Do you know who you want to be? And if so, do you allowing yourself to embrace that person? Despite putting in considerable effort to transform into your desired self, do you still feel trapped in your current state? If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. This episode is going to give you so much clarity.
In this episode, we’ll delve into four reasons why we tend to remain stuck. By understanding these factors, we can equip ourselves with the necessary skills and tools to progress towards becoming the person we’ve always envisioned. We’ll explore the concept of identities and how they are not inherent but rather shaped as we become preoccupied with others’ opinions. Tune in to discover practical strategies to propel yourself forward.
107. Weight Loss and Identity Theft
Do you feel like you’re never gonna be able to change no matter how hard you’ve worked? Well, this episode is going to give you so much clarity because you are not alone. And in fact, there is a lot of proof out there of why we keep ourselves stuck. But after listening to this episode, you’re going to be able to have some skills and tools to get unstuck. Are you ready? Let’s go. I’m Dara Tomasson, and this is Love Yourself Thin, episode 1 0 7, Weight Loss and Identity Theft.
All right, so let’s talk about identity theft. And just before we start, of course, I’m gonna give you a little celebration, but one of the things that happens with our celebrations is that what they’re celebrating five months ago or a year ago, is actually just part of their normal life. So when they have a problem, they realize that they didn’t even think about turning to the food. And that’s one of the things that I love so much is that their success is just automatic, their patterns of behavior, it’s just normal now. It’s a habit. They’ve done it so many times and I see that happening over and over and I’m so happy for them. Okay, so we’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I’m saying we, because in the group we have these conversations and one of the observations that the women in the program make is how different they are and how much they have changed and how their identity is so different and we all struggle with this because we get used to being a certain way, and I give the example sometimes of when I’m folding the laundry and I see these jeans and I’m folding them and I think they’re my daughters, but really they’re mine. And I think, oh my goodness, yeah, that’s right, these are my pants. This is the size that I, I wear. So even in that, my identity of wearing smaller clothes, hasn’t quite caught up to the reality of my life.
And so I wanna talk about this identity theft because so much of the work that we do in our life shows up this way. So think about when you were a kid and you would just draw and you would create, and you had so much fun and you would take flowers and all sorts of things and you would just make whatever you thought was beautiful. And now think about if someone came up to you and said, what is that? What is that? And you’re like, oh, it’s a, a fairy, or it’s a, a wonderland and they think, oh, it’s just a pile of rocks. And those kinds of comments can really squash that creativity and that beauty out from children. And it’s the same thing with our bodies. So think about most women struggle with their weight when they are in their preteens to teens because they start hearing messages from others saying things like, You know, oh, you have bigger thighs. I had one friend in high school mention a comment about my eyelids. She said, oh, you just have such squinty eyes. And I had other people make comments like, oh, you have no cellulite. But the thing that sticks of course to me is the negative. And so that’s normal for all of us, and part of it is just psychology. It’s just our survival where we wanna be a part of the tribe. We don’t wanna be rejected. We don’t want to be you know, made fun of. So we need to create that safety.
So I’m gonna walk you through some ideas that I’ve had been having and some of the work that I’ve been doing with my clients. Because the problem is how did you get your identity? It is not like you were born and you came with an instruction book that says, this is Dara and she is outgoing and enthusiastic and all the things, how I would identify myself. It wasn’t like that. You were born a baby and then you just started to create things. Now we get clues. So I’m gonna give my daughters example ’cause it’s so, she was so funny as a little girl and it was so surprising to me as I was raising my five children, but she was so spunky and she wouldn’t let me feed her. She always wanted to feed herself. Like when I would try to feed her when she was a baby, she would turn her head, and so I couldn’t even do that. Like I would cut up pieces of toast in long strips and then she would dip that into her yogurt or her eggs or whatever it was. She was just so incredibly independent, which I thought was really interesting.
And we all grow up with our personality, but that personality starts to be shaped when we start worrying about what other people think of us. So Joe Dispenza says, our personality is our personal reality. So I want you to answer the question; how would you define yourself? So what do you identify as? What are those qualities or attributes that you would say define you? So enthusiastic, cautious, nervous, creative. What are those thoughts? Okay, now, I want you to ask yourself, how did you become that person? What were the steps? How did you get there? So how much of it was my mom said this to me, or my dad said this, or a teacher made this comment, or my uncle said. How many of those comments stuck and you decided to keep them. So why do we hold onto some of the things they say and not say, some of the good, some of the bad? What do you think is the reason you do that? Now first we have to remember in our brain, our lower brain is always wanting to find safety. We must create more safety.
And so, I remember just even in grade, we moved from grade seven to grade eight, we moved to a new place, and I thought in grade eight I have to make sure that I have the coolest friends. Like I need to be part of the coolest group of kids, because that’s what’s gonna keep me safe. And same thing with high school. If I can be in the coolest group, then I can avoid a lot of teasing and all those kinds of things. So what made your decision about your career choices, were they socially acceptable? Were they perceived secure? What was it? Did they align with your beliefs as a person, maybe your level of spirituality? Did it reflect that? So as you think about those decisions and your identity, what were they inspired by? What were they motivated by? Now I wanna share, there’s a, an amazing book called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. And he’s just this brilliant man who’s written so many books and I’ve listened to this book on tape two or three times, I’ve read the book and it’s been really interesting for me personally to look at how far I’ve come. And the reason I’ve come so far is because I’ve learned how to overcome so many obstacles. And I’m wondering for you, what obstacles haven’t you learned to overcome? And one of the biggest questions was, do you even know that that was an obstacle? I think that so many of us don’t even realize that we keep hitting an obstacle and we just think we’re stuck. We think that that’s just life, that we can’t overcome it. And you know that this is happening to you if you are experiencing a lot of worry. If you’re experiencing a lot of blaming or criticizing people, or if you often get sick or hurt, if you often find yourself squabbling with others. You know, that bickering or a fault finding. What about if you’re not keeping agreements or you’re not really telling the full truth. Or what if you’re deflecting a lot or hiding your true feelings? So if you are spending a lot of time in these characteristics, it means that you are struggling with moving forward, with changing your current identity to becoming the person who you really want to become.
Now, Gay Hendricks talks about this inner thermostat that we all have, so all of us have some level of safety within ourselves. And he gave the example of one day he was sitting in his office. He was a psychologist at Stanford, PhD feeling so great and I’ll just read how he said it. He suddenly, after about 10 seconds of enjoying that feeling, found himself consumed with worry about his seven year old daughter who had just left that day for her first ever three day sleepover camp. And then he said, I found myself obsessing that she might be lonely and homesick even though she hadn’t been gone for a full day. In his anxious state he called this camp to find out if his daughter was okay. The camp director told him she could see her out of the window playing soccer, and she looked just fine. After he got off the phone, he reflected on how I had gone so quickly from feeling great to feeling so caught up in worry. And so he had this idea came to him and he said, I had begun to worry because I was allergic to feeling good for any length of time. I began to explore this in myself and in my clients, who I was working with. So he realized that we all have these upper limit problems. So just like a thermostat, we don’t allow ourselves to go too hot or too cold. So we actually keep ourself in place.
So I’m going to go through these four hidden barriers. I have them written in the worksheet so they’re there for you. But I’m just gonna read a summary of them. So the first hidden barrier is feeling fundamentally flawed. So for all of you out there who just go into shame a lot. This is you. So the biggest and most widely shared fear is that many of us feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with us, and that we’re undeserving of great success and happiness. This fear causes us to hold ourselves back from fulfilling our ultimate potential because we feel we inherently don’t deserve it. So the unconscious mantra of this fear is, I cannot expand to my full creative genius because something is fundamentally wrong with me. So I’m reading this summary from Gay Hendricks book.
The second hidden barrier is disloyalty and abandonment. Another widely held fear is of being disloyal or leaving behind people who have been there for us in the past. We pull back from greater success because we fear will end up alone, abandon our roots, and leave behind people whom we love or care for. So their unconscious mantra is, I cannot expand to my full success because it would cause me to end up all alone, be disloyal to my roots and leave behind people from my past. The third one is a belief that more success brings a bigger burden. So this is interesting, also you can see this in people who win the lottery, who get a whole bunch of money, who think that they are gonna be so much happier.
So the third fear is of being a burden. Some people unconsciously believe that more success will bring greater burdens. The unconscious mantra of this fear is I can’t expand to my highest potential because I’d be an even bigger burden than I am now.
And then the fourth one is the fear of outshining. So common among gifted, intelligent, talented children. This fear often emerges from a strong subliminal message they received from their families that if you shine too much, you’ll make others feel bad or look bad. Greater levels of success and happiness often trigger these feeling, these fears, which cause us then to pull back to lower levels of fulfillment. So this unconscious mantra is, I must not expand to my full success because if I do, I would outshine and make him or her feel or look bad.
So of those four hidden barriers, Which one do you identify with? What are some of your thermostats? So do you have success and then you think, oh, my siblings are gonna be jealous of me, or they’re gonna start talking about me, or I I shouldn’t buy too nice of a car because people might judge me. Is that happening to you? Or if I’m more successful, then I just have to pay more taxes, and then people just expect so much more from me. I’m just gonna stay the same. Or in the second one. You know? Are you afraid that you’re gonna leave your roots behind if you’re too successful? Like we’re blue collar people, or we work really hard for our money and that they might think that we’re thinking we’re too good for them. Or being that fundamentally flawed of, I’m just not that smart. I’m just not that great. I just am not as good as others, and I, I just can’t be that kind of person.
So I want you to think about where you fall in that. Now we’re talking about our identities here and your identity as a person who is overweight. Or maybe it’s not even the physical weight maybe you emotionally feel like people are judging you or you feel like a fraud. You feel like if people really knew you, people are complimenting you all the time, but you just feel like, oh, if they really knew how, what a mess I am, where do you fall in that? And you know, it’s interesting, I think about movies and I recently watched one of my favorite movies from my like twenties and Reese Witherspoon was in the movie and, you know, she was so typecast when she was little. What was the crazy movie she was in? It was like really scary that I never watched. I don’t remember. But so she was that little girl in that movie and then she had to push herself out of that. Or even Harry Potter is another example of, it’s hard for people to take him seriously in other movies because he’s Harry Potter. We watched him grow up and so we get typecast and that’s what happens with their identity. We kind of just put ourselves in a pocket. Like I’m the third of six kids, and so I was the peacemaker, I’m the one who didn’t like the dog as much. I’m the one who was the teacher’s pet. I’m the one who was, you know, really successful in this and that, and sometimes I was a clutz and you know, all of these things that they kind of put me in a box and said, oh, that’s how Dara is. And so it’s kind of interesting as I’ve now haven’t lived with my siblings for much longer than I lived with them, and it’s been almost 33 years that I haven’t lived with my family. And it’s interesting how when we get together there’s, they can still bring up, oh, remember when you did this? Remember? And I’m thinking, yeah, I actually can remember it, but it was a really long time ago.
And so we do the same thing with ourselves. And we kind of just put ourselves in that. There’s a little girl at church and her mom always says, oh, she’s just so shy. She’s just so shy. She just says that over and over and over again. And I just think, ah, that little girl is now just, she’s being conditioned to believe that she’s shy and that she always has to be with her mom. And so it’s very interesting as we progress, but are we letting ourselves progress? Now when we understand that we put ourselves in an identity and that we are the one who creates that it does create a friction inside of us because on one side we know that we can create a difference, but on the other we’re actually pretty comfortable being who we are, we’re comfortable being kind of overweight. We’re kind of comfortable being klutzy or falling back into those labels because it just feels kind of comfortable. It’s kinda like a well worn pair of shoes. I have my Birkenstocks and they’re all formed to my feet and they’re pretty comfortable. And to get a whole new pair is annoying because I have to break those in. And it’s the same thing with us.
Now the last thing I wanna talk about, and this also comes from Gay Hendricks and this has really helped me understand why I sabotage myself and why I fall back into these traps. It also really helps me as a coach to be able to see these patterns in my clients and be able to show them what they’re doing and how they’re not allowing themselves to have success. So he talked about the importance of understanding the difference between the zone of excellence and the zone of genius. And learning how to go from one to the other. So your zone of excellence is that you know that you are skilled and that you’re good at it. And so you’re good at a lot of things. And so you just stay really good at those things. But you don’t let yourself be a beginner. You don’t let yourself fail and learn and to progress. And so you’re not really very satisfied with life. You’re like, yeah, I’m really good at this and I’m really good at this, but I’m not really good at that, but you don’t let yourself. Learn how to be good at that thing because you did have to at one point, be bad at it before you got to be good at it.
So he recommends that we go to our zone of genius, which allows us to go into our unique abilities and to dig deep to find them, and then we’re able to excel in our life. We’re letting ourselves become that person. Honestly, when I think back about myself in 2008 and how discouraged and upset I was, and I think now, 5 years later, my life, even though I still have the same crazy kitchen and I have, you know, all my kids and my husband and all that, my everyday life, the way I think about myself, the way I look at myself, the way that I approach things, I’m just so different and I’m just so glad that I was able to make that change in a time of my life, in my mid forties. I’m gonna be 50 this year I’m so glad that I just give myself permission to change that I could change, and that it was, great.
And one of the things that I wanna leave you with in this podcast is what Gay Hendricks said about creativity. He says, creativity is the antidote for addiction. And one of the first things I teach in Love Yourself Thin is the importance of being curious. And I would say that I lost most of my weight from curiosity. The first 20 pounds was pure, pretty much, all on curiosity of could I be this person? Could I have an anniversary and not eat food? Could I go on a picnic? Could I go to the beach? Could I go to the wave pool? Could I go on family outings and not constantly be eating? Could I go on road trips and not be eating every five minutes. You know, like, could I be this person? I was super curious, could I have a Halloween without eating one candy? Could that be me? And so I love when he said creativity is the antidote for addiction because when we are addicted, Right? When we go to something else to try to make us feel better, we keep ourselves stuck, which goes back to that inner thermostat.
So I just wanted to share with you especially because the women I work with are, the average age is 65 and these women are totally changing their lives. They’re totally changing what’s going on in life, their reality is changing. Their personality has truly changed because their personal reality is different. And I am so grateful that I started to think about my thinking, that I started to really question, Hey, just because we’ve always done it this way, do we still need to keep doing it? I’m so glad that somebody invented a rotary cutter. Rotary cutters are amazing. You’re quilting the end product of a quilt after it’s been cut with a rotary cutter is so much more precise and it’s so much easier. Even if you’re not even worried about precision, it’s just so much faster and easier and it gets the job done. I’m so glad someone invented washing machines and dryers. I’m so glad someone invented like electricity, running water, all of these things that just make our life so much more fun and enjoyable. I’m so excited about the internet and Zoom and how I can connect with so many women and it’s only because they let themselves be bad before they could be good.
So I’m just gonna finish with this last question about your identity. Who do you want to be? And will you allow yourself to be that person? And this is exactly what I do. I help you become who you really wanna be. All right? It has been so much fun to talk to you, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback about this podcast. You can message me at [email protected]
or find me over on Instagram and tell me there. All right, take care. Bye.