108 - Taking Weight Loss A Day At A Time

Whether it’s frustration, anxiety, or overwhelm, we all go through seasons of emotional turmoil where holding that future vision feels impossible. Navigating motherhood has felt extra challenging lately for me, so it’s no surprise that the urge to overeat has ramped up. But I’ve been trying out a tool that has helped me keep my head above water, and I’m offering it to you today.

5 min

Thinking about our long-term goals and what we ultimately want is something we discuss on the podcast all the time. It’s so vital to think about the process of eating one way or doing one thing forever, but trying to imagine ourselves that far into the future can be hard to grasp for anyone, us included. 

Whether it’s frustration, anxiety, or overwhelm, we all go through seasons of emotional turmoil where holding that future vision feels impossible. Navigating motherhood has felt extra challenging lately for me, so it’s no surprise that the urge to overeat has ramped up. But I’ve been trying out a tool that has helped me keep my head above water, and I’m offering it to you today.

Tune in to hear how the “just for today” method is the lifesaver you need in challenging times. It’s the tool that will help you focus on what you can do right now and get you closer to your big picture goals, even when you feel blacked out to solutions in the moment. 

Check out Vibe Club, a weight loss coaching group with the purpose of supporting women that want to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • A new tool I’ve been using to overcome urges.
  • The power of reminding yourself of how you want to feel after a meal.
  • Why focusing on just today can be so valuable for your long-term goals.
  • How to make the process of retraining your responses to urges so much easier.
  • Why feeling overwhelmed and emotionally fraught blacks us out to solutions.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

On this week’s episode of the podcast we talk about a new tool I have been using to overcome urges.

Hi, I’m Maggie. I’ve lost a combined 90 pounds after having my two kids and struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. I teach you how to lose weight a different way, how to fix the thoughts in your head holding you back from finally taking weight loss off your to do list. Losing weight doesn’t need to be a struggle. And it’s my mission to help you love the process all the way down the scale. If you’re ready to lose weight a different way then let’s get it.

Ryan: How’s it going?

Maggie: Going good.

Ryan: It’s cold as shit outside.

Maggie: Yeah, it is.

Ryan: Yeah. It finally got cold here in Utah, it’s been a nice 60 degrees.

Maggie: No snow yet.

Ryan: No snow yet.

Maggie: I hope that means it’s going to be a more mild winter.

Ryan: I like mild winters. I don’t like driving in snow.

Maggie: No, he does not.

Ryan: As a Californian native it makes me very anxious.

Maggie: It does.

Ryan: It’s like driving on a skating rink.

Maggie: And we’ve lived in Utah for how many years now, since 2009?

Ryan: Last winter we had summer tires on our car, and I was like, “Dude, this car won’t stop.”

Maggie: It was bad. It was so bad. I have never, and I have driven – I mean my Scion drove better than our car. I have never had that experience.

Ryan: The car wouldn’t stop.

Maggie: It wouldn’t stop, it was terrifying.

Ryan: So I immediately went to the tire shop and changed the tires, and it was so much better.

Maggie: Yeah, it’s just, it gets so messy when it’s snowing outside and everything’s just sloshy and dirty rain, snow. It’s bad. But anyways, we’re just trucking along and finishing the year strong.

Ryan: Staying strong. Yeah, I really just I’m really focused on coming to January 1st and be like, I didn’t undo anything. I’m doing great.

Maggie: Well, and that’s so good because that wasn’t your experience last year. I think it’s cool for people who are listeners of the podcast that have been through this whole thing this whole year, and what you’ve done and losing that weight that you had gained last year. And just doing something completely different. Just because you’ve done something, just because you have a pattern of maybe YOLO-ing at the end of the year. You don’t have to keep up that pattern. And you’re still having a good life, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Maggie: Are you sad?

Ryan: No. I mean I ate way too much food last Sunday.

Maggie: You did. So friendly reminder, that shit happens. And what we talk about in this podcast will give you an insight to some of the shit I’ve been doing as well but that’s what happens.

Ryan: Well, what I did at the beginning of November was I looked at all the days and I said, “How many days can I go off plan on a day?” And I gave myself three days out of the entire month, which isn’t a lot. That’s not a lot. Well, look at the month and expect yourself to be perfect on plan every day.

Maggie: Yeah, which has never happened for me, just as an FYI, that’s never ever happened in history.

Ryan: I just looked, on November 1st I looked at the month and I was like, “How many days do you want to stay on plan? What’s realistic?” And I just kind of did a percentage calculation and I think it was 85, 90% I wanted to be on plan. So I was okay, three days, and thanksgiving is going to be one of those days when I’m not going to be on plan. Outside of that you have two days to be off plan, and I just spent one of those last Sunday.

Maggie: And you spent it hard, you cashed in.

Ryan: What happened there, what happened?

Maggie: It wasn’t anything crazy, one of the problems…

Ryan: I was fine up until dinner.

Maggie: Yeah, one of the problems was that his dinner literally came out 25 minutes after all the other food. So he was hungry, and he was eating a stew but then he got a chance to finish the Keso and have some chicken wings.

Ryan: Well, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Maggie: And then all of a sudden there’s a big ass steak came out.

Ryan: And it was an expensive steak, I kind of felt obligated to eat the whole thing.

Maggie: It was expensive, yeah. Yeah, and then there was Brussels sprouts and then you had some of the candied pecans. For me, outside looking in you wouldn’t have thought you ate so much. It was steak and Keso. And you didn’t even eat a ton of the – but it was just too much. It doesn’t matter what type of food it is, overeating is overeating. He overate on steak.

Ryan: Those pecans, I was looking forward to those for a week. And I was full before I even started eating them.

Maggie: Yeah, and it was just you had it in your brain that that was what you were going to get.

Ryan: It bummed me out because I was like, “I don’t know man.”

Maggie: And you didn’t even have the space for it.

Ryan: It was just a weird event. And I came home, and I was like – I had to lay down for an hour or two.

Maggie: Yeah, he was acting borderline hangover and needing to recover. But again it was probably the steak that put him over, truly. And I’m telling you guys, the steak was huge. I understand why it took 25 minutes to come out.

Ryan: It was like two of my fists.

Maggie: It looked like a pound steak. It was huge and yeah, it was a pricey steak. So anyways, that kind of stuff does still happen.

Ryan: But I’m still good. Afterwards…

Maggie: There wasn’t a three day delay with getting back to business.

Ryan: No. I was right back to business the next day.

Maggie: Sometimes those things can be really helpful too because probably what you needed the next day was to freaking chill and not overdo it. And to eat however made your body feel good because a lot of the time we beat ourselves about going off plan or overeating. But really those are the best reminders of why we don’t want to eat off plan or overeat. When you make your plan you have in mind how you want to feel and what you want to eat. So when you don’t do that you’re reminded, yeah, I know why I plan.

Ryan: Eating enough just feels so much better. I honestly hate the way I feel when I eat too much food.

Maggie: Isn’t that strange though because it just used to be the norm to eat. This is what I’ve decided was my stance on it. Eat until you can’t eat anymore. And that’s why when you’re always saying, “I could eat more. I could eat so much more.” Because that’s what we used to do. The sign to stop was can you fit any more food in there or not? No, I can’t. Okay, dinner’s done then. If you would have seen the fast food orders of, I’m going to get a sausage biscuit, a sausage McMuffin, a sausage burrito.

The way that we were ordering and the way that we ate it’s just shocking now because I feel exactly the same. I was telling Ryan the other day that along with overeating, which I do, I hate the way that I feel. I don’t want to feel sick after I eat. And it’s crazy to me that that used to be my norm. Along with that I hate grazing all day, also something I used to do. I was never not snacking. And now if I have days like that where I start eating early and I’m eating all day I’m never getting hungry. I’m just eating because I’m bored, or I’m restless, or whatever, so I’m eating.

And it feels terrible because you’re never hungry and you’re never full. You’re just constantly at the same point all day long. I hate how that feels. And I don’t do it very often. So there have been a couple days where it’s happened probably in the last 30 days of I don’t know, the day just gets – we’re filming something or there’s just food early in the morning, and I start eating. And then I start snacking all day. I hate the way that feels because then all of a sudden it’s dinnertime and I’m not hungry for dinner because I’ve been snacking all day.

Ryan: Yeah, you’re just keeping this constant level of like…

Maggie: It’s terrible. Don’t underestimate how good it can feel to wait until you’re actually hungry to eat and then just stop eating before you’re stuffed. You will learn to crave that feeling and to really reject anything else because it doesn’t feel good to eat and then feel like you damaged something or eat and feel like you messed up your day. Most of us have a really juicy story around eating a bunch of food, eating until we’re full, until our belly is warm. And we have a juicy story about that. And in time you can just change the association that you have.

So that the association I now have with overeating is not good, I do not like. And the association that I have with eating enough is really good, really juicy, preferable, that’s what we’re after. So it just shows proof that we’ve both done it to the point where we really do not like the feeling of overeating, when that used to be what we were kind of after at every meal.

Ryan: Anyways, those are intro rants. I think we’re talking about something completely different today.

Maggie: Yeah, I mean kind of something completely different. I just wanted to share a tool that I’ve been using and to just give you guys some realness which is I feel we have been a little bit in a season lately of what I would consider, parent overwhelm. And you would agree. I don’t know. I don’t know if we had a period where it didn’t feel hard or something. Did we have a peaceful period that I just, have I become less equipped, or have things gotten harder lately? What would you say?

Ryan: I mean there has been periods here and there for a week or two where things have been easy.

Maggie: Yeah, it’s weird because things feel different lately. I just feel more stressed out. I feel very overstimulated, just mom wise, just all the yelling. And it’s just hard for me. And a lot of the time what that leads to is eating, snacking, eating off of plan, one ChocZero turns into four ChocZeros and it’s like what happened there? And it really just is this like I can’t deal with this. I can’t be in this right now for the next three hours, I just can’t, I refuse to. It’s that unwillingness to be annoyed or be frustrated.

And when you’re spinning around in that, in those feelings you’re not normally in a solution seeking mode. So I’ve noticed this about myself for a while and realized I needed to make a change so I didn’t lose my mind. And I started thinking about how it’s important to have your long term goal, your long term vision, what you ultimately want. And a lot of the time on this podcast we’re talking about eating this way forever, doing this thing forever. But I was also thinking about how maybe that is a lot for some people to think about, to grasp.

That’s a lot of the reason why people don’t – I’m going to stop drinking soda. And it’s just like whoa, whoa, whoa. Or I’m going to stop drinking alcohol. It feels like so much to be – I don’t know – I’m going to do it forever. That can feel really overwhelming to people. So what I have noticed in myself is the need to micro chunk down. Get us to the most basic of plan so that I can just focus on what’s right in front of me because right now my vision hasn’t really been able to go much into the future. I haven’t been able to be like, “What do I want by the first of the year?”

I feel I’m living a bit from day-to-day right now, just kind of trying to keep my head above water, not lose my patience, make sure everyone’s taken care of. And I’m not always in a season like this but I do feel like it now. So do you agree that it can maybe be overwhelming for people to be like, “Then just stop overeating forever and lose your weight for good, and do this forever?”

Ryan: Yeah. But I think day-to-day can be so valuable to people to think about it in terms like that. Every time you bring this up I think back to the playoffs, the baseball playoffs. And when the Dodgers are down 3-0 or 3-1. It seems like a mountain to climb for them to come back and win four games. But what they always tell you in the interviews is, “One game at a time. We just need to win one game at a time.

Maggie: Yeah. And I think a lot of what we teach, this is the basis of it. You’re doing your 24 hour plan, you’re planning for your day based on what you want. But I want to get even more micro with that and just tell you the thing that I’ve been telling myself every single day as I plan and decide what I’m going to do. And that is that I use the sentence, just for today… Just for today what? What are we going to do just for today? And so I’ve been testing it for you guys before we share it to see how it’s going to work.

And it’s exactly like Ryan said, it’s just this game. And we talked about it on a little bit on a previous episode of Jon Acuff saying you can’t do next week’s workout today. You can’t do anything but what you can do today. And I think that’s kind of what set my brain off on this, that’s like I know what I need to do. I know I need to plan. I need to follow my plan. I know I need to allow urges to be there. I know I need to notice myself getting worked up and I know I need to be with that and allow it to be there without eating. I know I need to not eat if I’m not hungry, despite the urge to do that.

And knowing to stop eating even when the food is really good. So that’s all the basic things that we teach. But the focus of doing that for the next month feels like a lot to me. It feels like I’m asking a lot of myself, even though I probably will do it and even though that’s my intention. I decided that what I wanted to do was chunk it down for just today. Just for today I will. And the main thing I put because it kind of encompasses everything is just for today I will feel instead of eat.

Now, of course I’m going to be eating anyways, but I mean outside of the plan eating, outside of what I planned for myself. I know that I need to feel emotions and urges instead of eat because I’ve started to retrain my habit to be answering the urges with food. I feel like you can do that. Don’t you feel like you ever?

Ryan: 100%.

Maggie: Yeah, we talked about that recently. Once you get in the habit of, if I want some of the Scooby Snacks or if I want to stick my hand in my kid’s, all of a sudden you’re retraining your brain that that’s what we do. When an urge comes up we answer it with the food.

Ryan: You’re just putting fuel on the fire.

Maggie: You are and you’re literally retraining yourself for a different habit set. You’re retraining yourself for the habit of we eat when it looks good.

Ryan: There’s a process of undoing that fire you build. And at first it sucks.

Maggie: Yeah. So that’s what I’ve been in the middle of is just, who cares? I don’t care. I just don’t care. And I decide not to care and then I make choices. And then I do care the next day and I’m just wishing I had just allowed myself to just be freaking annoyed and know there are stages in my life where I have to chunk down the day. And I have to say, “Okay, she’s up really early.” And then we start work in an hour and a half. Just those kind of ways that help me.

They help me with the bigger picture because I’m looking at the smallest part of the picture that I can just for today, just for now, just for the next hour, just until 2:00pm, just until bedtime, just until tomorrow. Just for today has been so helpful.

Ryan: Has it removed the overwhelm?

Maggie: Yeah, I think it removes the overwhelm and just says we don’t have to worry about eating on plan for the week, or the month, or the rest of the year. I think we can get ourselves overwhelmed by saying, “I’m going to lose the weight for good. I’m going to eat on plan till the end of the year. I’m going to not do this till thanksgiving. I’m going to, whatever.” It just gives me the chance to be like, “For today.” And I know, I’m pretty sure they teach that in Alcoholics Anonymous too.

Everything that you want to do and create for yourself is one day at a time. There’s no way to change that. And you want to break that down even more to one hour at a time, break that down, it’s one second at a time. And sometimes that’s how I feel I’m running this motherhood shit is for the next 15 minutes can we. And I just think it applies so much to weight loss where it’s like I was able to put it into practice last night. And this is where I really feel you can untrain yourself to respond to urges, you totally can. You can make that process so easier.

But you can also start taking steps back in the opposite direction and slowly training yourself to if I want it, I’m going to have it. If I want it, I’m going to have it. If I want it I’m going to have it day, after day, after day. To where all of a sudden you’re like, “Damn, we have gone.” I don’t want that to disappoint anybody. I just find it’s true. And it’s true for me especially when I feel I’m in challenging times.

Ryan: When people describe themselves as being stuck or in a funk, that’s what they’re describing.

Maggie: Yeah, they’re like, “I feel like I’m moving backwards, I’m doing the things that I thought I had stopped doing.”

Ryan: The more you fuel those urges the harder it is to un-fuel them.

Maggie: Yeah, only because you’ve now practiced answering them.

Ryan: And your brain is constantly like, “Give it up.” Yeah, I’m so used to it, I’m so used to it.

Maggie: Yeah, it’s urgent, that’s what we do, that’s what we’ve trained ourselves. And I’ve found that even just over a matter of weeks of just being like, “I don’t care. I don’t want to deal with this.” And I hear that a lot from my clients too. But you have the power to take your power back and that’s why I feel if you are telling yourself you’re in a funk and you just feel I’m doing all this shit that I don’t want to be doing. Can you use the just for today method where you say, “Just for today can I, or just for today I will?”

So you can ask yourself if you’re just trying to open up the door for a conversation or you can just commit to just for today I’m not going to eat if I’m not hungry. And that comes up for me a lot when I’m really stressed out. I just want to eat. I want to eat, I’m not hungry, there’s no physical hunger there, I don’t care, and I want to eat. Just for today I’m going to pay attention to my hunger signals. I’m not going to eat past that. And most importantly, I’m going to feel instead of eat. When things get stressful I’m going to observe what’s happening and allow it to be there.

And I did it. I did it specifically yesterday multiple times. And it’s already been working but I haven’t had crazy urges, but yesterday I did at multiple times. You were picking up Holden and I had some food that I had planned, and I ate it, and my brain just said, “Keep eating. Keep eating. Keep eating. Keep eating.” Ryan’s not even here, you could just eat what – weird stuff like that will creep back in that’s just normally maybe I’d be picking him up. The baby is starting to get a little fussy. I’m starting to feel panicked, and my brain is just saying, “Food is going to help with this.”

And I was able to just allow myself to be there and then the baby started getting ramped up. And she started yelling and she started getting upset. And I started ramping up and I started feeling upset inside of me. And I just noticed it. And I noticed myself starting to freak out. And I literally paid attention to my body. I could feel myself starting to feel I wanted to yell, or I wanted to react, or I wanted to be frustrated. And I just took a deep breath. Food is not going to solve this problem.

What’s going to solve this problem is me explaining to myself why there’s no problem here. There’s no problem that she’s yelling. Because when I go into that mode where I’m getting really emotional and overly emotional, I black out to solutions. You know when you and I have just been so frustrated with the kids or whatever? And we don’t think to take them out. We don’t think to put some shoes on and hop in the car, or to you to watch them now and then I’ll watch them later.

Most of the time you black out and that’s when you’re resisting your feelings that’s when you get stuck in them. When you’re resisting the fact that you’re just like, I’m pissed off and there’s nothing that can be done here. That’s when you get stuck. A lot of people think they’re going to get stuck if they lean into their feelings and they’re going to get stuck if they say, “Okay, I’m starting to get really ramped up and overwhelmed here. I’m going to see what this is about and breathe into it and open up to it.” They think they’re going to get stuck doing that.

You don’t get stuck doing that. You get stuck when you’re like, this shouldn’t be happening, she shouldn’t be screaming, I shouldn’t be upset. I shouldn’t be alone here. It’s fighting that reality that keeps us stuck in the uncomfortable emotions. And so I noticed it and I was just like, “Ooh.” It did not feel good, you guys. It doesn’t feel good to lean into those emotions and be like, okay, I see myself getting upset here.

But I was able to talk to myself and just be like, “I have the power. I’m an adult. I’m able to emotionally regulate. I have the power to bring this down and find a solution for the baby because that’s what we’re dealing with here. Me eating more isn’t going to solve the baby being upset. And so many of us are eating because the baby is upset and then we’re upset.

Ryan: Or insert any emotion.

Maggie: Insert any emotion you don’t want to feel and that you normally eat over. And then the same thing happened at night. I finished my day, I had one of those sparkling ice drinks, it was a fruit punch, it’s delicious. But I was done eating. And my brain was just like, food, food, food. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. And it was the same kind of thing. And I think this was just kind of I was tired, and I needed to sleep. And my brain was just offering food.

And what I realized in the moment which was lucky was that I was keeping the loop open. And I talk to my clients about this a lot. Urges are the most painful when you don’t close the loop. The way that you close the loop is one of two ways. You either eat the food or you decide, I’m not going to eat the food. The very uncomfortable part of an urge is that in between where you’re like, I am, I’m not, I am, I’m not. No, I’m not. Yes, I am. No, I’m not. Yes, I am. And some of us will do that to ourselves for hours.

But what I want to offer there is if you’re still going back and forth you have not made your choice, you have not closed that loop. It’s an open loop of are we or aren’t we? I realized that was happening. And I swear to you, when I decided I’m not going to do that, bedtime is in 20 minutes. I’m not going to eat a thing, go right to sleep, this makes no sense, immediately the urge lifted. Immediately the urgency was gone, the feeling was gone, and my brain was at peace because I decided, I chose to close the loop.

Ryan: It’s crazy. That’s the worst place to be in.

Maggie: It’s the worst place to be in. And it’s not comfortable to navigate it and to be fully with it especially if you’re out of practice with it. I have times in life where I feel really practiced with leaning into my feelings and identifying what I’m feeling, and where I’m feeling it. And really breathing into it and being with it, just being like, “This is not going to hurt me. It’s not going to hurt me to feel bored or restless.” Like the urges, of answering the urges when you’re out of the process of allowing your urges, or allowing your feelings to be there, it’s uncomfortable once you step back into that.

And I don’t feel I’ve been doing a ton of emotional processing lately and now would be a great time to do that. So leaning into it, I was able to really calm my mind and be like, “We’re not going to get hurt here. There’s no problem with the baby being upset. There’s no problem with your brain wanting a snack after you’re done eating for the day.” I use the tools that I teach and that we teach on this podcast of I’m not physically hungry right now. My brain is trying to solve an emotion with food.

And what did the trick for this was in the morning I decided that just for today I was going to feel instead of eat. So when I got the chance to show up in that moment and do what I said I was going to do, I was able to remind myself that just for today, just for today can you overcome these two urges? Yeah, of course, just for today. Can you commit to overcoming urges every time they happen for the rest of your life? No, that feels a lot, that feels like a big commitment. But just for today, just two times, just two separate urges, I can do that.

And that was what really held me up as my brain was just like, “No, don’t want to feel this. I do not want to turn toward this. I want to turn away from this and I want to eat.” But I know in those moments where I get honest that it’s never helped, never one time.

Ryan: What’s helpful about only looking in 24 hours is because if you tell yourself, I have to overcome these urges for the rest of my life, it feels so overwhelming and such a big mountain. The reason you want to look in 24 hours is because the urges actually get much, much, much easier to overcome over time. So if you’re looking at it as this insane urge that is going to be happening for the rest of my life, that’s just not accurate. They get a lot easier, the more you practice overcoming them.

Maggie: They do, and their intensity is going to feel the strongest when you first start doing the work of allowing it to be there. That’s when it’s going to feel the hardest. And I know that if I can keep doing this and refusing to eat when I’m just stressed out between 3:00 to 7:00pm or whatever, it’s going to get easier. And eventually they go away because you’ve trained your brain, yeah, it’s 3:00 to 7:00 and we don’t just eat. We eat dinner, we eat the food that we planned but we don’t eat beyond that because I then got into a new habit of practicing something new.

So now that’s the part that I’m in. Now daily we practice, we planned food, we planned enough food, we’re going to eat enough food and that’s what we’re going to eat today. And so it’s just getting back in that habit of not turning away and realizing that you can do anything just for today.

And if you need to, if you need to start even smaller than that, it’s just for lunch, just for lunch I’m not going to overeat. I’m not going to focus on any other overeating or off plan eating. I’m going to just commit to just for lunch, I’m not going to overeat just for today, and then just for tomorrow, and then just for the next day. And then you can slowly build on that. But we want to do as much as possible to lessen the overwhelm.

Ryan: Yeah, try it out. If you’re overwhelmed with your long term goals try looking at just the next 24 hours.

Maggie: Yeah, versus I’m going to follow my plan. Just for today I’m going to eat the food and I’m going to allow my emotions instead of eating. That’s it.

Ryan: Just for today.

Maggie: Doesn’t that seem more simple?

Ryan: Yeah.

Maggie: Alright, see you guys next week.

Ryan: See you.

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