In today’s “I Did It” episode, I chat with Martilyn Neilsen about mindset and beliefs. We discuss why women are hard on themselves and how to shift those beliefs. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/188
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- The way that you want to get to the goal is the way that you want to maintain the goal (5:47)
- Trust that something is going to happen then you don’t have to worry about it (9:56)
- Mindset plus daily actions and time (11:10, 11:33, 21:22)
- Figuring out what you don't want can lead you to what you do want (14:53)
- The pros and cons of being hard on oneself (16:54)
- Celebrate wins (18:09)
- Mental shifts about failure (23:07, 23:51, 24:30, 24:41)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 188.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And this is one of our special Friday editions of the “I Did It” series. And today, I'm talking with Martilyn Neilsen, and she shares her story with us. And some of the things that I really wanted to pull out to kind of entice you and hope that you continue to listen to this episode is this important conversation that we have around two things. One, shifting your beliefs and how that can happen, what that process looks like. A lot of times when I first started working with clients, this idea of shifting the things that they think and that they believe feels very hard. It feels hard to say, “Hey, I believe this for so long. How do I change that? How do I shift this belief?” And so, we talk about what that looks like for Martilyn. And the beliefs that she's seen shifting in her life and what that has created in terms of her results, in terms of her mindset, in terms of what she thinks about where she's at right now in the journey. And then the second thing that we talked about, that is going to be really valuable for so many of you is this idea of being hard on yourself. I hear this from a lot of women that they are really hard on themselves. And we talk about why that is and I give a little bit of an explanation as to where that may be coming from. And ways that that can kind of get in your way and how we can start to shift that. So, we talked about that on the episode as well, but I'm just really excited for you to hear Martilyn's story, and what she's learned along the way.
Amber B 2:29
One of the big things here is that as you're listening to these stories of the “I Did It” series that we've been putting on every Friday for a little while now, I hope that you're pulling out lessons. There's a reason I have different women come on because I can share something in one way, and it's going to land for some people. And it can be shared in a different way from a woman. Here, you can hear different perspectives of different ideas that may land very differently for you. And so I feel like the more we can get different women sharing their experiences, sharing their stories, sharing the lessons, sharing the tips that they have, you're going to be able to pick and choose the things that are going to work for you in your journey. So, without further ado, let's jump into the interview.
Amber B 3:12
Welcome to Martilyn. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast. How are you doing?
Martilyn N 3:17
Amber B 3:17
Awesome. I'm excited to be able to share this episode with you guys because the topic that we're going to talk about today is one that is not uncommon. And that's one of the goals with all these episodes is to share these experiences so that you don't feel alone in them and that you can kind of hear somebody who's gone through. Maybe some of the similar things that you're going through and learn from that experience. And so, that's why I'm excited to have Martilyn on the podcast today. So, can you just give us a quick background about you and maybe about some of the things that have felt hard for you in the past in terms of reaching your goals?
Martilyn N 3:56
Okay, yeah, I would say I've reached goals in the past. I was kind of a yo-yo dieter, I would say. And right before I found macros, I kind of felt I was taking a break from paying attention. I was just done paying attention to my health, and I was constantly arguing with myself. Like, “I need to do this. I need to pay attention, but I should make some health goals, but I just was taking a break. I feel like my biggest problem was I had done it in the past, and I never maintained it. I never learned how to maintain the weight loss, or maybe I lost the weight in a way that didn't incorporate my whole life. And so then when I tried to bring my whole life back into it, then I'd lose whatever weight I lost, I guess. I don't know.
Amber B 4:56
So, that's a very common experience especially with this idea of a yo-yo dieting is like you get a result, but then you can’t maintain it. So, what would you say is the biggest reason? You kind of started talking about it, but I want you to kind of flush it out. Why do you think that you weren't able to ever maintain those results in the past?
Martilyn N 5:15
Well, one of the breakthroughs I had while doing macros, was just in the coaching online, and I think it was a few actually. And I realized when I lost weight in the past, I wasn't actually the self I wanted to be. I wasn't paying attention to my kids, or, yeah, my whole life. And so, I realized I really wasn't there then.
Amber B 5:47
Was it built around who you wanted to be long-term? It was a means to an end. “I can do this, I can be this person, I can ignore my children for this period of time,” but that's not who you wanted to be in the long run. And I think it's so important to recognize that the way that you want to get to the goal is the way that you want to maintain the goal. And so if you're doing things that are outside of that, outside of something that you're willing to do long term, it's probably going to backfire. This is what a lot of women experience is that yo-yo effect.
Martilyn N 6:26
Realizing that helped me a lot, too because I realized that what I was worried about when I very first started macros is like, “What? I think I can lose weight. I know I can lose weight. How am I sure I'm gonna keep it off this time? How do I know this is going to be different? And so, realizing that has helped me realize I never really been what I wanted to be. That is still ahead of me. It's not behind me anymore. It's ahead of me.
Amber B 6:51
Yes. Yeah, and I love that you bring up that point because there are some people out there who really struggle to believe that they can lose weight, and that is a struggle for them. And there's another subset of the population that's like, “No, that's not really hard for me to believe, especially if you do yo-yo diet in the past, cuz you're like, ‘I've lost the weight before,' that's not hard for me to believe that I can do that again. It's hard for me to believe that I can maintain it long-term because that's been the piece that's been missing in the past.” And so, I love that you separate out that and I think it's a great question to be asking yourself is, “Do I believe the results that I want are possible?” and then that subset of that question, “Do I believe that the results I want are possible and that I can keep them? That I can maintain them long-term?” And you might be surprised that there's a difference between those two answers as you asked yourself that question. So, during MACROS 101, you shared with me that you kind of had to do a little bit of reimagining. You came into the process expecting something, and I'd love you to share what those expectations were upfront, and then you kind of have a reimagined. There's a reimagining of what actually it was going to be like, and can you share a little bit about what that was like and what you learned through that process?
Martilyn N 8:01
Yeah, so, when I first started, like I said, I was like, “Oh, I know, I can lose the weight.” And so, in my imagination, I was like, “Okay, maybe this can be the thing that can help me maintain.” So, I thought it would give me that maintenance piece. And so I thought, “All the weights can come off really quick like it has in the past. And then this time, I'm gonna maintain it.” And so, that's what I pictured. Not that it couldn't have been. I actually had a point there where I had done really well for several weeks in a row and the results were coming in. It was obvious that it was working. And for whatever reason, I self-sabotaged. It happens. But I feel I'm in a way better mindset now. I had this epiphany after coming off the holidays and stuff. I didn't go crazy on the holidays. In the past, I gained a lot of weight during the holidays. And I just maintained, which is a win, if I look at it that way. So, what was I gonna say? Sorry. Oh, but the epiphany I had was like, “I would rather be in this mindset in the body that I have right now than be skinny in the mindset that I had.” So, I feel like my mindset has changed so much that I can live with myself. I feel like to have the mindset I have right now, I have to be taking daily action. So, even though the results aren't what I thought they would look like, the results look like just being able to look at things differently right now. I do actually believe that I will get results in the future. I'm not worried about it. I had to choose. I'd rather be here than skinny with the mindset that I had coming into it feeling stuck.
Amber B 9:56
I want to pause because I think the way that you put that is so powerful. “I'd rather have the mindset I have in the body I currently have, which is not at the results that you want, than the body that I want with the mindset I used to have.” And I think something that you just also said that is so powerful that I want to make sure people don't miss as they're listening to this is that you're not worried about whether you're not going to get the results. And that's not because you've let go of the goal. And I think that's a misconception that a lot of people have is like, “Well, if I accept where I am right now, I'm going to lose all of my motivation to be able to get to the goals that I want.” And what actually happens is that you don't lose the motivation. But what happens is you stop worrying about it. And we all know that worrying doesn't do anything. Worrying doesn't change anything. When you really trust that something is going to happen, you don't have to worry about it. Worrying is a signal that you don't actually believe that it's going to happen. That's why we worry about things. No, you don't lose the motivation. And like you said, you're like, “I still have goals. I still believe that I'm going to get there, but I stopped worrying about it. Well, I never was hoping in the first place.”
Martilyn N 11:10
Yeah. And the mindset that I have takes daily action. It actually takes me working toward that goal, or I don't have a good mindset. So, it's still not for free I guess. It's not like I get to just eat what I want, and stay here like I have been working toward improving my habits and becoming a better person but it's a no, no.
Amber B 11:33
Yeah. And I think what's important to point out is I always say in MACROS 101 like, “The work is not what you think is the work.” The work, people often come in, and they're like, “Oh, the work is like tracking my food and [Inaudible] eating and planning out my meal plan and going to the gym.” That's the work and I'm like, “Yes, and there's a lot of work that needs to happen in between the years and that's the real work.” That takes some commitment and dedication to be willing to sit in that and work through that. And it doesn't take as much work overtime. And so, yes, reprogramming beliefs, changing what you're thinking, takes effort and it takes time. And the goal is for that to eventually become more self-subconscious. So, it's happening automatically. It's not something instead of catching those thoughts and shifting your beliefs, those just become your new beliefs, and those supportive beliefs of what you want and who you are, and what you want to create become automatic. And so, yeah, it isn't working in the interim. And I love that you're willing to show up for that and see and reap the results of what that's been like. So, in that vein of shifting beliefs and working on your mindset, you said you've had a lot of changes in that, especially in the last six months, can you outline three, maybe that of those beliefs that have changed for you?
Martilyn N 12:58
Yeah, and I wouldn't say that– okay, so, one of the beliefs that I feel like I was developing. It wasn't one that I was solid in, but I was developing this belief that I am what I am, and I can't change. But anyway, I now believe that I really can become the person I want to be.
Amber B 13:24
What's coming up for you as you say that?
Martilyn N 13:37
When you feel stuck, it's really like a living hell. And I was stuck.
Amber B 13:47
I think people who are listening to this can have many people have that same experience of feeling stuck and you have nowhere to go and feeling that the emotion that's coming up for you. I think emotion is an indication. And I think it's really valuable to pay attention to our emotions. And recognizing that you're not in the same place that you used to be. You're not in that same space that you used to be. And a lot of that's come down to what you believe about yourself.
Martilyn N 14:20
Yeah. So, that's probably the biggest one. I used to believe in rock bottom. And doing the miracle scale really helped me see not only where I want to go, but what I want to stay away from. I could be so much worse. It could be a lot worse. And just recognizing that. It's really not been just trying to get toward the miracle but to get away from it. To get away from whatever zero is.
Amber B 14:53
Yeah, so, I always say that figuring out what you don't want can lead you to what you do want. Sometimes, when I ask women like, “What do you want? What do you want to create?” they're like, “I don't know. I don't have any idea.” And so, I'll flip the question. I'll say, “Well, what do you don't want?” And most people are very clear. “I don't want this, I don't want that, I don't want to be in this position.” And that can be a guiding light for you saying, “Oh, you don't want that? Well, what's the opposite of that? You don't want to feel terrible in your body? Well, then the opposite of that is I want to feel amazing in my body.” And so, that can help be guiding towards what you want. And I love that you're making that distinction of like, “I'm working towards something, and I'm working to be away from somewhere else in my journey.”
Martilyn N 15:39
Yep. And just realizing that I'm not rock bottom, it could be worse. Giving myself credit for what I am doing because if you don't give yourself that credit, then you can lose what you're already doing I guess. Giving myself credit was huge. Even just daily life. I think one of the days that we went over that, I saw all the things that I was doing. And I was like, “Wow, I don't give myself credit for any of this,” because I feel like I should be doing more for something.
Amber B 16:10
Yeah, a lot of us are really hard on ourselves. Where do you think that comes from, from you? Why do you think you're hard on yourself?
Martilyn N 16:21
I don't know. I think it's because I know I could do better. So, I'm not satisfied with not meeting my own potential. And especially when I've already done better in the past in my head. I feel like I've done better in the past. And so, that's frustrating. Yeah, I think it's, I know what I could be. And so, it's frustrating to be there.
Amber B 16:54
Yes. And it's very common. What I see a lot of times is people using being hard on themselves as a motivating technique. Is like, “I know I could be better. And so if I'm hard on myself, that will push me to reach these goals that I know I'm capable of. I know I can get there.” And we use the technique of being hard on ourselves. And in some situations, that can be slightly motivating. It can push us. It can be an element of someone who is a high achiever of always reaching for that next level. But the dark side of it is that if we aren't celebrating what we've already accomplished, what makes you think that it's going to be any different when you get to where you want to go? Because you take you wherever you go. And so we think, “Oh, when I hit X, Y, Z goal, then I'm going to be self-supportive, then I'm going to think that I've done a great job, then I'm going to celebrate my wins.” But what makes you think if you haven't been doing that along the way that there's just going to be something that shifts. And so, what happens for a lot of people is they get on this cycle of feeling like, “I always have to reach the next level to celebrate and feel good.” And so, they never, ever feel good because it's always out in the distance. It's never something that's actually here. And so, there's a lot of value.
Amber B 18:09
And I teach clients a lot about celebrating your wins. And it's not just some frou-frou thing. It's brain science of recognizing that when you can celebrate where you are, and give your brain that reward, it wants to continue to do it. It's just like that little dopamine hit that you get when you have sugar. You give yourself that dopamine hit and your brain is like, “Oh, oh, I want more of that. What do I need to do to get more of that?” It's actually like part of science. So, I love that you brought that up because I feel like there are women out there who resonate with that. That identity of, “I'm really hard on myself.” And I want you to recognize it comes from a good place. The intention is good. You're trying to motivate yourself. But then ask yourself, is it really motivating you? Or does it end up demotivating you? Because you're never happy no matter what level or a result that you achieve.
Martilyn N 19:00
Yeah, going through your program, I think you do focus on that a lot, and that's what's helped me see that. And also, that's part of my epiphany that I had where I want to be here with the mindset that I have because I did recognize that I was down pretty much to my goal weight and it wasn't satisfying in between– I think it was in between kid three and four. I made it there. I ran a marathon– two marathons. And it's interesting how when you have a really big goal like that you think there's going to be something… Like, it was fulfilling to run the marathon. I enjoy running a lot, but it is anticlimactic because you realize, “Now what?” Like, “Now, I have to have another goal.” And so, if you're not enjoying it along the way, then it's like, “What's the point?”
Amber B 19:48
Yes, yes. So, so good. That's awesome. Did you share your three beliefs or did you have another one?
Martilyn N 19:54
I think I wrote it down one more. Oh, another one that was really big for me is just being able to say, “I am where I meant to be.” That sounds silly, but I really resonate with that a lot now. I don't think I could really say that before. I wouldn't let myself say it. I think that's more what it was. I wouldn't let myself say that. So, yes.
Amber B 20:22
And typically, that's the same thing. It's like if you feel like if you accept where you are, you won't be motivated to get out of there to change it. And what you found is actually the opposite. It's the case. It's that acceptance of where I am and this is where I'm at. And it's not bad– it's not a problem. Doesn't remove the motivation. It actually helps you to support yourself to make that change from a really good place. A really healthy, good-feeling place.
Martilyn N 20:49
That's interesting because I would hear people say things like saying these self-affirmations and these things that they help. And it's like I wanted to kind of believe it, but I don't know. I just wouldn't let myself. I don't know. There's something working through some of that where I've actually been able to– I really feel that a lot.
Amber B 21:10
Yeah. And can you put a pin on how you've been able to shift that? Because people are gonna ask, they're gonna be like, “Wait, how did you get from the place where you're like, ‘I want to believe that.' And now, you're actually at that place where you can say, ‘I do believe that?'”
Martilyn N 21:22
Well, definitely, being engaged with the content helped, and taking the action steps helped. Just like that. Daily commitment to just pay attention even. Even if it wasn't that I successfully tracked everything like that, maybe, hopefully, I get that done, but just deciding that I'm gonna pay attention every day, I don't know. I don't know. I think it was one of your coaching calls. And you just kind of said that's something that we need to do. And I'm like, “I don't know.” Yeah, so, I tried it on and it's it, I guess. I don't know.
Amber B 22:11
Good. Yeah. And I think sometimes we make belief changes on really hard topics like, “How do I do that?” At some point, it just becomes a choice. It just becomes what you want to believe. What do you want to continue telling yourself? And then the point that you made about awareness of just paying attention, I think that's 80% of the shift comes from even just paying attention because so much of our life happens on autopilot that we don't even recognize, and you start paying attention to it, you can start being like, “Oh, is that really true? Do I want to believe that? And what am I going to choose to tell myself next?” And that becomes a part of a cycle and part of the process and yeah. It takes some conscious effort at first, but again, that point is for it to become more subconscious. Okay, the last thing I wanted to ask you about. You recently had a big breakthrough that you shared with me about failure. So, how did you previously perceive failure, and what has changed?
Martilyn N 23:07
So, I would say that failure used to be evidence that I could not accomplish something. And now, I feel failure is just a data point. Something that didn't work right now. And it means I need to ask more questions or formulate another plan. And another thing it's like, even though I tried something, doesn't mean why not try next week after I work something else out first. So, yeah, I'd say that. Just yeah. It's not such a big deal to fail because sometimes you have to trip a little bit, I guess. To get to where you want to get.
Amber B 23:51
Yeah, sometimes, I feel like we feel failure is the finish line. And when we can think about failure as just more part of the journey, we can move past it. Failure doesn't have to mean the finish line of something like that door is closed. And now, that just is evidence you can't do it. It is a part of the process. And when we can start to normalize that, we don't freak out so much when it happens. It's like, “Oh, yeah, I knew that was gonna happen at some point along the journey. Um, it doesn't mean it's the finish line. It just means that I'm moving along in the journey. And that's part of the process. So, I love that you are able to have that shift in how you're thinking about failure.
Martilyn N 24:30
Or even I might look at something that's not a failure anymore. That I would have thought of a failure before if that makes sense. It just doesn't seem like a failure.
Amber B 24:41
Yes, yes. You don't even use that label. Yeah. People are so funny. They'll say something about failure, they're like, “I don't use that word because we don't use that word here. We don't use that word.” We can use the word failure, but it's like redeveloping that relationship with failure. And then, you do get to the point where it's like, “Okay, well, I don't even call it that thing anymore because that thing is like an old word that I used to use, and I see it so differently now.” So, that's just evidence of more of you changing and shifting and that mindset work that you've been willing to do. So, that's awesome. Anything that you want to share as last thoughts or something that you want to make sure is said, as people are listening?
Martilyn N 25:24
I don't know, I feel like I've learned how to become a little bit more flexible and less rigid to less all or nothing. That's been huge because I think you do have to be flexible, so you don't shatter. And I think the best thing that's helped me is just trusting my intuition. When you say that this is your own plan, I really feel that a lot. You give these tips that are well used. But if it doesn't work for me, and it's not working, I can ask myself questions, and I can figure out what will work for me. And just trusting that intuition. And what might happen is I might go against what you said. Learn for myself that it didn't work and then be back. But at least, now, my whole self believes that-
Amber B 26:12
Yes. so valuable.
Martilyn N 26:13
Whatever it is, right? So, that's been huge. Just yeah. Trusting my intuition and asking the right questions to figure out what that is, and then just working on it, and then if it fails, or if it doesn't work, then trying something else.
Amber B 26:30
Sure. So good. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that. Well, Martilyn, it's been so awesome to be able to talk with you. Thank you so much for being here on the podcast.
Martilyn N 26:39
Thanks for having me.
Amber B 26:40
Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening to this episode. I hope that you had some takeaways from it, and I hope if you are somebody who defaults to being hard on yourself as well, you can relate to that. That maybe you have some ideas of why that may be, and that can start to shift for you so that you're implementing more productive techniques to be able to get to where you want to go.
Amber B 27:05
The phrase, “You have to love yourself first,” sounds nice, but how the heck do you get there? You've probably heard of affirmations, positive self-talk, maybe even read some self-help books and those are all great. But when it comes to applying these concepts to your daily life, how do you do it? How do you get yourself to believe those affirmations? If I asked you to look in the mirror right now and say, “I love you to the person staring back at you,” could you do it? And not only could you do it, but could also you mean it? I daresay, most women would have at least a little resistance to verbally acknowledging themselves and their love for their body. And that's why I created the #ILoveMeChallenge. A free 14-day journey to help you increase your self-love so that you can confidently say, “What you think of me doesn't matter because I love me.” Hearing that, part of you may think, “Well, that's a really nice sentiment, Amber, but how can I love myself when there's so much that still needs to be changed? When I lose my motivation to hit my goals if I am happy in my current reality.” Spoiler alert, it doesn't work that way. Think about it. How long have you been beating yourself up and withholding love from yourself hoping that it would motivate change? If that strategy was going to work, it would have worked by now. The truth, the more you beat yourself up, the less motivation you have to change. It's just like a child who will perform much better in their soccer game if you cheer them on rather than telling them you are withholding any applause or any love for them until after they won the game. What's between your ears matters. Your mindset is the determining factor for success. If you can love yourself now, you will be unstoppable, and reaching your goals will be easier. So, are you up for the challenge? If so, head to bicepsafterbabies.com/iloveme, all one word, and for two weeks starting February 13, so, just in time for Valentine's Day, you'll receive one text message a day. These text messages will be short but powerful. They'll be mixes of quotes and action items and things to think about to be able to grow in your self-love. This is entirely free so, if you're in, head to bicepsafterbabies.com/iloveme and sign up for our free 14-Day text message challenge. That's bicepsafterbabies.com/iloveme.
Amber B 29:13
That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now, go out and be strong because remember, my friend, you can do anything.
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