explain other than to say, hokey things like the universe and energy and all that stuff, which I’ll spare you from. But, why, how, and when I chose to try coaching?
I have never done it before. It felt new, it felt weird. I didn’t know what to expect. And I somehow. met you. And so here I am, I guess, almost eight or nine months later, having first met you and sitting here having a podcast with you.
Elizabeth: I wanted to invite you on to the show because I think that you are such a beautiful example of, “the before to the after” of coaching and what happens on the other side of success. Now, in all truthfulness, right? You have not gotten to your quote-unquote goal weight, but you’re pretty freaking close.
Annie: I am, and what’s interesting is that, oh gosh, and if I had heard myself say what I’m about to say nine months ago, I would have, I rolled all across around the entire earth. I would have just oh, “she’s that girl!” But what I’m about to tell you is that I kind of don’t really think about the goal anymore as being weight.
For me, now, the goal is mindfulness and like goal is, health and being aware of my thoughts and what I do, what I don’t do, how I feel. I mean, and I’m sure of course I would love my weight to be, you know, X, Y, or Z, but it’s just not the centerpiece of my table anymore. It has a seat at the table. I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t, but it’s not like front and center.
And I don’t know how that happens. I mean, I do, but I don’t mean, you know, I was talking to my girlfriends. I’m like, it feels like magic or like wizardry or like a secret like this. How did this happen? And really, it’s just, for me, it’s been just sitting with my own thoughts and observing myself and certainly having you to do that with obviously.
Elizabeth: Yeah. So, let’s go back to when you were 18, that’s when you first remembered going on diet, is that right?
Annie: Yeah. And being aware of how my body looked relative to my peers, whether that was quote worse or quote better. But just the awareness. Yes, so it went back that that’s about when I remember that roughly when I went to college, I would say. And had to kind of quote fend for myself with respect to food and how I was going to get it, where I was going to get it, what I was going to eat, that sort of thing.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And so, do you remember the first diet that you went on?
Annie: Oh, that’s a great question. You know Oh, I want to say it wasn’t really a fad diet. It was more about restricting you know what I was eating, it’s certainly, you know, back then it wasn’t about macro or micronutrient deprivation. It was more, oh, just eat less. Oh, that was the time where we had Snackwells and fat-free, this fat-free, that’s right. It’s all coming back. So, I remember that was a big thing.
Yeah. You know, paying $12 for four fat-free cookies or something ridiculous like that. And I’m thinking you were thinking I was doing the right thing and doing right by my body. I remember that.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And I remember that was when the whole low-fat thing came out, right?
Annie: Totally. Yes.
Elizabeth: And thinking that yeah, Snackwell’s cookies were actually better for us then.
Elizabeth: I don’t know what.
Annie: I don’t even know what.
Elizabeth: So then, did you continually started dieting after that or what was, what happened between 18 and 46?
Annie: Yeah. So, several things. One was just life and life stage you know, in college I was, you know, in a rigorous college with rigorous academics. And oftentimes there was a lot of studying and a lot of more, you know, eating a lot more, whatever the case may be. And then, you know, kind of outgrew that and then there would be work or there would be, you know, kids or wherever it was.
My point is, I felt like, I never had a sense of why I was always on this 20-pound rollercoaster of weight. I oftentimes would joke, but not really that every even year I would be 20-pounds overweight and every odd here, I would be 20-pounds quote normal. And like I said, so that really meant every other year that I was feeling well at whatever weight that was.
I kind of wasn’t thinking about it in big fat coats as much. And then when I would gain the weight, it would be, despair and confusion, anger, you know, all these strange emotions that I would feel at the time, but really, like I said before that longitudinal 20 years of time resulted in this prison of just, when am I going to break free? How can I? It wasn’t even when it was, how can I break for you?
I have tried everything I know to try to do. What am I missing? And I remember actually thinking that right before I met you, when I kind of thought about, coaching was, what am I missing? I am an intelligent, well-read, well-educated individual, who’s largely well-integrated in life, relatively happy. I mean, there’s no big tragic story, there is no trauma.
You know, I almost felt like for those people that have had difficult upbringings or tragedy or trauma, or I could kind of wrap my mind around, oh, well, that makes sense. Why that person’s having, you know, they have, but for me personally, and I can only speak for myself, obviously. It actually confounded the picture for me, like, well then why the hell can’t you get it together?
You know, what’s the issue? What are you missing? Because at that point I knew. Too much, almost information overload about how I was supposed to treat my body, or I was supposed to eat are supposed to work out.
But really, I knew nothing. I mean, I knew a lot, but I knew nothing. If that makes sense. And I, until I knew that I’m missing something, I had no idea what it was. I just knew I was missing something. And that’s how I felt right before I met you.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I remember when we did our initial consult that you were talking about how you had, had these periods of like clean eating, where you would be on track, and then you seemed to be at a loss of, like, well, why do I sabotage myself? What happens like I’m doing really well. I feel good. And then something happens, and I can’t seem to recover from it.
Annie: Yes, that’s absolutely right. What I realized is that I was implementing a lot of some good, actually some very good things but was absolutely missing foundation. The critical part of health, understanding, and wellness. And none of that was read on the back of a nutritional label. None of that could be found on web MD. None of that could be found like it was something else. And so, I kind of felt like I was building this house of cards, you know, I’ve got my framing up and I’ve got my this, my that, but I had no foundation the whole time.
And so, every time the house would come crumbling down, because children happened or marriage happened you know, not bad things, but just things. Then, there was no stable foundation. And so, well, frightening would just fall apart. And then I never figured out that there was never a foundation. And I think in retrospect, that was the missing piece that I did not realize. Yeah. It’s interesting looking back.
Elizabeth: So, tell me, what do you think your foundation is at this point then?
Annie: So, on a slightly more superficial level, you know, a lot of the things that, you know, I learned from you, which sounds so trite and so basic. It’s almost like really that’s the answer.
But truly it started with you know, drinking water. Half of my body weight in ounces of water. I know I feel your audience eye rolling right now. I can feel it. And I’m eye rolling kind of and eating four to six vegetable servings a day and, you know, moving my body.
And honestly, at this stage, not in a way where I’m sore every single day or I’m gassed, and I can’t help my daughter do homework at the end of the night. Like nine that way, but just more natural movement, so sure.
Okay. So those were some basic things that I really needed to reintroduce myself to. I knew them, they’re indisputably good things to do for myself, but I somehow wasn’t implementing it.
And you know why I wasn’t? I didn’t actually know or believe its value. Yeah, like I sure of course it’s great to drink water. No one is going to tell you it’s not, right? Of course, it’s good. But there was always something in the back of my mind. Really? That’s the answer, come on. Have you seen the 20-pounds? That’s not going to make a difference. I didn’t actually buy it. Even though I knew little quote, little boat, super big things like that.
So, those were the some of the parts of the foundation. And then really, for me, the biggest part was really getting a handle on the thoughts that I have about food, the thoughts that I have about myself, and my relationship with food. Believing that I am capable of having a healthy body and that’s not necessarily weight driven, but to some degree it is.
So, I think that work, that was the hard work. I always thought that counting calories and being in a negative balance was the hard work. I mean, and that’s not to minimize the effort of that. It’s just, I have done that, and it wasn’t working.
And I think that that’s really what has changed. You know, in addition to a lot of the behavioral things that I alluded to before with the water and the vegetables and all that, but just really slowing down and sitting in this process as painful and annoying as it is and was.
You know, you said something at the beginning when you were introducing me, which was something about the before and the after or how it was, and now sitting afterwards with the success. And I just want to say that there was no full stop at the end of that, it’s ongoing for me.
As I’m sure for everyone, like, you know I feel like what I have come out of is not, oh my God, I reached my goal weight or, oh now I know how to lose weight. It’s not that, it’s more self-trust and a renewed belief system and really understanding that there is no, for me, it always felt like there was a timeline. I was looking back at some of my old journal entries and there were so many things I’d be like, well, by this day, or, oh, I feel like it’s taking too long or, oh, I’m putting forth all this effort and nothing’s happening.
And I think releasing myself from that expectation or that timeline with respect to weight loss was enormously helpful for me. But it was a process that certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And we’re definitely going to come back to self-trust because I know that was something that was really huge for you.
Like how do I go out to dinner and not eat the entire menu? So, you were used to accounting calories and, or a period of time when we were learning about the hunger scale and learning to build self-trust through the hunger scale and eating an appropriate amount of calories. You’re still logging your food in tandem.
And so, let’s talk about that a little bit. So how did that go?
Annie: So, I had previously never known of a weight loss journey that didn’t involve tracking food, food logging, calories, calorie deficit, calorie surplus. I mean, look, I’m not disputing signs. I understand that in and out and all that, I get it. We all do at this point. I mean, we’re inundated with that culture, right?
So, I’m not trying to debunk that, what I am saying is that in my quest to break free out of prison. That just to painfully keep analogizing, that was like solitary confinement within the prison. It was worse, I mean, it was just in a weird way food logging was my security blanket.
I’m extraordinarily data driven. I love seeing numbers, I like seeing things turn green, I get panicked when things turn red. I mean that is, you know, my fitness pal, which happened to be the app I was using for years using that on and off. I mean, I’ve got data going back to 2012, I think.
So. It was my security blanket. It felt right. It felt rooted in science. It felt comforting to me. What I realized though, is it also brought me a lot of anxiety, it brought me shame, it brought me feeling like a failure, it brought me a lot of negative sensations that really didn’t help me in the long run.
What it did was it scared me into eating less the next day and made me feel bad about going over and those numbers turning red. And on the flip side of the coin, I derived all kinds of smug satisfaction, when my numbers were in the green. I mean, it was like this crazy. You know merit and demerit system that I was sort of indentured to.
And I find my own word choices, interesting, indentured prison. And I’d love to be able to tell you that it was this moment where I was like, oh my God, it had to do with the process. The process of, and never once did you tell me, oh my gosh, but I know in retrospect you were always thinking in the back of your mind someday, she’s not going to need to Google it. Some things you’re not going to lie. You never said it at the time. I had to get there on my own.
And listen, it had its place. Let me just say that it had its place in this entire journey that stems back from, you know, 20 years ago, it had its place. I learned from it. I learned a lot about it actually, about myself, about calories. So, I just, and not to sound condescending. I just feel like I’ve outgrown that if that makes any sense. Yeah, so I remember the first one week. But you were like, Hey, maybe when you just try it. And I was like what?? Try not food logging?
So, it was scary to not do it. And of course, I had like magical thinking associated with, oh my gosh, if I don’t do it well, surely, I’m going to gain five pounds this week. I mean, all kinds of crazy thoughts and none of that happens. And I can’t even tell you what my username and password is now for that app.
Elizabeth: Well, and I remember the turning point of when you kind of made the transition to maybe this isn’t right for me, it was the Sunday before we had met something happened where you had eaten out or had leftovers cause it was during COVID and then you went on one of your, what you call tchotchkes binge eating, which is when she would go around and just pick at different foods.
And after she logged it, she had a hundred calories left for the day. And it was only one o’clock in the afternoon.
Annie: Oh, the despair. And then you know, it’s also like, let me see if I can trick myself and not log the tchotchkes and then maybe she, and me, and third person will forget and it doesn’t count, right? If I don’t love it, it doesn’t count. And then there’s the super ego. That’s like, well, you have to log it, that’s the whole point of this. If you don’t log it, then don’t even bother doing it. And it was just this battle within myself. And I just realized it just wasn’t helping me anymore.
It helped me short term, or for the day, or for the hour that I can’t even tell you the despair one feels when you realize you have a hundred calories left at 1:00 PM. And I thought, I felt like, who says? I’m annoyed by that. I don’t know what or who I imagined, you know whomever, you know, like a puppeteer with the fitness pal, like, oh, who is she to tell me that I can’t more than moderate calories for the rest of the day?
So, it just made me feel awful and scared. I mean, scared, my fitness pal is making me feel scared on the days that I did it quote do well. I Just realized at that moment I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this, there has to be a different way. I just can’t do this.
Elizabeth: Well, and it’s crazy when you think about it, that some computer program is going to tell you what the right number of calories are correct for your body.
Annie: Right. And not even a computer app, but a lot of what we read, a lot of what we see, a lot of what fitness experts tell us, you know, really well meaning, really educated people tell us, right? So, it’s not just that. For me, the app reinforced in a little handheld device on demand, what everybody else was telling me and I bought in, how do you not buy it?
Right. And like I said, I don’t want to vilify my fitness pal. It has its merits for me, it had merits for me. But in that moment that you’re referring to, I realized that it’s no longer helpful for me. There’s something more different, you know, that I need to explore because this is not it. I have reached end game with my fitness pal.
Elizabeth: I think that logging your food can be helpful for us to be aware of what is in our food.
Elizabeth: Once you have that knowledge, then I don’t know that you really need it anymore.
Annie: Yeah, I had to discover that the hard way completely it took that instance and many, many others that I wasn’t consciously aware of all building up to that 1:00 PM fateful hour, where it’s like, this is not right. This is not right for me. I should say any longer.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And so that was really the first step towards self-trust for you, was learning how to eat to the hunger scale, understanding how food made you feel.
Annie: In hindsight, that was the first step at the time it did not feel like that. It felt like I was falling, free falling with no parachute. Let’s just be clear. I did not feel at that time, well, let’s just rely on myself. No, it was, what the hell am I going to do now?
It’s I know that doesn’t work, which is well and good and a nice data point to have. But the second part of that is, well, now what, right? It was not, let’s just rely on myself. But again, to your point in hindsight. Absolutely, that was the first moment where I think that seed germinated. I just didn’t see it at the time.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And do you remember what your next step was?
Annie: Gosh, I don’t. I might be repressing it. I feel like you might remind me, I don’t know.
Elizabeth: Well, so it was, I think what you were doing was you were sending me pictures of your food.
Annie: That’s right. That’s right. Maniacally, because I know what I’m going to say. So, you know, because I did feel like a free fall. I think you offered that to me as a look. I don’t want you to feel that way. Why don’t you just, so there’s some sense of accountability or whatever text me your food, like whatever you put in your mouth, just text me.
And so, I did, and I enjoyed it at first. Because you know it was nice to transition from my fitness pal to still some accountability minus school of the overly positive and overly negative, you know, things. So, the transition was nice, but that too wasn’t sustainable. In the long run, I can’t indefinitely be sending the pictures of what I’m eating,
Elizabeth: Yeah, but the issue was that you were eating the same things over and over and over again.
Annie: Over and over.
Elizabeth: Right. You have like five different meals that you felt safe.
Annie: You’re being generous. Yeah, maybe four, I mean it right. Absolutely, and to the point where I think I was copying and pasting the previous weeks of whatever it was why not just copy and paste from two days ago, and I did.
And that was such a huge, and I do want to say what’s happening alongside all of this is the subtext of me weighing myself, right? So, while I did away with my fitness pal, I was also freaking out about what’s going to happen on the scale, right?
So, then I’m now sending you pictures and then guess what I lost a pound or two, I don’t even know. So then, I watch on to what I’m eating now as the Willy Wonka golden ticket, right? Aha, I know what I need to eat now because I’m getting positive returns on the scale.
And so therefore, what that did was paralyzed me into not deviating from what I was eating, because why fix it if it’s not broken? And what I’m talking about is the weight loss on the scale. Like it’s working, why are we messing with it? So, I don’t want to mess with it. And you suggested I mess with it.
Elizabeth: Well, I think that the problem was is that you were plateauing, like your weight loss journey was that you would plateau for like four weeks and then lose like two or three pounds and then plateau for like six weeks and then lose, right?
Annie: Yeah. And at the time it felt like torture at the time. Sometimes I just laugh, like literally laughed when I would get on the scale. And it was the same because you know, and I have to say, I think earlier on in the flat toes, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this, I’m drinking my water, I’m eating my vegetables. I’m moving my body; I’m eating what I feel like I should be eating.
It was working two weeks ago. Well, what changed? I don’t understand, it was working. I did drop, and I’m doing the same exact thing now. Like, why am I not losing weight? And sure, one could say, well, you’re probably eating the same in as you’re putting out. And it was so much more than that.
It was, and I sometimes I do still think, and it’s not to that degree, but that if I’m doing something way X right now, and I’m getting the results that I want. Then, if I keep doing way X, it’s going to keep going. When it didn’t that’s when everything I had been learning or ways, I had been feeling changed.
Not for the better, meaning feeling despair, feeling resentful, feeling angry, while sacrificing this, that, and everything else, and if the scale is not going to move well, then, you know, screw it. I don’t want to do it. Or why am I doing this? Or the process isn’t working or, you know, all of those thoughts would flood my brain.
And I would talk about, what different thought can you have? Right? Like you get on the scale, it says, you know, whatever number, it’s the same number. It said four weeks ago, now what? And I was able to see that my thoughts would be, you know, something negative, something defeatist in nature or whatever.
And then I would feel terrible about myself. And then I would once again, have a little screw it, just eat. Just eat and then guess what high school, the weight on the scale would go up and then I would feel defeated and then I would feel upset, you know? So, it’s, there was one point in my journaling where I was actually trying to reframe my thoughts.
I got on a scale scales at the same thing on week five and I felt good about the things I was doing irrespective of the number on the scale. And I laughed out loud. And the thoughts that I had was, this isn’t working, and I can’t define what it is, but how I was living my life, wasn’t working.
So, I remember thinking, what is a different thought you can have about this number that feels right for you? You’ve talked about it in your previous podcast. And the thought that I came up with, which at the expense of sounding heinously melodramatic was life-changing for me in this process.
Which was maybe this plateau is part of your process. Look, it’s not an earth-shattering thought, but for me it was seismic. Because I had never previously thought about a weight that I didn’t quite like or was disappointing to me in those terms, which is okay, but that’s the number. This is part of my process.
This slow plateau is necessary for my permanent change and every time and there were so many times afterwards where the wait would be the same. And that would start to be the automatic thought. Slowly but surely, it wouldn’t be even me needing to reframe, re-shift. It would literally be okay.
I mean, I can almost hear the tone in my head being more positive, right? When you talk to yourself, “okay,” this is part of your permanent change. This is the way you are supposed to do it is going through these long periods of flat-out and that was life changing in terms of how I viewed the process and the whole, you know, the adage hurry up and go nowhere.
I needed to not hurry up. Where am I going? Sometimes nowhere on the scale. So, what’s the urgency. What’s a lot of that is as I’m putting in the effort, I want it now? But that wasn’t part of my process to get it now. Clearly, because now I am at a weight where I feel more importantly well about. How I’m able to move and how I’m able to think about myself.
And so, I needed those plateaus. I think I’ve always told you that, like, as we’ve, you know, I needed those plateaus, I needed those.
Elizabeth: I remember having a conversation with you where we were talking about the urgency. Cause you were like, why isn’t this happening? I want it tomorrow, and realizing that life isn’t going to be better, when you’ve lost that weight. It’s probably going to be pretty similar. Now you were experiencing some physical symptoms of the weight where you were having, I think joint pain and just the heaviness and sluggishness.
Annie: Absolutely, and you know, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was a vanity component to this at the beginning and that there was a “I want to look cute in that dress,” and oh my gosh, “that dress doesn’t fit.” Of course, I mean, who doesn’t want to feel nice or attractive or whatever, whatever that means to them, right?
So, I was certainly a part of it, but yeah, it was, I don’t feel well, just basic. I don’t feel well. And it was nothing earth shattering. I don’t have any major medical problems. I’m relatively healthy on the inside for all intents and purposes.
So, it was just more, I don’t feel well. And, I’m positive. I can feel better physically. I’m positive of that. How I’m going to get there? I don’t know. When I’m going to get there? I don’t know, but I know I will, I know I can, and you sent out a really great email to a lot of your clients and others.
And it stuck with me through the plateau. We’ve talked about it before, but at this point it’s like, well, I’ve, I’ve been doing all these things, right? I’ve been mindful like journaling. I’ve been resisting the urge to berate myself and be negative and forgiven myself for when I haven’t eaten the way I know my body wants me to eat, etcetera.
So, when those plateaus would happen or even if I just had a crazy food day. Usually, historically it would be like, well, screw it. It’s not going to work. Just screw it. You screwed up the day, you screwed up the week, you screwed up the weekend. Your weight went up on the scale. Screw it. But this time around, where am I going?
Like, what am I going to do? Stop drinking, water, stop eating vegetables, stop taking a walk. Say to myself, you know what? Forget it. I want more processed food. I got to this point where I can’t go backwards anymore. It’s not that I can, and I choose not to, like, I’m literally telling you I cannot go backwards for real.
I don’t know where that would be. I don’t know where that would go to, like, I don’t hydrate my body anymore. Okay, that’s absurd!
Elizabeth: Right. And I think that was kind of what kept you going through the plateau was that you’re like, well, even if I don’t get to my weight, cause we did a lot of coaching around that. Like what if you don’t get to this random goal that you set for yourself? Like the set of habits that you were doing on a daily basis, if you never lost another pound, would you be okay with where you were?
Annie: Right, exactly. And I think what I be okay to some degree is contingent upon where I am on the scale. Like for example, I wonder it’s, it’s, it’s moot, but it’s, it’s an interesting thought, like, let’s say I had never lost a single pound, but had incorporated all these great habits. But it’s almost, I have to be honest, I find it hard to believe that one couldn’t include all these great habits.
And not get to a weight that their body wants to be. I find that hard to believe and that’s I think what has sustained my efforts is that if I just keep doing those things that make me feel good, physically, everything else sort of falls by the wayside, whether that be donuts or whether that be kale, and it goes back to the foundation we’re talking about, like, I still do these certain things.
So irrespective of what I’m eating or whose birthday it is, or what we’re celebrating or whatever, I’m still doing these things. And what I have found for my personal experiences, if I’m still doing these things, eating off script or having a strange eating weekend, or whatever, has virtually no impact on the scale or on my physical wellbeing. And that’s been really eye opening.
Elizabeth: So, as you were talking, I just kept thinking about the idea of self-love. So that kind of was happening in the background of this whole journey as well. Someone who loves and respects herself, doesn’t treat her body poorly, right? And so, through that journey, you learned how to have more respect for your body, right?
Annie: Yeah. And if we’re being brutally honest what I learned before that was, I was deficient in that. I didn’t have enough of it. And it’s irrelevant, I mean, it’s relevant, but not relevant to the podcast to go into why and how and whatever. But my point is, I was aware through the process that I didn’t have enough of it.
And what could I do to remediate that? You know, a lot of it is, well, why not? And there was a lot of introspection and private introspection about that. But, without that I found it hard to move forward in things like acquisition of physical health. And truly for me, it was feeling deserving.
Do I deserve what makes me deserve to feel healthy and be healthy? And, you know, that was somewhat painful to look into during the process because nobody wants to really have this awareness that, “oh gosh,” maybe you don’t love yourself as much as you thought you did, or that others think you do, or how others love you.
It’s pretty eye opening. And don’t get me wrong, I am not like a beacon of self-love today, but I certainly can tell you that I am more compassionate with myself. Whether that means I ate a doughnut or I yelled at my kid or I screwed up at work. I mean, just in general. But it’s hard.
And I think if you’re wired that way or have those thoughts in general, then it also makes acquisition of private, physical health hard too. So, I would say that it’s helped in a lot of different things, just having the thought process and, and being able to take inventory of my own self-worth self-love and amount of how much do I deserve this? You know, it’s been eye opening.
Elizabeth: I think that self-love, self-loathing, self-doubt, and self-trust. They all kind of go together, right? I shouldn’t say self-loving and self-doubt in there, but like, those are the antidotes. Those are the pieces that are keeping us from like really going into it and trusting ourselves, right?
That self-love and self-trust go together. And as we’re wrapping up, how do you feel as far as self-trust goes?
Annie: That’s a good question. Like right off the bat, I can tell you I have infinitely more now than I did nine months ago. I also know that in order to gain self-trust, I have to have little mini wins and victories along the way.
There has to be, you know, just blind self-trust is difficult for me. So, I think what has happened is in tandem of, you know, gaining self-trust was also competency. And seeing that, you really have an extravagant over the top dinner on Sunday night, I no longer say to myself, well, this week’s a watch shoots for the moon this week. And we’ll restart on May 1st.
You know, it’s not like that anymore, but I had to have enough of those opportunities to put trust into the bank. Where on a Monday morning, I just sort of said, “Hey, you know, yes, Sunday was a bit much,” but we’re going to get back to drinking water. We’re going to be mindful of our thoughts. So, we’re going to be doing what we usually do business as usual with respect to working out and how I eat.
And sure enough, there was no weight gain on the scale. Sure enough, I felt well all week and I slept well all week and those tiny points of data here and there in and of themselves didn’t feel like much, but really there were a lot of deposits made into the bank over time.
So now when I, whatever, you know, has a lot of birthday cake and probably maybe a little bit more than I should have or whatever. I’m not freaking out about it. I’m not dreading getting on the scale. I’m not worried about weight gain even, I mean, I can’t tell you the number of times we didn’t have time to talk about it, but the number of times I gained weight in the process
But sure, it wasn’t a 10-pound weight gain, but it was a weight gain. And how do I deal with that? It used to be screw it. I don’t want to do this anymore. You know, and now it’s no big deal. I believe my body will just do what it knows to do now. And it’s true. So, I think that’s been very liberating gaining the self-trust.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And you know, you just said something that I don’t know if I’ve really put it together before, which is like, your self-trust was built inside your failures.
Annie: Yes. Absolutely. Yeah, totally.
And I regard my failures as at the time, the plateau on the scale for weeks on end. I interpreted those things at the time as failures until my thoughts started to change or a weight gain as a failure or off-script eating day. And you know, and this isn’t to me, there were two choices in those moments. I stop doing very basic fundamental things that make my body feel good and go back to whatever it was, I was trained before, which I don’t even remember, or I keep going like to where? I don’t know. Where and when will I get there? I don’t know, but it’s a one-way train.
I can’t go backwards. I just don’t know where that would go and what that looks like. So, I think you’re absolutely right, that I personally learned the most about myself and actually found myself trust in the difficulties and in the failures. And I found that surprising, why? Because that’s what we teach our kids, right?
That’s what we, you learn the most when you fail. I mean, but that’s for children to tell your children that doesn’t apply to me. I don’t want crap when I fail. I learn it feels bad and I don’t want it to happen again. That’s what I think, but that’s not true. I mean, for me in this process, I mean, I don’t want a failure.
But when I have a failure to whatever capacity that is, it’s okay. It’s okay. What other option is there not okay? Were two choices in those moments. I stop doing very basic fundamental things that make my body feel good and go back to whatever it was I was trained before, which I don’t even remember, or I keep going like to where? I don’t know, where and when will I get there? I don’t know, but it’s a one-way train.
Elizabeth: I love about all of this, like putting it together is that what you refused to do was give up. Like through the plateaus you could have given up and you didn’t. You kept going through the failures, you could have given up, but you didn’t, you kept going.
And, for all of the folks who are listening, you’ve done diets before and quote unquote failed. And so, you’ve given up on those diets, but if you keep going, just like Annie, there’s going to be one last time. And your past does not dictate your future as long as you’re able to listen or learn from what you went through and apply it going forward, then it wasn’t really a failure.
Annie: That’s right. Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s absolutely true. At the time, even if it feels like a failure, because we all know what that feels like. There is something in there, and for me, I had to find it. And that’s not to say, I like them, I want them, or I want any more of them, but there they’ll be there.
And I just have to find that part of the failure. It just can’t mean going backwards for me anymore. Just chaos, it’s not an option.
Elizabeth: Awesome. Anything else you want to share with the listeners today?
Annie: Oh gosh! No, not really. I mean, you know, thanks for listening and Elizabeth is amazing. I mean, this is seriously from the heart. Like, it’s shocking to me just how much we’ve been able to do together. And I don’t want to get weird and mushy on the podcast. But I truly, you know, just having you reflect back onto me when I realized I’ve known all along but didn’t know that’s everything.
Elizabeth: I adore you and you have been a delight and it’s so sad because we are finishing up our contract within the next few weeks. So, I’m going to miss seeing you, but you are a client for life.
Annie: Thank you.
Elizabeth: All right. Thank you for being here and thank you for sharing your story with everyone.
Annie: My pleasure.
Elizabeth: All right, so there you have it. I love Annie story so much because for her giving up was not an option. You know, as we were working together, I had recounted a story to her about our frustrations in purchasing our land in Mexico.
We seem to hit delay after delay, after delay, but giving up was never an option for my husband and myself. We knew that this piece of land that we were going to buy was the thing that we wanted. And there really wasn’t anything else that we did. And so, when we would hit a snag, there were a lot, we kept going.
We didn’t give up. And Annie took that metaphor to heart. She had lived the giving up story too many times before, and she was committed shutting the thoughts and behaviors that just didn’t serve her anymore.
In the episode, we talked about self-trust and self-belief belief in ourselves that we can accomplish what we set out and belief that the goal that we set out is attainable.
I want to report that after our interview, Annie texted me and she’s moving towards monthly weigh-ins. Whereas before she was weighing herself every day. And if there’s something that shows both self-trust and belief in ourselves, it’s that we can handle the what ifs and moving towards eliminating the scale is purely evidence of that.
And I want to offer that the by-product of no longer paying attention to the scale, logging your food or eating to a set of strict rules, frees up so much Headspace. Headspace that you can have back. I hope you enjoyed my interview with Annie because she embodies what is possible. And so, I want you to take that to heart and start believing in yourself as long as you don’t give up.
You can do this too. Have a great week, everyone. I’ll catch 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 Elizabeth sherman.com/contact to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you.
See you next week.
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