#59: Taking the Pressure off of Weight Loss

Are you convinced that taking the pressure off of weight loss is nearly impossible? And if you don’t worry about it and put a lot of stress and strain, you’ll never figure it out? This is the exact opposite way of losing weight. When you take the pressure off, you’re going to have success.

In this episode, you’ll see how we put the pressure on in the first place and how to take the pressure off. You’ll learn why this happens, with a step-by-step process to go from feeling really terrible about yourself to lighthearted.


Weight Loss for Quilters | Weight Loss and Self-Sabotage

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to embrace the mystery and see weight loss like solving a puzzle
  • How to make weight loss fun
  • The number one factor that determines weight loss success
  • What bridging thoughts are and how those can help
  • How to come to terms with your messy, magnificent self
  • The dangers of using food to “flatten” our life
  • The 3 steps to take the pressure off losing weight

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Full Episode Transcript:

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59. Taking the Pressure off of Weight Loss

Are you convinced that taking the pressure off weight loss is nearly impossible? And if you don’t worry about it and put a lot of stress and strain, you’ll never figure it out?

I’m here to tell you that is the exact opposite way of losing weight. When you take the pressure off, you’re going to have success. Are you ready to figure it out with me? I’m Dara Tomasson, I am the Weight Loss Coach for Quilters. This is episode 59, Taking the Pressure off of Weight Loss.

Did you know you could lose weight and keep it off for good? After 25 years of hiding behind my quilts, I have finally cracked the code for permanent weight loss, and I’ve lost 50 pounds without exercise or counting calories. I’m Dara Tomasson, professional quilter turned weight and life coach, where I help quilters just like you, create a life they love by losing weight and keeping it off for good. Let’s jump into today’s episode.


Alright, ladies. Like all episodes, it’s going to be so much fun. And I want to talk to you about how we can take all of the pressure off of weight loss. And when we do this, we will have success. Now we know that our body is separate from our appearance, and we know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And so, this episode, I am going to share with you how we put the pressure on, in the first place and how to take the pressure off. I’m going to walk you through why this happens. I’m going to give you some bridging thoughts. Step-by-step, going from feeling really terrible about yourself to lighthearted. And then I’m going to give you the three steps for how to do that.

Here’s a client success story that I have got to share with you because it is so much fun. And one of the things that I tell my clients at the beginning of every call is that we are literally building a treasure chest full of all of these celebrations.

And it’s amazing. We’re just creating so much more value in the world. And I believe every time we celebrate ourselves and every time you hear a celebration on this podcast, you are learning to rewire your brain. In fact, what you’re doing is you’re rewiring your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

You are normalizing. That it’s wonderful and amazing and incredible to celebrate your body, to celebrate yourself. So, I’m just thrilled to be a part of that for you.

So, this celebration is one of my clients who has finally hit the 75-pound mark, and she’s now in the 140s.  When I asked her how she did that, and she’s been working with me since December of 2020, and this is what she attributed her success to.

And I’m sharing this with you because I used to think that weight loss was a giant mystery, and I thought that you had to spend a lot of money and you had to have a lot of resources, time, and money to lose weight. And I didn’t feel like I had either one of those. And so, I share this with you because I’m here to debunk all of your thoughts too.

I’m so glad I was willing to dive in and to figure out what all my terrible stories were about weight loss. And then I was able to clean that all up.

That first of all, my client pays attention to hunger and hunger is one of the most misunderstood tools in weight loss.

So, she’s really, really attentive to hunger. She has some great strategies around knowing when she’s hungry, knowing when she’s full. She also said that food is not all-consuming anymore. She and her husband would go shopping and buy special treats. They talked about food, they celebrated with food.

They planned about food and, and don’t get me wrong … she is the best food planner. She does an incredible job. She takes cooking classes. She still enjoys food. And she’s a foodie and she loves it, but food is not all-consuming for her. She’s not in the quilting room thinking about food. She’s in the quilting room thinking about her quilting and being creative and having fun.

And then the third thing she does is she does “future work.” So, she spends time and hangs out with her future self. This is a game-changer. So, I’m super proud of her and she’s had lots of challenges. She just had eye surgery that didn’t go as she planned.

She hasn’t been able to do what she’s normally been able to do, and she had lots of excuses to be laid back and eat a lot, but she didn’t, and I’m just so proud of her. And actually, that brings me to one of the points that I wanted to read. This comes from Geneen Roth’s book, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything.

Geneen Roth is kind of like the grandmother of dealing with our weight with our brains. And she brought that to the forefront. And I love how she said the bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat, when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or, or emptiness or loneliness or rejection, food is only the middleman.

You are altering your emotions of making yourself numb and creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable, rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent, and very, very short, even at a hundred-years-old life.

The secondary problem could food, but it could be alcohol. It could be work, it could be sex. It could be cocaine or surfing the internet.


Sometimes people will say, “but I just like the taste of food … In fact, I love the taste.” So, why can’t it be that simple? I over be overeat because I like food. Now, this is what will bring us into the podcast topic …

When you like something, love something you take time with. You want to be present for every second of the rapture. Now, as I’m reading this and we talk about the Love Yourself Thin philosophy, it’s very interesting. Roth says, overeating does not lead to rapture. It leads to burping and farting and being so sick that you can’t think of anything but how full you are.

That’s not love. That’s suffering. And then she says weight — too much or too little is a byproduct when you use food to flatten your life. Even with aching joints, it’s not about food. Even with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, it’s about your desire to flatten your life.

It’s about the fact that you’ve given up without saying it’s about your belief that it’s not possible to live any other way, and you’re using food to act that out without ever having to admit it.

So, I wanted to share that with you because it’s such a good segue into today’s topic. And so, what I want to share is that we need to learn how to take the pressure off of food. And when we take the pressure off, like if you’ve gone in the car and you bought some pop and you had a bumpy road, and you know that the pop bottle got shaken up, there’s going to be a lot of pressure and tension in there.

And so, when you open up the pop bottle, it’s going to blow everywhere. And so, I want you to think about what are your pressure points, what happens inside of you to feel so much pressure? So, I’m going to share some of the ones that I came up with. So, in the handout, I talk about the pressures of weight loss … to be accepted, to feel good about yourself, to not worry what people will think … that you’re not smart. To not worry about what you look like in pictures, or feel regret, shame, or embarrassment. What are some of the pressures that you’ve put on yourself when it comes to weight loss?

And so, you can add to those on the worksheet. So, where did these pressures come? One of the main pressure sources is the way our society depicts weight loss. The perfect body started way back. And one of them was reinforced by Barbie. And we know that if Barbie was a real human, it actually wouldn’t work. We couldn’t physically have that size of chest or the size stomach, or that size hip.

And we perpetuate this by advertising and airbrushing and all of the things. So, when we have pressures to look a certain way and we feel like we can’t fit the mold, then of course our wiring is that we can be rejected. We do not want to be rejected from the tribe.

When you think about the caves or you think about the Wagon Train, like my ancestors, when they were traveling, everyone would go in a circle at night. And the reason they did that is so that if there was coyotes or wolves or any predators. They had to watch out and protect themselves.

And if you were, if you did something to get rejected from the tribe, you would be kicked out of that safe circle and you would be the first one eaten. It literally was life or death. Our lower brain is always looking out for us. And what I like to say is thank you, lower brain. I appreciate you.

And then you are in your sympathetic nervous system. It’s on high alert. And so, you can say, thank you brain. I get you. And I appreciate you, but right now I’m going to go into my higher brain and really look at what’s going on here. So, the other part of why we have more pressures is, we actually don’t know how to be with our feelings.

Recently, I was able to buy a second home and it’s a home my mom will be living in. And it’s very exciting that I was able to do that for her. And I accomplished this huge task. I didn’t know how to celebrate without food. It was really strange for me. I was by myself. I had gone to the bank, I got the check and, there was a Wendy’s across the street.

There was a Starbucks just beyond there. There was a dollar-rama. There were all sorts of places. There was a grocery store that I could have gone to … like a fancy one. And then later on that day, I went to the mall with my kids, because they needed some new shoes and my daughter kept saying, you need to buy this.

You need to buy that to celebrate, and it was very odd because I thought, “no, I don’t want to use money or food to celebrate. I just want to celebrate for myself.” This is something we weren’t taught and how do we be with sadness without turning to ice cream? How do we mourn without turning to whatever that is?

So, I just want to let you know that pressures happen when you don’t know how to manage your life when you don’t know for sure. What is the best route? And it’s really hard. Like, so when the baby is crying and the toddler threw up and the six-year-old had a splinter in his foot and he’s screaming and you’re responsible for them all.

And so going back to the Geneen Roth quote: “sometimes we want to just flatten our life.” We feel like it’s just too much, like there’s just so much going on. We don’t know how to handle it. There’s a story about a mom who’s shopping, and the baby is in the cart and the mom is calmly saying, you’re okay, Susie, everything’s going to be fine.

And then a gentleman walks up, and he says, hello to Susie. And he’s addressing the little girl and the mom responds and she said, my name is Susie. So, as you can tell from the story, she’s calming herself. Just on Monday, I was at Costco and normally I’d just go with my daughter, but my I went with all my kids because we’d gone to the mall.

they were all there and they wanted to have Costco hot dogs and there was a mom there, and she had two-year-old twins and a six-year-old and the one of the twins was screaming and he was screaming probably for five minutes at least. And so finally she was at the takeout or the checkout, and I thought she needs some help.

So, I went over there with my six-foot-one son and my six-foot-two son who used to be screaming in carts. And I just said, “hey, how would you like some help?” And it was just so fun because she was like, “of course I’d, I’d like some help.” And so, we chatted, and my boy’s kind of sheepishly, both said, “oh, we’re used to doing this.”

And I remember my mom, she wouldn’t give in. And, and it was just adorable, and they helped her, and they took the pressure off, and it was so awesome. Because the one twin hit the other twin. And so, she wasn’t going to give him his toy.

And so, she was being such a good mom, but I mean, she felt so much pressure from people looking at her and saying, “what’s wrong with you? Can you get your kid to be quiet?” And we were able to take that pressure off just by acknowledging her and giving her a hand. And so, we gave her that human connection.

So, when you can understand, first of all, where does the pressure come from? So, our society says in order to be acceptable, you need to be beautiful. And just as in episode 58, we talked about Lexi and Lindsay Kite’s book, and how it’s about awareness and our body as an instrument, not an ornament.

The beauty comes from inside. It doesn’t have to be on the outside. Your body doesn’t have to do anything to be acceptable. It already is,, so that’s a huge part of it. And so, when you understand where the pressure’s coming from, you can address it. You can recognize it and you can say, “that’s some old programming, that’s some old pressure and I’m not falling for that anymore. I’m not going to do self-destructive behavior, and I’m definitely not going to go hiding and going to the comfort zone.”

Now I happen to be six feet tall, and I happen to be a blonde. And so, when I describe myself, I can actually say I’m a tall blonde. And when you say that it’s like immediately, there is a lot of societal acceptance of like … yeah, that’s amazing, you’re a tall blonde. That’s great. But if you say I’m frumpy, or whatever, there are these connotations that create a lot of pressure.

So, I told you I was going to share some what we call bridging thoughts, and this will help you take the pressure off of yourself. When we talk about the pressure, there are two guiding parts.

You need to learn to love yourself and to have fun. And so, if you’re not there yet, then these are some ways to think about it. So, the first one is, “I have a body. Yep. That’s it. I have a body … I’ve got one, it’s here.” And we talked about that in other episodes … the body is amazing. It’s the greatest invention.

You don’t have to go there yet. Even though it’s true … even though it’s amazing. It could be marveled at even just like how your fingers work. Like that’s amazing and teeth and all of that hair, things that don’t even have to do with your organs; your large intestines or whatever.

Like it’s like, wow. How is that possible that my body does that, but we are not ready to go there. We can just go. Yep. I have a body. “Yep. That’s me kind of like I have a car.” We don’t have to say it’s a Mercedes or a Toyota Camry. It’s just, “Yup, I have a car.” Even if you think of your body as a car, some bodies are really old and eventually those become like classics.

So, then you say, “I have a body,” and then the next step you could go is, “my body doesn’t define me.” Then, we can go the next step further, “my body can do a lot of things.”

and then we could even go to, “I appreciate how my body does, like it tastes, and it sees, and it adheres. I like the senses. Like my body has senses and it helps me take in the environment or even like, my body has eyes, and I can see beautiful sunset.” And you could even go deeper like, “my eye can see 3D images and then it sends an image to my brain and my brain can interpret that image.”

We can go a little bit deeper into that. And then the next thing you can go to is, “I’m pretty amazed at what my body can do … it has some pretty cool things it can do.”

Then, “I am so grateful for all of what my body does … I love this body and I’m grateful to you, body. Body, you do a good job lately.”

I’ve been drinking with my left hand just because I think it’s kind of fun, and it feels so awkward when I’m drinking with my left hand. And so it feels kind of weird and awkward and I think, “oh, good job body. You figured it out. You figured out how to drink with your left hand. You’re pretty amazing.”

Before I go to the three steps of how to take the pressure off, Jody Moore shared this example and it really resonated with me. She said, especially, because I do have kids and this is actually like something that happens, not as much now that they’re getting older, and I’m wiser as a mom.

But imagine you go to the fair with your kids, and you know, they’ve got their water bottles and their coats, and their hoodies and they’ve got all their stuff. It gets sunny out, and so they’re like, “hey mom, can you hold this hoodie?” Or, “Oh mom, can you hold this water bottle?”

And you’re like, “oh, okay. Yeah, I guess I can.” And so, you’ve got the water bottles. Some of them are strapped to your belt loop and you’ve got a couple of hoodies over your shoulders and you’re kind of holding them, and then you got the backpacks and, you’re walking around and you’ve got all of this stuff and it’s getting heavier and heavier and then they say, “hey mom, let’s go on a ride together.” And you’re like, “I can’t, I don’t know where to put all this stuff.” And then they get I’m mad at you. And they’re like, “oh man, mom, you’re not any fun. What’s going on?”

So, this analogy was just so good for me because we go around and we eat a bunch of food and we’re driving around and we get really frustrated and think, “I’m just going to get a Frosty.” And then you go, and you go to the grocery store and you’re like, “oh man, I’m just going to get this apple fritter.”

Then you get home and you’re unloading the groceries and you’re doing it all by yourself. And you’re so frustrated so you have a little bowl of ice cream, just sit down and relax, and then you’re making dinner and you’re thinking, no one is helping me.

I’m just going to have these, this bowl chips. And then after dinner, you feel kind of frustrated and you’re going to have an extra thing of ice cream, and it’s no big deal. I’m just so done for the day. I’ll start tomorrow.

So, what has happened is you keep overloading yourself and your body’s like, “okay, I guess I can store this extra weight in your stomach or in your, under your arms, I guess I’ll just figure it out.”

But then you get mad at your body when you go to bed at night, and you’ve got gas and you feel really uncomfortable as you’re lying on your stomach, and you can feel the squishy part of your stomach. You’re like, “oh, man stomach, you’re so gross.” But stomach’s like, “But I didn’t know what else to do with all the stuff you gave me.”

Your body has to figure out on how to manage all this extra weight and you do this with all sorts of things. So, like if we sit on a chair for too long, our body is like, “okay, I guess we can keep sitting here, but it’s going to be sore.”

These are the ways that we can take all the pressure off of weight loss: We need to figure out where the pressure’s coming from in the first place and make some decisions from our prefrontal cortex instead of buying into our society that says, in order to be valuable and valid, you have to be a size six.

So, we can just decide that. And then, we went through about all the ways we have pressure. And then the second thing to just acknowledge that we have a lower brain that will freak out, and that’s okay. We can just feel the feeling. And then we just to have some bridging thoughts of “I have a body.”

And then after that we what we have are the solutions. I know I say this in almost every single episode only because it is so critical and it is a really, really difficult message. And it’s very challenging to believe. And I need you to know because this is the most important principle of Love Yourself Thin. The number one determining factor of your success is this: Your self-worth is non-negotiable.

You do not need to lose weight in order to be valuable. Amen. End of sentence. Like that is the most critical piece. So, when you know that you just get to decide, why do I want to be thin? Why do I want to lose weight?

Because … it’d be more fun. It’s probably more fun to go shopping. It’s probably more fun to be intimate with my husband. It’s probably more fun to go on an airplane. It’s probably more fun to try kayaking. It’s probably more fun if I wanted to surf, it’s probably more fun to sit on a chair. It’s probably more fun to put a seatbelt on. It’s probably more fun to sleep better. It’s probably more fun to have a little more energy.

So, and that’s number one. Number two is, that losing weight and keeping it off is kind of like a puzzle, just kind of fun. It’s like a mystery. It’s like, “I’m just going to figure it out.”

Jody Moore says, how with a puzzle, there’s a lot of pieces and we can just figure it out and they all kind of look the same, but they’re all unique and different. “I can just, I can just figure it out. This can be fun. If I get frustrated, it’s no big deal. I just have it on this table. And I just come back to it.”

I love looking at it this way … losing the weight and keeping it off.

This is just how I want to be. I like to think about it like making a quilt. I made a queen size, granny flower, garden that I hand-pieced when I was pregnant with my fourth son. And I was like, “oh, I’m just going to make these flowers, and it’s no big deal.” I put the other kids to bed and everyone’s asleep and the house is quiet and my husband’s working.

I’ll just sit here and watch a show and I’ll just stitch it up and then eventually it’ll get done and it’s no big deal. It’s something I always wanted to do was to hand piece a queen size. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to do that again. And that’s okay. It’s no big deal, but that’s kind of the approach.

It’s just something I want to do, and I don’t have to put on a lot of pressure, but I can just be like, “yeah, I can just figure it out.”

And then number three is, you have to decide if this would just be more fun.

So, to review … number one: your worth is non-negotiable. So, it, that this is what takes all the pressure off ladies.

Number two: it’s going to be a mystery. It’s kind of a puzzle. We’re going to figure it out. It doesn’t impact my worth.

And number three: if it’s not fun, we’re not doing it. It’s going to be more fun. So even with my business, there are parts I don’t enjoy. Like, I don’t really enjoy losing my Instagram and then having to rebuild it. I didn’t really enjoy that, but overall it’s what, I want to do. And it just means if I’m driving on a roundabout, if I want to just drive around a couple more times, that’s just kind of fun too.

Okay. So that is my episode for you today. It’s taking the pressure off of weight loss and then keep it off because there’s no pressure. There’s no, you have to do this or else there’s no losing weight for a wedding. Oh, my goodness. That’s such a common thing or for a graduation or for a picture that you know is going to be on the wall for a long time, and you’re going to be embarrassed and ashamed and you have to hide behind people, and you have to hide behind a quilt.

Okay? We’re not, we’re not doing the pressure thing anymore. We know that when you put on too much pressure, think about what happens with teenagers when you put pressure on them? Rebellion city, right? We’re not doing that anymore. Alright. I love you ladies. If you are loving this podcast and you are loving what you’re hearing, you will absolutely hundred percent Love Yourself Thin. When you join, you will learn all these concepts and go deeper in the Group.

I promise as you do this, you will lose weight. It is an inevitability. When you embrace these principles and you practice them, you get coaching on them. You get support in the group; it will change your life and you will never have to worry about putting that weight back on.

Again, it is a lifetime membership. Alright, take care. And I will see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Weight Loss for Quilters. If you want more info, please visit daratomasson.com See you next week.



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