A Magical Life: Health, Wealth, and Weight Loss

Brain Driven Weight Loss with Jon McLernon

January 26, 2022 Subito Media Season 1 Episode 90
A Magical Life: Health, Wealth, and Weight Loss
Brain Driven Weight Loss with Jon McLernon
Show Notes Transcript

Today we're joined by Coach Jon McLernon, a weight loss coach and emotional eating expert.  He hired a health coach and one exercise was to make a list of all the things he loved and valued.  The coach then asked how far down they would have to go on that list to find his own name.  That truth came apparent that if you don't heal your relationship with yourself, nothing is going to change.
Coach Jon does a lot of work with his clients to foster compassion with themselves.  They learn how to strike the balance between beating themselves up and enabling. Balancing emotions, cortisol, and melatonin has been Coach Jon's secret to his own weight loss.

CONNECT WITH COACH JON
NUTRITION: https://www.freedomnutritioncoach.com
MENTORSHIP: https://www.jonmclernon.com
YOUTUBE: https://freedomnutrition.rocks/YouTube
CRUSH YOUR CRAVINGS GUIDE: https://www.freedomnutritioncoach.com/book
PODCAST: https://freedomnutrition.rocks/btba-podcast
TWITCH:   https://www.twitch.tv/freedomnutritioncoach
TWITTER:   https://twitter.com/noFNdiets 
LINKEDIN:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/freedom-nutrition-coaching/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/canadianomad/

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Online: https://wholisticnaturalhealth.com.au

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Magic Barclay:

welcome back to a magical life. I'm your host magic Barclay. And I'm joined by coach John McClernon today. Now coach John is a weight loss coach and emotional eating expert who himself has lost a hundred pounds. So that's about 50 kilos from nanotechnology researcher to Navy Marine engineer to globe trotting nomad coach. John spent most of his time running from his true calling until one question changed his life. He's now on a mission to help others lose weight for good and leave BS diets in a rear view mirror with freedom, nutrition, coaching. He marries the science of metabolism, the psychology of behavior change and the compassion of human connection to create life-changing transformations with his clients. Welcome coach John.

Jon McLernon:

Hey, thank you so much. It's great to be here and it's, it's so awesome to hear an Aussie accent again, because I really felt like Australia is a second home for me. Um, I'm, I'm married to an Australian and we've lived over there and we've been together for, for 15 years. So, um, yeah, I love it. When I hear an Aussie accent, it just feels like it feels like home. All

Magic Barclay:

right. Now, listen, I have to ask you what was the one question that changed your life?

Jon McLernon:

I'll give you a little bit backstory. So, um, it was when I was living in South Africa that I went through some trauma and, and we can dive into that if it's relevant. But the followup from that trauma was essentially, I became a binge eating food addict. And so the byproduct of that is it gained a whole bunch of weight, but 130 pounds. And so prior to that, I would have thought anyone who was overweight was basically just lazy around disciplined. But after I turned to food as a coping mechanism, because I wasn't really equipped to deal with trauma, I found myself kind of wading into this murky world of weight loss and diet culture. And so I had a lot of failed attempts at trying to lose weight. And I spent wasted a lot of time and energy trying to find answers in all the wrong places. And so it was when I hired this coach back in what, 2017, who really shine a light on the glaring problem with staring back at me. And so the question was, um, he said, John, If you make a list of all the things you love and value, how far down that list do I go before I see your name? And so that really jarred me, um, because it was actually challenging this belief that I held about myself, it was challenging the relationship I had with myself. You see, really, because of like all of my failed attempts to lose weight, I could say it even become very angry and spiteful towards myself and my body. And then I repeatedly tried to punish it into submission. And so he was working with me to really heal my relationship with myself and then by extension food. And that was a real, can I see a seismic paradigm shift for me that I could actually treat myself with love and compassion and lose weight. And so it was really that shine that light on this. If you don't change your relationship with yourself, nothing's ever going to change. It's like trying to put a bandaid over a gaping.

Magic Barclay:

I just got a few wow moments there. I actually did literally fall off my chair while John was talking, because definitely that list idea, while you were talking, I was running that through my head and you know, I talk a lot on this podcast about what I value in about my golden value. So the things that I strive and live for being, you know, animals, the environment, natural health, my family, I think I'd probably get to about number 30 before my own name pops up. That's just like, that's why I fell off the chair.

Jon McLernon:

Yeah. Uh, well the truth is for me, that wasn't even on the list and that's why this was such a, like, it was really, I would say he delivered it very well. It was a very well-timed question, but in the moment it was actually also a very confronting question. Because it was really challenging. My, my very like worldview, this entire belief that I developed, that I wasn't worthy of love, care and affection from myself. And that was spilling over into my relationships and interactions with every other person. So here's what I had to figure out. How do I start to love myself? What does that even look like? And I'm a male and in masculine culture, we don't talk about self-compassion and self-love as a general rule, or we don't see that spoken about where do I even start? And so that question really stirred up a lot in me, as I was trying to figure all of this out. And, you know, I saw compassion is like a weakness when in fact really compassion, well, maybe I could put it this way. So I used to beat myself up a lot and it's like beating myself up was a way of relieving. Some of the guilt I would have experienced around maybe having a binge, for example. Compassion is actually another way to relieve the guilt, but where beating myself up, would move me backwards. Compassion could actually move me forward because actually seeking to understand the behavior without judgment. And when we can understand the behavior and where it comes from and why it occurs, then we can actually create change.

Magic Barclay:

Oh my gosh. That is a light bulb moment. We're only a couple of minutes into the podcast and listeners. Let's just recap that, look at what you've done with compassion, not with guilt that just reframes the whole situation. Doesn't it, John.

Jon McLernon:

it really does. It's been a monumental shift and, and the truth is I find myself working with probably 90% female clientele. I'd love to work. Uh, you know, in fact, I had another coach say, you know, I'd love to create a podcast, geared towards men and try and talk about what you're talking about, but I'm not sure it's going to get off the ground. Like, so it still speaks to the shift that needs to occur. But compassionate is such a challenging concept for us too, I think because it's been misunderstood. So maybe I could illustrate it this way. Well, let's just say I came across you, you know, maybe I came over for, for a cuppa or something and it's halfway through the day and you get, you got a bottle and a bottle of wine in your hand and, and it's, it's half empty. So if I was to say, oh, magic, you know, better than that, why are you doing. that immediate judgment that I just created there then creates a sense of guilt and a desire to retreat and hide that behavior. So then what it means is in the future, rather than change the behavior, what you're actually going to do is you're going to try to hide the behavior. And that's your brain trying to avoid the discomfort of feeling a sense of guilt. Now, on the other hand, if I was to come to you and go, oh, well, you know, you had a hard day, you already halfway through that bottle. You might as well finish the whole thing off. That's called enabling. So that's not going to move you forward either. That's just going to reinforce repeating that unhelpful behavior. So compassion really looks to walk the middle road between those two and says, Hey, how's your day going? What happened? How'd you get. And so it's this curious desire to understand. And I, I like to, I like to say that all behavior makes sense and it don't mean that all behavior is ideal or helpful, but I think if we can understand how our human brain works, we can make sense of our behaviors and why we do it. And then the compassion by releasing us from the guilt is what allows us to move forward. And so I like to see, I create space for my clients to, in a sense, wrestle with their demons in the light without judgment. And that's where we can create change.

Magic Barclay:

Couldn't agree more. Now John, I asked my guests the same three questions, and I'm always fascinated with the different answers. The different takes, the different angles that we get on these. Some going to fire them at you for this episode. And then in our next episode, I hope you will rejoin me and we'll talk more about creating lasting change that. Okay.

Jon McLernon:

Absolutely.

Love

Magic Barclay:

it. Great. So the first question is what can your expertise do to accelerate health? Now, when we're talking health, we're not just talking to physical. We're also looking at the emotional and the spiritual.

Jon McLernon:

Well, I think all of these things are tied together, right? And so when we see an unhelpful behavior pattern in one area of your life, that pattern is probably being repeated in other areas of your life, because there's a deeper internal cause to that. And so what we want to do is we don't just want to address the surface behavior. We want to look at why that behavior exists and where that pattern has come from. And when you can create that internal shift, it's no longer, you're trying to force, force yourself to do something against the internal resistance, but now you're working with yourself. And as that shift is created, it doesn't feel like you're, you're fighting against who you are to become this person. You want to be

Magic Barclay:

perfect. Now, what are your top three tips to creating wealth? We're talking not just the financial, but the personal and emotional.

Jon McLernon:

That's an interesting one. So the first one is, I like to say that awareness. Where we create change. So only 5% of our behavior is really conscious, but 95% of it is unconscious. If we want to create change such as creating wealth in our lives, we first have to become aware of the behavior patterns that exist. So wearness is the first step to change. The next thing we need to do though, is make a decision to create change, but there's a, there's a little, there's a little joke that goes something like this. Five frogs sitting on a log four frogs decide to jump in a lake. How many frogs are sitting on a log? Well, there's five making a decision. Doesn't mean you've done anything. It's just, you've now decided you're going to take some action. And so then the next thing you really want to do is if you're going to invest time and effort into it, you want to have some kind of strategy. In other words, you don't just want to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks you want your actions to be deliberate and meaningful. And yes, What I'm really trying to illustrate here is if we want to create change and creating wealth in a sense that we're trying to create change from a pattern we're currently stuck in, there's really kind of a logical sequence that we want to follow in a step-by-step fashion. And that's exactly like what I try to do with my clients in my program lifestyle 180.

Magic Barclay:

Great. Now you were talking about the frogs on the log, and I think we need to draw that out a bit. So with people's health and with creating wealth, people are often the frog on a log, right? And they make a decision to go on a diet or to eat better or to go for a walk every day. And listeners, remember I spoke to you about morning routines and why they're important back at episode 83, but just making the decision. Doesn't do it for you. Now off-air, coach John and I were discussing something that we've both learnt through different avenues. And I was saying as a coach myself, I find it very hard to get coached because I can't coach myself. I'm not unbiased. I am completely biased and I'm completely slack and not with compassion. Am I coaching? But I'm enabling most of the time or with guilt. So, you know, it's a bit like the painter who never finished his painting, his own house, but he'll go and spend hours and hours making masterpieces in other people's homes. So I guess how can the listeners become the frog that takes action from the log? What are some really easy steps once you've made the decision to actually action?

Jon McLernon:

I think the first thing I have really encouraged my clients to set what I call a C M G. It can't miss goal. The reason for this is if we try to create too dramatic of a shift, our brain will resist because it's too far from our current sense of identity who we see ourselves to be. The other thing is when we want to cultivate a habit, the easier the behavior is to repeat. The more likely it is to stick. And once we've established a behavior pattern, we can always build, grow, nurture, and expand it. And so let's just use a movement, cause that's a simple one. We'll use that as an example. So for CMG, I would say maybe, maybe you set for 5,000 steps a day. Now some people might say, well, that's not 10,000 steps a day. What's the point? And I would say, well, what is a goal that even on your worst or most difficult day, you can likely hit. It's probably not 10,000 steps a day, right? But you can probably hit 5,000 a day. What's required is maybe a small amount of deliberate movement to make sure on top of, you know, the regular amount of movement you get just going about your day-to-day life. You require a little bit of deliberate activity to make sure you hit that mark. But the more times you can repeat that behavior, the more likely it is to stick, the more likely it is to become automated. So in the beginning, when we want to create change, we get really excited because we're picturing in her head how we're going to feel what we're going to look like, what life's gonna be like when we accomplish this change. But we try to, I like to ask the question, well, how to eat an elephant and the way that we go about it. The, the real answer is one bite at a time, but we try to swallow the whole. And the elephant is a metaphor for a very large problem that we're facing. And the truth is the solution to a problem we're facing does not have to be equal in magnitude to the point. In other words, you don't have to swallow the elephant whole. And so this idea of setting a C M G or a can't miss goal, something so simple, even on your most difficult day, you can hit that mark. That means you're going to establish a pattern of behavior. That's much more likely to stick.

Magic Barclay:

Totally, totally agree. Now we mentioned a little bit earlier about, I have to come back to this again, because I really want the listeners to get this, that the road with compassion being in the middle, you know, many of the listeners, I guess, have people enabling them, have people making them feel guilty, not just themselves. So how do people seek coaches or their support group that will give them that compassion?

Jon McLernon:

That's up truthfully, that's a hard thing to find even to it's it's the shift is happening, but it still can be a challenging thing to find even in the coaching space, because a lot of us do what's called projection. So for example, you know, when I was at the, sort of the height of my struggles with my weight, and I would see my wife eating a chocolate bar, it would make me angry. Now, I wasn't getting angry really at my wife. I was angry at the fact that she could eat a couple of squares of chocolate and put it away. Whereas me, I would feel this urge or this compulsion to eat the entire bar and maybe go scrounge around trying to find more chocolate. So I was seeing my own struggles and imperfections projecting them onto her and seeing them reflected back at me. And that was making me angry. But really before we can find that from somebody else, we have to, we have to be able to find it within ourselves. Could I say, in a sense, we instruct other people how we want to be treated by how we treat ourselves. That's not a guarantee that everyone's going to treat you nice. I don't mean that, but we instruct other people how we want to be treated by how we treat ourselves. We show people the behavior that we're willing to tolerate with the behavior that we direct towards ourselves. And so when we begin to show ourselves compassion, when we no longer tolerate, you know, beating ourselves up or speaking negatively about ourselves and so on, that means we're more likely to then for example, my wife used to call me the tin man and it was because I was so used to suppressing, pushing down difficult emotions. As I started going on this journey of self-love and self discovery, I started then speaking up and saying, my wife's an Aussie anyways. So Aussies can speak kind of bluntly, but, you know, she had to speak to me pretty bluntly to be able to reach me when I was the tin man. But as I started to become more sensitive, more in tune to the emotions that I felt I had to start speaking up. And when she would talk to me in a really blunt fashion say, Hey, I don't appreciate that. Here's why now of course I would do that. I would do that politely. I wasn't looking for a fight, but I had to show her. Here's how I'd like you to treat me versus how you haven't treated me or needed to treat me in the past. So it starts with ourself. And then as we become comfortable and familiar with that, we can then begin to guide others and show them how, how we want to be treated as well.

Magic Barclay:

Thanks for sharing that. Now, obviously we talk about weight loss, your an expert in emotional eating and, you know, lasting weight loss by addressing emotions. But what we find with many weight battles is that stress is the key. I myself am a cortisol junkie and it has left me with extremely high cortisol, a big problem with my weight. So my question is, if you've ever battled your weight, which we know you have, what was your trigger to lose it? And also what can you offer the listeners to reduce this stress?

Jon McLernon:

What was my trigger to lose it? I, you know, I don't think there was any one thing, but it was probably, um, a series of small shifts. So I was probably on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Um, so I was trying to train two hours a day. I was running a bricks and mortar business for maybe 14 hours a day. I was like sleeping five hours a night. And when my body wasn't losing the weight, the way that I felt it should, I was then using like pre-workouts and stimulants, like caffeine and ephedrine and things like that, that all they're doing is they're redlining. The nervous. And so that got me to the point where I was then suffering from anxiety and panic attacks because my nervous system was so burnt out and stressed. So I had to then take stock of all the different stressors that I was experiencing in my life. So there's a, there's a term called allostatic load. So if you, if you're familiar with what a bell curve looks like, I mean, it's just actually a curve in the shape of a bell. And as you go up one side of it, it's like, you know, your stress increases when you reach the top as like the peak amount of stress or the ideal amount of stress. We do need some stress in our lives. It is our impetus to do things without it, without cortisol, we die. So we need some cortisol. However, the way that our 21st century world and lifestyle goes, most of us are vastly exceeding our ability to recover. So we're going into what we call Alyse static, load more stress coming in than going out. So stress relief is not going to happen. Passively stress reduction is not just going to happen by chance. In the modern 21st century world, we actually have to deliberately practice it. So for me, I really started to militantly prioritize my sleep. And I had, I made this agreement with the wife. I said, look, I have to focus on this. My wife is a night owl. You know, she would stay up until three o'clock in the morning, every night. That's, you know, that's how she is. But I said, look, this is what I have to do. And here's what I have to do that. So we began to militantly prioritize my sleep. I cut off all stimulants for a period of time. Uh, so no coffee, no chocolate, nothing with caffeine unit, um, which is really tough. Um, but it was, it was easier to go without the stimulants than it was to deal with daily, multiple panic attacks. Um, I then took up meditation as a practice and a really, really simple, it wasn't, you know, there was no burning of incense or, or going to monasteries or things like that. It was literally using insight timer and setting it for three minutes and putting some white noise in and practicing a couple of breathing exercises. So I was actively doing the things that would activate my para sympathetic nervous system, the branch that deals with rest and digest. And I was, I was reducing the things that were triggering or stimulating my sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight or flight. So it isn't necessarily. One trick, but rather if you look at all the things that are stressing you out and you go, which ones of these are negotiable or optional and how can I reduce them?

Magic Barclay:

Yeah, that's great. And we have talked about sleep hygiene before on the podcast. So I think that's really great to remind the listeners that that's your first step, because when you have, I guess, Let me say your cortisol awakening response on the wrong cycle. So in layman's terms, you can't get to sleep at night, you're wired and tired. You're lying in bed going, why can't I sleep? But in the morning you can't get out of bed. So that's the opposite of how it should be in the morning. You should, you know, the alarm goes new, should bounce out of that bed, ready to go for the day. And then, you know, as dinner approaches, you're starting to get a bit more tired. You calming down a lot, you know, might watch something on TV or whatever, but you've got kind of no reaction. And your, your body tells you, you know, it's time to go to bed. You go to bed, you don't remember. What you were reading, the book is next to you when you fall asleep, because that is what is supposed to happen. That is the correct cortisol, awakening response. And many of us have that back to front, or we have spikes during the day, which is that often that, you know, three o'clock in the afternoon coma, it's not always blood sugars. It's often as well, which is a sugar. Um, and you know, sometimes mid-morning smoko time as it used to be good here, you can just either get, you know, buzz of energy, all of a sudden, which is not where it should be, or you feel that fatigue. So a proper sleeping pattern, good sleep hygiene gets that cortisol, awakening, response back where it should be.

Jon McLernon:

Yeah. Or cortisol. It's cyclical or rhythmic. And so in an ideal scenario, what we kind of see in it, and you could see historically this would normally follow the rhythm of like daylight and darkness. So as the light, you know, cause human beings, you know, pre a hundred years ago or a little more, didn't have electricity in electric light. And so it's like when it's dark go to star code. And so as the sun would come up, it would, it would signal to start producing cortisol and that cortisol, as it begins to come up, elevates you out of sleep into wakefulness. And so we need that increase in cortisol to bring us from our sleeping state, into our alert and wakeful state, so that normally that would happen. Maybe we say between five and seven or 8:00 AM kind of thing. And then we normally see a dip happen a couple of hours later around that 10, 11:00 AM, mark, which is incidentally where we put smoko or coffee break or whatever we want to call it. And that was that tended to align with when we see cortisol. And would then pick up. And then we also see another, another bit of a dip in the afternoon, which again, corresponds with roughly the afternoon coffee break that we would see people take and then it kind of comes up again and then it starts to fall off the evening. And as the darkness settles in, um, we then start to produce melatonin and melatonin is not a hormone that keeps us asleep, but it helps prepare us to fall asleep. And if cortisol is elevated, it's a real struggle for melatonin because they're inversely proportional. So as cortisol goes down, melatonin goes up. If melatonin goes down, cortisol goes up. And so this is why even maybe supplementing with melatonin. Well, it can sort of be helpful. Some people will say, well, I took melatonin. It didn't work for me. And I was like, well, yes, because your cortisol will still elevated. So you're artificially elevating your melatonin levels while your cortisol levels are still through the roof. And so in that case, it's not going to help you. So if we understand what a normal rhythm is supposed to look like, we can then try to take steps to restore.

Magic Barclay:

And back when I spoke about morning routines, I told the listeners that getting out in the early morning sun helps the bacteria in your gut create that melatonin and the right neuro-transmitters to help with your sleep routine. So getting out there, you know, early morning hours, grounding getting your feet in the soil, getting some sunlight, even if it's winter, sunlight just helps you with that, that sleep pattern. So there's a lot that people can do that doesn't cost anything that sets them up for a good night's sleep.

Jon McLernon:

But, you know, it's interesting just thinking about things that don't cost you anything. If we could capture all the benefits of meditation and put it into a pill, we'd have a trillion dollar pill, and yet it's free and it can be done really simply. It doesn't require anything. You don't have to have an app or a smartphone or anything like that. Literally just sit somewhere and focus on your breathing. And when your mind wanders, you bring it back to counting your breathing. It can be that simple. So it's, but there's, there's this interesting quirk in human psychology where, when something is free, we tend not to value it.

Magic Barclay:

Yup. Yup. Now I've had the opportunity to bounce around your website a little bit this morning. I guess there's a question with weight loss that many women face, which is probably why you're getting so many female clients. But men can also face it. So with women menopause strikes, now, men guys, you're not out of this, you have Android pause. Yeah. So I guess with menopause and andropause, the weight gain is in a different area. So it's often lower abdominal right across the colon. So you can't expel toxins properly because there's too much weight pressing the colon. How does what you do address that change? Because so many weight loss programs and weight loss coaches are just for the premenopause pre andropause set.

Jon McLernon:

Yeah. So this is something really interesting because here's the thing a menopause or a hundred paws is unavoidable. It's going to take place in our life. But we often see, I think sometimes this gets is unfairly gets blamed for this. When it tends to correspond with, as we get a little bit older, we tend to move a little bit less. We tend to, you know, and so on. So, um, there is an element of this hormonal shift taking place in the body that does make it a little more, uh, easy to store food as fat, maybe a little more difficult to lose some fat, but it's not, uh, we can't put all the blame on the shoulders of this hormonal shift that's happening nor can we necessarily avoid it from taking place. What we can do is we can create, we can create the conditions in our lifestyle that let's say, make it the best possible experience. And that doesn't mean it's going to be fun. Um, imagine me a 40 year old male trying to say to a woman, oh, you can make hot flashes. Just fine. No, that's not going to work quite like that. But what I want to allude to here is. We can perhaps influence the severity, um, the intensity, the frequency. So we actually, our home hormonal environment is not entirely outside of our influence. We can take steps and actions that will well, at least within a given set of circumstances, optimize our hormonal environment. And it is things like sleep hygiene and stress management and quality nutrition, and regular movement. So there isn't really a, there isn't really this shift that when you hit menopause or when you and Andrew pause that all of a sudden you have to do things differently. All the same healthy lifestyle behaviors still apply. You just might be against a little bit more resistance in terms of trying to create this change. And it means that maybe we need to pay a little more attention to recovery, to rest into stress management. Um, more so than trying to do the high intensity activity, the heavyweight lifting and things like that.

Magic Barclay:

Thanks for that. That's really helpful. So, John, I'm going to wrap this episode up and I'm so glad that you're joining us again for the next episode. And we can really dive into more about freedom of nutrition, but for now people can find you at www dot freedom, nutrition, coach.com. You also have a mentorship site, which is www.johnmcclernon.com. That's John with no H and we love to offer freebies to our listeners here. So what's a freebie that people can find, or that you can send to them to get them started.

Jon McLernon:

Yeah, I have a, an ebook called crush, your cravings, and it really explains in detail, some steps that you can take to navigate cravings, everything from the first aid response to a more long-term approach and navigating, managing these things. And so you can go to freedom, nutrition, coach.com/book. I think we can, we can put that link in the show notes as well, but it's just my website. Freedom, nutrition, coach.com/book. You can sign up their name, email address, and I'll email you a copy of crush your cravings.

Magic Barclay:

Fantastic. Thanks for your time. On this episode, listeners, this was your episode 90. We were talking about brain driven weight loss in 91. John rejoined us, and we're talking about creating change that sticks for now. Listeners. Thank you for your time. Go forth and create your magical.