How feeling like Meryl Streep can help you lose weight

Do you ever wonder how an actress like Meryl Streep can take on a myriad of roles, like that of a witch to Amanda Prisetly, with such believability? 

Well sure, but what the #$%^ does that have to do with losing weight, Heather?

Quite a lot. To become someone else requires an actress to think and feel like someone she is not. The same is required for achieving any big goal. 

When I start working with a client, often she feels stuck because of all the things she’s tried to lose weight that didn’t work. And that’s because she doesn’t know how to move beyond it. Her past feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy that keeps coming true. 

And that’s because instead of understanding the internal work needed, she’s focused on the “thing out there” that will make it happen this time. But when the diet, supplement, fancy app, or infomercial product isn’t working or sustainable, it confirms that she can never stick with her healthy habits.

So, back to Meryl. In order for us to believe that she is a powerful fashion magazine editor, she has to become one. And she has to practice. A lot. And more than just memorizing and reciting lines, she has to feel into the role, to become Amanda Priestly. 

That’s how any of us make changes in who we want to become. It starts by clarifying the fit and healthy lifestyle we want, the equivalent of the script for playing a role.

Photo by Ron Lach : https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-in-black-shirt-writing-on-white-paper-8085938/

And then we practice. But just as Meryl Streep does more than rote memorization, we also must feel this new identity to truly prepare ourselves for the role of our future self. Neuroscientist Dr. Sarah McKay says, “You can practice emotions in advance of a situation by teaching your brain the most useful way to respond in a situation. Actors do this all the time. The emotions they feel on stage are real because they rehearsed their creation.”

Try it. Picture yourself as the fit and healthy you that you see in your head. Close your eyes and practice being her. What does she think? How does she feel? How does she respond to typical challenges? Go about your day as her. Believe me, this is essential to becoming her. 

And hey, when you have a coach by your side this kind of work becomes easier and you reach your health and weight loss goals more quickly.

Top 3 Ways to Lose Weight When Everything Fails

Lose Weight When Everything Fails

I know it feels hard. To try again to lose weight when everything fails. It probably seems like you’ve tried it all.

Keto. Check.

CrossFit. Check.

Vegan. Check.

HIIT. Check.

Running. Check.

Moderation. Check.

And the list goes on…

It’s at this point you likely feel defeated. Hesitant to try again. Doubtful it will work this time. 

But I promise. You’re poised to turn it around. 

Lose Weight When Everything Fails
Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash

You can take all your failures and use them to succeed. And here are the top three ways to do that:

  • Keep the Good: Reflect on all the diets and food plans, gym memberships and exercise equipment, apps and smart watches you’ve used. Ask yourself what you liked and what worked well for you. What foods keep you satisfied longer, stabilize your blood sugar, and taste good? Which exercises challenge you, feel good to your body, and are fairly enjoyable? What time of day is best for your energy and schedule to do things like meditate, meal prep, and exercise? Make a list of all these things you want to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle.
  • Dump the Rest: Foods you hate? Exercise you dread? Apps that harass you? These all contributed to past failures. If carb counting makes you cranky, stop doing it. If attending meetings is annoying, find another form of support. Trying to follow rules that don’t fit your lifestyle is a set up for failure. Remember, you can use willpower for just so long. Eventually it runs out and you’ll stop. “Nothing works” you think. “I’ve failed again” you say. Not true – it was just a square peg/round hole fiasco. 
  • Identify Patterns: What else took your healthy habits off track? Was it late-night treats while watching Netflix? Working late? Mid-afternoon snacking? Never met a cookie…cake, chip, licorice whip, cheese stick…you didn’t like? Hitting the snooze button? Staying up too late? Not saying “no” to others when they offer food? Take each pattern and break down the trigger for each one. Then decide how to either remove or address that trigger in the future.  

That’s how you lose weight when everything fails. You use those failures to set yourself up for success by creating habits around the foods, exercise and motivational tools that work well for you. You stop beating yourself up for not eating/doing all the things you hate but feel like you “should” do. You prepare for challenges and learn how to prevent or overcome them. 

Failure is only failure when you stop. Otherwise it’s simply a lesson. 

And know that the lessons keep coming. There’s never a point of perfection where you have it all handled. But as you learn the lessons, it gets easier. If you keep going, never accepting failure as a reason to stop, you will lose weight when everything fails. 

And hey, my FREE Back on Track Challenge starts soon. You can sign up here.

Time travel…the helpful trade secret of women who know how to lose weight

I was bored. It was a Wednesday night. I could work more. Do laundry. Read a book. Clean the bathroom. Cook dinner. But none of that felt satisfying.

My brain thought a glass of Chardonnay and a slice of six grain bread with locally pressed olive oil from the farmers market would solve my boredom.

I could even imagine it. I could taste it. It tasted good. It felt good. So not boring.

Nice try, brain.

But I have both in my house. They’re not “off limits.” You might wonder, “what’s the big deal, Heather?”

The big deal is trusting myself in the small things. Like not eating food I don’t need an hour before dinner. And not drinking on a Wednesday night.

So, I travel in time to Thursday morning and I imagine having not given into the urge and how that would feel. Pleased and well rested came to mind. Empowered that I can keep my word to myself in ways that seem insignificant but add up to big results.

I also imagine how I would feel if I drank the wine and ate the bread, an hour before dinner. Thursday morning Heather felt foggy and a little off. She felt disappointed.

In that moment on a Wednesday night with the urge to drink wine and eat bread, I simply allowed myself to feel bored. I knew it would pass. It wasn’t a problem to solve. I went about the task of making dinner, occasionally noticing boredom and being okay with it.

The helpful trade secret of women who know how to lose weight. I was bored. It was a Wednesday night. I wanted wine & bread. Nice try, brain.
Photo by Anna Kumpan on Unsplash

Giving in to a momentary urge only makes it easier for us to give in the next time. And the next time.

You probably have goals and a picture of your future self having achieved them. Spend time imagining what it feels like to be her and how she would counsel you today, in a moment when you feel less than motivated. When you don’t feel like it. When you think “eff it.”

And here’s another thing – celebrate the small win. Later that Wednesday night after dinner, and the urge had long passed, I gave myself kudos for sticking to my plan and taking care of myself. That makes it more likely I’ll keep my word to myself next time, too.

What time travel allows you to do is to become the watcher of the present moment. You don’t get hooked into the primitive brain’s desire for instant gratification but can observe it as your future self. From a place of love and care, wanting the best for you, she gives you just the advice you need.

Losing weight in the moment often doesn’t feel good. Peeling away layers of unhelpful habits, sitting with urges and feeling crappy, making new decisions and trying new things…it can feel really hard. That’s why things like celebrating the daily wins and imagining “Tomorrow You” are so important. Each time your honor your commitment to yourself it gets easier the next time. And the next time.

And then you are the future you. And she gives you a big high five.

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