72. Weight Loss and Belonging
Do you feel like if you don’t lose weight, you’ll never really feel comfortable with who you are and be accepted in our society? And this feels super heavy and awful and frustrating? Well, I’ve got you, because today’s episode is all about rejection and what we can do to help us overcome that. I’m Dara Tomasson and this is Love Yourself Thin, episode 72, Weight Loss and Belonging.
All right, welcome everybody. So today we are going to talk about how rejection really does feel like the equivalent to death. And we’re gonna talk about our brains because of course that’s what we do. So in our very core, if we are rejected from the tribe, if we are rejected from our people, it really is like death because I think about my ancestors who were on a wagon train that came across America, when you settled in at night and you put your wagons and your hand carts all around the fire and someone kept watch, if you were rejected, if people didn’t accept you, they would kick you out. And that was basically certain death. It really was.
And you go back to the caveman days, the same thing. My ancestors settled a small town in southern Alberta, same thing when they were building the town and they didn’t have all the safety and security, you could be rejected. One of my great grandfathers, he was given a gun and he had the nights where he would watch guard and they had built a fortress, and this is down in the States. And so if he fell asleep or if someone was rejected, they would die. And so rejection is a big issue. And the way that our culture, our society, we have a lot of value on people being thin. And if you aren’t thin, then you have judgment. You could be rejected from the tribe. People could think that you were lazy or people could think that you weren’t smart enough, or people could think all sorts of really terrible things.
It’s interesting because if you were in other cultures or other times, if you were larger, you were more accepted. That’s a whole other topic. So when you’re walking around feeling afraid of being rejected, you are having a lot of cortisol, it’s a lot of stress. You’re having a lot of insecurity, and it’s a really uncomfortable way to live. And so I’ve created this podcast for you because as you’re listening, it’s December 7th and Christmas is coming, you might feel like you might not get invited to certain parties, or there might be some family conflict that you’re not having those experiences. Maybe your kids aren’t gonna come home. You’re not gonna have the most wonderful Christmas, you feel like rejection.
And so maybe when you look at yourself in the mirror you reject yourself. So this is a really big topic and I’m really excited that we’re able to share this time together on this podcast. And before I just go into the meat and bones of it, I do wanna just do a quick shout out to one of my clients. And she has lost five pounds over 14 days of travel and lots of different things were happening. She didn’t have a scale, which is one of the things that she uses as a tool. And she had been on a plateau for a long time, and one of the reasons why she was able to have that kind of success is because she started to build confidence. She’s lost just over 50 pounds and she’s able to be more of herself, she’s able to stand up for herself, and these practices are feeling more natural and they’re just becoming more who she is. And that is just really exciting. So I wanted just to share that because it is possible and the more that you can learn these tools and the more that you can be with your discomfort, this client in particular, she’s very regular at her thought downloads and being okay with all the discomfort that she has, and that is one of the reasons why she’s been able to have so much success.
All right, so I’m gonna start off this podcast with a book that I read that really has impacted me and I really liked it. It’s a book by Jia Jiang, I think that’s how you say his name, but he came from China and he actually went to the States and lived with an American family. And he wanted to improve his life and he saw that one of the reasons why he wasn’t where he wanted to be was because he was so afraid of being rejected.
And so he did some research on rejection and he found this card game that was actually invented by a Canadian, which is kind of fun. And basically it was like getting rejected for 30 days in a row. And so he decided to do that. And so he decided he was gonna ask a security guard to borrow a hundred bucks. And the guy was like, no, man, I’m not gonna lend you a hundred bucks. And so he kinda ran away and he felt really embarrassed.
The second day was actually, he wanted a burger refill. He said, I finished my burger, I’d like another refill.
And then the third day, he went to crispy cream donuts and asked them to do the Olympics rings and join them. And the woman actually did it, and she put them together.
And then one of the days he asked someone if he could plant a flower in their backyard. And the person said no. And he said, why not? And the man said, well, because my dog will dig it up and I would hate for your flower to get wasted but if you go across the street, that neighbor really likes flowers.
So he was learning how to take the rejection, to not run away, and to just get curious of why they rejected him. And he was able to figure out what actually happens when you get rejected. And there were studies I found in the book that was so fascinating. There was a dating app and they knew it was a science experiment and they knew that they would get rejected. They had electrodes on their head and their body still had a physical reaction, like dopamine was released to kind of console them when they were rejected because physically like being rejected, our body needs to have that compensation because it does really feel like death.
And it is interesting, if you wanted, and it’ll be linked in the show notes, so he has a TED Talk. It has almost 10 million views about this rejection. So it’s obviously a big deal. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about with this podcast is what does it feel like, like rejection in our own families?
And I’m just gonna use in the light of weight loss. So for example, you know, we wanna belong, we don’t wanna be rejected. And we’re obviously wired to want to feel like we belong, that we don’t wanna get rejected. But what is your family culture? So if your family culture is your mom and your aunts are overweight and you come and you’re thin, what starts happening? What’s their reaction? How do they treat you? I want you to think about your friendships. So in your friendships, like how often do we just talk and normalize being overweight?
So I hosted a quilt retreat in October at primitive gatherings and I got there the night before and I was having this conversation with a bunch of ladies there, and it was super interesting because when I was talking about what I did and how I help women it was like this culture of, yeah, we’re all overweight and life is too short to sacrifice food and no matter what I do, I’m gonna gain weight anyway. It was very interesting. So you can get caught into different relationships where a lot of the conversations are talking about how much they don’t like their bodies and how bodies are ridiculous and how no matter what you do, you’re always gonna gain weight.
It’s kind of like the same thing when you get in those like man bashing kind of things where it’s just super uncomfortable for me when people start badmouthing their husbands and saying those things. The same kind of thing can happen with weight. And so it’s kind of like this culture and it’s kind of this expectation that yeah, you’re supposed to hate your body and you’re supposed to complain about your body. And if you like your body or love your body, there’s something weird about you. And so you get rejected. Like I just want you to think about that.
And then even going along with that, so when you think about being at a guild meeting or even at a family function, if not everything is all about the food, then do you feel like you’re ostracized? Like if you’re not talking all about the food and fascinating about the food or fixating on the food, do you feel like you’re gonna be rejected? Are you gonna feel like you don’t belong? So this is what I wanted to share with you because when we understand how we’re wired, that’s our lower brain that’s keeping us safe and wanting to protect us. But when we understand that and we acknowledge that, then we can go to our higher brain and we can solve for that.
And so in our higher brain we can embrace rejection, we can embrace that, hey, you know what I know that we have a culture that sometimes people can fall into ruts where they are overweight and they complain a lot about it, and there’s just people that do that and I understand that. I recognize it. And then I can just either not say anything, I can just decide to be quiet about it, kinda like politics or I can share my truth and say, you know, the more I love myself, the more I just take care of myself. The more that I don’t sit on the couch and let myself eat a bunch of Oreos and feel sick, I’m happier cause I don’t do that anymore. So I just wanted to have you open up your thoughts about that for you. Like, what is your experience, how do you see that for you? And so here are three ways that you can overcome that feeling of rejection.
So the first one is when you notice that people are judging you or you feel like you might be judged, just put your hand on your heart, that’s what I say, like find the feeling and just say, Hey, I’m feeling rejected, or, Hey, I feel worried that people are gonna reject me. And just let that feeling be in your body. Just allow it to be there, okay? And you have to take a few breaths and be like, okay, this is me just feeling it. It’s okay. I’m feeling it, and I promise you it’ll last at the most like two minutes.
So that’s the first one. So just say, yep, this is my feeling. And then the second is to embrace rejection. So just say, yep, this is me feeling rejected. This is me feeling worried that they’re gonna reject me and that I will get kicked out. It’s my primal nature. It’s the same thing, like if you saw a little kid that was gonna go on the road. You just like immediately reach out to them and be like, no, you’re not going on the highway. You’re not going on the road like you can get run over. Right? That’s an instinctual reaction, and it’s the same thing for this. You’re like, oh, it’s just me feeling rejected.
Then the third step is I want you to turn, and this is one of his suggestions, is you turn rejection into opportunity. And what he said, which is so interesting because this is what I say all the time to my clients, is you ask why. So when he showed up at the door and said, can I plant this plant in your backyard? And the man said No. He was able to say why. And then when the man said, well, my dog would just dig it up, so there’s no point.
And then that took out all the doubting himself, all of that. So just get curious and ask why, and just allow yourself to have that experience. And actually, I’m gonna add a bonus one because this is one that he mentioned and I thought it also goes along with what I share with my clients.
And the fourth one, this was an example he gave, he asked a Starbucks if he could be a greeter for an hour. And the Starbucks person was like, what? And then he had said, well, that’s kind of weird, isn’t it? That I’m asking you to do that? And the guy’s like, yeah, it’s really weird. And so it’s like, acknowledge that it’s awkward. And that’s what I say to my clients. I say, so like, how are you feeling right now? Like, having a difficult conversation or moving forward and being able to say, you know, I’m uncomfortable with this, this is not normal for me to express myself in this way, I’m super uncomfortable moving forward, or whatever that is.
And then actually I’ll just end off the very last one because it’s nice to have five. Is that when you are able to give yourself a lot of love and just shower yourself with love to say, you know what? I’m amazing. I’m so good at taking care of myself. I like learning how my body works and I’m using my higher brain and I’m thinking about my thinking and I’m amazing and I love it. And I love that I can be worried about something and then I can work through these steps. I can acknowledge my feelings, I can embrace rejection. I can ask the question why and get curious and not judge myself. I can acknowledge that it’s awkward. I can acknowledge the difficulty that I just had, and then I can just shower myself with love. I can just allow myself to acknowledge all of my growth.
And the way that’s gonna be really helpful for you to remember to do these five steps is that you actually naturally do this with younger people. If you had your grandson or if you had a neighbor or if you were working with someone younger, even with a friend, I imagine that you would do these same things. You would talk them through. It’s very natural for you to do this with others, but it’s just not very natural for yourself. And a lot of times women will say, well, I have a higher standard for myself, or I just expect more for myself and I want to change that behavior. I want you to be as kind and loving to yourself as you are with others, and when you learn that, your life is going to become so much richer.
My program is called Love Yourself Thin for a reason. Because the more you love on yourself, the more that you accept yourself how you are, the more that you can show compassion, the more that you can speak kindly, the more success you’ll have, I promise. And especially when it comes to something where you feel really insecure or awkward about, and when you overeat, it’s because you don’t want to feel a certain feeling or you wanna numb out or you wanna avoid. You wanna resist or you’re reacting to something. And the more that you can change that, the more success you’re going to have. It’s so much fun. All right, bye.