So, apparently there are these things called podcasts that allow you to listen to an episode of audio while you’re in your car, on a hike, or on the treadmill at the gym.

Who knew? ;)

I’m a little late to the whole podcasting thing.  I’ve known about them for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally started listening to podcasts.

And I’m so glad I did because I LOVE podcasts.

I love learning about new ideas and not having to read an actual book (only because I have neck problems and reading makes my neck hurt).

Anyway, the first podcast I listened to was The Life Coach School Podcast by Brooke Castillo and it’s ridiculously amazing!

It took me a while to get through the entire thing (there are over 300 episodes and most are about 30 minutes long)…but it was most definitely worth it.

Brooke is a life coach who owns a multi-million dollar business.  I know, I know.  *Eye roll*, right?  What even is a life coach?  It might sound goofy and maybe even a little bit like a cult.  That’s what I used to think too.

But Brooke’s podcast isn’t goofy at all.  It’s packed full of practical, detailed tips and advice.  What amazes me the most is that she covers so many topics (money, anxiety, emotions, relationships, and weight loss, to name a few) and she does each one incredibly well.

It’s challenging to only choose six things that Brooke has taught me (I could probably make a list of 100), but here are my top six!

Thoughts -> Feelings -> Actions -> Results

This is Brooke’s self-coaching model and it’s the foundation of everything she teaches.  Here’s an example of how it works.

Thought: I can’t lose weight.  It’s impossible.
Feeling: Demotivated
Action: I don’t bother working out or eating healthy.
Result: I didn’t lose weight.

Do you see how my thought (“I can’t lose weight”) caused my result of not losing weight?  It became a self-fulfilling prophecy because my thought created an emotion which led to an action which gave me the result.

According to Brooke, all circumstances are 100% neutral.  It is our thoughts about those circumstances that create our emotions.

A circumstance is something that I have no control over.  Here are a few examples of circumstances in my life:

  • I was born in Minnesota.
  • I have two brothers.
  • My parents are divorced.
  • Anything that occurred in the past.

A circumstance is a verifiable fact.  If you start injecting opinions onto that circumstance, it is no longer pure circumstance.  Now, it has become a thought or a feeling.

The self-coaching model is important because literally everything in life can be classified as a circumstance, thought, feeling, action, or result.  This model allows us to analyze any situation in our lives and to change it if we don’t like the result we’re getting.

Let’s take the weight loss example.  If I want to lose weight, I need to start by changing my thoughts.  Instead of thinking “I can’t lose weight…it’s impossible”, I can try changing my thought to something more neutral like “Other people have lost weight” or “I could maybe lose the weight someday”.  I can gradually change my thoughts until eventually I can believe the thought.

Once I believe it, I’ll feel motivated, inspired, excited, etc. which will lead me to take massive action (sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly) until I get the result I want (losing weight).

Buffering is Common

I’ve struggled with my weight for years, but I’ve never really considered myself an emotional eater because I don’t binge eat.  Instead, I blamed my weight gain on a medication I used to take that can cause increased hunger…even long after I stopped taking that medication (logical, right?).

After listening to this podcast, I’ve learned to pay close attention to my body (and whether or not I’m actually hungry) as well as my thoughts and emotions.

Every time I’m tempted to overeat or eat something when I’m not hungry, I can tie it back to a negative thought that was causing an unpleasant emotion.  Emotional eaters eat to make themselves feel better.

When you eat, you get a dopamine hit because you’re doing something that’s good for your survival and your brain is rewarding you.  This is natural and healthy, but it can become a problem when you start seeking a dopamine hit every time you’re feeling sad, stressed, or any other negative emotion.

This leads to eating when you’re not hungry and it’s what Brooke calls “buffering” or trying to escape from your emotions.

Maybe you don’t do this with food, but what do you do when you’re feeling down and you want to cheer yourself up?  Do you drink alcohol?  Go shopping?  Binge watch Netflix?  Scroll through Instagram?

There are MANY different ways that we “buffer” to hide from our emotions and it’s much more common than you might think.

There’s No Emotion I Can’t Face

Buffering can lead to a number of problems: being overweight, feeling sick after overeating, hangovers, alcoholism, overspending, and technology addictions, to name a few.  Brooke says the key to overcoming buffering is to understand that there is no emotion you can’t face.

The next time you want to overindulge in something (food, alcohol, Netflix, spending money, overworking), ask yourself what one word emotion you’re feeling.  What thought or thoughts did you have to cause that emotion?

Negative emotions aren’t pleasant, but they also aren’t harmful.  What if you just observed your negative emotion with compassion and curiosity and allowed it to be there instead of trying to make yourself feel better right away?  If we can learn to accept negative emotion, we won’t feel the need to escape from our feelings with buffering.

Normal is Subjective

I’ve thought a lot about how “normal” is subjective in regards to money and personal finance, but I hadn’t really considered how a screwed up definition of “normal” has made Americans overweight.

As Brooke describes, there are so many unhealthy habits that we call “normal”.  There are the obvious things, like fast food and processed junk…but here are some less obvious questions to consider.

Who decided that it’s “normal” to…

    • Eat sugary cereals, donuts, or pastries for breakfast?
    • Have cake at birthday parties or other celebrations?
    • Ask people why they aren’t eating junk food or drinking alcohol?
    • Go to Starbucks and drink 1,000 calorie drinks every morning?

I’m not saying that these things are all terrible.  I love Starbucks and I will continue to drink it (in moderation) regardless of its high calorie content.

That being said, it’s interesting to consider how our ideas about what “normal” looks like could be contributing to the obesity epidemic.

Do you want to be “normal”?  If you do, that’s okay, but it’s something to think about.

We Waste Food on Our Bodies 

I haste wasting things.  Money, food, anything.  When I eat, I always feel compelled to finish the entire meal even if I’m already full.  Why?  Because I’d be “wasting” the food if I threw it away.

But what difference does it actually make?  If I eat the food, that doesn’t help starving children.

Why does it make more sense to waste the food on my body instead of wasting it in the trash?

It’s Over Now, and I Enjoyed It, but It’s Done

When we decide to give something up (like eating junk food, drinking alcohol, or overspending for example), negative emotions come up right away.  Many of us don’t go on diets, quit drinking, or start budgeting for exactly this reason.

We don’t want to feel deprived.  We don’t want to watch other people indulge while we sit there feeling frustrated.

Brooke suggests changing your thinking (of course!) and her recommended thought is “I’m glad I had the experience in the past, but I’ve had enough of that in my life, and it’s over now.”

Instead of feeling upset about how you’ll never have [insert thing here] again, you can feel at peace because you’re choosing to think that you’ve already had enough of that in your life.

This is how I feel about drinking.  I’m glad I had the experience of drinking in the past.  I enjoyed it, but I’ve had enough of that in my life and I genuinely don’t want to do it anymore.

I’d like to think this way about chocolate too, but that’s been more challenging for me ;).  It’s a work in progress!

The Life Coach School Podcast

I could write a book about everything Brooke has taught me.  This list just barely scratches the surface, but I hope you’ve found some useful insight here.

Intrigued?  Check out The Life Coach School Podcast to learn more!