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  • Writer's pictureDieting From The Inside Out

Navigating & Managing OVERWHELM ft. Susan Niebergall | Dieting from the Inside Out Ep.239

In today's episode, we have an amazing guest for you—Susan Niebergall.

I'm sure most of you follow her—and if you don’t—you should. Susan and I always have great conversations when we get together and we cover a lot in this episode. We talk about Susan's journey in jiu-jitsu, Susan getting out of her comfort zone, and the parallels jiu-jitsu has drawn for her—in coaching, fat loss, and life. We also talked about some of the myths surrounding weight loss and getting stronger, for everyone, but with a focus on women—especially as they're aging. Susan is in her 60's and is in the best shape of her life. We also went into being successful in weight loss transformation—it was an amazing episode.

There is so much you can take away from this episode with everything Susan and I got into, which is exactly what Dieting from the Inside Out is all about. We don't just look at the outer work, we need to look inward. As James Allen famously wrote, "You cannot travel within and stand still without." I know you'll enjoy and get a lot out of today's episode.


(00:00) – Introduction

(01:11) – Our sponsors

(04:42) – About today's episode

(06:53) – Catching up with Susan and jiu-jitsu

(16:32) – Jiu-jitsu seminars and parallels to weight loss

(28:18) – Parallels between jiu-jitsu and coaching

(39:56) – Prominent struggles in fitness and with goals

(56:47) – Where to find Susan

(57:53) – Closing thoughts and how to sign up for coaching

Transcription (click to open)

Episode Synopsis


Susan has been in some pain lately due to a hip issue, she also tweaked both shoulders in jiu-jitsu. Susan is a beginner and has been doing jiu-jitsu for several months, and after a particularly intense session, she ended up with tweaked shoulders. Even after a week, she’s still feeling that session.

Susan has found that during her jiu-jitsu sessions, after getting her hip warmed up it becomes something that she doesn’t even notice, so in some ways, jiu-jitsu is really helping her hip. Since she is older, it takes her longer to recover, which is something she wants to create more content around in the future.

Jiu-jitsu has been an experience for both Jared and Susan that has taught them equanimity—that is to say mental calmness.

Jared Hamilton of the Dieting from the Inside Out Podcast speaking about navigating and managing overwhelm.
"Take inventory of what's in your control and what's not and then keep a level of emotional neutrality." - Jared Hamilton

Jiu-jitsu Seminars and Parallels to Weight Loss:

Early in her Jiu-jitsu journey, Susan attended a women’s-only seminar, where she was one of two or three white belts, with most attendees being more experienced. It was a very intimidating experience and Susan had to persuade herself to go back after the first day.

It has been Jared’s experience as well—who has two stripes on a blue belt and has been in the sport for 3 or so years—that seminars tend to be overwhelming. They have great, experienced teachers, but oftentimes only show more complex sequences.

Susan and Jared both agree that more awareness about who is in the audience and having a plan around that would really improve the seminar experience for those who are younger in the sport.

Since Jared and Susan both have experience teaching others, identifying these gaps is very easy for them, as they have been on both sides in other areas of life—like weight loss.

Learning all the terms and the sequences in jiu-jitsu is very much like the weight loss journey, where you are learning new concepts, terms, and techniques.

Susan loves the learning aspect of jiu-jitsu, she writes everything down and enjoys both the physical and cognitive challenge, and she is learning where her strengths will be. Susan’s fitness level makes an impact on her jiu-jitsu performance.

Going back to the women’s seminar she attended, while it was one of the hardest things she’s done, it was ultimately something she is glad she did.

At the seminar, and while learning jiu-jitsu, Susan must take small bits and pieces at a time and build toward greater ability and knowledge—which is the same for those new to fitness and weight loss.

Jared just wrote about his top 5 life principles from jiu-jitsu, and this breaking down of an overwhelming, complex topic into, “what can I do and what can I control; here are logical steps,” is a concept that helps in many areas of life.

Parallels between Jiu-jitsu and Coaching:

For Susan, focusing on what is in her control is the biggest lesson that is applicable between life, weight loss, and jiu-jitsu.

Susan coaches her clients to focus on what they can do—and things like her shoulder soreness are causing her to really need to practice what she preaches. She and Jared both have the experience of being experts in one field and now being nearly lost entering a new sport and having to go through the learning, struggling, and growing that comes with that.

Jared and Susan are both hyper-aware of how uncomfortable and overwhelming being new to something like fitness can be. Both jiu-jitsu and weight loss can be mentally, emotionally, and physically overwhelming

A person who is new to strength training has a lot of information to learn, will have struggles with workouts, and while they can just jump in and try to learn on their own, working with a coach can help them focus and cut through the noise.

Susan has started jiu-jitsu with one-on-one training, which has helped her build confidence. She has space to take notes and can be comfortable learning. This is the reason why Jared and Susan are coaches. They are here to help guide people through the process of transformation through weight loss.

Susan sees many people who are new to strength training trying to learn everything online—which can be a struggle—and encourages people to find a coach who can help them get through the learning and stay on track.

When Jared was working with a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, he became so focused on the “roadblock” directly in front of him that he didn’t even realize he was making basic mistakes, which the brown belt then pointed out during their training.

Jared and Susan often see clients of theirs struggle similarly in weight loss. If the scale isn’t moving or they didn’t follow their diet to a T, they stop tracking and constantly find themselves restarting These types of issues can be overcome with the right guidance.

Fitness Trainer and Strength Coach Susan Niebergall with a quote about managing overwhelm.
"The second you start putting that deadline on there—and all of a sudden you feel like you're 'not on track' to reach your goal—then we do crazy sh*t." - Susan Niebergall

Prominent Struggles in Weight Loss and Goals:

Susan has noticed that everyone wants to build muscle, but most do not understand the process.

People often ask, when she posts a transformation picture, how many years it took between the before and after, which is not something she can answer exactly—because the answer is years.

Susan doesn’t want the fact that transforming your body can take years to be discouraging because, if you are enjoying the process, the time it takes doesn’t really matter.

For Susan, not focusing on progress every day—or having a hard date—was better than pushing herself toward a deadline. She understands that people need goals, but finds that setting a performance-based goal like “I want to do a chin-up,” is more effective for someone to be successful and able to enjoy the process of losing weight and getting in shape, whereas saying “I want to lose X amount in Y days,” can set a person up to do all kinds of crazy things to reach that goal.

For Susan, the real answer is to do the things you should be doing to take care of yourself and to let go of the need to accomplish your weight loss by a specific date.

Jared similarly has found that having a distant goal but being okay with letting go of that expectation when you are working toward it is a balance that ultimately leads to greater success.

Goals can be a great thing, but each time you accomplish a goal, you will naturally want to achieve something else.

Jared has experienced this in his business endeavors. While he was constantly reaching (and even exceeding) his goals, he was constantly setting new goals and never allowing himself to enjoy his accomplishments.

Susan, with her recent struggles in jiu-jitsu and injuries, has found herself feeling old and feeble. She has had to work hard to not get caught up in those feelings and find balance. Being more conscious and aware of her feelings and mentality.

Ultimately, she’s stepped out of her comfort zone, has learned new things, and is better because she’s pushed herself.



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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media


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