Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to The Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast, Episode 62, Weight Gain and Regressions. If you have wanted to lose weight for a while, specifically if you're a high achiever, you have likely experienced gain some or all of it back at some point in your life. I like to call this your pile of past attempts, and for some of us, myself included, that pile of past attempts is fairly large.
Now, what I wanna say is that whether you've gained a little bit back or all of it back, I often hear high achievers refer to gaining weight back as a regression. You'll say, I did lose the weight, but then I regressed and I gained it all back, or I gained some of it back. And today's episode is all about this topic, gaining weight back and regressions.
I think it's so important for high achievers to know that the way you think about gaining weight back, the way you think about regressions is going to completely determine how you handle them, how you manage them, and ultimately how you're going to create lasting results on the scale. I cannot wait for you to listen in on today's episode.
If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weight loss coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans.
Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There are some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you. Ready. Let's get to it.
This topic has been on my mind for quite a while and I'm glad I finally get to be sitting down to record this episode because I think it is a particularly important one, especially for high achievers who want to lose weight. So, before we even get into the episode, before we even get into weight gain, I really wanted to take a moment to define the word regression.
Regression according to the Googles, when I Google this, is a return to a formerly less developed state. Now, the trouble for high achievers for most of us is the idea of that. The idea of regressing to a formerly less developed state is filled with a lot of negative emotion. High achievers are driven by doing big things of getting the a plus and the gold stars and doing really well.
This idea of going backwards or regressing is no surprise, a really big problem for the high achiever. When you gain a pound back or two or 10, you aren't going backwards. Now, I can hear you saying, Priyanka. When you gain the weight back and your goal is to lose weight, what is it then?
If you're not going backwards, then what is it? I wanna tell you that it is actually simply an opportunity to learn about a missing skill or tool that you just haven't had yet. Now from my hundreds of hours coaching high achievers on weight loss, what I have discovered is that there are three reasons that high achievers will ever gain the weight back.
I'm going to be telling you all three reasons in today's episode. I'm going to give you specific examples for what all three of these reasons look like, and then I'm going to share with you really my strategy to help you overcome this. I'm gonna just start with listing all three, and then I'm going to go into specific examples for each specific reason.
So the very first reason that you will ever gain weight back a pound, two or 10 is because you had a strategy that sucked. To put it very simply, it was a strategy that you did not love, and it was a strategy that was not sustainable in the long haul. Reason number two is you had a strategy that you liked, and yes, it worked.
But then real life got in the way a life obstacle came up, which means that the strategy that you liked had gone, unchallenged and untested. This means when life was easy, it was easy to implement your plan and your strategy, but when curve balls were thrown your way and you experienced emotions, you went back to food to numb or buffer your emotional experience.
Reason number three is you had a strategy that you liked and it worked, and you even learned how to navigate life's obstacles without numbing and buffering with food. You learned how to experience big emotions of just being the high achiever that you are, but at some point along the way, you had a strategy that worked, but you became complacent in how you executed it.
And so not surprisingly, old habits came back. So I wanna kind of talk you through each of these three different reasons that people ever gain the weight back. And then we're going to talk about exactly what you do with them. So, reason number one was your strategy sucked.
You would be surprised that most women who wanna lose weight are trying to implement a strategy of weight loss that involves counting points or calories, or logging every single morsel of food they ever put in their mouth. Maybe you're doing low carb, no carb, juice cleanse, or you're weighing and measuring every single thing simply to lose weight.
Now what I wanna share with you about this way of eating is if you loved it, you should absolutely keep it. But what I wanna share with you is if you didn't love this strategy, if you didn't love counting and logging and measuring every piece of food you ever put in your mouth, it's no surprise that you stopped doing it.
I think that this is seriously why I like to call principle number one inside the Unstoppable Group when you work with me is we really design and curate your way of eating so that you love it. If you don't love the way you eat, you will eventually quit it or abandon it. I think I've shared this example before, but it feels really fitting to share it here.
I really think about the way you eat as your ride or die, BFF, lover for life. It is this one relationship you have with you forever until the day you die. And so if you don't love this BFF, Lover for life, it's no surprise that you will eventually quit on it. Cheat on it. Want to abandon it. What I wanna ask you if you find yourself doing this, if you find yourself wanting to cheat on the way you're eating, is very simply why.
If you really loved the way you eat, if you knew that you felt so committed to this partner for life, why would you ever, ever want to cheat on it? I think that this kind of relationship creates such a distorted relationship with food, with how we fuel ourselves when we think we have to have this restricted, contentious relationship with the way we eat.
And I wanna tell you that it is going to be reason number one, that you quit on your plan and that you will eventually gain a little bit. Or all of the weight back. You know, if you find yourself looking for the next best thing on the market, the next best strategy, the next best juice cleanse. The next best plan.
This is coming simply from Diet Brain, and it's really, really important that you find a way of eating. You find a strategy that you trust and love so that you know if you ever quit or hide from it, it's not going to be because you hated it. So let me move on to reason number two, which was you loved the way you ate, you really liked it, and it was working well.
Your body felt good. You were probably seeing results in this way of eating, but then life happened. Maybe you experienced a tragedy. Maybe there was a sick parent, an issue with your kid, with your marriage. Maybe something at work came up, maybe your boss or colleague said something. Maybe you got a negative review or negative feedback.
Something happened in your life, and just for the purposes of this episode, we can call this a curve ball that you didn't choose that was thrown your way and you experienced an emotion. It's going to be some flavor that we all experience when something unwanted comes our way. Sadness, frustration, worry, stress, anger, inadequacy, overwhelm.
I think that so often high achievers are experiencing some range of these emotions, and we have a really hard time executing our plan when we're having these really big feelings. And the reason for this is not unique to you, but the reason for this is simply because most of us, most humans, have not learned how to experience big emotions without going to food.
We're so used to numbing, escaping, buffering, avoiding our emotional experiences that we've simply developed habits of overeating, perusing the pantry, grabbing the snacks or the chips, simply because we're feeling really big feelings. And so you ate to numb and avoid these feelings. And what this did over time is it created a very deeply seated pattern.
So reason number two is one I would say affects most high achievers who want to lose weight is when life feels easy, when your kid is behaving, when your partner is nice, when you're getting the positive feedback from your boss or your colleague. When things in your life feel simple and easy, you're able to implement your plan with more ease.
But this is not reality. I think that it's so important for high achievers to know if reason number two is the reason you gained weight. It's so important to catch that your simple skill is knowing how to experience life, obstacles, unwanted things happening in your life, and how to experience big feelings without going to food.
That was reason number two. Reason number three was you like the way you eat. It worked really well. Your body felt good. You even learned how to experience life obstacles. You even learned how to experience life stresses and worries without going to food. But then somewhere along the way you became complacent.
This is so common, and this happens to me even now, to this day, where when you get kind of comfortable with a routine, when you get really comfortable with maintaining a result, it's very easy to become complacent and not be intentional about habits. My favorite example to kind of paint a picture for you is just imagine brushing your teeth.
When you brush your teeth and you know, maybe even floss, if you're really good, you'll notice that your teeth feel really clean and they're really healthy. They feel good. You have the results in hand. If you do this practice day after day, brushing your teeth and flossing your teeth, you will maintain that result.
Just because you have clean teeth or healthy teeth doesn't mean you stop brushing your teeth. Right. I think that this is something that we do so often with weight loss. We might hit a goal. Maybe we lose some weight. We have our quote unquote healthy teeth, and then we stop taking action. We stop doing the habits that we know sustain that result, and so not surprisingly, old results come back.
Just like if you forgot to brush your teeth or floss your teeth every day, your teeth would become unhealthy just like that when you stop doing the habits that worked to maintain and sustain your weight loss. When you stop taking those simple actions, it's no surprise that old habits creep back in and old results come back as well.
Now I kind of wanna put a caveat to this because I can hear some high achievers thinking, seriously, I have to work at this forever. I have to think about this forever. I have to do this work forever, and it feels like such a burden. But I wanna come back to the teeth brushing analogy. You don't think that way about brushing your teeth.
It's one of those things that you feel it's so simple and so easy to do. It takes a minute or two every day, and that is exactly what weight loss and weight maintenance is meant to be. It's meant to be something that you do think about because you care about maintaining these results, but it doesn't have to be too much or a lot. It simply becomes a part of your daily routine.
So I shared these three reasons that you will ever gain the weight back. Number one, you did not like your strategy. Your strategy sucked. It wasn't sustainable. Reason number two, you had a strategy you liked, but real life happened, and then an obstacle got in the way, and you had a feeling that you wanted to just avoid feeling.
Or reason number three, you had a strategy. You liked your strategy, you even learned how to handle obstacles, but then you became complacent. Now here is the real trouble and the whole intention of today's episode. Most high achievers will never figure out why they ever gained the weight back. Those three reasons that I just shared with you.
Most high achievers will never uncover which of those three reasons it was that got them stuck, that got them in a plateau or that ever led them to gaining the weight back. And this happens because most high achievers, when they gain a pound, two or 10, are so full of disappointment, defeat, discouragement, and doubt, even shame that they will then quit and hide.
And when you have an unwanted result, whether you gained a pound, two or 10 back, it's normal that you feel a sting of disappointment, of defeat, of discouragement, of doubt, but what ends up happening is when you don't know how to manage that emotion. When you don't know how to catch and manage your disappointment and your discouragement, those emotions end up becoming your biggest obstacles to hitting your ideal weight and maintaining it.
Let me just say that again. You are going to have at some point along the way, an unwanted result. Maybe you gain a pound, two or 10 back and you are going to feel the normal sting of disappointment. Unless you know how to recognize and manage that emotion in that moment, that emotion will start becoming your biggest obstacles to hitting your dream ideal weight.
And if you really do a solid inventory on this and encourage you to pause this episode and really reflect on this, write out actual tangible examples of what your experience has been. I want you to think about the last week, the last month, and the last year. The last time that you gained back a few pounds, your quote unquote regression, how did you really feel?
Just take a moment and answer. What emotion was that for you? I have worked with enough high achievers to know, and I've worked with every permutation of high-achieving working mom to know that you are having some flavor of disappointment, doubt, discouragement or defeat. Do you remember the four Ds? I did an episode on the four Ds back in episode number 37.
And what I want you to know is that one of these emotions, a flavor of the four Ds, is what drives you to eventually quit and hide. I want you to think about the last time, in the last week, month, or year when you gained that pound back, that five pounds, the 10 pounds back, and you felt your flavor of disappointment or defeat.
What did you typically do next? Let's get really granular on what you did or didn't do next when you felt that way. I would say most high achievers I know, and I am putting myself in this category because I am one of them, is most of us give up. You quit for a day, a week, a month, you hide. You don't evaluate.
You have so much negative self-talk, and while you're in the midst of having a lot of negative self-talk and giving up and quitting and hiding, what you don't do is you don't get curious about why it happened. Most high achievers don't get curious about why they gained the pound, the five or the 10 back really clearly.
They don't figure out why it happened. And so no wonder they're not able to create high quality solutions. What high achievers typically do is they think that they're going to buckle down. I'm putting this in quotes. You're gonna buckle down. You're going to, you know, Monday morning, have that fresh new plan, and you're going to really lay down the law.
And what this looks like is beating yourself up in your mind with a lot of negative self-talk. And the trouble with this is this form of negative self-talk keeps you perpetuating your regression. The one pound does become five. The five does become 10. And this is kind of this self-fulfilling prophecy where the more you keep thinking, I can't do it, I'm not capable, you create the result of you not doing it.
Now here's the real honest truth. I want you to stay with me because this might feel vulnerable for you to hear. The real honest truth is if you gained a pound back or five or 10, you have been in your own way, and what I want you to know is that you can be in your own way. Absolutely true, but you don't have to make it mean something bad about you.
We can look at that with honesty without being mean or making it mean anything about our capabilities moving forward. High achievers are so quick to self-criticism, shame, and blame that they aren't able to step into 100% responsibility over their regressions. I wanna tell you, I see you completely because this used to be me time and time again.
I have done this so often and I see high achievers doing this all the time, which is why I wanted to create a whole episode on regressions. I want you to know that you are absolutely, because you're a normal human who has both primitive parts of your brain that has old habits and will absolutely have regressions.
You are absolutely going to have regressions. You are absolutely going to get into your own way sometimes, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I hear you like Priyanka. I don't understand what you mean about taking 100% responsibility of me getting in my own way without being mean. And I think that this is like a foreign concept for high achievers because most high achievers, without knowing it, are a flavor of perfectionist.
They really, really hang a lot of their value and a lot of their worth on doing well and being more and doing better. And that comes at a cost. That means that you also place a lot of your value and worth on when you don't do well, when you make mistakes. And what I wanna tell you is that it is possible to take 100% responsibility to clearly see with vulnerable honesty, how you have gotten in your own way without being mean.
I wanna tell you, you know this example, rose colored glasses, right? Have you heard that phrase? If you're wearing rose colored glasses, then it's like you kind of see everything with this positive lens. What most high achievers do is when they're looking at results they don't like, they put on what I call crap colored glasses.
So that means when you are looking at the results in front of you, one pound up, or five or 10, you don't look at it through a clear lens. You look at it through crap colored glasses. And what this means is that you'll never, ever be able to evaluate cleanly. You won't actually ever be able to uncover why you gained the one pound, the five or the 10 back, and you will stay in this perpetual cycle of quitting and restarting again and again and again.
Now, here's the thing, because I call this kind of an invisible layer, particularly for high achievers. I think that there's an important caveat to note around this invisible layer, this crap colored lens that we put on, why it's an invisible layer. It's because high achievers don't see it when you are the one wearing the crap colored glasses.
It just feels like your reality. You're just walking around looking at your results, evaluating your results through crap colored glasses. You don't realize that you have poop smeared all over the glasses that you're trying to evaluate your life with. You might be one of those overt negative self talkers where your inner monologue is obviously mean.
But I also wanna point out that you can have crap colored glasses and your invisible layer could be really sneaky, like a sneaky whisper. I wanted to bring this up specifically on this episode because that used to be me. I've always been that high achiever, like my whole life, like optimistic glass half full.
I would never have said that I am mean to myself or that I have negative self-talk until I discovered that my form of negative self-talk was a sneaky whisper. So this is what it might sound like for you, and I want you to just start paying attention. If you hear yourself, talk to yourself like this when you're looking at results.
I want you to imagine that you're looking at your result on the scale and you don't love it. Maybe you went off plan for a week, a month, a year, and the scale's up a pound, five or 10, and you are now sitting and looking at this regression, at this weight gain. You might hear yourself thinking, see, there you go again, messing up again.
You'll never do it. You probably just can't do it. You'll never figure this one out. This one is just too hard for you. You know what? You didn't do it yesterday. You're probably not gonna do it again today. You know what? This seems to just be easier for other people. It's something with you. Something with you just can't figure this one out.
Can you hear these sentences like these are some examples of overt and mean whispers of negative self-talk that is just laced in vitriol. Can you imagine ever saying that to a child? Seriously? I want you to imagine it takes a minute. Imagine you are a kid when they're like three or four years old and maybe they got in their way, maybe they made a mistake or had a quote unquote regression.
Like think about potty training and sleep training, right? Like think about all the times that our kids had a regression when it came to sleep, when it came to using the restroom, when it came to any area of their life, maybe they had a regression. Can you imagine actually saying to a three or four year old, you're never gonna figure this one out?
What's wrong with you? You idiot. You didn't do it yesterday. You're probably not gonna be able to do it today. You know what? There's probably something uniquely wrong with you that you cannot figure this out. Can you actually imagine that? No. I would say that most people listening to this podcast could actually not imagine that.
And if you could, you would recognize that that would be a form of emotional abuse. And yet high achievers are in the practice of abusing themselves all the time, and we call it practicality. We call it being real. I'm just keeping it real. I'm just being practical. No, you're not being practical. You are just being mean.
What's so important, and really the intention of this episode is to really separate facts, like the fact of gaining a pound or five or 10, the fact of having a regression, the fact of having an imperfect moment last weekend, last month, or last year. Separating the facts of that from the story that you tell about it.
You having negative self-talk or bullying yourself in the way that I was just describing is just the high achiever's way of not believing in yourself, and I would say inside The Unstoppable universe, I think that not believing in yourself is just mean. I think that it's like one way that we basically are picking up some crap from the yard and just smearing it all over the glasses that we could be using to evaluate our results.
Honestly, I think that this is why working with a coach is so invaluable because when you are the one wearing the crap colored glasses and you don't see the thoughts that you're having about yourself, you don't see the way that you're evaluating your results. It is priceless to have a coach who has done this work to show you that you're wearing crap colored glasses.
How to put your hands up to your face. How to hold those glasses and take them off and throw them away. Whether you do this overtly or whether it's a quiet whisper that is laced in disbelief, it is a form of self-inflicted emotional abuse. And I also want to share that to solve the weight loss problem, this is the thing that has to be solved first.
If you don't solve this, if you keep the inner critic, if you keep that monologue that is laced with this self-critical judgment. What I want you to know, and you probably already know the truth of this weight loss is going to stay a perpetual struggle. Actually reaching any big goal will feel like a constant uphill battle.
And this is a mistake for the high achiever because high achievers particularly want to go high places. You have big goals and dreams for yourself and for your family. I think it's so important to know that we can solve this together, but it really starts with becoming aware and taking inventory of what keeping the negative self-talk has actually done and how it's created that one pound up, turn into five, and then turn into 10.
Now, if you are someone that has had the negative self-talk, whether it's overt or whether it's been a whisper, I want you to know this. Nothing is wrong with you. It is perfectly normal that you picked up this habit at some point along the way. That is probably for its own other whole podcast episode of where negative self talk even comes from. It started literally decades ago, and again, that's for a whole different podcast episode, which we will do at some point.
Just for now, the purpose of this episode is for you to really see, clearly we're kind of wiping off the crap from the glasses for you to see that the invisible layer that high achievers add to how they look at results. How they evaluate their life, the one pound, two pounds, or the 10 pounds up, is what will make or break the difference between actually turning weight gain around and solving regressions.
So now forevermore, we know that the negative self-talk is always the real reason that you gave up on yourself. That you hid, and that you quit. And that one pound turned into two, which turned into five, which turned into 10. The moment, this moment right now is an opportunity forevermore to stop. Just think about how you would talk to your child in evaluating a result. How you would talk to another human as they look at evaluating a result. How you could start to offer that way of thinking to yourself.
One of the absolute best things that we do in the Unstoppable Group is we specifically address the high achievers brain when it comes to evaluating results. I actually have my clients share with me every single week. That's right, every single week I have my clients share evaluations where we get to catch the crap thoughts that are coloring their lens.
We get to clear off our glasses and properly look together at our tangible results. I'm gonna tell you. I have so many clients that share with me time and time again when they really do this, when they do evaluations regularly and routinely, they start completely shifting not only the tone and tenor of their like inner monologue, the soundtrack that they have in their mind, but that one pound up, the five pounds up it never ever feels like dramatic.
It doesn't feel like a huge, big drama that we have to now figure out. It's just not a big deal. I remember my client Anjali, who was on the podcast a few weeks ago. She was sharing that before Unstoppable, she would go on vacation, come back, it would be a few pounds up, and that would turn into like many pounds up, right?
Like you'd come back and feel discouraged, defeat, disappointed, despair, and just like many of us, she would quit for a few days, a week, a month, and those few pounds is what turned into many, many pounds and just implementing really this type of skill, like how to evaluate with the high achiever's brain.
She stopped doing that. Now you can go on vacation, you can gain two or three pounds and it doesn't become five or 10. The two or three pounds that you might gain on vacation comes right back off. No drama. I just want all of you to think about how normal it is that humans, because our bodies are not robots, are sometimes going to gain a pound or two or five or 10.
And from now on forevermore to think about that weight gain or quote unquote regression as simply an opportunity. There is a lesson that is needed to be learned in that moment every time you gain a pound or two or 10, either you didn't love your strategy or it sucked. Number two, because you needed practice dealing with life obstacles or an uncomfortable emotion, or three, you became complacent in old habits, crept back.
The biggest barrier between you and growing and learning and overcoming weight gain regressions is always going to be an emotion that you have about it. Let me just say that again. The biggest barrier that you are ever going to have between you growing, learning and overcoming regressions is going to be the emotions that you have about it.
You might not like your results on the scale today. Maybe you're up a pound or two, or five or 10. It makes so much sense that you feel the stink of disappointment, but as the high achiever, you are also adding an invisible layer of blame, shame, and judgment that keeps you perpetually marinating in disappointment.
That is the real reason you ever hide or quit. So I want you to know right now you can stop doing that and just know that you might not love a result. You might feel the sting of disappointment and just this, just this process. Just this work means you can understand how it happened. Actually, glean wisdom.
Ask yourself, how did I get in my own way here? Really come in with curious energy and allow yourself to be in a growth mindset. Allow yourself to learn because your past is vulnerable. I think that this is, again, something that perfectionists do. High achievers do. We are often in such a fixed mindset. We believe yesterday's best was my best, and so it's not favorable.
But what I'm talking about in this episode is that our life is going to be full of mistakes and imperfect moments, both as moms, as wives, as sisters, daughters, as a member of society, and in weight loss. It's gonna be full of imperfect moments. I want you to know that it's possible to arm yourself with a strategy to leverage those moments.
Leverage them. And so leverage to me is the opposite of regression. Regression implies you're going back to that weaker old state. Leveraging implies you can gather wisdom from what happened, understand what skills, tools, or process you were missing, that you didn't practice that you needed, and start implementing that moving forward.
This is the number one skill that high achievers need because weight loss isn't perfect. Just like your life is not perfect. So rather than trying to live in a bubble, rather than wishing that life was easier, weight loss was easier, rather than wishing that it was easier, what if we just got way better at handling imperfection?
I hope that you enjoyed today's episode. This is one that I want in the hands of every high achiever who has ever had big thoughts around regressions and weight gain, and has allowed those moments to drive you to ever hide or quit. I promise it is never necessary ever again. It is absolutely possible to hit your ideal weight and to maintain it knowing even if the scale's up a pound, two or five, or 10, it's no problem if you know how to evaluate and leverage the moment.
I hope you enjoyed this one. I'll see you guys next week. Bye. If you want to know how to leverage imperfect moments, I want to invite you to my next free webinar training that is going to be happening on Friday, June 9th at 1:00 PM Eastern. How to Lose Weight with the High Achiever's Brain. I have been sharing on this podcast with my email list and really anywhere that anyone can hear me, that high achievers have unique obstacles because of the way we think, and that means we have to have a unique strategy and solution to reaching our ideal weight.
We have to take our high achiever brain into account. You can register for this free training over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/webinar. High achievers have to know how to engage with imperfect moments and how to really be onto their high achiever tendencies. This is something that no plan is going to give you.
No Monday morning fresh start is going to solve for you. You have to know the typical tendencies that high achievers have and why they're actually delaying your results. High achievers love evaluating results they love, but if you have found yourself hiding and quitting and monkey emoji yourself when you don't love results, this webinar training is going to be for you.
And if you cannot make it live, don't worry. There is going to be a replay sent out to you if you are registered for this training. So don't wait another moment. Make sure you go and register over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/webinar. And when you register for this training, you're going to get an email from me in your email inbox with all of the details, all of the information, the Zoom links, and then I will see you on Friday for this training.
I cannot now wait to see you there, and I hope you guys have an amazing week. Bye. Thanks for listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more resources or information from the show, head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com.