I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself.” Our brain says “Me! I’m in the way of my weight loss.” And while that’s true…it’s technically your brain. Our brains make up these stories based on things we have heard our whole lives. Things that are 100% not true. Things that 100% do not actually apply to you. The truth is…you get to be the author of your own weight loss story. Let’s talk about how we can rewrite those stories in order to produce better outcomes for our future.
Here’s why our brains want to defend the story.
Our brain needs to stick up for our limiting beliefs, and all the reasons:
- Why you can’t lose weight
- Why you can’t be consistent
- Why you can’t find time to work out
- Why you can’t stop eating at night
- Why you can’t be successful
- Why you can’t get results
- Why now is definitely not a good time
- Why it’s too hard
- Why it won’t work for you
- Why you can’t say no to food or drinks
- Why you don’t deserve to prioritize yourself
- Why you’ll fail again
Our brains go to town on this shit!
Looking for all the evidence. In truth, because we’re human. We make mistakes. We’re not perfect. Even all the buff dudes and dudettes are human and make mistakes. Everybody has moments of not being perfect. Our brain is busy cataloging these moments, just so you’re reminded, you’re not good enough. Here are 362 reasons why you can’t lose weight and why it won’t work for you.
Our stories are usually not very nice, not very fun, and not very enjoyable. Never mind that they’re not true. It’s safe to believe these things, because to our brains, they are familiar. That’s the reality. People stay in painful jobs, unsatisfying relationships, and these invisible jails, which we create on our own because they are familiar.
Our brain is built for survival.
In many ways, these seem to be bad and dangerous things. Wouldn’t you want to get away from this and change this? No, it’s familiar. If I believe my bullshit story, then it’s safe. It’s like a pacifier. It’s snuggly and comfortable. It’s like your beat-up old gross teddy bear. He’s dirty and nasty and missing an eyeball, but it’s comfortable. You could get a new teddy bear…but no, this one is good. We stay because it’s familiar.
Something I’ve noticed with clients, and me, is that we hold on to the story like a life preserver.
Who would you be without this story?
If it’s not true that:
- My genetics are bad
- I’m big boned
- I’m not smart enough
- I don’t deserve it
…then what is true?
If you really look at how our brains are wired, we have this identity. Just like being part of a tribe. You’re the smart one, the pretty one, or the one who could do all the gadgets. Everybody’s got a role. Even if you don’t like that role, it’s your role according to your brain.
If we don’t change the story, then we don’t believe new things and we’re going to keep getting the same result. In many cases, the same result is no result at all.
Answer these 3 questions:
- Where did the stories come from?
- Who would I be without my story?
- How the fuck do I write a new one?
#1: Where did the stories come from?
Our brains are like supercomputers, and you can thank your parents for fucking you up. I’m kidding. The truth is, we’ve been building our identity for a long time. You probably have memories from being four or five years old. Whether it is from your parents, your grandparents, siblings, school, teachers, or just all of the things that you’ve accumulated, people tell you certain things.
- You’re shy
- You’re good at math
- You’re bad at math
- You’re not athletic
- You’re big boned
- You can’t eat that
- You’ll get fat
- Boys don’t like fat girls
To hear it is sort of like eye-rolling and ludicrous. Yet, when you hear these things over and over, your brain just accepts them as truth. We just gather the evidence and we file it into our brain. We start to create this identity about who we are. Then all the stories keep us stuck.
The stories have come from your past and we’re not going to go and change the past.
What we can do is say:
- I don’t need to build my future from the past
- I don’t need those stories to be safe
- I don’t need those stories to define who I am
- I can start building my future.
Of course, it’s not that easy. It’s kind of mind-blowing if you start to think, “I don’t have to be all those things. I don’t have to be anything I don’t want to be.”
When doing this sort of reflection and self-coaching, there is the tendency to feel all the feelings.
The reality is that your weight loss struggle isn’t just about the food or the meal plan or the macros. You’ve lost weight before, and why we gain weight back is our story. It’s not necessarily easy to write a new one. I want to be the first to tell you that you can start a new one.
We don’t have to go to the past.
If you’re wondering what I know about this? I have definitely struggled. My mother passed away in August 2002. It happened suddenly, which in many ways was good because she got a very tough cancer diagnosis. Things went quickly for her. I felt like I had a lot of unanswered questions. I had things that I started to create stories around this because that’s just the beauty of your brain. It wants to protect you.
My mom and I didn’t have a horrible relationship, but we didn’t have a great relationship either. Part of that was just growing up. She suffered from clinical depression. Being a little kid, I didn’t really know what that meant. I felt, for the most part, that I was left to my own devices, and I didn’t have a very close relationship with her.
The reason I share this with you is just to let you know that it’s normal.
I think what happens is, as humans, we try to fill in the gaps. Your brain is trying to make sense of it all. Maybe your mom was similar. She was kind of absent in some ways. When she passed away, I was devastated. Over time, I think to make it easier for myself, my brain created this story that she never loved me anyway. My brain found lots of evidence for it. In many ways, that’s an easy story to believe. It serves me.
That’s the thing with our bullshit stories.
The reason I’m sharing this with you is because of the fact the stories that we have serve us. It’s protective. It’s like bubble wrap. I can’t feel hurt anymore because she never loved me anyway. I don’t have to feel bad, and I don’t have to miss that person. I can create a whole narrative to prove it.
At some point, I sent it to my dad. My parents were divorced. They still maintained a friendship and they, obviously, knew each other for a long time. He was very quick to dispel that for me. He told me that she really suffered from depression, and so forth. It was interesting for me to watch myself create a story. As soon as I revealed my story, I was told that it wasn’t true which made me feel at peace in many ways.
If you look at:
- Why you can’t lose weight
- Why it’s too hard
- Why it’s not working
- Why you’ll fail again
- Why you don’t have the time
- Why it’s not worth it
- Why bother
- How does the story actually serve me?
- How does it help me?
- How does it keep me safe?
- How does it keep me from getting into action?
- How does it keep me from failing?
That’s what our brain is trying to do. It is trying to keep you from failing.
The irony is that if I don’t work on my weight loss, because I have this whole bullshit story, then it’s not going to work. We never make any progress. I offer that to you so that you understand that you’re not to blame. It’s not like you’re stupid. It’s this protective mechanism. You might call this self-sabotage.
Your bullshit story has come from years and years of your surroundings. The people in your life, your parents, siblings, teachers, and your crafty little brain trying to keep you safe. We can thank our brains for trying to keep us safe but also recognize that we are not really pushing ourselves here. I’m not stretching. I’m not growing. This little comfort zone is not really that comfortable.
#2: Who would I be without my story?
That’s the question to ask yourself.
- Who do you want to be?
- Who would you have to be to lose weight?
- To sit with uncomfortable feelings?
- To sometimes be disappointed?
- To not always get what you want?
- To practice delayed gratification?
Let’s talk about her.
- What does she do?
- What does she think?
- What’s she all about?
That future self, you without your past story, is literally one thought away. Just one thought away.
#3: How do I write a new one?
It’s not easy. If you don’t know how to journal, there’s no wrong or right way to do it. Simply ask yourself questions. Sometimes I draw pictures. I think about my wildest dreams.
Some people like to do vision boards. I think vision boards and affirmations are fun and uplifting, but it doesn’t really get to the real root of the problem.
How do you create a new story?
You just put in the reps! You start today! When you catch yourself thinking, “That’s too hard!” or “I just want one bite!” or “Why can’t I be normal with food?” That’s when you step in the prefrontal cortex part of your brain and just say, “It’s not too hard! You can do this.”
It’s literally like reparenting yourself in a way that helps you grow and makes you feel heard, important, and loved. This is not to say that everybody had a terrible childhood. The reality is, parents are just people, and they were all raised by people.
I can’t remember if my parents ever told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. I think my parents came from parents who were overbearing, so my parents did the opposite. They did the “do whatever you want,” which wasn’t actually that helpful to me. I turned out, but you get to reparent yourself.
Imagine standing in front of the mirror, holding the hand of your 10-year-old self.
- What is the story you’re helping her write?
- Who she is?
- What she’s capable of?
- Where she’s going in life?
Start there. A couple of sentences, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Start with the mirror. Whether she’s 10, 12, or 14…whatever. Let’s paint a picture of the future for that girl.
The overarching theme for today is you have a choice.
No matter what is in your past. No matter what stories you have or people have about you. It doesn’t matter, you have a choice to create who you are. You have a choice. What to do. What to think. Every day you have a choice. You can think whatever the f*ck you want!
NOTES IN ANCHOR
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself.” Our brain says “Me! I’m in the way of my weight loss.” And while that’s true…it’s technically your brain. Our brains make up these stories based on things we have heard our whole lives.
Things that are 100% not true. Things that 100% do not actually apply to you. The truth is…you get to be the author of your own weight loss story. Let’s talk about how we can rewrite those stories in order to produce better outcomes for our future
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience.
Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.
By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.
Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you unf*ck your diet brain.
She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.
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