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  • Writer's pictureDieting From The Inside Out

Weight Loss, the Mental Game, & Having Habits Stick with Coach Caroline | DFIO Ep.266

About Today’s Episode:

Today is a REALLY cool episode. I have a team member of mine—one of my coaches—Caroline, on the show.

Caroline is a registered dietitian, is super smart, and she brings a different perspective to this transformation game.

We get into her story, the struggles she had with disordered eating and exercise when she was younger, and what finally clicked and changed her life forever.

We really get into a LOT.

There is some amazing information here that will help you not only lose the weight, but make permanent changes in your lives.

Let’s get into it!


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Transcript (click to expand)

About Caroline:

In high school, Caroline didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. She was a normal, healthy size, but felt unhappy with the way she looked. She tried a variety of diets, appetite suppressants, and would Google things like “how to lose 10 lbs in two weeks” in her attempt to slim down.

Ultimately, Caroline just dealt with her poor body image.

Once she got to college, she had some more understanding of calories—she knew she needed to cut calories to lose weight—and she started going to the gym every day.

Things got to the point where Caroline was looking for the lowest-calorie foods she could eat and was doing things like having a salad for every meal.

While she did lose some weight, her eating was very disordered and her relationship with food was terrible.

Things completely changed when Caroline took a nutrition class as an elective.

Learning that the body needs calories—and was designed to utilize proteins, carbs, and fats—rocked her world.

Her relationship with food slowly began to improve with the more she learned about nutrition. She even changed her major to Nutrition so she could help people who felt the way she had.

Dietician vs. Nutritionist:

Jared takes a minute to emphasize that being a Registered Dietitian is not like getting a certification from some random company online. RD’s have an official board AND educational requirements.

Caroline goes on to explain that a Registered Dietitian is required to have a 4-year degree from an accredited university, complete an internship, and sit for the RD exam. RD’s are also held to a standard—there is an ethics board as well as continuing education requirements.

A nutritionist is not a protected term and anyone can call themselves a nutritionist—with or without certifications or education.

There are, of course, good nutrition certifications out there, but there are also some programs or individuals that are not sharing good information.

Jared admits that he, historically, has had a hard time getting along with dietitians because he finds that they often recommend things like “avoid Gatorade, but drink your body weight in milk,” or they dislike protein powders.

Caroline believes that it comes down to education.

In school, you learn a lot of useful things—but real-world application is different—and some dietitians fail to adjust from their formal education.

Caroline herself started out very “by the book,” but as she learned more through working with clients, her views on some things changed.

A good example is calorie deficits for weight loss:

In school, Caroline was taught to put someone who needed to lose 30 lbs on a 1200 to 1400-calorie diet, but that’s not something she would do now.

Jared emphasizes that a sign of a really good coach is one that knows when to lean in and lean out—when to go by the book and when it’s not appropriate.

What Impacted Caroline’s Philosophy:

Caroline’s life experiences have, of course, been the main driver of her philosophy surrounding diet, nutrition, and weight loss.

She went from disordered eating and over-exercising, to, for a while, thinking that people shouldn’t ever try to lose weight at all, and that everything needed to be intuitive.

Caroline believes that the body positivity movement had an impact on her going from one extreme to another.

When she started school, she was very unhealthy, but as she got into her Nutrition education, the “love yourself and never try to change yourself,” body positivity movement had really become popular, and she got into the ideology of just being happy as you are without trying to change yourself for a brief period.

Her philosophy went from one extreme to another, but over time—and through her experience and education—Caroline reached a more balanced view, recognizing that you can lose weight in a healthy way AND for positive reasons.

She now strives to help people achieve their weight loss in a healthy way, so they can change things, feel better, and be comfortable in their own skin.

Jared finds that it often takes knowing the extremes to reach a middle ground because then you know where the boundaries lie.

Caroline’s Perspective on Calories and Carbs:

From a scientific point of view, every cell needs glucose.

Learning that was mind-blowing for Caroline. Glucose comes from sugar, whether you get it from cake or strawberries—though, obviously, there are some differences in nutrients between the two.

Caroline points out that if we were meant to make our own food—like plants and photosynthesis—we would do that, but we are designed to eat things to sustain life, and we should enjoy the foods we eat.

A favorite quote for both Jared and Caroline is:

“If you weren’t supposed to enjoy food, you wouldn’t have taste buds.”

Why We Need Carbs:

Caroline starts by stating that, as she previously mentioned, carbs break down into glucose—and your muscles and your brain run on glucose. You need glucose to be able to move and function.

When Caroline has clients who believe in diet culture myths like “carbs make you fat,” she likes to explain the science behind carbohydrates, and other nutrients, because she finds that it takes the emotion out of it for people.

There are ways that you can change your macros and make adjustments to reach your goals, but carbs are needed.

Think about the keto diet—when people go on the keto diet they will get the keto flu. Keto seems convincing (Caroline even tried it when she was in college), but the diet can literally make you sick.

Jared points out that many people who say “carbs aren’t essential,” are talking about it from a survival perspective—but if you apply that logic to every area of your life, you can easily see its flaws.

For example, you only need one kidney, you can survive without two (or any) legs, you don’t need TV or air conditioning…

…the list goes on.

Just because something isn’t essential for survival doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have it or enjoy it.

Caroline agrees. Even though it is cool that the body can break down other nutrients (protein) and make glucose… would you want to do that?

Is it optimal? Does it make you feel good?

Probably not.

(And it's absolutely not ideal for your body to break down protein or your muscles for glucose.)

Eating, Weight Loss, and the Mental Game:

Caroline simply states that you should eat as much as you can get away with while losing weight because that’s what makes your weight loss sustainable.

You can eat 1200 calories, but everyone is different. Some people will be able to stick with it for a long time and others won’t. You have to decide what you want your quality of life to be.

Do you want to eat 1200 calories a day for the rest of your life?

Probably not.

Jared says you need willpower—but even if you are willing to suffer so you can lose weight, eventually it won’t be worth it.

Caroline goes on to say that a very low-calorie diet is hard on your metabolism, but that’s not the only issue. Sure, you don’t have as much energy, but there is also an emotional side.

Do you feel like you can go out to dinner with friends or have a glass of wine on a very low-calorie diet?

There is a mental health aspect to your diet that needs to be considered.

Jared has calls with people looking to sign up for coaching who are suffering—missing out on date night, avoiding pictures, and feeling depressed because they are afraid to eat more.

They are missing out on the experiences that make life enjoyable.

Jared believes that life is all about experiences. We all want to spend time with family or friends, travel, have nice things—happiness, in general, is an experience.

If you are trapped by diet culture and can’t have those experiences, you are giving up your quality of life.

Cutting calories might (or might not) get you there faster, but if you take a little more time, you can enjoy the ride.

People are in a rush, Caroline says, because they just don’t want to wait. They want to show up a month later and be down 100 lbs. They want the result, but don’t want to put in the work.

She goes on to say that it is hard work—and it can be scary.

Dealing with things like inner child issues and your food relationship has to be dealt with if you want to have sustainable change.

Jared says that fixing your relationship with food and unlearning the things you’ve learned from your parents or society is what really has to be unpacked for transformation to happen. It’s not all about calories—weight loss is a by-product of dealing with these issues.

Caroline is amazed at how much fixing your food relationship and body image bleeds into other areas of your life and makes a positive impact.

As Jared always says, “If you lose weight and stay the same you, you did it wrong.” We are the foundation of everything in our lives. If you improve yourself by 20%, everything else gets improved as well.

Think about it as, “Who do I need to become to lose weight,” not “How do I lose weight?”

It’s an identity shift.

Having Habits Stick:

Caroline says that accepting that you aren’t going to become the person you want to be overnight is the first step. From there, you need to make very, very small steps toward that goal.

She uses the example of wanting to wake up earlier. Instead of trying to wake up 2 full hours earlier, you could start with just getting up 15 minutes earlier and slowly work towards the time you ultimately want to be waking up at.

Jared finds that many people feel that small changes aren’t enough.

Caroline says that it’s a matter of how much you want it to stick—if you want that change to be lifelong, you need to be realistic about what you can do.

Jared points out that if you can’t achieve small goals, how can you think you would achieve larger goals?

Caroline says it’s the same with habits—people want to change 20 habits when they can’t change just one in the first place.

Jared mentions an event where he heard Jesse Itzler speak. Jesse is an extremely accomplished individual and during his speech, he said that he is a big fan of a habit-of-the-month approach—if you add a new habit each month, you will have 12 new habits in a year.

People want to go faster, but going slowly actually leads to sustainable results.

In the 180 Impact program, habits are not built as slowly as one new thing a month, but the approach is balanced to make change sustainable.

When clients want to go faster or want to do something extreme they often will defend those tactics even though it hasn’t worked for them.

Caroline thinks that people will defend systems that don’t work because it’s easy—if carbs are the problem, you don’t really have to change.

That’s why there are new fad diets every year. People want something to blame.

You need to think about what you can do and want to do for the rest of your life. Fad diets don’t teach you about nutrition and aren’t sustainable because they are extreme. In 180 Impact, you are taught skills that you take with you when you graduate from the coaching program.

Caroline’s Favorite Part of Coaching:

Caroline’s favorite part of coaching is seeing her clients' quality of life improve.

She loves seeing her clients able to enjoy life, go out to dinner, have wine, spend time with friends and family, etc. Helping them lose weight is cool, but what really fills her cup is seeing them happy.


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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media


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