Did you know that on average American women try 61 different diets over the course of their lives? 61 diets.
In the 1950s, around 10% of Americans were overweight. Taking current trends into account, though, it’s predicted that by the year 2030, 85% of Americans will be overweight.
That is shocking and completely avoidable.
Imagine that, from 1 out of 10 people being overweight, to 9 out of 10 people. In just a few years from now. It’s not progress, I can tell you that much.
But to help us sort it all out, we’re here today with Eliza Kingsford.
Eliza is a Licensed Psychotherapist and also the author of Brainpowered Weightloss. She specializes in body image issues, weight management, eating disorders and food addiction.
In this episode with Eliza Kingsford, you’re about to learn about:
- How extremes become normal when they’re sensationalized
- The pillars of healthy eating and living
- Why you shouldn’t give up vegetables for good
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Eliza.
Eliza Kingsford: How to Cultivate Your Inner Knowing
Abel: Alright folks, today we’re here with Eliza Kingsford, a licensed psychotherapist and author of Brain-Powered Weight Loss. Eliza specializes in body image, weight management, eating disorders and food addiction.
You may have seen her on Dr Phil, Dr Oz, CNN, but today we’re very happy that she’s here with us. Thanks so much for joining us on this show.
Thanks for having me, I’m super excited to be here.
Abel: Of course, it couldn’t be more timely. These days it seems like social media is running almost everyone’s lives, whether it be business owners, grandparents, kids, almost everyone is having this relationship with technology that’s affecting us in ways that we don’t even understand yet.
Let’s just start right there. Where do we stand in the age of Instagram as healthy eating and living is concerned?
There are so many parts of that question that are relevant to your listeners, and certainly to people that I work with. But the things that stick out for me are the access to information.
Some information is awesome, some information may be less awesome, or less credible perhaps.
We’re seeing the messages, the pictures, and that affects us both consciously and on a subconscious level.
And then the big one for me that I’m learning a lot about and studying a lot about is just the mental capacity that it takes up. When you are focusing on one thing you are inevitably not focusing on another, it’s sort of this myth of multitasking.
And having access to Instagram and other apps on technology just perpetuates this cycle that, when you are focusing on something you are inevitably taking your attention away from something else.
And is that something else more beneficial to you than what Instagram or another social media app is providing you?
These are all big questions that we need to be asking ourselves when we consume social media.
Abel: Yah, and as you mentioned in terms of imagery, it used to be the only time I saw those trashy magazines with all of the photoshopped models on the front would be at the grocery store.
I guess to some extent, our psychology is always assaulted by messages that we don’t want, or aren’t ours whether it’s billboards, or the internet, or checkout aisle magazines.
But back then it was mostly just billboards and checkout aisle magazines.
Now, it’s any time you want to figure out what to do when your dog’s sick, and you look it up on the internet. Or any time you’re trying to catch up with your parents, or your kids, or your family on social media.
Not only are the images that are coming to you highly manipulated, but at the same time, you’re being advertised to and manipulated by the platforms themselves into thinking or acting or eating a certain way.
And almost all of those messages say, “You are not enough, you need this.”
Absolutely, yes. We’re bombarded with them, it’s an onslaught.
Like you said, whether or not you have asked for it. Even if you’re just scrolling and maybe you’re not necessarily paying attention to that particular picture, but it’s in your feed. And then in your feed again, and in your feed again, and it sends a message to your subconscious brain.
And that message is: “You are not enough, but if you do this thing, you will be.”
And you get sent that message subliminally so many times. And depending on your situation, you’re getting it from other areas too.
It is no wonder that underneath there is this pervasive feeling that unless you look a certain way that you’re not enough, and that’s part of how it gets developed.
Abel: I was watching a program recently about the way that people think about cosmetics these days, and what really struck me is how nonchalant so many young and older people were about getting cosmetic surgery to live up to the norms that they saw on the Internet, Instagram, social media, and all the rest of it.
Whether it’s breast implants, butt implants, nose jobs, all of it was presented as being as normal as going out and getting a cup of coffee. And that was shocking to me.
Right. We’ve normalized that somehow. You look different from someone else, and different automatically equals bad for some reason.
And so in order to not be different, here is the way that you can change yourself to then look like everyone else.
It’s this weird message, again subliminally, and it’s used for marketing purposes. I don’t think it’s always intentional.
The underlying message that we’re being sent has always been a part of marketing. The sheer amount of information we digest now, with the internet and social media, has put things on the fast track. It’s perpetuated this cycle so quickly.
And younger and younger ages, as they’re starting to use technology sooner, it’s become a real problem.
Abel: And it’s intermingled with our information source and reality, to some degree, isn’t it?
It is. It has almost gotten to the point where in order for someone to stop and look at an even valid product, a product that might help you in your health and wellness journey, the product needs to be marketed and hyped in order to compete with what’s out there.
Before this person is going to buy what I’m trying to sell, I need to splash this image or promise that it’ll make you feel like this. And it has inadvertently brought people along that may not necessarily have wanted to market that way.
Abel: Ya, and also, if you engage with the marketing, it reinforces this idea that you go and chase after the silver bullet.
It’s not going to work no matter what that thing is, it’s pretty much not going to work long-term, I feel comfortable saying. Which means now I’m even worse off if I buy that thing.
I have failed at trying this thing that I thought was my savior, so now I’m in even worse shape and have even less confidence, and less self-alliance than I did before.
Yah, and that’s this yo-yo cycle. Now I’m a failure, I have failed, which means that I am a person who fails and that’s an internalized belief, and the cycle continues.
And yet, I’m sure you experienced this. There is good science and good research out there, and good resources to help people feel well, live well, both internally and externally.
It’s just with this onslaught of information that makes it hard to tell. “Well, who do I listen to, and how do I know if this is going to work for me? And I’ve done all these things and they haven’t worked in the past. Why would this thing work?”
It makes being healthy, in my opinion, more difficult than it really needs to be, when you break down the science and you look at the things that will always be true no matter what.
Abel: I got a comment just the other day in our coaching community from a woman who has been with us for years, and she basically said that she found this new diet.
I don’t remember what it was, something on the internet, and it said, “I’ve gotta fast a lot more and then when I eat carbs, I have to eat 198 grams of carbs. So, what do you think about that, Abel?”
And you could probably imagine what I said. But anything that is telling you to eat 198 grams of carbs sounds absolutely absurd, no matter who you are.
Yah, it does…
Abel: There’s no way you can know the other end of that. You can give the advice as much as you want, but you have no idea what the reaction is, right?
Exactly. Even just the science of it, what is your height and weight and gender and age and all those things that 198 grams of carbs would impact?
And when you say carbs, what does that mean? There’s a whole spectrum, as you know, of carbohydrates.
And are you getting this information that is useful for your particular needs?
This is one of the things that is my soapbox, not just something that worked for someone and then they say, “Oh, this works for me. I’m going to sell this product to everybody.”
Which just saturates the market and confuses people.
And this woman in your community probably, underneath it all, just really wants something to work for her. And is looking for that feeling of satisfaction and success and longevity and sustainability, and is grasping at these straws.
Well, this didn’t work for me, so I’ll try this thing. And in reality, ignoring all of the things that are underneath that are really the drivers and the things that make people successful long-term. Not these quick fix things that you can find all over the internet if that’s what you’re looking for.
Abel: Even if you’re not looking for that, right?
Abel: A lot of people are not looking for the next big thing, but it keeps finding them. That seems to be one of the big changes.
My wife and I took over a year off from social media. We’ll say like 95%. We didn’t have WiFi, internet, or anything like that.
When you take a step back for a bit and then come back and take another look, you can see the changes that happen to culture and society and people’s psychology, to some degree.
And like I was saying, the things that have been normalized now are startling.
Even when you look back a few years ago, the things that people get away with now. It used to be clear, I thought, who was a scammer on the internet, who was completely full of it, who was a fake guru.
These days, anyone can buy as many likes or followers as they want to, anyone can be propped up as this Instagram or internet expert.
So, for someone who actually does this for a living, like you, how do you continue to do your job in a professional way when Instagram butt models are wiping the floor with real experts.
That’s a really good question.
I’ve actually done a lot of work on that, and just the woo-woo spiritual side of me always goes to, “I need to focus on the people I’m serving, and the people who need me will find me.”
And my focus stays on what I’m doing, what I’m putting out there and how I’m serving my community.
I try not to get caught up in that.
But I’d be lying if it didn’t take some work to get to that point. I was telling somebody the other day, how when you go and apply for a job, it used to be that you would have a resume, right?
You’d bring your resume and you’d have listed the places you worked, and maybe some references and who you worked for, and then people would decide whether or not you were qualified for that job. And maybe you got it, maybe you didn’t.
Now, you can go and be anyone and say that you’re anybody that you want to be. You can say that you’re an expert.
People use these big phrases, “I’ve worked with thousands of clients.” And maybe you have, but maybe you haven’t.
If you’re buying followers and likes, maybe you’re also saying things like, “I’ve worked with thousands of clients.”
And then we go and spend money for another fad.
So, while I’m not trying to dog on anybody out there who is actually serving a community who really needs them, I do think that we would be best served to do our own research.
Just like you wouldn’t go to a doctor who’s online and just said, “Well, I’m a doctor. This is what I do.”
You would make sure they went to medical school and probably have been in practice, and maybe insurance recognizes them as a doctor.
You’d want to do some of the same things. Does this person have any credentials, or they have any background in what they do?
As I mentioned earlier, one of the hardest things that I see from a psychotherapy standpoint, is this, “Well this worked for me, so it must work for everyone.”
And while that’s not always untrue, maybe you did uncover the thing that works for a lot of people. That’s great.
Make sure that there is also sound science and sound research and sound input from other people that say, “This is credible and this is coming from a credible source.”
That’s what I see most on the internet with all the options out there. Anybody can say they’re an expert, anybody can say they’ve worked with as many people as they want to say.
You don’t have any real way of checking that out, necessarily, unless you do a little bit of digging.
Do they have any credentials? Do you get to talk to them? Can you ask them about their philosophy, who they have worked with, where their science comes from?
And if people can’t answer those questions, then for me, I start wondering about, not necessarily their credibility, but how much are we saturating the market with a lot of really muddy information.
So, I’ve done a lot of work and I’m saying, “I talk to the appropriate scientists and board members and people that I need to to make sure that I’m offering the best product and to make sure that my work is credible.”
And that’s all I can do by focusing on what I’m putting out there.
Abel: But I think it’s worth saying that when you’re healing people, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you’re probably not stuffing more information down their throats. That’s not necessarily the answer, right?
No. People know that it’s not a lack of knowledge, right?
So, for instance, a lot of my clients are struggling with body image and disordered eating and obesity. And it’s not that they don’t know that the body probably functions better with something like a lean protein and some good fat and vegetables. They’ve heard that.This is not a lack of knowledge. This is an ability to make it a sustainable lifestyle. @ElizaKingsford Click To Tweet
This is an ability to look underneath the hood and understand what their internal belief systems are, and what is subconsciously driving some of their behaviors, and learning how to change patterns of behavior.
I think if you ask most people, they would understand more about nutrition than we give people credit for.
They don’t need more information. They need to figure out what’s underneath the hood and work on that.
The Pillars of How to Eat and Live
Abel: So what are the pillars of living a healthy life? If you could simplify, just forget about the standard way of eating and what everyone is coming to the table with, and all that baggage.
If there are a few pillars of how to eat and live, what would those be?
Taking what I know about the science and the data and looking at analysis studies, I believe that this movement towards nutrient-dense whole foods is my top pillar.
And there’s a necessity now to define what a nutrient dense whole food is, only because we’ve screwed it up so bad over the last 40 years or 50 years.
Only because we have introduced to our food system thousands and thousands of products that have been processed and engineered and chemically altered in this unnatural way, is there even a need to talk about what a nutrient-dense whole food is.
And so for me, it’s coming back to this place of, “Is your food in its purest forms?”
I think that when we’re choosing food, if I’m really asking my clients to simplify things, it is looking at food in its purest forms and not necessarily demonizing whether it has this macronutrient or type of fat.
Well, I should take that back. There’s definitely some types of fat that are more preferable and better digest in the body, but rather than demonizing a macronutrient, it’s looking at where did it come from?
Is it in as close to its natural form as possible? Great, and I’m going to start there. That’s going to be my top pillar.
And then underneath that, I’m looking at what is satiating. What is satisfying? What do I like? What can I stick to long term? What has enough fiber content to keep me full? What has enough protein content to keep me full?
And just learning about what macronutrients do in the body rather than demonizing one over the other.
So, that’s where I start—nutrient dense whole foods. And then from there we work our way down and individualize it.
Abel: That doesn’t sound overly complicated, that doesn’t sound impossible to me.
That’s right, we complicate things that don’t need to be complicated.We complicate things that don’t need to be complicated. #nutrition @ElizaKingsford Click To Tweet
Abel: It’s about removing the interference more than anything else, right?
I think it was in your book, I just read that in the 1950s about 10% of people were overweight. Today somewhere around 70% are overweight. And by 2030 we’re looking at 85%.
I hadn’t seen that before. That’s just mind boggling.
If we keep going on this trajectory, absolutely. We have already surpassed that.
If you are at a “normal weight” you are in the minority.If you are at a “normal weight” you are in the minority. #nutrition @ElizaKingsford Click To Tweet
30% of the people are considered in a normal weight range.
And we can villainize the BMI and there’s all those kinds of things, but in reality more people are struggling with weight and obesity right now, than are not struggling with it.
So we have to look at, how did we get here? What did we do to ourselves?
And I think oftentimes when we’re talking about nutrition, we over-complicate what it takes to be healthy.
What we underestimated, was the impact that chemically engineering and altering our food would have on our brain chemistry and our body chemistry.
And so you’ve got this double whammy of what processed food and significantly altered food does to you body, combined with foods that aren’t supposed to be together, like fat and carbohydrates, are the two things that we put together.
Naturally, they don’t occur together in nature. We put them together in pizza and ice cream and those kinds of things.
Abel: That’s a big thing.
It’s a huge thing. We underestimated the impact of what doing that would have on our brains and on our bodies, and now we’re really suffering as a result.
And what I see happening, is that people are having a difficult time getting off these processed foods, and the impact that it has on our brain chemistry.
These comfort foods actually do make us feel better, chemically in the brain they release dopamine that makes us feel better.
So, here we are. People are dealing with more stress than ever, more social media than ever, more life things than ever before, getting less natural serotonin, more unnatural levels of dopamine, that’s perpetuating the cycle of the types of food they’re eating and that’s the process that is really hard to break.
What is the healthiest thing for us, nutritionally speaking? It’s not that complicated. It’s actually pretty simple.
And I think if you look at the underlying messages from a lot of “diets,” they’re actually saying pretty similar things.You have to eat more food that came in its natural form. Click To Tweet
Some people prefer more fat, some people prefer more complex carbohydrates. Ok, but underneath it’s relatively simple.
The impact our food system has had on our emotions and on our psychology, on our neurobiology, our physiology, and our ability to make decisions has really snowballed into this major problem that has been hard to backpedal from.
Abel: I guess it’s kind of a personal question, but have you felt that personally as time has gone by, as the world has evolved, or “progressed”? If we use those words, which I’d rather not.
But have you felt, I guess, damaged or influenced by the world in a different way? The health world?
Yes, actually I have. It’s funny you say that, and it reminds me of a story of my much younger self in my college days.
I remember just having a really traumatic experience going through the grocery store, and having no idea what to buy.
You’re in college, you’re not being cooked for anymore, and you’re needing to make decisions. And there was so much information coming at me from so many different angles.
I just remember going through the grocery store, crying, being very upset thinking, I don’t know what to buy, I don’t know what is healthy for me.
I didn’t know if I’m supposed to be looking at calories or focus on macro nutrients.
At the time it was all about, “Don’t eat any fat.”
Fat was the enemy. And calories, that was it. That was basically all the information that was out there.
There were some things. The Zone diet. Maybe the South Beach diet was just coming out. But it was all about calories and how bad fat was.
And there were all these products on the shelves.
40,000 choices to make. And I remember thinking, “I don’t know what is going to be healthy for me.”
So yes, I personally had that experience. But back then, there was no Facebook or Instagram.
Even then we weren’t searching the internet for food advice, at that point it was still books.
But the diet books, even at that time, had conflicting information.
So yes, I have felt a diet information overload my whole life.
The Psychology and Biology of Body Image
Abel: When did you first start feeling the need to diet, or the need to start thinking that way, I guess?
I was an athlete all growing up. I swam, I played soccer, and some other things.
And as an athlete going to practices and things like that, without even consciously thinking about it, you’re getting enough activity to naturally regulate your metabolism, for the most part, especially as an adolescent.
But I remember eating as a kiddo, things that I may not choose now, and it didn’t have a noticeable impact, probably because of how much I was exercising.
But I do remember a turning point in high school when I had joined the dance team which went alongside the cheerleading team, and there was a lot of really stereotypical disordered eating behaviors amongst that peer group.
And it sort of dawned on me that there was this thing called “dieting” and, “Oh, am I supposed to be looking at my body like that?”
And, “Am I supposed to be going to these amounts of extremes to get my body to do this thing?”
And I was sort of introduced to it inadvertently through that community.
So, it was probably in high school where it became this connection, this automatic mental connection of, “Your body doesn’t look like, what it’s supposed to, and in order to fix that, going on a restrictive diet is the answer.”
And from there, it was just like, “Ok, what kind of restriction? What am I restricting? How much am I restricting?”
It went down that path.
And I remember looking at certain magazines. When you’re a kid you think you’re doing something relatively harmless.
I remember articles that stuck out to me that said, “5 Ways To Melt Your Back Fat!”
And I would go, “I can’t see my back. Do I have back fat? Do I need a mirror? Should I be looking at my back?”
Things that you don’t think about, or that wouldn’t even occur to you that are sending you these messages. And I remember that so clearly, even now.
And yes, those were in some of those magazines that you’d mentioned earlier. Maybe I picked it up and was reading it.
And now that message that was in a magazine is in front of us daily, multiple times a day for some teenagers on Instagram feeds, and Facebook feeds, and all over the internet.
It is damaging.
Abel: And it’s even happening to kids to some degree.
I thought about this recently, and it has been going on for quite some time, but I think it has gotten worse. The idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, He-Man, Captain Planet all raging on steroids. If you look at the bodies.
And it brings me back to a time in college when I studied psychology and brain science. I remember this one particular study that really stood out, which looked at the ideal silhouette of the male and female form. And it had each sex rate what that shape was.
I’m sure you’re familiar with this, but when you looked at the picture of a woman silhouette that men rated as the ideal…
Abel: Ya, very curvy.
And if you looked at what the women thought was the ideal female form, even back then in college, it was rail thin. So thin that I remember being turned off, like actively turned off by the silhouette that they chose.
What does that do to your mind, what does that do to the interaction between men and women, or people in general?
I’m going to make a generalized statement here without the research study in my hand to back it up.
Abel: Sure, ya, it’s been a while.
But what I hear and what I see mostly between peers, is that it’s more about women competing with women, competing with themselves, if that makes sense.
So, I think if you were to ask a number of men, that study would be true that they prefer perhaps a curvier body than what is shown in magazines and on runways.
And we have to remember that those magazines are showing women to sell women their clothes and products.
So it’s not necessarily about what a man prefers. It’s this strange, I think, when you really stop and think about it. It’s this strange philosophy that pits women against themselves and against one another.
Abel: Exactly. And I’m not saying that women should look good for men at all. What I’m saying is that’s what’s happening without men ever being involved.
I agree with you. It’s what’s happening over there.
Advertising will oftentimes use a man looking seductively at a woman to then again send the message that this is what you should look like.
I’m trying to tread lightly here because we’re not really talking about what the ideal body should look like. That’s part of the problem.
But I think what you’re trying to say is it’s the messaging that’s the problem.
Because I think there are men who would really prefer a wide array of bodies. Everything from thin to very, very curvy and everything in between.
So, the messaging and the marketing, that’s the problem and not the actual statistics,.
Abel: Exactly. If you look back to our psychology, well, and you have to consider that even men have been brainwashed into thinking that women should be thinner than they naturally would be. So even that is skewed.
But if we went back to biology and we took out all of that messaging, we would be in a vastly different place.
And it seems like we would be much more whole.
Yah, I think that’s absolutely right.
I mean, if you’re just looking at attraction from a biological level, the biology of the continuation of the species requires women to have enough fat on their body in order to reproduce and have a healthy child and the appropriate hip structure and bone structure to be able to birth a child, and then live through that child birth.
So, we have gotten so far from the biological mechanisms of who we are as men and women, and into this deep rabbit hole of the shoulds and musts and what we’re supposed to look like.
And that’s one of the things I love working on most is finding this internal voice and finding the ability to change.
We’ve just spent the last, however long we’ve been talking, about these beliefs that have been ingrained in us from all of these different places where we’ve been getting our information for so long.
If we’re not paying attention, and we’re not actively trying to do something different, it’s no wonder that the vast majority of people feel like they’re not good enough.
I think it was something like 70% of girls aged 5 and older feel like they should be on a diet.Yikes. 70% of girls aged 5 and older feel like they should be on a diet. Click To Tweet
I may have butchered the numbers, but it was so overwhelming. I have a 5-year-old right now, so my bells and whistles are going off.
I look at my 5-year-old and I’m going, “Where? Why? Where are these messages coming from?”
And I know, cognitively, where they’re coming from. We do a lot of things in our household to make sure we’re really aware of body messages.
But 5-year-olds should not be burdened with body size and shape issues.
And this is where those internalized beliefs really, really start.
Abel: They start early. It’s earlier than we realized.
That’s what I realized.
I was digitizing a bunch of old performance tapes, because I’ve been performing since I was a little kid. And one of the tapes had been recorded over with MTV and a bit of cartoons.
And I started watching them as an adult, and I’m like, “That’s where that came from!”
This is why I wanted huge muscles that almost all women think are grotesque, in the same way that men think that the skinniest woman is grotesque.
Why are we chasing these ideals? Because they’ve been ingrained since we were 5 years old.
So what do we do to help heal that?
I guess number one is recognizing it, right?
Recognizing it is huge. And the ultimate work, the ideal outcome in my mind, is to get people to start striving for the things that come from an internal set of beliefs, and not an externally fed set of beliefs.
If you’re watching MTV and you’re seeing these big raging muscles, that’s an external set of beliefs.
And you’re going, “Ok, I’m supposed to be that.”
Which quiets down that innate internal voice which says, “Hey, this is more what you’re naturally built for.”
Whether it’s lean body mass or more muscular body mass or whatever it is.
And we start to dampen down that internal voice that says, “This is where we are most aligned. This is where you are most comfortable and you will find the most joy.”
And we stomp that down and we get all these externalized messages that we then take on as our own.
And we say, “Ok, this is the truth. I have to be this in order to be that.”
We start with first, as you said, being aware of what those messages are.
When I’m working with clients, it’s never about a number on the scale. They always have a number that they’re looking for.
No matter who I work with, there is a number in their mind, but we try and peel back the layers of that.
And we say, “Ok, it’s not that number. There is nothing inherent about the number 145 that is somehow magical. It is literally an electronic device that spits out a number.”
That number, it means nothing. So what belief are you attaching to it?
And every single time, it is something about, “When I get there I will feel this. This is what I’m striving to feel. This is what I’m hoping to not feel or feel.”
So, we first have to identify what it is we’re looking for, and then we have to figure out ways of trying to get to that feeling, whether it be through behaviors that are geared towards weight loss, or completely something else.
We have to find ways of getting to that feeling, detach from that externalized number on the scale, and look for more internal ways to find that feeling.
So, for instance, if a person is looking to feel more confident, and they’re saying 145 pounds will make me feel more confident.
Okay, I’ve got it, you want to feel confident.
We need to find other ways to make you feel more confident, and/or we’re going to work on the systems and behaviors that will get you to a weight or size or shape that will make you feel more confident.
Because, when you work on trying to get to that feeling versus to get to that end result, that’s when more sustainable fat loss and sustainable behaviors emerge.
Because now you’re not looking at this arbitrary number which really has no meaning.
You’re going straight to the heart of it, which is this confidence that you’re lacking. It’s a lot of steps to it, but I’m trying to simplify it.
Abel: I think what a lot of people don’t realize while they’re in the middle of trying to lose the weight, or change the shape, or what have you, is that maintenance is a whole different ball game.
Abel: In some ways, I think once you get the hang of it, it’s easier, it takes less effort. Easier is the wrong word, but it takes less effort in some ways.
It takes a whole different way of thinking about everything.
Because if you do reach that 145, how are you going to be happy if you’re not already happy?
Abel: I think that’s what people really run into.
It is. That is one of the biggest problems, is that if you didn’t focus on the feeling that you were trying to get to at 145, and you just focused on the number.
You’ll get to this number, but if your internalized set of beliefs still reflect somebody who’s 200 pounds, or for whom losing weight is really difficult, or if you think “I don’t believe this will stick for me.” If those are still your internalized set of beliefs, you will go back to those behaviors that kept you at that place that you said that you didn’t want to be.
That will happen. And as you said, losing weight for some people can be fairly easy, it’s the maintenance piece that becomes difficult.
Not only are your biological mechanisms working against you after you’ve lost weight, which most people don’t think about, but your internal set of beliefs may also be working against you.
For instance, there is a study that came out about the Biggest Loser participants, and they talked about how their biological mechanisms got them back towards being overweight.
But in some of my talking with some of those past participants, the other thing that happened was that they still believed that they were an overweight person.
Their internal set of beliefs still went to this place of fear of weight gain, that they embodied the belief system of someone who struggles with weight.
They were afraid that they were going to gain weight again. “How am I going to keep it off?”
Therefore, subconsciously they start to engage in the behaviors that got them back to being in-line with their internal belief systems.
If we do not change our underlying internal belief systems about who we are, we will always go back and act in accordance with what those are.
Abel: But you don’t really want to take on a new identity and slap it over the old one, right? So how do you do that?
Yah, that’s an interesting way to put that. New identity and you slap it over the old one. That is more like faking it till you make it, right?
This systematic work is about, first identifying what those internal beliefs and stories are, and then not necessarily slapping a new one onto it, but it…
For instance, if we’re going back to the, “I want to feel more confident and 145 is going to make me do that,” it’s looking at other areas of your life, where you can elicit that feeling as you’re working on the healthy behavior.
So, it’s sort of building up that confidence muscle, not only with, perhaps the healthy behaviors you’re are engaging in, but maybe you’re really confident in your work, maybe you’re really confident with your partner, or your friendships, or your child, or the run you just went on, or fishing, or whatever it is.
What are the other things in your life that you can cultivate to build up that confidence? So it’s not just faking it till you make it.
In one of the other ways we do this, and we sort of short-circuit the process is, doing a lot of gratitude work.
Gratitude is the easiest way to change a negative belief system. It’s focusing on the things that you’re grateful for, brings more things to be grateful for, which gives you more things to focus on.
It starts to become this snowball effect.There are systematic ways of changing an internal belief. Click To Tweet
But you’re right, you don’t just slap a new one on an old one and say, “Oh, this is who I am.” It takes some work.
Abel: One of the things that Dr. Alan Christianson brought up when I was talking to him today is that a lot of people have trouble because they’re over-exercising.
More people in his practice have that problem, which brings up a whole lot of different complications, but I think leads us back to the same point.
What you really need to develop or redevelop is common sense, self-reliance, independence, the confidence that you were talking about before.
And a lot of that comes from really getting out of your comfort zone.
Not in a health way, in a life way, in a way that I am free to be whatever I want to be.
To use an example from the TV show when I worked with Kurt, his identity largely was, “I’m the big, tall, fat funny guy. That’s who I am.”
Abel: And so you kind of need to rebuild that confidence to be a kid again and be like, “Well, who do I want to be?”
I love that question, “Who do I want to be?”
And getting really curious of where you feel most aligned. It’s one of the things I work on with people is, how to tell if you are in alignment or if you’re being incongruent.
And so, for Kurt, if he’s the big, tall, fat funny guy, and he loses 50 pounds, then he asks himself, “Who do I get to be?”
Or, being curious about what feels most aligned.
“Am I still funny? Do I like to be funny? Was being funny a way to make light of how I really felt uncomfortable in my body?”
Who knows what it is, but you get to be curious about what feels most aligned and most intuitive for you, and really cultivating that place of inner knowing takes some practice.
With little incremental steps at a time.
I can tell, very quickly these days, what feels aligned or when I get that little feeling. If I identify that this is not so much me. I’m not serving it or it’s not serving me. I’m going to pass.
That’s something that you can cultivate with actionable steps over time.
Abel: Well, then, I can’t believe that we’re out of time, but this has been such a powerful, powerful conversation.
People are struggling now more than ever, it seems, yet somewhere deep down inside us we all kind of have the answer.
Yes. Yes, we do.
Where to Find Eliza Kingsford
Abel: So, would you like to leave us with a thought or two as well as where folks can find you?
I love that you said that.
I believe that with my whole heart that one of the problems we have is all of the inputs of information are really just making it harder for us to access that inner knowing that everybody has.
Everybody has an inner knowing. Everybody has the ability to cultivate that and make it much stronger.
Part of what we’re struggling with is a society that does so many things to distract us from cultivating that piece of ourselves. So, I love that you just said that.
I can’t believe we ran through that info. We’ll do it again and get a little into some interesting places.
Abel: That sounds great. Thank you so much once again.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review that just came in on iTunes from Alden, who says:
Read your book and started listening to the show a few months ago. Today I am down 47 pounds with another 22 to get back to my high school weight.
I feel great and look forward to each show.
Wow! Alden, thank you so much for putting what you’ve heard on this show and read in The Wild Diet into action and thanks for sending me a note. I appreciate it.
Now, to put that 47 pounds into context, as a musician I have a bunch of amplifiers and one of my tube amplifiers that I don’t take anywhere weighs about 50 pounds. And that’s the reason that I don’t really take it anywhere.
So, I can’t imagine how good it must feel to have shed that extra weight off your body.
If you have any struggles, just drop me a line and we’ll do our best to help you out. And if you have questions or you’d like to get in touch, then of course you can always sign up for my newsletter, and just hit reply to respond to my email me. I respond to as many as I can.
You don’t get the social media interference and all the advertising and interfering with your feed, and that sort of thing. You’ll just get me and Alyson, and our dog sometimes.
And if you haven’t checked it out yet, you’ll probably want to check out AbelJames.com, because secretly over the past six months I’ve been recording over four hundred 360-degree and virtual reality videos, some of them adventures to wacky places like Dinosaur National Monument or the real life Oregon Trail, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and tons more.
And if you’d like to recommend some places, especially in North America, that you’d like us to visit and do virtual tours in, then drop a line. I’m always interested to know what you guys want to see and learn about.
In the videos, for example, you’ll see like a Yellowstone park ranger herding bison with his pickup truck. I’d never seen that before. You can check out boiling mud pots and erupting geysers, you can even see an elk mama nibbling veggies out of a geothermal hot spring.
We’ll be releasing VR adventure tours of Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America with the mountain goats that go along with it. Serpent Mound in Ohio, the great American Stonehenge. Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, and even the backwoods of New Hampshire where I grew up.
Just head on over to AbelJames.com to catch a brand new 360-degree VR video every single day for the next year.
And if you’d like to support this free show and all of our music videos and free virtual tours and that sort of thing, please head on over to wildsuperfoods.com to get your own health boosting goodies.
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What did you think of this interview with Eliza Kingsford? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts!