Nourish and Nurture

Let's Work On That Mindset

March 21, 2024 Miriam Hatoum Season 4 Episode 94
Nourish and Nurture
Let's Work On That Mindset
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 94: Let's Work On that Mindset
This episode explores your relationship with yourself, which sets the stage for your relationship with food and eating. I give you my personal story of when I didn't even approach The Land of Good Enough and teach you about the parable of Buddha's Second Arrow which tells us that pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.  I explore what mistakes we dieters are making and, more importantly, why we make these mistakes.  I give you advice on how to talk to yourself as well as helpful coaching advice that will set you well on your way to changing your self-talk into a positive road to get you to where you want to go. 

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Episode #: 94 Let's Work On That Mindset

You are listening to The Nourish and Nurture Podcast, Episode 94: Let’s Work On That Mindset.

Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or even weigh, measure and track your food unless you want to? What if you could learn to have success by learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, which is the cornerstone to weight loss success? What if you could learn about what foods work best in your body for weight loss and why they work? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl. 

I am celebrating Season 4 with a brand-new party dress, Nourish and Nurture. The title has changed but not the insightful advice and tips that you enjoy and look forward to. And now, you can get all my free guides that are designed to help you in your journey, in one place, at

Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services. And please know that I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

Your relationship with yourself

I am continuing on with another favorite early episode, or as they say in the biz, Launch Episode. I talk about my journey through self-forgiveness and how I learned that I am worthy of carrying on with my work – in spite of the muffins and bagels one Sunday morning. I learned that it is not my relationship with the food that was standing in my way. It was my relationship with myself. It is your relationship with yourself that determines any and all success that you have. Even if you don’t see it or don’t believe it now, you are capable of success. You are smart. You are worthwhile. 

When I was writing my book, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, the last chapter was the hardest for me to write. I stopped and started it several times. But I realized on one Sunday morning that it was the perfect timing for writing that last chapter. What happened?

 That morning, for the first time in three months, since the beginning of Covid 19, I had my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren over for Sunday brunch. No face masks. Hugging. The whole shebang.  I prepared my usual brunch foods (muffins, bagels, etc.) along with a lovely array of low-carb foods (smoked salmon/cream cheese rollups, salami, olives, eggs, etc.). I ate all the low-carb foods. I was at least at a 6 on the hunger scale, which we will learn about in a later episode. Then I ate a muffin and a bagel. I would have had more except that I was easily at a 7 or 8 at this point. There was nothing else I really wanted, and I knew enough to not make myself sick by getting to a 9 or 10. 

So there. I polished off a muffin (granted just a quarter of one but that’s not the point) and a full bagel with cream cheese. Oh, and I finished my granddaughter’s half bagel with butter. There may have been a cookie involved. There. I did it. But I was not going to erase this entire book, hate myself and never try again.

   What I did was feel sorry for myself as I popped a TUMS, after which I went to Staples to run out a draft of the book so that I could sit with a red pen and edit. I realized that I am intelligent and worthwhile. I realized that I wasn’t even approaching the Land of Good Enough as I plowed through that bagel. I understood that I still had something to offer, maybe even more so. What I did not do is continue to eat all day until I was sick. I didn’t beat myself up until I felt so unworthy that I would never want to publish the book. I didn’t throw in the towel and throw out what I knew is the best way of eating for me. Instead, I sat for a minute and reflected. I saw what lessons could come out of this. One lesson was to put a pause between wanting the food and eating the food. Another lesson, was, perhaps to remove myself from the table. There is always something to do in the kitchen even though I have company. Believe me everyone is so busy eating they never even would notice if I got up! 

More importantly I acknowledged, with no hateful emotions, that I ate what I ate, and I am worthy of moving on. 

I want to share here the Buddha’s parable of The Second Arrow. The story goes as follows: A person is walking through a forest and gets struck by an arrow, which causes great pain. He asks, “Should I stay here and let myself get struck by another arrow?” The first arrow is the circumstance, which we often cannot control. The second arrow is our reaction to it. We often hear that “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” If you get struck by an arrow, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself or allow others to? 

This is what happens over and over and over again when we are following a food plan, “fall off the wagon,” and then continue to shoot one arrow after another into our hearts and souls. The second arrows come with the messages: “I’m stupid,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never get this right,” “This is too hard,” “I’m too lazy,” “I’m not worthwhile,” “I hate myself.” STOP IT WITH THE SECOND ARROWS! No matter how perfectly you follow a food plan, you are, at one time or another going to get struck with that first arrow – maybe many different times. It’s painful. Get up, move on and don’t suffer. Learn your lessons and be grateful that we all get a second chance. Make your next best decision. We are worthy of those retakes.

If I didn’t feel worthy of the retake that Sunday morning, I might not be here sharing with you right now!

Mindset is more important than the diet. What mistakes are we making?

 o   The first mistake we dieters make is thinking that that there is something wrong with us. We often say that there is something wrong with us because we can’t stick to a diet. We don’t understand how we can wake up with so much hope and determination and by dinnertime we are facedown in a bowl of mashed potatoes with Oreo cookie chasers. I hope in last week’s show you realized that failures are built into the diets themselves. This is not just because of the mistakes and myths these diet programs are built upon, but because one size does not fit all. 

o   The second mistake we dieters make is having an all or nothing attitude. We think, either I follow this program 100% or I am just too stupid and broken to follow it at all. When you finally get all that I am trying to share with you, you will realize that an eating program is constructed like a jigsaw puzzle. Imagine taking a boxed jigsaw puzzle, shaking it up in the box, opening it up and throwing it on the table, then sweeping it in your arms then flattening it all out. There. Done! Perfect! Oh my god. Really? 

 o   Diet programs make you think that is how it is supposed to work and if it doesn’t you must be stupid, lazy and broken. I think the diet programs are stupid, lazy and broken! What you need to do is shuffle the pieces around and see how they fit. 

 o   For instance, does dairy make your stomach queasy? I know for myself I could handle a couple of spoons of cream in my two cups of coffee in the morning and I would be fine. A third cup made me nauseous. A cream soup would make me sick. I shuffled around those puzzle pieces for years until I realized it was not the food, it was the quantity and timing of that food that caused a reaction in my body. 

 o   Another example is that it took years before I realized that I was fine having a sandwich during the day, but if I had bread at night I was famished in the morning because of the carbohydrate-blood sugar connection. These are the puzzle pieces I am talking about. Sometimes it’s not the food, it’s the quantity. Sometimes it’s not the food, it’s the timing. Sometimes it is the food. You are not broken or unworthy because it takes you a little longer to put together a jigsaw puzzle than someone else. It means that you must rearrange things and see how the pieces fit.

 o   A third mistake is thinking that we are broken or stupid or lazy because we have trouble handling urges, cravings and triggers. Again, the problems are built into the diet programs because they want you to believe that it is only about the food they are telling you to eat, and thoughts, feelings and reactions have nothing to do with anything. Stick with me, and you will learn a lot about urges, cravings and triggers. You will learn that they will never go away. You will also learn that your reactions to them have been a brilliant coping mechanism. Really, you’re smart: Isn’t it much better to eat a Snickers Bar than punch your boss in the face? But let’s learn some even smarter ways to outsmart those triggers.

o   I use the word “broken” and some of us have never reached the point of feeling that way about ourselves, but some of us have. I always used to think I was “damaged goods” because there were days I could not even follow a diet from breakfast to dinner of one day! I didn’t know what I know now: There is such a thing as decision fatigue, which I will talk about in a later episode, or I might have just been tired and unable to push one more food or thought about food away. It might have been just a matter of awareness – which is no small thing, all of which add up to not staying on a diet and nothing to do with being broken or damaged. But a lot of us do feel that way, so please indulge me if I use that term but it does not apply specifically to you.

Why do we make these mistakes?

 o   We have these beliefs because of years of seeing fake success stories on TV and magazines, and more recently, on other social media. Yes, there are success stories, but people: read the fine print. It says “Results not typical.” We believe that we are the ones with the shortcomings – not the diet programs built on mistakes, myths and false advertising. Our belief tends to be that if something weren’t wrong with us, we wouldn’t need to lose weight in the first place. Or, when you try to lose weight, you wouldn’t be so unsuccessful at it if you weren’t broken. And what if you dream of being a “normal” eater. Does that mean you are abnormal? Some of us have been carrying these beliefs since childhood and some of us have more recently started beating ourselves up. 

 o   We make the mistake of thinking that we are broken because it couldn’t be Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, or South Beach or any other commercial program. We have been led to believe that the answers are out there somewhere. I am telling you, it’s time to look within ourselves for the answers. It’s time to shake up that box of jigsaw pieces and settle in with learning how they all fit together. 

 o   You are not broken or damaged or stupid or lazy or any of those. The real reason you are making the mistake of thinking the problem is with you, is that you haven’t been given the tools that will work for you and that will be sustainable. We will get to all that in later episodes but for now, just open your mind to believing that you are smart and worthwhile of the work it will take. 

 o   There is a cost of making the mistake of thinking it is YOU who is at fault or is defective. It really only is because no one has shown you a better way. The cost of not believing in yourself is that you give up too soon or you think you are not worth even starting. 

 o   You don’t know how to have your own back when the family doesn’t support you or you are facing well-meaning food pushers. 

 o   You don’t understand that your body is just neutral – not good or bad or ugly or disgusting. It is your body. It is where you are now. It is living and breathing and above ground. It is your thoughts about your body that get you into trouble – and no one has shown you how to change your thoughts which leads to changing your feelings which leads to changing your actions which leads to changing your results.  So, with all these negative feelings – hating yourself and hating your body, of course why would you think you are worth it to put in the work to turn things around?

 o   Listening to the Nourish and Nurture Podcast is a beginning in learning to open your mind and let in the light and possibility that maybe, just maybe, you can not only put together those puzzle pieces, but better yet, get a puzzle that, in the first place, is your own beautiful picture.

Here is some Advice in talking to yourself this week: 

 o   Talk to yourself the way you would to a friend. Be kind and have compassion. A friend comes to you and says, “I am so stupid and lazy. I am trying to follow an eating program that I designed for myself so I know it’s good for my lifestyle and I can’t even get through the first day. Every morning I wake up and say I am not going to have sugar today. By the time my head hits the pillow I have “blown it” again. Stupid, stupid, stupid.” 

 o   Okay, so you are this person’s friend. Are you going to say, “Yes, you really are stupid and lazy. You are worthless. Don’t even bother...”? Or are you going to say, “This is a really big life change that involves a lot of steps to see it through. Maybe you have to break it up into even smaller steps than you have been doing. How about having a water bottle or even some gum handy, and the next time you want that cookie, reach for the alternative. 

 o   Better yet, put a pack of gum and a small water bottle where you keep the cookies for the kids. Stop and count to 10 and decide which one to reach for. Each and every time you don’t put something sweet in your mouth, stop and compliment yourself. Realize you have taken a big step. Be kind to yourself. 

 o   You are not a loser, and you are not lazy. Just the fact that you are looking for a better life shows that you are not lazy.” 

 o   Now, imagine that you are that friend. Speak kindly to yourself. Speak positively to yourself. Speak encouragingly to yourself. 

 o   Mother Theresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” You don’t have to have long speeches with yourself. When your hand shoots back from the cookies and picks up the gum just say, “Good job!”

 o   Furthermore, nothing good ever comes of hatred. Some of you might really hate yourselves, either because of your weight or your inability to follow through with a goal. Indulge me with another Mother Theresa quote: “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” 

 o   Drop the negative self-talk as much as you can and have a peace rally with yourself. 

 o   Say: “You can do this. You are smart and capable. You just haven’t figured it out yet. That little step of reaching for the gum instead of the cookie was a great accomplishment. I’ve got your back. I love you.” Be kind. 

This week’s actionable coaching advice:

I am a woman of many talents. I didn’t tell you this before, but I was a professional belly dancer and belly dance teacher for more than 30 years. I promised you actionable coaching advice, so here it is:

 o   In my book, Language of the Dance – Belly Dance with Amira Jamal, I have a worksheet entitled STOP THAT NEGATIVE SELF-TALK. It was one of the most important – and popular – lessons in my classes. It is probably one of the most important things you need to learn to have a successful journey with whatever you are doing.

 o   Self-talk is your inner voice. It is what you are telling yourself all day long as your day unfolds. It can be positive, giving you confidence, encouragement, compliments, optimism, direction and motivation. It can be negative, fostering discouragement, pointing out your faults and shortcomings, giving you the pessimistic side of things, totally derailing any hopes, dreams and goals you may have. It is not unusual or uncommon to have some of your thoughts be negative. 

 o   There is research, or at least speculation, that we have tens of thousands of thoughts per day. Some are in a continuous loop, and some are random or in reaction to something specific. No matter the number, they cannot be expected to be all positive and wonderful. However, there is no reason to make them all negative and awful either. Negative self-talk is not helpful. As a matter of fact, it can be damaging not only to our self-esteem, but it may cause some of us to turn to food which is exactly what we are trying to change. 

 o   When you have a negative thought stop and ask yourself, “Is this true?” And, if it is true, ask yourself, “Is this kind?” If there is no point to it, either truth or kindness, then it’s time to consider ditching that thought.

 o   Remember, you don’t have to have long speeches with yourself. 

 o   This week I want you to keep a piece of paper or an index card handy or use Notes in your phone. I want you to catch negative thinking as it comes up. Each time you catch it I want you to replace it with either something neutral or something better.

 o   An example would be what you say to yourself when you see yourself in the mirror – dressed or undressed. Negative thought: “Look at that fatso.” Better thought: “It’s just where my body is right now.” An even better thought: Wow, you go girl! You are finally doing something to show you care about yourself. 

 o   You don’t have to jump to the best. It might be really hard for you to look at yourself and jump to “You go girl.” Instead, just take the next step on the ladder and say, “This is my body now.” Try at least to neutralize the self-hatred and we will work up from there!

 Please share the new Nourish and Nurture Podcast with your friends, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison. Please leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find it by bringing it up in the various directories. Don’t be a stranger. 

 Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time. 

Get all my free guides
Take a look at three great new courses
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram
Check out Pinterest
And don't forget my book!