Holiday weight gain worry

With the holiday season upon us, Claire is exploring a worry that several Flourish members have been wrestling with: celebrating the holidays after weight gain.

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Show Notes
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Claire Siegel: You're listening to the Flourish podcast. I'm your host, Claire Siegel, founder of Flourish. We're on a mission to help women get healthy for good. Join me each week for a new episode that'll help you sustain healthy habits and nourish your body so you can Flourish in life.

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Welcome back to the Flourish podcast. All right, y'all, we are going to get right into it. It is the Friday before Thanksgiving. The holiday season is upon us. So over the next few weeks, we're gonna be talking and addressing some of the holiday related worries that you may have. And I know that you're worried.

I know last year, during November and December in Flourish, our coaching session usage literally like doubled. And I think that is just a testament to how challenging this season can be. And so we're here to support you, whether that's inside the Flourish membership and of course on the Flourish podcast.

So down below we're gonna have linked actually a playlist from last year with some of our holiday related episodes, and we'll have more coming out, um, over about the month, month or so. Today though, I wanna talk about this feeling of fear and worry that's been coming up with a lot of our, our members.

And this, you know, worry, fear, concern is I'm worried about seeing my friends and family for the first time in a long time because I've gained weight. And basically what I want to challenge you to do in today's episode is to look at this feeling. To look at this thought. Because chances are right now it's kind of just like this low level, but chronic buzzing worry in the back of your mind.

And so at least for the duration of today's episode, I want you to stop trying to avoid this worry. Stop trying to stop worrying. Let's really take a look at it. So like literally envision yourself grabbing this worry from the back of your mind, pluck it out of your head and hold it in front of you and let's look at it and let's think about it and talk about it and observe it.

And I want you to do all of that through a very compassionate and curious lens. Ask yourself, why is this here? How might I be trying to do something good for myself by having this worry? What parts of me am I trying to protect with this worry? What am I trying to control with this worry? So again, with this, with this, you know, worry or fear or concern or anxiety in front of you, begin to envision the situation.

You're seeing friends and family for the first time you're walking into brunch or the dinner party. Watch yourself grab your first drink. Observe yourself navigating the room. Who are you going to talk to? What feelings come up when you think about stepping into conversation with your mother-in-law or seeing your grandma or cousin or best friend for the first time since last year. What are the thoughts? What are the feelings? Picture yourself eating dinner or deciding what to have for dessert. Chances are you've got some anxiety, some worry, some dread, maybe some fear coming up inside your body. Where do you actually feel those feelings in your body and what do they, what do they feel?

I know as someone who, who tends to experience anxiety, I feel it like from my chest to the top of my throat, and I often describe it as like a frenetic buzzing happening underneath the surface of my skin. And it feels tight and warm and very high energy. And just notice it, describe it label it. Again, with this compassion and curiosity asking yourself, why are you here? What are you, what are you here to do?

What were some of the thoughts that that you know, ran through your mind as we did that little world's fastest visualization ? Maybe you're thinking, are they gonna notice? They're gonna notice. Do they know I've gained weight? They must know I've gained weight. What do they think? What do they think about this weight I've gained? They're gonna think I'm disgusting. They're gonna think I've let myself go. They're judging what I eat. I can't eat too much. I shouldn't eat dessert, but I want to eat dessert. It's Thanksgiving. Like I love Thanksgiving. I should be able to eat these foods. This shouldn't be such a big deal, but everyone's gonna notice.

So what do I do? You'll notice that this all basically boils down to what will they think? What will they think? What will they think? So let's pause for a moment. What we just did is, We observed your thoughts and feelings rather than letting them take hold of us and really run the show, you took hold of them, took a step back and just noticed them.

I think I heard this in like a calm meditation once and the analogy really worked for me. It's like the difference between standing under a waterfall of your thoughts and feelings to taking a step back and just watching the waterfall. Think about how different that would feel like physically, and it can be challenging to, to do this exercise.

And that is why we resist it. That is why instead of making the conscious choice to pluck these thoughts and feelings out of your, out of your brain, and actually look at them, why instead we try to distract away from them, to push them down, to dissociate away from them, to cope away with them instead of actually processing them.

So why is it so difficult to just look at our thoughts and feelings? Well, on one hand, We're just not taught how to do this, right? We're, we're not taught necessarily about our, our feelings. I think this is getting better. I, I observe the ways, um, in which my, my brother and sister-in-law are raising my nephew, and there seems to be so much more kind of like emotional literacy than I recall ever receiving growing up.

I think that's just, you know, a shift in our, our generations. But for the most part, if you're like me, I'm a, a millennial, so probably millennial and, and above, is that the right direction anyway, um, most of us haven't been taught how to process difficult emotions, why it's important and valuable to process difficult emotions, and so it's a skill we just don't have.

But processing this specific, you know, worry, fear, anxiety, whatever it is. The reason why that's also very difficult to experience is because it, because at the root, the worry, the fear, the anxiety, the dread is our brain trying to do something that is literally impossible. So again, that root thought of what will they think, what will they think, what will they think is essentially your attempt to manage other people's thoughts about you.

To control other people's thoughts about you, and you are attempting to use other people's thoughts about you to shape your thoughts and feelings about you. And if that worked, we'd do it all day long. We have a whole podcast series about it: how to control other people's thoughts and feelings about you so you can feel better about yourself. But unfortunately, other people are gonna think about you however they choose to think about you.

And so sending your brain this assignment, worry your way to control the way other people think about you, so then you can think and feel better about yourself. Again, it's just impossible. So you're much better served focusing on how you think and feel about you. Let's like skip the middle man, right?

But perhaps the most genuine reason this is so challenging to experience and the most painful reason this is so challenging to experience is because all the thoughts that we're worried other people will think we only worry about them because we agree with them. I'm gonna say that again. Think about all the things that you're worried other people are gonna think about you.

What are you worried that your mother-in-law is going to think about you? What are you worried that your cousin is going to think about you? Chances are, the real reason you're worried that they're going to think that about you is because you agree with them, and it hurts to hold that belief about yourself. Think about it this way. I am wearing one of my favorite sweaters right now, and if my husband walked into my office and said, I think that sweater is hideous, I would say, okay, you're allowed to be wrong because I love this sweater.

And I don't agree with him that it's ugly or hideous. I think it's super cute. And so his opinion on it doesn't much matter to me because my opinion on it is so certain. So the thoughts that you're so worried that your mom is going to think about you, the worry intensifies in direct relation to how much you actually agree with them, and you may not like that you agree with this.

You may be, in fact, and I say this with love, you may be in denial that you agree with it because it may not align with your values or what you want to be true about you or what you want to be true about the world. And yet, in your heart of hearts, it still feels true for you. And of course it does. Of course it does.

It makes so much sense. If you've been conditioned for years and years and years to believe that weight gain is some moral failing, that it's embarrassing or gross, or means that you've let yourself go or means anything else negative about you, then of course you believe that. Again, have some compassion and understanding for yourself here.

And label it as a thought that you don't consciously want to agree with, but you still believe. Label it as kind of a thought in progress. A thought that you're chipping away at and working to replace with something that feels more true to you, that feels more aligned with your values, that feels more conscious and intentional versus conditioned in.

But instead of denying it, for now, just let it exist with this new identity. And if it comes up at the Thanksgiving dinner table, remember this conversation we're having. Okay, so again, it's the Friday before Thanksgiving. You may need to listen to this episode again, day of. And here's what to do.

If you feel the fear, the worry, the dread, the anxiety, don't push it down. Don't deny its existence. Don't fear the fear. Don't dread the dread. Don't worry about the worry. Just acknowledge it. Commit to feeling and identifying those feelings as they come up in real time. You know what the body cue is that's associated with that feeling. Be prepared to make the link between the feeling and the thought that's bubbling up.

Recognize the thoughts or beliefs that you may have that you don't consciously agree with, that you don't want to continue holding onto and begin practicing the intentional beliefs that you want to think on purpose and over the next few episodes I really want you to, to have in mind this version of you a couple months away.

First weeks of January, 2023. What do you want to be able to say about how you spent the holiday season? This version of you is someone who we're gonna come back to in the next few episodes. All right, y'all have a wonderful, wonderful holiday. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Bye.

Claire Siegel:

Thank you so much for joining me for today's episode of the Flourish podcast. If you enjoyed it, please take a second to leave us a five-star review or better yet, share it with a friend. And if you're ready to start your own journey to get healthy for good with accountability from expert coaches and the support of an incredible community, head to the show notes to get started on your Flourish journey.

I'll see you in the next episode.

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Claire Siegel
Co-founder, CEO
Claire Siegel is the founder and CEO of Flourish. Claire has made it her life’s mission to help women create a sustainable approach to their physical and mental well-being.

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