Recapping Week 4 of Kathie J. and Larry’s weight loss journey

Before this assignment, a lot of people aren’t aware of how TV impacts their behaviors, their relationships, or how they use it to numb their emotions. In Week 4 we followed Kathie J. and Larry as they tried their first experiential learning assignment.

In this assignment, I’ve seen people recognize how TV can play this role in their lives. Only when we are aware of how it is affecting our behavior in negative ways do we have the power to decide if we want to change it.

Experiential Learning Assignment

This week, Kathie J. and Larry had to give up TV. That means no TV on their phones, on their laptops, while they’re at work or at a bar — not even if someone else in their house has it on. For seven days.

Everyone’s experience is different. At first, people think it has to do with saving time. I think that’s critical because a lot of people say they don’t have enough time to meal prep, to exercise, to do their homework. If that’s the case, and TV is taking up a lot of your time, no TV for a week can show you where you might carve out more time for your new lifestyle changes.

What Happens When You Turn it Off

Change doesn’t mean we’re never going to watch TV. Remember, this isn’t, “What are all the things I can’t have without TV?” It’s, “What are all the things that I get when the TV isn’t on?” Maybe there are times when you want or need it on. But maybe there are times when you are aware of what else you could be doing if it were off.

For example, Kathie J. talked about how no TV gave her more time with her kids. A lot of people who do this assignment realize that they don’t communicate with the people they live with when the TV is on. Suddenly when the TV is off, there is a different kind of communication. It may even take a few days for it to happen.

People also become aware of how they use it to numb their emotions. So many people say, “I just gotta have it on in the background.” And when they can’t, they realize they use it so they don’t have to feel things.

What TV Has to Do with Your Weight

Why I am even talking about this in a weight loss program? What is the other big thing we do all the time, lots of us, to numb our emotions? We eat. So, in a way, both TV and food numb our emotions. If you numb your emotions, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. It just means you’re pushing them further and further down. But, if we are aware of what we’re doing, we can develop other strategies to deal with those emotions.

Bottom line: if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to be aware of how you’re using food to numb your emotions, and then develop other strategies to actually deal with them.

The Power of Positivity

When you decide to make a big change in your life, what do you think of first? Do you think about all the things you can’t do? Do you think about all the things you’re going to miss out on? Do you say, “I can’t do that exercise. I have a bad back. My knees hurt.”

A lot of times we immediately go to what we can’t do. One of the reasons we designed the State of Slim was to help them shift their mindset into, “What are all the things I get to do because of this change?” 

I always say, the body follows the mind. I see it all the time. The people who think they’re going to succeed: they succeed. The people who are sure this won’t work for them: they have a harder time getting there.

To really help change your mindset, it takes more than giving you the science as the reason to change. From my own life, I know that the best way to make this mindset shift is through action — or what I like to call experiential learning assignments, and they’re one thing that makes State of Slim very different from any other weight loss program out there. These experiential learning assignments are absolutely critical to your transformation.

Your takeaway:

Be open to new experiences that feel uncomfortable or scary, because chances are, they will change you in the best ways. Don’t know where to start? Do what Kathie J. and Larry did — try a “No TV Week.” Try it even for a day and see what happens. Be open to the new experience and the potential to learn something new about yourself.  

Follow and support Larry and Kathy J

Normally when you do State of Slim, it’s in teams of 15 to 20 people so you can support and encourage each other. But Kathie J. and Larry don’t have that. So, if you’re following their journey, reach out to them and support them. Who knows? It may help you as much as it helps them.

Learn more about the State of Slim at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center