Episode #65 - Your Mindset Matters
First and foremost, this episode starts with a tribute to my sister, who made all my work as Granny Keto possible. I owe her that, as well as a thank you for being a wonderful sister.
This episode goes on to explain that is not your relationship with food that determines if you can stick to a diet program, lose weight or accomplish any of your non-food goals. It is your relationship with yourself that determines any and all success that you have. Even if you don’t see it or don’t believe it now, you are capable of success. You are smart. You are worthwhile.
I explain how an eating program is constructed like a jigsaw puzzle, and what you need to do is shuffle the pieces around and see how they fit. You can't dump the pieces on a table and pound them until they are flattened. You have to take your time and examine each piece. You might even find a piece from another puzzle that was thrown in the box by mistake!
You are not broken, my friend... you just haven't put the pieces together.
Episode #: 65 Your Mindset: You are not broken!
You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success Podcast, Episode # 65, Your Mindset – You are not broken!
Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl!
Be sure to go to miriamhatoum.com/resources to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.
Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!
This episode airs on my sister’s birthday so I want to start with a tribute to her by reading you the blog entitled “A Mug and a Spoon.”
This is my last Wednesday at work. Thank you, Susan. If you have been following my blogs you know that my sister passed away this past January. She was over 70 years old and worked every day practically up until the end. She missed work only when she was immediately out of surgery or had particularly bad days following a chemotherapy treatment. There were days she had chemo and then drove herself to work.
Looking at my sister's life
I was with my sister the last month of her life. I flew out to California just a few hours after getting the news she had suffered a serious complication and might have — at most — just three days to live. She lived, from that point on, just a few more days than a month — first in the hospital, then in hospice. She never went home again. However, during that time, I stayed in her home, and learned about her life that she never really shared with family. She lived a full life with many friends. In her younger days she traveled and lived quite a few adventures. She was not married and had no children, but her network of loving friends was remarkable. They took her to doctor's appointments, slept outside her bedroom when she was sick from surgery and chemo, and were a part of her life until the end. There was nothing to regret in her social circle, however, I was made aware how many things she put off in her life — from redoing her kitchen to leaving her job and retiring. Yes, because she was "alone" we could think that her job was everything in her life — and indeed she loved it and they openly loved her — but we know that she wanted more, and that she never did it. When she passed away and we sold her condo and started amassing her various retirement accounts, savings accounts and other hidden accounts, my brother was so angry that she never took this money and did things for herself that would have made her so happy. In her mind there was always tomorrow, even when she knew there was no tomorrow.
Reevaluating my own life
My sister did not have many things — all costume jewelry and mostly things she took from my mother's apartment when my mother moved into a nursing home. I was going from California to Boston so I would not have the space to take any hidden treasures anyway, but I was struck at the lack of anything whimsical or valuable in her home. Furnishings and basic decor were lovely indeed, and there is something to be said for not having to fill 100 tables with knick-knacks at a potential yard sale! But I thought to myself that I would like just one remembrance from my sister. Well, every morning I had coffee using a certain mug and a special spoon (special because it is near impossible to find a tablespoon measure that is not part of a set — I always look and have never found one!), and I realized that those two items would be precious to me and so I wrapped them up and took them home in my suitcase. Every morning I use them and think of her and realize that my entire life is about to change because she never did anything for herself. I used to say "I'll retire when I'm dead." Not so much because of a work ethic but because I never had enough money to retire. Now I can say — at a rather young age (66) — "My last day of work is Friday."
Thank you, Susan
Thank you, Susan, for paying off your condo and your car and for putting away every penny into investments and retirement accounts. Thank you for thinking to share it all with your siblings. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy my life with my children, grandchildren, husband and friends. Thank you for the freedom to look at homes near the grandchildren — maybe even one on the beach! Thank you for allowing me to have Granny Keto. Thank you for my new life. Thank you for my mug and spoon, which will always remind me to enjoy life and not wait for tomorrow.
Dear listeners, please take that to heart – to enjoy life and not wait for tomorrow, as you listen to today’s episode which is exploring your relationship with yourself.
It is not your relationship with food that determines if you can stick to a diet program, lose weight or accomplish any of your non-food goals. It is your relationship with yourself that determines any and all success that you have. Even if you don’t see it or don’t believe it now, you are capable of success. You are smart. You are worthwhile.
When I was writing my book, Conquer Cravings with Keto, the last chapter was the hardest for me to write. I stopped and started it several times. But I realized on one Sunday morning that it was the perfect timing for writing that last chapter. What happened?
That morning, for the first time since the beginning of Covid 19, I had my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren over for Sunday brunch. No face masks. Hugging. The whole shebang. I prepared my usual brunch foods (muffins, bagels, etc.) along with a lovely array of low-carb foods (smoked salmon/cream cheese rollups, salami, olives, eggs, etc.). I ate all the low-carb foods. Then I ate a muffin and a bagel. I would have had more except there was nothing else I really wanted.
So there. I polished off a muffin and a bagel with cream cheese. Oh, and I finished my granddaughter’s half bagel with butter. There may have been a cookie involved. There. I did it. But I was not going to erase this entire book, hate myself and never try again.
What I did was feel sorry for myself as I popped a TUMS, after which I went to Staples to run out a draft of the book so that I could sit with a red pen and edit. I realized that I am intelligent and worthwhile. I realized that I wasn’t even approaching the Land of Good Enough and certainly not the Land of Perfection as I plowed through that bagel. I understood that I still had something to offer, maybe even more so. What I did not do is continue to eat all day until I was sick. I didn’t beat myself up until I felt so unworthy that I would never want to publish the book. I didn’t throw in the towel and throw out what I knew is the best way of eating for me. Instead, I sat for a minute and reflected. I saw what lessons could come out of this. One lesson was to put a pause between wanting the food and eating the food. Another lesson, was, perhaps to remove myself from the table. There is always something to do in the kitchen even though I have company. Believe me everyone is so busy eating they never even would notice if I got up!
More importantly I acknowledged, with no hateful emotions, that I ate what I ate, and I am worthy of moving on.
I have talked in other podcast episodes and on my blog about the Buddha’s parable of The Second Arrow. I want to share it again here because it is a story worth hearing over and over again, as we strive to grow into new versions of ourselves. The story goes as follows: A person is walking through a forest and gets struck by an arrow, which causes great pain. He asks, “Should I stay here and let myself get struck by another arrow?” The first arrow is the circumstance, which we often cannot control. The second arrow is our reaction to it. We often hear that “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” If you get struck by an arrow, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself or allow others to?
This is what happens when we are following a food plan, “fall off the wagon,” and then continue to shoot one arrow after another into our hearts and souls. The second arrows come with the messages: “I’m stupid,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never get this right,” “This is too hard,” “I’m too lazy,” “I’m not worthwhile,” “I hate myself.” STOP IT WITH THE SECOND ARROWS! No matter how perfectly you follow a food plan, you are, at one time or another going to get struck with that first arrow – maybe many different times. It’s painful. Get up, move on, and don’t suffer. Learn your lessons and be grateful that we all get a second chance. Make your next best decision. We are worthy of those retakes.
If I didn’t feel worthy of the retake that Sunday morning, I might not be here sharing with you right now!
o As dieters we make the mistake of thinking that that there is something wrong with us. We often say that there is something wrong with us because we can’t stick to a diet. We don’t understand how we can wake up with so much hope and determination and by dinnertime we are face down in a bowl of mashed potatoes with Oreo cookie chasers. If you have been listening to my podcast you will have heard me say that failures are built into the diets themselves. This is not just because of the mistakes and myths these diet programs are built upon, but because one size does not fit all.
o We dieters also make the mistake of having an all or nothing attitude. We think, either I follow this program 100% or I am just too stupid and broken to follow it at all. An eating program is constructed like a jigsaw puzzle. Imagine taking a boxed jigsaw puzzle, shaking it up in the box, opening it up and throwing it on the table, then sweeping it in your arms then flattening it all out. There. Done! Perfect! Oh my god. Really?
o Diet programs make you think that is how it is supposed to work and if it doesn’t, then you must be stupid, lazy and broken. But what you need to do is shuffle the pieces around and see how they fit.
o For instance, does dairy make your stomach queasy? I know for myself I could handle a couple of spoons of cream in my two cups of coffee in the morning and I would be fine. A third cup of coffee with that same amount of cream made me nauseous. A cream soup would make me sick. I shuffled around those puzzle pieces for years until I realized it was not the food, it was the quantity and timing of that food that caused a reaction in my body.
o Another example is that it took years before I realized that I was fine having a sandwich during the day, but if I had bread at night I was famished in the morning because of the carbohydrate-blood sugar connection.
These are the puzzle pieces I am talking about. Sometimes it’s not the food, it’s the quantity. Sometimes it’s not the food, it’s the timing. Sometimes it is the food.
You are not broken or unworthy because it takes you a little longer to put together a jigsaw puzzle than someone else. It means that you must rearrange things and see how the pieces fit.
o One mindset mistake we make is thinking that we are broken or stupid or lazy because we have trouble handling urges, cravings and triggers. Again, the problems are built into the diet programs because they want you to believe that it is only about the food they are telling you to eat, and thoughts, feelings and reactions have nothing to do with anything.
o It is important to learn that urges, cravings and triggers will never go away. It is also important to know that your reactions to them have been a brilliant coping mechanism. Really, you’re smart: Isn’t it much better to eat a Snickers Bar than punch your boss in the face? But it’s time to learn some even smarter ways to outsmart those triggers.
o I use the word “broken” and some of us have never reached the point of feeling that way about ourselves, but some of us have. I always used to think I was “damaged goods” because there were days I could not even follow a diet from breakfast to dinner of one day!
o I didn’t know what I know now: There is such a thing as decision fatigue, or I might have just been tired and unable to push one more food or thought about food away.
o It might have been just a matter of awareness – which is no small thing, all of which add up to not staying on a diet and nothing to do with being broken or damaged. But a lot of us do feel that way, so please indulge me if I use that term but it does not apply specifically to you.
Why do we have these beliefs that the shortcomings are within us and not the diets?
o We have these beliefs because of years of seeing fake success stories on TV and magazines, and more recently, on other social media. Yes, there are success stories, but people: read the fine print. It says “Results not typical.” We believe that we are the ones with the shortcomings – not the diet programs built on mistakes, myths and false advertising.
o Our belief tends to be that if something weren’t wrong with us, we wouldn’t need to lose weight in the first place.
o Or, when you try to lose weight, you wouldn’t be so unsuccessful at it if you weren’t broken.
o And what if you dream of being a “normal” eater. Does that mean you are abnormal?
o Some of us have been carrying these beliefs since childhood and some of us have more recently started beating ourselves up.
o We make the mistake of thinking that we are broken because it couldn’t be the billion dollar Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, or South Beach or any other commercial program. We have been led to believe that the answers are out there somewhere.
o I am telling you, it’s time to look within ourselves for the answers. It’s time to shake up that box of jigsaw pieces and settle in with learning how they all fit together.
o You are not broken or damaged or stupid or lazy or any of those. The real reason you are making the mistake of thinking the problem is with you, is that you haven’t been given the tools that will work for you and that will be sustainable. It’s not always about the food. It can be about the tools such as safe home-base eating, course correcting, how to identify triggers that lead to urges and cravings, and so much more. The shortcoming is that you don’t have enough tools in your toolbox.
o There is a cost of making the mistake of thinking it is YOU who is at fault or is defective. It really only is because no one has shown you a better way. The cost of not believing in yourself is that you give up too soon or you think you are not worth even starting.
o You don’t know how to have your own back when the family doesn’t support you or you are facing well-meaning food pushers.
o You don’t understand that your body is just neutral – not good or bad or ugly or disgusting. It is your body. It is where you are now. It is living and breathing and above ground. It is your thoughts about your body that get you into trouble – and no one has shown you how to change your thoughts which leads to changing your feelings which leads to changing your actions which leads to changing your results.
o So, with all these negative feelings – hating yourself and hating your body, of course why would you think you are worth it to put in the work to turn things around?
o And oh my goodness, don’t get me started on stopping negative self-talk or using affirmations in a way that will work for you!
o You can see that there is a lot that goes on with your mindset and honestly, as long as you are not eating foods that you are allergic to or cause other sensitivities, then it’s not always about the food. It is about your MIND.
More on negative self-talk
There is research, or at least speculation, that we have tens of thousands of thoughts per day. Some are in a continuous loop, and some are random or in reaction to something specific. No matter the number, they cannot be expected to be all positive and wonderful. However, there is no reason to make them all negative and awful either. Negative self-talk is not helpful. As a matter of fact, it can be damaging not only to our self-esteem, but it may cause some of us to turn to food which is exactly what we are trying to change. Here is a way to begin to turn things around. There is more in this week’s actionable coaching advice.
o Talk to yourself the way you would to a friend. Be kind and have compassion. A friend comes to you and says, “I am so stupid and lazy. I am trying to follow an eating program that I designed for myself so I know it’s good for my lifestyle and I can’t even get through the first day. Every morning I wake up and say I am not going to have sugar today. By the time my head hits the pillow I have “blown it” again. Stupid, stupid, stupid.”
o Okay, so you are this person’s friend. Are you going to say, “Yes, you really are stupid and lazy. You are worthless. Don’t even bother...”? Or are you going to say, “This is a really big life change that involves a lot of steps to see it through. Maybe you have to break it up into even smaller steps than you have been doing. How about having a water bottle or even some gum handy, and the next time you want that cookie, reach for the alternative.
o Better yet, put a pack of gum and a small water bottle where you keep the cookies for the kids. Stop and count to 10 and decide which one to reach for. Each and every time you don’t put something sweet in your mouth, stop and compliment yourself. Realize you have taken a big step. Be kind to yourself.
o You are not a loser, and you are not lazy. Just the fact that you are looking for a better life shows that you are not lazy.” (PAUSE)
o Now, imagine that you are that friend. Speak kindly to yourself. Speak positively to yourself. Speak encouragingly to yourself.
o Mother Theresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” You don’t have to have long speeches with yourself. When your hand shoots back from the cookies and picks up the gum just say, “Good job!”
o Furthermore, nothing good ever comes of hatred. Some of you might really hate yourselves, either because of your weight or your inability to follow through with a goal. Indulge me with another Mother Theresa quote: “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.”
o Drop the negative self-talk as much as you can and have a peace rally with yourself.
o Say: “You can do this. You are smart and capable. You just haven’t figured it out yet. That little step of reaching for the gum instead of the cookie was a great accomplishment. I’ve got your back. I love you.” Be kind.
This week’s actionable coaching advice:
I am a woman of many talents. I was a professional belly dancer and belly dance teacher for more than 30 years.
o In my book, Language of the Dance – Belly Dance with Amira Jamal, I have a worksheet entitled STOP THAT NEGATIVE SELF-TALK. It was one of the most important – and popular – lessons in my classes. It is probably one of the most important things you need to learn to have a successful journey with whatever you are doing.
o Self-talk is your inner voice. It is what you are telling yourself all day long as your day unfolds. It can be positive, giving you confidence, encouragement, compliments, optimism, direction and motivation. It can be negative, fostering discouragement, pointing out your faults and shortcomings, giving you the pessimistic side of things, totally derailing any hopes, dreams and goals you may have. It is not unusual or uncommon to have some of your thoughts be negative.
o When you have a negative thought stop and ask yourself, “Is this true?” And, if it is true, ask yourself, “Is this kind?” If there is no point to it, either truth or kindness, then it’s time to consider ditching that thought.
o Remember, you don’t have to have long speeches with yourself.
o This week I want you to keep a piece of paper or an index card handy or use Notes in your phone. I want you to catch negative thinking as it comes up. Each time you catch it I want you to replace it with either something neutral or something better.
o An example would be what you say to yourself when you see yourself in the mirror – dressed or undressed. Negative thought: “Look at that fatso.” Better thought: “It’s just where my body is right now.” An even better thought: Wow, you go girl! You are finally doing something to show you care about yourself.
o You don’t have to jump to the best. It might be really hard for you to look at yourself and jump to “You go girl.” Instead, just take the next step on the ladder that we talked about last week and say, “This is my body now.” Try at least to neutralize the self-hatred and we will work up from there!
Now, let me remind you, if you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me or share a topic idea that you would like me to cover on a future episode, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You are welcome to email me directly… email@example.com. And don’t forget to leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast. I would SO appreciate it. Leaving a review makes it easier for other people who are looking to listen and learn about Keto and Low Carb.
Please share this show with your friends and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Keto and Low Carb Success podcast. Especially share this podcast with anyone you know who is struggling with their weight or eating plan. This podcast, my book and all the free resource guides I I make available to you can be game changers if you take the information and coaching advice that are in them, they really are. It will help so many people transform their lives – not just with food but with how they feel about themselves, how they approach the food they eat, and how they make decisions about any area of their lives.
Until the next episode, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.