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Why We Feel So Awful When We Slip

Hi, it's Dr. Angela!

In the clinic, and in the online Journey Beyond Weight Loss membership, we always notice how much people beat themselves up when they slip and fall back into old eating habits. Let's explore that and discuss ideas to overcome those times.

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
14:06 Lets talk about the science going on in your brain when you 'slip up'.
17:33 Sugar is hidden in 80 percent of all processed foods!
25:36 Use the process of 'self compassion' to combat the fight, flight, or freeze motivation.

--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---

Podcast Episode 10:  Why We Feel So Awful When We Slip

Introduction: (00:00):
You are listening to the, keep the weight off podcast with Dr. Angela, episode number two,

New Speaker (00:06):
Welcome to the, keep the weight off podcast, where we bust all the dieting myths and discovered not just how to lose weight, but more importantly, how to keep it off. We go way beyond the food and we use science and psychology to give you strategies that work. And now your host, Dr. Angela Zechmann.

Dr. Angela (00:29):
Well, hello everyone. And welcome back to the podcast.So happy you're here with Marchelle and I today say hi, Marcelle. So today, we wanted to talk about why it is that we feel so horrible when we slip up, because we see this all the time, both in the clinic and in the online weight loss membership called Journey Beyond Weight Loss, the online course and membership that I have, we're always noticing, you know, how much people beat themselves up when they slip up and they fall back into old eating habits. And I just really wanted to talk about this today. We always see this, but for whatever reason, in the last week or two, there's just been some really, really poignant stories. So for example, I saw a woman the other day and, you know, I probably hadn't seen her for about a year and she came back into the clinic and I said, you know, I walked in and I said, Hey there, welcome back.

Dr. Angela (01:33):
How are you doing? And she just sort of sheepishly looked at me and she's like, well, I'm here. Just like that. It's the way she said that, you know, and it was like she had her proverbial tail between her legs. And I could just tell that she was really embarrassed and she'd been saying really mean things to herself. And the last time I'd seen her, you know, it was before the pandemic lockdowns had hit and she's a teacher, you know, it's been how for a lot of professions, but I think that the pandemic has really hit teachers and healthcare workers hard. And parents of school-aged children have been really hit hard too. And for this particular woman, it meant lots of time isolated at home and away from her beloved students. And she, she said, she just felt lost. She felt depressed. She didn't know what to do with herself other than eat.

Dr. Angela (02:32):
And so she was again, feeling really, really horrible about herself. And, and I, you know, I said, don't worry about it. We'll get you back on track, you know, and, and I'm going to tell you guys today what I told her so that we can help if you've been struggling so that we can help you get back on track. We've also had other patients really struggling because it's Easter time, you know, and of course the food industry is just all over that. They're tempting us with chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs and pastel cream filled Oreo cookies. Like you've seen it right. Marchelle. Like it's everywhere, like everywhere, everywhere we go. So, so anyway, like have, have you had patients telling you, like what's been going on for them?

Marchelle (03:27):
Yes. I, you know, I've heard just talking about this subject brings a lot of thoughts to my mind. Just to go back when you were talking about the patient, you know, that came and with their tail between her legs, you know, we see a lot of patients that come back and in my feeling about that is that when you, when you come back, this is an ongoing battle. And when patients come back, I'm so proud of them for not giving up. Yes, this is the, you know, you're not just cured and then you never need help. Again, this is like something that if you're doing okay for a while and you need to come back and get help, you just do it and you shouldn't feel bad about it because it is you, we all need support in this. I just never want anybody to feel bad for returning or reaching out for help. But anyway, so yeah, I've been hearing a lot of stories in the last couple of weeks about mostly Cadbury products.

Marchelle (04:37):
Because I think they're seasonal. So anything that only comes out, you know, every once in a while becomes more special or cherish, I guess. Right. So I had a patient come in and I can tell that she was acting differently than she normally acted. Cause she was doing really well. You know, we, I did her vitals, you know, worked her up and then we got into the exam room and she said, Michelle, I have to tell you something. And I said, what? And she said, so I went to the store and I saw it. I went down, you know, the candy aisle. And I saw this box of five Cadbury eggs. You know, they, they come in a box, they're like the full size. And she's like, they're my favorite. So I bought one box, you know, five of them. And in my mind I was going to bring them home and put them in my freezer and eat one, you know, like every couple of days.

Marchelle (05:35):
Cause like she said, they're seasonal and they're her favorite? Well, she ended up eating one every hour until they were gone. And then she said, she went back to the store and bought five more boxes and ate them over a two week period of time. That's 50, 50 more of them. And she just could not, she no idea why she did it. She felt super out of control. Of course she felt very sick and she needed help to get back on track because then at this point now she was, you know, in the cycle of craving and just didn't really know how to like get back on track because she felt so bad about what she had done and didn't, you know, didn't want to tell anybody about it. And I totally understand that because I've done those kinds of things. So yeah, so, you know, and not, and she's not the only patient.

Speaker 3 (06:29):
I mean, we had another patient that she said that she bought, you know, the little milk chocolate Cadbury eggs, and she bought a bag of them and she was going to just eat a couple of them at a time and she ate the whole thing wagon one night and couldn't couldn't believe it. Yeah, she did it. So, you know, came into the clinic, just feeling super bad about herself before she got on the scale, you know, she says it's going to be bad. And so she, you know, she already had set herself up for disappointment and and actually she hadn't gained any weight, but just the fact that she knew that she had lost control just made her feel super bad about herself. And so we've been hearing, you know, a lot about that. We hear a lot about that on and off, but I just want people to understand that, you know, this happens you know, I have my own story to tell about this last week, but that's, that's something we've been hearing about a lot the last couple of weeks, because Easter is just full of candy pressure because it's all about candy and, you know, parents are buying baskets for their kids full of candy.

Marchelle (07:33):
There's a lot of temptation there cause they don't want to deprive their children of their traditional, you know, Easter baskets. So there's that. So it's, it's a hard holiday to get through in my opinion. Yeah. This year's Easter experience was a little bit different for me because it fell on the anniversary of my brother and my grandmother's death or their passing. And my brother passed away at my parents' home and we had Easter at their home and I know that everybody was holding back emotions. We we tried to just play games and have dinner, but I know that everybody was feeling the tension and it bothered me that we didn't talk about him a lot because I know how hard it is for my parents. All right. And so you know, keeping those emotions in. Yeah, I think that I was probably out of control like inside, but then on the outside academic, I had everything together.

Marchelle (08:34):
So we had dinner. I only ate, yeah. You know, the protein, I was really good. I passed up, you know, the desserts didn't need any of, you know, the candy or anything like that. And Austin had played one of the yard games and he won a dozen cookies from the, my mother had me, he's your son, my son Austin yet. So he won, you know, a dozen cookies. And so that means they were coming home to our house and I didn't really think much of it. And so on a side note, my brothers very favorite thing was Cadbury eggs. I mean so much so that one of his best friends posted on Facebook that morning. I miss you Logan Cadbury eggs forever. Oh my gosh. Yes. So so what we did was after we left my parents' house, there were some Cadbury eggs and Austin's basket and we stopped by the the grave site and I brought him a Cadbury egg.

Marchelle (09:41):
Oh yeah. Okay. And so and I thought, you know, I thought we were doing our, I was doing really well and holding it together. So then we got home that night and like I said, I didn't snack, I didn't eat any of the 80 of the leftovers that were sent home by my parents. And for some reason I got up this morning, like around six o'clock because that's where rich gets up, my husband and I went right to those cookies and they're not even my favorite kind. And I immediately ate three of them. Right. In a role like, like I could, like, I couldn't get enough of them like eating, you know, like the cookie monster eats cookies. Yeah. It was like, it looked like that and I downed it with some milk. And so, and then afterwards I couldn't figure out why I had just done that.

Marchelle (10:40):
I mean, I was so shocked at myself because I almost didn't even taste them because I was eating them so fast. And then I went up and I talked to my husband and I said, you know what? I just did. I just went down there and ate three of those cookies. And he, and he was really shocked. He's like, you've been doing so good. Like, like what happened? I could not figure out what happened, but I do know that I struggled still and I have these slips and I try to not be really down on myself. Like I probably would have before I understand that this is just a part of the journey. Yeah. And the, you know, and, and, and then about an hour afterwards, I got super sick to my stomach. Oh yeah. That was an indicator that I did something not happy.

Dr. Angela (11:31):
Yeah. Okay. So

Marchelle (11:34):
So I just wanted to share that, you know, that experience with everybody that, you know,

Dr. Angela (11:38):
Well, we hear that, we hear that a lot when people will say you know, I did really, really well during such and such an event or while my mother was visiting or my mother-in-law was visiting or whatever the event was, or I did really, really well during Christmas or, and then after all of the tension is released is when the brain is like, all right, now, now give me what I want. Give me what I really want. And it's like, your defenses are down. You know,

Marchelle (12:09):
I'm thinking possibly that with the way that my brain works, that I felt like I might've deprived myself from all the things that I, you know, that were in front of me because, you know, at Easter you have all of this stuff, you know, potato salad and ham and bread and desserts and you know, sides that, you know, all these things, all these orders, you know, crackers and such. And I think that when I feel like I deprive myself, then at some point I snap and then I want to eat, you know, a thousand Oreos because I had held, but I don't know. That's just the way my brain works. I'm not sure if anybody else experiences that. But when, you know, when there's an event where there's a lot of temptation and I hold back, that's like a really dangerous time for me, because then my mind becomes obsessed with that. But if I, you know, if it's not in my life, like if I, you know, in my daily life where I don't have that in my house, and I'm not tempted with it, then I, I'm pretty strong and I can make good decisions, especially, you know, if I'm prepping food. But when I just go through a point where it's all there and I have said no, when I feel proud of myself, something snaps in my brain after that. And then I, I want it so bad. Yeah.

Dr. Angela (13:27):
Yeah. That's, that's really common. That's, that's your brain. So we'll talk about that. About how to manage that on another podcast episode, like what to do when your brain feels deprived. So I think that's really good topic, so yeah, but I mean, I just want our listeners to know, like, we totally get everything that's going on for you. We do, we really get this. We have all, we have our own experiences. We hear the stories from our patients. We get this. And I wanted to explain a little bit of the science behind what's going on in our brains when these things happen. And we slip up because I think if you, you know, if you're somebody who's struggling right now, or you've struggled in the past, or I guarantee you you'll struggle in the future, you know, I think that if you know, what's going on in your brain, you won't be beating yourself up about it.

Dr. Angela (14:31):
And that's really half the battle. Would you agree? I mean, I think us beating ourselves up about it is almost worse than what actually happened. Would you agree with that? Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm also going to give you some ideas for how you can talk yourself off the ledge when you do slip up so that you can get back on track as soon as you as soon as possible. So the first thing I want you to understand is that food is everywhere. These days, it's constantly advertised. We're socialized to be eating constantly re we reward ourselves with food. We Sue ourselves with food. We mourn with food is a huge part of most people's lives. And so the problem is that most of these things that we call food are actually like drugs. You know, they're what I would call edible drugs. They contain really highly processed sugar and flour, and these things are highly addictive.

Dr. Angela (15:32):
So much of what we consider to be food like bread or pasta, or those Cadbury eggs are actually edible drugs. So, and I've talked about this in previous podcasts, but I really want to hone in on this again. So I want you to imagine, like, if you were a cocaine addict or a heroin addict or an opiate addict, and you've managed to get clean and sober and you're out in the world again and you're feeling great and you're getting your life back together. But imagine if everywhere you turned, there are billboards advertising crack, and every convenience store sells it. And anytime you go visit a friend, they offer you some, can you imagine how difficult it would be to stay clean and sober, especially if you had a really crappy day and your willpower was sucked dry, you'd be at really high risk. So I would say for you, Marshall, you know, like having this anniversary of your brother's death, I mean, that is really, really tough emotional situation that left you super, super vulnerable. Would you agree? Yep.

Speaker 3 (16:45):
I hear this all the time with patients is that people really have it together when they're super invested and they're really motivated and they're feeling really good about what they're doing. And then something will just sideswipe them out of nowhere. And then that will take them directly down a path of slipping. And that happens with me. I'm sure it happens with other people and it's willpower. It's hard to have willpower when you're feeling emotional or you're feeling tired or you're feeling stressed and you know, the wrong things are put in your face. And it's everywhere

Dr. Angela (17:27):
Constantly. We're surrounded by highly addictive foods that are thrown in our face constantly. And, you know, sugar is hidden in 80% of all processed foods that is crazy

Marchelle (17:41):
Can trying to tell our patients, you know, that the salt, sugar, fat are the only substance substances that we eat that give us that dopamine hit. That's why we don't crave broccoli.

Dr. Angela (17:53):
Exactly. And that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So, well, and I'm also thinking about, you know, this teacher that I saw the other day, you know, like if you can imagine all of the extra stress that the pandemic has put us under, like if you, if you take a magnifying glass, like the pandemic was like taking a magnifying glass and literally sort of shining a spotlight on our lives and magnifying everything. So like, if you've been feeling lonely now, all of a sudden, okay, let's just force you to be completely alone for months at a time, or maybe your spouse has been driving you crazy. And let's just force you to spend 24 seven with your spouse, or, you know, maybe your you know, your kids had been driving you a little bit crazy. Well, he needed a break from your kids.

Dr. Angela (18:47):
Well, no, you're not going to get a break from your kids. They're going to be home with you. And you're going to have to do online school for months and months and months. I mean, it's like, if you want to escape to the sun, good luck with that. Like nobody's traveling. Right? So so 2020, it was just really, really hard for people. And so lots and lots of people had a real hard time with the pandemic. So I don't think any of us have had have any real idea of just how awful this pandemic has been for us. And I don't really want to be a Debbie downer, but I just really want our listeners to give themselves a break. If they've been struggling, this has been really hard. Now, here's what I want you to understand about the brain and what it does under times of stress.

Dr. Angela (19:37):
It goes back to what it knows. Well, okay. So it has to conserve energy to deal with the stress. And so your brain is not going to want to spend any extra time trying to plan meals or meal prep, or do anything when it's feeling threatened. So if you slip up under stress, that's called normal brain behavior, that's called normal to be expected. Okay. So the other thing that the brain does is it turns the threat response inwards. So the primitive brain, the part of your brain, that's always trying its best to sort of keep you alive. It's always looking for threats to defend itself against. And this primitive response is called fight flight freeze and it's oriented toward physical threats like war like a warring tribe member or a tire that wants to kill us. So the brain gets ready to either fight or run like hell or freeze in place.

Dr. Angela (20:47):
And this is a pure survival response that occurs. But most of us these days are not dealing with physical threats anymore. We're dealing with more subtle threats to our sense of self or our self-esteem. So the brain turns this fight flight or freeze response inwards on ourselves. So we fight against ourselves with self criticism, or we flee by isolating ourselves by shutting ourselves off from other people. Or we freeze by ruminating about our failures. Okay. So this is what happens when we slip up and this is why our brains are doing this to us. So we come under some sort of stress, perhaps we're just tired. Perhaps for like for you, it was it was your brothers and the anniversary of your brother's death. For our patients, it was COVID stress. We eat something that is familiar to us, perhaps it's a cookie or a doughnut or a Cadbury egg.

Dr. Angela (21:56):
And then this is going to trigger the addiction center in the brain. So this is the other piece of it that's going on because we have, before we know it, the addiction center is wanting to get fed that dopamine hit over and over again. And so we're eating way more than we ever imagined we would. And we start to feel really badly. And then the primitive brain starts beating us up with self-criticism and then we ruminate about what a failure you are. We are, and then we start to isolate. So the next thing we know, we're thinking effort, I'm just going to start over tomorrow or Monday, or maybe I'm just going to give up altogether. So that is what happens for people. That's probably what happened for that poor woman with a Cadbury eggs who was really, really struggling with those. I really have to hand it to her because she showed up for her appointment. Right.

Marchelle (22:53):
And she, and she told her story and she didn't feel good about it, but I that's, what I think is so strong is when our patients come back or when you're super struggling and they just tell the truth because there's no perfect way of doing this. And I know that people hear stories of, you know, I just got on, you know, this program and in three months I lost, you know, 70 pounds and everything's perfect and you're not put in commercials. And so people believe that they're supposed to be like the short period of time, where they get cured and they're going to be beautiful and everything is going to be rainbows for the rest of their life. That it doesn't work like that. It never will. I mean, these addictions go so far back into our, like I was saying, you know, back into my childhood, I was addicted to candy because I had a, kind of a rough childhood.

Marchelle (23:52):
And that was like, what made me feel better was, you know, eating the sweet tarts or, you know, whatever else that I ate. And so it's just so deeply rooted that, you know, sometimes I just, even though I know that I'm supposed to be doing something else, it just takes over. And then before I know it, you know, I'm feeling bad about myself and, you know, talking negatively. And I, and I don't want to tell anybody what I did because I'm embarrassed and that's just not the way that this works like this. We have to really tell each other what's going on and be realistic because nobody's story is going to be worse than anybody else's story. We've all gone there when we are struggling with this addiction. And so I, you know, I feel like when I'm with patients and they're telling me something, I will share, you know, something that I've done, just so that they realize that they're not just coming into the clinic.

Marchelle (24:58):
And they're the only ones that have been through this and where does here to, you know, help them or give them advice. Like I'm going through the same stuff that they're going through. And, you know, and I like sharing my story because usually what ends up happening is we get on this wavelength and we both are supportive to each other. And then we both come out feeling better and, you know, we've got some new motivation and a lot of times that's what it takes. Like you don't want to isolate during this time. That's the worst thing to do because you're just, you you're left to spend too much time talking negatively about, you know, to yourself.

Dr. Angela (25:35):
Yeah. Yeah. There's actually a process that you can go through that you can take yourself through and it's called self-compassion and it was developed by a woman named Dr. Kristin Neff. And she, she did all of this research and this has all come out in the last 10 years. And it is really amazing because what you can do is you can use the tools of self-compassion to counteract that fight flight freeze response that's going on in your brain. And I'm just going to give you guys the cliff notes version of something that I teach much more in depth in journey, beyond weight loss in that membership that I have. So, so this is, these are the three steps of self-compassion. So again, the first thing you have to do is you have to recognize that when you're living in an environment where food is everywhere, slips are going to be inevitable.

Dr. Angela (26:33):
Like, it doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong. If you slip up, it just means you're human and this is hard. Okay. So that's the first thing I want you to understand you counteract the rumination piece of it, which is where you're like, Oh my God, I can't believe I did this. Blah, blah, blah. You know all of that brain stuff, that's going on, you just become really present. You bring yourself into the now because what the brain has this tendency to do is say, Oh my gosh, I'm a failure. I'm never going to get this right. And it's projecting into the future. And it's thinking about, and bringing yourself into the present moment and you, that's what you do to counteract that rumination, you become present to what's going on right now. How do I feel right now? What is this feeling that I'm feeling?

Dr. Angela (27:21):
So for example, you could say something like, well, I feel really, really frustrated right now because I slipped. Or maybe you feel ashamed because you slipped or maybe you feel guilty, just name, whatever that feeling is. And that is going to keep you from ruminating about what a failure you are. You just say, I feel and the name, whatever the feeling is. Okay. And then the next step is to counteract that tendency to isolate, because remember when we're feeling the, and we're ruminating like this and thinking that we're a failure, we just want to go hide that's normal brain response to that, that fight flight freeze response. So the next thing you're going to do is you're going to counteract that tendency to isolate by reminding yourself that you're not alone. Okay. And that's the thing that I think so many people with this who struggle with their weight, don't really understand everybody's struggling.

Dr. Angela (28:22):
Everybody is you're not alone. All people struggle. All people feel frustrated or ashamed or guilty or incompetent or incapable or whatever the negative emotion is. All people struggle. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. If you're struggling and you got to reach out for support. Okay. And so you know, we've got great free support in my Facebook group. It's called Sugar and Flour Buster Society. If you're not a member of Sugar and Flour Buster Society get in there. And if you want to join us in the Journey Beyond Weight Loss course, we're going to be opening that up again in May. So that would be another great way to get the support that you need. You'll get much more in-depth education there as well. So getting the support, and then the last thing that you want to do is you want to counteract the self-criticism because remember your brain is like beating you up and you want to counteract that with kindness, kindness to yourself.

Dr. Angela (29:26):
So self kindness. So you ask yourself, what would I say to my best friend, if, if my best friend was in this situation and you'd want to treat yourself the same way you would treat your best friend. So you're not going to beat her up, right? You're going to love on her. You would tell her everything's going to be okay. You would tell her this is normal and she's doing fine. You just, and you tell yourself these things too, like everything is going to be fine. This doesn't mean the end of the world is just a little slip. It's not a big deal. Okay? So that's how you do this. You never ever beat yourself up. If you slip, you just use those three steps of self-compassion get yourself back on track as soon as possible. So what are the three steps? The first step is become present.

Dr. Angela (30:17):
So stop thinking about the past. Stop thinking about the future, think about what's going on right now, become very present and ask yourself what exactly is this feeling that you're feeling and then, and name it. Okay. And remind yourself that everyone struggles and you're not alone and reach out for the support that you need. And then lastly, you want to be really, really kind to yourself and you want to treat yourself the same way that you would treat your own best friend. So those are the steps of self-compassion and that's one of the re that's what to do when you feel awful, because you've slipped. And if you practice this, you are going to be well on your way towards lasting weight loss. And that's what this is all about. This is we're all about keep the weight off, right? And we don't want to, we don't want to end up in these cycles of constant pain every time we slip up. So what do you think of that, Marchelle?

Marchelle (31:21):
I think that is it's a life journey. And I think that, you know, there's a lot more levels to this. I think that sugar and flour busters is a great way to, you know, reach out to the community. But I think definitely that journey beyond weight loss as a way to really do the deeper work and really have like long lasting changes, because it goes far deeper than just losing weight. I mean, we, when people first come into the clinic, you know, I came in because I want to lose some weight, but then you start to realize that there's so much more to it. And I would encourage anybody that, that really wants to have like lasting weight loss and not just lasting weight loss, but happiness from the inside, a new identity, the way, you know, tools to get back on track, if you slip and, and just not give up, because even I've gone through it with Angela, I mean, sporadically, you know, last few times this time around has really hit me in a way that has changed me on the inside.

Marchelle (32:30):
And even though, you know, I went through this hard time and I did this this morning you know, and ate the cookies. I don't I'm, I'm not going to go eat taco bell and then go eat donuts for the rest of the day, because that's what I used to be. You know, I, I, I would just self comfort through food and especially like, everywhere you look, when I drive home every single, you know, place that I look, it makes me think of like something that I could eat there, you know, on my way home, I go by Ralph's Thriftway. I drive by there and I'm like, Oh yeah, that's where I used to, you know, get this, this snack. Or I would go to the juice bar and get this snack, or I would go by twisters donuts, you know? And it's just like this constant temptation, you know, the whole way home, or I would stop at Steamboat Island and I would get chips and a soda.

Marchelle (33:22):
And so it's, there's just so much temptation. And I just, I feel like if we all do some deeper work and stay connected and not isolate and come back and just not give up, then that's, that's where the success comes. Just, you just never give up. Yeah. Oh, that's so true. Yeah. The success comes in the commitment to never give up. So I really would encourage everybody to give themselves a chance that wants to make some real changes, to get more involved in this community and and, and learn how to deal with a lot of different situations. And so that's, that's what happens in Journey Beyond Weight Loss. Yeah. We do such awesome work there, like super awesome. We really do the deep work that's needed to really get your control. So I agree. Yep. Awesome. Okay. Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks to everyone for joining us this week and we will be back next week with our next episode. So take care everyone and have a great week. Bye.

Closing (34:30):
Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way, just head over to to sign up. Also, it would be awesome if you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes.


And we'll see you in journey beyond weight loss.

Dr. Angela


This episode was produced and marketing by the Get Known Podcast Service


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