Total Health in Midlife Episode #157: Listening to Your Body with Lisa & Stephanie

Listening to Your Body with Lisa & Stephanie

Ever wondered how two ordinary women, Lisa and Stephanie, navigated their struggles with weight and body image? 

Join us as they share their inspiring stories, from discovering intuitive eating and the Feel Good Sisterhood to overcoming menopause setbacks. You’ll be captivated by their resilience in the face of adversity and their pursuit of self-confidence and body positivity. 

We break away from the common gym culture and delve into the importance of finding enjoyable, sustainable forms of exercise. Be inspired by our guests’ experiences with a year-long program, where they learned to redefine their relationship with food and movement, supported by a sisterhood of women on the same journey. 

Listen, as we unpack emotional eating, explore the complex mind-food connection, and reveal how to make healthier choices without succumbing to guilt and immediate cravings. 

To wrap up, we celebrate the triumphant health transformations of Lisa and Stephanie, illustrating how aligning healthy eating habits can positively impact their lives. They share how the program has not only helped them navigate perimenopause symptoms but also instilled in them a sense of control over their relationship with food. 

Lastly, we dissect the role of vulnerability and flexibility in pursuing health goals. So join us, and let the personal stories and lessons of our brave guests inspire you to embark on your health journey.

Chapter Summaries

Finding Strength and Self-Confidence in Health (0:00:05)

Lisa and Stephanie share their struggles with weight, body image, and health, and how they found support through intuitive eating and Elizabeth’s podcast.

Benefits of Walking and Non-Gym Exercise (0:16:36)

Women share doubts about committing to a year-long fitness program, emphasizing enjoyable movement and the role of play.

Transformation and Support in a Program (0:22:43) 

Stephanie and Lisa credit a year-long program for improving their relationship with food, reducing emotional eating, and creating lasting changes in their lives.

Understanding and Overcoming Emotional Eating (0:36:38)

Participants share experiences of connecting mind and food choices to avoid emotional eating and make healthier decisions.

Healthier Eating and Lifestyle Impacts (0:41:51)

Lisa and Elizabeth share their journey with food and body image, discussing struggles, positive effects, and newfound freedom through the program.

Vulnerability and Flexibility in Pursuing Goals (0:52:43)

Setting and achieving goals in health and fitness, embracing vulnerability, understanding the why, and finding what works for each individual.

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

  • Embracing diverse roles, from law to animal advocacy, challenging norms with a focus on strength and health, not weight.
  • Prioritizing strength over weight, influenced by menopause’s impact on women’s muscle atrophy, challenging fitness stereotypes.
  • Advocating for weight training without bulkiness, emphasizing health over thinness in fitness.
  • Proposing everyday activities as tools for building strength and wellness.
  • Initially hesitant, finding support and learning triggers in a non-weight-focused program, fostering healthier eating habits.
  • Coping without emotional eating transformed responses to stress, fostering healthier habits.
  • Implementing smaller plates and conscious choices, reshaping eating habits for better health.
  • Highlighting the power of self-reflection and tools in personal growth and habit change.
  • Encouraging a shift from scale-based to strength-centered goals, emphasizing diverse aspirations for holistic wellness.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Lisa: This process can be challenging to say the least. But it is really, really rewarding. And you’re never going to be perfect, so don’t try to strive for perfection.

What did they say? Perfection is the enemy of good enough. And which is like your B minus thinking.

Elizabeth: You can half ass your way to your goal.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing too is don’t be afraid to think differently about your goal because that was something that I did. Don’t be afraid to look at it and say, screw the numbers on the scale, I want to only focus on getting stronger.

Welcome to Total Health and Midlife, the podcast for women embracing the pivotal transformation from the daily grind to the dawn of a new chapter. I’m Elizabeth, your host and fellow traveler on this journey.

As a Life and Health Coach, I am intimately familiar with the changes and challenges we face during this stage. Shifting careers, changing relationships, our new bodies, and redefining goals and needs as we start to look to the future and ask, what do I want?

In this podcast, we’ll explore physical, mental, and emotional wellness, offering insights and strategies to achieve optimal health through these transformative years.

Yes, it’s totally possible.

Join me in this amazing journey of body, mind, and spirit, where we’re not just improving our health, but transforming our entire lives.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Total Health in Midlife podcast. I am Elizabeth Sherman, your host. And today, we are diving into amazing stories of resilience, self-acceptance, and a fresh perspective on health.

In today’s episode, I have two inspiring, amazing women who’ve made incredible strides in their personal health journeys. Let me introduce you to Lisa and Stephanie. Two women who turned their struggles into strengths and went on a transformational journey towards self-discovery and wellness.

Lisa and Stephanie are not just guests, they are examples of what is possible for you. Sharing their real life experiences and hard earned insight on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Through their real life and raw accounts, we will look at health and fitness from a fresh angle. Shifting away from traditional gym ambiance and shedding light on the significance of enjoyable exercise.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn about the power of resilience and self-acceptance in transforming one’s relationship with food and exercise. You’ll also hear about the importance of intuitive eating and how connecting the mind to food choices can help overcome emotional eating. And how the right support and camaraderie can inspire a sustainable change in health and fitness journey.

Join us as we dive into this motivating story of transformation, healthier eating, and lifestyle changes. This isn’t just a tale, it’s an inspiration to all of us navigating our individual paths to health and fitness.

Are you ready to be inspired? Are you ready to embrace change? Let’s get started.

Elizabeth: All right, everyone. Welcome Lisa and Stephanie to the show. So, let’s start with Lisa. Lisa, tell everyone who you are, what you do, how you came to meet me. That’s a good question, right?

Lisa: It is. It is.

Elizabeth: Let’s start there.

Lisa: Yeah, so I’m Lisa. I am currently double nickels in age. So, I’m super stoked about that. And I will forever ever be double nickels. I’ve decided next year, I’ll be double nickels plus 1 and then double nickels plus 2. Anyways, I know Elizabeth from high school, and we found one another on Facebook, I believe. And after high school, obviously since we’re old enough that high school, when we left high school, we didn’t have Facebook, or a thing called the internet or cell phones.

Elizabeth: Thank God for that, right?

Lisa: We may have had a pager, but then that usually meant we were dealing drugs.

So anyways, we’ve known each other for quite a while, but I started following Elizabeth on Facebook at some point in 2010, 11, 12, somewhere in that range.

And kind of always thought that what she was posting was interesting about diet and exercise and health. And I have forever had struggles with my weight and my self-image and my body dysmorphia.

Basically, I was at the end of a 12 week program that focused on learning to eat more intuitively and follow what your body is telling you and learning to listen to what your body is telling you.

And at the end of 12 weeks, I thought this is really, really great, but I still had a long way to go. And it was only a 12 week program. And then, I happened to find a post for the Feel Good Sisterhood and looked into it and it kind of fit with what I had been doing. So, that was how I ended up coming to the Feel Good Sisterhood.

And my goal in it was kind of to learn and continue my journey of almost like relearning, and reestablishing, or bettering my relationship with food and diet and my own mental image of what things are supposed to be. So, I think that sums it up pretty well.

Oh, and let’s see. So, yeah, who I am. I’m a lawyer. I am a hockey player. I lift weights. I’m a mother. And I have a cat right now and he’s been with us a long time. So, at some point, after he passes, he’s 15, I will probably get both another cat and dog cause I love animals.

Elizabeth: But you’re also a mother to a child, like a human.

Lisa: It’s true, I have a human child too. She’s 19 though. And sometimes it’s easy to forget about her. Cause she’s kind of on her way out of the house.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Awesome. I’m going to come back to that intuitive eating program cause I think it’s really interesting that it was just a 12 week program. And clearly, we need more time than that but let’s put a pin in that for right now. Thanks for introducing yourself and let’s move on to Stephanie.

Stephanie, welcome to the show.

Stephanie: All right. Thank you. Okay. So, I did not know Elizabeth in high school. I’m Stephanie. I am 49. I came to Elizabeth, actually not really intending to find Elizabeth. But I have kind of always struggled, I think similar to Lisa, like, you know, weight loss, up and down, body dysmorphia, body image, things like that.

In my quest for kind of the next thing, I started following Jill Angie, who is I think a frequent guest of yours, Elizabeth. And she calls herself, ‘Your Fat Running Coach.’ And I thought running, that is going to be the solve.

Jill Angie is going to teach me to run.

Elizabeth: I don’t like running, but she’s going to teach me how to love it.

Stephanie: I don’t like running, but like she’s going to teach me how to love it. And I think listening to her podcast, I actually found you through her. And I quickly realized that I was not a runner, despite really hoping that was going to be my last ditch effort.

And instead, I started listening to Elizabeth’s podcast and following you on Instagram. And I was like, huh, the running is clearly not the solve. But maybe I should reach out to Elizabeth because I think for me it was like, definitely there was weight loss, but it was also about I was entering perimenopause.

I was starting to feel horribly symptomatic with like hot flashes and bad sleep and just moodiness. And just in general like, I just didn’t feel great. You know, weight aside, I mean, I think after this whole journey and I’m sure we’ll get there. You come to realize like, that’s not really what it’s all about.

Overall, I just didn’t feel healthy. And I think my perimenopause symptoms were just really kicking in and I just didn’t feel like myself. I felt like shit. And I was like, I need to do something about this.

So, we had a conversation and yeah, I decided that the Feel Good Sisterhood might be for me.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Great.

Stephanie: So, that’s kind of it. I guess a little bit more about me. So, I said I’m 49, definitely in that midlife range, I work in marketing, I work in the fashion industry which you know, also will make you feel like shit here and there. But I am a mother to an 11 year old daughter, I have a husband, I don’t have any pets, but maybe we’ll remedy that one day.

For me, having an 11 year old daughter, I think what’s really important and I think what I came to realize, I picked up so much of this from my mother and I don’t want to impart a lot of the way I feel about my body on my daughter. So, for me, that was really important.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I think that that’s actually a goal for many women who come to me is they want to stop that generational diet mentality. Have you noticed any change in her?

Stephanie: You know, she’s starting to get to the age now, she’s 11. So, she is starting to become aware of her body and things like that. I feel like I’m kind of, we’re getting to the place where I think this is a good time for me to be in a better headspace as she is starting to come into all of these things because we talk a lot about sports and health. And it’s not about like, being skinny or trying to edit what she eats and things like that.

So, I don’t know if it’s necessarily her behavior, but I feel like there’s a change in my behavior.

Elizabeth: Sure. Sure. Yeah. And one thing that I loved about having you in the program, Lisa is your focus really was not weight. Your focus was getting stronger. And I think that that was so beautiful how you were able to act as an example and mentor to all of the other women in the program.

Talk a little bit about where that started and why that was your goal or where that came from. Because I think that that’s unusual for most women, especially our age.

Lisa: Yeah, I think some of it is not unlike Stephanie, when I started the program, I was dealing with still like a lot of the ramifications of menopause. Although I was kind of on the other side of it. But you get to live in that, that body and that situation for a really long time. And I’d started just reading a lot more and seeing a lot more information about the muscle atrophy that we experience as women, as we get older.

And how it seems to be so much more significant in women because of the loss of estrogen and also the reduction in testosterone that our bodies are naturally producing. In some ways, I kind of felt like it was an easier path for me to take, to feel and get stronger. And just to give myself more confidence in that respect, just generally in my body. And that has helped.

And what I expected would happen, which is that as I consistently became more in tune with weightlifting and more in tune with that feeling of being stronger and feeding my body to become stronger that the benefit of dropping size would happen over time. And that is what has happened.

I started there actually, because of the program that I did before which it was not exclusively an intuitive eating program. I should make that clarification for you. But that was 1 aspect of it as we were learning how to eat to improve our health. And at the same time, our focus is also on getting stronger. And it’s a fitness coach who’s online who’s fantastic, and she kind of has the motto of move heavy sh!t.

And her focus is really on getting women to understand that you can lift a lot of weight without getting bulky. Like, it takes a lot to get really like that bulky that people are like, oh, I don’t want to be bulky.

Well, I mean, 1st of all, I’m not sure why, but I think it’s just because we have this own internalized idea of what a woman is supposed to look like. And we’re supposed to be toned, which I’m not even sure what that means. But that was how I came to it was this idea of like, just getting strong.

In some ways it became an easier path than dealing with like the struggle that is traditionally attached to weight loss. And the fluctuations that you can see from day to day or week to week in the scale because you had a salty meal or something in that vein. So, that was kind of the route that I went, and I figured that in establishing the habits to get stronger, as I said, the by product would be improved health, smaller body size, drop in weight, et cetera.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I mean, it totally makes sense because muscle is more metabolically active than fat or bone or our organs. So, if there’s one thing that we can control, it’s our muscle. And yet, yeah, so many women shy away from weight training. You know, I did a bodybuilding contest way back when. And it was not easy getting to put on muscle.

And the images of female bodybuilders, those are all women who are actually taking supplementation, let’s say, anabolic steroids in order to grow muscle, which they feel looks manly. And so, yeah, when I was a personal trainer, I would have clients who would say, I don’t want to get bulky. I’m like, you’re not going to wake up one morning and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Right?

Lisa: Yeah. Like it’s a long process too. So, if you see like that, you’re starting to feel like you’re getting too big, you can dial it back. But it takes a lot for that to happen. And I think it’s interesting too, because I think there’s still this idea in working out for a lot of women, kind of generally that the idea is still to maximize being thin. And it’s not to maximize health.

And I do think that there’s kind of a trend in seeing online trainers who are saying like, no, your focus isn’t being thin when I weighed 115 pounds, my hair broke because I was so undernourished. You know, I looked skinny, but I couldn’t lift a bag of groceries. And now, you’re seeing them, they’re like, no, I weigh 155 now, and I’m totally content in it, and they look great.

They would never know they made 155 that’s because of how muscle fills you differently than the rest of your body part. But that to me was kind of just an, it was an easier path. I mean, in some ways. And I just thought like, I don’t want to deal with this like constant emotion around the scale that I’ve developed over the years of, as I said. And always being somebody who’s been in a slightly larger body.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Now, Stephanie, you came into the program with years of diet trauma and like what Lisa was saying, exercise trauma. Right? And so, you really resisted exercising. Where are you right now with that?

Stephanie: I would say overall, I am not a great exerciser.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Stephanie: I’m just not. I just have never been one of those people who really enjoys working out. But I feel like, I’m trying to think about it differently because I feel like I am trying to be more active. And not necessarily like, hitting the gym. My husband is a gym guy. He goes to the gym, and he runs on the treadmill, and he does all of those things, and lifts weights. And it’s like, that’s just never really been my thing. But what I have kind of come to realize is that like, that doesn’t have to be my thing.

As long as we’re getting out on the weekends, we’re like, getting outside, going on hikes, walking a lot. I travel a lot for my job, so, I’m walking around cities all the time and you know, up and down, stairs on the subway. So, there are other ways I feel like I’m getting exercise in. It’s like every now and again, I’ll take a bar method class because it has been the one type of exercise that I’ve enjoyed, like in an actual like class and workout setting.

Yeah, so that’s kind of where I am. Maybe at some point, I feel like every now and again, I think about like, huh, maybe I should be like doing some kind of strength training just because of the fact that I am a woman, and we lose muscle mass and like, I don’t want issues with bone density, but I feel like I’ve kind of made peace with the fact that I’m just not like a gym person, but I do feel like I’m more active.

This whole year that I spent with the Feel Good Sisterhood, oddly, I came in with the goal of losing weight. Throughout the journey, I realized that wasn’t the most important thing, but I actually did lose weight. So, I am just lighter now. So, it’s easier for me to move around. It’s easier for me to do those things. It’s easier for me to go for a hike and do all of those things with my daughter and my family that before I think kind of help me back a little bit. So, that’s kind of where I am.

Elizabeth: Yeah. So, as far as bone density goes and osteoporosis, as long as you’re doing weight bearing exercises and walking is actually one of the best ways to do that. Because what happens is when you’re strength training, your bone is having little, microscopic tears in them and bone fixes itself with more bone. It’s kind of like putting more plaster on there. And so, you’re strengthening your bones by doing walking, stairs, all of that great stuff.

So, yeah, you’re getting it. And then like, if you get into gardening, for example, you’re slinging 20 pound bags of dirt around rocks and things like that. So, that type of stuff can actually work towards your favor as well.

Lisa: Yeah, I think the other thing too, that’s really important is remembering. I mean, I think I remember during one of our meetings online, Stephanie, where you were like, I’m not really big into hiking. And then, you were like, but I got back from you’d visited New York or something and you got back and you’re like, oh, my, but I was walking like 20, 000 steps a day. Like, I really like walking and you kind of had this epiphany of like, oh, that is what I like to do.

And so, that’s the whole thing too. And like, I think people are really kind of, I don’t know, again, I’m not quite sure what the motivation is behind it. But all of a sudden, walking seems to be kind of the hot fitness trend, and people are having like a real awakening about just how beneficial just walking is. Or get on a treadmill, if you don’t have time to get outside because you’re working or whatever. But the benefits of just walking for 30 minutes a day are like, it’s so incredible.

And so, it is funny. And the other thing too is Elizabeth is right. Like, your movement doesn’t have to look like a gym movement to be effective in terms of building strength. Gardening is a great tool, like in depth deep house cleaning is a great tool. If you’re just moving things, right?

Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. I think for me, it’s just being able to kind of get out and move my body through space is I think has been helpful. And oddly, I do feel stronger.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Well, I remember when I was a personal trainer, I just thought it was so ridiculous when I realized that purpose of like hand weights and weights that we lift in the gym. Like it’s only purpose is to be heavy.

Lisa: Yeah. Like that’s really funny. I never thought of it like that. Just the heavy object.

Elizabeth: Exactly.

Lisa: Yeah. There’s a guy that I follow on Instagram and that he lives in the Rolling Hills and like Charlotte, North Carolina, or something. And his backyard is his outdoor play space gym. He’s like, I throw rocks, and I do this and I’m just like, besides the risk of accidentally hitting myself in the head while I’m throwing a rock.

Like a cinder block or something, but I’m like, it really is smart. I mean, it’s just like, he’s just enjoying playing outside. And I think, you know, sometimes when you just remember that movement is supposed to be playful in some ways.

Elizabeth: Okay, let’s shift topics just a little bit. What hesitations or doubts, if any, did you have about joining the program or committing yourself to a year? Stephanie, do you want to go or who wants to go?

Stephanie: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think for me, the doubts that I had were really like, just this hamster wheel of dieting that I had done for so many years, where I thought, well, I’ll commit to this for a year. And is it going to be another thing that I just abandon after a few months, it was more about a year sounds like a really long time.

And is it going to be something that I actually stick with? I think that was my hesitation. Like, do I want to sign up for something that’s a yearlong when in the past, maybe I’ve been able to stick to something for a few months here and there? I think, for me, that was probably my hesitation.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay. And so, answer that question for the past version of yourself. So, do you think that what you learned within the program is something that is sustainable for the rest of your life?

Stephanie: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I went into it with very different I think expectations. And what I realized is that a year is it’s really kind of a moment in time, like it really kind of flew by.

And I think what I really loved about the program was just obviously the tools that I feel like I’ve gained that I continue to carry with me, but it’s like really having the support of all of the women in the group who were all at like similar stages of their life. You know, we all had our own sh!t, but a lot of similarities between what we were going stages in our lives.

I feel like it really made the time pass and something about it just I feel like really made it stick. It wasn’t just kind of like this one and done, you know, like you do this and you get this. It was just like weeks and weeks of work and sometimes it was really uncomfortable.

But it’s like you come out the other side and you’re kind of like, huh, I learned to do all of these things and to deal with all of these things. And now, when something comes up, I know how to deal with it in a better way.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay. So, I’m going to come back to you in just a second, but let’s get Lisa’s take on the question first. So, were there any hesitations or doubts that you had before joining the program?

Lisa: Yeah. I mean, I think my hesitation was just in committing, I think similar to Stephanie committing to the time. Committing that amount of money, quite frankly, without kind of any guarantee and realizing that a lot of it was going to fall to me in terms of like, being responsible for the work and everything.

But I think and I did go in kind of with the expectation perhaps wrongly, that it was like, going to be kind of this weight loss focused program. And quickly, learned that it really wasn’t. And that it really did kind of absolutely, dovetail with the work that I’ve been doing in the few months before.

So, looking back, I feel like I gained just so much more knowledge and I’m so much more aware of triggers for me when I’m like, I’m eating because I’m bored and maybe I should go do something else instead of not eating because I’m bored or just recognizing I’m eating because I’m bored and I’m okay with it.

It’s funny though, the biggest shift for me has been that the amount of sugar I eat on a regular basis is drastically reduced. I mean, just absolutely drastically reduced. And I think some of that has centered around kind of refocusing and consuming a lot of protein. Because it just leaves me so much fuller that I don’t feel like, oh, I need a little something, something.

And that’s not to say that I don’t have sugar probably every day, but I have a lot less. A lot less takes me to where I need to be and feel satiated and like I’m enjoying things. So, everything that I’ve learned has been incredible. And I think the other thing too is what I least expected was the support of the group. And like the incredible women that we were in this group with.

I think that was most helpful was this idea that there’s a lot of us that have these struggles. And having this group that was just, we didn’t know each other. We had no background or introduction. Our introduction was the program and seeing how we develop these friendships and these relationships, and the support network was really incredible. And I think really made it successful in ways that I didn’t anticipate.

Stephanie: Absolutely. Well said.

Lisa: Yeah.

Elizabeth: That’s awesome. Now, one of the reasons that I wanted the both of you on this show together is because you actually, well, one, you both live in California. Not that means anything.

But you both went through similar challenges. So, you both changed jobs, you both moved within the year that we were in the program together. Which are both really significant and stressful events which Stephanie, we’ll talk to you first because you were like, Oh my God, I haven’t been emotionally eating. And I think that the same was true for you, Lisa. So, yeah, start us off, Stephanie, talk about those two events in your life and how the program supported you.

Stephanie: Yeah. I joined the program, I guess it was last August. I think I joined like shortly after you, Lisa. And I ended up changing jobs in, I think it was May. I had been talking about leaving my job. Definitely, a lot of ups and downs in the beginning. I feel like in the beginning, there was just a lot of hard work. You’re really putting in like the work of the work.

And I had kind of gotten to this place, I think after the new year where it’s like, I felt like I was feeling better. I was really making changes. I was doing things differently. I think I went into this, especially changing jobs, like feeling like I was so old. And in an industry where age is kind of like not a great thing. The fashion industry wants you to stay young and beautiful. And it’s kind of like, here I am, midlife, kind of downtrodden mom, struggling with a lot of things.

So, I almost felt like, God, like who’s going to hire me? And I really struggled with that for a while. And then, after I guess it was probably maybe almost halfway through the program when my outlook was changing and I had different tools and I had the group to rely on, I changed jobs.

And that’s when I also realized like, really stressful time, I wasn’t doing that emotional eating anymore. It’s really strange because I’m not exactly sure like when that inflection point was, but it was almost like, what Lisa said. There are days when sure, maybe I eat something that I don’t eat as much of anymore, but it’s like more of a conscious choice.

For me, I know if I eat a bowl of pasta and a glass of red wine, I’m going to feel like sh!t. My menopause symptoms are going to flare up. I’m going to feel sluggish. I’m going to feel bloated. I’m not going to feel great. Are there days that I still eat a bowl of pasta and a glass of red wine? Absolutely.

But I don’t do it every day and I go into it knowing I’m going to do this and I’m probably going to feel like shit and that’s okay. So, yeah. So, I changed jobs, very stressful, but I realized, huh, I can still get a new job. I don’t have to be 25 years old in this industry. Like I have valuable skills, I can move on.

And then, a few months after that we decided to buy a new house and move and leave the house that we had been living in since we got married and had our daughter in. And a huge life change, like moving from the city out to the suburbs, which I never thought I would do, but here I am, and I’m enjoying it.

But yeah, and it was like super stressful because we’re like trying to sell our house, the real estate market’s changing, interest rates are going up and we’re like, holy sh!t, maybe we won’t sell our house for as much as we thought we would. But again, I wasn’t relying on that crutch of just like, well, I’m going to eat a bag of potato chips and it’s going to make me feel better because it absolutely never made me feel better.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Right.

Stephanie: And it’s just like using different tools to deal with the way that you’re feeling, other than just sitting down and just gorging yourself on whatever it is that is your comfort food.

Elizabeth: So good. Okay. Thank you. All right, Lisa, tell us your story.

Lisa: It’s funny a few years ago, during the pandemic, I think a lot of us at the beginning, we’re all of a sudden, all home. We can’t go anywhere, and we were baking. We were eating like, whatever we can do. We’re doing breads.

Elizabeth: Even in the pandemic if you didn’t make bread.

Lisa: Exactly. Exactly. Something like that. I guess unless, well, no, I mean, even gluten free people were making bread by the day. Right? At that point, I had actually been going into it in good shape, I had like a good eating plan and the pandemic just threw all of that out of whack.

My hockey was gone and everything. And like everybody, I gained, the COVID 19. And then, I started doing this program with my hockey coach and dropped the weight and he was the first person to actually kind of introduce this idea of like I was tracking meals and calories and such, but he was also tracking how I was feeling when I was eating. And I just did not get the connection at all. I really didn’t.

And he’s like, yeah, but how are you feeling? And I’m like, I feel good. And he’s like, no, how are you feeling? Are you bored? Are you hungry? Are you happy? Are you sad? Are you anxious? And I’m like, I don’t know. And he kept he’s like, you have to figure out this connection or else you’re not going to be able to keep this off.

And I kept thinking like, what are you talking about? I’ll just get back and it’ll be fine. And lo and behold, stuff happened, and he went back to the ice and we all kind of went back as we had more access to things.

And lo and behold, all of a sudden, some of that weight that I had lost, started to creep back up just a little bit. Not all of it. And then, I found this other program and I was like, again, she was talking about this emotional eating, this aspect of like, what you’re getting that emotion.

And I’m not sure, I think, probably because of the idea of learning how to do this body scan that you had us do, or just this thought process of connecting to our bodies, just thinking of like, oh, okay, I’m feeling some soreness in my back. Does that mean I need to eat a bag of chips? Or you know, oh, I’m feeling anxious. Does that mean that I need a box of Oreos? Or whatever it might be.

For whatever reason, the way that it was laid out in your program, it is the reason that it connected finally. This idea of understanding that I’m eating something not because I’m hungry, but because it’s giving me some other type of satisfaction or filling a need. And that can be, I’m feeling anxious. I’m feeling happy. I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling scared, whatever it might be.

And making that connection has really been absolutely transformative for me. It is that understanding of like, yeah, you know what? You almost never sit down and eat a whole bag of chips and feel great. You just feel like you want to vomit. You never sit down and eat a sleeve of Oreos and feel great. But that didn’t stop me and others, many others from doing it.

And finally, having that connection and that understanding of like, Oh, I’m eating for a reason that it’s the best reason. And so, I can make choices based on that. And that’s been, I think the biggest difference. I mean, I really think that getting that connection and understanding why I was eating was way more helpful, than I think anything else, really. I think that just like, yeah, and knowing that I can make the choice of like, hey, you know what? I am going to eat 5 mini Snicker’s bars and tomorrow I’m going to feel like crap. Or in an hour, I’m going to feel like crap.

But I understand why I’m doing it. And I understand that I’m making a conscious choice to do it. Or I can make the conscious choice to say, I only really need one. That’ll satisfy my sugar craving. And I really don’t need the other 4 mini bars and I’m not going to eat them.

And so, I think that the connection that I made through your program, Elizabeth. And working with everybody else too like, listening to other women in this group and talking about their various triggers and realizing again, a lot of them are similar. And I think realizing, just kind of how we’re conditioned as kids to like, you celebrate happy events with food, you celebrate bad things with food.

I look back on it and I kind of joke about it. There was nothing in my life that ice cream couldn’t cure according to my dad. Right? I mean, good grades, bad grades, winning a soccer game, losing a soccer game, feeling sick, feeling healthy, like whatever it was, it was all curable by ice cream. Which is probably not the best route always, although it is delicious.

And so, like having that understanding, it’s just, I don’t know, it’s been like, it really has been transformative. And I feel like, through this year in the program and being able to keep that focus when I was undergoing job changes and stress around that and moving and stress around that kept me from falling into the old pit of, I’m just going to order a pizza and a box of Oreos and go to town. And I don’t do that anymore.

I really don’t do it anymore. And it’s kind of like been earth shattering in some ways for me to reach that point.

Stephanie: It’s wild, right?

Lisa: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s like, d*mn. I know how I used to do it. I mean, I absolutely know how I used to do it. And there are days when I still feel like potentially doing it, but I kind of think about it and I go, nah, nah, it’s not worth it.

I think you said once, Elizabeth, like, think about how you’re going to feel tomorrow, or think about how you’re going to feel in a week. If you’ve been on vacation like, eating your way through Europe or something, right?

And I think that’s an easy thought to have to in the mix of all of these, as you’re dealing with stress. But I think the way that you have to get there is to learn how to make this connection between your mind and what you’re thinking about food wise. And I think that that is a lapse that a lot of us don’t.

And it’s a hard connection to make. And some people like, Stephanie made it way faster than I did. And that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s just a longer connection for some people.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And I think that most of the listeners, I don’t think that we’re ever going to get rid of emotional eating. As you said, we use food to celebrate. We use food for comfort. We use food in so many other ways than the whole food is fuel thing, which is a nice platitude, but it’s just not realistic.

I think that what most people don’t want, which I think is what you both are saying right now is that we just want to get rid of the unconscious eating. Like those times when we look back at ourselves and go, why did I do that? I feel terrible now, after eating the sleeve of Oreos. So, not even thinking about how do I want to feel tomorrow, but how do I want to feel in 10 minutes?

Lisa: Totally. I feel like a big part of my problem, and you guys probably remember this because I have a daughter who’s only 11. She eats a lot of kid food. And one of the things, Elizabeth, I swear to God, maybe this was the turning point for us. But like, part of my problem is, she would eat chicken nuggets. And there might be like, two chicken nuggets left on her plate, or like some mac and cheese. And I’d be like, I’m going to eat that right up, because I’m not going to put that in the trash.

And I remember, Elizabeth, I think it was something to the effect of like you won’t put it in the trash, but you’ll put it in your body. So essentially, you’re treating your body like a trash.

And I still think about that because it’s so true and it’s like a bag of frozen chicken nuggets. That’s not like unbelievably delicious, amazing cuisine and you know, it’s just leftover on my like then ten year old’s plate. So yeah, it’s just such a crazy shift in thinking. But yeah, it’s like, I’m not going to treat my body like a trash can. I’m just going to put that in the garbage for a while.

Elizabeth: Yeah, that’s a really hard thing for I mean, I don’t love that saying, but it is very true.

Stephanie: It resonates. It’s really true.

Lisa: Right. Yeah. And it is funny too, how like you. Like if you get away from the idea of clean plates too, right?

I mean, just so many of us grew up like that. Right. I think it’s funny. I just started using much smaller plates as my primary, instead of like a full dinner plate, I use a much smaller plate. And that way, if I clean it, there’s just not as much room for that much food. And then, my MO is always now like half the plate is vegetables. And then, protein is another piece and some type of delicious carb because I would never tell anyone not to eat carbs. Unless, they have actual like issues with like celiac or allergies or they just don’t like them or something.

But doing that has made it a lot less likely too. And everyone in my family now eats that way too. We all eat on a smaller plate. So that also means that there’s a less likelihood of me to be like, oh, hey, my daughter left some something on her plate. I’m going to eat it because it’s a smaller plate.

Elizabeth: So, thinking about where you are today versus where you started. How has this journey impacted the rest of your life? So, we’re not talking about eating, we’re not talking about exercise, but like, what are all the other ripple effects or side benefits that you’ve gotten from where you are today versus where you were before?

Lisa: Generally, I have more energy, which I mean, I think just makes me function better in life and makes me more present to enjoy time with my daughter, time with friends. It makes me more efficient at my work. So, I think that that’s been one of biggest impacts is just really feeling more energized, feel like I’m getting better sleep.

And like the confidence that I’ve gained from feeling as though, even though, I still, you know, in my own mind, I’m like, yeah, and at some point, I still want to drop 20 pounds or whatever. But I’m not in a rush. I know that I’m healthier. I know that I’m in a better body health wise now than when I started.

And I still love the idea of getting stronger and that strength has given me just a ton of confidence and also knowing that I feel comfortable to navigate food situations when I’m outside of my home too. Right? Like, I think I can go into a restaurant and know, like, okay. You know what? If I’m going to order something that’s really rich, I’m going to have to think about this later, but I’m also not going into it going like, Oh, I’m going to eat nothing all day because I’m going for this fancy meal, cause I’m done with that crap.

And to me, that’s been like the two biggest things is the feeling of energy and the feeling of confidence. Like that, that strength has given me.

Elizabeth: So good. Yeah.

Lisa: Great.

Stephanie: I feel like for me, one of the biggest changes is my perimenopause symptoms. I was really miserable in terms of just, I would wake up in the middle of the night just like soaking wet, like, just hot and have to get out of bed and change my pajamas. And I was just so sluggish and bloated all the time. I think similar to Lisa, like I just feel healthier. And it’s not like, every symptom has gone away all the time.

But it’s not like a huge issue. It’s not the huge issue that it was a year ago. It’s definitely like those side effects have definitely waned, and it just feels so freeing to be out of that. And yeah, the confidence piece, I definitely feel more confident.

And just knowing, that If I do get into some kind of like a rut or a situation, I just have the tools to get myself out of it. Because we’re all going to have bad days. Life is not going to be like magic and rainbows, but I feel like I just have better ways to deal with it now.

But yeah, I think confidence and just those symptoms. Like I haven’t had a hot flash. I can’t even tell you the last time, which is amazing.

And I know like, now, I know, if I do something and I do have one, I know what caused that, based on the work that we do.

Elizabeth: That is so powerful.

Stephanie: Yes. Like I can identify exactly why this happened which is good.

Lisa: Yeah, that’s amazing. That is amazing. And yeah, and I do think like, and I haven’t talked much about it. I definitely had symptoms more, as I said, kind of the other side of menopause, which can still drag on. And I still periodically have them, but they’re not nearly as significant. I don’t feel like I’m in a constant state of haze and brain fog and bloating.

I think the other thing too, that you hit on, Stephanie is that the tools that we were given, we can recognize and it’s not just sometimes you’re going to have a bad week, right? But we have the ability like, and the tools in our kit now to be able to adjust. And be like, wait, wake yourself up because that slope can get slippery. And we have the ability to put up that roadblock, right. And say, no, we’re going back the other way, and to pull ourselves up.

Stephanie: Absolutely. I have a little notebook next to my bed for my thought downloads. And it’s funny to like, look back at things that I wrote six months ago, a year ago. And it’s just been really helpful.

Elizabeth: That is so awesome.

Lisa: That is amazing.

Stephanie: I never thought I’d be that person, but here I am.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Because when I told you to start doing thought downloads, everyone’s like, I don’t want to do those.

Stephanie: BS.

Elizabeth: Oh, it’s so good. Alright. So, I feel like we could talk all day, but yeah, I wrap it up.

Stephanie: We probably could.

Elizabeth: So, is there anything else that you want to share with me, or Lisa, starting with Stephanie, or the listeners?

Stephanie: I think it’s like such a cliche saying, but it’s a journey, not a sprint. I think that there are no super quick fixes, but if you want to make changes, time is just passing anyway. So, why not try? Yeah, I mean, things are just a lot different for me now.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Well, and I love the idea that the year is going to pass. And so, if you want to get to your goal, do you actually want it to be fun and enjoyable? I mean, it’s not going to be fun, but do you want it to be enjoyable or do you want it to be terrible? Because you can choose your path.

Stephanie: Yup. Absolutely.

Elizabeth: Awesome. Thank you. Lisa, any parting thoughts?

Lisa: Yeah. Parting thoughts. So, to me, yeah, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I think opening yourself up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable in this group in this setting is daunting. And it can feel overwhelming, but it is so incredibly helpful. And this process can be challenging to say the least. But it is really, really rewarding. And you’re never going to be perfect, so don’t try to strive for perfection.

What did they say? Perfection is the enemy of good enough. And which is like your B minus thinking.

Elizabeth: You can half ass your way to your goal.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing too is don’t be afraid to think differently about your goal because that was something that I did. Don’t be afraid to look at it and say, screw the numbers on the scale, I want to only focus on getting stronger. Or screw the numbers on the scale, I want to focus on being able to run a 10 K in 50 minutes. Or whatever the goal ends up being, or whatever your focus ends up being will still ultimately provide you with the basis that you need if you’re doing the work.

So, if you’re doing the work, you can figure out and you decide you want to try and get really strong and start dead lifting 300 pounds. Great. That’s absolutely incredible. And to get there, you’ve got to understand why you’re eating. You’ve got to eat your protein. You’ve got to eat your vegetables. You’ve got to get your water. And like all of it will come together, it will just look different and there’s nothing wrong with doing it differently.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Ugh. Both of you are such an inspiration. Like seriously, I love this. All right. Well, thank you for being here, I really appreciate it. Sharing your experience, your thoughts and everything with not only me, but all of the listeners. So, thank you.

Lisa: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Elizabeth: Wow. What an incredible episode. Lisa and Stephanie, I want to thank you for opening up, being vulnerable and sharing your stories of resilience, self-acceptance, and the journey towards better health. I am so inspired by both of you, and I know our listeners are too.

Now, for those of you who are listening, we covered a lot in this episode. From struggles to body image and weight to finding strength in a fitness journey that breaks away from the traditional gym experience.

We heard firsthand accounts of what it’s like to commit to a yearlong program and the incredible transformation that followed. We learned about emotional eating, the impact it has on our relationship with food, and how Lisa and Stephanie overcame those challenges.

We celebrated the success of their journey, the lifestyle changes they made, and the healthier choices they embraced, and the overall improvement in their well-being. Their stories are a powerful reminder of the importance of self-discovery, flexibility, and compassion towards ourselves in our health and fitness journey.

If you know someone who struggles with their health and wants to reclaim it, someone who wants to ensure that their health doesn’t become a barrier to the things that they want to do in the future, do share this episode with them. It might just be the inspiration they need to start on their own journey of transformation.

And if you’re feeling inspired and ready to take control of your health, I want to invite you to reach out to me. As a coach, My goal is to guide, support, and empower you to take charge of your health and your well-being. Whether you’re dealing with body image issues, struggling with emotional eating, or simply want to improve your fitness, I am here to help.

You can learn more about my coaching services by visiting my website, the link will be in the show notes, or you can go to or simply drop me a message. You can reach me at I would love to hear from you and discuss how we can tailor a program that aligns with your goals and your needs.

Thank you so much for tuning in today. I appreciate each and every one of you for being part of this podcast community. I look forward to connecting with you on our next episode. Until then, have an amazing week, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye-bye.

Thank you for tuning into today’s episode. If what we’ve discussed resonates with you and you’re eager to take your health journey further, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one call with me. It’s an opportunity for us to dive deep into your health goals, explore your unique challenges, and discuss what you’ve tried before.

To book your slot, simply click the link in the show notes. Once you do, you’ll answer a few thought-provoking questions to get us started. Then, all you need to do is show up, and we’ll take it from there.

Let’s make your health journey a priority together. See you on the call!

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