Stacey Grieve Interview – Guide To Losing Weight
“Guide to Losing Weight”
Jasbina Ahluwalia interviews Stacey Grieve
Stacey Grieve is an Author, Speaker, Coach and Facilitator.
Her previous experience of being an obese person and chronic yo-yo dieter, along with finally shedding and keeping off 140 pounds led to the birth of Why Are You Weighting? This company is dedicated to helping every overweight person break free from the “emotional baggage” they are carrying around that’s contributing to their weight. This allows them to get to, and stay at, their ideal weight, without dieting or deprivation.
(00:48): Hello everyone and welcome to Intersections Match’s Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show focused on the continual evolution into the best versions of our authentic selves. We and our guests discuss relationships and health and wellness, each of which contributes to meaningful and fulfilling lives.
This is Jasbina, your host. I’m a former practicing lawyer and the Founder of Intersections Match, the only elite national personalized matchmaking company focused on singles of South Asian descent nationwide in the US.
I’m very excited to welcome Stacey Grieve to our show tonight. We’ll be discussing Stacey’s book, Why Are You Weighting? It’s Not the Food That’s Making You Fat! Welcome to the show, Stacey.
(1:37): Thank you, Jasbina. It’s very good to be here.
(1:40): Intersection’s mission is holistic and includes personal empowerment and wellness coaching. I’m fascinated by insights regarding proactively working towards health and wellness goals. Stacey, before exploring the insights shared in your book, why don’t you share with our listeners what prompted you to write this book in the first place?
(2:01): I was a chubby child who grew into an obese adult. I had tried pretty much every diet and weight-loss plan on the market. When I got dedicated, I could put the blinders on and stick with the diet as long as needed. While I was always able to get the weight off, my challenge always came when the diet was over and it was time to reintegrate into regular life.
Almost immediately, within the first week, the weight would start to come back. To say that I was frustrated would be an understatement. I am very determined. I kept thinking, “There has to be a way.” I just kept looking. I thought, “There has to be something.” The main turning point for me was when I had shed a significant chunk of weight, well over 100 pounds. About half of it had come back. I was pretty depressed and frantic. I went to my medical doctor. I said, “I think I need someone who is going to help me with my mind.” I recognized that it was me who kept doing this to myself. No one was tying me down and force-feeding me. She gave me a referral to a professional who specifically dealt with eating disorders. I had one session with him.
It was fairly typical. He said, “Tell me about your childhood.” At the end of it, he said to me, “I have good news and bad news.” I said, “Okay, great.” He said, “The good news is that there is nothing wrong with you. The bad news is that I can’t help you,” which was not what I wanted to hear. Then he went on to explain that the problem was, through dieting, I had trained my body to expect periods of deprivation followed by periods of excess.
His advice was that I would have to give up dieting forever. While dieting had never allowed me to stay thin, it had been the only thing that I knew of that allowed me to get thin and have a taste of what living a normal life was like. I was pretty upset by his news. I remember walking down the street after the appointment literally crying. I felt completely lost. I didn’t know what else I was supposed to do.
What he said about me training my body for the periods of excess followed by the periods of deprivation made sense to me. I needed to find more of a middle ground that I could live with every day so that it wasn’t so up and down or back and forth. From that day forward, I made the decision that it was the new way I was going to live.
(4:19): In your book, I felt the concept encapsulated in the following quote particularly compelling. I’m going to share the quote with our listeners. “Let’s talk here about what a benefit is for a minute. A benefit is something that offers the receiver something helpful or useful. I began to understand that my weight must actually be helpful to me in some way. After all, I kept putting it all back on even after I’d gone to great pains to get rid of it.
It must be doing something for me. Although, at this stage, I had no idea what that possibly could be. I began to spend more and more time thinking about this. Now looking back, I can say that this single revelation was a turning point for me.” Tell us about that.
(5:13): That’s a big topic. As I started to ponder this idea, to step back and try and observe myself in situations, one of the things that I started to realize was that I had some fears. All of us have fears. I was certainly no exception in that way. I had found myself using my weight as a coping mechanism, or an armor, against some things that I feared.
That’s where the benefit comes in. The weight was, in fact, shielding me or armoring me. That was the benefit. What was it shielding me or armoring me from? One of the big things in my life was the fear of being abandoned. Although it sounds counterintuitive, by being overweight, one of my beliefs was that I was never going to find a mate. I had a fear of abandonment. How do you avoid being abandoned? You avoid being abandoned by never actually connecting with someone. That’s one way to avoid it. I realized that was playing a role for me.
Another one of my fears was that I was never good enough. Whenever things in my life didn’t go the way that I wanted them to, I had the weight to fall back on. It was because I was fat that I didn’t get asked out on that date. Because I was fat, I didn’t get the promotion. Whatever didn’t go right in my life, my weight became the scapegoat. I started to look around. I realized that it wasn’t true.
There are big people who have good jobs. There are big people who have good marriages. There are big people living all kinds of lives. I started to intellectually understand that what I was believing wasn’t true. It took a little time to move from the intellectual to the emotional, where I could own those thoughts and beliefs and start to interact very differently. That was a big revelation for me.
It’s funny. All these years later, if something doesn’t go well for me, every once in a while, those old things will pop up again. I will think, “Because you’re fat.” I’m not fat anymore, so that isn’t it.
(7:30): Another concept that I found really compelling is in another quote from your book. “In order to affect any permanent changes in our weight, we must deal with our beliefs about our bodies in order to positively change our autopilots and our programming. If you don’t attend to this, anything else you do will be short-lived at best.
You’ll end up falling back into old habits and getting the same old results. Now it’s time to form some new, positive beliefs about your body. Now we’re going to work on reprogramming how you think about your body.” I understand that there is a whole process involved, but can you share a bit of that with our listeners so that they can understand what you mean when you talk about reprogramming how you think about your body?
(8:27): Our minds work quite a bit like a computer. They’re far more exceptional than a computer. Most people have some understanding of how a computer works. Let’s say that someone emails you a PowerPoint presentation. If you don’t have the PowerPoint programming on your computer, you can sit there and click “open” on that attachment all you want.
That PowerPoint presentation is never going to open because you don’t have the programming on your computer in order to enable that. The same thing happens with our weight. If you don’t have slim programming in your head, it doesn’t matter how much you want to be slim. It doesn’t matter how much you work on it if your basic programming isn’t there to support that. You may achieve it on a short-term basis, much like I did through dieting, but your body will never stay that way. Our programming in the human brain is known as the subconscious. That directs and drives about 95% of what we do.
Here is an example that I give fore people with weight issues. They often chuckle when I say this. Let’s say that you’re sitting in front of the TV. Everything is going fine. The next minute, you’re standing in the kitchen putting food into your face. You really have no recollection of getting up off the couch and walking to the kitchen, or even making the decision to walk to the kitchen. That’s because that instruction to go to the kitchen and find some food is logged way down deep in the subconscious.
It completely bypasses the conscious. The conscious is what we know. These are things like, “Move my arm,” or “Drive the car.” The subconscious is much deeper held beliefs or programming. It will win every single time. In the case of weight, I had to change the programming that I had in my subconscious. My programming included things like, “I don’t deserve to be slim. I’ll never be slim. It’s too hard to be slim. I don’t like the foods that you have to eat to be slim.”
I didn’t like exercise. I believed that I hated exercise. I was never going to do it. It was hard. This was the kind of programming that I had. I had to actively work on changing that programming. For me affirmations were an immense tool in my recovery. An affirmation is a statement that you repeat over and over again to yourself. Through repetition, you literally wear a path down through your conscious into your subconscious and start to lay down some new programming.
There are affirmations that I would read over and over to myself. I had them posted everywhere in my house. They were things like, “I am worthy of living my life in an ideal body. I deserve to live my life in an ideal body. I enjoy healthy tasting foods. I enjoy exercise.” When I first started saying them, none of these things were things that I honestly and truly believed. As I repeated them over and over again to myself, I literally brainwashed myself into believing ideas that would be much more supportive for me. They were ideas that were going to get me where I wanted to go rather than hindering me from it.
(11:47): The affirmations helped you to reprogram how you think about your body. The affirmations seemed to be instrumental in terms of the whole reprogramming process.
(12:00): You advise readers that, if they’re not getting the results they want, they must examine their paradigms and then change them in order to change their outcome. Your book has several examples contrasting what you term the “overweight paradigm” with the “healthy slim paradigm.” Can you share two or three of them with our listeners so that they can understand this concept?
(12:33): Let’s look at what a paradigm is. A paradigm is a learned group of habits. Every culture, family and office has paradigms. They are unwritten rules about how life functions within that particular group, society or culture. I’ll give you a couple of examples from the book. An overweight paradigm, habit or way of thinking would be, “It doesn’t matter what I eat, I’ll gain weight anyway.”
For someone who is at a healthier weight, their paradigm might be, “I choose foods that are healthy, knowing that what I eat does matter.” An overweight paradigm might be, “Exercise is hard. I hate it and I don’t want to do it.” A healthy slim paradigm might be, “Exercise is good for my body and it makes me feel good. I love to exercise.”
An overweight paradigm could be, “A second helping is the norm.” For a slim person, their paradigm could be, “A single serving is the norm.” An overweight paradigm could be, “I eat everything on my plate.” A slim paradigm would be, “I eat to the point of satisfaction and then just stop.” This is a really big one. An overweight paradigm might be, “I’ll make myself feel better by eating.” A healthier paradigm might be, “I’ll make myself feel better by calling a friend.”
A paradigm is just a way of looking at and responding to a particular situation or conversation. It is a multitude of habits. If your paradigm is to have a second serving with every meal, when you step back and look at that, that’s not the kind of behavior that’s going to get you there if shedding some weight is what you want to do. It’s not a paradigm that will support where you want to be.
An important thing to do when you’re recovering from an overeating disorder is to pay some attention to how your ideal-weighted friends interact with food. Notice how they behave around food. You will quickly see that it’s a very different way of interacting and relating with food than how overweight people do it. You have to start acting how you want to be before you actually get to where you want to be. It’s your habits every single day of your life that add up to what you are.
(15:09): I completely understand, especially with those concrete examples, how your paradigms determine your results. I think that is global for all areas of life. You mention that in your book. I can see how that applies to weight.
In emphasizing that our paradigms determine our outcomes, your book explains to readers how to shift their paradigms. I know this can be quite involved, but can you briefly explain this to our listeners in terms of how one goes about shifting their paradigms?
(15:59): Again, the way I did it came down to affirmations and reminders. One of my paradigms was, “A second helping is the norm.” I needed to put some reminders around the house that I was only going to eat one serving. For me, that was notes taped to the fridge or inside of the fridge. If there was a particularly tasty food in there, I would tape a note to the food itself. I would remind myself of what I was working on accomplishing.
Affirmations are another way. Paradigms are very much rooted in your subconscious. Affirmations specific to the paradigms that you’re working on shifting can be very important. Some of the ones that I used are ones that I list in the book. I always like to start an affirmation with, “I am so happy and grateful now.” An affirmation should always be done in the present tense, even if it’s miles away from the truth.
I would say, “I am happy and grateful now that I am eating smaller portions of food,” or “I am only having one plate of food,” or “I am making healthy food choices,” or “I am eating to fuel my body, not to deal with emotions,” or “I am eating like a slim person,” or “I am honoring my body by giving it what it needs and no more.” Then I finish it off with, “Because I feel so good when I do.”
It’s very much a conscious decision that you have to make that you will read these affirmations over and over again. As you do, they start to get stored up in your subconscious. Your subconscious is your autopilot. Most of the paradigms that are stored in your autopilot now, you didn’t form yourself. Most of these are formed in our brains somewhere between the ages of zero and five or six. That’s what they call the formative years. In those years, you’re not old enough, wise enough or conscious enough to really be able to accept or reject things that are being said and done or are going on around you.
Your whole family might be overweight. Their paradigm was to have a second portion or to eat unhealthy foods. You would have grown up in that environment. That would have just seemed to be what was normal to you. That becomes part of your programming. When you step back and look at it intellectually, you would say, “The reason that my whole family is overweight is because we constantly have second or third helpings of food and we don’t make very healthy choices.”
You start to see the relationship between the behaviors and the results. It’s not easy, but is it so worthwhile. It is a part of what it takes to have a full recovery long term, where you don’t just get the weight off, but you keep it off. I highly encourage everyone who is listening with a weight issue, or knows someone who does,, to really look into what affirmations can do for you.
(19:03): In your book, you share with listeners your revelation of how being overweight served you with respect to one of your fears in the dating and relationship aspect of your life. Can you share a bit more about this revelation with our listeners?
(19:36): I came to understand that I had these issues of abandonment. I don’t think anyone likes to be abandoned, but if you have issues around it, you will do whatever it takes. This is subconsciously. You’re not necessarily aware that you’re doing it. Your brain is directing you to do and say things that will avoid whatever it is that you fear.
For me, the fear of being abandoned led me to, in the dating world, choose men who were completely inappropriate for me. What better way to make sure that I wasn’t going to be abandoned than by being in a relationship that was so wrong for me that even I recognized that? I would dump him before he would dump me. Then I wasn’t being abandoned. I was the one severing the relationship.
A couple of my other paradigms had to deal with worthiness. I didn’t really believe that I was worth of being in a healthy relationship. What better way to avoid being abandoned than by never being attached to someone in the first place? You can’t be abandoned if you’re never attached.
My subconscious worked very hard to either keep me out of a healthy relationship altogether or get me into a relationship that was so bad that I recognized I needed to be out of it for my own sanity. I was rarely ever the abandoned one. I either did the abandoning myself or I just didn’t get into something. My weight served me then in allowing me not to be abandoned. Am I being clear on that?
(21:10): Absolutely. You did allude to it before, but it might be something that resonates with some of our listeners or people in their lives. It is worthy of repeating again. I appreciate that.
(21:31): When you get into the whole relationship thing, the most important person you have a relationship with in your entire life is the relationship that you have with yourself. If you don’t love yourself and like yourself, if you can’t give that love to yourself, you’re really not going to be able to give it to someone else nor are you going to be able to recognize it if someone else is legitimately trying to give it to you.
I believe that, in any area of life, liking, respecting and loving yourself is a big part of then being able to like, respect and love the rest of the world and be loved by it. You have to start there first. That was another one of my paradigms. It was that I wasn’t very lovable. I had to work on that one, too. Now I’m very happily married. We just celebrated our eleventh anniversary.
(22:33): Thank you. Some of my friends will jokingly say, “You guys are one of those sick couples. You actually seem to like each other and enjoy each other’s company after all this time.” A question that I get often is, had I gotten all the weight off when I met my guy?
The truth of the matter is that I definitely wasn’t at my heaviest, but I wasn’t recovered at that point by any means. After I met him, I had about another 65 or 70 pounds that I needed to get rid of to get down to a healthy weight. By that point, I was already on the path. I had learned to like myself. I came to understand that the size I was carrying my body at wasn’t really representative of who I was inside.
Our bodies are really just the house we live in. It’s the same as a real house. You can live in a number of different types of houses from a tiny little apartment to a mansion and everything in between. It doesn’t really change who your soul or spirit is. I had already had that revelation and was well on my way to liking myself when
I did finally meet the man who was to become my husband. He loved me at my bigger weight. He didn’t have any problem with it nor does he have any problem with my now normal weight. That was another interesting thing for me that I don’t think I wrote about in the book. A lot of that happened afterwards.
(23:53): That’s interesting. You mentioned the people in your life and the potential reactions to one’s releasing weight or when their body is changing. You mentioned the example of your husband. I remember that you said some interesting things about that in the book. Can you share one or two things with our listeners about what they may anticipate in terms of reactions from others?
(24:40): You would assume that, as you were shedding the weight, feeling better about yourself and starting to interact in the world in a different way that everyone would be standing on the sidelines cheering for you. But that isn’t necessarily true. Here is the reason. When someone is watching you accomplish something that maybe they have never been able to do themselves, there could be feelings of jealousy or envy. Maybe it’s not something that outward. That could lead to feelings of their own lack of worth. They might start thinking, “What’s wrong with me? She can do it and I can’t do it.” None of us live in a bubble.
Everything has a cause and effect. Your body shape changing is going to have an effect on the people around you. For some of them, it’s going to be a very positive effect. You may be an inspiration. Through your efforts, you may inspire them to make some changes for themselves. You have to be ready. For those who aren’t yet read to do it, as they start to watch your success, that can bring up a bunch of negative stuff in them.
Remember, you’re not the only one with paradigms. Their paradigms may cause them to act in ways to try and thwart what’s going on with you. It’s probably not conscious. I really do believe that most of the people in our lives are good people. They would never knowingly do something to try and derail you. Their subconscious could be driving them pretty firmly to try and keep everything the way it was. It’s what we call the status quo.
Here is a good example. You might belong to a group of people where eating is one of your activities. Maybe you meet every Friday night with a bunch of girlfriends and you go out for dinner. Let’s say that there are five or six of you. All five or six of you are fairly healthy, big eaters. If you’re the one who is saying, “No thank you. I’m not going to have the appetizer and the dinner and the dessert. I’ll just have the dinner,” they might feel, “Oh my God. She’s an outsider now. She might be judging us.”
You could be viewed as an outsider, a betrayer or as someone who would be judgmental. Your behavior does have an effect on the people around you. They are going to respond to that, whether they respond to it consciously or subconsciously. You need to be aware that you don’t live in a bubble. Your weight changes are going to have an effect on the people around you.
For those of you where it may not be a very positive effect, you need to be aware of that. Anyone who has worked on their weight before, you probably walked away from a situation shaking your head. A friend seemed like they were so happy and supportive of you for the weight that you let go. Then when you go out for dinner, they are the ones pushing you to have dessert.
They say, “You’ve been so good. You deserve this.” That’s not really supporting you. If they were really supporting you, they might have said, “Let’s go to a movie,” or “Let’s go to the park,” instead of, “Let’s be around food.” They say, “Just have the dessert. You deserve it,” or “I made this cake just for you. You have to have a slice.”
You need to be aware of saboteurs or sabotaging situations. Know that they are out there. Be prepared for when they arise so that you can respond rather than react. When you respond, you can make the choice that’s best for you rather than a knee-jerk reaction of eating whatever they put in front of you.
(28:16): Thank you. That was very informative. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us, Stacey. They’ve been very insightful and interesting. I’m wondering if there is any last thought or take-home message that you’d like to leave our listeners with.
(28:31): The size of your body has nothing to do with who you truly are. It’s just some bad habits. They can be changed. I don’t want to mislead anyone. Changing them is not easy but it is so worthwhile. Let me ask you this. How easy is it living on a restricted calorie diet forever? How easy is it avoiding social functions for fear of overeating and falling off your diet? How easy is it hiding yourself away or not going to things because you don’t want to eat the wrong foods or be seen at a heavy weight?
When I say that changing your programming is hard, it is. But like anything worth doing in life, the things that are a little bit hard that we work at and take some time to accomplish are the things we’re the most proud of afterwards and the things that will have the longest lasting impression on us.
I really encourage those listening, whether it’s 20 pounds that you can’t seem to get rid of or 200 pounds, take a look at my website. Get a copy of the book and start to work on changing yourself internally. Once you change the internal, the external just starts to fall into place. It’s almost miraculous, but it isn’t.
(30:28): I’d like to thank Stacey Grieve for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure.
(30:33): Right back at you. This has been a really good interview. Thank you.
(30:37): Once again, if you’d like to learn more about the insights that Stacey has shared with us today, her book is entitled Why Are You Weighting? It’s Not the Food That’s Making You Fat!
In case you joined us late or would like to share this show with people in your life, I’d like to remind you that today’s radio show will be archived and available as a podcast on Intersections Match’s website, which is www.IntersectionsMatch.com. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate you hanging out with us. Do email me with topics you’d like discussed in future shows. Make sure to join us for next month’s show. Thank you so much.
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