Ep #129: Weight Loss and Overeating Tools Part 1
Posted on August 25, 2016
In today’s age of convenience, many of us have become so detached from our bodies that we have no idea when we’re hungry and no idea when we’re full.
We eat when we’re happy, we eat when we’re sad, or we eat simply because we feel like it.
Those habits, of course, causes many of us to gain weight, and in order to lose weight we try a diet after diet that without much luck long term.
So how do we stop this madness and weigh exactly how much we want permanently?
In this two-part series on weight loss and overeating tools, I will share the tools I used to increase my awareness and lose over 70 pounds, as well as the tools I use every day to stay at my desired weight. I’ve taught these tools to many of my clients, and today I’m sharing them with you.
In the first part of our this series, I’m talking about some of the main tools laid out in my book, If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?, as well some of the updates and improvements I’ve made to them over the years. So turn up the volume, grab a pen and some paper and listen in!
And make sure you tune in to the second part of this series for some of the advanced tools that I have recently developed after doing extensive research into the brain and hormones.
Also, in you want to understand the concepts behind losing weight permanently or you are a coach who wants to learn tools for your clients who are struggling with their weight, or a coach who is struggling with your own weight and want to help your clients as well, sign up for our Stop Overeating Free Training.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!
What you will discover
- Two main reasons why we overeat.
- How to use The Hunger Scale to determine whether you’re truly hungry.
- How to calibrate your hunger scale.
- The 4 types of eating.
- The tools for managing urges and honoring your commitments.
- The benefits of losing weight that we don’t often think about.
- The immense importance of self-care.
- Why you need to focus on the future instead of the past.
- And much, much more!
Welcome to the Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems and real coaching, and now, your coach, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, hello, hello, everyone. Today we are talking about weight loss and overeating tools. This is part 1 of a 2 part series. I've had many people tell me that I tend to make very long podcasts when I'm talking about weight loss. They can tell that it's my passion and that I get a little carried away, so I'm not going to make any promises today. I really have learned so much in the past 2 years when it comes to weight loss and I have a lot to share, but what I learned 10 years ago, and what I taught 10 years ago, is still very valid, and I'm going to revisit those tools here with some new added insight, and all of those tools can be found in my book, "If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight," that you can find on Amazon, and I'm going to talk about a handful of those tools on this podcast today, and then when I do the part 2 version, which will be in 2 weeks, I'm going to talk about some more of the advanced tools that I have developed as I have done further research into the brain and also into hormones.
I will be presenting all of these tools in detail when I launch my overeating workshop live, which will be coming up in October, and it will be taught in 2 full days here in El Dorado Hills, and I would love for you to join me in that workshop. We are going to spend a lot of time learning, and I'm going to be breaking it all down for you. I've never taught this material live before, in person, and I'm going to have some of my students who have gone through my 6 month program, who have lost weight in my Stop Overeating Masterclass, and they are going to be contributing information in their personal experience of these tools and how they've applied them, so you'll be able to ask them questions.
I've also applied all the tools myself and can speak to them, and I am also going to be doing coaching live for anyone who is in the process of losing weight and has been applying these tools and needs help. It will be lecture and I will be teaching a lot of concepts, but it will also be a workshop in the sense that I will be coaching you on your specific questions and issues and then we will also do some small group work to apply the tools, so it's going to be a great combination of all that. If you are interested in joining me, we opened up the enrollment last week, so it is on live, if you are listening to this when it comes out. You can go and check it out at TheLifeCoachSchool.com and then click on "workshops."
In this podcast I'm going to go through the tools and I'm going to talk to you, not based on any of my notes and not based on anything that I've taught before in terms of referencing it. I'm going to talk just off the top of my head based on my knowledge because I feel like I have so many different sources of information that I've learned, and often when I do a podcast, I have a page full of notes that has a lot of references to it, and so I end up teaching in a way that's very specific and accurate, and I definitely want to teach in a way that's specific and accurate tonight, but I also want to talk about it in terms of all the integrated knowledge that I have, so what I learned 10 years ago, how I've applied it to my life, how I'm working on it with clients and what I know, and I'm going to condense it down as much as I give you the nuggets. If you want more, again, you need to come hang out with me live and we're going to go into much more depth. We have many more hours to discuss it in person than we will on this podcast.
The first overeating tool that we must discuss is hunger. There's 2 reasons why we overeat. There's 1 reason why we're overweight and it's because we eat more than our body requires for fuel, but there are 2 reasons why we overeat, which is eating more than your body requires for fuel. One of them is hunger and one of them is desire, so the goal ultimately is and always has been to eat only when your body is hungry, because your body has all the wisdom to let you know when it's time to fuel it and it has all the wisdom to let you know when it's time to stop fueling it, and it also has all the wisdom to give you the feedback on what fuel it most wants to utilize.
I teach a concept called the hunger scale, and it's very important that you are able to read your own hunger scale. So many of you are so detached from your bodies that you have no idea when you're hungry and you have no idea when you're full, and so you can't possibly eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full because you have no idea what that even feels like, so first you have to understand the difference between the sensations that happen in your body that are involuntary and the emotions that happen in your body which are caused by your mind, and the reason why many of us are tuned out from our hunger is because we have tuned out from our bodies in order to not feel, and this was a protective mechanism that we did, usually when we were much younger, because we don't have the coping skills to manage our emotions, so the way that we have learned to manage our emotion is, one way, is by disassociating from our body and the second way is by overeating, which dulls the vibration in your body.
You can see why food is often a choice for many of us when it comes to coping. When we feel anxious and when we feel stressed, we can eat and dull and disassociate from our bodies. Once we tune in to what I call the hunger scale, which goes from negative 10 to positive 10 on a line, zero being neutral, you can start identifying where you are in terms of the sensation of hunger. Now, the sensation of hunger will be something you can identify within your body. It's not a general, vague explanation, it is, "I feel hungry in my stomach. I feel hungry in my head and this is exactly what it feels like. I feel it in my throat. I feel it in my chest. I feel it in my stomach." Wherever you feel hunger is how you will identify it, and then you're going to quantify it by putting it on a scale.
On a scale of negative 10 to positive 10, where are you in terms of hunger? This is a tool that I have spent months and months with clients perfecting and having them practice. So many of them have no idea how to identify either one of those numbers, and so we take our time to really get to know where we are on the hunger scale, tune into our body and be really clear about that. Now, the only issue that happens with the hunger scale, and this is something that I did not discuss in depth in my book, "If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight?" I just mentioned it briefly because I didn't fully understand how important this factor is when it comes to identifying where you are on the hunger scale and eating it that way, is that your hunger scale must be calibrated, and when you put condensed food into your body, food that the body hasn't been eating throughout its evolution, it can completely throw off the hunger scale because it throws off your hunger hormones.
One of the best ways to make sure that you have a calibrated hunger scale is to eliminate all sugar and all flour for your diet for a period of time so you can calibrate it. Sugar and flour wreak havoc on the glucose in your body and they make your insulin drop and they make your blood sugar drop to the sense where you feel like you're hungry even when you're not, and when you drink a lot of condensed sugar, your body doesn't recognize that you ingested calories, so you may still feel hungry even though you have plenty of empty calories within your body.
For those of you who feel like you're hungry an inordinate amount of time, or you feel like you're hungry and full and hungry and full and it's all over the place, it's probably because you're eating a lot of sugar and flour, so I recommend that in order to calibrate your scale, you eliminate those from your diet. Here's the other thing that you will experience. If you decide to do that, so you can tune into your body, you will go through, especially if you've been eating a lot of sugar and flour, you will go through a period of withdrawal from sugar and flour and you will feel terrible. This is why most diets don't work for people, because they go on diets, and diets typically eliminate a lot of sugar and flour, and so people go through withdrawal and so they think the diet is making them feel terrible, and really it's just their own withdrawal from those condensed foods that the body has become dependent on, literally.
If you're going to do this, I just want to warn you that you will go through that withdrawal period. If you do, it's really important to identify the feeling of withdrawal and how it differs from the feeling of hunger. A lot of times I have my students are feeling withdrawal and thinking it's hunger, because it feels like I need to eat starchy and sugary and floury carbohydrates immediately. That is withdrawal. Hunger is much more subtle and it's much less urgent than withdrawal, and so those are 2 things that you really need to take into consideration when you are calibrating your hunger scale.
The other tool that I teach that is really helpful when it comes to eating is the 4 types of eating and being able to categorize the ways that you eat, and one of the questions that you can always ask yourself is, "Why am I eating this right now?" There's 1 of 4 answers. 1 answer is, "I'm fueling my body," and if you're fueling your body, it means you're eating food that is nourishing and fueling to your body and you are hungry. We call that fuel eating. The second reason you might be eating is what we call joy eating, and we plan this into our eating, always, and it is maybe once a week where you decide that you are going to eat something for the pure joy of it. Now, some people like to do a little bite of something once a day. Most of my clients like to do, like, a dessert or something that they don't consider fuel for their body but they just consider it for pure enjoyment, and they eat that, and the rules around joy eating are that you eat and taste each bite thoroughly. I have an amazing tool for this called the tedious powerful worksheet that I'll be giving out.
I'm actually going to be giving out a booklet, a book, on overeating on the workshop, and it will have that worksheet in it. I have never changed that worksheet since I created it, and it is really powerful. You eat it and you actually taste every bite of the food that you're eating, and you'll be surprised at what you'll learn about yourself and what you'll learn about your own eating. The third type of eating is what I call fog eating, and that's when you're eating with no awareness. You're completely unconscious. You're eating in order to disassociate, in order to be outside your body, in order to fill your body up and cause blood reactions within your body so you don't have to experience whatever it is that's going on for you emotionally.
The last type of eating is what I call storm eating. A lot of people would call it binge eating, and it's when you're eating against your own will, and that's where you are eating, and you're eating in a frenzy. You're eating very quickly. You feel like you're unable to stop yourself, but you're aware that you're doing it, and that's what makes it different than fog eating. Fog eating is kind of like you get to the bottom of the bag of chips and you wonder where it went. Those 2 tools alone are the tools that I used to increase my awareness around my eating and to lose 70 pounds over, what's it been now, 12 years ago, and I've kept it off then since, so I think that if you master any tools, those 2 are the most important. Tuning into your hunger, knowing when you're hungry, making sure you're calibrated by...
One of the questions you may have for me is, "Do I really need to give up sugar and flour?" My answer to that is, if you're eating only when you're hungry and you are losing weight, then it means that... And you're overweight, it means that your hunger is calibrated. Your hunger scale is calibrated. Just keep doing that. It's like, always do the minimum effective dose, right? If you're eating on the hunger scale consistently and honestly with yourself and you know that you can identify true hunger versus withdrawal and versus any other emotion, and you're still not losing weight, then you probably need to re-calibrate your hunger scale by taking out sugar and flour from your diet.
The next tool that everybody must be able to manage is feelings, the feelings tool. Most specifically managing urges, and this is something I talked about briefly in "If I'm So Smart," but I have developed this tool much more since I started working with my clients that overdrink, and one of the things that we have to get good at doing if we are emotional eaters, which means we eat for reasons other than hunger, once we've calibrated that hunger scale and we're eating only when we're hungry, there will be many times when we want to eat when we are not hungry, and that would be very disappointing if we're only eating when we're hungry because we're only nourishing our body with fuel, so then, we're like, "Okay, I'm hungry. I want to eat sugar. I want to eat flour. I want to eat and I'm not hungry." Then what do I do with that urge?
There's a process that I teach that teaches you how to be present with an urge to eat, to allow an urge to be there and to not resist it, and to not react to it, and this is a skill set that we develop and learn. Most of our programming right now is to give in to urges, to honor urges. Any time we have a whim where we want to eat something, we just eat it immediately, and we have inadvertently created programming that rewards urges, so any time we have an urge, we eat and then we get a reward, right? We get a physical reward in our brain, especially if we're eating sugar and flour, and one of the things that we need to learn is how to be present with an urge to eat and to not eat, to allow an urge to be there, so it doesn't create tension or resistance. It just is something that we can have in our body and have authority over, and I have a really awesome tool for how to do that, that I will give you at the event.
The other thing that we have to learn how to do is how to process emotion. We have to establish coping mechanisms for our emotions that have nothing to do with food. If every time we feel a negative emotion, we're eating, we are for sure going to be overweight, so what is the alternative? The alternative is being present with an emotion. Most of you, as you know from listening to this podcast, need to learn how to be present and allow an emotion without reacting to it, without resisting it, without avoiding it, right? Just letting it be there, so one of the things that I like to teach is that you can watch yourself have an emotion. You can describe an emotion as if you are describing it to a martian. If you were describing it to someone who had no idea what an emotion is.
In that way, you get relief from the emotion because you're not in the throes of it and you're not at war with it, so you're not resisting it, and that is the skill that ultimately sets us all free, and that's the meta-skill that you can then apply to everything in your life, so although it will for sure help you from overeating when you have urges, it will also most definitely help you from any other urge you have in your life that doesn't have to do with food. The urge to procrastinate, the urge to yell at someone, the urge to be lazy when you really want to get work done, right? Once you learn this skill as it applies to food and eating, you will then be able to apply it to other things in your life, so there is a huge amount of power in being able to manage urges that are trying to get you away from feeling your emotions, and instead walk into an emotion, experience it, be able to explain it and not be afraid of it.
Feelings are harmless if we allow ourselves to feel them. Where feelings get us into trouble is when we resist them and fight them and react to them and avoid them. That's when feelings become a problem. When we allow our feelings to be there, they are very harmless and they actually have so much to teach us and so much to tell us. I talk a lot in my Stop Overeating class to my students about the idea that when you eat or drink, instead of feel, you don't know how you experience the world. You don't even know if you like something.
You don't even know if you want to do something because you are blocking access to the truth of how you feel, by drinking or overeating, and so you may think people are great to be around because you're always overeating around them. You may think an event is amazing because you're always overeating around it. You may think your job is tolerable because you're always overeating through it. If you take away all of the overeating, what is left is what you need to pay attention to and learn from, because that's you telling you the truth about your life. If you're miserable at your job but you're staying in your job and overeating in order to stay there, you're missing out on the opportunity to be in enough pain that would drive you to take action and get something you like better. I know that sounds crazy but that's true. We dull our emotions and miss out on our lessons.
The other exercise, or the other tool that I want to talk about, is exercise, and I use exercise not as a way to help my clients lose weight because it's way too slow of a process and it's not as effective as any other tool there is in the world. All I've been doing in the past 2 years is researching the most effective weight loss tools in the world, and exercise is like at the bottom of the list. It's like 90 percent what you eat and 10 percent of how much you work out. It's a tool and it definitely can be applied, but most of my clients start with me when they are obese and so we spend a lot of time talking about how we can use exercise to develop our meta-skills.
We use exercise as a way to honor commitments to ourselves, as a way to set goals and follow through on them, as a way to feel our bodies and be present in our bodies in a way that we can actually enjoy and experience and start thinking about ourselves in a different way. I have a tool that I'll teach you. It's called the minimum baseline, and if you honor that minimum baseline every day, you start to think about yourself differently. The thing with exercise, especially if it's just a little amount of exercise, it's just as easy to do it as it is to not do it, and that's like so many things in our life, and so if we learn how to exercise for the sake of feeling good on a regular basis, then we can then take that skill and apply it to other things in our lives, and that's been really fun, and I have tools around exercise that you can then apply to other things in our life that you want to get done, because most people want to exercise and they don't want to exercise, right?
They want to exercise because they want to get the results that exercise provides, but they don't want to actually do the exercise, and it's the same with food, right? We want to eat healthy food, so when we learn how to manage our urges and honor our commitments and follow through with ourselves, that's how we learn how to get the long term results that we're looking for instead of always settling for those short term fixes that always have unintended consequences, so we don't even really get the pleasure that they offer, and we miss out on the pleasure of the long term.
One of the things that you have to think about is there is the pleasure of eating cupcakes, which is what we call an artificial pleasure, and it has an equal and opposite consequence that's a bummer, right? We gain weight, we feel terrible, we don't honor our commitments to ourselves, but then there's the pleasure of losing weight, and that pleasure doesn't have a negative consequence to it, right? In fact it has lots of positive consequences. We develop relationships with ourself. We honor that commitment to ourself. We manage ourself. We feel empowered, we're in control, we can wear smaller clothes, we can feel thin and fit. We can go somewhere and buy something in a normal size clothing store that we really enjoy.
One of the things that I really enjoy about being at my ideal weight is my body is almost like it doesn't encumber me in any way. When I'm trying to get dressed, I don't have to, like, wish it were different. When I'm going on a walk, it's there for me because it's not ... Like, when I bend over to tie my shoes, there's not a bunch of weight in the way for me, and that's another pleasure, so I feel like a lot of the pleasures of doing this work just keep giving to me, and all of the emotional work that I did in order to lose weight was really such a bonus and such the skills that I needed for every other area in my life, so we use exercise as a way to develop those skills and not as a way to try and lose weight by running on a treadmill so we burn 200 calories. It's not an effective way to lose weight.
The next tool that I talk about is self care, and a lot of people hear us talking about self care and hear us, thinking, "Lotions and showers and hot tea and cuddles," and absolutely that's part of self care, and so many of us treat ourselves so terribly. We treat ourselves like trash cans and we wear old, frumpy clothes and never look at our bodies in the mirror and never say nice things to ourselves, so, for sure, dressing ourselves in clothes that feel comfortable and that fit and that represent us in the world and putting lotion on our bodies and looking in the mirror is all part of self care. Pedicures, all of that, but, more importantly, I think self care is how we treat ourselves.
We should treat ourselves better, emotionally, than we treat any other human being on the planet. Most of us don't even treat ourselves as kindly as we treat the person at the grocery checkout. We're kinder and politer to them than we are to ourselves, and so self care is really about having a commitment to not beating ourselves up under any circumstance, to honoring our commitments to ourselves, to making plans for challenging situations, to having our own backs when we're committed to something, to being tender with ourselves when we're going through a difficult emotion, allowing ourselves to be still, not choosing to do things that are harmful to ourselves. That's all self care, and taking the time to prioritize what's important to us, taking time to find out what we want, what do you really want? Do you know? And making that be important in our own lives is part of self care.
We're going to talk a lot more about that in the course and we're going to do some exercises that will introduce yourself in a new way. This was something that I had a really difficult time doing when I first started unbuffering myself and I stopped shoving food down my own throat in order not to hear my own opinion. I was tentative to share my opinion with myself because I had been so cruel to myself, and when I started being gentle and curious and fascinated, I was actually quite delighted that I had opinions that served me, and the final tool that I like to discuss is future focus.
So many people that want to lose weight are so buried in the past. They're always telling me that they can't weight 130 pounds because they've never weighed 130 pounds before and the last time they weighed 130 pounds, they were in 6th grade, or they've always tried to weigh that but they couldn't, and so all of the reasons for not being able to weight what they weigh is because of something from the past, and that is always going to prevent you from creating the future that you want, because your past cannot create your future if you want your future to be bigger than your past. You want your body to be smaller, right? So we do some future focus exercises and start focusing on our future and talking about our body and visualizing it in the future.
When I give you a weight to consider, I don't want you to go back to when you were in 3rd grade. I want you to picture your 45 year old body ... I'm 44 right ... In my 44 year old body, what is it going to look like when I weigh 145 pounds now, verses, oh, last time I weighed 145 pounds was in 5th grade, and so I'm imagining that body, okay? It's really important to be able to visualize your future self, and of course, through all of this, we have to talk about thoughts. Thoughts create everything.
One of the best tools that I have for working on this is the scale. I highly recommend that my clients weigh themselves. Not because I care what they weigh, but it's a very important indicator of whether what you're doing is working, but it's also even a better indicator of what's going on in your mind, and what's going on in your mind creates your feelings and your actions and your results, and so if we want to create a certain result in our life, we need to make sure we're thinking the thoughts that will create that result, and when I first working with my clients on losing weight, their thoughts are usually very doubtful and very cruel, and so that's the work that we need to do.
We need to see what's going on in your mind and change those thoughts about you, change those thoughts to really positive, motivating, encouraging thoughts, and I want to say that when you're changing your thoughts, this is not something you do once and then think that you're done. Your neural programming in your brain is pretty grooved in there, and in order to change it, we have to deprogram and basically starve those thoughts to death, and reprogram new thoughts by practicing them and repeating them and repeating them and repeating them and rewarding them. You have to be proud of yourself and curious with yourself and interested with yourself and kind to yourself in order to get the results you want. I've never seen a client beat themselves into permanent, happy thinness. It's always been the other way.
It's always been kind, and a lot of people think that when I say "kind," that means let yourself eat whatever you want. That's not kind. Think about a small child, and if they want a bunch of candy, would it be kind for you to let them eat all the candy they want? Oh, okay, go ahead, go ahead, go ahead. That's unkind, right? They need to have direction and discipline for their own good, and so do you, and so you need to look at your desires that are going on in your brain, those conditioned desires, and give them supervision, and so that's where the thought work is everything, and you need to ...
We'll go through this process where you think about your thoughts, right? We think about, "what are the thoughts," and you may not even be aware of them. I'm always pointing out to my students thoughts that they have that they didn't even realize they had, and when you hear from my clients who have gone through 6 months and have lost a tremendous amount of weight, you will see that the thoughts they had at the beginning of the program and the thoughts they have now are completely different, which makes sense, right? Because the thoughts they had at the beginning of the program gave them the results of being overweight and the thoughts that they have now are giving them the results of having lost weight and being thinner.
That will be really fascinating, and then you can think about what are the thoughts you need to be thinking in order to get the results you want and running those models and understanding those, and then being able to practice those thoughts and rehearse those thoughts and become a person who thinks those thoughts, even unconsciously, even without effort, because you've practiced them so much.
That is part 1 of the overeating tools. Again, I gave you as much as I can in this short amount of time and I know that I was a little even long winded there, but if you are interested in this and you want to apply it to yourself or to your clients, I really want to encourage you to come see me live. This is my jam, right? This is ... Talking about overeating and weight loss and these tools, this is all my life's work right here. We're going to talk in 2 weeks about some more advanced tools. Basically you have ... All these tools I've just given you are everything you need to lose a significant amount of weight. I literally have thousands of people who have lost 50 and more pounds by just applying these tools in their life and practicing them.
If you are someone that has applied all these tools religiously and you're still having trouble losing weight, it is probably because you're over the age of 40 and you don't understand how your hormones work or how your neurotransmitters work, so if that is the case, make sure you join me in 2 weeks and I'm going to tell you more about that. If you want to take this all to the next level and understand this and study it on a deeper level, I'll see you live in October. Go to LifeCoachSchool.com, go to "workshops," and you'll find out more about that. All right, you guys, have a beautiful, wonderful week and I'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.
Thank you for listening to the Life Coach School Podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to the LifeCoachSchool.com/howtofeelbetteronline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually. It's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.