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Episode 96: Identity Crisis


When we think of weight loss it’s often in a binary way: Success or Failure. But in this episode of Weight Loss for Food-Lovers we learn that identity also has a big role to play in our calculus. Molly shares three primary sources of “Identity Crisis” that can stem from how we’ve felt about ourselves in the past and where we are going on our weight loss journeys.

Perhaps you were told as a child that you were just too sensitive or too pushy, reactive or lacking in self-control. Have you borne a label through life that somebody influential assigned to you, but that no longer fits? It’s time to let it go! Molly wants to give you permission to release any self-limiting beliefs and she’s prepared to show you how.

This episode also helps us understand the hurdle to reimagining ourselves. It can feel overwhelming or impossible to imagine becoming our ideal. Shedding one identity in favor of another can be scary, but Molly explains how to break it down into a single step, and then another. She also provides a framework for what to do when old patterns of thinking conflict with who we are or who we want to become. Pause take notice. Ask yourself:

  • #1: What happened?

  • #2: What was I believing that led me to eat?

  • #3: What was the result I experienced in the moment (versus what I envisioned)?

  • #4: What do I want to believe moving forward?

  • #5: Who am I now?

It doesn’t matter where you are in your weight loss journey, it’s critical to keep examining your thoughts, feelings and the places inside from which they spring. That intention is foundational to authenticity and an enduring sense of fulfillment in life. It’s a core part of what Molly’s coaching is all about.

Get ready to kickstart your new year! Molly is offering a FREE 5-day boot camp to help you move the needle. It starts Jan. 3rd, so click here to start getting prepared! If you’re interested in the support or accountability a one-on-one coach provides, you can set up a free discovery call with Molly here.

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Topics Covered

  • About weight and identity: Molly has insights to share, based on her own experience and that of her clients.

  • IDENTITY CHALLENGE #1: When we change our weight, it can be destabilizing to the identities we’ve been assigned or assigned ourselves:

    • Overly sensitive

    • Emotionally driven

    • Lazy

    • Disorganized

    • Impulsive, lacking self-control

    • Undisciplined

  • Labeling ourselves can set us up for a life dictated by self-limiting beliefs.

  • If we self-identify as something negative (such as any of the above labels) then our brains will generate thoughts and feelings accordingly. That can keep us stuck.

  • The longer we stay stuck with an identity that doesn’t serve, the more it perpetuates itself. But having had a tendency or habit in the past doesn’t pre-determine your future.

  • Moving on from labeling that does not serve requires a willingness to look honestly at ourselves, uncover what drives our thoughts and feelings. You can decide to take self-limiting beliefs and … let them go!

  • Molly shares her experience with a client who insisted she was just somebody that needed more and required more food than other people. But was it that simple and did this woman really want to continue perpetuating that thought?

  • It’s important to question what we tell ourselves, where the labels are rooted and whether they are actually categorically true. Oftentimes our primitive minds skip examples to the contrary, looking instead for negative incidents to back up the expectations we have set.

  • We may have tendencies, but fundamentally who we are has everything to do with habits. Just because you have turned to food for emotional support of some kind in the past, doesn’t mean that has to be the case going forward.

  • IDENTITY CHALLENGE #2: When we decide to reach a goal, whether it’s losing weight or changing our drinking, it can be hard to conceive of who we must become. You may have to acknowledge how you’ve labeled yourself in the past and imagine a different version – an ideal instead of a pre-conceived box.

  • Give yourself permission to understand your ideal self – a version doing the things that you would love to be doing.

  • When Molly gave up food and wine, it required her to shift her identity as “the chef” or “the wine expert.” It was hard for her to imagine an alternative version.

  • Shedding one identity in favor of another can be scary. You will not know every step ahead of time or who exactly you will become down the road. The focus must be on what it is you can do today.

  • Fear is part of transformation and hesitation about the unknown is a natural part of change. Your primitive brain will want you to stay safe and with what’s familiar. Step into the fear!

  • IDENTITY CHALLENGE #3: When we change our relationship with food and alcohol, oftentimes old beliefs associated with old habits linger behind.

  • You may have done the work, lost the weight, transformed your mindset. But it’s all too easy to revert back to old ways of eating almost reflexively. It’s a disconnected and discombobulating phenomenon.

  • Going backwards makes sense when looked at through the prism of our long history and patterns that are deeply ingrained.

  • Molly shares an anecdote about exactly what happened when this sort of reflexive backsliding and cognitive dissonance occurred during a family getaway weekend to a city known for its cuisine and restaurants.

  • Whether before, during or after the fact – there’s always time to recognize what your brain is doing, reflect and adjust accordingly.

  • Questions to ask yourself if you find yourself slipping into confusion or old habits:

    • #1: What happened?

    • #2: What was I believing that led me to eat?

    • #3: What was the result I experienced in the moment (versus what I envisioned)?

    • #4: What do I want to believe moving forward?

    • #5: Who am I now?

  • Molly wraps with a few words of wisdom about the ongoing journey to knowing your truest self in the context of food and beyond.

Key Quotes

  • “We have a tendency to identify ourselves based on what we have believed in the past.”

  • “You no longer need to identify as somebody who is disempowered and who lacks control to create the life that you want.”

  • “What you believe is so important in how you show up and the results that you create for yourself.”

  • “Organization and discipline are habits that you learn. They’re not necessarily ways of being. They are not simply aspects of the identity we’re born with.”

  • “There is no upside to identifying yourself in a negative way … What are some beliefs that you need to let go of?”

  • “The obstacle between where you are now and becoming your ideal self is being willing to let go of limiting beliefs about yourself.”

  • “The more willing you are to take the next best step and commit to yourself and the vision you have of yourself, the more likely you are to figure out who you will become.”

  • “The scary part isn’t your day-to-day work, it’s just your thoughts about it. It’s your fear that you won’t know yourself or people won’t accept you.”

  • “When you recognize that there is fear involved in transforming and changing yourself, that is actually something to move closer to – not something to avoid.”

  • “When you find yourself reverting back to old behavior that is more like your previous identity, it’s important to reflect on what has happened and what you’re believing in these situations.”

  • “When you’ve believed something for so long, your brain naturally will pull up those old beliefs when it associates a certain experience with that way of thinking.”

Links & Resources

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