What if Your Pattern of Being Overweight Was The Result Of Your Pattern of Over-Giving?
Suzanne Culberg, Weight Loss Coach
If you’re reading this then you are struggling with your weight.
Maybe you’re even struggling with whether or not it’s something you should care about so much. And wondering if you really need to talk to a weight loss coach?
Give me five minutes of your time and I’ll make the case that the reason we struggle with our health, our emotional well being, and our weight (whether we judge it to be too much weight or not enough) is this: we over-give.
Let me start with some guesses about the basics of where you are…
- You know that losing weight isn’t the key to happiness and that this culture has messed up beauty standards but, for your own reasons you’re also done with being fat and frumpy. You’re done with food having so much power over you.
- You know deep in your bones that the quick fixes don’t work for lasting weight loss.
- You’re fed up with seeing others succeed when you haven’t, despite trying so many times, and you may be wondering ‘what’s wrong with me?’
- You’re done with ordering a salad during the day and shovelling in biscuits at night. You’re sick of flipping backwards and forwards with your eating, it’s so exhausting.
- You’ve reached the point where you’d rather be fat forever than stay on the weight loss roller coaster for the rest of your life.
- You’ve tried every approach to weight loss you’ve heard of (and some you wish you’d never heard of)
- You’d love to get healthy but you just don’t have the time
- For years and years you’ve been saying, “I’m too busy for self care right now. I’ll do it next year for sure” and you’re starting to realise that the right time will never come
- You’re beginning to see that your endless to-do list and packed calendar are about taking care of everyone but you.
- You are sick to death of feeling that you must be broken, waiting for someone to wave a magic wand and fix you
- You know there’s something deeper going on than any quick fix can touch.
- You also know that another salad isn’t going to fill the void that you’re feeling.
If that sounds like you then I’d also guess that…
You just want a solution that doesn’t ask you to…
You don’t want to give up anything else. You’re tired of cutting out carbs, especially potato, because life just isn’t the same without it. You’re done with deprivation and are never entirely giving up your favourites like chocolate, cheese or soft drink.
Count your calories
You’ve tried the traditional calories in / out diets that make you weigh and measure every morsel of food you consume. Ugh. You’re tired of trying to live on lettuce or kale. Because honestly, kale tastes like you’d rather be fat.
The thought of spending hours per day at the gym doing back to back classes or using complicated equipment like a stairmaster or elliptical does nothing for you, and the only way you are ever going to run is if zombies are chasing you.
Spend more money on pills, powders, potions
You’ve bought so many expensive supplements that you forget to take and now they are gathering dust and guilt in the get-healthy graveyard that is the top shelf of your pantry.
You’ve bought a pedometer, fitbit, heart rate monitor or some other fancy gadget that promises to be fun but becomes a mindless compulsion that will slowly ruin your life as you find yourself walking laps of your living room at 10pm to ensure you reach your 10000 step target.
Keep a food diary
You can’t face consulting yet another dietician, nutritionist,or naturopath, who insists you keep a food diary, then makes crosses with their red pen and judgy eyes because the food diary says one piece of chocolate (what would they think if they knew it was really one FAMILY block per day?)
Download another health app
You’re done with watching hot famous people who’ve never had a weight problem tell you what to do! Not to mention the shudder of denial you get whenever you hear the ding notifying you that your workout is overdue.
Read more books on weight loss
You’re suffocating under the weight of a large stash of weight loss books that you shame yourself for having read and never actioned, or bought and never read.
Or ever go to another Fatcamp (ahem sorry Health Retreat) EVER again.
If this all sounds like you then there’s a good chance you’re in the right place.
So, I’d like to offer a different perspective…
What if you gained too much weight for yourself because you gave too much help to others?
Do you put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own and while you say it’s ok, deep down inside you feel a simmering of resentment, that perhaps you don’t admit, even to yourself?
If those two things land as like true then, consider if the following scenario seems familiar:
You start on Monday with the best of intentions that THIS is going to be the time you finally stick with it. And, for a while it is. You stick to the diet to the letter, weighing and measuring all your food, and exercising to burn your 500 calories. You make plans to take care of yourself. You buy a gym membership. You fill your fridge with healthy food. You watch Marie Kondo’s show and resolve to declutter.
But someone always needs your attention. You spend so much of your time putting out fires for everybody else that there is never any energy left for you.
You keep commitments to everyone else:
A task pops up at work that needs your urgent attention.
You’re forever playing mum’s taxi and running around after your kids.
School asks you to sell chocolates for a fundraiser (granted you buy most of them yourself, buuuuut the job gets DONE). .
A family member needs you to pick up groceries and or prescriptions for them, you’re their girl.
A friend needs to vent, you’re their shoulder to cry on.
But at the end of the day, after all this helping, there is no time left for you.
Let me repeat that: There is no. time. left. for. you.
And so, your gym membership goes unused. Your apps are never opened. Your hand weights become door stops. You beat yourself up for spending money on something you’re not using, but it never stops. Your vegetables wilt in the fridge as you buy takeout because it’s cheap and cheerful and saves time and arguments with your kids. Your home is still cluttered because you ran out of steam half way. You rescue everyone, but who will rescue you?
Plus after a full-on day you literally have no reserves left to care for yourself, so you grab the convenience food, stay up late to catch up on alone time, watch Netflix, snack mindlessly, and promise yourself that this is the last time and that tomorrow will be different.
You’re so tired of starting and stopping and then starting over every Monday and telling yourself, “this is going to be it, this is going to be ‘the thing’”. You’re so tired of not sticking to anything. That feeling of failure weighs even more than you do.
This all weighs heavily on your mind.
You overeat because you overgive.
You’ll start again tomorrow. You’ll go to the gym. You’ll cook something nourishing.
But… that tomorrow never, ever comes.
Why not? Because, just like today, there will be no time left for you.
Why not? Because you have a pattern of overgiving to others.
The Guilt & The Anger
When you overeat, for a few blissful moments you feel true pleasure, a blissful surrender, distracting you from all the other tightly controlled parts of your day that drain you and responsibilities that suck you dry.
But then the guilt sets in.
Guilt for feeling angry. You should be happy. You’re so blessed. You have so much to be grateful for. Guilt for overeating again! Why can’t you just get this together? It feels like there’s no way out and you’re frustrated, exhausted, desperate and hopeless.
There may be times when you reach a breaking point. Where you are so frustrated that you start to openly feel angry and hostile towards others.
- ‘Why can’t you pick up your clothes off the floor?’ you snap at your kids.
- ‘Why can’t you pick up your own damn medicine?’ you snap at your Mum.
- ‘It’s always the same thing with you, can’t we talk about me for once?’ you retort to a friend.
These angry outbursts may actually happen or you may just think these resentful thoughts in your head. Either way you find yourself in the pantry eating whatever you can grab.
The slip ups start innocently enough. You tell yourself, ‘I’ll just have one piece’ or ‘skipping one workout won’t hurt’ and before you know it ALL your commitments to self care go out the window, and you are slothing on the couch, eating with abandon while zoning out to netflix.
To use a car analogy: if you were driving and got a flat tyre, you’d pull over and fix it (or call roadside assist). However in weight loss often when you eat one little morsel that’s ‘off plan’ that will be enough to say “well I’ve blown it now, might as well eat the entire block / cake / tub”. It’s like you have to make the most of it now as you’ll start again tomorrow. So you don’t get out and fix the tyre. Instead you deliberately slash the other three tyres.
I’m suggesting that there is a direct connection between our over-giving and our struggles with health and food (resulting, in my experience at least, in having more weight than felt good).
I’m suggesting that the intervention point is not in trying harder, beating ourselves up more and saying ‘yes’ to one more health approach.
I’m suggesting that the road to recovery starts with learning to say “no”.
If you overeat because you overgive then the solution must be to deal with your pattern of overgiving, not the pattern of over-eating. Deal with that and the food issues will largely take care of themselves.
And so, this is my love letter to you: the burned out martyrs, people pleasers, ‘Can’t-Say No’ers, saviours and rescuers who are tired of carrying the weight of the world.
I’d like to offer you a simple, consistent and lasting path to health (and weight loss if that’s what you choose).
If this resonates with you and you're ready for a change, get instant access to my free masterclass "Freedom from Dieting"
Hi, My Name Is Suzanne.
I used to be a yo-yo dieter and now I’m a weight loss coach, focusing on mindset. For the past few years I’ve been helping women struggling with their weight to ditch the weight loss roller coaster and create sustainable habits.
With a focus on adding things in, rather than cutting things out with diets and deprivation. I’ve overcome my own weight struggle, from my first diet at age 4. I’ve been through my own dieting hell roller coaster, losing 43 kilograms at age 22, only to regain it all back, then losing 60 kilograms at age 28, only to regain it all plus interest! All up I’ve lost and gained in excess of 500 kilograms in my dieting history.
I finally quit dieting at age 30 in 2015, released 78 kilograms (yes an entire person) and have maintained it ever since.
We might be a good fit if…
You’re open to the idea that being overweight might have its roots in over-giving. You’re finally ready to begin asking for and accepting help instead of being the one giving it all the time.
You are aware that, sometimes, you eat to numb, shove down or avoid your feelings. You recognise that you draw comfort from eating. You keep eating the ‘wrong’ foods in order to self-soothe, but you haven’t stopped to ask yourself what you have to keep soothing from?
You’ve realised you can’t hate yourself healthy. You can’t try to be healthy by doing all the things you loathe and then live a life you love. So you’ve decided to be brave enough to stop hiding and open up about your experiences of shame so you can disempower your tormenting self-talk and create a space where you truly belong.
You’ve done some personal development work before You are open to meditation, journaling and other mindset work. You’re willing to confront realisations that make you curse and cry, face your own inner BS, and be guided to dig your way out of your emotional prison with a rock hammer – Shawshank Redemption style. You want me to ask you hard questions you may not want to answer, and dig where you can’t on your own.
You’re in it for the long game: If we’re a fit then something in you relaxes when I say that, with consistent action you will see results in 1-3 years not 1-3 months. But this consistent action DOES NOT mean a JFDI or ‘go hard or go home’ approach. Instead it’s about creating baby steps that you will stick to! And it doesn’t have to be boring either, lasting weight release can be fun!
You’re not after a quick fix Let’s face it – while meeting a weight-loss wizard with a magic wand would be absolutely awesome, you know that’s just never going to happen. The only way you are ever going to have the life you want is if you start living it, one mouthful, one movement, one moment at a time. What you’re really looking for is someone who will stick with you and support you while you transform yourself, because I totally believe that you have all the power you need inside you.
You’re really, truly DONE with dieting. My approach isn’t a half-in-half-out kind of thing. You will still be ‘tempted’ when you see the ads for the latest thing (hell I still am at times), but you’ll see sense before handing over your credit card and starting down that path again. You realise that so long as you are riding someone else’s rails, you are always going to fail. It is time to make your journey your own.
You are tech savvy enough to handle Zoom. I am totally on board with helping you troubleshoot your life, your emotions and your habits. Just trust me when I say you don’t want me trying to sort out your technology too.
I’ve Got A Special Place In My Heart For You If You…
Are shy and often feel overwhelmed by groups and in person meet ups. I know what it’s like to be overlooked in a group and so I love to help people like me come out of their shell and feel safe to speak up. Intuitive introverts unite!
Are open to woo and beginning to explore your spiritual side. Magic happens when we dare to ask what else is possible, even when we can’t explain why it works.
Are fascinated by conversations about what’s REALLY happening behind the scenes, and are not easily fooled by the ‘highlight reel’ so many people project. True transformation only happens when we start taking off the stage makeup and the masks
Prefer being comfortable over ‘looking good’ so you love how zoom calls hide that you’re often wearing PJ pants and fuzzy bunny slippers.
Are a big fantasy nerd and love discussing muggles, The Witcher, The Force and GOT. Your imagination is a powerful force for change. It is time to be the hero of your own story and rescue yourself.
Can never have too many books (simply not enough shelves – or space on your Kindle) and you enjoy an eclectic mix of personal development such as Brene Brown or Glennon Doyle, biographies, fiction, sci fi, fantasy and perhaps YA romance (not that you’d admit that last one publicly!)
Are secretly addicted to reality TV such as Survivor and the Bachelor, and not so secretly addicted to emergency dramas like Chicago Fire, 911 and Grey’s Anatomy.
Love crafting projects like card making or scrapbooking (though you may be more addicted to buying supplies than actually making time to DO the projects).
Unfortunately, we won’t enjoy working together if…
You get offended if I drop an f-bomb here and there (I’m Aussie after all!)
You’re not truly honest about the actions you’re taking If you say you “really want to do this” but then you don’t make time for our calls, turn up late, cancel last minute, or don’t do any work between sessions – you won’t get results. I will always hold a judgment free zone, but when you lie to me you’re only fooling yourself. I know life gets in the way, but transformation will always take consistent and persistent action. . You can say you “want to change” a hundred million times but it still won’t happen until you make it so.
You’re not prepared to deal with set-backs. There will be times full of delight and joy, skipping through fields of flowers and marvelling at the view from the mountain top, but there will also be times when you feel like you’re trudging through endless swamps of mud and quicksand. It is all part of the journey. Keeping going even when it is hard is what builds the strength you need to reach your goal. And if you’ve read this far you deserve a reward! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Reward!”
You’re not ready to become self-accountable. At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as passive eating (like there is passive smoking). You put the food in your mouth, and it’s time to stop blaming hubby because he brought home the chocolate, or your kids school for their fundraiser. It is tough, but oh so liberating to recognise that you have control over your own choices.
You need a punching bag. If you want someone to blame because you are not getting results then that’s not me. I know this work is hard – I was super morbidly obese myself for the better part of three decades. But I also know there is a sustainable, effective way out, if you do the work. I will be your support person, your confidante, your cheerleader and when needed I can be tough on you, in an empathetic way! But I will not be your virtual punching bag or validate your excuses.
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Nice things people say
“Zero judgement. Zero BS. Zero sausage. Max support and a staunch ‘I get you’ plus some easy, practical actions. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your work and what you stand for and how you stand for it. Vulnerable. Real. Human. Honest. You’re in my head (if not on my zoom) on the daily and you inspire me more than I can say!”
As I sit here, in a quiet moment, I’m thinking about the last few weeks I’ve spent with Suzanne (figuratively) by my side. I’m thinking about how as each day passes, my mindset is shifting and my confidence is growing. I still eat chocolate, without SHAME (because let’s face it, it’s delicious) – but I don’t eat the whole block absentmindedly and then look for more.
I still get tempted to eat things that I know actually don’t make me feel good physically, nor “fix” me emotionally, but I’m consistently making better choices now. I thought when I first arranged to talk to Suzanne that I just needed ideas and strategies and organization tips, that it wasn’t an emotional/mind thing anymore. I couldn’t have been more wrong. If that was all I needed, I could have gotten it from Google years ago.
Investing in Suzanne’s services was an investment in myself, and one that I feel will change my life for the better. It already is, one step, one strategy, one action at a time.
I FEEL different now – I’m not even sure if I look any different or if the number on the scale is different, but the difference I feel physically and emotionally on the inside is enough for me to say it’s 100% worthwhile, and I’m confident that the exterior will work itself out to be exactly as it’s meant to be. Thank you so much.