Today with Niki we talk about boredom, and she identifies that she was experiencing some eating due to boredom. We talked through what boredom specifically looked like for her,  but what she teaches can be related to any other negative emotion you’re feeling now or in the future. Niki is able to break it down in such simple, yet actionable steps that you’ll be able to take and start using in your own life to break out of the cycles and habits that you may have built off of negative emotions. 


Find show notes at




  • Niki goes through her fitness and health (diet) journey. She read about hte concept of boredom and it really stuck with her. (7:08)
  • Niki recognized that she started eating out of boredom. (12:50)
  • “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” and how this relates to our mental and physical health. (16:45)
  • Niki walks through her own “map” on boredom. (22:30)
  • Niki shares what she wishes she would’ve known ten years ago. (45:30)



Niki teaches us how to recognize negative emotions within ourselves and how to take action steps to diffuse these emotions to break through cycles and habits we may have created. 


Guide to Boredom

Niki’s Instagram 


You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 82

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, online fitness coach, wife, and mom of four. 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, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies radio I'm your host Amber Brueseke and today for the first time ever, I am bringing back a previous guest. Niki Olsen was on the podcast on episode number 32. And we talked about stress eating. So if that is something that is applicable to you, especially during this crazy time with COVID-19, that you may be feeling a little extra stress and maybe you're turning into a little bit of stress eating. But that episode number 32, which we'll link up in the show notes, is a great episode to be able to listen to Niki is fabulous at what she does, and is fabulous about helping to give you some tools, some very actionable tools. We don't talk about theory in this episode or an episode 32 we actually go in deep into the actual actions and tools that you can use to be able to move past emotional eating. Now, specifically today with Niki, we talked about boredom, and she identified that she was experiencing some eating due to boredom and we talked through what that looks like. But the things that she teaches in this episode can be related to any other negative emotions. You're feeling now or in the future. And what I love about Niki is that she breaks it down in such simple, but yet actionable steps that you're going to be able to take and be able to use to be able to kind of break out of some of these cycles and habits that maybe you have built based off of the negative emotions and trying to deal with some of the negative emotions that we all feel on a day to day basis. Niki also has a free download, you can go and download that and it gives you a good map and a good layout of kind of what she talked about and how you can take yourself through the mind body bridging process that she's going to teach inside this episode. And with all of that, we are going to now jump into the episode with Niki Olsen. I would love to welcome Niki Olsen back to the podcast. Hey Niki.


Niki  2:55

Hey Amber. I'm so excited to be back.


Amber B  2:57

I'm excited to you're officially the first person who I bought brought back for a second time.


Niki  3:03

Well, that's awesome. Yeah.


Amber B  3:04

So that's a big deal.


Niki  3:06

So I'm honored


Amber B  3:07

I'm excited for what you have to teach everybody today. And that's the reason that I bring you back is because I think you have some really awesome insight that's unique. And as you know, the type of provider that you are you have some unique solutions that you're able to provide my audience and so I'm excited to dive into it today. So first, can you just give us a little background on you?


Niki 3:30

Yep. So I'm a licensed clinical mental health counselor, and I'm licensed in the state of Utah. And so I primarily like my day job, I work in a clinic, integrated health center, and do therapy there for a whole gamut of issues. But I also have an online business where the modality that I mainly use called Mind Body Bridging. Online I teach people those skills and those tools to kind of just help manage life. Because sometimes life tends to manage us and so we need some skills to be able to manage, get our control back and feel like we can make some lifestyle changes just to have and be able to feel like we're more in control.


Amber B  4:14

So good. Yeah, I'm excited for you to be able to talk a little bit more about that. I always find that and me, I don't know if anybody's told you this, but I just feel like so peaceful when I talk to you. It's your voice and you're like tone and your rhythm is just like I just, I don't know, I'm a kind of a high strung active person and you just like slow everything down. It's like what makes your mark of a good therapist, right?


Niki  4:38

That's what I do every day. So I would hope that it comes across.


Amber B  4:44

So if you'll just walk us through a little bit because what we're going to do is we're going to kind of link what Niki does all day every day in her practice with how we can relate that over into your health and fitness journey. And so Niki, I would love it if you would share personally what your health and fitness journey has looked like over the last couple of years.


Niki  5:02

Sure. So as far as like fitness I've always been really active, you know sports and you know through my college years and now like working out has never really been an issue for me. Like I really I do I work out now for my mental health like I don't ever really consider working out for like losing weight or doing things like that just because I know the benefits mentally for me and if I miss a workout, I feel it so I feel like my struggle bus that I'm on is the health aspect of it. And nutrition basically, when I talk about that is just growing up we didn't really like my mom never talked about dieting or anything like that. I never really thought about dieting we just kind of into like we ate three meals a day and that's what we ate. Sometimes we snacked. You know, it wasn't a big deal.

But when I went off to college is kind of what I heard more about dieting. I remember one of my friends First jobs that you talked about a cleanse. And I was like, What the heck is that? And so I did it with him because I thought it was fun, you know, not necessarily because I wanted to lose weight or anything. And, you know, kind of dabbled in just understanding different things about diets, but I really dived into understanding diets when I had my children. And so my oldest is 12. So it's been about 12 years. And I think I've learned about every diet. I don't know if I tried them all, but just, you know, research them, what do you What's this? What's that? And what I found in the last couple years is that like, I've really developed this diet mentality, they call diet culture and intuitive eating, you know, but just kind of these rules about food have really kind of impeded on my ability to maintain it's kind of what I've realized. So a couple years ago, I did your ditch the diet program, which is amazing. I loved it, call it Macros 101 now


Amber B  6:59

We reformatted and now it's Macros 101 but yes, yes,


Niki  7:02  

I loved it's the diet program like I really that helped kind of helped me understand how you can have this intuitive eating and also kind of break down a lot of that diet mentality. And so I did really well after that for probably a year and maintain did really well. And then I started doing my online business and kind of did different things that way, like a lot more sedentary lifestyle, I guess I would say, you know, coming home from work and then doing your second business, you know, and doing things like that. And so I stopped maintaining, and, you know, I would cut every once in a while, like do that and then I just I feel like that diet mentality really got to me just about the rules and I lost the aspects that you really taught us about flexibility. And in January, our book club did pick to the book intuitive eating. And I had started that maybe like, three or four years ago, like started listening to it. And the only chapter I got through was the one where you can just eat whatever you want. And I stopped there. Like, there's probably more to this than just eating


Amber B  8:20

A little bit more, right? Yeah.


Niki  8:23

Yeah. So when we I went back and listen to the whole thing for the book club, you know, and one thing that super stood out to me was this concept of boredom. And I'm really in tune to negative emotions and how they affect me just because of my job and the you know, the energy that can be put off in a session and being aware of that I call it putting up a mind shield so I'm not absorbing you know, that energy but I so I was really were like, I'm not eating because I'm stressed I'm not eating because I'm you know, sad. Or, you know, angry in any way. Like, I don't feel like I'm turning to food that way. So I was really struggling with this.

And so when we, when that chapter when I was listening to that chapter, they talked about boredom in a different way that I've never thought about boredom. And this is just like opened my eyes to a whole bunch of things, even just with kids in general, is that boredom just isn't about not doing something. Boredom can be doing something, but having a lack of interest or excitement with activity that you're doing. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, that is what's happening to me. I sit down and I do case notes, and they're not exciting. And this isn't all I want to be doing. Right? So I need a candy bar next to me to make this a little bit more exciting, right? And so I got in this habit of like when I was sitting down at my computer, or when I was doing something like I needed something to make it a little bit more exciting. And food was my thing that I was turning to, and I didn't even realize that like, I knew that I was doing that but I couldn't understand why. If that makes Sometimes it's harder to sort of pick that apart just in general for yourself.

So I, when I made that realization, I was like, Okay, this boredom is a negative emotion. People don't want to be bored, right? But it is. I don't believe in the modality that I use Mind Body bridging, that we have to get rid of negative emotions. Like I don't believe that we as humans, are meant to only feel positive emotions. I just don't think that's possible. And I don't think it's bad when we feel a negative emotion. I think it's our bodies and our mind way of dealing with things like we're going to feel negative emotions and we need to allow ourselves to feel those, well, we don't want to have happen is making negative choices while we're feeling those emotions, right. And so that's what I felt like it's like, I don't like this feeling of boredom, and it's causing this internal turmoil within me and what kind of dive into that. But so my, my fix to that was to sort of mask those symptoms that I was feeling through food, right so that I didn't have to feel bored, right. Like to make it more exciting. It wasn't it was more meaningful to me if I could do that. Does that make sense?


Amber B  11:19

Yeah, absolutely. And I think I think more people experienced that, then really realize that, and you explaining your experience may help some people who are listening to be like, Oh, my gosh, I never realized that that's kind of going on with me as well.


Niki  11:33

Right, right. And that's why I reached out to you because I was like, Oh, my gosh, I think that other people are really struggling with this and probably have no idea like, I work with this every day, all day, you know, like, picking up all these emotions. And it was difficult for me to hone in on that and really find that and I think that's part and that's really where I've tried to approach health now. And what I'm really trying to work on is that health is a journey. It's not a destination. It's not Something that I'll master some point in my life and just be like, Oh yeah, I've done this. But I think it's a continual process of working at that. And becoming to a point of management rather than master. And so this is just a point in my journey that I've come to the cool thing about it is I knew what to do once that happened, right? Like, once I figured out what was happening, I knew the skills to turn to and what I needed to do. And so that's kind of what I wanted to share with your listeners. It's like, okay, so if you are bored, what do you do with that? Right? Like, how do you become more aware of that? And how can you, you know, defuse, or bring down some of that internal turmoil that you feel when you feel bored, right? Because it doesn't just go away once you realize it, right.


Amber B  12:43

Yeah. So I'm going to put a pin in that because we're going to come to it but I want to I want to lead up to it a little bit more. And the first question that I want to do so so you said something so profound right now, and that is that, you know, just identifying it is really the first step right. We have to identify that that this is going on. Before we can start to implement the things that you're going to teach in order to change it. And so if someone is sitting here and they're trying to self identify if this is something that they are experiencing, what are some questions that you could have somebody asked themselves to see if this is something that is impacting them?


Niki  13:17

Perfect. So the reason that negative emotions can negatively impact our lives is because and this is terminology that we use in the modality, mind body bridging. But there's a system inside all of us called this identity system. And when this identity system, like there's nothing wrong with us, because we have it right and we're not getting rid of it, everybody has it. But when the system wakes up, it causes what we call body tension, and mind clutter. So body tension can happen differently for for people sometimes for me, I feel it like my heart start racing. Sometimes I feel a pit in my stomach or my throat. Sometimes I clench my jaw My, my forehead feels tight, I always pull my shoulders up. For some people, they might feel like they, their, their feet get tighter fidgety. So it can be a myriad of things that are happening to you. But you just generally your body feels tense when the system's awake. And then mind clutter I describe as one thought turns into 10. And each of those 10 turn into 10 more, you know, and it just keeps going from there. Like you just get this major clutter in your mind where you can't think clearly, you can't focus. And that's the part we don't like about this system. We don't like those feelings of body tension and mind clutter. So if, if you're experiencing body tension or mind clutter, then that system is awake. If that system is awake, we want to identify why it's awake and be able to put it back to sleep. Because again, we're not getting rid of it right? But the way to understand if that system is at play, is to to hone in on those two clues that body tension in that mind clutter.


Amber B  14:58  

Awesome and and this relates to any negative emotion. So we're going to talk about boredom because that's specifically what Niki was experiencing and kind of something that she worked through. But we also on episode number 32, talked about stress eating and and that's a very similar, like idea of different ways that the identity system can wake up. And it's not just with boredom, it's not just with stress, like there's multiple negative emotions, it can be with anger, it can be with sadness, it can, you know, all of these other things, but we, you know, Niki is going to give us some tools to be able to work through those because like she said, negative emotions aren't bad or going away or, you know, magically gonna get solved or fixed. It's, it's us being able to work with it and through it that is going to allow us to be successful.


Niki  15:45  

Yeah, exactly.


Amber B  15:46  

Awesome. Okay, so let's go into a little bit of tactile of like, if we've identified that we are experiencing this tension like you were talking about this tension in our body, this mind clutter for me, I have identified this partly Because of like my experience chatting with Niki and just partly because I become a little bit more introspective of like how I feel it. Mine is kind of similar to yours. Mine is heart racing and teeth clenching. And I've started to be able to identify that and so for me, I know that when I have that abnormal, like heart racing, or I feel myself clenching my teeth, that that is exactly what Niki's talking about with that identity system, waking up now when we start to recognize that what do we do next?


Niki  16:26

Okay, so I have a free download if people want to go check this out, it'll be on my website. I'm sure we'll link that up in the show notes.


Amber B  16:35

Yeah, we will link it up in the show notes on Biceps After Babies Radio.


Niki  16:39

So if you're listening to this and you're like frantically taking notes, it's already there. Just download it, don't worry it has all the steps it will have by example, and then an example for you to fill out so you can download that there. So what what we want to do is what I like to use the quote, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer And I ask people like, why in the heck would you want to keep your enemies closer than your friends? Right? And the reason is we want to get to know our enemies so that we can understand its tactics about why it's attacking us when it's going to attack us how with what, because if we know that about our enemy, it's just not as powerful over us, then we have tactics to defend ourselves, right? Like we knew exactly when and where and how somebody was going to attack us, we would be prepared and we would be ready to defend ourselves, and that enemy wouldn't be able to infiltrate us.


Amber B  17:33

That's so good. I love that analogy.


Niki  17:36

Yeah, so what we do in mind body bridging to get to know our enemy is we do this process called mapping. And in the download, I'll give you a map and then I also include my map that I did. So what we want to do is we want to find out what it is that is causing our identity system to wake up. Okay, and we do this through the mapping process, but the reason In that it is waking up in general for everybody is because our identity system is very idealistic about the world. It thinks that life should be perfect. And in fact, it requires it to be that way. And so we call these requirements, when life isn't exactly the way the identity system thinks it should be, then it wakes up and tries to force life to be that way. Right? So there's lots of shoulds about boredom. And I'll talk about my shoulds. But what happens when these shoulds don't happen? Is so for example, if, if my identity system says everyone should be nice to me, and I have a thought of somebody not being nice to me, that's going to break that requirement right? and wake it up.

I like to think of them as little bombs, setting off our identity system, right. And these bombs, every time something doesn't happen that way, you're like lighting it on fire and exploding this system. Well, these requirements are not bad things. Like wanting people to be nice to me isn't a bad thing, right? The problem becomes that my identity system requires everybody has to be nice to me. And even in my thoughts, people have to be nice to me. Yeah, that's just not gonna happen, right? So my identity system is saying, I shouldn't be bored, right? I should be doing all these things, and we'll talk about them. But when those things aren't happening, it's waking it up. But the next thing that happens, this is a whole nother session. But just so they're aware, when it doesn't happen that way. Our identity systems ultimate goal is to convince us that there's something wrong with us because it's not happening that way. I must be the problem. I must be broken, I must be damaged. And if something's broken, we want to fix it right?

And so then we get caught in this, this depressor fixer cycle, meaning like depressor we're feeling broken. So now we want to fix ourselves. Well we're getting caught in the cycle because things aren't happening. Exactly. The way our identity system thinks they should be, and they just aren't going to, if that makes sense. So, with these requirements, the what we want to do is difuse them. So if you have a bomb, and you take the fuse off of it, it's still a bomb, right? It just can't blow up. So that's what we want to do to these thoughts. You're going to forever have these thoughts in your mind, right? These shoulds but we want to D fuse these shoulds so that when they don't happen, it doesn't cause this system to wake up.


Amber B  20:29

Yes. So good. Okay. How do we do that? Okay, how do we use it?


Niki  20:34

Yes. First, we got to figure out what the bombs are right?


Amber B  20:37  



Niki  20:38

And then once we figure out what the bombs are, we want to defuse them to preferences. So it's kind of like if you had a boss that told you Amber, you are required to take out the trash. Right? And you didn't take out the trash. What would happen?


Amber B  20:53  

They get fired?


Niki  20:54  

Yes. Kind of a major consequence. You were required to do that, right? Yeah. What if your boss said to you Hey, Amber, I prefer that you take the trash out, and you don't what's going to happen?


Amber B  21:04

Maybe he'll say, hey, why didn't you do it? Or how can we plan to do it better next time or it's not as drastic of a consequence?


Niki  21:12

Exactly. That's the same request, right? But there's a difference in the result that happens if it doesn't happen. So that's what I want to do these requirements instead of shoulds. We want to turn them into prefers, okay, yeah, but go ahead.


Amber B  21:27  

I was just gonna say that I also like I'm thinking as I'm listening to you, and this idea, I love this idea of it being like a bomb, and we can defuse that bomb. I think the piece that a lot of people miss is that they're like, they don't know that they're carrying the bomb. And so they're walking around with this bomb that like, and these bombs are going off, but they don't see them as bombs. And this is the idea of like, we don't actually see our beliefs as beliefs. We see them as like, it's just a fact. And this is kind of what you're talking about, instead of seeing it just as a fact as it should as it has to, when we can start to identify that and be like, Oh, I have that belief that this is The way the world has to be, and then we can step that back to what like, no, it doesn't have to be it's a preference is the kind of the words that you use, then that it's such a powerful way to to then take that bomb. We identified it, and we've diffused it. And now, maybe we're still carrying it around, but it has way less power over us.


Niki  22:17

Exactly. Your enemy now has less power over here.


Amber B  22:21

Okay, cool.


Niki  22:22  

Yes. Okay. So I'm going to use my map as an example, and I'll walk you through listeners through my map, and then they can use the steps to do their own.


Amber B  22:32

Okay, so just essentially, just to be clear what you're you when you are going through this experience of having boredom and then, you know, diffusing it with food, you then took yourself through this process that you're taking us through, and you created your own mind map, and that's what you're sharing with us right now. Right?


Niki  22:47



Amber B  22:47

Okay. Awesome.


Niki  22:48

Yep. So what you do and you can do this with any negative emotion, but in the map that you download, I, your listeners will download, it says boredom in the middle. There's nothing magical about the piece of paper that I printed. You can literally put any word you want. You don't have to map just about boredom. But we're talking about boredom.


Amber B  23:05  

Well, like, oh, sorry, I keep interrupting you. But this is like such a good thing too. Because, you know, right now, while Nikki and I are recording this, we're going through this COVID-19 experience. And there's probably, for most people, a lot of negative emotions that come up, you know, fear and uncertainty and like, Oh, my gosh, what's going on? And so, we're going to talk about boredom. Because I do think that that is something that some people struggle with. But just like Nikki said, if you are feeling fear, that can be replaced. You can put fear in the middle of your mind map and do the same process that she's taking you through with that.


Niki  23:38

Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. Because that's not a bad emotion. Fear keeps us safe, but we just don't want it to because us to react in ways that don't keep us safe.


Amber B  23:47  

Yes, good.


Niki  23:48

Yeah. So what you do is you write the word in so there's a smaller circle and a bigger circle on a piece of paper I call a donut map so it looks kind of like a donut in the smaller circle in the middle. You're going to write down, it has boredom for you, but you could write down any emotion. And then what you want to do is you just want to freely write down all the thoughts that are coming to your mind without editing. And without shortening them down. The reason we do this is because we're sort of letting our identity system speak. And if we start cutting it off and saying, Oh, I don't like that one, or that one doesn't have to do with boredom, then we're not going to find all of our bombs. And we call these hidden requirements. So it's still going to be setting you off, but you're not going to know why. Because you decided to leave that that thought off. So you want to make sure that as you're writing your everything that's coming into your mind without editing and without shortening it down. So I did that. On the inside of my paper, I wrote down all of these thoughts.

And then I'll talk about these thoughts in conjunction with the shoulds in a second, but what you do after you write down all your thoughts is we're going to go back to those two clues of body tension and mind clutter. So as you Read these thoughts, I want you to draw a line from those thoughts to the outside of the circle for any of these thoughts that give you tension in your body, or clutter in your mind when you read them, even if it's a tiny bit, because that can still be a hidden requirement. So you're indicating by drawing from that line to the outside circle, yes, when I have this thought, it's waking up my identity system. Okay. And so, on my map, you'll notice that I drew a line from every single one of the thoughts that are on the map. That is fine, right? Like with the first time you map something, everything is probably going to wake up your identity system as you're mapping, okay? And that's totally fine. It can maybe be a few of them. But if it is, it's probably something that's not waking up your identity system very much when it's waking up like this was really waking up my identity system. So all of them woke them up to some degree, right. Some are more than others. But what you do is the reason those Thoughts on the inside of your circle are waking them up is because it's breaking that requirement. Something isn't happening exactly the way the identity system says it should be.

So one of my first thoughts on there is sucks. Just wrote downs suck boredom sucks. So, on the outside of your circle, you're going to write down what it is that you think the identity system says, should be happening about that thought, instead of feeling like this sucks. What do I want to feel like? So on the end of my line, I wrote, I should feel okay, right? Like, I don't want to feel like this sucks. I want it to feel like I want I just want to feel okay, right? Like, I don't want to feel excited or happy. I just in general, just want to feel okay. So the reason that's waking it up, is the rule is 100% of the time, I should feel okay. And anytime I have a thought that it's that I'm not feeling okay, like maybe I feel like this really sucks. Then it's breaking that rule. It's lighting that bomb on fire, and it's waking it up.


Okay, so another example I have is, I wrote not exciting. So the requirement for that I felt like is like I should be having fun. So, my I did, having fun is a good thing, right? Like, we all want to have fun. But we all as adults recognize, we can have fun 100% of the time, sometimes things that we do in life, like dishes and laundry and homework just aren't fun, right? Like, that's just not fun. But my identity system has this rule that everything in life should be fun. And if it's not, then I've got to be fun. Yes. And my identity systems way to force it to be fun was, well, let's have a fun little snack with it. That'll be fun, right? Yeah. So after doing that multiple times, that becomes habit, right? Like if you do something, it becomes just what your body does. And that's what happened for me is that, you know, I just started turning to these things, because at First it was just made it a little bit exciting, right? But what I've noticed now as I start diffusing these is like my hands or my body's just like turning to these things like walking towards the fridge to go get something. What am I doing? I'm not even hungry. Why am I doing this? But I, I didn't even know that till I became aware of what was causing this in the first place.


Amber B  28:22

So good.


Niki  28:24

So some of the other things that happened for me is I wrote the word incapable came to my mind with boredom. And the requirement I came up with is like, I should be achieving something. So I felt like, you know, because I'm not, I'm not achieving something right now. Like, you know, I'm just doing a monotonous task. I'm not necessarily achieving a goal or working at something like it's just kind of a day to day task, then it must mean that I'm incapable, right? That's the depressor thought that it started. It started spinning for me, right. And so If I feel like I'm incapable, then I want to go do something about that right? Or I'm not feeling like, well, that's not a good feeling. I want to numb that feeling. For me, my number one was food, right, like a turn to that. But it's all stemming from being bored, right? But if you had asked somebody, like, Well, what do you think about boredom is bothering you, you may have come up with one or two of these. But would you really have thought of the word incapable, right? Like that would have been a deep dive conversation to come up with this, right? So that's why it's really important to write down all your thoughts that are coming to your mind. There's a reason behind it. And it's, it's allowing your sort of subconscious to speak in a sense.

So another thought I came up with was not doing anything. So I felt like my identity system said I should be doing something right. I also wrote that I'm helpless. I should be more helpful like maybe in some of the tasks That I'm doing maybe I'm not feeling like I'm necessarily helping someone or something. And and that's not necessarily true when you step back and you look at things you're like, but you are helping because you're doing this and this and this. But in the process, when that gets triggered, you can't logically think that way. That's not where your brain goes, it goes straight to you are a helpless, incapable person. That's exactly what it starts thinking. And you don't even know it's those words. Like if you would have asked me before I'd mapped this what it was, you know what I would have told you like, if you would have said, How are you feeling I would have said I feel bleh but that's why I feel like I couldn't even put words to it. This mapping process really allows you to speak and understand and gain some greater awareness around it. So the last one I wrote down was selfish. And so, what I felt like my identity system is saying I should be doing is I should be serving somebody like this. This should be you know, because we have a big culture around service and what we need to be helping other people. So my identity system started spinning the story like, well, if you're not helping somebody right now, then you must be selfish, right? Like you're a selfish person. So fix that. Or I can't necessarily because I have to get this task done. So then I feel trapped, then my only thing I can control is eat something right? Like that's in my control to do that. And so that becomes the fix of that. Does that pattern Make sense?


Amber B  31:29

Absolutely. Yeah. So good.


Niki  31:32  

So that's my map of what I came up with. And then what you do this is this is the awareness piece. So also, what I've attached to this packet that that people will get is there's a three step process in diffusing and I use the acronym act, not ACT, but AKT. So A stands for awareness. This is the awareness piece you need to be become aware that that body tension in mind clutter You're feeling is this identity system, right? So if it's your identity system, we need to K get to know it right? And so that we can gain some knowledge. Okay? So knowing what your requirements are, is the next step two, understanding what's triggering your identity system, then the T is what we're going to do next, which is trying out something different with these requirements, okay? Which is what we talked about with the shoulds and the prefer, okay, so, me saying this, I understand people when I say this, people are gonna say, that is not gonna work. Niki, you are crazy. But if you go back and listen to the episode that I did with Amber and I made her do her own map, if I would have just told her to do this, she may have said the same thing to me, but you experienced it right? And what was that like for you when you did the map?


Amber B  32:53

And it like I said, it just brings things to the surface that we're always there, but you don't recognize And like I said, in order to defeat an enemy, you have to know your enemy first. And so when you can't identify who your enemy is, you can't fix it. And so just bringing those things to the surface allowed me to get some clarity on how to move forward.


Niki  33:16

Yeah, yeah. And so it's, it's a really a validating process. So when we use this tool called thought labeling, okay? And thought labeling is just bringing that awareness to you and recognizing like, Yeah, I do want these things to happen. I do want to feel okay. And guess what I'm okay wanting to feel okay. There's nothing wrong with me wanting to serve somebody, are we wanting to have fun? But the problem is, I just can't make it happen 100% of the time. So what we do is we replace the should with a prefer and we relabel in our minds. So it sounds something like this. I would prefer to be having fun when I'm saying that to myself, I'm not arguing and telling myself why I have to do this task right now. It's not very fun. But you're an adult, you got to do it. I'm not arguing with myself. I'm just validating, like, Yeah, I do want to be having some fun. That is exactly why I'm feeling bored right now. Right? It's sort of like if you go vent to your friend or your spouse, and they just are really good listener, and you just, they you feel like they understand you. But the reason you feel like they understand you is because of what they're saying back to you. Right? They're repeating back to you what they hear you saying, and you feel validated in that and you feel like, oh, man, you really do get me. And when somebody gets you and understand you, you don't feel like you need to keep convincing them of something. Right? You do. You feel like, Okay, that was good. I got that off my chest. That's what we're doing here is we're validating this identity system by saying, Yeah, I do. I would prefer to be having fun. I get you, I get what you're saying here. And then immediately after, this is the key to putting your identity system to sleep and what we talk a lot more about. In the other episode is noticing some of your five senses is a way to put that system to sleep. So just notice the ground underneath your feet, or notice the chair underneath you, or maybe notice gravity on your body. So what you're doing there is you are reconnecting your mind and body back together and putting that system to sleep. And when that happens, your executive functioning brain turns back on. As before, you're previously in your default brain. And default brain is not going to tell you these things.

But in your natural state, you'll start having some just natural, comforting thoughts, right, like, yeah, it's for me, when I do this process, I start feeling like, yeah, it's not very fun right now. But remember, you get to do this and this and this. And I feel comforted by those thoughts. If I tried to just tell myself those things while in my identity system, my identity system loves to argue and it would come up with a reason why it's not soon enough why it's not going to be fun Enough, you know, it's it's not natural, it's not a natural process. So by labeling these thoughts and using your senses, you're allowing yourself to get back into a natural state of mind where you can see things clearer, where you have a wider perspective, you don't have these blinders on to this one thought, that makes sense. So you go through the hole outside of the circle doing this pattern, I would prefer to be achieving something.

And then noticing your senses. And you continue to notice your senses until you feel that tension coming down, and that clutter coming down. Then you move to the next one, I would prefer to be doing something and you're saying this in your mind, you don't have to do it out loud. You don't have to write it. You're just doing it in your mind and then use your senses. The reason we do that is because this process of practicing this doesn't necessarily defuse it. It's that when you label that in your mind when it's happening the next time is when it diffuses it. You want to get this in your muscle memory so that you When it starts happening, you know exactly what to label. You don't have to pull out a piece of paper and mount it because Who has time for that? But you know exactly what setting it off. You can label it, you can use your senses. And it doesn't just plop that fuse out. And yeah, I did it. Once it's over. What happens is it takes a little snip of that fuse, okay, some fuses are longer than others. But if we keep snipping at these fuses, pretty soon they're going to be gone. We just don't know how long that will take. So you just continue labeling these in the moment and using your senses to defuse them.


Amber B  37:34  

Yeah, so good. And so simple, right? It's like not that complicated, but it's a process that you can easily walk through and I love that you're getting to the point where you make the point that eventually just just like the eating when you were bored became a habit that you didn't have to think about. Like this also can and will become a habit that you can just default to and that you don't have to think about every time it's not like you have to pull it your map every every single time and like remap it. So the effort that you put in you know that that one time when you do the map may feel like you know, you have to spend 10 15 20 minutes doing it. But it's not that it becomes faster and easier and just a habit.


Niki  38:12

Exactly. Well, in fact, what I did after I did this map is I took a picture with my phone, because who doesn't have their phone with him all the time. And every time I started feeling bored, I would pull up that picture of that, and I would just label those things on the outside of the circle probably took me 45 seconds, maybe a minute, depending on how much I had to use my senses in between that, but it was just getting that in my muscle memory, right, like, Oh, yeah, that is why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling because I couldn't remember them right away, if that makes sense. And so have it with you.


Amber B  38:43

Yeah. And and I'm sure that, you know, this is going to be different for everybody in every situation, but about how long do you feel like it took you for that to become more of a just natural thing that you don't have to think about anymore, that you're now your new default wasn't necessarily that you went for food, but that you handled it a different way.


Niki  39:00

I would say it's it's a different process for everything. So when I say this, you don't want to be like, Oh my gosh, that I'm doing it wrong, right. So I hate to give like a number two, because some people, because this map, can, you know, it took me a couple weeks to kind of really get to the awareness where I wasn't really just specifically turning to it, if that makes sense. And I still struggle with it. It doesn't mean that it just went away in a couple weeks. And yeah, I was good, like boredom is probably going to be something I deal with the rest of my life because I am an achiever. I am a pusher. And so that's just my default is like, you should feel bored ever. You should always be doing something. Yeah. And so that I just, it's got to be something that I'm consciously aware of. But it took a couple weeks for me to not have to pull out my phone and think about it and like remind myself of it, if that makes sense. But I've had other maps where like, I'm still currently working on some other issues in my life that I could map over and over and over again, that's it's just a management tool. It's not necessary, necessarily something Where you master life? Sure. And there's masters life.


Amber B  40:04

Yeah, there's always gonna be something right. There's always something that's gonna come up or be deeper. That that's gonna trigger you.


Niki  40:12

Like Rona


Amber B  40:14  

Yeah, right. And, and using those triggers as just bringing awareness to something like, I always think, you know, when something triggers me like, that is an opportunity for me to work through that, like, why is it triggering me? And being able to work through it is gonna allow me to grow. And so some of the things that are the biggest triggers for you can allow you to have the biggest growth in your life because it is you're starting to bring awareness to like, why is that triggering me? Why is that waking up my identity system and how can I, you know, work through that. But I love that you make the expectation like it's, it's not going away, and it's not and we don't, and it's not it shouldn't, right, that's like, yeah, it's part of being a human and part of growing and experiencing life.


Niki  40:56



Amber B  40:57

So good. Awesome. So Will you talk a little bit about where you currently are at like, in terms of setting your fitness goals? So I, one of the things that I heard you say earlier on is that, you know, you're going through this periods of maintenance. And I just want to kind of echo what you had said that for a lot of women, I find that maintenance is really hard, because especially for people who are achievers, the achievement is kind of blah, right? The achievement is like, staying the same, like how, how exciting is like staying the same. And so I can I find for a lot of people, especially who have been in that diet cycle, where like, with a diet, there's always a goal, there's always an achievement. And then there's these numbers that you're reflecting on that make you feel like you're moving towards the achievement and there's that feedback and, and it can be very challenging to be in a period of maintenance, because you don't have the same type of motivating feedback. So I'm curious where you're at currently. Now, if you're still in the period of maintenance, or what does that looking like for you in terms of your health and fitness goals?


Niki  41:59

I'm trying To incorporate more of that intuitive understanding of what I truly want in the moment of that part of maintenance, because I feel like currently I am I'm still tracking at a cutting mode, but during that I'm trying to understand some of the thought process that keeps me in this rigid mode. I feel like the flexibility like when I was cutting, it was so rigid that when I would break some rules about cutting, then I felt like I've blown it, you know, like, what's the point just, you know, take a break for a while until you're ready to ready to just do this perfectly right. And so I'm trying to cut with flexibility. I don't know if that's a thing but that's something for me.


Amber B  42:50  

Oh My gosh, it totally is the thing I like to call it informed eating, because I have a lot of things that I know I love about the intuitive eating movement and I am I believe in a lot of things in the intuitive eating movement. And there's a lot of things I like about macro counting. And I believe in that, but I believe that between there there can be this beautiful mix of the two where you are informed, like you're not covering your eyes, right? You're, you're acknowledging the choices that you're making. And yet you're not judging them as right or wrong or as good or bad. And you're informed and you can, and you get to step in that piece of ownership and making choices. And to me that's like a this like, beautiful mix that can happen in between intuitive eating and macro counting, because I agree, I and I did a whole podcast episode on this about this is a rant on how people will turn macro counting into a diet like, yeah, they turn it into something that is inflexible and is rigid, and either you hit your macros or you don't and if you don't, well, then that sucks. You just need to try harder. And I think that is like the absolute wrong way to approach it. And I love that you are finding that balance for you. And that flexibility that's going to work long term because yeah, I mean, you've been around The Block like this is this is not like you said, there is no finish line, this is going to be a life. This is your lifestyle now. So coming to figure out what that is going to look like, for you is  awesome. So,


Niki  44:13  

And a process like I'm not I don't feel like I'm there. Sure. Like,


Amber B  44:18  

I don't feel like I am there. Yeah, we're not there. Nobody's there.


Niki  44:22

Yes. Yeah, it's I think it's just a matter of figuring that out for me, and not setting up more rules. Like, I feel like I was trying to set all these rules, and then they were getting broken. All these shoulds like, it should look this way should look this way. And then like, Why don't just take it day by day, like, what do you want to do today? What do you want today to look like? And how can you you make that happen? And and how can you feel good at the end of the day with that, like you always said that, like, what do you want to feel like at the end of the day? I think that's how you put it. And you know that that's a key question because if you don't ask yourself, what do you want to look like at the end of the day, you can say, you know, what do you want to do? Today, and yeah, that would be really wonderful if I did that, but I don't, I don't know that I will and I'm gonna feel really crappy at the end of day because I'm not going to be able to do that.


Amber B  45:09  

Absolutely. Yeah, that's so awesome. So let's pretend you're going back 10 years and you're gonna speak to you know, 10 years ago Niki, what would you tell her that you've learned in the last 10 years?


Niki  45:21

Um, don't look at all those diet rules. I really think like, I've learned that it doesn't matter. Like every diet out there has rules and you know, like, just do what's best for you. There's not one diet out there that's going to have the best rules for me that I'll stick with because every day is going to be different for me in what what I encounter what my experiences are and and what what I have access to. And so I just wish I just didn't ever look at all those rules, like infiltrate my brain with all of these rules that I'm trying to break down now and get rid of Yeah.


Amber B  46:07  

Because I do believe that most people think that the fix or they think the solution is just to find the diet, like the right diet for them out there. And so they go through the cycle of just trying diets and and if you think about it, like a diet was created by somebody else who doesn't know you who doesn't know your goals, who doesn't know your lifestyle who doesn't know what food you like to eat? And how do we expect that to be successful for you, it's not long term, it's not gonna be successful. And so when you can come to this place of power, like Niki is talking about of learning, understanding the science, right, understanding the background, you have to have that piece and understanding how it works, but then you're putting this place of power to be able to create the plan that not only fits your lifestyle, but also gives you results and I feel like a lot of times we feel like it's either one or the other. Either I can create a lifestyle I love or I can get results and I can't really do both of those simultaneously and when I've been offers that you Can they you can think those two things can simultaneously exist. You can get the results you want, and create a lifestyle that fits, that you love that you enjoy. And that is doesn't feel miserable to you day to day.


Niki  47:11  

Yeah, yeah. And that's one of the things I did I love. You had Becca Jackson on if the cookie fits and one of the things I really pulled from her is that she would, she would enter two cookies at the beginning of the day into her thing like I'm gonna probably have a snack. Let's just put it right in there. Yes, so that's what I just started doing like I have and I'm like, I have to stock my freezer full of the ice cream that I want to eat and I put it in there. If I choose not to have that and have a different snack great. I get to make that choice. But instead of like filling my day with hitting my macros perfectly, and then I am depriving myself by the end of you know, two or three weeks. I'm like, Well, I hit my macros perfectly but now I'm like starving for a treat because I didn't even let myself and that's not even gonna how I'm gonna live the rest of my life. Why am I Setting up my macros not the way I'm going to live like I've started like, just put in there what you want to eat, like don't try and change the things around the foods that your family are eating, like put it in there, make it work, because that's how you're going to live


Amber B  48:14  

So good. So much good stuff in here today Niki, I am so grateful that you were coming on and sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience and personal experience. I think that's what makes this so so beautiful is that not only are you coming at this from you know, maybe a clinical perspective of teaching, some tools that listeners can use, but you're willing to share your own personal experience of how you applied it in your life and that just makes it that much more applicable to the people who are listening. So last question if people are wanting to connect more with you, they're like this is blowing my mind. I want to learn more from Nki where can they find you?


Niki  48:48

Yes. So on social media, I am MBB Niki, for Mind Body bridging so just MBB Niki and then my website is same thing and and I have courses that you can take just to learn the basics of Mind Body bridging, I have individual sessions that you can take with me. And then also I just released an MBB parenting course where I teach you mind body bridging skill that coordinates with a parenting skill because changing parenting or doing any goals like that is super difficult mentally. And so I feel like you get the support with changing parenting skills along with the mental support that goes with that as well.


Amber B  49:29  

So awesome. Thank you so much for being here, Niki.


Niki  49:32  

Yes, thank you.


Amber 49:33

I hope that you enjoyed that conversation with Niki as much as I did. Again, the resources she talked about, we'll link them up in the show notes 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.



Hold up, sister friend. Do you love Biceps after Babies radio? If so, the best way to say thank you is to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on iTunes. I know, every podcaster wants you to leave a review, but it's because those reviews help the podcast to reach more people. And I do truly want to know what you think. If this particular episode resonated with you, will you also please share it? Either send the link to someone who would find it valuable or take a screenshot and post it to your social media and tell your friends and family why they should listen. Make sure you tag me @biceps.after.babies so I can hear your feedback and give you a little love. And you know, if you aren't already following me on Instagram or Facebook, that's the perfect time to hit that follow button. Thank you for being here and listening to Biceps After Babies radio.



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