In episode 129, the first part of the Weight Loss and Overeating Tools, we talked about the basic concepts laid out in my 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 over the years.
If you haven’t listened to it yet, go back and check before jumping into this episode.
Today, in the second part of this 2-part series, we talk about the next level of the tools that many of my clients have used successfully to lose (and keep off) dozens of pounds.
Tune in as I explain the role our hormones play in our ability to lose weight and how sugar and flour affect them. I also cover how dopamine and neurotransmitters affect our desire for food and what we can do in order to get that desire under control, as well as many other concepts that I will be covering in our Stop Overeating Free Training.
If you’re someone who would like to take control of their weight or a coach who would like to help their clients do the same, you won’t want to miss this episode or our watching 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 hormones affect our hunger.
- The foods that affect our hormones.
- Why today we have the biggest amount of obese people in human history.
- Why your hunger scale might be out of whack.
- How understanding what we eat affects our hunger and desire.
- And many tools we’ll be talking about in the upcoming training.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hey, everyone. How are you guys today? Today we are going to talk about overeating and weight some more. This is part two in a two-part series, but I'm going to start by reading something I wrote on my website about the upcoming in-person live training, because I want you to come. We are going to have so much fun. You've got to come and hang with us and talk about weight loss. It'll be a blast.
Do you want to stop overeating? I know how. I will teach you. I'm offering a two-day overeating workshop. When it comes to losing weight, you must treat the cause or the results will be temporary. We have to question the reasons we overeat and solve for those reasons. I have spent a significant portion of my life solving this to the point where I have achieved my goal weight effortlessly and have taught several others to do the same. It boils down to two things: desire and hunger. If you were never hungry and you never desired food for nonphysical reasons, you would never have to worry about overeating or your weight.
The reasons we overeat are simply one or the other, and they both require different approaches to manage and solve. First, I will teach you about hunger. If you only eat fuel when you are hungry, you will achieve your ideal weight. That is how your body is designed, and if you honor your body with fuel, it will serve you at its highest capacity. Tuning into and understanding hunger is a skill. It's not something that most of us naturally do. Tuning into our body's signals of hunger means we will also be tuning into our body's emotion. This is all part of the skill set I will teach you.
Our hormones have a huge impact on our hunger and our fullness. Understanding how your hormones are affected by what and when you eat can help you recalibrate your hunger so you are more satisfied and for longer. This understanding will help you design a way of eating that makes food simply something that you used to thrive and not something that you use to escape yourself. I will teach you about the main hormones and help you design a way of eating that serves your specific body.
Once you recalibrate your hunger scale and rebalance your hormones, you will then want to know what to do with all the times you want to eat when you aren't hungry. Our culture is filled with opportunities to eat for pure entertainment, escape, and avoidance. This is set up on neurotransmitters to be automatically searching for and desiring foods as if our lives depended on it. I will teach you brain science behind this. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with you because you eat against your own will. It means your brain is working as it is evolved to work.
Your brain has literally been conditioned to desire foods that will cause the fastest and most permanent weight gain. It's one of the tragedies of our generations and the reason why we are facing this obesity epidemic. I will teach you how to deprogram your brain for desiring foods that don't serve your highest goals for your body. Desire is something we have conditioned ourselves by learning, and we can condition ourselves to desire different foods by following a simple mental process. I will teach you how to manage and eliminate urges to overeat, how to treat the cause of your desire, and to ultimately remove the struggle between the conflicting desires to lose weight and overeat.
If you guys are interested in coming to that workshop, it's Monday, October 17th, 9 to 5, and Tuesday, October 18th, 9 to 5. We have people coming from all over the world, from Europe, from … I think we have someone from South America coming. I don't know if we have anyone from New Zealand yet, so if you're in New Zealand, we need you to represent. We do. We have people coming from all over the country and all over the world to participate and be part of it. We also have people of all weights and sizes coming, so if you are feeling like you shouldn't come because you're overweight or you're feeling like you shouldn't come because you're not overweight, please don't let that be the reason you don't come.
Everybody is welcome, absolutely, with no judgment at all on what you weigh or why you weigh it. It's open to all people who want to lose weight and it's also open to all coaches who want to work with people to lose weight. We will give you lots of tools that you'll be able to apply, and you just fly into the Sacramento airport. We are going to talk about hunger, desire, commitment, protocols, exceptions, thoughts, beliefs, and an unbuffered life.
In this podcast I'm going to go into some detail with some of those concepts. If you haven't listened to episode 129, that's where I talk about the basic concepts and the main concepts that you want to start with when it comes to overeating, and now I'm going to take it to part two, the next level, all of those tools and the story behind me taking those tools from episode 129 and applying them to my life and losing 70 pounds and then aging 12 years and having more of a difficult time with it, and also, I had an experience with my son where he was gaining weight rapidly, not able to lose it, and always hungry all the time.
As a weight loss coach, I really felt like I should be able to help him better than I did and I really wanted to be able to teach him about the hunger scale and the four types of eating and that sort of thing, but he had problems with calibrating his hunger scale, so I needed to understand why that was with him. What was going on that his hunger scale wasn't working? We would go out to dinner and he would be hungry and he'd eat a full meal and then he would be hungry right when he was done and want more food, and it made no sense to us.
Even though he was a growing boy, it was really off, and the thing about my son is that he wasn't an emotional eater, so I couldn't understand what was going on with him physically, so I went to work to research all of that and I discovered so much information that has helped not only Christian, my son, who is now at an ideal weight, very fit, very happy with his body, but also with myself and with my clients, so that's some of what I'm going to share with you here. If you want to dive deeper into it, please come join us live in October in El Dorado Hills.
Okay, so let's start with hormones. Let's start with why our hormones matter when it comes to our hunger scale. Hunger originates because of our hormones, and we get the sensation of hunger from ghrelin, one of our hormones, and we get the sensation of fullness from leptin, one of our hormones, and both of those are regulated and affected by insulin. As I said in episode 129, one of the best ways to calibrate your hunger scale and to make sure that you're eating when you're genuinely hungry is to take out concentrated food from your diet. What I mean by concentrated food is anything that the manufacturers have taken that naturally occurs in the world that our body has evolved to eat and has taken it and concentrated it into such a compact amount that we have an unnatural reaction within our body that throws off our natural cues of hunger and fullness.
There are three main things that affect our hormones in this way, and they are, first and foremost, are sugar, really affects our hormones. Flour affect our hormones, because if you think about how flour naturally occurs versus how we've ground it down and concentrated it into a powder in order to ingest it, our body has not adapted to being able to process that in a way that doesn't affect our hormones. In fact, I was reading a book the other day that defined obesity as an excess consumption of flour and sugar. It was just so profound to see that in a book that had been written in 1935.
Obesity, the way that they defined it, was an excess consumption of flour and sugar, so it made me wonder if flour and sugar didn't exist, would we have obesity? I think it's fascinating to think about. I was listening to someone else talk about how we have so many more obese people in the world now than we ever have, and although it is natural for us as human beings to have varied weights and sizes and that's why it's so important to understand body acceptance and there are people that are naturally larger and heavier and fatter than others. There are an inordinate amount of obese people compared to any scale that you look to in human history, and the reason why most people believe that that is is the processed food that includes so much excess flour and sugar. Also, the trend when we switched over to low-fat food as being healthy, and that increased the amount of flour and sugar that we were eating and also increased obesity.
It's really important to understand how our hormones react to certain foods, and our hormones react terribly to sugar and flour. Our insulin in our bloodstream really gets out of whack and we can develop what they call insulin resistance when we eat too much sugar and flour, and I will go into this in much more detail in the class, and I've actually gone into much more detail on this in a webinar that I have on my website at thelifecoachschool.com if you're really interested in the science behind the hormones.
I don't go into a scientific explanation in terms of using really big words that I don't understand. I don't pretend to be smarter than I am, but I do understand the effect of sugar on insulin and how it completely throws our hunger scale out of whack, so when we eat sugar we are constantly hungry. You don't eat something that's filled with sugar and feel totally satisfied. If you eat something that has a lot of sugar in it, like, say you drink 500 calories of Coke, you do not feel like you are full, and in fact, you will probably have a dip in your blood sugar that will make you feel even more hungry later in the day even though you've ingested 500 calories.
The easiest and most simplest explanation I have to it is that ghrelin tells you when you're hungry and leptin tells you when you're full. Insulin regulates both of them, and sugar and flour throw them both off. If you're wondering why your hunger scale may be off, that could absolutely be the reason. Your hunger scale is regulated by those hormones, so understanding how those hormones working your body is really important. Understanding how all flour and sugar affect those hormones is very, very important.
The other thing that's important to understand is how neurotransmitters in your brain are affected by what you eat, and that's when we switch over from hunger to desire, so that first piece that I read to you at the beginning of this podcast talked about there's two reasons why we overeat. One is hunger and our hunger scale not being calibrated or eating when we are not hungry. The second reason is desire, and desire is something that we create with our mind, and desire is something that's primitive that is regulated by dopamine, so we have evolved to desire and be motivated to do things that are in our best interest of our survival. When you think about seeking warmth, when you think about seeking rest, when you think about sex, when you think about food, when you think about drinking, when you think about mating and the ritual behind that, it all is rewarded, all of those actions are rewarded with dopamine in our brains.
We have taken food and concentrated it so we have an unnatural reaction not only with insulin hormone in our body but also in our brain with our neurotransmitter dopamine, so when you eat a lot of concentrated sugar or a lot of concentrated flour, you have unnatural reactions because you're eating something that doesn't naturally occur that your body hasn't evolved to customize itself to, and then you have that what I call reaction in your brain which is like, "This is awesome. You need more sugar. Sugar is the most important thing in the world because I'm having such an incredible …" This is your brain talking, right? "You're having such an incredible dopamine reaction. This must be very important to our survival," so it ratchets up that desire that we have for that food and then when we don't have it we feel a literal withdrawal from it.
Our brain compensates for over consuming sugar by down regulating dopamine receptors, which makes us want it even more and need even more of it to get the same experience of dopamine, so that desire is so primitive and so strong that it feels like it's against our own will. We don't even realize that we have programmed ourselves to desire something so much by consuming it, and we've also conditioned ourselves that when we eat it, we will be rewarded. Understanding how dopamine works in the brain and works as a reward and as a motivator is really important when we are trying to understand why it's so hard for us to lose weight. Hormones first, then dopamine and neurotransmitters, and understanding how what we eat affects our hunger and desire will make it so much easier for us to choose foods that will downgrade all of that intense hunger and downgrade all of that intense desire.
The other secret sauce, so one of them is that … The biggest secret I have for you is sugar and flour causes all sorts of havoc in your body that makes it so you can't rely on the wisdom of your body to tell you when you're hungry and full, and the second thing is us being conditioned not to eat fat has been one of the other biggest problems. We've been encouraged to eat things that don't occur naturally in the world, that don't occur naturally in our evolution, which is concentrated sugar and flour, and we've been encouraged not to eat something that does occur naturally, which is that, and that includes animal fat and butter and cream and all of those things that are amazing when it comes to helping us be hungry less.
I want you to imagine waking up and eating a doughnut, and you could wake up and maybe you're at -4 on the hunger scale, and you eat a doughnut and after you've eaten the doughnut you're probably at a -2 on the hunger scale, if you're anything like me. You're a -2. I want you to then imagine that you wake up and you eat eggs with cheese and bacon and cream mixed in. If you're at a -4, by the time you're done you'll probably be at a +2 on the hunger scale and you will be able to go much longer before you get hungry again. That sugar from the doughnut has affected you, the flour from the donut has affected your insulin, in such a way that you feel totally jacked up on the sugar high and then totally depleted, and then you'll go into withdrawal for it. It will have also ignited your dopamine so much that your desire will be through the charts for more sugar and more flour.
If you eat something that has less sugar and less flour or no sugar and no flour and plenty of fat, you will have the opposite experience. This is some conditioning that is very difficult for those of us who grew up in the 80s with the no fat movement. It's very difficult for us to eat fat, and healthy fats, and what is a healthy fat, and really understanding that, and I can't wait to teach you all about that and to show you some of the research on that and to show you how the research on the low-fat movement was completely full of errors and how eating more fat really helps us use our own natural hunger scale and our own natural body's wisdom to be hungry less often and to desire food less frequently and therefore lose weight more permanently.
The other thing that we're going to talk about and that's really important for you to think about is your commitment and your why. One of the things that weight and eating really shows us is our relationship with ourselves. It shows us how connected we are to our emotions and how willing we are to feel them based on how often we are using food to escape from ourselves and from our lives, how often we are expecting outside influences to entertain us and to provide joy for our lives instead of relying on our relationship and our connection with ourselves.
One of the things that I love to teach and I love to use the weight journey to explore is what is your commitment to yourself and do you keep your word to yourself if you say you're going to do something? Our relationship with our self is really about our emotional maturity and our emotional immaturity. Most of us start overeating at such a young age that our maturity level actually stays at that age in terms of our emotional maturity, so if we learned how to cope with our emotions by eating foods when we were 10, by eating Oreos, and we never stopped eating those and we kept eating and using those as a way to cope, then our coping mechanisms are those of a 10-year-old, and I will tell you that was me.
I did not know how to cope. Nobody ever taught me how to cope with my emotions. Nobody ever taught me an alternative. I didn't know how to be bored. I didn't know how to be anxious without eating, and I know that many of you are in that same experience, and I couldn't honor a commitment to myself because I didn't understand how my brain worked, so what I did is I spent a bunch of time beating myself up and criticizing myself in some moral way as if there was something intrinsically wrong with me, which led to more shame and more frustration, which led to more overeating. It was a very vicious cycle.
One of the things that we have to learn how to do is honor the commitment that we make to ourselves with those competing desires so we are more committed to our long-term happiness than we are committed to our immediate gratification, and we do that by stepping into that emotional maturity and being willing to take responsibility and have the capacity and the skill set to be able to feel an emotion without reacting or resisting to it.
One of the best ways that I know how to do this and the way that I teach my clients is by using the prefrontal cortex and creating a protocol, and I use the word protocol very deliberately instead of the diet, because a diet refers to something temporary. For those of us who have emotional eating issues, we need to decide how we are going to fuel ourselves for the rest of our lives. If you look at the last five years of your life, you've pretty much the same thing. Unless you've gone on and off diets, you pretty much already have a protocol. If you look at the last three weeks, you probably have a pretty deliberate protocol that you are just doing unconsciously. One of the things that I want to teach is how to make decisions ahead of time with the prefrontal cortex, how to plan ahead of time so you can create not only a plan for what you want to do, but a plan for the results you want to get.
You decide now what you're going to eat tomorrow and you do it in a way that is very kind and deliberate and careful and thoughtful that takes your ultimate well-being into mind, and when you do that then you honor that protocol, you honor that commitment to yourself, by honoring the decision that you made ahead of time. If you have an urge or a desire to eat something that's off that protocol, you know how to manage that, you know how to feel that without giving into it, and this is the best way I know to utilize your upper brain, the part of you that's human, the part of you that knows how to think about what you're thinking about, and that can develop discipline by repetition. It's very difficult to use willpower in the moment to make these decisions. It's much easier to make these decisions ahead of time and to be thoughtful and planning what you're going to eat.
A lot of people will say to me that sounds tedious, I don't want to do that, that sounds frustrating, that sounds too structured, I don't want to be encumbered, but what I have found and what my clients have found is that when you plan what you're going to be and you honor that, then you don't have to think about it anymore, and in fact it frees you up completely from about 50 extra decisions a day. Even though you think it may make you feel constrained and structured, it actually makes you feel free. It's kind of like when you establish a calendar for getting all of your work done and you know if you just follow that calendar that everything will be taken care of. That's such freedom. You don't have to worry about, am I going to get this done, am I going to get this done, am I going to get this done? It's all on your calendar and you know that.
That's what we do. We create a protocol that you can follow and that you can commit to, and within that protocol I have tools that I'm going to teach you to consider. I've done research on the best tools for losing weight, the best ways to lose weight and how to use them effectively. I've shared some of them with you already. The idea of not eating sugar and flour makes it so much easier. The idea of introducing a lot more fat into your diet makes it a lot easier. The idea of not snacking, of picking meals and choosing to eat only during those meals and not making decisions to snack in between those meals.
Using a fasting or an intermittent fasting protocol is really effective, and a lot of times when I talk to people about fasting they freak out because they think they're going to be hungry, but I teach you how to become fat adapted, which means that when you fast you're utilizing the fat on your body as fuel so you do not feel hungry all of the time and how to manage that. We talk a lot about how to eat in a way so your body will rely on its own fat, because one of the jokes we make all the time is what is the most important thing to eat when you're trying to lose weight? The answer is your own fat, which grosses everybody out, but it's really true.
You want your main source of food to be your own fat, that you don't want to feel like you're starving and you don't want to feel like you're on some very restrictive diet where you're ready to pull your teeth out because you're hungry all the time. We have to understand how the hormones of hunger work so we can use them in our favor so we don't feel hungry as much, so we don't desire food as much, and therefore we don't eat as much, which allows our body to utilize the fat stored on our body for fuel.
No one is starving to death here. If you're overweight, you have plenty of fuel for you on your body and you don't need to be feeling weak and depleted in order to do this. I'll teach you how to do that properly. This is a self-driven protocol. This is something you create. This is not a diet that I give you. I will give you lots of options, and I've had 25 people go through my "Stop Overeating" master class at this point, so they can talk to you about the protocols that they've used and what's worked for them. They've lost dozens and dozens and dozens of pounds and they can tell you what worked, what didn't, what was hard, how they got fat adapted, all of those things that are so life-changing once you understand how they work, and it's really fun to watch people lose weight in this way because they're almost giddy about it because it's like, "Oh my gosh, I never thought this was going to be possible for me. I always thought this was going to be my lot in life for the rest of my life."
That doesn't mean that it isn't difficult. When you are taking your body off of sugar and flour and withdrawing, when you're starting to feel a bunch of emotions that you've never felt before and learning how to cope and process negative emotion…that is very challenging. Going out into a world where everyone expects you to eat all the time and eat what they prepare for you and eat the food that is served in restaurants, it's challenging, but not something that you can't do, and in fact, when you learn how to do it this way in the way that I teach you, it becomes something that's just in the background and something you never have to worry about again. You never have to worry about gaining weight. You get to be in this slim body and you know that you'll get to keep it for the rest of your life. I don't think there's anything more freeing than that, so when people say, "Oh my gosh, it's so constrained," it depends on your perspective, I guess.
I do want to remind you that a lot of you guys may feel like this is just another diet or you feel constrained by it because you've been on diets before that felt that way, and I just want to offer that diets before that you went on temporarily that caused you to feel terribly nauseous and hungry all the time, this is nothing like that, and I have lots of actual real-life examples that we can talk through and I'll have people there, and my students are coming that will share their personal and honest stories with you about what they have experienced, and it's not the same as just going on another diet.
Learning how to plan something, make a decision ahead of time, and honor that commitment to yourself is also a meta-skill that you'll be able to take through your entire life and you'll be able to apply to everything, not just to weight loss.
The other thing that I teach you about is we talked about in episode 129 the four types of eating and joy eating. I also have a tool that I've included that talks about exceptions for special occasions, for vacations, for things like that, and I think it's really important to have those built-in as something that is deliberate and planned ahead of time. One of the things that I think is really important is if you're going to each sugar and flour, if you're going to eat off of your protocol that it's something you decide with your prefrontal cortex and not something that you decide with your automatic brain that actually encourages that unconscious urge desire cycle that leaves you feeling completely out of control, so we will talk about exceptions and how important those are.
We will also talk about what it means to live an unbuffered life, and I think this is the most important conversation we can have. We live in a culture that encourages buffering because buffering is easy to sell. It's easy for me to sell to you alcohol that makes you feel better and food that tastes delicious and affects your brain and it makes you feel and affects your hormones in a way. It's easy for me to sell that stuff that you are somewhat dependent on, somewhat you'd feel withdrawal if I take it away from you. That's the easiest thing for me to sell. It's almost like I'm preying on the way that you have evolved as a human being by concentrating these substances and using them in a way that I know will make you desire them even more.
It's crazy to think about how the industries that prey on the dopamine rewards in our brain are the ones that are the most lucrative. When it comes to the pornography industry, when it comes to food and processed food, when it comes to alcohol and beer and spirits and all of those things, those are very, very lucrative industries, and the other place where we get a lot of dopamine is from our ambition and achievement and spending money and that sense of accomplishment, where we get this false sense of accomplishment when we buy something on a credit card, even though we haven't gone through the process of earning the money to buy it.
We still get that false pleasure and that dopamine hit, and one of the things that is very difficult is to de-condition our brains from all of that unconscious programming, but once you're aware of it, it's like once you see it, you can't un-see it, so I think living an unbuffered life to many people sounds very boring, like if I can't drink and I can't overeat and I can't smoke and I can't buy stuff on credit, I will lose my will to live.
I used to think that too. I used to think that what will be left? Nothing fun, and course, in fact, the opposite is true. To feel completely in control of myself, to only experience pleasure that has positive consequences and not negative consequences, has been the biggest surprise of my life, and one of the things that I want to offer you and teach you is your ability to do that.
It doesn't mean you have to do it. It doesn't mean that you have to lose weight or have to give up sugar and flour, any of those things, but I want you to have the ability to do it if you want to, and I have done the research and I have applied this to myself and I've applied this with my students, and I know that it works and I know that it opens us up to the possibility of evolving from a place of unbuffered-ness, which I think is the foundation from which we can really create what we are meant to create in the world, and I know that sounds so clichéd, but when you are not buffering yourself you know the truth of how you feel.
You know what you're afraid of because you're not drowning it with food and alcohol. You know what you're excited about. You know what people you want to be around. You know the people you don't want to be around. You know what you want to create and you know how you feel about it, and that is something I want to teach you the skill of, to be able to do that if you want to. It's not for everyone and not everyone will do it, but the fact that you're listening to this podcast means that you're probably someone that might, so I want to encourage you to come in October and I really want you to be there. I really want to teach you this. I'm going to be on my A-game because this is the stuff I'm the most excited about, so if you're interested in joining me go to thelifecoachschool.com workshops and sign up, and I'll see you there.
All right, everybody. The other thing that I want to tell you is that we will have someone from The Life Coach School who will be hosting the event, which means if you're traveling alone you will not have to eat alone. We will have a host there, a hostess, probably, there that will be meeting everyone in the lobby that wants to go to dinner the first night, go to lunches, introduce you to other people, go to dinner, that sort of thing, so we have a lot of really lovely nice people at The Life Coach School and we don't want anyone to feel like if they're traveling alone that they need to be alone, because we want to meet you. We want to hang out with you. We want to talk to you about all of this stuff. You're our people if you dig this stuff as much as we do, so if you're interested in coming, we will see you at thelifecoachschool.com workshops. All right, everybody, have a wonderful week. Talk to you soon. Buh-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 thelifecoachschool.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.