There are moments when we feel the fear of doing something, but we do it anyway. This is called “interrupting the model” and this is the topic that Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen take a deep dive on with Inspired Forward life coach, Colleen Mitchell. A lot of us are cowering in fear right now and understandably so. This fear causes us to shrink back and go on survival mode instead of thriving. How do we move past this base instinct and have the courage to experience the fear but not let it get in the way of achieving what we want? This is where interrupting the model enters the scene and it applies to everything from business to health and fitness goals. Listen in to this conversation for some amazing insights on this as well as on food decisions and weight loss.
Listen to the podcast here:
Interrupting The Model And Doing It Scared With Colleen Mitchell
Our guest is somebody that I met during a podcast networking group. It was a sweet connection that we built because we kept being drawn to the same little breakout groups that we were doing. It was a neat experience. It’s part of this collaborative that I’ve joined to find more guests and to explore other podcasts to be on their shows. I did this virtual networking. I was sitting in my car during this session that we did. It was a unique experience in which you virtually went to these tables and connected with like-minded people.
There might’ve been three breakouts and I know at least two of them, Colleen, our guest, was in them. She followed up with me afterward and said, “I’m that girl that you kept bumping into virtually at these tables.” It’s sweet when you have those experiences with someone. That one in particular I thought was interesting because it felt to me almost like the same experience of being at an actual in-person conference. Did you get that feeling at all, Colleen?
A little bit. It’s a different experience on that platform, air meet, but it was nice to have this small group and then keep bumping into you.
It’s a nice way to bond when you’re naturally attracted to somebody when you’re not even intending to be. It reminds me of a story I haven’t thought about in a while. When I was in my first week of college, that happened to me with a guy who ended up becoming a friend of mine. We even played around with maybe dating, but it never worked out. We ended up being friends and he’s been an acquaintance ever since. Even my first day of college, that happened to us and we would always laugh like little kids every time we ran into each other. Having this conversation with you, Colleen, makes me want to go reconnect and check in on him because it’s been many years.
It’s amazing how those little moments of natural connection can lead to you being a podcast guest or someone becoming a friend or even dating someone. I love that magical connection. It also reminds me of how Jason met his girlfriend. It wasn’t quite the exact thing because Jason didn’t keep bumping into Laura, but you had what they would call in a romantic movie a meet-cute where you weren’t intending on meeting that day. Suddenly, you’re in this full-blown relationship.
It goes to show you there’s a certain amount of serendipity, magic and unexpected surprises that life can bestow upon us. During this time, it seems almost like for me, I’ve been picking up on this energy of, “It’s time to survive. It’s not time to dream anymore.” It’s like magic, serendipity, manifestation, and all that stuff, but it seems to me that there’s this interesting energy. I know this is maybe an offshoot of this, but it seems strange to dream now. I want to throw this to you, Colleen, in my research of looking at your wonderful perspectives in your coaching work and everything you’re doing with Inspired Forward.
I landed on an article that clobbered me that you wrote on Medium and I’ve seen some great articles you’ve written there, but the article that knocked me was How to Achieve an Impossible Goal. As I was reading through this article, I realized that I’m playing it safe now in a lot of ways. I’ve stopped reaching for certain dreams and certain goals because I feel like the best thing to do now is “survive.” Maybe through the pandemic and everything that’s happening globally, I feel like I’ve shrunk in my energy a little bit to stay safe. I’m curious if you’re seeing that with the people you’re working with or you’re seeing people that are hesitant to go after big dreams now because maybe it feels irresponsible. This is a huge question. I wanted to throw it to you and see what your perspectives on like, “How do we strive for things when things seem dire sometimes in life?”
That is a big question. The concept of an impossible goal is something I got from Brooke Castillo. She’s one of my coaches. She runs The Life Coach School and a lot of people don’t want to go big now. They’re curling up, hiding at home because the future is uncertain. The election is uncertain. COVID is uncertain, but a lot of people forget that everything in the future is uncertain. We don’t know if we’re going to wake up tomorrow. We live like we’re going to. When people shove their goals away because they want to survive instead of thrive, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. I’ve been seeing this a lot with people who want to coach and to change their lives. They feel scared because it’s uncertain, but it’s always going to be uncertain.
We talk about collective addiction to certainty. We’ve been mentioning that phrase on several episodes. I love it because, in many ways, it is almost an addiction to this desire for safety and security if we have some sort of predictability or control over the future. What do you tell people? This is a conversation for all three of us. I’m opening it up also to Whitney’s perspective. Where do we gain the confidence to take another step if we’ve been conditioned our entire lives to try and control things and predict things? Maybe we can’t control and predict things as much, how do we relandscape ourselves mentally to move forward in life if that framework doesn’t exist anymore?
It has to do a lot with doing it scared. We feel the fear but do it anyway.
I can relate to having something that you want to express and wanting to get the words right. In a way, doing it scared is fumbling through how you phrase something even if it doesn’t make any sense. This happens to me all the time. I’ve learned to embrace that because for me, what comes up is for so long in my life I was trying to do things right. This has been a huge theme. I haven’t even talked to you about this as much, Jason, but I made a few YouTube videos for the first time in a while. Colleen or any of the readers that didn’t know this about me, I’ve made over 1,000 easily YouTube videos across all my different channels, but maybe it’s now closer to 2,000. I don’t keep track of the numbers, but it’s been a lot.
I haven’t been doing as much in the last few years. That gives some context in the first 5 to 7 years that I was on YouTube. I made all those videos that I’m referencing. I found myself getting scared and I struggled doing it scared. That’s why I’m curious about what you’re going to say in this context, as well as Jason, and a general context. I struggled with doing things scared because I was dependent on external opinion, external validation, external feedback and it mattered so much to me. It still does. It’s not like I’ve fully released that grasp.
It’s played such a huge role in my life that I had trouble doing anything unless I felt like I was going to get the approval of somebody else. I was looking for permission to do whatever or express myself in a certain way. I was terrified and still feel a ton of fear expressing myself online. Even after doing content for over years, I hesitate a lot. I also will post things and experience a vulnerability hangover. It happened to me. I posted something on Instagram as well as a few videos from the past day and I had this intense fear in my body of like, “I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe I posted that. This feels scary.”
I was doing it scared, but it was hard. It also helped me realize why I haven’t posted as frequently because that fear was incredibly intense. That fear of being seen as imperfect, even though I don’t have control over perfection, even though I don’t know if any person has ever perceived me as being perfect. My version of perfection got in the way of me showing up. I’m curious how you relate to that. How do you do things when you’re scared? Do you experience this type of vulnerability fear calling?
I did and I do. I want to touch on something you said. You were scared and you did it anyway, but then you experienced the vulnerability hangover because you’re looking for permission and validation from other people. I want to trace that back because one of the coaching things that I’ve learned is that all of our actions come from our feelings and all those feelings come from thoughts. When you feel fear, but you do it anyway, that’s called interrupting the model. When you feel fear, you normally will shut yourself away. You’ll hide. You’ll not post. You’ll not make videos, but when we interrupt that model and you feel the fear, you realize where it could go, but then you stop yourself from going there and you go somewhere else.
How I deal with this is I acknowledge the fact that, “Yes, I’m scared.” I acknowledge that this is probably going to hurt in some way, but then you do it anyway and you still feel it. It’s the willingness to feel any feeling. It’s the willingness to push past that personal level of disgust. That’s how I like talking about my weight loss journey in particular is I reached this personal level of disgust where I could not deal with it anymore. At my highest weight, I was 225 pounds and I’m 5’8 for perspective. I had never been that heavy before. I have type I diabetes. I was also experiencing wild high blood sugars and bad low blood sugars. This one day in January of 2016, I had my worst day ever with my blood sugars.
I have three different rollercoasters where I was up to 400 and then down to 40. Those are extreme levels. A normal non-diabetic blood sugar is 83 mg/dl, which means milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood. I was ranging from 40 to 400 at three different times. The last crash took 300 grams of carbohydrate to pull me out because my liver dumps glycogen to bring up low blood sugars when you don’t have diabetes, it was empty. Three hundred grams of carbs pulled me out and that was my personal level of disgust with my blood sugars and with my weight. The next day, I went low-carb, which is crazy for type I diabetics, at least back when I was researching it. The next day, my blood sugars were perfect.
A lot of the times, when I’m going into difficult things or scary things, this is another personal level of disgust. If I don’t change it now, then I’m not going to change it in the future. I have to think about, what thoughts do I want to think about? What I’m going to do? How do I want to feel? What actions am I going to take? If the thought isn’t useful, then I need to find a new one. That’s what helped with at least the weight loss.
How did you handle this concept of a setback or an obstacle or perhaps you’re trying to build consistency with certain habits? It’s a big thing that we talk about here on the show and a lot of the work that we do, Colleen, is this concept of building frameworks of consistency and sustainable habits, things that work for us. On your journey after you hit this low point, what did you do when I suppose the inevitable challenges or setbacks or certain days you didn’t maybe feel like eating differently or adjusting things? Was it smooth sailing for the entire time? I don’t want to assume you had any setbacks or challenges. How do you get around those in life when they come up for you?
I love the graph for weight loss. You think it’s going to be a straight line down, but then you down and then you go up and then you go down and then you go up again. I experienced a lot of that and I’m still experiencing that. I dropped fast on my weight in the first several months. I then plateaued and went back up again for several months. The first plateau and regain of weight was thanks to my father-in-law because he has fantastic cooking and we were living with my in-laws at the time. As soon as we got our own place and started cooking our own food again, it was back to that point where I had to change something because my weight was creeping back up and I didn’t want it to. It was another personal level of disgust where I reached this point where I couldn’t do it anymore.If the thought isn't useful, then I need to find a new one. Click To Tweet
For the next few times it was going up and down. The more I step on the scale, the more I look at my weight and realize that day-to-day fluctuations don’t mean that much. What I care about is the month-to-month or week-to-week trends. If a trend overall is going down, then I can see that and feel encouraged because I think it’s working. The latest plateau, I stayed right around 170, 175 and I reached another point where I’m like, “I’m tired of feeling like I’m never going to lose this weight.” I ended up researching and doing an elimination diet. I cut out everything that human beings love. For three straight weeks, I had a salad with chicken and avocado and balsamic vinegar and olive oil. it’s three weeks of bland salad and my weight started going down again.
During that time, I was also following one of Brooke Castillo’s weight loss plans, which is you write down exactly what you’re going to eat 24 hours in advance and then you eat only exactly that. It’s about building integrity with yourself to follow through. It’s not always staying on the bandwagon. You’re going to fall off at some point. When you miss a day, you’re not breaking a habit. Have you guys heard of the Jerry Seinfeld thing where you cross off a day and don’t break the chain? You can break the chain, just don’t do it 2 to 3 times in a row. If you miss a day, you get right back on. It’s not going to mess you up. It’s not going to break your habit. It’s going to strengthen it because once you get back into it, you’re more likely to keep going.
This is super helpful and ties into a course that we have called The Consistency Code. We found that a lot of people aren’t struggling with collecting information about what to do. Most people know either intuitively or logically based on what they’re seeing other people do and books they’ve read. We have so much information, but the bigger challenge that people have is being consistent with it. We’re huge proponents for accountability and having somebody to help you follow through or developing a system. That’s helpful what you’re saying calling because there is this mentality that if you break the chain, then you have to start all over again or that you want to beat yourself up because you missed a day or you screwed up. I’m also a big advocate for doing something versus nothing.
A perfect example is I have been decompressing from a huge trip. I went on a road trip and visited my family for a few months and coming back to Los Angeles was this readjustment period. One of the things I’ve been struggling to adjust to is my fitness schedule. I was on top of it. When I was visiting my family, I had no trouble doing it there, but for some reason, the week following my return to Los Angeles, I have zero motivation to work out and do my yoga classes. I’ve been skipping them. I’ve been allowing myself to sleep in at morning classes.
I’ve felt this guilt creeping up in me. I decided that I was going to tune into the live Zoom class, but not put any pressure on myself to do any of the moves. Part of me was like, “You should do the class. You’re overthinking it.” It felt much better to turn the class on and not do anything than the previous days where I didn’t even turn it on at all. I was making a little bit of progress. I was queuing myself to get back in. I was pushing myself to do something. I was reflecting on how much of a difference it makes when we do something tiny versus nothing at all.
It’s about building that integrity with yourself. One of the things that you can do especially for getting back into exercise is telling yourself, “I’m going to put my shoes on.” That’s all you do is that you put your shoes on. The next day, maybe you put your shoes on and you go outside. The day after that, you walk for a minute. You’re slowly building up that habit and that consistency with yourself. You’re building that integrity that you’re going to do the things you said you’re going to do. I liked what you said that it’s better to do something than to do nothing. Something that I see people do with writing down their food plan a day in advance is writing down all of the things they’re going to eat even if it’s not healthy.
If you want to have a hamburger and fries and then a steak and a salad, you’re going to put all of that on there and then you eat that. You’re following through with your plan. You’re building that consistency with your plan. As you get better at that, you can start taking out the unhealthy things like little bits at a time and start adding the healthy things back in. Maybe you can start planning the times you’ll eat. If you want to build an intermittent fast and you can do that instead of eating all day or 3 meals a day or 6 meals a day or whatever.
Another thing that I wanted to mention is to plan on feeling like you’re not going to want to do it. This happens to me a lot especially when I’m trying to follow through on my calendar. That’s one of the big things I’m working on is putting something on my calendar. When I get there doing it, even if I don’t feel like doing it, that has been a struggle of mine for probably years. I’m starting to get better at that. The more progress I make with that, the better I feel about it, the more motivated I feel. That’s building that consistency to keep going.
What is the gray area between overly ambitious goal-setting or aims that we have versus things that are attainable, like almost quick wins that build momentum? Sometimes, I feel like I get stuck in a mentality where I’m in some chasm between big and crazy goals. We started off talking about impossible goals and dreams, but then chunking it down into like, “We know that that big, crazy, scary dreams over there, but how do we break this down into manageable chunks that are maybe momentum-builders?”
I feel like I get stuck in the in-between sometimes where I’m like, “Am I making this too easy on myself?” Maybe that’s my addiction to feeling like everything has to be stressful in a lot of work to make it worth it. That’s my own belief system, but between the impossible, crazy goal and the daily habits, how do we maintain the momentum and the will to keep going? I feel like sometimes we start walking up the side of that mountain and there’s an inevitable moment or moments where we’re like, “I don’t know if I can do this.”
The good news is that if you are thinking you can’t do this, your brain is working perfectly fine. Nothing is wrong. Our brains are wired to keep us safe. When we want to pursue these big, impossible goals, our brain is immediately like, “We can’t do this. Hold on, stop, turn around.” It’ll then bring up all these thoughts about why you can’t do it, why it’s too hard and why you should do it later.
This gray area between these lofty impossible goals and these daily incremental habits that sometimes we start to walk up the side of that proverbial mountain. We start getting higher up the mountain and there’s a point or maybe even several points I’ve experienced where it’s like, “I don’t know if I can do this,” because the chasm between the ultimate aim or the ultimate goal and then those daily habits feels far apart.
When you get to the point where it feels too big, that’s the point where you need to break it down into the next step. If the next step is maybe let’s go with weight loss, put on your shoes to go outside. You then write that down on your to-do list and you schedule that in your calendar. With impossible goals, it’s about listing out exactly what you’re going to do and planning to fail at it and putting it in your calendar, planning to do it. When you get to that point, just do it. It seems counterintuitive that you just do it, but when you break it down enough, you put it on your calendar, you see it there and you follow through. It’s that simple.
What it’s interesting as I was looking over an eBook that we wrote for the pandemic period of time and it’s called From Chaos to Calm. One of the points in that book is to just do it. I remember reflecting on it thinking, “Is this too harsh of a phrase to use during this time when sometimes it feels hard to do something?” What is your perspective on that? I alternate between wanting to push people because I feel like if we can get beyond some of our self-limits, our limiting beliefs, our resistance, that’s where the progress happens. This whole show is about getting outside your comfort zone. That’s such a big belief system of ours.
Also, as all three of us have struggled with things like anxiety and depression as well. I’ve struggled with my body image a lot over time. I also needed to add in some gentleness to my self-talk as well as how I coach other people because sometimes, I feel like if we say, “Just do it,” it’s might be interpreted as like, “I don’t care if you’re struggling. You need to do it anyways.” Sometimes that’s appropriate, but that might be harsh that someone begins to beat themselves up. Do you feel like there is a time and a place for that phrase calling?
You do have to be careful about when you use it, but you do have to remember that people like to make things complicated. We love to overcomplicate everything. That’s why we overthink things. Sometimes the simplest thing to do is ask somebody, “Why aren’t you doing that?” They’ll then give you all of their reasons and you can dig into the thoughts that are behind those and why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling, which is always a thought.
You can point out to them that your thinking is causing your feelings on this. If you’re thinking that it’s going to be hard and that you can’t do it, then you’re going to feel terrible and you’re not going to do it. Those are people who maybe a little bit more sensitive to the “just do it” phrase. It’s not meant to be accusatory. It’s meant to be something that tells them that it is simple. You don’t need to overthink things, even though we love doing it. I have to remind myself not to overthink things all the time. That’s great.
I want to touch on something that was a little nugget that has been a little bug in my brain since the beginning of this episode. You mentioned diabetes, Colleen, and also you said something about a low-carb diet. I’m assuming you’re talking about keto. We’re massive nutrition geeks here on the show. Whitney has an amazing book about vegan keto recipe book and she’s been researching it for a while. I’m curious when you were referencing one of your methodologies for working with your diabetes, are we talking about keto? Are you in the keto thing? How’s that going? I want to get into the nutrition geek category a little bit more here for all of us.
When I started, I did start at straight keto, 20 net carbs below. As I kept going through it, I realized that my body needs a little bit more. I stay below 50 net carbs. My only straight sugar is rolls of Smarties if my blood sugar is not behaving well. It’s not that big of a deal with it. I don’t do straight 20 net carb keto. I do more, less than 50 total.
That’s what I did too and I cannot imagine doing 20 net carbs in total. Maybe that’s because, on the vegan keto diet, it might be a little trickier given that you are not eating meat and dairy, which seemed to be staples of the general keto diet. Even when I felt strict, I probably averaged around 50 net carbs. Now that I’m not doing keto, that seems restrictive. It felt like something I enjoyed doing. I hesitate to even use the word restrictive because I got lenient during COVID, even though my book came out in 2020. It came out right before the pandemic. I found that speaking of being gentle with yourself since keto wasn’t a necessity for me, it was more of a preference that I let it go during this time.Whenever you’re afraid of doing something, acknowledge the fact that you are scared, but do it anyway. Click To Tweet
My brain keeps going back to wanting to start to track a little bit more and be more mindful because it felt good. I have struggled with body image challenges, disordered eating and have experimented with a lot of different ways of eating. I felt keto was empowering for me. Not because it was restrictive, but because it gave me some guidelines. I felt good doing it. I felt physically energized. I felt more vibrant. I felt content versus now, to be honest.
When I started eating more carbohydrates, I don’t feel that great. I don’t feel as vibrant. I don’t feel as energized. I feel completely off in some ways, but emotionally, it’s felt easier and gentle or for me to not track what I’m eating all the time. It’s fascinating how we fluctuate through what feels good for us if we have that choice. In your case, Colleen, I’m sure being diabetic, sometimes you might not feel like you have a choice. Would that be an accurate way? Because of your body’s needs, you have to be stricter.
It’s yes and no. You have to understand that when I started keto before then, I didn’t think that I could ever not have carbs. I went through college with a terrible diet. I would have tortillas made from flour and butter and that would be my meal. I had no idea what I was doing to my blood sugar. I sometimes wish, although it is mean, that everybody should be able to know what high blood sugar feels like because that’s what you’re doing to your body. Whenever you eat high amounts of carbs, even if your pancreas will cover it.
For me, in particular, I don’t feel like I’m restricted from anything because it’s a personal choice. I have a built-in way to see what affects my blood sugar and how. I wear a continuous glucose monitor. It shows my blood sugars every five minutes on my insulin pump. If I have a little piece of chocolate, I can instantly see that feedback on my CGM. When I can see what different foods do to my blood sugar, it’s less of a, “I can’t have this,” and more of a, “I choose not to because I know what it will do to me.”
When I went through that elimination diet, I found out that strawberries stall my weight loss, which is the weirdest thing ever. They’re super low on the GI so it doesn’t make any sense that they would do this, but because I had both that feedback from my pump and from the scale, I was able to cut it out without any drama. My coworkers at my full-time job when I was going into the office, I was known as the person who makes bacon every day in the microwave and didn’t share. Since that elimination diet, I found that I can’t stomach bacon anymore. It does taste wrong in my mouth. When I go into food decisions, it’s not about what I can’t have and more what I choose to have.
I love that mentality especially coming from a struggle with disordered eating. Even the word restricted and getting too strict about anything can trigger some of these old negative thought patterns. Whenever I focused more on the long-term benefits of certain food and when I feel like I’m thriving, what I feel like I’m truly craving and looking at it for all of the positives versus looking at food in a negative perspective, I felt mentally better about that. I think that there’s so much food fear and food shame that goes on. Many of us grow up being confused and terrified of what to put in our bodies. Some people want to rebel against those feelings so they eat whatever they want. They’re not even listening to their body’s signals, which I think in your case, calling it’s literal.
You’re able to see exactly what happens, which to me feels like a gift because I have developed a lot of food sensitivities over my life. Even though they’re frustrating, I sneeze, my skin will itch, or my stomach gets upset, I’ve started to look at those as my body telling me what feels good versus what doesn’t. It’s helped me navigate. For example, when I did an elimination diet back in 2010, I did an anti-candida cleanse because I suspected maybe I was struggling with that. I was curious about how I would feel if I eliminated certain foods. That’s how I discovered that I was sensitive to almonds.
I had no idea before that because my body was saying all of these things, but I was putting weird food combinations into my body that I couldn’t even decipher what made me feel good versus what made me feel bad. To your point, like strawberries, most people think strawberries are great but they’re not great for everybody like almonds. Almonds, in general, are a wonderful food. It’s sad to me that I can’t tolerate them. The only way I could get clear was to eliminate it from my diet and notice how much my body was trying to tell me that those didn’t feel right.
What’s funny is that when I went into the elimination diet, I was worried that I would be sensitive to nut flours. I turned out to be super sensitive to the processed meats, the bacon, and then the strawberry. I went in prepared to have that drama about the nut flours, I was not expecting the bacon, but there wasn’t any drama because I’d already prepared for it in a different way. When I told people on Facebook, they’re like, “I’m sorry. You can try the Costco version. It’s not processed.” I’m like, “I don’t want to because I don’t want to taste that off feeling again because I know how it feels now especially when it’s not masked.”
This is such an important part of the healing process. I am in the middle of healing from surgery. I was in an accident and I’ve noticed that my desire for sugar has tanked. I’m not sad about it. I have some chocolate, for instance. I have a little stash here at the house, in the cupboard, in the kitchen of 1 or 2 chocolate bars or maybe a little package of cookies or something. I’ve noticed that during the recovery period intuitively, my body does not want anything sugary. It doesn’t want chocolate. It doesn’t want ice cream. In fact thinking, about it, which is I suppose, when I’m not in a healing mode or my body isn’t physically repairing itself, I’m the first guy in the aisle buying bars and taking them home.
It is interesting how at different points in our life, depending on what our goal is, our intention is our body’s wisdom and listening to that I’m grateful because I know that if I were to eat sugar, it’s going to inflame my body. Sugar is inflammatory. During the healing process, my body is like, “We don’t need any extra inflammation now. We’re good.” For me, my thing is I have no craving for sugar and it’s fascinating to observe it.
I used to be unable to pass a doughnut box in the kitchen without picking one up. If you told college me that I would be able to walk past my work break room without even looking at the box of top pot donuts, then she would have laughed at you. It’s funny what we learn from all of this experience.
For me, the temptation doesn’t go away, but I know or have an expectation of how it’s going to affect me. The conversation then becomes, “Do I trade the momentary temporary pleasure of taste I’m going to receive for what I think it may do to my body afterward?” My conversation is, “I know I could go for the chocolate, but I have a feeling that if I were to, my body would be like, ‘We were trying to tell you not to do that and you didn’t listen.’”
That’s why I love having my CGM because I will instantly see that spike in my blood sugar if I have a donut. I can smell the sugar in things and it will put me off. It’s amazing.
I feel amazed by that as well. It’s interesting whenever you do cleanse, break or detox. It gives you an opportunity to tune into your body and become clear about what you want versus what you don’t want and your senses get heightened. You start to recognize the difference between a need versus want and what feels fulfilling versus not. For example, when I did the keto diet strictly, I realized I don’t want fruit. I’ve never been that into fruit that I can recall, but I was conditioned into thinking that fruit was good for me and it was healthy. I was eating it for those reasons, but I don’t miss fruit at all. Even though I’m not doing keto now, I don’t ever seek out fruit.
Maybe I’ll have an orange slice every once in a while and I’m not even consciously avoiding it at this time. It doesn’t appeal to me. I remember the same thing when I first started eating a plant-based diet. I realized that I didn’t miss a lot of foods, especially seafood. Growing up, I would force myself to eat seafood because my family ate it. I wanted to experiment, but I’ve never thought about seafood since going plant-based in 2003. I think it’s fascinating when you change the way that you do things, you recognize what your actual motivation for having something was.
When you change what you’re doing and other people see it, they suddenly have all these opinions about it.
They’ll say, “I’m sorry. You can’t eat this.” If you feel like it, you can let them know that you’re choosing not to and you feel better not having it at all. It shows you other people’s perceptions around food. It’s an interesting social experience.
What’s interesting with type one diabetics especially is that they feel like they can’t give up carbs or they can’t reduce their carbs because of what their doctors told them. I think this is a huge problem with the dieticians out there. I grew up going to a diabetes camp and the dieticians are required to teach either the FDA or the ADA’s food guidelines, which has always been the food pyramid, which turned into my plate. The problem with that is they’re advocating half of your plate with carbs. At camp, the lunches are 70% carbs for one meal. If you have the recommended amount of food, these kids are between the ages of 6 and 13. If they see a bowl of tater tots, they’re going to grab a handful and not count them.
When you grow up like that, which is what I did. I grew up learning that I should be able to eat whatever I want as long as they gave insulin for it. I didn’t get to learn how my body felt when I was eating that. I only figured that out after I went low-carb. I remember a time in college when I was in our engineering building. I was trying to stay present for a group project. My blood sugar was at 300 and it was not coming down. I felt sick to my stomach and I didn’t want to eat anything. I didn’t eat for the rest of the day, but I told my group members that I had to go home because my blood sugar wasn’t coming down. I didn’t know what else to do about it. I couldn’t concentrate.Think of food decisions not from the perspective of what you can’t have, but from the perspective of what you choose to have. Click To Tweet
That was my reality from when I was diagnosed up until the point where I went to switch to the low carb. I was experiencing this brain fog, this awful feeling of being high. That was my normal because I didn’t know anything else. I was scared to give up the carbs. At first, I researched keto, especially in the Reddit communities. I researched it for months before I took the plunge because I was scared that I was going to do something wrong. I was scared I was going to mess myself up.
There’s a certain point, maybe where you see the conventional wisdom that is being portrayed whether it’s the American Dietetic Association or the Food and Drug Administration, whatever these governing bodies. It seems that in our society, we’re encouraged to default to the “experts.” I think there are certain aspects of life. Certainly now, none of us are virologists. Listening to people who are virologists is probably a great thing to do during this COVID period. I think food-wise, you have the willingness to seek out something that was not “endorsed” by a governing body in opposition to all of the rhetoric and the direction you had received as a diabetic your entire life.
It takes a hell of a lot of courage to look at something and go, “The way that everyone else is telling me to do it, these governing bodies and ‘experts’ I’m going to do something radically different and trust that, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to hurt myself. It may be good. It may be bad, but I’m going to do it anyway.’” That’s fricking courageous. When you have all this evidence or peer-reviewed study saying, you need to do what one way and you do it the opposite way. To me, there’s a rebellious sadness in that approach to that I embrace and that I love. For some reason, I got fired up by that.
When you put it like that, that it’s rebellious, in a way it is but it was back to that personal level of disgust. I was not seeing anything change. It was getting worse and worse. I even had a personal trainer around that time. It didn’t help that the gym in question had a smoothie bar that also sold pizza. I then would get a smoothie after my workout because my blood sugar was dropping. I didn’t understand at the deepest level that carbs are what controls my blood sugar. I knew that at some level but I didn’t realize that if you take out the carbs, then my blood sugars will normalize and I would reduce my insulin levels. The fact that nobody told me that before and I had to find out about it on Reddit and other non-verified sources, it was rebellious now that you mentioned it.
For all of us here, we all have our own specific healing journeys. I know many of our readers do. It comes down to the individual experience. We often talk here about how we are not necessarily big fans of formulas or one size fits all type of approaches when it comes to life mastery, healing, nutrition or evolution. It does seem that there is so much in the gray in terms of the nuances of work, and what works for each one of our bodies. It’s certainly looking at what works for what stage of life. I’m in a stage where during this healing process, I’m noticing that my eating habits are changing. I’m curious if those eating habits are going to continue after the post-surgical healing process.
Your approach to your own personal health inspires me, Colleen, saying, “I’m going to do something unconventional. It might be crazy. I might get judged for it. I may even hurt myself, which that in itself could be enough to convince someone not to do things. The possibility of pain but to push past it brings us back to the beginning of this conversation of doing it mentality. I could hurt myself. This could bring pain into my life. What if we do the thing and we get through the pain and on the other side of it is healing or growth?” That is a continual life practice where it’s not about 1, 2, 3 things we get to push past that we’re terrified of. To me, if you’re on the path and you’re committed to growth in your life, there’s going to be a lot of situations that scare the hell out of us and we get that choice of whether to say yes or no.
I’m glad you brought up what you did about it’s different for everybody. Something I like saying is to take what works and leave the rest. I’m a big proponent of self-experimentation. I will, 100% recommend that every type I diabetic tries a low carb diet, but if it doesn’t work for them, then I’m not going to tell them they have to keep doing it. The whole point of this is to find out what works for you. That also translates to when we’re going after our big goals. Something that works for one business owner isn’t going to work for another. That’s why a lot of online courses or people don’t feel like online courses get them the results that they want is because maybe it was built for this one person and the other person who bought it, it’s completely different. It’s not going to work for them.
I was working with a client who was a mastermind for marketing. This coach’s perspective on marketing was contrary to hers that she felt like she was losing her magic. When she talked to me about it, I told her, “Is any of this working for you?” She found little bits and pieces of it that worked. I said, “Focus on the parts that work but leave the rest. It’s a learning experience and you get to take from it what works for you. If all of it does, then don’t try to force yourself.” It’s the same with what you eat.
A lot of that takes patience as well. The other side of all of us that makes it complex is we have been somewhat conditioned to believe there’s such a thing as quick results. When it comes to food, fitness, and well-being, a lot of this stuff you need to experiment with not only consistently, but over a long period of time and then tweaking it here and there. Once you feel like you figured it out, you might still have some ways that you can optimize it a bit more.
One of the big reasons that people don’t stick to a change is because they expect results to happen so quickly when there’s no way to predict how fast you will get results. Weight loss is a huge example. Also, Colleen, as you’re bringing up this graph of weight going up and down and all that. I remember when I was doing the keto diet, I did get some big results quickly that was encouraging. I hit a plateau and then like, “Maybe at that plateau, I could have stopped.”
I think that was the common thing I would hear from people who would say, “Keto isn’t sustainable.” There were all these ongoing reasons to not do keto. Whereas when I was researching it, one of my favorite sources is Joseph Mercola and his book gave me all of this great information from a scientific doctor’s perspective of showing that it can be done long-term and it can be beneficial, but you have to put in the work for it. You can’t expect to snap your fingers and get everything that you want after a few weeks or a few months.
I’ve lost 65-ish pounds, but that happened over the last five years. I gained all of that weight from the fourth grade up until I was 23. It’s taken five years to even start to bring it all off. I have another 30-ish to go. I know it’s not going to fall off overnight and that’s part of the struggle. It’s also part of the triumph when my plateau, where I was at 170, 175 for 1.5 years, I didn’t go up. I could have looked at that where I’m not losing any more weight, so something must be wrong. Instead, I looked at it as, “I’m not gaining any more weight, I’m not gaining fat so I must be doing something right, but it wasn’t enough to keep me going down.” That’s when I did the elimination diet.
Something that I get hung up with and I’m curious how you both feel about this is the balance between body acceptance of where we’re at, how we look, how we feel in our body, and accepting ourselves as we are in the moment versus balancing that with perhaps a weight goal or a number of pounds one would want to lose or a certain look or feel in the body. Somewhere, I get personally, especially now that I’m post-surgery, I’ve been gaining some weight and some things have been happening to me. That balance between self-acceptance and pushing towards one’s goals in terms of body image.
You can’t hate yourself. The more you judge yourself for where you are, the less likely you are to get anywhere better. You have to love yourself wherever you are, even if you’re not at a place you want to be. As long as you love yourself now, that will help you move to a place where you can also love the thin version of yourself. It goes back to you can’t hate yourself. When I was at my highest weight, I hated it, but I never got anywhere until I started eating low-carb. That helped because once my weight started falling off, I was able to feel a lot better about myself and that’s continued.
The question is how do we start to love ourselves if we’ve never practiced it before because I feel like self-love has become this colloquialism, especially on social media that gets thrown down of self-love Sundays and self-love tips. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but some of the things that I see around self-love are like take a bubble bath, do a spa day, go to the sauna, buy a hammock for the backyard and stuff like this. The deeper nitty-gritty of self-love you’re talking about to me, it feels like something more visceral and deep than a spa Sunday.
We’re talking about the self-love that’s like, “Can we love ourselves at the highest weight? Can we love ourselves when we feel weak and broken? Can we love ourselves when we feel like we’ve made a mistake in life?” It always feels easy to love me if everything’s “going right” or going the way I want it to. When the breakdowns, the challenges, the heartbreaks, the setbacks, the things that look like maybe potential roadblocks for us, that’s when I find it challenging to love myself. I’m still working on it every single day.
When you’re at that point where it’s hard to love yourself like that, it’s more about getting to a neutral place. Let’s go back to the weight loss example. When I was at my highest weight, if I had focused on myself being fat and ugly and saying all these horrible things about myself, then I probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. The idea of finding something more neutral is going from, “I’m fat and I hate my body,” to, “I have a body.” Once you think that on purpose and default, then you can move to stuff like, “I have a better body than I did before,” as you start losing weight. It’s this idea of bridge thoughts.
Going back to the self-coaching model, if you have one thought where it’s negative, and you’re stuck in this unintentional model of this cycle of awfulness, and you want to get to the point where everything is better. Where you have great thoughts, where you are achieving all of the results and all the goals that you want, it’s difficult to jump from the negative thought to the positive thought without going through the middle where neutral is. If in your example, you want to work on loving yourself, you have to figure out this bridge of thoughts, this thought ladder to get from where you feel terrible about yourself to where you feel good about yourself. The gap between those is what Brooke Castillo calls the River of Misery because when you’re in it, you feel miserable.
How do we endure it though? Especially if we have a model of never good enough and always needing to strive for more. This is one of my personal belief systems. It’s almost like the difference between intellectually grasping the subject and integrating it into your being. To me, it feels like there’s a chasm there of like, “I can intellectually know that I’m enough, I’m worthy of love, and I’m lovable as an example, but the intellectualization to me sometimes feels light years away from integrating it into my own personal perspective of who I am.”
That’s honestly at the point where I would get a coach. I binged Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School Podcast in 1.5 years. During that time, I was doing the work that she talked about on the podcast. What changed was when I joined her self coaching scholars program, and that includes coaching every week. The way that I’ve exploded my personal growth in 2020 has been because I have a coach. It may or may not be the same coach every week, but I get coaching every week to talk about all of these things that I have problems with. I get where you’re coming from with the intellectual versus integrating because that’s the same way for me intellectually. I know that my thoughts cause my feelings, which cause my actions, but sometimes those thoughts feel true. I’m holding on to that feeling of truth even if I need to let it go and let the facts be the facts.The more you hate yourself for where you are, the less likely you are to get any get anywhere better. Click To Tweet
It’s amazing how much we can be empowered when we have that structure. I love hearing stories like this because it reminds me not only of the power of having a coach or anybody to guide me through something. That could be a therapist or a doctor. Somebody that has been immersed in this world for a long time and knows how to give you that guidance is incredibly helpful. It goes both ways. That reminds me of why I do what I do and we do what we do here on the show and talking to people like you, Colleen, and running our programs. These stories get me excited because it feels good to give it as much as it is to receive it. Knowing that each of us can benefit from having someone there to hold us accountable and help us pave this path and customize what it means to feel successful.
Hearing you and your success story with your coaching experience is wonderful. Hopefully, that inspires the readers as well to look into different ways that you can get support professionally. We have our courses here and have dabbled in private coaching. Whoever it may be, it doesn’t have to be any of the three of us. It is about finding what is the right fit for you, the program that works for you. I’m curious to check out everything that you’ve been talking about because you sound like it’s changed your life.
I am obsessed with Brooke Castillo and everything that she does.
We felt that way about Brendon Burchard, who was a big mentor to us for many years. Now, we’re not feeling as in alignment with his teachings. That’s another thing that I’ve learned over time is I’ll go through different phases and have certain people. Sometimes it’s a book author that I get into. I love Brené Brown, Marianne Williamson and Elizabeth Gilbert. For a while, Wayne Dyer was one of my favorites and all these people have impacted me through reading a few of their books or in some cases, listening to podcasts. Marianne Williamson started a podcast that I’ve yet to listen to. I got to add that to my list. It’s remarkable how much of an impact is a single individual can have on our lives and help us shape our next path.
I honestly wish I could remember the first time I listened to Brooke Castillo’s podcast, but I can’t. That’s sad because it’s changed my life so much. I’ve gone through that whole personal growth journey of that year and a half of bingeing it. Now, I’m coming up on a whole year inside self-coaching scholars. I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid so much that I’m going through her coach training starting in January 2021. It’s amazing how one episode of something can change your life because you don’t know where these things are going to take you.
I hope the word gets back to her. I hope that she recognizes how much of a difference that she’s made in your life. That’s another reminder for each of us to tell people how they’ve impacted us, whether it’s leaving them a rave review somewhere of their podcast or sending them feedback. In fact, we were in a coaching program in 2019. That was one of their big tips is you can create amazing relationships with people simply by reaching out to them and letting them know how they’ve affected your life. Maybe that’ll lead to a partnership of some sort, but at the very least, I am such an advocate for giving that feedback.
It could be a Yelp review for a restaurant you love. It’s something that we don’t recognize the power of. We don’t always think it makes a difference when we tell someone or review something, but that not only helps the person in understanding the difference that they’re making, but it also helps anybody else. You’re an incredible testament. Maybe somebody is reading this episode because you showed up in a Google search or something as reviews on this coaching program. It creates a huge domino effect in such a positive way. I love that you’ve reminded me of that Colleen.
Not just for people who run podcasts or restaurants, like you were saying with Yelp reviews, but also for the people in your personal lives. My manager at my full-time job has had a huge impact on me and my career. I told him, I gave him a letter thanking him for his impact on my life. He had never gotten something like that before. It showed me the power of showing your gratitude even for the people who you think, “No, they don’t.”
Showing gratitude, in general, is one of the best ways to shift out of a negative mentality or a slump that you’re in. I often will encourage people to write down the best things that happened to them. What are they grateful for? You’ll find yourself privately documenting these highlights. I think you could go another step beyond that and tell somebody like, “That little thing you did, that phone call, that text message, that moment I saw you seeing the video you made,” whatever example, knowing that you’re grateful and acknowledging that within yourself, but taking it to the next level and sharing that with somebody else and helping them understand the impact they’ve made, then that passes on that joy to them. That show gives them that gratitude. It’s paying it forward in a beautiful way.
I see that a lot when I get a reply to emails from people I follow like bloggers and things like that. It’s funny because they will reply back and say how much they appreciated my email and that will maybe start something. I’ll then email them the next time they send an email and keep in light touch. You build relationships with people like that.
To me, that was one thing when Whitney introduced me to you, Colleen. As we are getting deeper and closer to the finish line, is that your email stood out because it was well-written and personal. You offered many interesting perspectives and valuable thoughts on like, “Here’s what I want to bring to the show. Here’s my perspective on things.” I remember that email hitting me in such a way, even though we had not met yet, it was a referral through your connection with Whitney. I thought, “This is a person I want to have on the show because she was thoughtful, eloquent, intelligent and well-written.” Even that initial email was like, “This stands out.” It was a tremendous first impression.
I’m glad for that feedback. I am a creative writer in general. Honestly, when I write stuff like that, it doesn’t feel special. When I hear feedback like that, I appreciate it. Thank you.
It’s an awesome formula that will serve you well because it engenders an immediate connection. There are a warmth, a depth, and a uniqueness to the way that you write, even from one email that it’s like, “I don’t know if she knows how effective this is, but it’s awesome.” With that, Colleen, we want to send people to all of your amazing outlets out there. We mentioned the Medium articles that you had written. I am devouring these incredible articles that you’ve written on Medium. I can’t wait to dive in and probably send you more emails like, “This is amazing. I love this part.”
She’s got some eBooks, a free Facebook group. You’re up to a lot of good stuff in the world, Colleen. It’s impressive what you got going on. You’re helping many people in the process and I hope you are on the receiving end of the emails that you were talking about people giving you that direct feedback because your message is unique. I think what you’re doing is full of heart and authenticity. We’re grateful that you took the time to be here and give our readers a ton of value too.
Thank you for having me.
You’re welcome. I wasn’t expecting this to tie so nicely into the program that we’ve been revamping, The Consistency Code. I’m grateful that we got to explore consistency from different angles and look at it from your perspective. One of the quotes that stood out for me, which I’m going to use in our social media is to acknowledge that, “I’m scared. It’s going to hurt, but do it anyway.” That’s such a powerful thing that I want to reiterate here before we wrap up. It’s giving me some food for thought, too because this is something that I have been reflecting a lot on. It’s okay for things to her. It’s okay to do something despite some discomfort. That’s the big theme of our show. I’m grateful that you put it in your own words. I hope that that’s resonated with the readers as well!
*We use affiliate links in our show notes. This means we receive a small sales commission if you purchase an item based on our recommendation.
- Colleen Mitchell
- How to Achieve an Impossible Goal – Medium.com article
- The Life Coach School
- The Consistency Code
- From Chaos to Calm
- The Vegan Ketogenic Diet Cookbook
- Life & Mindset Coaching Group with Colleen Mitchell
About Colleen Mitchell
I’ve spent most of my life always striving towards some kind of goal. Most of the time I was great at keeping myself accountable, but just barely. I procrastinated a LOT, ignored appointments I made with myself, and put things off because nobody knew the difference except me.
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