072: Savouring Healthy Weight with Psychologist Deb Thompson - Betsy Pake

072: Savouring Healthy Weight with Psychologist Deb Thompson

Deb Thompson is a Psychologist and Integral Master CoachTM who empowers women to shed shame and build nourished lives so they can savour lasting weight wellness. This is a journey she knows firsthand. Six months to her 40th birthday, in 2003, Deb was carrying 222 lbs. on her 5’5′ frame. The vicious circles of fatigue, discouragement, inactivity, overeating and overworking had her absolutely stuck. A huge pivot was to seek weight loss on behalf of being worthy of wellness and vitality, rather than to become worthy. Deb began to nourish herself with good food, movement, play, rest, belonging and meaningfulness, developing new habits and mindsets, ultimately allowing her to lose and keep off 85 lbs for over 13 years now. She has recently created Your Nourished Life as the offspring of her own journey and years of counselling and coaching women who struggle with weight.  Deb offers 1:1 coaching around the world via videoconferencing. You can taste her approach with a free email mini-course: Eff Overeating — The Five Day Fix (sign up at www.yournourishedlife.com), and join her Facebook group for thoughtful, whole-hearted, full-bodied women seeking a compassionate, creative and customized approach to weight wellness.


Welcome to The Art of Living big. I’m your host, Betsy Pake, and this podcast is designed to share interviews and new ideas to help you redefine what could be possible for your life. Now, let’s go live big. today’s podcast is brought to you by audible. Get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial at audible trial, comm backslash live big. There’s over 180,000 different titles to choose from. And you can listen on your iPhone, your Android, your Kindle, or your mp3 player. Now here’s the show. Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. I’m here today with my friend Deb Thompson. Hey, Deb.

Hi, Betsy. How are you?

Hey, I’m awesome. I’m excited to have you on the show.

I’m stoked to.

So tell everybody about a little bit about you and what you do.

Hmm. So I’m a psychologist, I’m a clinical psychologist, I went to grad school for a long time. So my mom gets to send birthday cards to Dr. Deb Thompson. And, and then I’m also I went back to school and did some more more. I don’t know just more holistic training as a type of coach. And I’m a mom of three young adults and one Airedale terrier. And now I’m moving more into I guess I’ve been working with women around wellness, and specifically weight wellness for about 10 years one on one, and I’m just trying to get some of that material together. So that maybe more people can tap into what what I found to be to be really helpful in my own life and, and and with my clients.

You know, I think weight is an issue that in the United States, at least, it is something that’s on the top of our minds, right? Like, I’m gonna say constantly or for most people, it’s something that they think about at different times throughout the day. But when you say weight wellness, what is what do you mean by that? Hmm.

Well, I think that

when people are certainly in extremely overweight or obese health and well being are compromised physically in terms of risk of things like diabetes and heart disease, and also usually vitality energy Mojo pep in your step, you know, it’s I used to be I weighed 222 pounds, and I’m only five foot five. So I myself was was in that landscape for about 20 years from 19 to 39. Yeah, and then over about a two year span, I dropped 85 pounds. And that was in 2003 2004 by creating a nourished life and, and becoming really developing self care around, not just my food and my movement, but but also rest and play and connection and, and ways in which I was really turning to food. Not just out of hunger and pleasure, but also just out of exhaustion and loneliness and boredom. And so yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a complex topic. Yeah, I just started why I love it. Because I feel like sometimes when I work with a woman around her, or weight wellness, I actually really helped her start to be awake to her truth and what she really needs and good self care. Yeah, way beyond the physicality of just her her body, you know?

Yeah, you know, so when we’re talking about weight wellness, it’s not just, you know, so many times we hear like, if you’re really overweight, or if you’re obese, you’re going to get diabetes, or you’re going to suffer from this or that. But there’s really a whole gamut of other things that affect you when you’re overweight. And I think mentally if you’re 10 pounds overweight, or if you’re 90 pounds overweight, right? I mean, there is there is similarities in terms of what people struggle with, on the mental side, like, like really eating not because they’re hungry, but eating because they’re sad, or because they want joy, or because they wish they had love or whatever it is. But don’t you don’t you feel like that all happens very unconsciously. That whole cycle is happening without anybody really, really realizing that they’re doing that. Mm hmm.

Yeah. And one of my main mindset shifts for people is to is to move out of this sort of critical, even almost condemned natori mindset around. They’re not just their way, but feeling like, Oh, I’m lazy, I’m greedy. That’s why I’m overwhelmed

by society that tells us that right, that are overweight or lazy and don’t do anything that and I know from friends and family members that really, though many times those are the people that are watching their food more than the skinny people, right? Like, it’s not that they’re doing something wrong, or that they’re not doing enough, like many times they’re doing more, but it’s just there’s a disconnect. There’s something that’s not working.

Yeah, I mean, like they’ve done studies where they showed three or four year old children, different silhouettes and different body sizes. And already they had associations with larger people being bad, basically. So shame on us. Shame. That’s

so crazy.

Yeah. So So yeah, and you’re right, that when people are sort of living in this place of criticism and condemnation, they they often are making efforts or thinking at least, but you know, I, I have this model where I think there’s three outcomes of this place of condemnation. And one of them is to kind of clamp down you know, and be really virtuous and good and maybe eliminate flour or sugar or you exercise an hour a day and, and I find with the clamp down, then sometimes people go into collapse, because it’s, it’s too hard to sustain it, it’s that kind of all or none thing. So then when people collapse and overeat, or or don’t move their bodies at all, it feeds back into further condemnation, like, Oh, I am greedy, and lazy and bad. And, and I see so many women in that loop of shame, clamp down collapse. But I also see people who kind of like, check out like, it sort of like, EFF this whole thing, like it’s too painful. And I’m just going to ignore my body and ignore my wellness and ignore my vitality and just step out, except that then they might end up with a health scare or they become depressed or so yeah, for me that that route. It’s like the poison route, you know, that that? That shame thing and condemnation. As I said, clamp down, collapse, check out and people I see people who loop through all of those things for years.

To be that that’s their default, right? That’s just how they operate in the world.

Absolutely. And it’s circular, right? Because you can sort of see how once the tightness of the clampdown gets too much to bear, and the person goes ahead and has a cookie, haha, God forbid. And then and then they think they’ve blown it and so then they collapse and then the collapsing gives material to the inner critic who says, well look at how out of control you are, you need to really seriously diet and be very virtuous and I just find it so circular. So I end up wanting to free people from that looping. And, and and offer them a different pathway.

Yeah, and so and so how do you do that? Is that really with the self care and just trying to shift so that they and you know, I always hear and I’m about to say this and then I realized I was here this so you correct me but like I was here like food is fuel. But like, it’s not. It’s so? Yeah,

yeah. Well, I have a five the five apps of food. And the first one is fuel because we do need our protein and carbs and fats and fiber and vitamins and minerals. Yep. For energy and for well being. that’s valid, right? It’s it but food is also flavor. So many people when they try to clamp down the cutout you know, texture and spices and sauces, and oh, I can’t put on sliced almonds or craisins in my salad because they add calories and it’s like, Yeah, but if that makes your salad delicious, and you’re not feeling deprived, you might enjoy it and stay the distance. Yeah,

yes. And keep going. Right?

Yeah, right. And so fuel flavor fun. Food shouldn’t be our only source of fun, or we’re going to be we’re going to be turning to it way too often. But food is fun. It’s celebrate taury it’s even at times recreational and there are certain foods like I would say bacon is the candy of meats, you know? Yeah. It’s not, it doesn’t really fall into the fuel category. But a few tablespoons of bacon crumbles again, might make your omelet, and how can people factor in that sort of being 85%? healthy ish, you know, and allowing a little bit of room to maneuver almost like having pocket money. Yeah, maybe this magazine is a waste of money, or this latte is expensive, but who wants to live where they can’t even spend five bucks on something, right? Yeah. And to me, it’s the same with having some of those fun foods. Then the fourth f that I work with people on is food as a friend. So turning to food, for comfort, for company, for when you’re exhausted and depleted, and you actually need to rest or scale back your life or set better boundaries. So food as an emotional. As I said, Kwazii friend is more like a friend. And he actually but that’s a that’s a big way that some people relate to food. And then the the final F is efit. where people go into that. I’ve blown it on mine as well, Stephanie phase, I also work with women who use FM eating to get off the hook from being really hard working and virtuous in other areas. So it’s almost they come home from work, and maybe they should clean up or do the dishes or do some tasks or chores, and they don’t want to because they’re exhausted, and then they eat a quote unquote bad food. And now they’re quote unquote, bad. And now they don’t have to do their chores.

Right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think that that we are very much an all or nothing when it comes to food, don’t you think? So then we get, I always say like, I joke and say, like, I got a case of the efforts. Like, if I’m just eating whatever, we’re on vacation, I’m like, this week, I got the efforts, you know, but But truly, it’s funny, because as you were going through this list, like fuel last week, I was on vacation, I had a case of the efforts I came home. And I really did want like healthy food. I wanted fuel, right? Because I feel like I kept saying, I just need a vegetable. That’s not right, you know. And so I can kind of see going through these things. But I think that there’s so much in all of that, and in our society, right, that’s telling us what’s right and good and how we should look, then we lose track of how our body really feels good. Like what feels good to us. And I think bringing it back and getting internal instead of looking for the outward. This is now I have everybody approves of my body now because I have a certain weight. Right? Yeah. And letting that go. But how do you do that? Or is that like such a big question?

Well, it’s a huge question. And I think it’s the journey of a lifetime, given given everything around us. But when we build up our sense of self compassion, and kindness and fairness towards ourselves, we, we lose weight on behalf of being already worthy, you know, worthy of vitality, wellness.

Energy and,

versus when people try to lose weight to become worthy. Uh huh. Through how they look. Well, it’s messed up because it’s invalid people’s worth is not based on how they look. And it also I think, part of our inner self knows that that’s ridiculous and is going to rebel and push back against it.

Well, I think so much about it is the language we use, right? So like when you say rebel, like that just triggered something with me. So many times when I am in, I used to own a CrossFit gym. Mm hmm. And I have my nutrition certification and I don’t do what anywhere near the work that they you do. But I when I owned the gym, and I worked also with people that were competing, I’ve competed as a Olympic style weightlifter in my 40s right, so I had to hit a weight class. So I had to dye it down until I worked with other people that were trying to do that same thing. So dieting down for a specific reason, right which fuels You in a different way, right? It changes your focus a little bit. But it’s funny because when I would talk with clients, when they would say, I know I should, I know I should have done this or I know I need to do that. But if I could get them to say, instead, I get to tomorrow, I get to work out at 9am. I like tomorrow instead of tomorrow, I have to work at it I am or, or this week, I get to eat really, really healthy so that I can hit my goal. Instead of this week. I got to eat really right on point. And I think so much of it is in our language. But again, we’re getting this outside stuff, which I am in a point where I am struggling with that what’s the outside stuff? And what do I really think about myself?

Right? Yeah. And I find that when people are in the place of sort of shame, there’s a lot of disconnection from the inner self, there is a rejection of the inner self. There’s a disconnection there’s a disconnection from the body. And so when I work with people to try to have more self compassion, that can allow a little more curiosity, a little more like, what what am I doing? What am I not doing? Why am I doing what I’m doing and not doing? And what’s that about? Because if the simplistic answer is I’m not exercising, because I’m a lazy piece of poo. And I’m overeating, because I’m a greedy piece of poo. Well, that’s a dead end, like, what do you do with that? How do you you know, where is it? It’s like, Well, I’m not exercising, because I have all or none thinking, and I’m feeling so pathetic that compared to in high school, I can’t even you know, I know for me, I couldn’t even walk for half an hour, when I first started without incredible calf cramps and stuff. And I had been an an athletic person in high school. So I physically was in pain, but I psychologically felt humiliated. And I had to work on myself compassion to be like, well, Deb, the only way out is through and baby steps and keep going and your body will adapt. And don’t beat yourself up for the 20 years. You You were so preoccupied with other matters, like my education, and my three children and other personal stressors, you know, so trying to be kind and fair to myself. And so my curiosity allowed me to think Well, my, I need to have a growth mindset, I need to have a baby steps and encouragement.

Maybe if I was turning to,

you know, maybe if I ate too much at supper, if I was curious, it was like, Oh, I had my lunch at noon and I’m eating my separate six, well, I’m, I’m like blood sugar’s dropping around three or four, and I need a healthy snack. So I find when we’re more compassionate with ourselves, then we can be more curious because we’re not judging. We’re more open to what, like almost listening openly, like what’s really going on here. And then we can customize from there because we’re sort of like, oh, okay, this is what’s going on. So this is what I need. And then we can commit to trying that and then seeing how it goes and tweaking from there because what I find our society emphasizes is commitment, willpower decision. Do it. And it doesn’t come from within it doesn’t come from compassion and self care. There’s no curiosity and there’s no customization. So it No wonder it fails.

Yeah. Yeah, that’s like a totally different way of looking at it.

Right, and I find for some people, like Ah, you know, maybe maybe there find it count servings of food types. Other people are like, no, that’s gonna make me sneaky insane and crazy and I but I could handle three plates of food and one smaller plate of food a day to like make my meals more isolated and less all day nibbling and control my sizes a little bit and maybe then we’ll start to divide the plate into types of foods and, and the person is working with themselves. And that would be a fairly rebellious person who’s probably suffered a lot under really messed up dieting. Yeah. And rather than being like, Okay, get better. At the strict dieting. It’s more like no, let’s find a way to eat less, eat more nutritiously. Without getting tight about it. And and then what else does this person need? Like? Do they need more rest? Do they need better boundaries to take on less? Do they need more play more fun, more socializing? Do they need to connect and belong and be less lonely and have more purpose more meaning. Because if somebody is in an unhappy marriage, and they have no hobbies, and they’re not close to their friends, and they don’t belong to anything, and they don’t feel part of anything larger, how are they going to give up food as a comfort and as a numbing agent against all that pain? Right?

What would you say to people that were on this journey, and really trying to think differently, you know, be in touch with what their body really wants? And they’re going through this process? And then, you know, now here we are with thanksgiving. So, like, how does somebody kind of rectify like that whole holiday is about, like overeating, right?

to yourself and still, like, celebrate the day.

Right, right. Well, I often really, do you remember on Seinfeld when Elaine had her stockpile of contraceptive sponges? And she Yeah, and she had to decide when she was dating someone if he was spun by Marie. Yes, yeah. So you got to decide if a certain food is splurge worthy. So you know, maybe at Thanksgiving, there’s 20 or 30 foods. And maybe you love like 10 of them. And 10 of them are like okay, and some of them are like I you know, take it or leave it. So I would say don’t eat don’t fill up your tummy, don’t waste any of the space in your tummy, which is limited. With the foods that you really don’t care for. And, and super hone in on the ones that are delicious and may be special. There may be only at holidays. Yeah. I think sometimes like homemade food seems better to me than store bought food. Because you know, you can get store bought food any day of the week, right? Yeah. So really like focusing on and I think that’s key what one thing you said. So focusing on

the stuff that really tastes good to date really liked. And I think like focusing on the thing that really brings you joy, right? Because so many times we have the rules, and we go well does this fit into the rules, and we’re not even taking into account if it brings you joy. And you know, I’m very much like a law of attraction person. And if you’re thinking this is gonna make me fat, this is gonna make me fat. Well, then that thing is gonna make you fat. You know? So if instead you’re focused on this thing is bringing me a lot of joy. I love how this tastes. I love getting to have this every year. You know, I love being able to be with my family while I have this like, and changes the experience. And I would almost say it changes how quickly you eat. Because I think when we think we’re eating something bad, we eat it fast to get rid of the evidence.

Oh, sure. And there’s a difference. Again, this sort of disconnection and gobbling and

you’re right, because yeah, more we eat faster.

Yeah, sure. So if you save or if you try to save or the these foods, you really like the splurge worthy foods and just be like, yum, yum, yum. And, and, you know, um, I also think people get stressed out at family holidays. There’s a if you’re, if you’re hosting, there’s often a lot of work if you’re a guest, there’s still all the family dynamics to deal with. And so how can you maybe get outside and get some fresh air and go for a walk or run around on the wall with a football or take some of the pressure off from conversations that don’t bring you joy, and it stress you out and make you grab foods? No matter what. Yeah, you know. But yeah, I think I also think that how you eat 10 times a year or five times a year on a special occasion isn’t the be all and end all of wellness and, and or weight wellness?

Making or breaking you

it’s not no Yeah, no, and yeah, I mean, I guess, again, out of self kindness. I know sometimes on holidays when I’ve eaten too much. I just feel so kind of much indigestion afterwards and kind of like, it’s almost painful. So out of self kindness. I tried to kind of remember that and, you know, almost just like with a kid like, I don’t know, would you let your kid eat like five cupcakes. Probably not because they’re going to have a really sore tummy and maybe even throw up. But it doesn’t mean they can’t have one and really enjoy it and maybe, you know, again, if they’re still hungry have other foods that are less hyper palatable and prone to being overeat. Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. But I think sometimes we we almost abuse our bodies like, like, it’s like, if if I came home when my kids were little, and some babysitter had let them eat, like a family size bag of chips and

drank a whole

you know, two quarts of soda or liters of pop as we would say, in Canada, or, you know, five chocolate bars. I, I, that babysitter would be fired.

Right? Yeah, I would. Yeah. Really, really

indignant that they had, like, basically a beat let my children have that. Like, I think it’s abusive. And yet, how do we step out of and wake up to the fact that that’s, that’s wrong to do that to ourselves as well. And, and stepping out of the clamp down, like the condemnation and clamp down that almost promotes that sort of collapsing behavior where we binge.

Yeah, yeah. I like that. It’s really about like listening really, right. It’s really about like taking care of yourself and looking inward instead of looking outward at what everything else is telling you.

Yeah, and I think allowing,

allowing enough sleep, I think your fuel should generally be really flavorful, so that you don’t feel deprived. That

Yeah, I like that a lot. Because I feel like when I look back on times, where I was, like, you know, I’m gonna be good. I’m super strict. I’m having like chicken and broccoli. And you know what I mean? Like, there’s nothing in it. But yeah, you’re so right. Yeah.

Yeah. And then as I said, a little bit of fun, but if we can eliminate or reduce food as a friend, and the effort eating, and we have lots of fake flavorful fuel, with some fun little bit here and there. 10 15% that’s where I find people can get steady. Yeah, and it to lose a significant amount of weight or, or even a smaller amount of weight. But also to keep it off. You have to be able to get steady. And I need so many women who are pretty good at dieting, and pretty good at overeating, but they have absolutely no experience at that kind of steady, moderate, doable. I’m generally content. You know, I know for me, one of my things for contentment is volume. I need volume in my food. So I eat things like popcorn and watermelon, and soups and roasted veggies or things that you can eat like big Ms. Yeah, rather than me trying to reform that and be like, No, no, no, Deb, you need to learn how to eat small amounts of food. Now, obviously some foods like I don’t know, almond butter or cheese. Yeah, I’m trying to have like a thumb. Like, you know, a certain that isn’t like a million bucks, but so volume, you cannot apply volume to all foods that would be perilous in terms of their nutrients. Right, right. But I do find ways. Oh, you know, shredded cabbage is another word of mine. I don’t know why I just love it so much. But like with different dressings and, or in like

a salad like you haven’t like?

Yes, yeah, like coleslaw, or I’ll stir fry it like asian style. Yeah. And you can just you can eat like I find with veggies, the fact that you can eat like, unlimited,

but as long as you like the other one is shrimp you can eat like the entire ocean.

That’s true. I know. So, so it’s so it’s the same with maybe somebody who who really has a bit of a sweet tooth. Yeah, maybe that needs to be dialed down. But I don’t believe in forbidden foods. I don’t believe in eliminating whole food groups or even things like say sugar like I guess if somebody can eliminate sugar, happily and contentedly and do it for the rest of their life forever. And that’s their jam. Then I would say piece sister do it. But I honestly find most people when they try to get really hardcore totally eliminate things. It’s not a content easy forever lifestyle. So in my experience working with people, helping them find a way to keep to be really choosy about their splurges, and to really savor them, and to keep them to a dull roar, that’s more doable if the rest of your life.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think that makes so much more sense. Now you have a five day course right? Like an E course people can jump on.

Yeah, I got an F over eating. If I five day fix, it’s a free mini course. There’s five blog posts about the fuel flavor, fun friend and method. And then with the little mini course, there’s some good examples that are going to come into your email one a day with PDFs, worksheets that are free downloads that you can print so you can work the steps and kind of like make this your own. As I said, customization is huge in this and so yeah, that’s that’s out and I’m doing quite a bit of one on one coaching through my year nurse life.

So give us that again, it’s your nourish to life calm. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. And I’ll have an show notes.

Perfect. And then you know, in the in the cooker, it are some workshops and and courses. I know a lot of people can’t necessarily access one on one services. So part of my next evolution is moving towards really high quality, self help. This is affordable and accessible. And love that yeah,

that’s awesome. And this five day course sounds amazing, too, just to be able to really get into each of those five apps and like explode them out and kind of figure out how it works for you with the worksheets. Super, super brilliant. Thank you so much for being here. Deb. This was really awesome. And I appreciate you coming on the show today.

I’m super grateful to have the opportunity.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Remember, you can find me inside my facebook group at SS lB community.com as stands for start small, live big community.com. And as always, here’s a little message from my husband.

That’s it.


Meet Betsy!

I'm Betsy Pake!

*Ocean obsessed

*Probably hanging out with my dogs


*Deep thinker

Hey There!

About Betsy

Hi I’m Betsy and I’m a subconscious change expert.
By day you can find me digging deep into the unconscious beliefs and identity of my clients so they can move past self-sabotage and lack of confidence and gain traction in their career and life.