Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 53, Before You Try to Lose Weight Again.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief to grow, evolve, and create a future you can actually look forward to. Here’s your host, certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. We’re going to talk about weight loss today. Actually, we’re going to talk about some things for you to think about as a widow before you try to lose weight again.
So, you might not know this, but in addition to being a life coach, I’m also a certified weight coach. And I’ve had my own significant struggles and ups and downs of weight loss my entire life. The largest I ever was, was a size 18. I weighed more than 200 pounds. And after losing Hugo, I figured out how to get to a size four. But more importantly, I figured out how to feel amazing about my body, how to actually love it and how to deal with my feelings.
And in my six-month group program for widowed moms, my coaching program, we spend time working on our relationships with ourselves and with our bodies. And since nearly everyone in that group wanted or wants to lose weight, I know that many of you do too. And we can do that and I can help you.
But before we do that, we need to get our minds right. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today because weight loss is not the answer you think it is by itself. It doesn’t actually make us feel better. So, I’m going to talk to you today about three things that I want you to consider before you try to lose weight again.
Before I do that though, I want to read a podcast review. If you’ve submitted a review, I appreciate it so much. This one came from a reviewer who calls herself Widowed Young Twice.
And she gave a five-star review that reads, “I’ve just discovered your podcast after my second husband died suddenly of a massive heart attack. I wish I would have discovered this after my first husband died as it has such helpful information to make grief less confusing. While listening to your episodes, I think it would be helpful to people, more than just widows. And the last episode on helping those we love, I printed it all off because it was so clarifying and exactly how I feel as a widow. Thanks, Krista.”
You’re so welcome, Widowed Young Twice. I appreciate the feedback and I’m so grateful to know that the podcast is helping you.
Alright, let’s jump in. Three things for you to consider. Now, I know, before we start talking about them, that the experience of widowhood can be different, so I want to acknowledge that. And I want you to think about maybe what your reasons are for wanting the weight loss that are perhaps unique to having lost your husband.
So, it might be that you, like me, are trying to prove something to yourself. You might be trying to prove something to others. I remember thinking that because everything in my world felt so out of control, that I wanted to focus on controlling my weight because it just gave me the sense of control, or that’s what I was seeking anyway, that I didn’t believe I had elsewhere.
And so, I became kind of hyper-focused on that for a while, trying to prove to myself that, if I could figure this out, then that meant I could figure out the rest of life, and that if I could control this, then that meant I could control other things. And so, I get that if that’s where you’re coming from.
Some of us are trying to believe that someone will find us beautiful and worthy of a relationship again. Because maybe we don’t view ourselves that way, and so we think that on the other side of the weight loss rainbow is this sense of beauty and worthiness.
And then, once we get to that number, we think that we’ll then believe that we’re worthy and that other people will believe that we’re worthy and beautiful and can be in another relationship again. Because, for some of us, you’ve been in a relationship with your late husband for years, decades even. And he may have just loved you exactly as you were.
You were comfortable there. Your weight wasn’t something you were having to prove. You weren’t out there dating. You weren’t thinking about new relationships. You weren’t measuring yourself in that way, through the lens of someone new. You were kind of measuring yourself through the lens of someone that had taken vows with you and was your partner.
So, I get that there are reasons that are unique to the experience of widowhood and weight loss. I also get that there are reasons that we believe that weight loss is harder. I’m going to save those for another episode.
This is not going to be about strategies or tactics or the how to lose weight. These are things I want you to consider before you try to lose weight again, just for your consideration. And they’re pretty big, pretty big deals.
So, the first one that I want you to consider – and I know you might roll your eyes, but listen to me please – weight loss, the number on the scale, will not make you more worthy. You have nothing to prove. I promise you your worthiness is fully intact. You are fully whole. Your worth, your lovability, your value were given to you at birth.
It’s not because of anything you did. It’s not something you earned. It’s not something you can un-earn. Your worth is simply your birthright. It’s all of our birthrights. We are beautiful just as we are. So, losing weight, achieving a smaller clothing size, those things will not make us more worthy.
I want you to think about – I don’t remember who I first heard this from, but it’s so true. Think about how we treat babies. When a baby is born, do we ever say to that baby, “Well, I don’t know, baby, we’ll see how you do with that eating. We’ll see how you do with that weight. We’ll see what size clothes you wear because that means a lot, baby.”
No. We don’t look to that baby and expect that, through its behavior, it must prove itself to us in order for us to deem it worthy. The exact opposite, right? The baby comes out and we have already decided it is a miracle. It is perfect. It is amazing exactly the way it is, at birth. The baby hasn’t even done anything. It can’t even talk yet. But yet, we’ve decided that it’s amazing and perfect.
And, somewhere along the line, as we grow up and we start having our own thoughts, we stop thinking about ourselves that way and we start believing that there are certain things we can do or must do to believe that we’re worthy, and there are certain things that, if we do them, we can’t believe that we’re worthy and we get ourselves into knots about our self-worth and our value. And it’s all crap. And we can unlearn it all.
The scale is just a number. Clothing sizes are just numbers. They literally mean nothing about us or who we are or how capable we are, how amazing we are, or anything about our future. They don’t even cause our feelings, these numbers. They’re just numbers.
So, we have to stop telling ourselves that, on the other side of the weight loss drama, that at some new number we’re just magically going to feel more worthy or be better. We’re not. We are already 100% worthy. We have nothing to prove. And weight loss will not make us any more worthy. There is no such thing. We’re already at our full capacity of worthiness. It’s already there.
So, that’s number one. Weight loss will not make you more worthy. So, if you’re trying to prove something, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Number two, changing your body in order to stop judging yourself will never work. Because I promise you, there will always be something about our body for our brain to judge. So, the answer to judgment is not to change the body. The answer to judgment is to train our brain to stop judging our bodies.
Because if we don’t, if we lose weight with the hopes that when we’re in a different body at a different weight, we’ll stop judging ourselves, but we don’t change the way we think about ourselves, it will be like a game of whack-a-mole; a miserable not-fun game of whack-a-mole.
Remember, the brain is always looking for evidence of our thinking. That’s how it’s filtering the world. And so, we can use willpower to get the weight loss we want, but unless we solve for our crappy beliefs about ourselves, then our brain will just keep showing us evidence of how our crappy beliefs about ourselves are true.
And listen to me. I know this firsthand. All of this that I’m teaching you is work that I have done on myself. I’m by no means perfect, but I love myself so much more than I ever have before and I judge myself so much less than I ever have before. And as a result of that, I feel better than I’ve ever felt before about my body. And it has nothing to do with the number on the scale and everything to do with the way that I trained my brain to be my own champion.
Two clients come to mind in my group right now, having just recently had some discussions on this subject. One has had quite a bit of weight loss. She’s very proud of herself. But what she’s noticed is that even though she’s lost all of this weight and now her friends are starting to comment and everybody’s telling her she looks great, she’s still not actually feeling any better in some ways because now her brain has turned its focus to her midsection, which is now looser than it was before.
Her belief about herself is that she isn’t pretty, she isn’t beautiful, she doesn’t like her body. Those are her thoughts. And because she’s still working through the process of changing those thoughts, even though the scale number has changed, her brain is still doing what brains do and it is looking in her environment for evidence of her belief that her body isn’t beautiful. And so now, it’s hyper-focused on her midsection.
This is whack-a-mole. She can get to the perfect number. She can go and have her stomach worked on. As long as she keeps that belief and she hasn’t yet figured out how to set it down – which she will, she’s on her way. But it’s not usually a switch that we can just flip. It requires some work to reprogram our unconscious thinking. But as long as she holds onto that belief, then her brain will always find something about her body to use as evidence that her terrible belief is true.
I’ve got another client who is working on binging, urge-driven eating. And her belief is that she’s out of control. And the reason she wants to lose weight is because she wants to prove to herself that she’s in control. And this can be problematic.
Maybe you recognize yourself in this pattern. If you think you have to create a result before you can believe something, then you, like many of us, are confused because our results don’t cause our beliefs. Our beliefs cause our results. We get it backwards.
So, this client who is trying to prove to herself that she’s in control by losing weight, it will never work that way. She has to actually choose to believe that she’s in control and change those patterns so that she can have a different relationship with food.
Because as long as she believes she’s out of control, every time she thinks that, “I’m out of control,” she feels shame. And when she feels shame, she eats. And then the pattern perpetuates and her brain keeps showing her more evidence of how she’s out of control.
And then briefly she tries to use willpower and push her way, resist those urges that she feels to eat and to numb out with food. And, as humans, we don’t have unlimited willpower. It is a finite resource. We only have so much of it. So, of course, she reaches that point where she’s exhausted her willpower and she gives into the urge and she eats, and then she validates her belief that she’s out of control.
So, believe it or not, and as hard as it can be, I promise you that we have to change the beliefs first because changing our body in order to stop judging ourselves never works. We cannot hate ourselves thin. We don’t just hit a particular clothing size or a particular number on the scale and then all of a sudden believe amazing things about ourselves.
So, if we want to lose weight, that’s great and I’m all in. But we have to solve the root cause of eating more than our body needs. That’s why we’re overweight in the first place. We’re eating more than our body needs for fuel, but we cannot do it from judgment. We must, must, must do it from self-love. There is no other sustainable way.
And self-love is a product of the way that we think about ourselves, the way that we treat ourselves, what we allow our brain to say to us. And many of us are so mean to ourselves and we tell ourselves that we can’t feel good about how we look and who we are until we change our weight. And that is what’s holding us back.
We have to see that who we are is amazing now because we won’t prove it to ourselves with weight loss. We have to change our brain first, alright. So, weight loss will not make you more worthy and changing your body in order to stop judging yourself will never work. We have to train our brain to stop judging ourselves and then we can lose weight and keep it off.
The third thing I want you to consider before you try to lose weight again is that weight loss isn’t the answer to feeling better that we think it is. Weight loss, if done properly, will actually include a lot of negative emotion. Why is this?
Many of us are using food as an escape button for our feelings. Whenever we have a feeling that we don’t want to feel, if you were like me, you end up in the pantry looking for something to solve your emotional problem, something to dull it down, to numb it out, something to take the edge off, some sort of relief or peace to find. And we stuff food in our body to make ourselves emotionally feel better.
So, if we want to lose weight, we have to stop doing that. So, in order to start using food for nutrition instead of emotional entertainment, we actually have to learn to allow and process the negative emotions that we’ve been using food to cover.
This means we’re actually going to feel worse emotionally before we feel better because it’s actually not – I remember, this blew my mind when I heard it the first time – it’s not that we don’t know how to eat. We know. We know how to eat.
Most of us know more about nutrition – it’s ridiculous what we know about nutrition. We know how to eat. We know the pattern of eating that would result in a lower number on the scale. But what we don’t know is how to deal with the feelings that we’re left with when we don’t eat them, when we stop using food to dull our emotions and when we stop using food as entertainment and we stop using food as a reward and we stop turning to it as the escape button, the crutch.
What’s left is the feeling we were trying to cover up. And most of us don’t have the skill of allowing that feeling of sitting with it, of feeling it until it’s gone. So, we have to learn that.
So, thinking that weight loss is the answer to feeling better, first of all, even during the process, won’t serve us because we actually have to be willing to move toward discomfort. We have to be willing to stop using food to numb out and let those emotions be there so that we can learn to process them, so that we can figure out, “What are the changes I need to make in my life to experience more pleasure? What is so bad about my life that I’m trying to bury with food? And can I change those things? Can I change what I’m thinking so that I feel better instead of trying to numb in out with food?”
The other thing is that even when we get to a weight-loss goal, the grass isn’t greener, believe it or not. The grass isn’t greener, emotionally speaking, because negative emotion is just part of life. And I know you’ve heard me say this on the podcast so many times. We have to have negative emotion as humans.
If we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t have any context. Nothing would mean anything. We will always have negative emotion. We only have ecstasy because we understand despair. Without, quote un quote, negative emotion, we have no frame of reference for positive emotion.
So, the point of life isn’t to be happy all the time, even when we hit some number on the scale or get to the number of clothing size that we think we wat to be in, negative emotion is still going to be part of life. Our brain has a bias that is built into it toward the negative. It’s a survival mechanism. Our brain is always looking for things that could go wrong, always, just to keep us safe. It’s what it does.
So, even when we get to a weight-loss goal that primitive wiring still exists. Our brain will always be hyper-focused on the negative. We never get to a place where it is kittens and rainbows all the time. It doesn’t matter.
I know you know this because you can look back at times in your life and you can see places where you achieved something that you always wanted and you expected that it would be the answer, and it wasn’t. Maybe you got the degree, maybe you got the promotion, maybe you got in the relationship, maybe you had the kids.
You had the picture of what you thought you were supposed to have, what you thought would make you happy, only to realize it didn’t. You still weren’t as happy as you thought you were supposed to be. This is how I discovered life coaching in the first place, even before Hugo died.
Thankfully, I had discovered life coaching and some of these tools because I couldn’t figure out why everything in my life, all the external signs said, “You should be happy. You have a great job. You have two kids. You have a husband. You should be happy.” But there was a part of me that really wasn’t happy. And I thought there was something wrong with me.
Unfortunately, that led me to some of these tools that I’m now teaching you. But once I realized that no, it’s not my job to be happy all the time, negative emotion is part of life, it is valuable, it has its place, it’s okay, I can make peace with it, I can stop judging myself when I have negative emotions, then I can just be with them and they’re not such a big deal anymore.
So, even when you’re on the other side of a weight-loss goal, you’re still going to experience the half of life that is negative. It’s fine. It doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. It just means you’re human. And your weight, as hard as it might be to believe, isn’t what’s causing your emotional experience of your body. Your thoughts are.
Holy cow, right? I wish I had known this when I was in middle school, that my thoughts about my body were causing my emotions about my body, not my actual body. What? Thoughts cause feelings. That’s just simply the truth. So, as long as I believe that I’m not worthy, as long as I believe that I’m not pretty or that I’m ugly or that there’s something wrong with me, that is what’s causing my emotional experience of my body.
And guess what – and this is what we were talking about in my coaching group. I asked, “So what is it that you all think you want to feel? Why do you want to lose weight?” And the answers I got were emotions. We all want to feel emotions. That’s, as humans, why we want to do anything. We want to feel proud. We want to feel accomplished. We want to feel valuable. we want to feel worthy. We want to feel confident.
And so, then I asked, “So, tell me, how many pounds do you think you need to lose before you get to feel emotionally the way you want to feel?” Almost everyone in my group said 20, 30-ish, some more, some less. But everybody genuinely believed that in order for them to feel confident, sexy, proud, valuable, accomplished that the number on the scale had to change.
But if the number on the scale doesn’t actually cause our feelings – and we know it doesn’t because one number for someone might be their dram weight, and for someone else, it’s the most they’ve ever weighed. It is never the number. It is always the story we tell about the number,
So, I asked them, “Why, once you’ve lost that weight, would you get to feel proud and accomplished and sexy and beautiful and valuable and all of these things? What would you be thinking that is different than what you’re thinking now?”
And that, ladies, is what I want you to consider. What would you believe about yourself then that you don’t give yourself permission to believe now? And why are you holding yourself hostage to a number on the scale so that you can believe you’re sexy or beautiful or amazing or wonderful or capable or competent or confident? Why?
Choose that now. Decide what you want to believe about yourself. And even if you have to work toward it – and trust me, I know it’s work. This is why I do what I do I teach people how to change their beliefs. It’s just science. It’s totally doable. But there is a process to it and it takes a while.
And most of us have very resistant brains. Our brains don’t like to change. They’re very good at repeating patterns. It’s good for our survival. They burn fewer calories that way. And your brain will have a lot of thoughts.
If you go to think right now that your body is amazing just as it is, your brain probably is calling BS on you. Maybe not for all of you, but for a lot of you, your brain’s like, “Yeah right. Are you kidding? Have you seen our body? Go look in the mirror.”
It’s going to have a lot of thoughts. And many of them, you’ve been carrying around and believing since you were little. I know, for me, I started having negative thoughts about my body in fourth grade, third grade, pretty early on. We’re kind of socialized that we’re supposed to be a certain weight. We’re socialized that our worth and value is based on our looks and how society and men accept us.
So, we have a lot of undoing there. But whatever it is you think that you would be giving yourself permission to believe one you’ve lost the weight, that is what you have to start believing now, before you lose the weight. That is ultimately the answer to how you want to feel. It is not the number on the scale. It is not the size of clothing.
I swear to you, it is how you choose to see yourself. It is how you choose to think about yourself. And what you think about on repeat becomes what you believe. Your self-belief is what creates your experience emotionally of your body. So, all those things that you want to feel, I’m with you. I want you to feel them.
But if you don’t change the way you think about yourself, losing weight won’t be the answer. It won’t. So, before you try to lose weight – and I can help you lose weight. I can. I can help you figure out how to not eat your feelings and I can help you figure out how to not use food as an escape and I can help you love your life more so that you have less that you’re trying to escape from.
But I really want you to consider these three things before you try to lose weight again. I want you to consider weight loss will not make you more worthy. You have nothing to prove. Your worth is fully intact. Changing your body in order to stop judging yourself will never work. We must train our brain to stop judging ourselves because there will always be something about our bodies for our brain to judge and we don’t want to get stuck in perpetual whack-a-mole, alright.
And lastly, weight loss isn’t the answer to feeling better that we think it is. Our weight doesn’t actually cause our feelings. Our thoughts do. So, on the other side of that weight loss goal is still negative emotion because it’s the human experience. And the path to losing weight involves being willing to feel a lot of the emotions that you might be using food to numb right now.
And even when you get to that number, if you don’t change how you view your body, what you think, what you believe, you won’t experience the emotions that you want. I promise you, this is true.
Alright, we’re going to continue this discussion. But for now, those are the things that I want you to consider. If you want to do this work with me on a deeper level, I invite you to apply for my Mom Goes On group coaching program. It is a small group.
You go to coachingwithkrista.com, you click on request a consultation, you fill out the application. If it seems like a good fit, we’re going to get on the phone and we’ll talk about it. It’s an investment in yourself. It’s an investment of time. It’s an investment of money. And that’s why it delivers results and that’s why it’s my favorite place to be. So, I invite you to do that.
I hope this episode was really useful to you. I hope that you will seriously consider what I have offered to you today before looking to weight loss and the clothing size as the answer. I promise you, it’s not. Alright, I love you, take care. Remember, you’ve got this. I’ll see you next week. Bye-bye.
Ready to start building a future you can actually look forward to? Get a free copy of Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan, and learn her three-step process so you can stop feeling stuck and start creating your next great chapter. No matter what you’ve been through, your past does not have to define what’s possible in your future.
Text the word PLAN to 1-858-widows-1, or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan and get Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan delivered straight to your inbox. A future you love is still possible and you are worth it. Text the word PLAN to 1-858-widows-1, or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan and get your free game plan today.