Detoxing Bad Weight Loss Advice | TMOHP Episode 080

If you’re a woman who’s tried to change her eating habits or her weight, you’ve probably heard more than your share of advice (including the unsolicited, unhelpful kind). Your brain is probably overly full of weight loss tips, diet rules, and expert recommendations - as well as conflicting strategies and a multitude of ways you might deprive yourself.

All this baggage is exhausting, can be confidence-depleting, and often comes with the message “blame yourself for not being strong enough or having enough discipline if you can’t make it work.” It also disconnects you from your own inner wisdom and the truths you know about yourself, your life, and what works best for you.

A key step for taking your power back - and creating a better relationship with food - is detoxing the bad weight loss advice. In this episode I’m sharing more about why a detox is so important, some of the confusing baggage you may have circulating in your brain, and how to begin clearing things out.

In this episode:

  • Why advice overload is a problem
  • What to do about unhelpful advice
  • Some of the worst advice we’ve received

Featured on the show:

  • Join my free private Facebook Community
  • Not sure why you’re overeating, or what your Hidden Hungers are? Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz and get a free set of resources matched to your results.
  • Your Missing Peace  is the program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Private Coaching. One-on-one coaching is for you if you’re looking for something completely individualized and specific to your situation. Openings are limited. Learn more here.

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody, today I want to talk with you about the accumulation of advice, recommendations, rules, systems. All the things that have accumulated in your brain, that people have told you or preached to you over the years that you ought to be doing if you want to change your habits with food. All the things that people have told you will work for you if you just do them. Will help you lose weight. Will help you stop overeating. Will help you improve your diet. Today I want to talk with you about detoxing bad weight loss advice.

I decided to record this episode after a very unfortunate conversation I had a couple of weeks ago, and I will share more about that later. Because I think it is really important for us to become aware of all of the stuff, all of the communication that we have taken in over our lifetimes, around what our relationship with food should be, what it should look like. And also messages that we have received about what might possibly be wrong with us if we don't have the relationship with food that the advice giver has decided that maybe we should have.

Over the years, if you are like me or like just about every woman I've ever talked to, you have accumulated more information about how to eat and what to eat and when to eat, and why to eat and how to not eat than you probably ever wanted to accumulate. And so much of this information isn't really helpful.


So why does this matter? Why did I decide to record this podcast episode? Well, over time we get used to being told what to do. We get used to reading the articles and seeing the posts, and hearing the so-called experts tell us what works. And that's in air quotes. Right? And over time, a part of our mind can start to mistake this for wisdom. Or knowledge that is beyond what we can really know. And there are facts, there is research, there is expertise that we don't know ourselves that we can take in. But nobody really knows us better than us. Better than we do. Right? 

So we accumulate all this expertise, all these shoulds, all these rules. And over time we can become unaware of a, how much of this stuff there is taking up space inside of our brains. Also, we can become unaware of the hold that it has on us, specifically when it comes from so-called experts. Too much advice leads to overwhelm. It leads to overload. It leads to confusion and overthinking when the advice is conflicting. Too much advice doesn't build confidence, it erodes confidence. It erodes our ability to connect with ourselves and listen to our own inner wisdom when we're always trying to pay attention to what somebody else is telling us that we should do.

Much of the advice around how to eat or how to change your eating, or why you're overeating or why you should be doing it differently. Much of that advice comes with a pretty substantial side order of blame. If the advice isn't working for you or if that rule didn't work for you or if the rule is just unworkable, which is so often the case, somehow it is your fault.

So much of the advice is steeped in deprivation mentality and diet mentality. And like I said, there is often hidden or sometimes very overt self-blame. The idea that if it didn't work, you didn't try hard enough. You're kidding yourself. You're not being honest with yourself. You're not really motivated. And this unhelpful advice almost always neglects the truth- that you're a human being. A complex human being. And that there is a reason there's a reason all overeating and emotional eating happens. And you can come up with the best plans for managing food in the world. And most of this advice, honestly, is not about, it doesn't come from the best plans. But even if you have the best plans, if you are not attending to the reason that the overeating or the emotional eating is happening, the reasons then you're fighting an uphill battle.

So, doing a mental detox of the bad or the faulty or the just poor fit advice that might be living in your brain is really important and really good for your relationship with food. And for you being able to get clear on the relationship with food that you want to have. And for you to be able to create space in your head to keep learning what a helpful, what a peaceful, what a working relationship with food looks like for you. 

Taking the time to consciously take inventory of all the beliefs and the rules and the thoughts and the ideas and the expectations that are living inside your brain? Will help remind you that so much of this stuff, so much of this stuff is other people's ideas. Other people's working hypotheses. Things that worked for other people. They aren't necessarily facts or truths and they aren't necessarily a fit for you. 

Taking inventory of things you're telling yourself would work if only you or if only your life were miraculously different? That also is really important because guess what? You are you, and this is your life. And I would bet you if there was a way, if this was like cleaning up your garage and we could just pull out all these thoughts and beliefs, there are a number of them. If you are like most women, there are a number of these things that are not a good fit for you and they never will be.

And the idea that if you were somehow different, they would work perfectly is kind of a ridiculous reason to keep them. Clearing out all this mental garbage and the emotional weight that goes with it is also a really good way of getting back to remembering again that you are the only person who has lived inside your body your whole life.

You know, you. And there are, like I said, there's research out there, there are facts out there, there are experts out there, but they don't know you. They don't know your experience. And you get to own, you absolutely own the ultimate discernment into what is right for you. That is something that only you get to do.

But we forget that in the midst of deprivation mentality and diet mentality and the whole way that the system is set up to blame yourself if something isn't working, instead of taking a step back. And taking a look at whether you want to detox that information because it is not a fit for you. 

So back to the unfortunate conversation I had, that was the impetus for recording this episode. Recently, I had this conversation. I haven't had one like this in a very long time. With somebody, a psychologist who thinks of himself as quite the health expert. And I'm not saying he isn't a health expert. I honestly don't know anything about this man's qualifications except what he told me. And what he told me is that he is a psychologist and he is a health expert. And he was the type of man, I think you'll know what I mean.

He was the type of man who liked to tell me lots of things. He had all sorts of opinions. He had all sorts of things he wanted to share and to explain to me about how women should be making changes. And about how women should really approach changing their eating. And what women needed to do if they want to stop overeating. It was quite a conversation. 

In a nutshell, his advice is to stop it. Knock it off. If you're overeating, stop it. And I explained to him what I, what I do, and what I talk about and what I believe and what I teach in my programs. And he said, no. If you are bingeing, you just need to stop it. And he said, you know what I tell my clients? I say, if you are bingeing, then go binge on broccoli. Buy five pounds of broccoli and just go into the kitchen and prepare the broccoli. And when you want to binge, binge on five pounds of broccoli. 

And I said, well, you know, I've been doing this for a very long time and I, I don't know that I've ever met anyone who binges on broccoli. And he said, triumphantly, exactly. And he said, you know, I also tell my clients, if you have a craving for sweets, if you like to eat too much sugar, then you need to stop it. Instead of eating sugar, you just go into the kitchen and you get a cucumber. And you eat a cucumber and you'll be satisfied. 

Are you rolling your eyes yet? I mean, this was just such an amazingly strange conversation because of course I disagreed with him and the more I tried to talk with him rationally about what it is that I teach and know and believe, the more strongly he said that, you know, if people really want to change, they will just eat vegetables and they will just do these things, which we all know. We all know that broccoli is different than eating sugar cookies. We all know that eating a cucumber is different than binging on M&Ms. And that has absolutely nothing to do with any disconnect there is between the way you want to eat and the way you are eating. It has absolutely nothing to do with the reason that you are overeating or emotional eating or the reason that you are binging at night.

And yet here is this man, using his authority and using his professional qualifications to tell you he knows better. And I, I won't go into more of the conversation that I had with him. But really to extend the belief that the way you make changes in your relationship with food is through all that deprivation thinking, by being strong, by having more willpower. And if it isn't working for you, you need to work harder. 

How many times in your life has a person with authority or a person with some kind of power or a person with some kind of credentials told you things, given you advice, or shamed you, or guilted you for not taking advice that they were telling you would work, but for the fact that you weren't trying hard enough? How much of that information has piled up, stacked up in your brain? My bet is, more than you want. My bet is, there is more real estate in your brain being taken up by stuff that makes you feel bad. Diet advice, blanket statements, recommendations of it worked for me, you should try it too. If you only work hard enough, this will be the answer.

How much of that stuff is stacked up in your brain? And what is the number it is doing on you? Particularly if this is advice that came from somebody who you felt knew what they were talking about. 

So often we get, we get so used to accumulating this advice that we forget it's really there. We forget that, oh, these are just ideas. They are not truths. Or we aren't aware of how we are unconsciously thinking about this stuff. So I asked members of Your Missing Peace, and I asked participants, members in my free Facebook group if they would share the worst diet advice or weight loss advice they had ever received. And I want to share it with you so that it can hopefully shake loose some of the bad advice that may be taking up space in your brain.

Again, these are not recommendations. Please do not try this stuff at home. This is bad advice. Okay, so from members of Your Missing Peace and members of my Facebook group, here's the worst weight loss advice they've ever received. 

  • Skip breakfast, skip lunch, skip dinner. 

  • Eat a protein shake for dinner.

  • Try harder. 

  • Just don't eat so much. Always helpful advice. Just eat less. 

  • Only eat vegetables. 

  • Drink water. Lots of water before you eat.

  • Carbs make you fat. 

  • You can't lose weight after menopause. Just accept it. Just get used to it. This is your new reality. 

  • As long as you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.

  • Eat high fat, low carb.

  • Fat makes you fat. 

  • High protein, low carb, that's the way to go. 

  • Forget meals, replace them with shakes! That usually has an exclamation point at the end of it. 

  • Build in a cheat day. Side note, who wants to build a relationship with food that you have to cheat on? I don't. 

  • No flour. No sugar.

  • You're not working hard enough. Work harder. 

  • Oh, here's a good one. Cocaine will take the weight off in no time. 

  • No snacking between meals. 

  • Always plan small snacks between meals. 

  • Just eat less, move more. It's really very simple. 

  • Don't forget the cayenne pepper, lemon juice cleanse. Or the apple cider vinegar approach.

  • Drink green juice for three days. Drink only green juice for 10 days. 

  • Oh wait, no Drink green juice, only green juice for 14 days. 

  • Don't drink juice. Juice is bad.

  • Have more discipline if you crave sweets. 

  • Eat a cucumber. I had to put that one in there. 

  • Here's a popular one. Follow this extreme set of guidelines perfectly for 30 days. But if you make one misstep, you have to start completely over again. The clock starts over. 

  • All that matters are calories. 

  • Weigh yourself religiously.

  • Smoke. 

  • Oh, you have to eliminate all junk food. 

  • Don't take any food off the table. You have to have variety. 

Guys, there's so much. And I hope as you're hearing this, you're starting to realize some of the garbage that's in your own head. In Your Missing Peace, where I work with members over six full months to create a new relationship with food and freedom from overeating. We start by taking your power back. And the first piece, or an important first piece of that is taking your power back from "shoulds". From self-blaming rules that don't work. From arbitrary advice in air quotes. From plans that don't work and that overwhelm you or that deplete your energy, or that deplete your confidence or your joy.

One step in taking your power back that you probably haven't been taught before is doing a mental detox. You can do it, too. It's simple. Write down all the thoughts you have in your brain about how you are supposed to eat. Or what you should be doing to get the results that you want. Write them down. Go wild. Just get it all out on paper. 

Give yourself permission to delete the ones you know will never fit you. Eliminate the ones that feel bad. Eliminate the ones that have never worked. It isn't true that you need to eat in a way that makes you miserable or stressed or leaves you hungry if you want to stop overeating. In fact, it is the opposite that's true. 

Give yourself permission to let go of what doesn't work. Give yourself permission to let go of any of the self-blame and the guilt and the frustration that has come from trying to do the impossible. This is one of the best things you can do to begin creating peace and freedom and a relationship with food that will support you forever. 

Start with the mental detox. Take your power back. Create some space in your brain so that you can stop trying to do the stuff that takes too much effort, create stress and overwhelm. And so that you can start learning about what really truly works for you.

I'll talk to you soon.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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