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  • Writer's pictureDieting From The Inside Out

Cultivating Values & Creating New Identities with Coach Steven | DFIO Ep.249




About Today’s Episode:

Today’s episode is a super cool one. I am interviewing one of our newest Assistant Coaches, Steven Thibert.


Steven has some amazing life experience—prior to coming on board with us, Steven was an independent coach and he has gone through his own incredible weight loss transformation.


Steven has lost over 100 lbs—on his own—and is now helping people in our community achieve their weight loss goals.


Steven is a perfect culture fit with us and has become an integral part of the team. I wanted to get him to talk about some of his perspectives, especially having been able to lose a significant amount of weight on his own, and I think there is a lot of valuable insight there.


I’m really excited for you all to hear this conversation, so let’s get into it!


TIMESTAMPS:

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Transcript (click to expand)

About Steven:

Steven was always heavy—he started putting on weight very young.


He was also very emotionally shut down and had developed a lot of emotional eating habits. Though he didn’t realize it at the time, food was a comfort for him.


By the time he was 16, Steven was around 320 pounds and didn’t have any zest for life—he didn’t like school, and despite being very bright, he would purposefully miss school and fail tests.


Steven didn’t know how to be happy.


He started smoking weed, and his Mom caught him when he was 16—which deeply frightened her because her brother, who was a quadriplegic after a work accident, died of an overdose.


His Mom sent him to a rehab facility, but he was quickly discharged. When that turned out not to be fruitful, his mom enrolled him in an outdoor youth program (SUWS) where he had to backpack and learn survival techniques—this program was later shut down and “rebranded” due to negligence.


While he was in this program, Steven lost about 40 lbs over 40 days. The outdoor program had him on a very restricted diet, he was hiking every day, and drinking lots of water.


When Steven returned home, part of the agreement he had with his parents was that he would stay active, so he went to the gym and started walking on the treadmill.


A few things that Steven did when he started going to the gym were—in addition to walking—cutting out all fast food, cutting out sugary beverages (i.e. soda), and cutting out candy.


After about a year of just walking and avoiding fast food, soda, and candy, he had lost about 100 lbs.


After this initial weight loss, Steven began working with a personal trainer and got into strength training. Unfortunately, Steven was in a bad car accident, where he injured his neck, and this caused him to shy away from lifting and the gym for about 5 years.

Despite not going to the gym, Steven was successful in keeping the weight he’d lost off.


Though he did not realize it at the time, Steven had gone through many identity shifts that helped him sustain his weight loss.


Identity:

Today, if Steven were trying to lose weight, he would track his food, hit a protein target, and move his body. He would also focus on the mental game and overcoming mental hurdles.


To start working on the identity shifts associated with losing a significant amount of weight, Steven likes to work on building a foundation of self-love and self-compassion. He believes that combating your negative thoughts with positive affirmations that you can do it is very important in building that foundation of self-love.


Jared has noticed that many believe they need to achieve results before changing their identity, so they try to force their way through to results without building that foundation and working on the identity shifts needed. Steven, Jared points out, saw the version of himself he wanted to be and went after it—making his actions congruent with the identity he wanted.


Steven has lost more than 120 lbs and kept it off for over 17 years by cultivating the values and priorities that are aligned with those results.


He believes that you need to consider the results you want and think about the actions and decisions a person who has those results makes. Then, you need to commit to being that person before you start.


One thing Jared noticed that Steven did was label himself—he labeled himself as someone who strength-trains, does what he says, etc. People who can utilize labeling appropriately will rise to those labels.


If you say you are a person with high standards, you will raise your standards.


Similarly, people also label themselves negatively, perhaps saying they are a person who “struggles with consistency”—and then fulfill that expectation.


When Jared was first starting therapy, his therapist asked him if he had any labels growing up. When he was young, Jared was often called a worrier or a “little Eeyore.” Later in life, Jared struggled with anxiety because he believed and had adopted those labels as a part of his identity.


Steven, over time, realized the changes and identity shifts he needed to make, but when he got back into exercise after taking 5 years off, he found he had to go deeper and continue to shift his identity.



How to Enjoy The Weight Loss Journey:

Steven believes that the key is finding happiness beyond the scale and seeing the number drop.


He likes to have his clients focus on the actions, behaviors, and habits that lead to the goal, but not focus solely on the outcome.


He asks his clients to find happiness outside of the weight loss because simply losing the weight and being a smaller version of themselves will not bring them happiness.


Jared notes that, as Kyle Cease says, when you are unhappy, you are not in a safe place—you are in a mini fight-or-flight state, so you need to find happiness now and make yourself a safe place for your own progress.


Steven sees this mini fight-or-flight state as a lack of self-belief.


He believes in self-care and what he calls “stress-relief hygiene”—every day he meditates and reads, and going into 2023, he wants to begin to journal more.


Doing these things activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes you, allowing you to reduce stress.


Finding things that help you relax—and making time for those things—helps you to become a happier person and escape that fight-or-flight state.


Jared loves the approach of treating self-care as hygiene.


He uses the examples of brushing your teeth—something you do twice a day—as a basic way of taking care of yourself, or cleaning the lint trap in your dryer—you don’t wait until the dryer catches fire to clean the lint trap…


…and we shouldn’t wait until our weight or food relationships are out of control to change.


When Steven was going through a difficult custody battle with his son’s mother, he implemented stress-relief techniques to help keep him out of the fight-or-flight state and keep himself mentally and physically healthy.


Jared has found that people who live in a state of fight-or-flight can’t get to the results they desire—and if they somehow manage to, they can’t keep the results.


Those who follow Jared know his focus on the reticular activating system (R.A.S.)—when your headspace is off, your R.A.S. will hide your successes and only highlight data that supports your negative beliefs.


This is why those with a poor headspace will nearly always struggle to achieve or maintain results.


Places Where Weight Loss Goes Wrong:

Steven says that the first place people go wrong is by giving up.


If you keep picking yourself up when you fall down and continue working, you will get there eventually.


People want things to go fast, but weight loss—especially significant weight loss—is a long journey.


Steven also believes that tracking food is one of the most important skills you need to cultivate.


Even around the holidays—when it’s particularly difficult to track or estimate well—you can’t let one day throw you off.


Tracking and moving your body are two things you have to do and be consistent with.


Jared has seen many people—especially those who have a significant amount of weight to lose—give up before they even start. He has not seen a single case of someone who is relentless in a goal and did not succeed in the end.


Steven sees people give up because they let negativity win. They let negative thoughts take over their mind and fulfill those outlooks.


He refers to a book titled Hardwiring Happiness (by Rick Hanson) that talks about how our brain is very in-tune with negative things because, in the past, those served us for survival—but they don’t now—so if one bad thing happens in your day, you will have a more negative outlook for the rest of the day.


You have to fight that natural tendency to see the negative by focusing on the positive—one place where Steven finds journaling to be very helpful.


Jared points out that this goes beyond just thinking positive thoughts.


People need to understand that you were sold a belief and a story of your life. The idea that you are “not good enough” or “can’t achieve your goals” are stories (or labels) that you are buying into.



20 lbs vs 120 lbs Weight Loss:

Jared sees many people believe that they must approach weight loss differently when they have a large amount to lose—but he personally believes that no matter the amount of weight, you should approach weight loss more or less in the same way.


Steven agrees that the same strategies apply no matter the amount of weight needing to be lost.


Jared believes that people would be helped by reframing their weight loss as “I have 1 lb to lose X number of times.”


Though many disagree, Jared believes that when you have a lot of weight to lose you should not lose it rapidly because you have to do a lot more to lose 5 pounds in a week versus 1 pound.


If you go slowly—taking your weight loss one pound at a time—it allows you to celebrate your small wins and build momentum.


Steven agrees that small, tangible goals are the best way to go, and the belief that you need to approach weight loss differently or lose weight more rapidly is a story sold by diet culture.


Steven is also a fan of breaking your weight loss into small chunks—1 pound or 5 pounds—and setting realistic expectations.


Jared points out that our expectations have a heavy effect on us, using the example of taking a sip of a sip of coffee when you were expecting water—you will initially be taken aback, even repulsed, because your expectations were not met.


This is why Hamilton Trained works hard to set expectations with clients—because they have been sold a story by diet culture and the reality of weight loss is not in line with their initial expectations.


Steven has had many people ask if they could lose X amount of weight in 3 months, to which he replies that if they do the work they will reach their goals, but he cannot guarantee that it will happen in a certain time frame.


He then follows up by asking them if they would be happy if they were to lose X amount of weight in 3 months—to which they always reply yes—so he points out that there is no reason to be attached to the timeline if they would be happy no matter the amount of weight lost in that timeframe.


Jared points out that, many times, people get too hyper-fixated on the outcome and not the actions required to actually reach the outcome.


Closing Thoughts:

Steven has found that he developed a habit of night eating—waking up in the middle of the night and snacking.


For Steven, if he does this once, he is very likely to do it more—so he tracks each day, noting whether he night-eats or not.


Steven believes that the 80/20 rule applies to calories. If you are on target 80 percent of the time, you’re doing well.


Being 24 for 30 is still a good month. If you were only 20 out of 30, you know why you’re not reaching your goals and you can exercise some self-love and get back on track.


This is something Jared has worked on with his mentor because he naturally wants to achieve large, often overly-ambitious amounts of progress. His mentor has him set smaller, more consistently achievable goals.


Steven likes to work on this with his clients so that they can see their behaviors and know when they are heading in the right direction as they work toward their goals.


He likes to have his clients detach from outcomes and keep that as their “North Star” to help guide their actions.


In closing, Steven emphasizes again that you need to start with building your foundation of self-compassion and working on your identity. Think about who you want to become to achieve the result and act in a way that supports that identity.


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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media

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© 2023 Jared Hamilton


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