A Magical Life: Health, Wealth, and Weight Loss

Making Changes That Stick with Jon McLernon

February 02, 2022 Jon McLernon Season 1 Episode 91
A Magical Life: Health, Wealth, and Weight Loss
Making Changes That Stick with Jon McLernon
Show Notes Transcript

Coach Jon McLernon is back for part 2 of our discussion, this time on making changes that stick.  If we want permanent changes, we have to permanently change our patterns of behavior.

What tends to happen is by acknowledging behaviors and setbacks, we have a tendency to beat ourselves up.  This isn't helpful - in fact, the key to lasting change is compassion.  Next, it's important to understand why you desire that change, and anchor your new habits in that deeper meaning.

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Magic Barclay:

Welcome back to a magical life. I'm your host magic Barkley and I'm again, joined by coach John McClernon. John has been with us in a previous episode, and we were talking about. Brain driven weight loss today, we're talking about creating change that sticks. And John is going to give us some tips that we can all follow through with because you know what we often decide to make change and we might get started on that journey, but making it stick is the tough part. So we're going to find out how you do that. What the top tips to that are, and also revisit this idea of the road, which we discussed back in episode 91 side, being guilt, another side being enabling, and in the center. We're talking compassion. Now, if you haven't listened to episode 90, I urge you to do that. We were talking about you need compassion for yourself. So without further ado, welcome back, John.

Jon McLernon:

It's a pleasure to be here.

Magic Barclay:

Thanks for coming back now, I'm pretty much handing this episode over to you. I really want the listeners to learn some nuggets about creating change. That sticks. We did touch on this in the last episode, but I think there's so much more we can unpack. So with freedom, nutrition, how do people create change? That sticks?

Jon McLernon:

Yeah, well, you use the term and you'll hear me use this term brain driven weight loss. And you know, it's a term that I've coined really to shine a light on the fact that, well, yes, you know, what we eat and how we choose to be active will influence our weight and our health, but it's actually the brain that drives the decision making and our actions. Th the mistake that I see is so many efforts to create change and weight loss. For example, they take this outside in approach and they fail to acknowledge that it's actually our internal environment from our emotions, our mindset, our psychology or habits. These are the factors that most powerfully influence our behaviors and ultimately our results. And many of our actions take place at the subconscious or the unconscious level, because while our brain is basically an efficiency computer, and if we had to think about every single movement we made, we'd never be able to function day to day life. And so our brain has this propensity for forming habits from repeated behaviors. So our behaviors are very often driven by it. As I mentioned, our habits, our emotions, and also importantly, our beliefs. So acting in congruence with our sense of it. So if we want to create permanent weight loss, where we have to create permanent change and we can really only create permanent change by establishing a new pattern of behaviors, new habits, a new sense of identity, and all of this can take place due to the marvelous property of our brain called neuro-plasticity. And that's, that's a fancy way of saying our brain has the ability to rewire itself, which is really cool.

Magic Barclay:

Totally. And I think there's that old saying whether you think you can, or you think you can't you're right. So if you want to lose weight and keep it off, but you question whether you can do that, that's going to be a problem for you.

Jon McLernon:

Well, we, we don't rise to the level of our highest aspirations. Um, we really fall to the level of our beliefs. In other words, we can't really outperform our belief system and. And I believe it's Albert Einstein, who said, I'm probably going to butcher this boat, but along the lines of we can't solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that the problem was created. So the problem is created in this space of really subconscious and unconscious parts of our brain, whether it's our beliefs or habits and so on. But in order to create the change we have to, we have to shine a light on those behaviors in others. We have to bring them into our conscious awareness and the process of doing that can be more than a little bit uncomfortable because when we bring our unhelpful behaviors into the light, very often tied to them are these difficult emotions of guilt and shame and regret and so on. And so we there's this natural instinct to want to avoid this discomfort and thus hide the behaviors. And this is why compassion is such an important piece. Compassion allows us to bring our unhelpful behaviors into the light and look to understand them rather than to judge them. And it's in that space of compassionate awareness that we can really look at what kind of selves and want to learn about ourselves rather than just try to hide our shortcomings in our humanness, really.

Magic Barclay:

Exactly. And you know, you just mentioned shortcomings. We all know ourselves the best. Now, if there's something that's going to challenge you, whether it be a situation or a thought pattern or how you feel about yourself or the support team you have, or don't have around you. You know, where you need to focus and you know how to get through these challenges. So I guess what I'm saying to the listeners is don't let one thought one person, one situation derail you, you can really make this happen for yourself. As long as you know, the areas where support may be lacking.

Jon McLernon:

I like to say that trying to change ourselves is like trying to bite our own teeth. It doesn't work because we're stuck in our own head. And so I think one of the things that we'll grapple with is every one of us has gifts and skills and abilities. And so we could look at it and go. How can I be so gifted in this one area and Excel in this one area of my life, and yet struggle so hard in this different area of my life. And it's because you know, the skills don't always necessarily cross over and nobody is actually going to be superhuman in every aspect of their life. It's simply impossible. So it's not something wrong with you. If you're highly, you know, maybe for example, you could be this high-performing business executive, and yet in your personal life, really struggle with relationships or things like that. And so this goes back to that compassion piece where we say, you know, it's okay to have an area of your life that you, you, maybe aren't a high performer at you struggle. It just, it just means that you're, you're a human being really ultimately

Magic Barclay:

exactly. And human beings make mistakes and human beings learn from action. They're kinesthetic. So the only way you're going to learn is by making mistakes. But you'll also learn by having success. And it's how you word that to yourself. That really matters. So, John, how would you discuss with people? The idea of self-talk

Jon McLernon:

that, one's a really interesting one. I mean, for me, everything around the brain is, is, is fascinating. I would say because, you know, maybe the real question here is why is it so hard to treat ourselves with compassion? You know, when we embarked on Santa's weight-loss journey or really any kind of change, and we could take a step back and we ask this question, if we treated a friend, the way we treat ourselves, would we have any friends left? And so I really think there's a number of reasons why people struggle with, with self-compassion. And it could be maybe I'll list a couple of things here, and it could be any combination of these factors. You know, some of you listening might hear one or two, some of you might think all of these different things, but so for example, We can be abusive towards ourselves. And the truth is we simply have to take it. We can't run away from ourselves. And so we may end up using ourselves as a punching bag for all of our difficult emotions. Some kind of emotional release actually comes from that. We may also view self-compassion as a, like a weakness and maybe we're afraid to show a weakness because very often this is connected to feelings of worthlessness or lack of self-worth. And truthfully, we often see compassion as something for other people, not for ourselves. So in connection with that, we could also say that self-compassion as a touch on it involves becoming aware of our flaws and mistakes, and that will bring up these maybe painful memories or feelings of deep shame. But if we, if we're aware of. This is going to come up. I like to say that like emotions or emotions are like a check engine light. And there's often like in a car, a little yellow light that comes on in your dashboard. If something needs your attention. Now that little light doesn't tell you exactly what the issue is, but it tells you that something needs your attention. Well, emotions are really a lot like that, but for most people, what we do is like the equivalent of putting a piece of black electrical tape, over that check engine light. And so while you can't see that light, it's still there and that problem is still occurring under the surface. So again, it brings back the importance of bringing these things into the light so we can see the problem. And if we can see the problem, then we can actually start taking steps to correct it.

Magic Barclay:

Yep. Definitely. And I guess. John. There's so many people that look at their weight loss journey and go, well, the pattern is I failed this many times already and the weight always bounces back. So how do I change that pattern? What are some tips that you have for people to really change that, that network wiring in their brain that says, look, you can start this, but you won't succeed.

Jon McLernon:

Well, I think the first thing is understanding why our brains do that. And I'm really big on trying to understand it because when we understand that, then we can, we can create change around it. So our, our body is really wired to conserve energy, to meet all of our needs with the minimal amount of energy expenditure. I like to say that we have a famine biology and we live in a feast world nowadays. Through most of human history, we had a, of biology and a world that experienced routine and regular famines or food shortages. So when we go to expend energy from a biological perspective, energy is precious. So our brain goes, I want to, I want to try to predict if it is worth it, to spend my precious energy on pursuit of this objective. And so it will look back over past experience and S and, and create what's known as a prognosis, a prediction of what is the likely outcome. If I undertake this endeavor. And it really, if our brain is convinced that we're not going to be able to make that change successfully, it will, it will bring about resistance. Now, interestingly, our brain doesn't distinguish between subconscious and our conscious. So one of the ways that we can overcome some of this resistance is first of all, creating a really clear picture in our head of the change that we want to experience in our lives, because it's nothing really that's been created in this world that wasn't first visualized in someone's head. And when we create that visualization, what our brain is going to do is it's going to start to reward us with dopamine. That's that neuro-transmitter, that, that gives us a feeling of pleasure. And so, as we begin to get rewarded with dopamine, that helps us to overcome our innate earned natural resistance to creating change. But there's a really important caveat here. That's going to feel like motivation, but your brain can't keep you high for. And so that, that, that dopamine is going to, to wane. And when that happens, it's going to feel like we've lost motivation, but really that was just a, could we call it a biological imperative to overcome our natural resistance to change? So if we know that's coming, we don't necessarily get discouraged or feel like we've been derailed. When in that moment, we don't really feel like we want to continue on this journey.

Magic Barclay:

Exactly. So listeners, we talk about weight loss all the time, because it is one of the top factors that affect our lives. Now, John many people feel they need to lose weight, not just for their health or for themselves, but because people around them tell them to, or the media implies that they should, some people are happy, bigger. Some people are healthier, bigger. And I guess, you know, this can go either side of the scale. So I've been both sides of the scale have been super morbidly obese, and I've been anorexic at neither time. Was I happy with myself? Yeah. But both of those points in the scale I had the media, I had the community, I had pretty much everyone around me telling me you've got to gain weight, you've got to eat something or you've got to lose weight. You've got to stop eating. So how can people decide for themselves what their happy set point is? Because I think when you're going through changing your body, you really need to know what your healthy set point is.

Jon McLernon:

I like to say that weight loss is a doorway. It's not a destination. So the truth is for those who are overweight, we can, we can agree. Biologically speaking, weight loss is likely going to improve the health of almost anyone undertakes it. But in reality, it's never really a boat, a number on the scale. It's about quality of life. So the number that we might have in our head, I'd like to get to this weight where I'd like to lose this much weight. The number is really just a placeholder for a future that we feel it's going to enable us to live in. When I speak to clients, the things that I hear, like I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to be able to shop in my closet again, wear clothes that I used to. I want to not feel out of breath. When I go up and down the stairs, I want to be able to hike the mountains. I want to get down on the floor and play with my kids or my grandkids, my nephews and nieces. And so really this is about the freedom to do the activity you want instead of the one that you wish. And so if we could view weight loss differently, so weight loss really in a sense is about giving us the opportunity to experience life more fully. It's so important to understand that happiness will never lie in seeing a certain number on the scale. Yes, we might feel a sense of accomplishment for a day or two, but true happiness comes from being able to live life independently on our terms. And we could also say that weight loss is really. Leaving behind an identity that slowly suffocating you and replacing it with one where you do love your life. And you don't have to worry about these crazy fad diets and supplements, and that, you know, these terrible media messages that hear all the time

Magic Barclay:

agreed. So listeners it's really about finding somewhere where you're comfortable. So not a number on the scale, like John said, you know, finding that point where the things that matter to you are able to happen. So whether it's going for a walk each day without knee pain or fitting into your favorite outfit, or, you know, the big one playing with your family, being interactive, not just watching them from the sidelines. That's really where you need to focus. And John, I'm so glad that you said that because I think so many people just look at a number on the scales or a size of clothing, or, you know, something that's an ideal that is unachievable.

Jon McLernon:

Yeah. And, you know, um, I think that there's, we, we live with this sort of dynamic tension within ourselves. So, you know, for example, I like to ask the question, why are we as human beings? So attracted to this concept of like a quick fix or a fad diet. And it comes from this idea. We want to believe the promise. We want to believe that weight loss is quick and easy because it's an attractive idea. We don't want to acknowledge the reality that weight loss. If you're going to create permanent weight, It's actually quite challenging. So I think that we live with this internal tension. So as human beings, we have a nervous system, a primal nervous system that's hardwired to seek out comfort and really to avoid pain suffering and difficulty. So that's that primal reptilian brain that we have, but the essence of what makes us human, you know, maybe I would say our soul it's, it's hardwired for growth and connection and development. So I think we find ourselves like oscillating or moving back and forth in this sort of dynamic tension of how good it feels in one sense to remain inside our comfort zone. For example, watching Netflix and eating a bag of chips to our brain, that'll give our brain a lot of dope means. So in the moment it actually feels really good, but there's this other part of that. That's like this innate calling to do and to be better. So one of the challenges I think we experienced in the, particularly in the 21st century world, I would argue that we were more mentally and emotionally stressed and distressed than ever before. And the more that that's the case, the harder is to voluntarily leave our comfort zone. So now I'm not trying to say that life is more difficult than it was a hundred years ago were during the great depression or during world war II or things like that. But what I mean is we live in a more emotionally, mentally stressful world because we have exposure to triggers and stressors constantly 24 hours a day, biological stressors, emotional stressors. And on top of that, we live with this unprecedented level of convenience at our fingertips that can allow us to meet all of our basic human needs without ever having to remove our bum from us. So that's, that's the challenge that we're up against. And I think it's important that we understand this. If we really truly want to succeed in the long-term and that kind of leads into this concept that maybe we can touch on. And I called our emotionally compelling reason. It's the reason why we do what we do.

Magic Barclay:

Yep. Totally. Well, John, I guess we need to, um, really look at anything we've missed here for the listeners. We really want them to leave this podcast, feeling Boyd and sustained, and really able to go and conquer the world. So what do you think we still need to talk about?

Jon McLernon:

Well, I'd like to, I'd like to touch on this, this idea that I mentioned the emotionally compelling reason. So the fundamental. Principles of a healthy lifestyle. They haven't really changed since 5,000 years ago. A lot of people don't realize that like the first diets were appearing in like 2,500 BC. It was just, they happened to be appearing with aristocrats who had enough money and wealth to acquire food and get fat for the average peasant or slave that wasn't an issue. But so, so this sort of idea of wanting to modify our body to be happier has existed since human beings walked this planet. So the process of doing this, you know, the fundamental principles are like quality sleep, deliberate, stress management, regular movement, quality nutrition, you know, excellent hydration. These are the fundamental concepts or fundamental principles that lead to a healthy life and a healthy body and a healthy mind and so on. So the question is, how do we make. Fit or how do we shape this to, to fit our unique lifestyle, our unique circumstances. And on top of that, so knowing this, for example, we know that at some point it's going to feel like it's maybe a little bit repetitive or a little bit like I'm doing some of the similar things over and over again to get to this place, because in one sense, we are creatures of habit and routine. So that's where this piece, this emotionally compelling reason comes in. So for example, I have a, I have a son that at the time of recording, this is 10 months old, he's super active, crawling and scrambling everywhere, pulling himself up, trying to walk. And I get a little bit of a preview of what's to come, especially in these next few years, when it becomes like a holy terror toddler ripping around the house. I can't go back to being a binge eating food addict, because that would mean that I'm stuck on the couch and not able to be active and physically present in his life. And so when I'm confronted with the desire to. Let's say demolish an entire bag of chips versus play with my son. One has a stronger emotional pull than the other. And so if we can anchor sort of these daily habits and behaviors to a deeper meaning why we want it, it's no longer I have to do this because I have to lose weight or I have to do this because, you know, my coach told me, so, or things like that, it's I get to do this because it means I can live more fully and presently in the life of my son and my wife and so on. I get to live life more fully. That gives meaning to the basic and fundamental actions and principles that lead us to being healthier.

Magic Barclay:

Listeners. There's your light bulb moment. That's fantastic. Really look at the why we've talked in the podcast before about shadow values and about golden values. We've talked about how to use energy and frequency for a healing. And for our weight loss, we've talked about setting up morning routines, you know, there's so much out there that we've given you, but none of that helps unless, you know, your why, why is it that you want to be a size 12? Or why is it that you want to be 65 kilos or whatever it is wherever you are in a world, by the way, size 12 in Australia is kind of small, medium. Um, so wherever you are in the world, what is your, why is it so that you can shovel the snow without having to hire someone to do it? Because now you've got the energy to do it. Is it because you want to see your grandkids, your great grandkids, your nieces, your nephews grow up, but what is your, why is it just because you want to feel good in your body? Not be out of breath, not be aching and joint pain. What is your why? So I guess John, how do people find their why? So that it's clear and concise and something that they can kind of think of every morning when they get out of bed rather than an essay that they're not going to stick to?

Jon McLernon:

Well, I think there there's an exercise that Toyota did many, many years ago, and it was called the five whys. Uh, in other words, asking the question why five times you're looking for five layers. And so, you know, in, in the world of weight loss, it might start with, I want to lose weight. Well, why is that? Because my clothes don't fit. And okay. So why is that a problem for you? Well, because I don't feel confident or comfortable and so on, and you do some digging to get to what that is. And so for each individual, and the idea is that if you can ask and if you can dig through five layers, you'll come to a really deep seated reason why you want this. And so I think that's, that's probably the simplest way to go about this in a sense, but I want to put one little caveat in there and that is that you're not married to this. So, you know, if we think about, for example, the idea of, you know, people we like first, but the first of the month, uh, you know, January 1st, uh, uh, Monday, you know, we, we always kind of like these, these fresh starts, um, whatever the reason you have right now is like a good enough reason to start. Like, it doesn't mean that that has to be the reason for the rest of your life. So, whatever reason you can find that gets you moving right now is the right reason. you just sit still and like, wait for a reason to appear, it's not going to happen. But as you move, as you take action, as you implement, as you start creating change, that's where that's where maybe deeper reasons are going to emerge. So in saying, and describing maybe this exercise, but asking why five times you might think, well, I can only get to three or it's not about doing this perfectly. It's like get to a reason that's enough to get to moving right now. And as you go through this process, you're going to uncover more reasons you're going to evolve. You're going to mature, but it won't happen if you just sit still trying to try and only create your mind without physically taking action in the real world.

Magic Barclay:

Thanks so much for that coach, John. Now listeners, you can find coach John on Facebook at www.facebook.com/canadian nomad. He's also on YouTube freedom, nutrition dot Rox slash YouTube. John, are there some freebies on that YouTube that people can watch and get a sense of how to apply what we've spoken about?

Jon McLernon:

Absolutely. There, there's a couple of different little series of mini, you know, maybe one to four minute videos that break some of this down. Um, and I do have some of these concepts in a slightly bigger lesson. I think it's about 20 ish minutes. So you could probably speed it up to 1.5 X or something if you want to, but it's called the diet deception. And it's really where I break this down in some detail, again, some of the things that we've talked about from, from a slightly different perspective still. So, um, yeah, I think you'll find quite a few valuable resources.

Magic Barclay:

Thanks so much for joining us again, John, I think you've been one of my most favorite guests, sorry to everyone else, but this was great.

Jon McLernon:

Uh, it's been an absolute pleasure. And, uh, again, I, I love, I love hearing an Australian accent. Australia feels like a second home to me. So, um, and a real pleasure.

Magic Barclay:

Hopefully one day we can welcome you back here, listeners, as I said, I've shared my journey with you a lot and I was an emotional eater and I can see the damage that does. So if you've got anything out of this episode or episode 90, you know, please leave a review because I've been there. I'm still there fighting the good fight to get my body where I need it to be. And I really would love to be. Reading your stories, your success stories. If there's anything you get out of these amazing guests that I have, please do leave a review and I will share those reviews with the guests. And, uh, you know, that will be a great way to thank them for their time. Listeners, this was your episode 91. We were talking, creating change that sticks. In episode 92, I have Brent German joining me and he talks about, I know your yes. So that's a great one to follow on from coach John for now. Listeners. Thanks for your time. Go forth and create your magical life.