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Conquer Your Weight

Episode #8: [Introductory Series] Life Coaching 101

Show Notes

April 14, 2022

In this episode, I'm going to share the Life Coach School Model with you. The Model is a tool that allows you to explore the causal relationship between what we think and feel and how those thoughts and feelings create the actions and ultimately the results we get in our lives. What would you have to be thinking and feeling to take the actions that lead to the result of weight loss?


Dr. Sarah Stombaugh: This is Dr. Sarah Stombaugh and you are listening to the Conquer Your Weight podcast, episode number eight. Announcer: Welcome to the Conquer Your Weight podcast where you will learn to understand your mind and body so you can achieve long-term weight loss. Here's your host, obesity medicine physician and life coach, Dr. Sarah Stombaugh. Dr. Sarah Stombaugh: Hi everyone. Welcome back. If you are brand new to the podcast, welcome and thank you so much for joining me today. To all of my regular listeners, you've probably been wondering where I've been. I took an unscheduled break due to a terrible cold and then a GI bug and it was rough. I had laryngitis, I was coughing and I sounded terrible. So I can guarantee you, you would not want to have listened to me with that gravelly voice or coughing fits. So thank you so much for your patience and thank you for being back with me today. Before we get back into today's episode, I want to tell you about a super fun experiment I just finished. Have you ever heard of a continuous glucose monitor? Continuous glucose monitors are small wearable medical devices that do exactly what their name says. They monitor your blood glucose continuously, so you put it on and it stays in place 24/7 for two weeks. It has a little filament, it's like a little plastic tube that monitors your blood sugar continuously. It's actually pretty small. It's a little bit probably about the size of a quarter, maybe slightly bigger and you wear it on your upper arm. And people use these most commonly because they have type one diabetes. Sometimes people who have type two diabetes because they're needing to check their blood sugar more often than you would want to do with just a finger prick alone, but realistically, anyone could wear one if they wanted to. Of course insurance isn't going to cover it if you wanna wear it just because, but it's certainly always an option. So about a year ago I had a colleague at work who was wearing one and she was doing a program where you were the monitor and then met with a dietician to understand your body's reaction to different foods and it sparked the idea for me to do the same thing. I spent a lot of time talking with my patients about how our blood sugar spikes in response to different foods. So when you eat a processed carbohydrate, your blood sugar really spikes like straight up and straight down versus if you eat a more complex carbohydrate, especially if it's balanced with high-quality fats and proteins, our blood sugar has a much more rounded and even response. And I really wanted to see this play out in a real person, a.k.a., myself, . And so I realized just a couple weeks ago it was the time to do it. I had been planning on doing it for a while, but you know, for different reasons just hadn't gotten around to it yet. And my birthday was coming up, my mom and aunt were coming to visit me and I figured if there was ever a time that I might be eating foods a little bit out of my regular routine, that was going to be it. So as a physician I was able to write myself a prescription for a continuous glucose monitor. I paid for it out of pocket because I don't have diabetes or a condition that it would be covered for and I've been wearing it for the last two weeks. I just finished. It's been so, so interesting. I wish I could tell you a little bit about it today, but I'm gonna sort of collect the data, go through it, and then we're gonna talk about it next week. I am so, so excited to share it with you all. This week we're gonna talk about life coaching 101. So many of you know I trained at the Life Coach school, which is the foundation of our training is the model. So the model is a tool that allows you to explore the causal relationship between what we think and feel and how those thoughts and feelings create the actions and ultimately the results we get in our lives. There are five parts of the model: circumstance, thought, feelings, action and results. Let's talk about it a bit. So a circumstance is a completely neutral fact. It is something everyone in the world can agree upon. It might be another person. It's an event that has already happened. We have no control over our circumstances and our circumstances mean nothing until we have a thought about them. It is only once we have a thought about something that it takes on any meeting and we have tens of thousands of thoughts per day. Often we're not even aware of the thoughts we're having. Some thoughts are fleeting related to a specific situation, other thoughts we have over and over again. And when that happens, you've had a thought over and over again. It's likely because it's part of your belief system and you just believe it to be true. One of the things I love to do with my patients and my clients is spend time teasing out the difference between a circumstance and a thought. So I'm gonna do that with you here today. Let's go through a few examples. If I say it's hot outside today, is that a circumstance or a thought while initially it might sound like a fact, it's actually just a thought. If we wanted to get the circumstance, we need to get factual. It is 80 degrees outside is a circumstance, it is hot. Today is just our interpretation or our thought about that and we know that it's hot out. Today is not the circumstance because not everyone agrees, right? Someone from Arizona might think that 80 degrees is a lovely spring day where someone from Minnesota might think that that's hot. Here's another example. My boss is a jerk. Is that a thought or a thought or a circumstance? Again, just a thought. You might have had that thought dozens or hundreds of times, but just because you've thought it over and over again doesn't mean that it's true. Stop and question yourself here. Does everyone in the world agree that your boss is a jerk? You might be tempted to say yes. Maybe you and your colleagues commiserate, but does your boss think he's a jerk? Do your boss's kids think he's a jerk? Does your boss's mom think he's a jerk? Probably not. My boss is a jerk. Is just your thought about a specific event or maybe a series of events that's happened before? If you wanna get specific, think about the event that occurred that made you think my boss is a jerk. Get very factual about an event that happened. Let's say at the Monday morning meeting. My boss said to me, quote, I need you to step up your game, end quote. That's a fact. Those were the words that he said when he said it. And that's a fact. That's a circumstance my boss is a jerk. Is your thought about that circumstance? Another example. Skittles are delicious circumstance or thought again, just a thought. Does everyone in the world agree that Skittles are delicious? No, they don't. And I'll tell you actually, I don't like candy. I love chocolate as you know, if you've listened to my previous episodes, but I don't like candy. I don't know why, but I just don't open a bag of Skittles and set it in front of me. And I swear to you I will not eat a single one and not because I have amazing willpower, but because I just don't like them. So Skittles are delicious. It's just a thought. Skittles are candy is the circumstance. Let's talk about feelings next. Feelings are simply a vibration in our body. I will often use the word feeling and emotions interchangeably. Feelings are a result of the thoughts that we have. We often think that our circumstances cause our feelings, but our circumstances are completely neutral. It is only once we have a thought that we cause our own feelings. So I wanna go back to that example about your boss and look at how different thoughts about the circumstance could lead to different feelings. Alright, so the circumstances at the Monday morning meeting, my boss said quote, I need you to step up your game. If your thought about that is my boss is a jerk, that may lead to a feeling like anger as opposed to maybe your feeling is, oh, he's right. I didn't do my best work on that project. And you may feel defeated. Someone else may think, wow, I'm gonna work harder next time. And they might feel driven. The situation could be the exact same. At Monday morning meeting your boss said, I need you to step up your game. But it's only once you have a thought about the situation that you create that feeling for yourself. One question people ask a lot is, okay, but aren't certain like certain circumstances negative? Nope. Every circumstance is neutral. Every single one, and a lot of people might disagree about this initially, but it's usually because we've had this same thoughts over and over again and we believe them to be true. But just because you think it's true doesn't mean that it's actually true. I love an example that Brooke Castillo gives. Even death is a neutral circumstance. At first glance, you might think no way, that's not possible. Of course, death isn't neutral. It's a negative circumstance. But the reason we know it's not true is that death doesn't impact us at all until we know about it. So imagine someone significant in your life died and you weren't there. Imagine that you didn't find out until like an hour later that they had even died during that hour of your life where they were dead, but you didn't know you would feel nothing. You would continue leading your normal life. Their death has not impacted you at all. It is only once we learn about the death and have a thought about it that it takes on any meaning. The circumstance is this person died. Your thought like "Wow, I'm really going to miss them," is what makes you feel a negative emotion. We have thoughts about our circumstances which drive our feelings and our thoughts and feelings then drive the actions we take in our lives. Actions are things we do or do not do and all of our actions have a reason. We often think we do things just because, but when we stop and think about it, there's always a reason we did something. The reason we think it's just because it goes back to the fact we have tens of thousands of thoughts per day. Many of our thoughts are unconscious and many of our feelings are ignored. Therefore, our actions seem random, but they never are. Every action you take is the direct result of the thoughts and feelings that you have. And then the actions that we take in our lives ultimately lead to the results we get. The results are a direct reflection of our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. You might be wondering, what does this have to do with weight loss? Let me tell you, it has everything to do with weight loss. If the result in your life is that you are overweight or obese, you have to stop and think the actions that led to that increased weight, perhaps eating foods that didn't, your body led to the result of being overweight. I can tell you all day long, yes, you should eat this or you shouldn't eat that. But the reason that most diets don't work long-term is they focus on the actions you take. They tell you the specific foods to eat or not to eat, as opposed to looking to the thoughts and feelings that we have that led to eating those foods in the first place. We talked about this a bit before. I've told you that eating processed foods like flour or sugar can lead to overweight or obesity, but you need to change how you think about those foods as opposed to just trying to use willpower to avoid those foods. So let me give you an example. The circumstance is you've made a food plan to limit flour and sugar in the diet. You go to Olive Garden and the waitress sets down a basket of breadsticks in front of you and you have a thought, and this might be a subconscious thought, but you have a thought of those breadsticks look so delicious. That creates a feeling of desire, which may lead to the action of eating the breadsticks. And as a result, you've ignored your food plan. But you can imagine that someone thinking about this differently might act differently in this situation. So exact same circumstance, you've made a food plan to limit flour and sugar, you go to Olive Garden and the waitress sets down a basket of breadsticks in front of you. If your thought is, I've been working really hard to lose weight, if I'm going to go off my food plan, I'm going to plan it in advance. I didn't plan to eat breadsticks today, that feeling may be more of contentment, which leads to an action of not eating the breadsticks. And as a result, you allow yourself to continue to stick to your food plan and create weight loss for yourself. And I'm not saying you can just magically change your thoughts, right? If you've eaten at Olive Garden once a month for years and you've been looking at those breadsticks thinking those look delicious over and over again, and then you've desired them and then you've eaten them, you have a well-formed neural pathway in your brain for that behavior. You probably don't even realize you have that thought. Those look delicious. It's likely subconscious. Sometimes just bringing awareness to the fact that this is your thought can be really empowering. Realizing that the breadsticks actually have no power over you. Breadsticks are just breadsticks and you get to choose how you think about them. If you want to change your thought, that's an option. Sometimes an alternative thought fits right in and we can start acting from that place right away. More often, it can be a process that takes time. You might need to take stepping stones to get from your current thoughts to your desired thoughts. On the other hand, there's a lot of times when we eat that aren't reasons or that aren't for reasons of hunger. People often eat because they're bored or lonely or stressed. And generally speaking, we call this emotional eating. In the coaching world, we call it buffering. Instead of allowing yourself to experience a negative emotion, you push it off and try to replace it with something that will bring you pleasure. The human experience contains a wide range of emotions, both positive and negative, and at a glance we often make the mistake of wishing we were happy all the time. If you stop and think about it though, it would be super weird to be happy all the time. Imagine that a loved one died and you felt happy. Imagine you made a huge mistake at work and you felt happy. Imagine your car broke down and you feel happy. That's weird. It's normal to feel these negative emotions and they serve a very important role in our lives. It's only because of negative emotions that we're able to fully appreciate our positive emotions. For example, knowing the grief of death allows us to fully embrace the feeling of love. At the Life Coach School. We're trained to look at life as 50, 50. 50% of your life as positive emotions and 50% of your life as negative emotions. The problem comes in when we don't wanna accept our negative emotions or we're afraid of having those negative emotions. It's common then for people to use buffering behaviors in order to try to avoid their negative emotions. Any behavior you do in order to avoid feeling a negative emotion is a buffering behavior. It's often things like overeating over drinking, scrolling mindlessly through social media, binge watching TV, overspending, gambling, porn, overworking, people pleasing. There's so many examples. Many of my patients or many of you may be struggling with overeating, and so I wanna talk about that specifically. So I wanna imagine you've had a really frustrating day at work. You come home and open a bag of chips. It's been a difficult day and you deserve to feel good. So you eat one and then you eat a few more, but suddenly you've eaten half the bag of chips. In contrast, if you had learned how to accept and process our negative emotions, you can sit with them, you can work through them, and your frustrating workday may play out differently. So when you buffered, you had that frustrating day, you've eaten, have a bag of chips in the moment, you were able to ignore your negative emotions from the workday. The problem with buffering is you usually end up feeling a lot worse afterwards. You're likely to be beating yourself up. I can't believe I ate so many chips. I'm on a diet. You might be physically uncomfortable, you may then lead to weight gain and all of those things actually make you feel worse in the end. On the other hand, you can practice working through your emotions. So let's say you've had that same frustrating day at work and instead you come home, you decide to just sit and feel that emotion. You close your eyes, you replay the day. Think about their frustrating moments and allow yourself to just sit there feeling the frustration. Pay attention to what frustration feels like in your body. Maybe you feel a warmth, like a hot sensation just rising in your chest and you let it sit there and you feel it and you experience it breathing deeply. The emotion will dissipate. Usually emotions will go away within 90 seconds. The later that evening it maybe it'll come back up. Something triggers a memory from work and you start to feel that frustration. You can do the same thing. You can stop, feel the emotion. Over time, you will learn that frustration is just another emotion, no different than any other. And when the emotion feels less scary, you feel less of an urge to escape the emotion. You'll find that your buffering behaviors like overeating may decrease. When we start to get really intentional about what we're doing in our lives and why we're doing it, we have the ability to make huge changes. You can use the model, circumstance, thought, feeling, action, result to understand why you're getting the current results in your life. Nothing happens just because you can start to question how you might get different results. What would you have to be thinking and feeling to take the actions that lead to the result of weight loss? Today's episode was a lot of information. It might be worth replaying or stopping to think about if any of it felt overwhelming. Pause and just take a deep breath. We're going to continue to work on the model in the future and we'll go through more examples. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you're interested in learning more about me, head on over to my website, That's S-A-R-A-H-S-T-O-M-B-A-U-G-H-M-D dot com. If you live in Illinois or Virginia and you are interested in working one-on-one with me in my private weight loss practice, please fill out the form on the website and we'll connect. If you've enjoyed today's podcast, please subscribe and leave me a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Please share this with anyone you think might benefit. Thank you for joining me today. I look forward to seeing you next week. Bye-bye.
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