Feminism & Weight Loss Coaching
We’re flipping the script on today’s episode & Elizabeth is getting interviewed by host of the Confidence Made Easy Podcast and former guest, Xena Jones.
In this episode, Xena interviews Elizabeth about the intersection between weight loss and feminism, how weight stigma and body image is different for women of different races, and how that impacts you.
But also, Xena shares her big take always in working with Elizabeth as her weight loss coach; the simple shifts that she made (without dieting) that made a huge impact on her results.
About Xena Jones:
Xena is a certified life coach with the Life Coach School and is the host of the Confidence Made Easy podcast.
She helps her clients to have their own backs & do whatever the f*ck they want, without all the doubt, fear & drama that gets in the way.
She coaches clients all over the world from her home in Papamoa Beach, New Zealand, where she lives with her partner & two fur babies.
If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.
For even more resources on becoming healthier, get my free download: 8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do. If you do these 8 things on a consistent basis, you will be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right-size!
I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.
What you’ll Learn from this Episode
- How modern dieting got its start and how it turned in to a movement mostly for white women.
- The simple mindset shifts that Xena made around food and her body that created a huge difference in her results.
- How feminism intersects with weight loss.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Xena Jones Website | Facebook | Instagram
- Confidence Made Easy Podcast
- Done with Dieting Episode #64: Creating Adult Friendships with Xena Jones
Full Episode Transcript:
I have a very different episode for you today. Instead of me interviewing a guest in today’s episode, I’m the one being interviewed. I love the topic we discussed so much that I really needed to share the episode with you here.
So, tune in.
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, everyone. Welcome to episode number 85 of the done with dieting podcast. In episode 64, I interviewed confidence coach Xena Jones about her friendsperiment. This was an episode where we talked about creating and cultivating friendships in adulthood.
Since that episode, I have had the honor to coach Xena on her weight loss and body image goals. Which is always such an incredible honor whenever anyone trusts me enough for me to be able to witness and be part of their journey. It is such an incredible honor for me. I certainly don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Xena then invited me to be a guest on her podcast, “the confidence made easy” podcast with Xena Jones. And there, we talked about a bunch of different topics that I’ve never talked about on my podcast before. So, I thought it would be a great opportunity for you to get a sneak peek behind the curtains and see what I do when I work with my clients.
Let’s get started.
Xena: Hello, my friends. And welcome back to the podcast. We have an amazing guest today, and I am so excited for this conversation and to share her with all of you. So, we are joined by my friend, by my colleague, and by an incredible bad*ss coach goes by the name of Elizabeth Sherman. I just love that she’s cracking up laughing as I introduce her right now.
I can see her on zoom for all of those who are like, what? So, welcome to the podcast, thank you so much for joining us.
Elizabeth: Thank you for having me. Yes, I am a silent laugher, so you did not hear that, but I was cracking up.
Xena: I love it. Well, first of all, I wanted to start out by talking about why I decided to work with you. And before we do that, I was thinking about this. I was like awake last night. And I was thinking, do you prefer the term health coach, or weight loss coach, or what do you go by? Cause I keep telling everyone you’re my health coach.
Elizabeth: That’s so funny. And the reason I think it’s funny is because, it’s not that I’m going through an identity crisis or anything like that. I do call myself a weight loss coach. However, I could easily call myself a bunch of different things.
Elizabeth: And I choose weight loss only because I think that that’s what the woman who is looking for what I have is looking for.
Elizabeth: And so, I used to go by health coach and when I went by health coach, I just wasn’t getting the business that I was getting when I called myself a weight loss coach. And so, I really am a health coach. I can obviously help women with weight loss because we did some of that work together.
But I don’t do diets. And so, a lot of times people will ask me, well, Elizabeth, how is it that you are anti diet, but you’re also a weight loss coach. Like those things just don’t go together. And it’s through the process of really learning how to treat our bodies with respect and love. Stopping overeating, stopping doing those things that we kind of beat ourselves up for that ultimately lead to weight loss.
So, that’s the long answer for do I call myself a health coach or weight loss coach. And so, you can call me anything. You could call me a menopause coach or just a life coach. Yeah.
Xena: Yeah, that’s so fascinating cause I was thinking about it as you were answering. And I was like, well, I already feel healthy. I know I’m healthy. I make healthy choices and all of that. But one of the reasons I wanted to work with you was because I wanted to lose a little bit of weight. But also, a big part of the reason I wanted to work with you was your feminist values.
And like you’re talking about it’s not a diet. Like it’s more of that kind of anti-diet culture. And that was a lot of the reason why I wanted to work with you was the values, which I think we’re going to kind of unpack today.
Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And for many people, many women going on a diet is a very anti-feminist act, right?
Xena: Yes. Yeah. And we talked about that cause I was like, what’s the word? I was like wrestling with I want to lose weight, but I don’t think I should have to. It was kind of like, but I want to do it for me, but I’m pissed. I was like, I was almost mad about it. Do you remember that?
Elizabeth: I do. I do. Yeah. And ultimately, I think what we came away with is do what you want. Like, when we get to decision making and I’m sure you’ve talked about this on the podcast before. But whenever we’re making a decision, whether it’s to get a new job or not get a new job, lose weight, or not lose weight, whatever it is. Like, really understanding your reasons behind doing it.
And so, if you’re doing it from a place of, well, I’m not going to do it because I’m going to show like society or the man that I don’t have to. Like, do you really like that reason for deciding not to lose weight? I mean, do it or don’t, it doesn’t really matter. But do it for like be happy with the reasons that you’re making the decision.
Xena: Yes. Love your reasons for it. I definitely agree. Yeah. Yeah. So, one thing I really wanted us to talk about is how we have been socialized as women to not be happy with their bodies. Can you talk a little bit on that?
Elizabeth: Let’s start with an easy question. Okay.
Xena: Okay. Right into it.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay, here’s something fascinating. I just learned this recently. That when we talk about diet culture, the history of diet culture. Before, like the 1800s, we actually didn’t know that we could manipulate our body size through things like lifestyle, through exercise and eating.
Elizabeth: And it wasn’t until some men figured this out that they then, and this was during the puritanical time. And so, they figured out that they could. Wait, what?
Xena: I was like, what does that mean? Please explain.
Elizabeth: Puritanical like, when things were like really super religious.
Xena: Okay. Right, thank you.
Elizabeth: Right? Like the early 1800s. And these men in Europe, figured out that they could control their weight through eating different foods. And not eating everything that they desired. And so, because they decided that they could control their bodies. They decided also that therefore, they were more suited to control politics and society and therefore power.
And for a long time, that was how it was that these men would control their bodies and dieting was actually a male thing. And women were encouraged to be heavier. And it wasn’t until women were like, well, wait a minute, we want to have some power too. That women started dieting as well. And once women got on the bandwagon of dieting, then the men saw dieting as being a purely woman’s thing and got out of it. They were like, we’re done.
And so, from that point forward, like the early 1900s forward, we really see dieting as being more of a woman thing, a female thing than like a universal culture thing.
Xena: Oh, that’s fascinating. I had no idea.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Now, the other piece here is to really understand that body size and shape really mimics wealth. And so, like during the great depression for example, when food was scarce, it was not in fashion to be wavelike because that meant that you didn’t have money for food.
And when you look at body shapes over the years and also, what’s really important to acknowledge is that when we’re talking about dieting, it’s not exclusively white women, but it’s mostly white women, let’s say, the subject of diets and body image in this context. And so, when we look at the styles of body shapes over the years, it really mimics the wealthy.
So, like right now it’s in Vogue to be muscular and to be thin because wealthy people have more time on their hands. They can spend more time at the gym. Whereas before it was just thinness, potentially. And it wasn’t necessarily a gym thing. Right?
Xena: It’s no wonder that we struggle so much with our bodies when we are given so many messages like this, right? You should be thin, and then you should be muscular. You should be hitting in the gym more. The messages are constantly changing.
Elizabeth: Well, absolutely. And like, when you look at you know, enter in Photoshop and Kim Kardashian. And the family now has this ideal body shape that they can’t even maintain because we’re talking about Photoshop here. And so, you know, it’s a lose, lose relationship with all of it.
Xena: And it’s a real mind f*ck for women. Really, isn’t it? Like, we grow up and we are seeing all of these images and thinking we should look like that, we should look like that, we should look like that. Like, I remember playing with Barbie dolls growing up and I think I saw this photo once on I don’t know where it was. It was like a meme. If a human looked like a Barbie doll and it was so distorted.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think going back to that story, I was telling you about the history. The very first ideal image was called the Gibson girl and she existed in the 1920s, but she wasn’t even like a real person. She was a cartoon. And I think that Barbie kind of mimics her.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I know you didn’t expect to get a history lesson today. Did you?
Xena: I’m learning so much. This is fun.
Elizabeth: Yeah. But when we talk about feminism and right now, you know, I’m from the United States. And so, I don’t know how much this impacts you, Xena or your listeners. But I’m from the United States. The United States just has started passing some or overturning the Roe versus Wade law, which federally protects a woman’s right to have autonomy over her body.
And I would love to say that this is news. But really, we have been trying to control women’s bodies for years. For me, I don’t see this as a reproductive rights issue. I don’t see this issue as being about babies. I see this as women being told that they are not able to make decisions about their bodies. That they are not capable of making decisions about their bodies.
Xena: Yeah. It’s so interesting, cause last week I recorded a podcast about how the patriarchy can really mess with your confidence. And I started out by talking about Roe versus Wade and how that can really impact the way that we feel about ourselves.
And like you say, it’s our freedom to make decisions for ourself. And yeah. And just to speak to where my listeners are, like the majority are actually through America. Funnily, yeah. Yeah. We got some here in New Zealand and on this side of the globe, but yeah, the most are through America.
So, I think that they’re very up with the play in what’s going on. It’s definitely been coming up a lot in coaching sessions recently with clients as well. There’s a lot of tension in the air.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And going back to a lot of dieting, I mentioned that it’s particularly aimed at white women. But going back to slavery, like dieting was one of the ways that white women differentiated themselves from black women.
Elizabeth: So, I mean, it is racist as well.
Xena: Yeah. Yeah. And are you saying that the white women would eat more and have larger body shapes to show that they had wealth? Is that what you mean?
Elizabeth: Well, so it was portrayed that even though it actually isn’t true that blacks were overweight. They were lazy, they were stupid, all of those different stereotypes that we hear about. And so, slavery in the United States actually started out in like a two cast system. There were white slaves as well. White slaves from I want to say, Ireland.
Elizabeth: And so, just to differentiate between the different levels of slaves, that’s what it was more about. Yeah.
Xena: That’s something that I see I’ve been following a lot of social influences, I guess is the term recently who talk a lot about body shaming and how the media very much takes somebody say famous for example. And sticks them next to a photo when they were slimmer and sees a whole bunch of negative things about their body and how out of control and fat and lazy, they’ve become.
Like I definitely see that there’s like a movement going throughout the world now, would you agree where there are more people speaking out about but various body shapes and sizes and being more accepting of yourself in different bodies. What’s your take on them?
Elizabeth: Absolutely. I think that it started out as I guess I want to say, a younger woman’s movement. The women that I serve who are in menopause perimenopause, they’re interested in the idea. What I see with them is that they think that’s great for other people. That other people like speaking out towards other people, their understanding that we should not be body shaming yet, they’re still doing it to themselves.
Xena: Yes. And I have coached clients on this exact same thing where they’re like, it’s so cool. I so support it. It’s wonderful. And they look at all these different body shapes and they’re like, beautiful, beautiful, love them, love them. And then, they look at themselves and they’re like, no terrible, awful. Right?
But I also think that it came out with a very much like a big push on self-love and accepting your body the way it is and kind of almost implying that that’s an easy thing to do. And you should be able to.
Elizabeth: Oh. Yeah, no.
Xena: Yeah. Thank you. I keep for saying that because yeah, it’s not that simple, right?
Elizabeth: No, it’s really difficult.
Xena: Yeah. And one of the things that we actually explored during a coaching session; I don’t know how we got there. But you were telling me how most women like their faces most out of all of their body part. They like their faces the most because that’s what we’re exposed to. Right? Like exposure therapy, we see ourselves from neck up in the mirror all the time. So, that’s the part of our body that we generally like the most.
Elizabeth: Yeah. That’s absolutely true. And one really powerful way of gaining more body acceptance and body diversity is actually following accounts on social media that look like you, so that it normalizes it. Because like I grew up in the era of seventeen magazine, health magazine, and cosmopolitan. I grew up in like, so I’m 53. I was born in 1968.
Xena: Lovely. You have done think about this as you’ve said.
Elizabeth: And so, I remember looking through magazines and if you see me, I have a very socially acceptable body shape and appearance. And yet, even I am looking through those magazines didn’t feel like I belonged. Like I was heavier when I was younger, but I did not feel like that was something that was attainable for me.
Elizabeth: And I am so much closer to that ideal than someone who’s another skin color or another race. And so, for me to struggle with that, I can only imagine how difficult it is for someone who naturally just carries more body fat, who’s shorter, who has brown skin, whatever it is.
Xena: Yeah. And even like to speak to that, I’m 36, so I still grew up with the magazines and it was mainly white women, and it was all skinny models. It was no curvier women, no women of color. It was just the skinny white woman constantly. And it was like this one shape, this one body shape constantly over and over and over again.
And I love what you’re saying is to follow, sorry, I keep cutting off. But it’s to follow the accounts of other people who look like you. And that is one of the things that I did way back when I was first introduced to coaching, cause I was following all of those fitness magazines and all of these like having women with six pack abs and like having this warped idea in my brain that I wanted to look like that and be like that.
And I went through and unfollowed all of them and followed women who looked like me, similar to me. And had this more body positive, more body acceptance kind of an approach. Even though, I couldn’t get there yet, just to see that there’s people who look like me plastered everywhere. Like it just normalized me.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And going back to the body love piece. I said, no. We can’t do that. Well, I don’t want to say we can’t do that. But for many, I think that we see body love or self-love as something that’s completely unattainable. Considering, how we’re thinking about ourselves right now. So, like for example, if I look in the mirror right now and I’m like, “Ugh, gross.” Like, how did this even happen?
That’s pretty negative. And so, something that we often experience as women, let’s say, that you and I are in the bathroom, a public bathroom. And I say that to myself out loud. And you look at me and says, “Elizabeth, you should not say that, you’re beautiful. I think you’re gorgeous.” You should say that you’re beautiful.
Well, after I’ve just said that I’m disgusting. If I say to myself, I’m beautiful. The brain just turns off. The brain just cannot comprehend that because it’s so far outside the possibility. And so, I don’t think that affirmations are a really good way of getting to a place of body positivity. It just like the brain turns off and it isn’t believable, especially after all of the years.
Think about 50 some years of saying those same things in the mirror every single day. And potentially, even having other people mirror those same thoughts. Because we don’t get that in a vacuum. We get those messages from parents, or friends, or the media, or whoever. So, we learn it at a very young age and then we just carry it through our lives.
And thinking about it, going back to feminism. We don’t teach men that they should love their bodies. Right?
Xena: Ooh, valid point. Mic drop.
Elizabeth: When I think about my husband, or like a little boy, or even a teenager, like you should love your body. No one says that to them. So, why should we be saying it to ourselves? It just becomes something else that women are failing at. And so, I just recorded a podcast on this called body neutrality, not body love.
And the idea potentially is that if we can at least just get to body neutrality, meaning that you know what? This is my body. It’s a good body. It’s going to get me through this life because we cannot trade in our bodies. We kind of have to take care of them.
And so, if I can be my body’s best friend, and that does not mean that I’m loving on my body. I think that we have this idea that when we have body love, we’re going to be skipping through the fields of daisies with unicorns, and rainbows, and butterflies. Looking at ourselves in the mirror, naked, like, “oh my God, I am delicious.” And that’s just not the case.
You know, when you think about your relationship with your body, it’s almost like being in relationship with a best friend, or your mother, or your father, or your partner. And you can love that person and still be disappointed in them.
So, when you see a picture of yourself and you’re like, “oh gosh, I look really heavy there.” Like, it’s okay to act disappointed or to feel disappointed. But that doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up over it.
Elizabeth: Like, we take bad pictures.
Elizabeth: And actually, I have a really good analogy for this. Think about going on a vacation and you take a picture of the sunset. When you get your pictures back or you look at your pictures and you’re like, oh, that picture really did not capture the beauty of the sunset. Right?
And yet, with our bodies, we’re like, there’s something wrong with my body. There’s nothing wrong with the sun. There’s nothing wrong with the sunset.
Elizabeth: And somehow, we through that around. Yeah.
Xena: That is so good. And I’m so glad that you said that, and this is so much of the work that I do with my clients is just getting them to that place of neutral. Right? They’re in the negative place, just bringing them up to neutral. And I love how you talk about it like in a relationship setting, because as you say, I love my partner and sometimes I’m mad at him, or I’m frustrated, or I’m disappointed. Like those things also happen. It’s not just that one constant feeling state.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Yeah. So, like today my relationship with my body is that there are sometimes that I do stupid things, I’ll drink too much alcohol, or I’ll eat too many sweets, or I’ll overeat, or whatever it is. And when I do that, when I wake up the next morning, I’m like, “Ugh, I feel gross.” I don’t hate my body. I actually apologize to my body.
I’m like, I’m sorry, body that I did that to you. That was my brain deciding that it wanted to do whatever it wanted to do. And I understand that you’re going to have to suffer the repercussions of that. I’m really sorry. I promise to take better care of you now.
Xena: Oh, I love that idea. And I’m so going to borrow it. Yeah. I love to drink bubbles and when I have three glasses, I wake up the next morning. I’m like, “oh, oh, I don’t feel so clash.” Right? But yeah, apologizing to my body, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we did. That was my brain’s idea of a good time. It’s not a good time today.
Elizabeth: Well, and the same thing is true for during periods of time, high stress, you might gain a little bit of weight because either you’re eating improperly, or you’re just not sleeping, or whatever it is. And again, I look at my body and I’m like, I’m sorry, body. I have not been taking very good care of you, lately. We’ll change that.
Xena: And that reminds me of something that we did together. And I don’t even think this was in my notes. But like I noticed as we were working together, and I do want to talk about some of the things that you taught me. But like I started noticing that I kind of had this pattern cause I was checking my weight every week and it would go down, down, up. Down, down, up, or something similar to that.
And I was noticing that I was getting really hungry. And then, I would be all of a sudden, not that hungry. So, I was definitely eating more at one period of time. And then, I was not that hungry now. I don’t have a regular period. And I’m sure that many of your listeners starting to experience that as well.
So, I didn’t know when my cycle was or anything like that. And one of the things that we actually got me to do was to start tracking my moods, and my eating, and how hungry I was, and satisfied, and all these different things. So that I could see, “oh, okay for around about seven to 10 days every month, I get really, really hungry. My weight goes up a little bit and then it drops again. And that’s normal. That’s what my body does.
And that was like really huge for me because it showed me this is normal. This just happens every few weeks. This is a normal thing for me. And it gave me the ability just to let it go, cause I was starting to think I’m doing something wrong in a natural fact. No, I’m just listening to my body, which is a big part of the work that we did together.
And my body says, actually I need a little bit more food right now. And in a few days, I’m not going to need quite so much. That’s okay.
Elizabeth: Yeah. A woman’s natural cycle. In the 28 days, it’s actually broken down into two different phases. There’s called the luteal phase in the follicular phase. And the follicular phase, if I’m remembering this correctly is the first part, the first 14 days. And then, the luteal phase is the second. And actually, no, I think I have that reversed.
Anyway, in the first phase is when we’re generally a little bit stronger and our estrogen is higher. And that’s when we can usually eat a little bit more and we should exercise more intensely. And then, in the second phase, in the days just preceding our cycle, that’s when we’re in the more relaxation phase and we want to take things a little bit easier.
So, everyone’s a little bit different. Like, I noticed that some of my clients, they will gain weight in the days before their cycle. Some will gain weight while they’re on their cycle, or it’s all a little bit different. But what we’re talking about here is just being aware of how those different natural fluctuations and hormones affect you and your body.
So, noticing that extra hunger, or noticing the cravings, or noticing sleep disruptions, or energy, or mood disruptions. So, yeah, there are five different what I call biomarkers that I use with my clients to determine whether we’re eating right for our body or not. And those things are cravings, appetite, eating, sleep, and mood.
Xena: Yeah. And one of the things I really want us to talk about is how you teach. And this is a big part of the anti-diet culture is just to listen to your own body. There is no one right way when it comes to losing weight, or maintaining healthy weight, or anything like that.
And that was a big part of the work we did together was learning to listen to my body, when am I hungry? That’s when I’m going to eat. When am I full? And this was a tricky one, right? Because I’m so used to overeating and finishing all of the food on my plate.
But when I’m full, start really listening to your body and then stop eating. That was really big thing for me. And I mean, I’m still working on this, right? this is ongoing.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And I share this with everyone that when I was learning how to pay attention to my hunger signals and not overeat to satisfaction. I think it’s really important to understand that it took me a good 18 months to be able to feel like, I don’t want to say mastered it. Because again, I admitted that I still overeat every once in a while, but it’s not a problem for me anymore.
Of course, that could be mindset related. Like, I was making it a problem before I didn’t want to be overeating. So, I do it every once in a while, now. And I’m like, oh, that doesn’t feel good. And so, it’s kind of negative reinforcement.
Xena: Yeah. And like one of the huge things for me was when you shared that with me when you said, it took me like 18 months to get there. And I was like, “huh,” it released so much pressure cause I was like trying really, really hard. And then, I was getting really pissy when I would like overeat and things like this.
But just seeing that it really is a process and also committing to the fact that I want to learn this and master it because this is how I want to live the rest of my life. I just want to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full and not overeat. And yes, sometimes I will. That’s okay. But that’s just a way of life.
It’s not a diet, it doesn’t matter what I’m choosing. And generally, I make healthy choices anyway. But yeah, like this was just a really big shift for me.
Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And the way that I don’t want to say that I stumbled upon it because I learned it from someone else. But my mindset was “I do not want to be logging my food when I’m 70 years old.” And I do not want to be fighting with my body when I’m 70 years old either. And so, I either need to figure out how to eat for my body, or stop arguing with my body, or stop fighting it.
So, that was part of the process. Learning how to eat to satisfaction not to fullness
Xena: Yeah. And one of the big kind of aha moments that I had was when you said to me, “it doesn’t taste better if you keep eating it.” I think my brain literally exploded because I was like, oh sh!T, it doesn’t!
And now, anytime I find myself if we have a delicious meal, or I’m having something sweet, or anything like that. It doesn’t taste better if I keep eating it. That is so true. If anything, it takes the joy, right? Out of it. So, why not stop and put it away, put it aside, have it later, or whatever. Like, that was just huge. I had to stick it in here.
Elizabeth: Well, I usually give that advice when I’m talking to clients and they’re going to like a family party, or a barbecue, or something like that. You know, when you’re at like a party and you’re eating grocery store cake and it doesn’t taste good, but you keep eating it anyway. Like hoping for some flavor, that’s really where that quote came from. It’s not going to taste any better if you keep eating it.
And so, I think that that happens to us a lot at parties. We’ll eat something and we’re like, well, that doesn’t taste really good, but I’m going to keep eating it anyway because I don’t know. I don’t know why we do that.
Xena: Cause why, yeah. And that was another thing is like changing my self-concept to become a person who does leave food on her plate. I don’t know about you, but I grew up being told, you have to finish everything on your plate. There are people starving in other countries if you don’t eat it, like basically you’re a terrible bad person and you definitely don’t get anything else. Right?
Like that was so drummed into me. It’s rude to leave food on your plate. That kind of idea. So, to actually shift into being a person who leaves food on her plate, I want to say that was huge but at the same time, it was actually very quick and easy.
In that, I just started to believe I’m just a person who leaves food on a plate. That’s just who I am. I just leave food on my plate and not making that a problem. Like I adopted that belief very, very quickly. Yeah.
Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And there’s one other thing that I want to bring up, which you got really quickly. I think I was mentioning to you that some of my clients. When our body has a tell, when we’ve had enough. And I notice that when I’m eating something sweet, like cookies or something like that. That I’ll get this little niggling thought in my head of “you know what, Elizabeth? That’s probably enough.”
And like, I really have to obey. I have to learn to obey that thought. But we are talking about like eating your regular savory meals. And I said that a lot of my clients will find that they take a deep breath. Like at some point in their meal. And that’s usually a signal that our body sends us that, you know what? I’ve had enough. And you really adopted that very quickly.
Xena: Yeah. And I noticed that. That is one of the tells that I’ve had enough, cause I know that I eat quickly and I’m actively working on slowing down, but sometimes I can miss that kind of cue. I have to still actively think about, am I full? Am I full? And wasn’t like it doesn’t come naturally. I’m still like, wiring that in.
So, yeah. It’s noticing, how am I breathing? That’s one of the things. How is this food feeling? And I’ll pause and I’ll be like, okay, have I had enough? And it’s like, I’m trying to connect all of the dots together in my body and brain. But that deep breath is one of the things that tells me, okay, yeah.
And I also didn’t make it a problem that even when I’ve had the deep breath, I know I want to have one or two more bites. And that is okay. Like, I’m not just stopping right now. It’s okay, I’m going to have a couple more bites and we’re done. It’s like I’m easing myself into that transition.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Well, and I’ll probably guess that knowing some of us go unconscious when we eat, right? We just eat and we’re not really tasting the food. And I’ll bet that those one or two bites that you have after you have that breath that you’re choosing. You’re actively choosing, I’m going to have two more bites. You’re probably being more mindful with those than the rest of the meal.
Xena: I would completely agree with you. Yes. Like I’m savoring them and enjoying them because I know that they are the last couple. And that makes me think like, what if I started the meal doing that savoring and enjoying the flavors, and the texture, and the smell, all the things. Right? What if I reverse that?
Elizabeth: Yeah. I actually try to stop for even like five seconds and just observe my plate before I dive in. And like, just really take it in and imprint it in my brain.
Xena: Yeah. That’s interesting cause I notice I’m very quick like “oh, got to get into it.” Like so interesting. Okay, I’m totally going to do that. I’m learning so much. This is fantastic.
Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And one of the other things to realize and this is going to be controversial. Hunger is not an emergency.
Xena: I love that you say that because even now, that’s one of the things I’m working on. Like, I’m going to record a podcast soon about discomfort muscles and your willingness to feel discomfort. And one of those for me right now is using hunger. Like, I’m allowing hunger for me is very uncomfortable as I’m sure it is for many people. And we make it mean that we need to eat that something is wrong.
But our willingness to like sit with that discomfort and just allow it, I think is very powerful. Like our body doesn’t have to eat as soon as we feel hungry. Like we can be hungry and it’s okay. I love saying this.
Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And when you look at the hunger scale, I don’t want to say the hunger scale. But when you look at a timeline of your day. You’re feeling full. You can’t see it right now, but I’m actually drawing a graph. And after you eat, if you stop at satisfaction in about 20 minutes, you’re going to go up to feeling full. Right? Because all of the chemicals have told your brain that you’ve had enough.
Elizabeth: After that, your body goes down to neutral and you hang out in neutral anywhere from two to four hours. After that point, then your body is going to send a little signal. It’s kind of like a sonar. I see it as a sonar. And the sonar is telling you, hey, we’re going to be hungry in about 45 minutes or an hour. For everyone, it’s a little bit different.
So, when you start paying attention to it when you first get that hunger pang. If you eat right, then what’s going to happen is you’re telling your brain; you’re teaching yourself that whenever you get hungry that you have to eat. But if you hang out for a little bit, you’ll notice that your body goes back to neutral again. And you’re not hungry.
But then, you want to make sure that you do have something in mind for when you want to eat, because it’s going to come back with a vengeance. That’s when you want to eat. But you don’t want to decide what you’re eating at that point of really feeling hungry. You want to decide what you’re going to eat and how much earlier in advance.
Xena: Yeah. Yeah. And I think one of the beautiful things I learned from you is there is no one right way for everyone. And I experimented with a lot of different things while we were working together like deciding ahead of time, what I was going to eat.
So, I’d literally ride it out the night before, like what I was going to eat the next day. Just to make sure that I was making healthy choices, getting enough vegetables and that kind of a thing and portions what have you. But also like we talked about fasting and whether or not that was something I wanted to experiment with again and all of that.
So, what are your thoughts on that?
Elizabeth: Yeah. Good point. So, when we start paying attention to our body. When we start paying attention to our hunger signals and something that we haven’t really talked about is what types of foods feel satiating to us. What we can start to do is we can start to curate the right way of eating for us and our body and our lifestyle.
Elizabeth: And so, like you hear all sorts of different rules about how much you should be eating, how much you should be exercising, what you should be eating. And when you can start to really observe and listen to your body and notice. Oh, when I eat a purely carbohydrate based breakfast, then I start to get cravings in the midafternoon. Versus, and I know that this was true for you, that when you had a protein and fat breakfast, you didn’t get as hungry a little bit later on.
Xena: Yes. Yes, that’s so fascinating because I discovered that if I have like eggs with say, a piece of toast, like I usually have sourdough bread. But if I have eggs with a piece of toast, I will get hungry sooner. And as opposed to having like eggs with salmon or avocado or something like that, that will keep me full for so much longer.
Like I am satiated. I am satisfied. I am good for hours. And it was just so fascinating to really listen to and see that. When I have the bread, I’m hungry sooner. That is just over and over, I have seen that.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And so, really starting to be able to connect the dots between what we’re doing and what we’re experiencing. Because I think what happens a lot of times is we feel like, well, I don’t know what happened. Like, all of a sudden, I just had these cravings for chocolate, and I gave into it.
Well, if you start looking at what happened before, maybe what happened is the night before you actually had some wine. And normally, you have one glass or two glasses but this night you had three. And so, because you had three glasses of wine, you didn’t sleep really well.
Now, we know that when we don’t sleep well, our body cells don’t actually regenerate correctly. And what happens is our body cells don’t create energy correctly. So, the next day after we’ve had this crappy night’s sleep, our brain is like, I need some energy. And I know that the easiest way to get energy is through carbohydrates.
And so, the brain then sends us to, okay, now I want chips or now I want chocolate or whatever your thing of choice is. Really, being able to notice, what happened before that? Like everything doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
My point really is not that you can’t using. I can’t ever have sour dough bread with your eggs anymore. But knowing that if I do, this is gonna be the consequence. So, knowing that if I have two glasses of wine, I’ll be fine. But if I have that third, I probably won’t sleep very well. And if I don’t sleep very well, then the next day I might have some cravings.
And so then, having that awareness allows us to just say, “oh, you know what?” I really don’t need the chocolate. Maybe I’ll have some coffee instead because I’m just trying to stay awake.
Xena: Yes. And I think that this all just comes back to listening, to understanding, and knowing your body. Which I think is exactly what you’ve helped me to do. And I think it’s so empowering. I think that my confidence has grown.
Like, I’m already a confident person but like my confidence in my ability to maintain my weight and the way I feel about my body. Like all of that has actually grown so much throughout this process of us working together. So, I just want to say thank you for that.
Elizabeth: Absolutely. I am so thrilled that I can do this work for women. Because I think that too many women are beating themselves up unnecessarily because they’re like, I am so smart. I’m accomplished. And I’ve done all of these amazing things and I just can’t freaking get my weight under control. How is that even possible?
Xena: And it’s so frustrating, right? I sympathize. I have been there. I get it.
Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely.
Xena: I need to contact you. But before we tell them how to do that, is there anything else that we haven’t covered? Anything else that you want to talk about?
Elizabeth: No, I don’t think so.
Xena: No, we got it all. Okay. Your face, I love it. Guys, she’s making a face.
Elizabeth: I could talk for days about this. So, I’m sure that there’s some stuff that I’m missing.
Xena: But if there is, it’ll be on your podcast, which they should definitely go and listen to. So, tell now.
Elizabeth: My podcast is called, “done with dieting.”
Xena: Yes. Done with dieting and it’s on Spotify, Apple, all the places.
Elizabeth: It is everywhere. It’s on Amazon. It’s on audible. It’s on Google. It’s on Stitcher. I’ve done it all.
Xena: Everywhere. I love it.
All right. Well, let’s tell people about your upcoming training that you’re hosting.
Elizabeth: Yeah. So, I’m doing a webinar called why women gain weight after perimenopause. And that’s going to be on July 18th. And in it, I’m going to be talking a little bit about feminism and again, diet culture, and why we have been socialized to just keep going after diet, after diet.
And then, going through what are the basics of nutrition. Because I think that we’ve been taught that we need all of these fancy diets. We need keto. We need to go vegetarian. We need to do all these things. And I think that when we’re doing those special diets, without having the basics in place, we’re basically building a structure on a house of cards.
And so, when that doesn’t work out, then everything comes tumbling down. And so, you can really make amazing strides with just the eight basic habits. And it’s one of the tools that I use within my private coaching as well as in my group coaching. So that’s going to happen on the 18th of July.
And then, August 1st, I have a new cohort. Actually, it’s going to be the Feel Good Sisterhood, which is my group coaching program. And I’m changing things a little bit. It’s actually going to be an evergreen process. So, if you’re listening to this after the fact, you can reach out to me, and we can talk about whether you’re a good fit for the program.
Xena: Yes. Now, tell them where they can find you in all the places. We’ve already told ’em to check out your podcast, where else can they find you?
Elizabeth: So, you can find me at my website which is elizabethsherman.com. You can find me on Instagram, which I am having fun right now. I’m doing all sorts of crazy reels and things like that. And there, you can find me @esherman68. And then, on Facebook, you can find me at Total Health by Elizabeth.
Xena: Amazing. And we’ll put all of those in the show notes so that people can connect with you.
Elizabeth: Thank you.
Xena: Thank so much for coming on. This conversation has been amazing. I need to listen again cause there were so many nuggets that you shared throughout that I just want to make sure I cement in my brain. And also, like just to speak to the work that we did together, like I am so grateful for the tools and having you coach me every week and we covered all sorts of things.
There was a little bit of weight loss focus, but I feel like we covered a lot of different things, like how I feel about my body. Like being naked and the concept of being sexy. And yeah, just like the pressure on women in society. Like we covered so much, and I just have a huge appreciation for the work that you’re doing in the world. So, I just want to say thank you.
Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And you know, just to wrap up that we’ve been taught that the food is the problem. We’ve been taught that the way to solve the overeating problem is to go on a diet. But if you’re overeating or if you’re eating for emotional reasons, the food isn’t the problem. It’s why you’re eating the food.
I started out my career as a personal trainer and nutritionist. And it wasn’t until I really realized that all the other areas of our life, like our relationship, and our work, and how we feel about ourselves. Those are the reasons why we practice or don’t practice self-care.
And so, just to speak to that, we cannot think about our health, our eating, and our exercise in a vacuum of just food and exercise. We have to look at it from the point of view of the whole person. Like, why are we making those decisions to eat those things? And so, that’s what I help my clients to do. Just to become more aware of when something happens that I respond through these methods.
Xena: Yeah. And one of the things that you had said before that I wrote down, I was actually going to bring us back to it was like going unconscious when you’re eating. Which is something that I didn’t realize I was still doing that. I thought I had worked through that, but I was still doing that at times. Like eating to numb out or avoid my feelings. Eating to celebrate what have you but being very unconscious and non-deliberate about it.
Elizabeth: Well, and to speak to that point that there’s a lot of judgment around emotional eating. And we’re never going to get rid of emotional eating. Like we eat to celebrate, that’s emotional eating. And so, just being aware of why it is that I’m eating. And I think I shared a technique with you. Which is when you find yourself in front of the pantry and you’re not hungry. Like at least just say, I’m eating, and I’m not hungry, and I’m okay with it. I’m making that decision.
Xena: Yeah, totally. I could talk to you all day. So, thank you so much for coming on ’cause there is so much value in this episode for everyone. I love it.
Elizabeth: Awesome. Thanks for having me.
Xena: I’ll see you soon.
Oh, I hope you enjoyed that episode. It’s always so fun being on the other side of the microphone. And I loved this one, especially because we talked about topics that I normally don’t talk about. Like the history of dieting and how it has its roots in racism. Which is a really difficult topic to talk about. Especially, in today’s climate. But it’s an important one.
And I hope that you can look at it through different eyes. Because we can’t change what we don’t know. And of course, if you’d like to work on some of the topics that we talked about on today’s episode, I’m going to invite you to schedule a consult call with me, to see if we’re a right fit.
If I can help you. And if so, what would be the best approach? All you have to do is go to elizabethsherman.com/consult. And you can schedule some time with me.
Have a great week, everyone. I will see you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, Thanks for listening. If you’re done with dieting and would like to work with me as your coach, I’d like to invite you to reach out to myself and my team to ask about programs and pricing. Go to elizabethsherman.com/contact to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you.
See you next week.
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