It’s hard not to feel like something is wrong with us when we try so hard to lose weight and it seems like everyone around us is having massive success. Sometimes we feel jealous, petty, and down right resentful.
We want to be the supportive friend, but far too often when other people around us are having success in getting consistent with their exercise habits, discovering great new ways of preparing vegetables, or are completely beaming because they feel like they’ve discovered their magic formula, what we really want to do is punch them in the nose.
In this episode of the Done with Dieting Podcast, learn the three (3) secrets that can turn that negative thought pattern around so that you can use other people’s success as motivation instead of deflating you.
You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 15.
Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.
Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.
The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.
I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.
If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.
Let’s get started.
Hey, everyone, welcome to the show.
So today, I would like to talk about other people’s success.
You know what I’m talking about – when other people lose weight, and what we think about that, what we make it mean about us, and what we make it mean about them.
And I know, it’s kind of a weird topic, because we don’t really think about how other people’s success in weight loss impacts us, but sometimes we make other people losing weight mean something about our inability to lose weight, or we can use it as as evidence of why we’re not good enough.
and I hear this from clients and women online all the time – for example let’s say that they’re doing keto with their partner or they’re doing a fitness challenge with a group of friends.
And they get discouraged because they’re just not losing the weight as quickly as their partner or the other people in the group.
And so we use our lack of success as evidence of why we should just give up, right? this happens to us all the freakin time.
We see someone else losing weight, and we get all resentful because it appears from our point of view that it’s been easy for them, and we compare our journey to theris, believing that it SHOULD be easier, and because of that, we decide that we don’t like them, they don’t deserve it, they haven’t put in the reps that we have, and all these other crazy thoughts that just leave us feeling bad, resentful, jealous, and bitter.
Which then leads to thoughts of why even bother if I’m not making progress because it doesn’t matter. I should just eat whatever I want – because I haven’t lost any weight anyway.
Which we all know is a big fat lie. But it feels so convincing – so we eat all the things, and so the diet, binge, regret cycle begins.
What we’re witnessing here is the think feel act cycle.
When we start a new weight loss program, we get really excited about it, because the thoughts that we’re having in our heads are, this is going to be amazing, this is going to be fantastic.
And that makes us feel motivated. And when we feel motivated, we do the things that we’re supposed to do. We eat all the vegetables, we drink all the water, we go for walks, and find ways to be active, and prioritize our sleep. And when we do those things, we get results, right?
But then one day we notice that someone else is doing ‘better’ than us. Maybe our partner announces that they’ve lost 5 lbs, and excited, we get on the scale.
And we see that we only lost two pounds. And so immediately, we get discouraged. Because they haven’t even been trying. And we get discouraged because of our thoughts. The think feel act cycle, right?
We get discouraged because the thought that pops up in our heads is they’re doing better than me, I should be further along, this is hard, or I’m never going to get to my goal at this rate.
And those thoughts are unhelpful at best; self-sabotaging at worst.
And in fact, when we have thoughts like that, when we’re standing on the scale, we start to feel discouraged. And what happens when we feel discouraged?
We give up on doing the things that were working for us.
All the while forgetting that we’ve actually lost some weight, we are actually two pounds closer to our goal than we were before.
But our brains immediately think, but I am actually three pounds behind, right.
That’s how our brains work.
They’re doing better than us, so therefore we suck.
And so what I want to do today is I want to help you get out of your head when you start comparing yourself to other people and their success.
Because comparison is the thief of joy.
Like seriously, when we compare what we have to other people, we always come up short, it doesn’t matter.
Our brains always think that other people have it better. Always, always, always, always.
But what if we can use other people’s success as evidence that it’s possible for us as well? And it’s a total mindset shift. And it can take some work. But it’s one that if used, it can totally fan the flame of motivation versus blowing it out.
And it can help you to make weight loss not feel like so much of a slog or a battle. Because what it does is it takes us out of being the victim.
And it actually places us in control.
Because when we have thoughts like ‘they’re doing better than me’. I’m not doing as well as them. I’m not meant to lose weight. What that does is it makes us feel victimized, right?
And when I’m using the term victim here, I’m not talking about actual victims of crime, but rather victim mentality where we are the victim of unfortunate circumstances – we all do this once in a while.
When we identify as a victim in a situation, it makes us feel like something is happening TO us.
It makes us feel powerless
And when we feel powerless, we feel like we don’t have any control, and that life is happening to us that we don’t have agency over our own circumstances, then when we feel like we don’t have power or control, we take control over the things we are able to control, which can often be food.
When we stop playing the victim, it gives us an opportunity to take control of our lives and take responsibility for what’s happening to us.
And to our bodies.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’ve observed that there are about three different beliefs that we have that are underlying us feeling resentful of other people and their success.
And the first one is one of scarcity – like these people who are losing weight are using up all of the weight loss.
I know, it sounds absolutely silly to say that out loud. But it’s kind of like, that’s what’s happening, right? It’s like our brain says, Oh, my gosh, she’s lost five pounds. I was supposed to lose 5 lbs – not her. Those are my pounds!” That was meant for me! And she’s lost my weight! Right?
We think that way.
When we think about it logically, it doesn’t make any sense.
And it’s absolutely silly, because there’s no pie in the sky of weight loss that if someone loses weight, that it takes away from others.
that somehow there’s not enough for us as well, right?
Health and weight loss are abundant, my success has nothing to do with other people’s success, and vice versa.
And so there’s no pie in the sky that specifies that when someone loses weight, then that’s not available for you as well.
There’s plenty of health and weight loss to be had by everyone. If we want it.
And so other people aren’t using it up, and weight loss and health are completely abundant and even available to you.
And when we think in those terms, what happens is it takes the competition away from your journey, and those who are around you.
When weight loss and health are abundant to everyone, then it takes the pressure off.
And someone else succeeding can then be available to us as well.
And that actually ties into the second lower brain suggestion, which is that I’m never going to get to my goal.
This is going to take forever.
Now, I think I have a pretty good analogy for this example
Years ago, when I used to drive, and I would be late. I was late a lot.
But years ago, when I used to be late, I would imagine that I was racing all of the other cars on the highway. Have you ever done that? So funny.
Anyway, so I would imagine that I was racing all of these other cars on the highway.
But even more than that, not intentionally, if we were headed to an event like let’s say, a concert or something like that, and we would merge onto the highway, I would see all of these cars, and my immediate thought would be that “we have to get ahead of these cars. THey’re going ot beat us to the venue & get all the parking spots and there won’t be any left for us!” And I would feel anxious,
Now, here’s the funny thing: I eventually realized that none of those other cars, were going to the same place that I was going.
They just happened to be using the same route that I was taking
Now stick with me for this analogy, because I think that we all have a little bit of that comparison in us that we think that other people are going to get there faster, right?
We’re afraid that we’re going to miss out.
And somehow that we’re going to be left behind, or we’re not going to make it there.
But as I mentioned before, when it to weight loss and health, It’s completely abundant for all of us – AND I want to suggest that if we don’t stop, turn around & go home, we WILL get there.
And so when we think about this highway example, it’s actually a perfect metaphor for weight loss because we all are on a different journey.
There are going to be traffic jams (also known as plateaus) which will slow everything down – and that can be frustrating.
And so we’re all in our own cars, and we need to stay in our own lane.
Everyone who is on the expressway – we are all coming from a different places in life, and we all have different desires and end goals.
Some people are going to be on that highway for a longer period of time.
Other people are going to hop on, when they see traffic backed up, they’re going to hop off, look for a shorter route, and then end up back on the express way further back.
Some people started earlier, and will exit before we do. And others will enter as we’re exiting.
If we want to be successful, We need to stay in our own lane, and we need pay attention to the obstacles in the road, and if we do that, in due time, we’ll be able to complete our journey.
And so I love this metaphor, because we all need to figure out our own way.
And what I want to suggest is that when you are figuring out your own body, and figuring out what your body needs, what you are learning is going to be right for you.
Its almost like the universe gives us the lesson that we need when we need it.
And it’s the equivalent of keeping your eyes on the road because when we start looking at the other drivers, we get distracted with what they’re doing and we lose focus on what WE’RE doing.
One person is eating, that one is on his phone, maybe there’s a cute dog… but when we start seeing other people changing lanes and exiting, we start to wonder if they know something that we dont.
We start to get FOMO.
OR we look at what other people are doing & we get in an accident – we hit the person in front of us – which delays us even further.
And so, if we are looking at other people’s driving, if we are paying attention to what other people are doing, judging them or thinking that they know something that we don’t, – even though WAZE is telling me to stay on the expressway, we are always going to come up short in holding the belief that I’m learning what is right for me at this time.
And so if we can just focus on the fact that what we are doing is right for us, if we can focus on health and staying in our lane, we know that we WILL get there – maybe not as fast as we would like, but we WILL get there – without accidents, or without failures.
Now, the third thought error that I think we have when we look at other people success is that we look at other people’s success as evidence of our not enoughness – or the way that it presents itself is that other people are better because they’re having success.
Which, when we think about it, that somehow someone else losing weight somehow is evidence that we’re not good enough.
Now, for those of you who’ve been following me for a while you probably know this already.
But lots of people don’t, that I actually used to play roller derby. And I didn’t play competitive roller derby; I used to play in a recreational league.
And it was started off by a friend of mine who wanted to play roller derby and got a bunch of other moms together to form the team called the Austin roller moms.
And so this league started by a bunch of women who are just amazing AND moms at the same time. And I love them all. And what was really fun.
This is a total tangent that they all had different roller derby names that were mom related, like some of my favorites were Obi Mom Kan Obi or Mama Kazi or Tsu Mommy.
The way I was introduced to the league was through a friend of mine. Her name is Betty Cracker. And Betty Cracker is just this amazing woman. And Betty isn’t someone who you would imagine as being a roller girl. She’s not super aggressive, angry, or in-your-face.
I hope that she’s not going to be upset for saying this about her, but if you met her, she’s soft spoken, a little awkward, super smart, looks like a librarian, If you were to meet her, you would never believe in a million years that she played roller derby.
And so at the time, I was looking for a new athletic type of adventure. So when I decided to do roller derby, I was able to look at Betty Cracker and say, Well, if she can do it, then that’s evidence that I can do it too.
And so why can’t we use that same line of thinking, when we’re looking at other people and their weight loss?
How is that different?
Everyone success can be evidence, we can use the evidence of all the people around us – not that we aren’t meant to do it, but rather, because it’s available to THEM – all the other people around us – that it can be available to us as well, that instead of thinking that those other people have some sort of magic idea or that those people have some sort of secret that we aren’t in on.
Maybe what we can do is we can use their success – Not as comparison that we can’t do it too – but rather as evidence that It’s available to us as well?
We think that other people have it easier, because we see their success. And we don’t see the struggle that’s happening inside their head, behind their doors. We don’t see the years of attempts and failures. We don’t see the battles that they fought in their brains. We don’t know which lane they’ve been in. We don’t know what exit they entered the expressway.
Maybe they’ve been trying to do this for years and years and years, and it finally clicked because they were able to reflect back on all of their attempts, learned what was useful for them, applied that and threw away the rest – the “shoulds”, the “you’re supposed tos”, the rules and focused not on everyone else’s stuff – but focused on THEIR STUFF.
We can use that as evidence that it’s going to click for us as well. We just need to be in the learners seats, we need to have eyes, we need to have the experience of looking at all of this from a learner’s perspective, not from a perspective of following directions, but rather discovery.
We can figure this out. But we need to figure it out for ourselves. There is no white knight who is going to save us. We get to be the hero of our own story.
Understanding that as midlife women, our bodies are completely different than they were when we were in our 20s. Even when we were in our 30s, our hormones are different. And so therefore, food, exercise, sleep, stress, all of those things that we do, are going to affect us differently as well.
When we use the perspective of looking at weight loss from the point of view of curiosity, and discovery, then what happens is we can be so much more successful. And if we don’t use other people’s success against ourselves, then we can totally be successful.
We can be successful, because again, their success is evidence that it’s possible for us as well.
And so I want to invite you to believe – that instead of getting jealous of other people’s success, instead of being envious, and using other people’s success against you, which just feels terrible.
What I want to invite you to think about, is that we can use other women in mid-life losing weight as evidence that it’s available for us as well.
We see it in commercials and ads all the time. When it’s up close and personal, that’s evidence that it’s getting closer and even more available to us.
Start looking for evidence of health and weight loss around you – and start having the attitude, if she can do it, I can do it too. Because it’s absolutely available to you. That’s the truth.
Okay, that’s all I have for you today.
I hope you found this motivating and uplifting.
And I’m going to invite you to listen to this podcast whenever you need a little bit of motivation.
Have an amazing week, everyone.
I will talk to you next time.
Hey, thanks for listening.
If you’re done with dieting and would like to work with me as your coach, I’d like to invite you to reach out to myself and my team to ask about programs and pricing. Go to elizabethsherman.com/contact to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you.
See you next week.