We’re told all the time – to lose weight and our risk of health-related disease will go down. I’m guilty of this as well. My health journey started as a way of trying to avoid following in my mother’s footsteps and getting breast cancer.
But the data is misleading.
Because we know that losing weight on a fad diet or losing weight in an unhealthy way will NOT produce the increased health benefit that we desire.
So then is it the good habits that we adopt that produce the increased health benefit? Or the result, i.e.: the weight loss?
Welcome to the done with dieting podcast, where I am going to share with you today the question of maybe you don’t need to lose weight. And what are some of the things that you need to consider when thinking about whether you need to lose weight or not? It’s an interesting topic.
Tune in, right now.
You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women in midlife, who are done with dieting, but still want to lose weight and feel good in your clothes. You know that diets don’t work long term. But you feel like there’s this secret that everyone else knows that you just haven’t figured it out yet.
I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And I’ve helped hundreds of women get off the diet roller coaster change their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies. Through this podcast, my goal is to help you too.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hey there, everyone, welcome to today’s podcast. We are on podcast number 66. And before I start the episode, I just have something really exciting to tell you. So many people have been reaching out to me asking about our house construction project.
In case you didn’t know, we’ve been living in Mexico for just five years. And we have been going through this, what seems like an arduous process of buying land, and then building a house, and it’s been an exercise in patience, that’s for sure.
Long story short, what happened is when we bought the land, something really crazy happened where the notary from the previous house sale, 18 years ago never closed out the books on the sale of the land. And so, when our lawyer went through the process of trying to transfer the title from the person that we were buying the land from to ourselves, it was in the previous owner’s name still.
Then, COVID happened and that whole process took something like 19 months in order to finish up that paperwork. And so, we started building in December of 2020. It’s been over a year at this point, and it just feels like it’s going so slow.
Everyone on the street tells us how quickly it’s going, that they are making progress and they are making progress. I’ve talked about that a lot on the podcast before, but it just feels like when we want that when it’s within our grasp, right? When we are so anticipating moving into this house that has been built for us, it’s a custom house for us.
We want to live there because it’s going to be our house. And we’re currently living in a rental which by the way is amazing. We have had such a great experience living where we currently are but it’s our house, we want to live in it. It’s going to be a new house.
As I’m recording this, they just started painting, they’re finished with all of the tile work. And the next steps are going to be putting in the windows and then also putting in the cabinetry. We’re actually, really close. We expect that we’ll be able to move in somewhere around May. The initial dates were at the beginning of April.
So, when this podcast episode is coming out, that will be way past due. Hopefully, we’ll be able to move in in May, or at the latest hopefully, June. So, that’s all really super exciting. I’ve been posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook about the progress. If you are interested in that, go over to Instagram and you can find that probably in my stories, my handle is esherman68, and I would love to connect with you.
What else is going on with me? There are some other things that kind of tie into today’s episode, I don’t know who does this. Apparently, I do this. I am currently in two different certifications right now. One certification is called positive intelligence. And I love this certification because what it’s doing is it’s helping my clients put words to some of the things that are going on in our brains.
You’ve heard me talk about the inner critic before and how we have this inner critic, what I also talk about as our lower brain that is interested in the here and now. And then, we have our more rational brain or what I also refer to as our future self.
Which is the part of ourselves that can create goals and see how things are going to interact with one another, how my decisions are going to play out, and really create decisions from a more, I don’t want to say elevated because that sounds very sophisticated, and I don’t mean it like that.
But really, making decisions from the place of knowing, how do I want to think about this versus from the animal instinct. And doing things out of fear or out of gut reaction. And so, what happens is in this certification that I’m taking, what we are learning to do is how to pay less attention to what he calls the judge and the judges nine different saboteurs.
The nine different saboteurs being things like people pleasing or being a hyper achiever. Like, having to constantly go for the gold, and do the next thing, and not being okay with what you’ve already accomplished.
The stickler, who is the person who needs to have everything perfect. The controller, which is needing to control situations so that we avoid negative emotion or fear. Avoider is another one of our saboteurs. Anyway, we have nine different saboteurs, all of us do.
Based on how we were raised and how we felt safe in our childhood. Some of these saboteurs just stepped up to the plate and became a little bit more prevalent in our thought process. And so, what this certification is doing is it’s allowing me to help myself and my clients really tame the judge and the saboteurs because they’re always going to be there.
They’re always going to be there, but the impact that we allow our saboteurs to have on our decisions is really what gets in our way. Really, being able to come from that higher self a little bit more like when you’re in a decision tree of should I eat the cookies or not? Should I eat the brownies or the broccoli?
Again, sometimes you’re going to decide to eat the broccoli, but sometimes you’re also going to decide to do eat the brownies. Deciding from your higher self like, what actually matters. I’m going to talk about that certification a little bit more in today’s episode, but I also want to introduce you to another certification that I’m taking, which I am so incredibly excited about and what it’s going to bring to you, the listener, as well as to my clients. It’s an advanced certification in feminist coaching.
And what this coaching is all about is really starting to unpack the beliefs and attitudes that we have about how we as women show up in the world. What are the beliefs that we have that men really have not been socialized to believe about themselves? Things like that women should be pretty, right?
As women who are in midlife, one of the things that women talk about to me a lot is that as we age, we feel like we start to become invisible to people in general. Because as we get older, where before, we would walk down the street and people would look at us and smile. Now, that we’re getting older, we no longer get those glances. We start to notice that people aren’t paying attention to us anymore.
One of the words that’s been coming up a lot for me and my clients is relevance. And in lots of different aspects, as far as how we appear. But also, in terms of technology, and the aging process, and how we feel like we need to stay relevant, and if we’re not relevant than what’s our worth.
Anyway, this certification that I’m taking is just so incredibly powerful. It’s been three weeks and I’ve been feeling a lot of discomfort in doing the certification because it’s bringing up my own belief systems, and it’s allowing me to question some of those belief systems, and whether I want to continue believing them or not. One of the things that people believe is being overweight is unhealthy.
And in a previous podcast, I had Deb Lesko on the podcast. It was episode number, 13. And in that episode, she talked about health at every size. During the episode, we talked a lot about how you cannot tell the health of another person from looking at them. And it’s something that I 100% completely support that just because someone is overweight does not necessarily make them unhealthy.
But the other pieces to that is that as a society, we feel very comfortable commenting on other people’s weight. And it’s really not something that is any of our business. It doesn’t impact any of us, what someone else weighs. Weight is weight and health for that matter are a very personal thing.
For someone else to make a comment about your weight is really actually very rude. And we do it to each other all the time. How often do you see someone after you haven’t seen them for a while and you say to them, oh my goodness, you look so amazing. Have you lost weight?
I guess a few years ago, I really stopped commenting on other women’s appearance. And the reason for that is because if I’m not going to comment on someone gaining weight, I’m certainly not going to do the other way.
As a result, what happens is I have to come up with different ways of telling people that I’m happy to see them. And it’s so interesting because a few years ago, I really started to observe how I interact with men that are my friends, that I haven’t seen in a while.
The things that I say to them versus the things that I say to my women friends, and I haven’t seen them in a little bit. So, it’s been really interesting to observe what are the things that we say to little boys versus little girls?
The first step, as you’ve probably heard me talk about before is always in awareness. So, starting to notice what are the thoughts that I have about women versus men when it comes to weight, when it comes to size, when it comes to really anything.
And one of the things that I love doing is when I have a judgment about someone whether it’s a woman or a man. I like to bend my mind a little bit and ask myself, what if this person was the opposite gender? Would I still think that same thing? Or what if I had this same thought and this person was of a different color? Would I still have that same thought? And so, it increases my level of awareness and bias towards and against certain groups.
Anyway, that’s what this advanced certification and feminist coaching is doing for me. It’s really allowing me to see people as individuals without having that bias that I’ve been socialized into. Because we know that all bias, it has been learned as we grow up. And it really is very subtle in how we learn it.
So, for example, think about it. As children, we are so incredibly perceptive. When we’re in the grocery store with our mothers, let’s say. And we say, Hey mom, that man is fat. As a child, we’re just saying what is coming to mind. We’re just saying the facts.
But how our mother responds to that is going to have a huge impact on whether we believe that that is an okay thing to say or not. If my mother just ignores me or if my mother says, yes, he is. Or if my mother says, shhh, we’re not supposed to say that in public or we’re not supposed to say that about other people. Then, what that does as a child is it creates this learning that saying fat is bad or that being fat is bad.
And so, within my certification, just this past week, there was a really interesting, fascinating conversation about wanting to lose weight and whether that was good or bad. Whenever I talked to my clients about making decisions, we talk about do you like the reasons behind making your decisions. In fact, I have a podcast episode that I’ll put in the show notes, all about decision-making.
When we decide that we want to do one thing or another, do I want to move or do I not? Do I want to lose weight or do I not? Do I want to quit my job and start a new one? Do I want to start my own business? The question always comes up of why do we want to do this thing. And not why from a challenging place, but rather what are your reasons for wanting to make this decision?
Oftentimes, when we’re stuck between should I do X, or should I do Y? We can make a list of all of the reasons for X and for Y. And then, the process of making this decision is deciding which reasons do I like better?
And for many of us, when we make decisions, we think about other people in our decisions. There’s a little bit of give and take there. If these people that you’re trying to decide for are your family members, then that’s one thing.
But oftentimes, when we make decisions about whether we should lose weight or not, we’re considering people whose opinions really don’t matter. We’re considering people that we don’t even know, or we even care about.
We might be thinking of our mother who was deceased five years ago, or we might be thinking of our childhood friends who we don’t even really talk to anymore. And so, it’s always really interesting when we come up with thinking about weight loss, what our reasons are?
Now, most of the women who come to me, not wanting to have a six pack, not wanting to really lose a lot of weight and look like Victoria Secret models. Most of the women that I work with are between the ages of 45 and 60 and that ship has sailed where we want to look beautiful. I mean, we all want to look beautiful, right?
But we don’t have aspirations of being models anymore or being super skinny anymore. We just want to feel good in our clothes, we want to feel confident, we want to feel strong. I want to suggest that it may not be weight loss that actually solves the problem.
Oftentimes, women will come to me because their doctors will tell them that they need to lose weight. And I think that this is really super important, be aware that doctors are not immune to fat bias.
So, what that means is that doctors will often blame patient’s weight for their symptoms. And it’s not always true. Like, doctors will often look at a patient and decide that the reason that the patient is having problem X or problem Y is because of their weight without doing any further investigation.
What I want to offer today is that you may not want to lose weights. You may want to focus on your habits.
When we think about weight loss, we think that weight loss is going to solve diabetes. We think that weight loss is going to solve our knee pain, or heart disease, or our high blood pressure. Or some of the more personal things that we experience on a day-to-day basis. Like, sluggishness when we wake up in the morning.
We can divide the problems that weight-loss is going to solve into three different areas. We can talk about the physical aspect of weight loss. We can talk about the mental aspect of weight loss. And also, the emotional aspect of weight loss.
When we’re talking about the physical, what we’re talking about is like the discomfort. The physical discomfort that you might feel when you’re sitting down or when you’re moving, it’s a little bit more difficult to run, or jump, or go up and down the stairs. You may find that the physical aspect of how your body feels is uncomfortable.
The mental aspects that we’re talking about are things like when I see a picture of myself, for example. So, when we see a picture of ourselves, we have that inner critic that shows up. We also think about the mental aspect of the inner critic showing up when we stand on the scale or when we think about food all the time. The mental aspects of that or seeing ourselves in picture.
And then, we have an emotional piece, which is we want to feel confident; we want to feel enoughness, we want to feel belonging. And oftentimes, we will blame our weight on those types of emotions that I can’t feel confident, unless I weigh X number of pounds. I can’t feel like I belong with my friends and family, unless I weigh a certain amount of weight, or I look like they do.
What I want to suggest is that all of these things that we’re talking about may or may not be dependent on your weight. So, for example, when we’re talking about these emotional things, feeling confident, feeling like we are enough, and feeling a sense of belonging, those are really all thoughts that we have in our heads.
We don’t feel like they are because they might be stories that we’ve carried on through our entire lives. But one of the tools that I’ve talked about here before is the think, feel, act cycle or what I also call the model. Which means that the reason that we feel anything is because of the reason that we do or don’t do anything.
So, the reason that we lose weight, or we go for a run, or go for a walk, or eat food, or don’t eat food has everything to do with our emotions. And our emotions are responsible for what we do, how we feel in the moment, or how we think we’re going to feel when we do the thing.
In this case, when I lose weight, then I’m going to feel like I belong. When I lose weight, then I’m going to feel confident. When I lose weight, then I’m going to feel like I am enough. And of course, none of us consciously ever think that, right?
If you were to ask any woman, do you feel like you are enough? Most women would say, yes. But when we really get into the nitty gritty of what were the decisions we’re making, it’s all coming from a lack of enoughness.
Those emotions that we feel or that we think that we’re going to feel are coming from the thoughts that we think about ourselves, the thoughts that we think about our weight, or that we think about our bodies. And so, feeling a sense of belonging, feeling like I belong, or that I am enough is generated from the thought that I belong here, or I don’t belong here.
Feeling a sense of confidence is really just coming from the thought of I’ve got this; I’m okay. What I want to suggest is we think that losing weight will produce this emotion of feeling confident, or feeling enough, or feeling belonging.
But if you ask anyone who has lost the weight, and then regained it again. They will tell you that they still had those negative thoughts in their head. The weight did not solve the confidence. They were in a smaller body and maybe they felt a little bit better about it. But ultimately, what happened is they kept that thought of not feeling confident.
What I teach my clients and what hopefully I’m going to teach you today is that when we tackle the mental aspect of weight loss. So, getting rid of the inner critic that tells us that we can’t be confident until we lose the weight and that we are good enough now.
When we can do that and practice it, when we are in a larger body. What happens is when we get to the smaller body, if we get to the smaller body, then it will have taken hold. And so, where we think the chicken and the egg is we think that the weight loss is going to give us the result of feeling confident.
But what can happen and what will happen is that feeling confident ahead of time. Practicing the thoughts that lead to confidence. Practicing the thoughts that lead to belonging. Practicing the thoughts that lead to enoughness, will then produce those emotions in you today and they will also lead to your body right sizing.
Now, I said that on purpose because what happens for a lot of my clients is first of all, I cannot guarantee that weight loss actually happen. There’s a ton of stuff happening in the body that we really don’t know about.
I remember that there was a time in my weight loss journey where I was just like, oh, I wish that there was a barcode that I could put on my lower lip. That would just scan the food that was actually going into my mouth, instead of me having to estimate it in MyFitnessPal or whatever.
What was so fascinating about that is it shows me where I was in my journey that we think that weight loss is a calories in versus calories out equation. We think that weight loss is a math equation. And for college aged men, it might be. And college-aged men are the ones that we’ve really had all of the studies and research done on weight loss.
Women in mid-life have a completely different hormonal structure. And therefore, calories in versus calories out doesn’t work for us anymore. There are so many different aspects to weight loss that we need to get right. And one of those aspects is stress management.
How do we manage our stress? Yes, we can go do things. We can go get a manicure, we can go get a pedicure, we can go for a walk, we can meditate. But that doesn’t necessarily stop the inner critic in our head that when we get on the scale it tells us, oh, my God, you are too fat.
Because I will tell you one thing, that stress of thinking that we are not enough is what will stop weight loss in its tracks. What I want to suggest is that we get to choose what we say to ourselves. When we step on the scale, when we see a picture of ourselves.
We get to decide, what we want it to mean when we eat ice cream or pizza. We get to decide, what we will say to ourselves when our waistband feels uncomfortable. And for many of us, we have this inner critic, this judge that is telling us, just these negative things, 24 / 7 unloop.
And going back to that first certification that I was telling you about, that positive intelligence certification, what we are trying to do is we really want to silence that inner critic. We really want to silence that judge.
Again, he’s not going to go away or she’s not going to go away, whatever voice she has. But instead, what we can do is we can think to ourselves, oh, there’s my judge again, telling me that I’m not enough. I can choose not to believe my brain. I can decide that my brain is just trying to help me whatever way that seems to be. And I get to decide that I’m not going to believe her.
So, that’s the first piece is the mental and the emotional aspects of weight loss. And so, we can totally, coach around the mental and emotional aspects. If you are wanting to lose weight, thinking that that inner critic is going to go away when you get on the scale when you’re at your goal weight, I need to tell you right now that she’s not going to go away.
She’s not going to go away until you do the work to get rid of her ahead of time. And by getting rid of her ahead of time, the weight loss will ultimately become the cherry on top. You will no longer have the thoughts in your head about the inner critic.
Now, the other aspect of this is the physical piece. And what’s really fascinating about this is when we clean up our habits. When we start to drink more water. When we start to eat more vegetables. When we start to exercise on a regular basis. When we eat more protein. When we really care for ourselves through lifestyle habits, what can often happen is a lot of those physical sensations can go away.
We don’t know whether the knee pain or the diabetes, and this is clinically proven by the way. That we don’t know whether the knee pain, or the diabetes, or the high blood pressure, or the heart disease is caused by the weight or if it’s caused by the habits that we do as a result.
So, let me say that again. We don’t know whether having better habits of drinking more water, eating more vegetables, eating better quality foods, and exercising on a daily basis is contributing to the physical aspects of all of these things or if it’s the weight. It could be a chicken and egg thing.
So, it could be simply cleaning up your habits without needing to lose weight is what will give you the benefit of the physical problems that you are currently experiencing. Because if weight loss was truly the answer, then you could go on any restrictive diet.
And you could go on a 1200 calorie diet or drink slim fast, or whatever you wanted to do. And really, get down to your goal weight.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to give you the benefit of heart health, or lower blood sugar, or any of those things that we expect. We know that the way that you go about your weight loss will definitely impact your numbers.
So, we know that healthy habits are definitely going to impact your health numbers as well as how you feel. It’s possible that the eight basic habits that I have, right? The eight basic habits that healthy people do, that those things are what’s actually going to help you to feel better.
So, drinking, water, eating more vegetables, moving, not overeating, getting rid of emotional eating, and just by processing your emotions. What I want to suggest is that if you download the eight basic habits and start doing those, that might just be enough.
And so, managing your mind around your weight, we think that we’ll finally think good things about our body when we lose the weight. But we really have to practice those good things on the way or else they’ll never come true. This is actually part of my story.
Like, I had that come to Jesus, meeting with myself where I was like, look, Elizabeth, you cannot continue doing what you are currently doing. We need to figure out how to love and accept your body, how to listen to your body, or figure this thing out. Because if you keep doing what you’re doing, you are going to burn out by the time you’re fifty.
And this was when I was like, in my early forties. I knew that I couldn’t keep doing the pace that I was doing. So, I really had to come to accept my body for who she was and stop trying to make her be someone that she actually wasn’t.
Through that process, I became best friends with my body. And it’s something that I teach all of my clients is how to become your body’s best friends, so that you will treat her well. Because at this point, I’ll tell you that I still overeat. But when I overeat, it’s not nearly to the extent that it was when I was in my dieting phase, when I was in my restrict binge and regret cycle.
Today, when I overeat, it’s just like a little bit of discomfort. I actually have a lot of compassion for my body. Because I’m like, oh body, I’m sorry that I did that to you, that really wasn’t nice. I was thinking about avoiding negative emotion or I was thinking about how good this tasted. I just kept wanting to eat more, and more, and more.
When I feel that physical sensation of being overly full, it is actually a negative reinforcement of I don’t want to feel like that. And so, I feel a lot of compassion for my body because I know that she’s going to be the one that’s going to have to deal with that the next day.
I always thinking about this question, and I asked this question to my clients often, would you want to lose weight if you lived on a desert island? If you lived on a deserted island and you had access to all of the foods that you have today, would you want to lose weight?
And that will really open it up for you in terms of why am I doing this? Why do I want to lose weight? Do I want to lose weight for myself? Do I want to lose weight because of the physical pain? Or do I want to lose weight because of some sort of external societal belief that I should look a certain way.
Because for us women, this shit runs deep. It really does. And so, really taking a step back and asking yourself and being honest with yourself, why do I want to do this? Are you trying to avoid judgment of others or because you don’t know any other way? What are the reasons? And do you like those reasons?
I hope that I’ll be able to share more fascinating information with you in the upcoming podcast episodes. I know that I’m going to because I’m going to be learning just a ton of new material. And I am so super excited about it.
So, that’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have an amazing week, and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, Thanks for listening. If you’re done with dieting, but still want to create healthy habits that are simple, easy to do, & sustainable, I’ve got an amazing resource for you.
The 8 Basic Habits that healthy people do Guide & Checklist has everything that you need to get started.
And if you do these 8 things , not only will your body be the right size, but you’ll probably be healthier than most people you know.
To get your copy of the guide checklist, go to elizabethsherman.com/habits to get started today. See you next week.