Up until 8 years ago, I was one of those people who struggled with their weight their entire life. I was a yoyo, up and down. I’d put on weight, lose it, and then put it back on. I read a ton of diet books and dabbled in each diet/exercise program, but inevitably, I’d cheat, binge, and put back on even more weight.
I was in a vicious cycle with my body and food that I couldn’t stop. Or, at least, that I didn’t know how to stop.
Now, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to get thin. I wanted to be thin more than anything in the world.
But, what I didn’t realize at the time, was that I had a huge obstacle blocking my weight loss success. Her name was Lucy.
Who is Lucy?
Lucy is my “brat,” the voice of the entitled child in my head who messes with my dreams. Until I got Lucy under control, she was a major force in my life who had me readily blow off workouts, eat junk food, drink way too much alcohol, oversleep, break my promises, manipulate people, and blow money on random gadgets I didn’t need. Yes, that’s my Lucy. She was the instigator and main contributor to every major catastrophe in my life.
Lucy also kept me fat and unhappy for more than 25 years.
I first became aware of Lucy when I was 80 pounds overweight and starting to work with my coach. After one of my sessions, my coach gave me a homework assignment, to keep a thought log. The thought log had me pay attention and write down all of my thoughts about food, body, and weight.
That’s when I really heard Lucy for the first time. Her voice was loud and demanding. I want cake! I don’t wanna workout! Five drinks on a weeknight isn’t a lot. Let’s order pizza, it’s only midnight! Lucy was lazy, sloppy, annoying, bored, bossy, and manipulative. All she wanted to do was eat junk food, drink alcohol, watch HBO, and complain about everything that wasn’t working in my life and blame it on other people. She would go on tangents about how I was never going to be thin, how hopeless it was anyway, and how I should just eat the cheeseburger already and enjoy it.
No wonder I didn’t stay on a diet. I had a tween in my head! And she never shut up. She had an opinion about everything. I knew that if I kept listening to her advice, I was never going to lose weight.
My coach told me the best way to silence Lucy was with promises and consequences. So, I chose a diet, made food promises, and created self-imposed consequences to help me keep those promises. My main consequence if I cheated on my diet? I had to do a workout at 6am the following morning. And, for those of you who don’t know me, that is hell for me.
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Lucy did not like my new promises. As you can imagine, she was not a morning person.
As a matter of fact, she’d tantrum, yell at me daily about my promises and how she needed pizza at least twice a week, as well as birthday cake with extra icing on weekends, or she was going to die. She was also too tired to workout and needed a drink every night to unwind from her difficult day. Instead of giving in to her demands like I had done my whole life, I started to tune her out. The more I ignored Lucy and kept my promises, the more confident and proud I became, the more weight I lost, and the quieter Lucy got. Then, one day, Lucy just gave up on trying to get me to cheat on my diet. She knew it was a lost cause. I had stopped listening to her.
Eight months later, I reached my goal weight.
I’ve maintained my weight for 8 years now. Does Lucy still talk to me in the area of food and body? Sure, sometimes she does. I’ll be out to dinner with friends and the waiter will put a basket of warm sourdough bread on the table. Immediately, Lucy will try to convince me that sourdough bread is healthy and good for my bones. I just laugh at her, tell her to shut up, and then tell the waiter to take the bread away.
Your Inner Brat
Is your brat messing with the dream you have for your health and body?
Here how to pinpoint your brat and recognize your own version of Lucy:
- The brat is the voice in your head that is an annoyed, entitled child. It’s the adult version of a 4-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.
- The brat is always running a scam, manipulating situations to get what it wants.
- The brat is not fighting for your happiness. It’s fighting for the Tiramisu.
Finally, here are the basic steps that I followed in order to silence my brat around food. Though it’s straightforward, this process is not necessarily easy. I don’t think I’d ever have succeeded fully without the help of my coach or, at the very least, without finding an accountability buddy who has already beaten their brat in this area.
Steps to Leashing Your Brat
1) Listen to your inner dialogue. Pay attention to your thoughts and find where you are a brat in your life. What does your brat say to you that sounds so convincing? How does it manipulate you? How is your brat stopping you from achieving your dreams? (Hint: The brat will say things to make you quit pursuing your goals, cop out on plans and not keep your word, especially to yourself. Where there are abandoned dreams, there are always the ramblings of the brat.)
2) Give your brat a nickname. Have a sense of humor about it. I named my brat after Lucy from The Peanuts and Lucy from I Love Lucy. Double trouble. Both Lucy’s were troublemakers, who made big messes, just like I did with my body.
3) Make specific promises to stop your brat (the thinking and the behavior). Make sure your promises are well defined actions you have to take and thoughts you cannot allow.
Beware: Brats love loopholes! My brat, Lucy, is an expert at finding loopholes; she should have been an attorney. A good way to avoid loopholes is to make specific promises, i.e. specifying how long, how often, and at what intensity you must work out. My personal promise is to do 4 forty minute workouts on the elliptical every week. Again, a coach can really help you design the right promises for you!
4) Design and implement strong consequences that will have you keep your promises. Consequences are not to punish you, but to make you feel the immediate effects of breaking your commitments. Start with something you’d hate to give up: TV time, wine, money, etc.
5) Find an accountability buddy to help you silence your brat and keep your promises. It’s important to work with a coach or a reliable friend to help you be accountable to your promises. It will make the process easier. Also, tell everyone about your brat and how your brat is sabotaging your life. Everyone in my life knows about Lucy and all her shenanigans. Whenever she appears, my friends have no problem calling me Lucy. Sometimes they even do a Ricky Ricardo accent, “Luuuuuuuucy nooooooooooooo,” which always makes me laugh.
If you’re ready to silence your brat and design a body you love, join expert coach Hildie Dunn for an 8-week Dream Body Tele-course, where you will get into the right actions to, finally and forever, lose those extra pounds and achieve your dream body. If you’d like to work on another area of your life, schedule a free 30 minute consultation call with a HG staff member to discuss the different workshops, seminars, private and group coaching experiences we offer that could help you design your life and realize your dreams.