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episode #346

Interview with Molly Zemek: Losing 45 pounds, Quit Alcohol and Mindful Eating!

April 8, 2024 in Podcast


This week I interviewed author and master certified life coach - Molly Zemek!

In this episode, we discuss Molly's weight loss journey of losing over 45 pounds and quitting alcohol, how she transitioned from being a professional chef and sommelier to focusing on her health and well-being, as well as:

  • being aware of our body's hunger signals
  • the importance of replacing unhealthy food cravings with healthier alternatives
  • practicing mindful eating by slowing down
  • navigating healthy eating with her three children
and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GET, LEAN Eat, Clean Podcast.

Molly (3s):

It just made total sense that I would cut back on drinking and I could tell that my, my weekly habit of having a couple glasses of wine was really taking its toll on my physical and mental health. So I started to just be a lot more mindful about how much I drank, but again, not with the expectation that I would stop drinking, but as I started to just feel better and better physically, and as I took longer breaks in between drinking, I started to just develop a different lifestyle for myself. I started to create more and more desire to just feel incredible. And so it got to the point where I really just, you know, the one or two days a week that I was drinking just didn't make any sense because it would take me so long to recover from those days, even though I wasn't having more than a couple drinks, I just really, over time, lost interest in it and, and have been able to just create a, a, an amazing lifestyle without it.

Molly (58s):

And so it, it's sort of miraculous to me that I, I stopped drinking because I never really thought that that would happen. But. it has, and just, I've never felt better.

Brian (1m 9s):

Hello and welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm Brian Gryn and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week, I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed author and master, certified life coach Molly Zeman. We discussed Molly's weight loss journey of losing over 45 pounds and quitting alcohol, how she transitioned from being a professional chef and sommelier to focusing on her health and well being. We also chatted about being aware of our body's haner signals, the importance of replacing unhealthy food cravings with healthy alternatives, practicing mindful eating by slowing down, navigating healthy eating with her three children and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was.

Brian (2m 2s):

Really enjoyed my interview with Molly. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show, All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn and I have Molly Zemek on Welcome to the show.

Molly (2m 16s):

Thank you. It's great to be here.

Brian (2m 18s):

Great to have you on podcast host, author, coach, health coach, life coach. Yes. What made you get into this area of coaching? Well,

Molly (2m 30s):

I usually identify myself as a lifelong food lover. I grew up in a family where food was a big focus. My father is Italian, and we spent a lot of time and energy on food, and I developed a real interest in eating well from a young age, and so much so that I ended up pursuing a career as a professional chef for about 10 years. And then I became certified as a sommelier because I also paired my interest in wine with my love of fine dining. But when I turned 40 and started shifting my priorities and began putting a lot of energy and time into raising a family, I realized that my habits of, of eating well and eating a lot and, and enjoying wine every night were having a different effect on my body physically.

Molly (3m 31s):

And the way that I had tried to, to offset in that in the past was through dieting. And that approach just stopped working for me. I really wasn't getting the same results. I continued to feel worse and worse. And so it was around that time that I was introduced to life coaching and recognized that the missing piece for me was uncovering the reasons behind the habits. And once I started exploring that and unlearning a lot of these old habits and outgrowing them, I just, my, my life completely changed. And I knew that, that this is kind of the missing piece for a lot of people that we don't learn through dieting.

Molly (4m 12s):

And so I started my business as a way to educate more and more people about this. Yeah.

Brian (4m 16s):

And your li weight loss journey was losing 45 pounds, is that right? Yes. And, and getting up alcohol, what, what years did that occur?

Molly (4m 29s):

Well, it was, let's see, t we in 2024 now, that was 2017 that I started on the path of losing weight. And it took me about a year. I didn't, I didn't start out with the intention to give up alcohol. I think that's an important point to mention. But as part of my commitment to losing weight and changing habits of eating, it just made total sense that I would cut back on drinking. And I could tell that my, my weekly habit of having a couple glasses of wine was really taking its toll on my physical and mental health. So I started to just be a lot more mindful about how much I drank. But again, not with the expectation that I would stop drinking, but as I started to just feel better and better physically, and as I took longer breaks in between drinking, I started to just develop a different lifestyle for myself.

Molly (5m 22s):

I started to create more and more desire to just feel incredible. And so it got to the point where I really just, you know, the one or two days a week that I was drinking just didn't make any sense because it would take me so long to recover from those days, even though I wasn't having more than a couple drinks. I just really, over time lost interest in it and, and have been able to just create a, a, an amazing lifestyle without it. And so it's sort of miraculous to me that I, I stopped drinking because I never really thought that that would happen. But, it has, and just, I've never felt better.

Brian (5m 56s):

And. what was that journey like, the weight loss journey, like you said that you, you sort of don't necessarily believe in, like diets. What type of lifestyle changes did you make to sort of transform yourself?

Molly (6m 8s):

Yeah, that's a good question. So, you know, started just really, it, it began by just paying attention to my body. And that's really what prompted me to lose weight and, and come back on drinking in the first place, was just recognizing how certain foods made me feel after I ate them. One of my old habits was having dessert every night after dinner, and I would just, it was, I would go to sleep with this, what felt like, kinda like a pit in my stomach. And I would wake up just like hot and sweaty and like not able to sleep well. And I started just paying attention to that. And I noticed that, that that particular habit had that kind of effect on my body. And so I would also pay attention to, okay, when I eat foods, that that make me feel good.

Molly (6m 52s):

Which foods are those? And so I started prioritizing mainly whole foods because I noticed that I feel much better when I eat whole foods. I feel much better when I eat less sugar. I feel much better when I eat less processed foods. So that was kind of the, the very early stages. And then I started to wait to eat until I actually felt physically hungry. So really kind of taking the focus off of food and redirecting it back onto my body and learning how to listen more attentively to the signals that my body was already giving me as far as what I needed. And then really questioning like, okay, how much food do I actually need to be eating at this meal? In the past, I would make those decisions based on the amount of food that was on the plate, or if it was my favorite food, right?

Molly (7m 35s):

It was all driven by kind of what I call my emotional appetite. And when I was listening to my body, I realized like, oh, actually my body's telling me I've had enough, much sooner than that, and there's still food left behind. And so I really worked over time to kind of honor what my body was telling me. But then when I wanted to plan something, you know, just for fun, like I did wanna have dessert, I did wanna, you know, have something that really might not be what's considered nutritious or part of weight loss. I practiced over time, you know, deciding ahead of time how much I would have and to do it in a very conscious way so that I could really bring my full awareness to the eating process, And what I describe as just consciously enjoying the full pleasure that that particular food had to offer so that I could be satisfied with less.

Brian (8m 28s):

Yeah. And like you hear it nowadays of like intuitive eating or even like flexible dieting where you're not sort of like constrained by like, okay, you can only eat this type of food, right? Like, you're seeing this a lot with like, okay, I'm a carnivore, or I only eat certain things And, you know, I'm not totally against that sometimes for some people. 'cause sometimes people need those boundaries, at least initially. But I think flexible dieting and, and, and not putting too much restraint around necessarily what you're eating as long as you can sort of manage that in a, in a like a responsible way.

Molly (9m 7s):

Oh, I 100% agree. I, I think that was a a a really key distinction for me because of my love of food and my passion for food and cooking is I didn't want to just give up all of the things that I love. I wanted to just learn how to stop at a reasonable portion. And I really do think that that's a skill that you can develop and it takes time. But I, I do think that it makes it more sustainable when you can figure out that piece.

Brian (9m 33s):

Yeah. And, and the drinking part, I'm curious to know, like, obviously you, like you said, you went into it not necessarily thinking you were just gonna stop drinking and you weren't drinking. Like, it's not like you were like an alcoholic necessarily, right? Right. You were drinking a few nights a week and you realized that maybe that just didn't serve sort of where you wanted to go.

Molly (9m 55s):

I, I mean, I started out before I really made any changes, I was drinking every night, like, you know, two to three blocks the point every night. But I never felt like I couldn't function. I never was blacking out. I mean, I, I, I never felt like it was having such a severe impact on my life that I needed, you know, professional help. I think that's important to mention because alcohol affects people in different ways, but for me, what I recognized was that even that amount was taking its toll on my mood. It just generally was not in a great mood. I didn't feel very motivated. I didn't have a lot of energy. Of course, it increased my cravings for food. And so that's where I started out.

Molly (10m 36s):

And then as I, as I began to be more intentional about how much I would drink and I would give myself breaks, I started to bring a lot of attention to the benefits in that instead of constantly thinking like, oh, I'm like missing out on drinking, or like, I really miss that wine. It's like, wow, I just got an amazing night's sleep. I feel so great. Like, there's some advantages to this. So I started to kind of offset some of the desire that I had for alcohol with, you know, creating more desire for my life without it. And that was an important part too, because initially it did feel like I was missing out initially. It did feel like all of the pleasure and the fun was gone, that I just, I would watch other people drinking and feel like somehow I was deprived.

Molly (11m 23s):

So I had to figure out how to, to weave in fun in new ways, weave in connection in new ways, really cultivate kind of pleasure in new ways. So that, that was more valuable to me than, than having the drink.

Brian (11m 37s):

Yeah. And I'm sure that took some time. It's like when you, when you're doing something every night, you don't necessarily realize the impact it's having until you actually like, stop doing it for a, a num, you know, whatever, how long it was, weeks or months, and you start realizing how much better you feel without it.

Molly (11m 56s):

Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, even, you know, some of the clients that I work with just on, on alcohol, on, on changing their relationship with alcohol realize pretty quickly how much they're actually drinking when they start making a plan. It's like, wow, I didn't, I didn't realize like, the accumulation of all the drinks until I started writing it down. And so not only is it just the physical impact, it's realizing, wow, this does add up. Like when I start to pay attention to it, there's an awareness that that develops that's, that's hard to ignore.

Brian (12m 26s):

Yeah. And, you know, losing 45 pounds obviously is over a year or two. How, how long did that take? About a year.

Molly (12m 35s):

It was a year. N not that it, it takes everybody that same amount of time. I would say for me it was like a year to really solidify the new way of life with food, because I could probably lose that weight faster. But I really, I didn't approach it from the, the perspective of like, okay, how fast can I get this off? Right. I had tried that with dieting. I wanted to see like, how can I lose weight in a way that allows me to, to create new habits and, and be able to keep it off so that I don't feel like I'm on a diet for the rest of my life.

Brian (13m 10s):

And did that prompt you to buy, write, excuse me, to write your book decoding your emotional appetite?

Molly (13m 16s):

It did. It was an opportunity for me to not only just like, share my life story and to combine just my love of writing, which I've had for almost my entire life, but also to translate the work that I do in my business with my one-on-one clients to people who, you know, might not have the opportunity to hire a coach or who are struggling and feel like, you know, they wanna give up on diets because diets just don't work for them in the long run. So I wanted just to offer hope. That was kind of my primary objective with the book, and just to make this information more accessible to a larger population of people.

Brian (13m 54s):

Yeah. And it's decoding your emotional appetite, a food lovers guide to weight loss. Yes. And yeah, I mean, I think most people enjoy eating to some, some more than others maybe. What, what do you, what's a, like, what, what are some high level tips in the book as far as like a food lovers guide to weight loss? How is that different from maybe someone else?

Molly (14m 17s):

Well, this book is really not a, a diet. I think you can look at the cover and think like, oh, it's like a weight loss guy. This is like a diet that I can follow But. it, it really is, is nothing like a traditional diet in the sense that I'm not giving you a list of foods to eat. I'm not telling you to stay within a, a certain, you know, parameter of calories. What's different is, is that I help you kind of figure out why you're driven to eat, right? Most of us who really love food place a higher level of focus on food, and we're thinking more about food than, than we're thinking about our bodies. And so it's about recognizing those, those patterns and those habits of turning to food so that you can kind of understand, okay, why am I turning to food when I'm not hungry?

Molly (15m 3s):

What are some of the underlying needs that I have that food is not really meant to solve? If I'm not physically hungry, then food is not the solution, right? If, if hunger is not the problem, food is not the answer. So if it, if hunger is not the problem, like what is the underlying need? And, and if I take the focus off of food and I start to connect back to my body and ask myself some, some deeper questions, I can start to piece together some things that that might be lacking in my life. So that's part of it. The other part of it is also teaching food lovers how to deliberately include food that they love, so that they don't feel like, oh, like this particular thing is bad.

Molly (15m 42s):

Like, I can't have ice cream, I can't have pizza. It's like, no, you can have those things, but you have to de develop the skill of being able to eat them in moderation, in alignment with your body. So I talk about this concept, the sweet spot, like figuring out what's the tipping point of pleasure where I can eat a food that I love, let's say it's ice cream, and experience the maximum amount, amount of pleasure in that, well, without offsetting the pleasure in my body. And you need to bring, you know, full consciousness to that experience, and you need to be fully paying attention to your body. But once you develop that skill, it's a game changer because you, you're, you feel fully free around any kind of food that you might wanna have when you have the confidence of being able to honor your body.

Brian (16m 25s):

And, what would you say some of the obstacles that could come into play? Like what, what are some of the main reasons people eat when they're just, is it like boredom? Are they like emotional eating, maybe stressed? Are these some of the things, sort of the, the cues that people use when they, when they decide to sort of mindlessly eat?

Molly (16m 45s):

Yes. So what I talk about in the book as it pertains to your emotional appetite is anytime you're not physically hungry, like you don't have physical signs of hunger, then your desire to eat is, is motivated by emotional reasons. And that that's, it's different for different people. But I talked in the book about four key emotional appetites. One of the reasons why we use food is a, is a way to escape, right? It's, it's normal for a lot of us to come home after a stressful day of, of work or a stressful day of taking care of the kids and use food as a way to feel better. That's not because we're physically hungry. I mean, sometimes you might be, but if you're not hungry, it's because you're just trying to kind of escape the emotional distress sometimes for people, it's, it's a way to connect, right?

Molly (17m 32s):

You feel lonely. And so food is, is a friend, food is a way to connect, or it's a way that you bond with other people is by eating while you're connecting with people. None of these things are bad. I just wanna make that that clear. But if you're noticing kind of a negative side effect to the way that you're eating, it could be that there's just overeating happening and that you're, you're relying on food too much to solve some of these needs. So, you know, connection, needing to escape stress, certainly boredom, right? Either because you're used to always being busy and it feels uncomfortable to not have anything to do. Or because you're spending your time doing things that aren't really satisfying.

Molly (18m 13s):

And so food is a way to just offset that, that discomfort in the moment. Yeah,

Brian (18m 18s):

It's interesting. I, I think a lot, like for me, I try to eat and base it around like performance. And it's interesting because when you get people, and I'm curious to know your thoughts on this, but when you get people exercising and becoming more active, I think like maybe it's a subconscious thing, but then they might start paying more attention to what they're putting in their, in their body to, or in order to perform. you know, not to say that there's some like professional athlete, but in order to perform better in the gym or whatever they're doing. And like, for me, that's like a big thing. I always try to experiment and see how I perform best on, on the way I eat and, and when I eat certain foods and things like that.

Molly (18m 59s):

Oh, that's directly related to this because it, it's about creating a mind and body connection. When we're overeating for emotional reasons, it is, you know, completely mindless and we're not connected to our bodies, right? We're responding to that emotional need. But when you start to notice how your body feels, whether it's like when you're, you're working out or after you've had a bowl of ice cream, you can adjust your eating as a way to optimize feeling good. And so I love the example you gave. It's like if you really care about fitness and you want to feel energized, you wanna have the endurance when you're, when you're at the gym, how you fuel your body will have a direct impact on that.

Molly (19m 44s):

And so as a way to allow your body to perform its best and to feel its best, you're, you will make intentional choices about how you're going to eat. And so you're really connecting that, that mental, you know, intention with the way that your body responds.

Brian (19m 57s):

Yeah. And maybe that's just, I don't know, maybe it's easier for some people to do that than others. Like for me, I don't really drink at all. IUI, you know, I used to have some drinks every once in a while, and then I started to realize, well, if I'm going to work out the next day, I, I know I'm not gonna be at my best. And so why it's not, to me, it's not worth it. Yeah. That's not to say that I wouldn't have a, a drink here and there, but like, I, I really make a conscious effort to, to sort of strategically do it on during times when I don't need necessarily to perform the, or do something the next day. But maybe this is something you just learn over time. I think when you're like, you're in college or right out of school, it's like, oh, okay, you know, you're not really, you know, you're not really thinking like that necessarily right off the bat.

Molly (20m 46s):

Yeah. I think it, I think it depends too, on your unique lifestyle. I mean, it sounds like for you, Brian, you probably really enjoy exercise. You enjoy the benefits. I mean, there's something about it that, that has made you, you know, passionate about, you know, placing a level of focus on it. And so you have a desire for that, that outweighs your desire for the food. And I think that's really key in solving this for people. I mean, there are, you know, women who might be at home taking care of kids where the focus is entirely different. Not that they couldn't have a fitness goal, but they're dealing with a different kind of stress and they're managing that stress by eating and drinking.

Molly (21m 26s):

Or somebody else might have a, a different tolerance to alcohol where they have a glass, you know, a cocktail or a glass of wine and they instantly want more. For somebody else it might be sugar. And so I think that understanding your unique response and how your body reacts to different types of alcohol and different types of food is, is a really important piece. Because somebody like you might be fine with like, oh, have a drink every once in a while, it's fine. Like, I could take it or leave it. I don't really care. Another person, they have a drink and all of a sudden it's like that little, you know, flicker of desire starts building and building and they start, you know, for another person it's sugar. So yeah, I, I think it's just, it, it, it depends on the individual and And what their, their desires are, and also the, the unique response of their body.

Brian (22m 15s):

Also. Do you find that certain people, some people can just have a drink and be done, but some people they need to either go all in or nothing sort of thing. Like, it's almost like, like you said, like you have a little something like someone can take a carton of ice cream, take a few bites and put it back. Other people, once they start, it's like, okay, I could finish the whole carton. What type of advice would you give to those two different types of people? 'cause you know, the, I think, you know, everyone's a little bit different in how they handle these things.

Molly (22m 45s):

Well, for the, for the individual that has an all or nothing mentality that often stems from this belief that like, more is better. I used to think that when it came to certain desserts, it was like, well, like, what's the point? I'm not gonna have like two spoonfuls of ice cream. I'm gonna have a couple of bowls. Otherwise, like, it's just not satisfying. And it, it's first identifying that that's what's leading you to believe that you have to have all of it. Otherwise, what's the point? Right? And, and, and it's like, okay, is more really better. Because for me, if I had three bowls of ice cream, I would feel terrible afterwards. And I had to really make that mind-body connection and, and show myself afterwards, you know what, this is like how you physically feel when you eat this much.

Molly (23m 28s):

Is this really what you want? The answer was no. Like I thought it was a good idea, but there was a disconnect between my belief and in my body. And so I had to, after the fact, tell myself the truth about it and then plan accordingly the next time I would decide to have it. Keeping in mind that when I started to have the ice cream, I was gonna want more. And I did really need to ask myself, is it worth it? Like, do I, do I really, if I don't want a couple spoonfuls, like what is it that I really want here? I, I could teach myself to have a couple spoonfuls, but when I started to kind of replace my desire for ice cream with other things, at the end of the day, I just didn't need it the same way I did.

Molly (24m 8s):

So that, that's kind of one, one angle to take. And then I think for people, you know, I've got, I have a number of clients that I work with on weight loss who just like love bread or some of them love pasta. I don't really care about either of those things. I've never been a bread person. I never, like, I don't, it's not something that I would even plan to eat. It just, it's just, I could take it or leave it. And so for me, it's not an issue, but I do really love desserts. And so for those people who have, you know, a particular food that they find hard to control themselves around, I think it makes sense in the beginning as you're working on, let's say losing weight or feeling more in control around food or lessening your desire to kind of limit those foods for a period of time so that you can start to lessen just kind of the, the, the cravings for them, which happens when you give yourself some space.

Molly (24m 58s):

And then gradually work them in, in a very intentional way by deciding in advance, okay, I want to have a bowl of pasta. I'm gonna decide now to have like X amount. I'm not gonna be doing it in response to a craving, because that makes it harder to stay in control and to stay connected to my body. But I'm gonna do it in a very mindful way when I sit down to eat it. I am going to not have any distractions. I'm going to be using my breathing as a way to just calm down my nervous system. And then I'm gonna be eating very slowly so that I can fully appreciate the flavor of it, but also notice when I reach that ideal satiety point, anticipating that I'm gonna want more.

Molly (25m 39s):

And when I notice those suggestions, like, oh, just like a couple more bites, I will remind myself I'm fully in control right now and it's okay that I want more, but I can be more satisfied with less is is often what I tell people to practice thinking, put the fork down, have a plan for yourself to move on to something else. It's okay if you feel that restless feeling that's temporary. And as you continue to practice this and notice how much better you feel, and as you start getting the results that you want, you'll develop confidence and you'll lessen that. You'll lessen like your association with eating a huge quantity of that food. It will become more of a normal practice to have less and to want to eat less because you notice how much better you feel.

Brian (26m 22s):

Yeah. I love that. And I, I, I can't re remember exactly who I was interviewing, but he mentioned some, some like hacks to, to helping with like intuitive eating. And one of 'em was to like eat with like chopsticks. 'cause it'll like slow you down a lot. Like I'd be bad, I, it would take me a while, especially certain things, right? But I think eating, like you said, like slowing down everything. Like I find even with myself, I can be fairly fast eater. And I think for someone, for most people eating fast, you're not really dialing into your your true, you know, like when you're actually full. And if you could just like, figure out ways to like slow yourself down, I think that can, that can be a good sort of hack as well.

Molly (27m 7s):

I think that's really crucial. Usually fast eating is the result of, of an urge. It certainly is for a lot of my clients where it's normal when you see food and when you're hungry for, you know, to get excited to want to eat. I mean, we're sort of designed to be that way. I mean, we're meant to desire food, but when we bring that restless energy into eating, and it's our goal to practice staying more connected to our bodies, you have to deliberately calm yourself down ahead of time. And so when I'm working with people, I often say, notice when that restless energy starts. Is it when you're like prepping your food?

Molly (27m 48s):

Is it when you sit down and you're just like, you can't wait to, to dig in? I, I will take a moment before that first bite, I will calm myself down through my breathing and I will just set the intention to really savor that first bite for me. You know, a really good, a really good way of, of staying motivated to do this is like, I don't wanna miss out on the flavor of this meal. Like, if I eat too quickly, I'm gonna miss 50% of the flavor, and then I'm going to feel like I need more afterwards. So being, you know, calm, slowing yourself down, savoring that fi first bite, really paying attention to the flavor in the first bite really helps to, to kind of change that tendency of eating quickly. And it gives you the chance to notice it, notice what's happening with your hunger so you can stop sooner.

Brian (28m 33s):

Also too, I think like cooking your own food, I mean, you as a, as a chef can understand this, right? Like, it might take time and you have to like, you know, sort of get the right, obviously get the right ingredients, make sure everything works well. And like when you, it's like I've talked to individuals where they've actually gone out and like done, like hunted these animals and then I've never hunted before. But you know, they have such more of an appreciation for that food and it's like they don't want anything to waste, to go to waste. And it's just like a whole new appreciation, And, you know, I don't know if I'll ever hunt, but I can totally sort of understand that and sort of relate that back to like, cooking for yourself as a way to really appreciate everything that went into that food as opposed to just always ordering in or, or going out to restaurants.

Brian (29m 28s):

I think it's like a different mindset.

Molly (29m 30s):

Yeah. I, I think so, although hunting, hunting your own ingredients is, is definitely taking it beyond what I do. I mean, that requires a whole matter, well, yes. Level

Brian (29m 43s):

Of commit, right. Although I would love to be, yeah. Being a chef, I'm sure, you know, and I'm not saying you went out and hunted, but like if, like, gosh, a while back I had some individuals on that talked about, you know, it takes a long time to get your food. You, you, you, you know, you appreciated that much more is I guess the point. I mean, what would you say to your clients is one of the big tips that you talk to them about is cooking for yourself and, and how do you implement that with your coaching?

Molly (30m 14s):

You know what, it depends on the individual. I'm, I'm all about setting people up to succeed and for, and there there are plenty of people who just don't enjoy cooking. They love to eat. Yeah. But they don't enjoy cooking. And so it can be a barrier. And, and so if it, if it's too hard to get over the barrier of cooking, then I've no problem. I mean, for me, I, I've got three young kids, so I do do most of the cooking, but there are days where I just have so much going on that it's just easier to get takeout. And I don't have a problem doing that. I think keeping your meals simple, but maximizing the flavor allows it to just be easier to eat in a way that, that feels good and that tastes good for people who do love to cook.

Molly (30m 58s):

Sometimes there is an obstacle of just like being around the food or feeling like they need to taste the food or feeling tempted to eat as they cook. And I help people just appreciate the pleasure of, of the cooking experience and, and the smell of food, of, you know, the rhythm of cooking of the, of, of, you know, the, the, the creative process of combining in ingredients that doesn't have anything to do with actually eating the food. So I, I think that really just prioritizing high quality ingredients as much as possible is key. Whether you're cooking, whether you're ordering, you know, takeout, whether you're buying something at the store, because that will go a long way to helping you be satisfied with less.

Molly (31m 41s):

So it's kind of, you know, based on individual preferences and, and how people feel about cooking. But I would say that, that across the board that that really matters is, you know, are you eating, produce and season that's at the peak of its flavor, if possible. Are you buying your, your protein from a place where you know it's high quality and it's fresh so that you don't have to add a lot to it and you can eat whole foods and feel good and and appreciate the taste of it.

Brian (32m 9s):

Yeah, and I think what helps, like for my wife and I, we don't have kids, but like we have monthly orders of protein that come. We know the source and it's just in the freezer. So it's there and it's like all we do is just decide the night before. Yeah. What we're gonna have, pull it out. It's not, that's what I mentioned when I talk about cooking for yourself. I'm not saying everyone has to be this like, Michelin, what is that Michelin chef? you know, like I'm, I'm, I don't know that much. I mean, my wife's actually de a decent cook. But yeah, you can keep it simple, I think is important, but knowing your ingredients And what you're putting in and just being prepared a little bit ahead of the time, I think could help go a long way.

Molly (32m 50s):

Oh, for sure. Because mindless eating happens because of spontaneous urges. So if you set yourself up with the right food and you're, you know, intentional with your plan, it's much easier to just show up and, and, and, and commit to the way that you wanna be eating. Now,

Brian (33m 7s):

One, I don't know, issue that comes up with individuals is, you know, they might lose weight, but then they end up putting it back on. What are some of, like, obviously you lost weight over a year or two. What are some of the obstacles that maybe have come in your way or your client's ways as far as, you know, being able to lose weight, but then also keep it off?

Molly (33m 27s):

Yeah, so I talk about this inside of my business as the three Cs to sustainable weight loss. The first C is commitment. I think what, what many of us struggle with in terms of both deciding to, to lose weight and, and, and, and committing to like making that happen is like really being willing to prioritize ourselves and make the necessary adjustments, like in our lifestyle to, to put, make this a priority, to make our health a, a priority. But it's not just committing the first time you're gonna lose weight, it's recommitting because none of us show up perfectly on our food plans, right?

Molly (34m 8s):

None of us eat perfectly all of the time. I think that, that, that is something that is an obstacle for people, especially with dieting, is they think that they need to be perfect, but nobody's gonna show up perfectly and eat perfectly all of the time. And so it's learning how to commit to yourself over and over again. So when there are setbacks and you get off track, like let's say you go through a period like COD where you're eating more, you're drinking more, you're out of your usual routine, recognizing sooner that you don't feel great and that you need to get back on track allows you to, to recommit, focus again on your health and really continue to make progress with those habits so that they become a way of life. The second C is consciousness. So as much as possible, really eat without a lot of distractions, really savor the flavor of food, really have a conscious experience in your body so that you're honoring signals of hunger and satiety, and that you're making that kind of your focus every single day, more so than the food.

Molly (35m 5s):

And then the third C is consistency. I think a lot of people just struggle with consistently doing these things over time, but I think when you start to appreciate how good you can feel and, and the pleasure that you can experience in your body when you're taking care of it, you continue to be motivated by that. And then it's by, you know, noticing, okay, like I had a setback, or I've been eating in a way that doesn't make me feel great. How can I get back to feeling good? How can I make my next meal something that allows me to get back to feeling good and consistently showing up and trying to get back to a place of feeling good. Now,

Brian (35m 40s):

I'm curious, Molly, you have three kids. How do you navigate eating mindfully and with, with when you have three kids? 'cause I, I, I don't, we don't have kids, but I know a lot of parents use that almost as an excuse to, to not eat well. And, what would you say to that? Yeah,

Molly (35m 58s):

It's, it's not an excuse for sure, although I understand why we make it an excuse. It's just a, a another set of reasons why we justify overeating, right? It's like, well, my kids, like my kids have chicken tenders, or there's all this like junk food around the house. It, it's not any different than maybe somebody who doesn't have kids who is in an environment where they're attempting foods around or who is at the grocery store and walks down the ice cream aisle and feels tempted to buy ice cream. The difference with kids is I think there's a different level of stress for people who are managing kids and are focused on taking care of multiple people other than just themselves. And so it's, I think it's about, you know, figuring out new ways to manage stress, figuring out how to be aware of urges when they happen in the moment, And, what are the pattern of urges when you wanna overeat?

Molly (36m 47s):

And then figuring out strategies to just be present with the urges and not respond. And I think ultimately, like giving yourself grace so that when you do have those days where you are eating something that's not part of your plan, that you're not making it mean that somehow you're never gonna figure it out or that, oh, well it's a lost cause. I might as well just eat everything. It's, I, I try and, and use my role as a parent, as a way to kind of educate my kids and habits that I didn't really learn. And so that's a big motivator for me is that when I am paying attention to my body and I'm, I'm, I'm working on eating whole foods and I'm working on noticing urges, I try and talk a lot about that so that my kids are learning as well, just by me being, being an example.

Molly (37m 36s):

Same thing with my husband. I mean, I've never told my husband how to eat, but I've, I've really tried to just be in control of what I have control over in terms of my own eating. And then be an example to the people in my family of like, wow, like I'm feeling really good when I eat this way, or Wow, like, I'm noticing these results when I'm eating these foods over, over another, or wow, it's really challenging to be around this food and just talking about it more so that my kids are just more educated and how to be mindful and, and pay attention to their, to their own bodies. And

Brian (38m 7s):

How, how old are your kids?

Molly (38m 9s):

I have a 13-year-old, an almost 12-year-old and a 9-year-old. They're all boys.

Brian (38m 16s):

Okay. So three boys. And do you find like they're starting to just from you, like sort of talking through how you go through things, do you find that they're starting to, I mean, that that's a young age to maybe be self-aware of, of those things, but do you find that it's rubbing off on them?

Molly (38m 33s):

Oh yeah. I get so excited with, with my middle son because he will often say, now he might think that he wants a dessert after dinner, but then he might say later on, you know what, on second thought, like, I'm just, I'm really not that hungry. I'm not gonna have it. Which is a huge breakthrough because that's a big thing that we talk about with the kids is like, you can have that, but are you genuinely hungry right now? Like, I just want you to check in with your body. Are you hungry? Do you, do you actually need this? Or, you know, with my oldest son who has a sensitive stomach, when he eats too much chocolate or when he eats like a lot of rich food, his stomach really hurts. And so I just really encourage him to sort of notice that connection and pay attention to the way his body responds.

Molly (39m 17s):

And he started telling me, you know what? I don't want to eat like this particular thing in the morning because I know that I just don't, like, I don't feel that great. I don't have the energy that I want. So it's little things like that that, that right. I feel so excited about because I, I realize that they're paying more attention to how food impacts them and they're noticing things like hunger. They're noticing like how they feel when they're not eating a ton of sugar and they're appreciating that more.

Brian (39m 43s):

Yeah, no, that's, that's huge. And I do think that one way to deter, I don't know, kids or individuals in general from certain things is like, they get, if they do one thing and they get really sick, and then they're like, I don't wanna do that. you know, like, like you said, overeating or we all know that we've had, if we've had a certain food where we just got like, ill sick from it, it's like, okay, I'm not going down that path again.

Molly (40m 9s):

Yeah. I mean, well in these, yeah,

Brian (40m 11s):

That's like a scare tactic, But. it works.

Molly (40m 14s):

Yeah, it definitely does. And, you know, it's because that, that physical discomfort is so extreme. We make the association, you know, between that like physical discomfort and the food and we lose desire for it. And that's kind of at a, at a, you know, more extreme level. What I'm teaching people how to do is when you, when you eat too much, notice the discomfort in that and start to, to tell your bo your brain the truth about that. Or if you eat too much sugar and you're noticing like, ugh, I just like don't love like how I feel or like that I just have no energy or that I want to take a nap. Start telling yourself that so that you recognize the relationship between this particular ingredient and how it affects your body.

Brian (40m 55s):

Yeah. And like we talked about earlier, eating mindfully in the sense of slowing down And, you know, obviously avoiding highly processed foods I think can help you become more like aware of how these foods are affecting you. 'cause you know, when you're eating highly processed foods, a lot of times you just, you're, you're not, you're not even aware of how much you're eating because it's not even filling you up and it's not even necessarily satisfying, you know, you're hunger.

Molly (41m 24s):

Yeah, absolutely.

Brian (41m 26s):

Yeah. So like those two things run big. And I always say like, for a lot of the stuff we buy for our house, you know, I tried to just buy responsibly. I think that's like so important because if, you know, even with kids, like, I'm sure, I don't know Molly how you, like, you buy the junk food, you're gonna eat the junk food, right? Like, if you don't buy it and it's not in the house, there's a good chance you're not going to eat it, right?

Molly (41m 47s):

Yeah. Yeah. I 100% agree. Although I, I don't completely restrict that stuff for my kids. I, I believe in kind of just like a healthy balance where sure, they can have some of it, but we, we do have certain rules as far as like how much or which particular things because they will have access to that food at some point. And so I don't want them to, to feel like they've been deprived of it or that it somehow it's forbidden fruit. I mean, one of the things that I really appreciate about my childhood is that there was no food that was ever off limits. And my three kids are, are all athletes.

Molly (42m 27s):

And, and so, and their boys, they're, they're always hungry. And not that the processed food is gonna fill them up, but I think having some of it in moderation is not the, is not the end of the world. But I do really help them pay attention to just the, the connection between the way they eat and their performance and, and athletics, because they do really care about performing well. So it's like, okay, well let's pay attention to the way that you eat and how that affects like your ability to do your best. And and that's a big motivator for them too.

Brian (42m 57s):

Yeah, no, that's so true. I do, I do, obviously it's like 80 20, right? Like if you could dial in 80% of the time the, the quality foods and, and single ingredient foods and things, and then that 20%, you know, sort of leave that up to things that maybe aren't as, you know, that maybe don't serve you as well, but you know, you can sort of, you know, you're not totally neglecting yourself.

Molly (43m 20s):

Yes. Yeah. I agree.

Brian (43m 22s):

Well, this is great, Molly. What, I know you have some trainings your podcast. How can we learn more about the things that you're doing?

Molly (43m 30s):

I, I have my new book Decoding Your Emotional Appetite, which comes out on April 2nd, so that's available for pre-order now. You can find out more about that by going to my website, Molly Zemek dot com. I also have on my website a free three day course that includes a workbook and a video training for people who want to start developing more mindful eating and drinking habits. And then my podcast is a great free resource for people weight loss, for food lovers.

Brian (43m 57s):

Love it. And I always ask this question to pretty much all my guests, if you were gonna give one tip to get your body or your mind back to what it once was maybe 10, 15 years ago, what one tip would you give that individual?

Molly (44m 11s):

I'm gonna say two things first, like that we actually already talked about was like, just begin to pay attention to where you are right now. And if you're not feeling great, use that as just really important, you know, information, feedback coming from your body that something needs to change, but then also just like really Lean into the, to the belief that it's possible to feel better. So many people I think, are stuck because they just either think they're too old or they've tried too many times, or it's just like too hard, it's not too late, and you can feel much better than you do right now, but you need to first believe in yourself and be willing to not give up on feeling better.

Molly (44m 55s):

That that really is like the, the turning point for everybody is you have to not give up on yourself and decide that, you know, you are going to, you know, believe in the possibility that you could feel even better no matter how old you are. And if that's possible, what would you begin doing today to start making some changes?

Brian (45m 16s):

Yeah. Love that. Love that. Well, this was great, Molly. I, I appreciate you coming on the podcast. I will definitely put Links for all you know, for your, for your course, your trainings and your book so people can learn more about you.

Molly (45m 32s):

Great. Thank you so much, Brian.

Brian (45m 33s):

Thanks again and have a great day. Thanks for listening to the GETLEAN e Clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned, In, this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

Molly Zemek

Professionally trained chef and Master certified coach, Molly Zemek, helps food lovers reach their ideal weight without giving up the food they love.

Through the process of unraveling old habits, and developing the skills to eat mindfully, Molly's clients learn to enjoy food and themselves even more during this transformative journey. Molly's program Weight Loss for Food Lovers combines thought work, emotional wellness and conscious eating to create a recipe for sustainable weight loss.


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