Ep.59: Weight Loss For Life with Melissa Kathryn
Today you are going to learn about weight loss without dieting. Melissa Kathryn is our guest. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Weight Loss & LifeStyle Expert, Transformation Coach, International Best Selling Author and Speaker. As the Owner & Founder of Melissa Kathryn LLC, a holistic weight loss & lifestyle practice, Melissa has coached hundreds of women around the world, helping them transform their bodies and lives through the power of healthy living, unique nutrition styling, and inspired fitness infused with positive thinking. Melissa has been a featured TEDx speaker, an expert guest on New York Live, The CW, a writer for publications such as Real Simple, Mind Body Green and Shape Magazine.
In today’s episode she is going to identify some pain points around weight and give you positive solutions without you ever having to step on a scale.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
Sign up for her Healthy Holiday Free Coaching Series!
Learn more about Melissa: melissakathryn.com
robyn: Hey everyone it’s Robyn Openshaw, and welcome back to your high vibration life, and I am inviting you into a conversation that I think you’re going to enjoy, because I’m introducing you today to my friend, I call her MK, but she’s known out there as Melissa Kathryn Farley, and she is a certified holistic nutritionist. She’s a weight loss, and lifestyle expert. She’s a transformation coach, a hypnotherapist, she’s an intuitive. We could go on, and on, but she’s just so much fun to be around, and I have been really looking forward to this, because when I get together with MK we talk about life, and stuff, and relationships, and our health, and I’m really looking forward to getting Melissa’s take on weight loss. She has a really interesting story of having to overcome a lifelong battle with dieting, and this is of such importance, and interest to my audience.
My audience is mostly women. I know Melissa’s is almost all women, and every woman I know would love to … Even the skinny women want to lose weight I’m telling you what. Melissa’s bio talks about her past with disordered eating, and body dysmorphia. I want to get into that with her, because I bet she’s going to identify some pain points, and help us create some awareness around our issues around our weight, and weight loss. Welcome Melissa Kathryn Farley.
Melissa: Oh thank you so much for having me. That was an awesome introduction. I can’t wait to do this interview.
robyn: Well I’ve been following you for a long time as well as being personal friends, and I love to hear what you have to say to your audience to really shift the conversation about weight loss, and dieting. You’re not really so big a fan of dieting, are you?
Melissa: No. I’m completely against it. I love you. I love you so much it’s not normal. She’s not kidding. When we just get together, and can’t stop talking. No, I’m not a fan of dieting, because diets don’t work in my opinion. It’s actually [crosstalk 00:02:31].
robyn: It’s not even in your opinion right. What is there? Like hundreds of published studies about how if you go on a diet you might as well just pack another 10 pounds on just to get it over with, right?
Melissa: Yeah. 99 percent of people that go on a diet gain the weight back within one year. That’s not just a slight statistic there. 99 percent. Diets don’t set you up for a lifestyle, and they don’t set you up for success, and what I find with my clientele, and women in particular is that after repeatedly dieting, we no longer I would say once you say yes to a diet, you disconnect from yourself. You actually stop trusting your own body, and trusting yourself to know what to eat, and how to eat for your body, and everyone’s body is different, and you start giving that power over to somebody else. After repeatedly dieting, by the time I talk to women I’ll sit, and I’ll do talks, and I’ll say how many of you eat the way you do because it’s what feels good? And how many of you eat the way that you do because along the lines you were told to eat that way?
When I do that with my clients, many of them go, you know it’s so funny once I actually sat back. I don’t really need to snack, or I actually thrive on two meals a day, or I just need three meals a day, or I definitely need to snack. It’s really getting into a space of what works for me, and my lifestyle, and starting to get back into connection, and trust with yourself, which is really, really lost within the dieting world.
robyn: Okay so you have a background personally that led you to a career in helping women get healthy about their attitude towards their weight, and towards food. Can you tell a little bit about your own story?
Melissa: Yeah. Absolutely. I started dieting … Actually I didn’t start dieting at age 10. I remember looking at myself in the mirror, and I wrote in my diary that I needed to lose 10 pounds, and it was crazy to me when I found this years later, and I put in there like the date, and I added it up, and I’m like oh my god I was only 10, and I thought that I needed to lose 10 pounds. I think of a little girl now, or my niece, and that just breaks my heart because that was when I first started thinking something was wrong with me, and it had to do with the way that I looked at my body. From that point on, I really created this relationship with myself, and with food. I had growing up, and I love my mom more than anything. She’s one of my best friends, and she put me on a diet. She put me on weight watchers when I was 12. I was never anymore than 10, 15 pounds overweight.
I remember sitting in this circle, because this is when weight watchers you went in person, and there wasn’t online, and all that. I’m making myself sound so old. I just remember sitting in there, and there were people talking about I find myself getting up in the middle of the night, or I’m eating at 12, and all these different things, and I was sitting there going I don’t get what’s wrong with me. Why am I here? I just remember thinking oh, it’s because I’m fat. There’s something wrong with me. She thinks there’s something wrong with me. My mom is a perfectionist, and I think that this relates to a lot of people, and I bring this back to the space of dieting, because many of my clientele are perfectionists, and many dieters I find come from the perfectionist mindset where no matter what they’re doing it’s never enough.
A lot of that the perfectionist really don’t like to not have control, and therefore they like to create control via dieting. It’s one area of their life that they can create control, and other areas might be chaotic. My mom was really a perfectionist, and was more critical of the way that I looked, and really saw me as an extension of myself. It was kind of hard to be 12, and being like you know, I don’t like when you say comments about my legs. That was something where we don’t have a voice always when we’re finding our voice. That was something that I had to come into. Fast forward with my story, what I did instead was I turned to food. That was my comfort, and that was when I really … It was emotional eating, and I didn’t even really understand that concept until years later I spent the next at least two decades dieting.
I say that I either hated myself skinny, or I hated myself fat. I was either 10, 12 pounds overweight, and staying inside, and not going on dates, and not going to parties, and then staying in, and eating my feelings, and eating the fact that I didn’t feel good enough, and overeating, and really binging, and then making myself feel awful, and going to bed berating myself, and waking up with the guilt, and the shame, or I was either orthorexia nervosa, which is essentially I was a chronic dieter eating 700 calories. Always watching. I ended up doing weight watchers later on in life, and I knew the points to everything, but I kept my calories so on point, and I needed to go to the gym. I wouldn’t go to the bar to meet my friends. I didn’t want bar foods. It became a prison of sorts.
On the outside I looked a certain way, and I became known as the body, and being super fit, and super trim, and a fitness competitor, and on the inside food was controlling me, and my happiness. If I wasn’t in my size two, then it was a bad day. Either way I was in some sort of dieting mentality, and some sort of prison that I created on myself that really I call it … It really stole my joy, and it held me back from pursuing my dreams, and really believing that I was enough in a lot of areas of my life. Sabotaging relationships, and other things from just not really again, believing that I was worthy, and deserving of them.
robyn: I’ve watched a few friends do the fitness competitor thing, and I’ll hold back on my opinions from my observations, because I’m curious what you think about what happens to the psyche of female in the fitness competitive world.
Melissa: Well I think my laughing is giving in away. I had no idea what I was in for. It was an incredible experience in many ways to actually see what I was capable of doing. I learned so much about food, and my body, and the science of body transformation. I also talk about a complete, excuse my language, but to see yourself transforming. You’re going there, and you’re working out these hours, and everything. There’s no way that you’re not obsessed in some way. You’re living, and breathing what you’re doing. You’ve got prepared foods. I lived in New York City at the time, and I won the international natural body federation. I won the division for best body, and I really just did it because I thought I remember somebody in the gym ask me if I was training for one, and I thought no, what is that?
At the time that I did it, it’s not what it is today, and really everybody that did them was out of Canada, or Australia. I had a good experience going into it, and I was really dedicated, and it was great. What I saw on the flip side was mentally afterwards. It messed me up. Not just one year. I’m talking like a few years. It was also the catalyst that led me to do the work that I do today, and to recognize my pattern with food, because I never … That’s what really got me recognizing like I gain the weight back within six months. Less than that honestly. I think it was like three months. Talk about messing with your mindset. I went from people seeing me one way to where I had … Honestly, the day of my competition I was down to eight percent body fat. The next day it was like back up to like ten, but that is extremely … In order to get your period you need to be at 26 percent as a female.
I’m down to that, and that’s for people that are season competitors that are just staying in that space. Maybe going up about five, 10 pounds tops. What happened afterwards was I just saw myself in this space of I constantly judge myself, and then to see people see my one way, and put the weight on in only a few months. I was a coach at the time. I was an ideal body coach. I just felt so out of alignment. I sat there, and I said okay. Clearly I don’t need to diet. Clearly I don’t need to know about know what to eat, or not to eat. I’m already a nutritionist, I do this for … I know what I’m doing. I know how to transform a body in a gym. There’s something else going on here that I’m just not addressing. Having the ideal body for me didn’t make me happy. It didn’t heal any of the things that were really bothering me underlying all of this. That’s what brought me to the work that I do.
robyn: You know I don’t want to go too far sideways of the emotional component of overeating, and our relationship with our weight, but I do want to just say that I was close for years to a friend who was a fitness competitor, and I think physiologically the damage that she did to herself, and her metabolism not just from the yo yo-ing, and the getting her weight down as low as she could, and getting as carved up, or ripped, or shredded, or whatever you guys call it in that industry not only was that, and then the bouncing back up, and then starting all over again probably harmful, but also just how the fitness competitors evaluate their food. It’s all how much protein versus how much carb, and carb becomes a bad word. They take that into life after the fitness competition too.
Melissa: Yes. I did too. I started overeating protein. I was over consuming protein. I ended up with adrenal fatigue. I messed with my metabolism. I also through the competition I got introduced to fake foods, because I had to have so much protein that all of the sudden I’m eating protein bars I never ate before, which are all these chemicals, and this, and that. I’m taking diet pills, which I had been taking before, but not to this degree. Not for this extended period of time, because I stuck with that well after competing. The fake foods was a big one. There’s so much that goes on in that industry where you really aren’t eating whole foods anymore, and everything’s amped up with protein, and fake amounts of protein, and fiber in everything. It’s like Quest bars that have 20 grams of fiber in them. It just led to … It just added to my already dieters mentality, and just the way my relationship with food, it didn’t help it at all.
robyn: Yeah. It’s interesting you mentioned the adrenal fatigue because my friend, her name is Jamie, was desperately ill for many, many years, and she’s starting to make a comeback now, but she was stage three, stage four adrenal fatigue is what she was told, and there’s plenty of people who are starting to talk about how it’s not really adrenal fatigue. It’s the HTP access. It’s actually three different glands, and maybe we don’t know everything about it, but the adrenal glands are overtaxed, and so much protein also puts us at risk for all the degenerative diseases, and we have the high protein foods are also really low in fiber, and really low in micro-nutrients. It’s a drum that I beat a lot, and we’ll leave that, because it’s all part in parcel of this whole idea of emotional eating. Tell me more about, you said that you hated yourself skinny, and you hated yourself fat. What’s the hating yourself skinny part? Is that like, because you hated yourself, you’d go from skinny to fat to skinny to fat?
Melissa: No. Truly I believe listen, if you really love yourself then you want to eat foods that your body needs. You want to eat until you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. You don’t want to binge. You don’t force yourself to do workouts when your bodies like I’m exhausted. You don’t deprive yourself, and sit there, and feel hungry, and be in such a controlled state of deprivation. That’s not really being in partnership with yourself. I talk a lot about being connected with your body. That’s a partnership. That’s knowing your body, and asking it what it needs, and listening. The bodies not saying hey, starve me, and force me to go work out for two hours, and let’s see what happens, and let’s hope for some energy. The bodies saying I need you to care for me.
robyn: Yeah. It takes a toll on our psyche, and we forget because we get so reductionistic about the way we look at our health. We forget that taking a toll on our psyche is going to take a toll on our physical body too, right?
Melissa: Absolutely. Absolutely. You’re one in the same. There’s so much around this, but it’s as much as like … Your relationship to yourself, and so many women will come to me, and say well I just don’t know. They really have no idea how to eat for their body anymore. They don’t trust a thing. With all the information out there, they are so confused, and I really bring people back to a place of what I call body wisdom, which is actually connecting with yourself to know, and start to understand how are certain foods reacting to your body? You know what’s working for you. Your body wants to get to your ideal weight. It wants to regulate on its own. It’s telling you all the time things that are working for you, and things that aren’t, but you have to be tuned in, and listening. You have to actually like you, and this is one that really is hard for a lot of women that I talk to.
Many will get quite emotional, because they’re like when I really say to them, on a scale of one to 10 how much do you love you? I think about a seven. I’m like all right, on a scale of one to 10, how much do you love your body, and they’re like oh, no that’s at a two. I’m like okay, you do know that they’re one in the same? Then they kind of sit in silence. That’s when I just said if you were really in a space, do you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you see yourself naked, or do you run by, or kind of look up in disgust? Often times we’re doing these subconsciously and not even noticing that we’ve avoided a mirror without clothes on for weeks. Or we kind of look up, and just focus just on our eyes, or the comments of looking in the mirror, and being like God, I can see your wrinkles. That’s not loving you.
It’s really working on that full holistic looking at all the areas like I was saying to you earlier. I work with people on where there’s lack, you’ll fill those gaps with food. A lot of the lack that I find when we’ve spent so much time dieting, we’re making ourselves wrong, and we’re saying that something’s wrong, and we’re focusing on the lack that’s within ourselves, and often times it’s not that you need another diet, there’s areas in your life where you aren’t fully fulfilled, and things that you’ve been needing for a long time that you just keep piling more stuff on, or coming from that place of I need to control, and you don’t want to look at the things that are actually there that if we took the time would release you of the need to want food the way that you do.
robyn: It’s hard for women to even hear loving themselves, especially when you start talking about your body, and standing in front of a mirror, and looking at yourself naked, and being in full acceptance, and love, because it’s hard to even think about loving yourself if you hate yourself. Or there is disgust, or loathing, or some of the words that you mentioned. I wrote a blog series. It was like four, or five different blog posts with a subject line of I love my body, it serves me well. That’s where I started on this whole journey. My best friend when I was 17, 18 would say to me, would challenge me if I ever was critical to myself. I was probably the worst of the bad. She would say how are you not seeing that your body is beautiful? How are you not seeing how well it serves you? We just list off all the things that I can do. That’s not to say we’re taking completely the focus off of how my body looks.
It was actually a woman who by anyone standards would probably not be a supermodel, and probably had 20 more pounds on here than the American ideal is considered to be who said to me once in the gym, I love my body. It serves me well. I started with that. I couldn’t go to I love my body. I could say my body serves me well. That’s what this blog post series was about is my body serves me so well.
Melissa: I love that.
robyn: It really brought me around to that. I can think of 1,000 ways that it serves me well, and how I want to be tender with it, and I want to be compassionate, and I want to have flexibility, and give, and take. Just to drive this home counting calories didn’t serve you well. Obsessing about how many gram of protein to eat didn’t serve you well, and yet you have a career in helping women overcome cravings, get to their healthy weight, and stay there without dieting. Is that really possible? How do you work with your clients like that?
Melissa: Yeah. It is possible. I have created a career on it. It really goes like this. First it’s about learning how to take … It’s shifting your relationship with food by shifting your relationship with yourself. What we do is … I call it the MK method, and it’s what I did with myself. It took me 10 years, because I quite honestly didn’t know where to go to get this type of help. I was like do I go to a therapist? They’re not helping me. Where do I go for all of this? I started kind of [peace mealing 00:21:40], and doing different things, and finding things that really worked for me. Pivotal people for me were Mary Ann Williamson, and Louise Hay. Mary Ann Williamson wrote a book on 21 spiritual lessons to weight loss, and that’s where I really started going oh my god, I thought I was just a dieter like everybody else. I put this methodology together that took me 10 years, and I started doing it with women.
I started off three months, six months, and then I was like no, it really needs to be a year. My program is called weight loss for life, and it’s a year long program, and this is the one I have. Another foundational program that’s my jumpstart, but to really be done with dieting it takes a year, and then it’s a commitment to a lifestyle really. It’s working through the MK method, and the MK method is a fully holistic method where we take people through the process of food freedom, which is desensitizing the emotional attachment that we have to food. Foods will have different memories to them, and they can be great, but it’s about how do you not feel guilt when you overeat, or how do you not feel guilt around having a brownie, or having chips. A lot of times that happens when we have all these foods on the bad food list.
We have this memory around them that they are what in turn made us quote on quote fat. I hate that word. I always say it’s not the ice cream that made you overweight, it’s the amount of ice cream that you ate, and the energy, the relationship that you attach to it. We take people through food freedom. We don’t believe in scales. Get you off of the scale. We don’t bring scales back in until towards the end of the program after you’re not tied to the number on the scale, and you’re actually just focusing on how good you feel. Then we start to create the lifestyle. The lifestyle practices that serve you so that you’re doing things really under the guise of going to bed, taking it one day at a time, going to bed each night feeling proud. If you actually … Most dieters sit there, and they’ve been in a space of … Mentally they feel like they’ve been on a diet forever, but when they really sit there, and look at the span of seven days it’s been about two days they actually ate in accordance of with their quote on quote diet.
Or three days. What this is about is it’s like if instead of focusing on calories, or anything else, you’re just focusing ongoing to bed proud, meaning you moved your body, you found fitness. We call it fuel fitness. Fitness that you really love. It’s putting all of these pieces into place, but what we do in this formula, and in the program is the women are choosing this themselves, and they gradually put more on themselves. I’ll always be talking about things, but my clients will come back, and go I’m the one that decided to add an extra day of working out. I’m the one that decided to … I realize that dairy’s not working for me so I did this. We have specific guidelines that we’ll put out, and recipes, and workouts, and all of the things that would encompass having a healthy lifestyle, ’cause I’m very much an advocate of that obviously, and clean eating, and other things.
However, I’m really an advocate for each person’s body is different as is the way that they want to look, and feel as is their lifestyle. Putting everybody under just one program guise is the best way in a group capacity to actually allow for the customization. To give them the tools for lasting change, and to see them through varying forms of self sabotage that can come up throughout so when they lose the weight to be there for when they’re going to want to self sabotage, or for the holidays, or for when life happens.
robyn: Okay so I asked Melissa Kathryn if she would give you a gift those of you who are interested in changing your relationship with your weight, and weight loss, and diets, and food. You can find it at greensmoothiegirl.com/mk those are capitals MK for Melissa Kathryn. So greensmoothiegirl.com/mk. Tell us about, I wanted to air this during … As we head into the holidays because people who have struggled with their weight fear the holidays, and sometimes they get the best of us, and sometimes we manage to power through, and do mostly healthy things, but I think that your challenge here, your healthy holiday challenge will be helpful so that you’re getting tips, you’re getting support, you’re getting ideas so that you get through the holidays without another five pounds.
It’s not easy, or fun. Tough to lose five pounds when it’s dark, and cold, and it’s January, and so wouldn’t it just be better if we just didn’t gain it this year? Tell us a little bit about what the healthy holiday challenge is about, what we get in it?
Melissa: Yeah. Absolutely. The healthy holiday challenge is awesome, and it’s a 25 day challenge it will take you right through the holidays, and up until new years, and what’s great about it is you get a tip to your inbox each day with a call to action, and on top of that we also have a private Facebook community where I’m going to be doing Facebook lives just for you guys to support you, and answering your questions through the challenge, and anything that you’re needing, and we have different fun surprises, and things for you along the way, but what I found, and we run this. It’s a big gift to our community, and each year the women just say it’s so nice to receive a tip that just keeps you in alignment, and it’s fun so it keeps the holidays fun, it helps you to not stress out, and it’s not only just about staying healthy, but also enjoying food without having the guilt, and the shame that can come along with it.
Without packing on the pounds, and finding yourself going into new years being like why did I just do that, what just happened, how did I just undo months of me feeling great in the last three weeks? There’s nothing worse than that, and that’s what I help women to avoid. That’s what we have for you in the challenge.
robyn: Learning to care for ourselves, and even love ourselves is part of living at higher vibrations. In fact, it’s really impossible if we don’t. Melissa Kathryn thank you so much for today. I really enjoyed this conversation, and I know it’s always helpful to stop, and think about the deeper issues around why we might have an extra five, or 50 pounds, and if so, how do we deal with it that doesn’t involve self punishment, self flatulence, self hatred, and I love that you’ve conquered that battle. Of course, it’s always an ongoing process, but they you’re leading the way, and having conversations with women that goes to these really, really deep seated issues, and so thanks for being with us, and tell everyone where they can find more about you.
Melissa: Thank you so much for having me, and you’re incredible, and your new book is incredible. I hope that whoever got it. You can learn more about me at www.melissakathyrn K-A-T-H-R-Y-N .com.
robyn: Love it. Thanks so much MK.
Melissa: You got it girl. Thank you.