Any woman, who has ever tried to lose weight, can agree that weight loss is hard. What’s even harder is keeping the weight off after you’ve lost it and not regain it.
Why? Why do so many millions of women struggle with this?
Join Melissa Kathryn and I, two weight loss coaches who’ve overcome our own struggles, as we dive deep into the world of what it takes to get truly healthy – emotionally, physically, spiritually.
We talk about how to calm the crazy around food and body image as well as share the strategies we used in our own lives to finally feel good in our own skin.
In this episode, you will…
- Learn why the no-diet, diet is the best diet of all
- Finally understand how to end the destructive cycle of self-sabotage when you’re not even aware you’re in engaging in it
- Hear the truth about cheat days and intermittent fasting and their impact on your weight loss success
- Realize how you can you be successful with weight loss even if you’ve tried and failed so many times before
- Figure out how to you find yourself again, even if you’ve become completely disconnected from yourself
- Learn more about Melissa: www.melissakathryn.com
- Get Melissa’s book: Eat Right for Your Archetype
- *Free* resource – Conquer Your Cravings Kit – get that here
- Connect with Melissa on Facebook and Instagram
- Get my free e-book here: 5 Ways to Outsmart Your Fat Cells & Lose Weight Today
How To Achieve Weight Loss For Life [Full Text]
Jen: Thank you so much for tuning in to Energy to Thrive. I’m so excited to be here with Melissa Kathryn.
Melissa: Hi, guys. It’s so good to be here.
Jen: Melissa and I have to share a little bit because we’re not just colleagues, we’re also really good friends. We’ve been talking a little bit before this interview started and we’re super excited to just get down and dirty into the world of diets and why the “no diet” diet is actually the way to go. Melissa is going to be sharing a lot of her expertise.
I’m so proud of you. She’s a dear friend and she’s also this amazing weight loss and emotional eating expert. She’s an author, she just published her book called Eat Right for Your Archetype, which you can find on Amazon.
Melissa, what I want to do just to set the stage for our interview is just to have you share a bit about your story and why you’re so passionate about the work that you do.
Melissa: You and I have both been in that fitness realm, but I essentially started dieting when I was 10 years old. I wrote in my diary that I didn’t like the way that I looked, I said I wanted to lose 10 pounds.
That really came from my mom would introduce me to everybody as her “big boned daughter,” and big boned to me meant fat. I say this to my mom now and my mom is like my best friend and I love her so much, she didn’t mean anything by it. She says, “I just thought you were.” I’m like, you didn’t have to identify me that way.
When we’re young and impressionable at any stage, especially women and our bodies, so much of our self worth is tied to the way that we look. We start comparing ourselves, at a very young age, to our friends.
I have curves. I have more muscular legs, I have curves. I just do. And I love them. When I was 10, 11, 12, up to 14, I wanted to look like my friends. I got my period when I was 11, so I developed earlier than everybody else.
What really happened for me was I created this story that my weight was my struggle and that I was fat. I wore things tied around my waist. I looked ridiculous. I would have a bathing suit on and then I would wear those bathing suit swimming shorts. I was never more than 10 or 15 pounds overweight. Then I would wear like an anorak tied around my waist.
It almost brought more attention to it. It was probably so embarrassing. I grew up on the East Coast, so it gets super hot in the summer. It would be like 95 degrees and I would have this long sleeved thing tied around my waist because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.
What that really did was I just went from diet to diet to diet. There are two camps that I say that I lived in. I was either hating myself skinny or hating myself fat. Hating myself skinny was when if I didn’t fit in my size 2s and I hadn’t worked out that day then it was a bad day.
There was this dieter’s prison that I had created around myself. It really was a prison because I would have friends going, “We’re going to go watch Sunday football.” and I was thinking, “I don’t want to be there and eat all that food and miss my workouts. I need to wake up for my workout tomorrow.” I was like 23 years old. I tried every diet.
Then there was the hating myself fat, which was when I would have a few pounds on – 5 or 10 pounds – and be yo-yoing and I would feel bad about myself and be in that emotional eating cycle. I would actually stay in because I didn’t feel good in my body and I didn’t feel good being seen. It was all around my weight. I had body dysmorphia, so it didn’t matter how much weight because in my mind I still had a body and I had mentally made myself wrong because of the way that I looked.
Essentially I spent years and years dieting and it wasn’t until I was actually a fitness trainer, went back to school to be a holistic nutritionist, and I was the image of the health – and I thought I was super healthy – and I was fitness competitor. I stood on stage and I won Best Body in the INBF. I sat there, and in front of my mom, I’m practically naked, and I’m holding this giant trophy. Within six months I had sabotaged myself and eaten the weight back on.
Jen: You know what’s amazing that I love for people listening or watching to hear are these stories. I find that sometimes if people don’t know the backstory and they see you or they see me and they think “athletes”, or they think this is so easy for you, you have no idea… There’s so much compassion and empathy that I know you have for women who are in this space because you’ve been there.
That is so different than the 20-year-old trainer in the gym telling some 35, 40, or 50-year-old to just workout a little harder. There’s not a lot of understanding about the emotional issues.
Melissa: That kills me when I see them in the gym and they’re just standing over somebody and the person is working out looking like they want to die. Why?
That’s something that I hear from my clients. It doesn’t matter if they’re 20 to 65 and what range, whether it’s fearing food, overeating, emotional eating, being a chronic dieter, being obsessed with exercise. I can relate on every level because when you start doing that at 10 years old you have a lot of experience.
Jen: This interview is touching my heart right now because my daughter just started at a new school, she’s 7. The other night when she was getting ready for bed she looked at me and she said, “Mommy, why is my tummy so fat? I’m fat. The girl at school today said I was fat.” I just sort of felt this rage inside. Then she started talking about how she wants to have plastic surgery. I thought, “Jeepers, you’re 7 years old.”
If we don’t start to change the collective health of women, what are we going to do?
So what we want to talk about today is, what do you do? For women who are in this place, you feel like you’re in that emotional eating cycle where they know better but feel like they can’t do better, or they do better for a bit and then they fall off the wagon. Take me through some of your processes or tools that you share with your clients in terms of how do you calm the crazy around this and what is the “no diet” diet.
Melissa: Calming the crazy is so tricky. I always say that the minute you say yes to a diet you disconnect from yourself. You stop trusting your body. We were born and ran around as kids and our body weight naturally regulated. We ate when we were hungry and stopped when we were full, unless parents pushed food on us.
I’ll speak to women and ask, “Why do you eat the way that you do? Why are you eating five times a day? Why are you stopping eating at 6:00 at night? Why is it that you have so much protein? Why are you vegan?” More times than not it’s not because it’s what their body wants, it’s because they read that they should. It’s those very restrictions that lead to the binges.
When I say binge a lot of people will say, “I don’t really binge.” It’s just overeating. Are you eating past full? You are now putting your body in a space where you are using food for more than fuel. That’s when it becomes an unhealthy relationship. The thing that I see, and this is for everybody on the call, I always say that where there is lack in your life you will fill the gaps with food.
Jen: Yes. We’re so the same on this one. What are you really hungry for?
Melissa: Exactly. The thing that happens is when we go through somebody’s life (and my approach is holistic) we’re looking at your whole life as a pie because it’s never just about food, it’s never just about fitness.
It’s where are you in terms of your love life, where are you in terms of your family life, your career, your spirituality, your creativity, your sex life. Are you expressed? Where there is lack those gaps are when food takes on truly human form. That’s the hardest thing for me. I realized food was my best friend. I had to divorce food. We went back again, we had a little bit of an affair.
Jen: You can’t ever really end it though, because we have to food to eat. This is what’s so different compared to drugs, cigarettes, gambling, or other addictions that we can use to numb in our life. We need food to survive. I think that’s what the trick is in terms of cultivating a new relationship. You can’t escape it, so how do you shift it?
Melissa: This is what I do with women in my year-long weight loss for life program, because I’m sorry it takes a year. You cannot undo a lifetime of making yourself wrong, not trusting yourself, being afraid of your food choices. If you have foods that are off limits that if they are in your home you’re going to crazy, then you haven’t healed that relationship with that food and it will always hang over you.
The very first thing to do is to identify the gaps. What’s missing in your life? Where are the areas where you’re not totally filled up? Wherever you’re not you’re going to find food, because food is going to be there for you when you’re lonely, a lot of women it’s the escape at night when everybody is away.
Many women say, “My husband doesn’t even know that once he goes to bed I go to the fridge,” or the kids go to sleep and it’s mommy time. It’s not even that mommy needs the food, mommy just needs a break, mommy needs some pleasure. She doesn’t want to go to bed because this is her only window, because then she has to get up and do it all over again.
Jen: That’s so it. I find that there are patterns, like habits. Sometimes when we want a break we’ll get a glass of wine or we’ll get some chips or a bowl of ice cream. Then pretty soon the break equals have wine or have ice cream, and we start to blend what we need with food. Do you find that with your clients?
Melissa: Always. The first thing that I say if you can do this is for 14 days do an “eat what’s on your plate” challenge. You have three meals a day. Really see if you need those snacks. Sit down and have your breakfast, only what’s on your plate. You can eat whatever you want within normal portions. This isn’t like oh my god waffles and sausage and more. Eat what’s on your plate. This isn’t going back for seconds. You’re not grazing. Have a journal with you. Notice between breakfast and lunch where are you at to go into that pattern, where is it that you’re uncomfortable at work, or the kids are screaming, or something is happening, or you have to do a project that you don’t want to do, or you have to clean or do laundry.
Jen: I’m going to ask a hard question. I’m going to take myself back to when I was in this place and there were some real serious things going on in my life but it was a lot more enjoyable to eat or to drink wine than it was to face my stuff.
Jen: How do you get the courage or how do you start to do that, how do you start to be willing to admit?
Melissa: It’s so funny you said this. I just posted to my group to my today and said, “Ladies, you’re on a journey that only a few women are okay being on because it is so uncomfortable.”
Jen: It is so uncomfortable, yes.
Melissa: It is. But, you were saying how do we actually do that.
Jen: How do you get the courage? For me, I had to hit some rock bottom places. Feeling really fat, having one pair of fat pants, hating how I looked naked, hating not being in pictures, I have no memories captured of my kids and I, and I was in denial that my marriage was falling apart. That can be a hard thing to face.
Melissa: Hands down. Then we’re eating because of all those things, then all of a sudden you wake up one day and you say, “How did I get here? How is this my body?” What you see looking back at you doesn’t even feel like you.
Then you people like me and you and other people that are saying, “Just get outside and accept who you are.” I hear this one all the time, “Put on some lipstick and it will…” I understand it, because when you start to fill those gaps with pleasure you actually start living your life now for you instead of who you are waiting to be that feels like an eternity to get there. That’s one, shifting that mindset to get clear.
A big thing that happens is we have to get so sick of our story that then you’re like, “For fuck’s sake (excuse my language) I can’t even hear myself anymore. How many times am I going to say I’m going to start a diet? How many times am I going to tell somebody else I just put on some weight and I’m just not feeling like it?” No one wants to hear it. When you get sick of yourself that’s a beautiful turning point. You know when you see people and you ask, “What did you do that shifted?” They got that click that says, “I’m so done being me.”
If you’re sitting there listening to this thinking, “I’m so done, but I don’t seem to be changing,” what you want to do is this: you want to wake up each day and set a clear intention for actually who it is you want to be. Say it as if you are her now.
Jen: I’m going to jump in. I knew so clearly who I didn’t want to be. I did not see myself as this frumpy 30-something mother of two. I knew what I didn’t want, but I did sort of have to consciously retrain my brain to think about who do I want to be. That is a really key question that you’re bringing up, Melissa.
Melissa: Yes. You have to start like Jen said. Start with, “What don’t I want?” If you feel so disconnected from you, start with what don’t you want. If you have a friend, if there’s a look – and don’t just focus on the exterior, I’m talking about the woman that you want to be. That woman is inside of you. That’s you at your best. That is you. That’s what we start to lose and that’s when we lose hope because we keep focusing on what we see in the mirror.
The woman that you want to be, that’s you at your core. You don’t want to be her, you are her. You just lost her along the way.
Jen: I love that. That’s tweetable.
One of the things that I remember saying to myself so often was, “Where have I gone? I just want to find myself again.” And I did.
You also said another word that I want to talk about; the word hope. So many women who have done it all – like Dr. Bernstein we have in Canada, I know you’re in the states, all of the diets, restrictions, caloric deprivation – they feel like they’ve done it all. You start to lose hope that this is just going to be this way, permanent failure. And it often is the most personal failure because you can be kicking ass in every other aspect of your life and yet this personal thing you can’t get a handle on and it’s so frustrating.
What’s so great to have somebody like you in this space is to be that model of there is hope. You might think you’ve done it all but you never have, because usually there are going to be ways that you’re sabotaging yourself that you’re not even aware of. Let’s talk about that.
Melissa: What I see so often, too, is how much when I talk to women and they’re saying, “I’m doing everything, I don’t understand what’s going on,” and then I say, “In seven days have you gone to bed proud each night? Have you eaten in alignment with your body and been connected? Did you make a point of just moving?” I’m not talking about going to a bootcamp. I’m just talking about being connected with yourself. Anything. Moving more. They’ll say, “No, there were about two nights.” Because in your mind you’re on a diet forever. How much are you actually showing up for you?
Here’s the best part about it. The “no diet” diet is when you’re actually connecting to yourself and in a space of love for you and eating for fuel. I’m not saying that food isn’t pleasurable for me, of course it is. I make meals but I also see it as fuel. I’m eating my breakfast because I have all this going on until this time. At night I want to make sure that I’m eating for optimal fuel for my body so that I can wake up and workout in the morning. I think in that way of how can I give to this being.
I think that’s a piece where there’s this connotation around since you’ve dieted for so long that eating healthy doesn’t taste good, it’s a lot of work, you don’t have the time or the energy for it, you’re too busy, and since it has been from depriving you’re not going to have a life, you have to do workouts that you don’t enjoy. There’s all of these things around it that keep women in these stories that hold them back.
Jen: Totally. I love that you break and bust those myths down, because it’s not true. It’s not true. Here’s the thing that I find so many times; when we’ve had the experience of failure then we grab onto all of the reasons why we failed and we just keep seeing those and that becomes our justification.
Melissa: We treat it like it’s evidence, “See it doesn’t work!” Then I hear women saying, “It must be my hormones. I think something is wrong. Do I have leaky gut?”
Jen: Oh yeah. Leaky gut, hormones, I’m getting too old, it’s menopause, I must be every kind of food sensitivity possible. We start to make weight loss so complicated.
Melissa: So complicated. It’s always just go back to the basics. Women will say, “This is too easy,” they’ll sabotage. It’s like something crazy as females that everything needs to be really hard.
Jen: If it’s hard then I’m worthy because I’m struggling.
Melissa: Right? Same thing with our bodies and our weight. That’s the way it’s supposed to feel, it’s food, you aren’t supposed to have to think about it all the time.
Jen: You said something just before that I want to come back to because I do think it’s really relevant and powerful. I think that food has become so confusing. When you talk about food as fuel that’s exactly what it is, but food as fuel can still be the things that you’re saying; tasty, social, enjoyable. What I find now is food isn’t fuel, food is a social experience.
I said to somebody the other day, “Why do you go meet your girlfriends after work, is it just so you can have the nachos?” They said, “No. I like to see them and hang out. We talk and we laugh.” Right. You’re there primarily for connection to create friendship and to strengthen those bonds and it feels important. The food is secondary, or maybe it’s even way further down the list, but we forget that.
It sounds like you do a lot of work to remind your clients that that’s just not the way it is.
Melissa: Food has taken such front and center stage, yet it’s the very thing that dieters are battling with internally. But it’s the driving force. It’s like, “I can’t not go out.” There’s also this notion that if I really want to lose weight I’m going to have to give up this social life. It is a lifestyle.
It always fascinates me when people say, “Melissa, what do you eat on the menu? Can you eat here?” I still get that from my family sometimes. I’m like, “Guys, I’ve been with you everywhere. I can eat anything.” I also eat whatever I want when I want it. I can order at any restaurant. The ones that are trickier for me, I just took dairy out because I healed myself of asthma and I prefer breathing over cheese, but French food can be challenging. Other than that, I’ll go anywhere. I sit there and there’s always healthy things.
People say, “It’s just too tempting,” this or that. That’s just because you are still coming from restriction, you’re making it “this is my night out.” That’s why people overeat on the weekends it’s because they’ve restricted all week. Just eat during the week.
Jen: Tell me what your concept is of cheat days or cheat meals. I can tell by your face. If you’re listening to the podcast, her face is priceless.
Melissa: They kill me. What are you cheating? You’re cheating on yourself. How is that sustainable? I see people make a cheat day and then intermittent fasting comes up. People ask me, “What do you think about intermittent fasting?” I say what do you think about just taking on the concept of possible clean eating where you’re actually just eating foods closest to their natural state that are normal, where you actually know what you’re putting into your body?
Jen: I asked because you talk about self sabotage and that is one of the primary ways that I see women sabotage. They say, “I do really great Monday through Friday and then I don’t know what happens on the weekend.” In their mind they have permission built in around these cheat meals or cheat days and it becomes a caloric consumption of the previous week where all of their healthy choices have now been negated.
Melissa: I’ve had women that have mapped out their Saturday and Sunday and it all involves food stops. It upsets me just because it sets them up for such failure and many believe that’s their only way to be. They’ll do that for awhile and then they fall off and they’re like, “No, that was really working for me.” But it didn’t, because if you’re eating in a way that isn’t sustainable for the next three months or three years, if you’re eating in a way that you’re not going to want to do and working out in a way that you’re not going to want to do then it’s not going to last.
Jen: Exactly. We are very much in the same industry and have very similar messages. Why do you think that knowing that there are so many health coaches coming into the industry, what is the pervasiveness or how did this pervasive messaging get such dominant prominence in culture for women about weight loss is hard? What has happened, do you think?
Melissa: I think it’s because a lot of women saw their mothers struggle, or family members. I think it gets put on you at a young age. I’m the big boned daughter, I was brought to Weight Watchers.
Jen: Yes. I have a lot of clients that were in Weight Watchers in teenage years. It’s crazy.
Melissa: Then later on I went to Weight Watchers. I still know the points to everything because it’s so patterned in your brain. I think that’s one cause, family dynamic.
I think another is society and what gets put out there. When you were talking about your daughter, that’s a very real thing. This plastic surgery thing that’s going on, the diets, the SnapChat, there’s so much that we could go into with young kids.
Jen: We’ll save that for a different interview, because I think we’ll have this conversation again. Absolutely, that’s another conversation.
Melissa: That breaks my heart to know and I want to shift that and do work in that now. I go into schools now and it breaks my heart.
The other thing is there is that concept around when we get told something about our bodies and you aren’t strong enough in who you are it turns into your story. One of the very first things that I do with clients is I say, “What are your stories?” and “We’re releasing them now and writing a new one,” because those stories are what will define you and will set up your limitations. The only limitations that exist are the ones that we allow.
Jen: Say that again. That’s really great.
Melissa: This is one of my mantras.
Jen: I love it.
Melissa: The only limitations that exist are the ones that we allow. There is no difference between any of us and somebody that is rocking it, that’s a multimillionaire, that has the body they want, that has the love. It’s their belief that they are deserving and worthy of it and they had a vision for it.
Going back, I’m going to go full circle to something you had asked me earlier about what are some things that you can do just to set yourself up for success and we got onto the conversation hope and the intentions. I think this is a great tidbit for your audience.
You have to have a vision and see it each day. This does not need to take long. Anybody that is thinking, “I can’t add anything else to my morning.” You can take two minutes or five minutes in the morning to set an intention, close your eyes, breathe deep, and have a vision. Just say, “What do I want for myself? Let me see it happening.” Whatever negative things come in, wash them out. Give yourself that gift, because the subconscious mind does not know the difference between the dream and what is real. Make your reality freaking fantastic.
Jen: Exactly. I think that’s what is so great is when there are people like you who have gone through the challenges that you’ve gone through, who have maybe had upbringings with that mom or that family member who you adore but who has had some imprinting on you at an early age. Then to see you now here; healthy, whole, happy, confident in your body, feeling good, clearly glowing. I do think that inspires hope, because if you can do it then so can someone else.
Melissa: Yes. And there are things that I’m not even sharing with my story here. If I can do this, you can do this. I’m no different than you. Neither of us are. It’s just we got to another side of something that you’re struggling with right now, so now we can share.
Jen: I was just talking to another client, too, and even right now, you don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to do it alone. Women, for some reason, it’s like we’ll go see financial planners, we’ll go get our nails done by a specialist, we’ll see somebody for our hair, we’ll get our massages by somebody that is a specialist, but with health and with food we somehow think that we should know it all or be able to do it on our own. I think that’s the biggest myth out there, I really do.
Melissa: There’s a lot of guilt and shame that women have. Like, “I should have this figured out. I should be able to do this.” Take the “shoulds” out of it and also take all the craziness. If you’re one of those people and you’re on this call right now, and you’re reading 50 blogs, and you’re on all of these sites, and you’re buying this program, listening to this podcast; just implement one or two things from today. Just say, “I’m only going to do those one or two things for 30 days.” You will have change.
Change doesn’t happen when you’re in overwhelm. When you have too much information you don’t do anything with it. You’ll notice the people that are most successful are literally like, “I read a book and it changed my life,” because they literally just read that book and did everything in that book.
Jen: That’s another way that women sabotage. They don’t just follow one plan, they pick apart 10 different diets, they follow 10 different blogs, they’re trying to go Paleo but only have green smoothies.
Melissa: Then when it stops working or they don’t think it’s working as much, they jump to another one instead of seeing it through.
Jen: Let’s talk about ways people can find out more about you. I adore you, I think everybody should know about the work that you do. I want you to be able to tell my listeners where they can go. I know you have a Conquer Your Cravings PDF that is really helpful, maybe share how they can get that.
Melissa: We’re going to have a link below for my Conquer Your Cravings Kit. This teaches you to identify your emotions and how they’re linked to foods and actually gives you the steps to get around them, so it’s broken down into a head craving and a heart craving. You’ll easily be able to say, “I have a little bit of both, but I’m definitely this one.” It gives you four simple questions and action steps to do. There’s a video and two worksheets that you’ll get.
Jen: It’s awesome. I’ve taken a look at it, I adore it and I think it’s amazing. You want to make sure that you grab that. We’ll have all of the links below and in the show notes to find Melissa on Facebook, Instagram, and her website MelissaKathryn.com.
Melissa: I’m primarily on Facebook and Instagram.
Jen: Cool. Thank you, thank you. I have a feeling you’ll be back on so we can perhaps continue the talk around younger children and moms, that relationship with mother-daughter love and health. Anything else you need my listeners to know before they’re done listening to the podcast today?
Melissa: No. Just thank you so much for being here. Just remember that if it’s something that you want it’s meant for you, and the person that you desire to be is already you.
Jen: Awesome. I couldn’t have said that better myself.
If you’re listening, please make sure you go back to iTunes, rate the podcast if you like it. A thumbs up and a shout out is never a bad thing, it just creates good karma in the world. Be sure to share. If there are women in the world – friends, colleagues, family members – that you know could benefit from hearing this message, just pop the link onto your Facebook page and share the interview. The more women that get empowered with this I think the better off we’re going to be in the world. I think women are amazing and it’s women like Melissa who inspire me.
Thank you for being on as my guest today.
Melissa: Thank you for having me. And you’re going to be on mine.
Jen: Thanks for listening everybody. Have a super rest of your day.