Many people who smoke are very afraid of gaining weight when they stop.

After working with smokers for 20 years, I happen to know that this doesn’t need to be the case when your mind is in the right place.

Many people begin a powerful journey of getting healthier and slimmer when they snuff out their cigarettes or puff their vape for the last time.

In episode 56 of Thin Thinking Podcast, my guest Melanie Lee, will prove this point, not only with her wonderful story of stopping smoking, but how quitting prompted her to begin a journey of self love, which included releasing weight.

She has now let go of 52.4 pounds so far. So learn the shifts she made in her thinking on her powerful journey of becoming healthier and happier in our Thin Thinking Podcast.

Also if you would like to stop smoking or know someone who does–the doors are open for my FREE masterclass called “How to Stop Smoking without Withdrawals, Cravings or Weight Gain”. Sign up here.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: Many people who smoke are very afraid of gaining weight when they stop. After working with smokers for 20 years, I happen to know that this doesn't need to be the case when your mind is in the right place. Many people begin a powerful journey of getting healthier and slimmer when they snuff out their finals or puff their vape for the last time. In today's Thin Thinking Podcast, my guest Melanie Lee, will prove this point, not only with her wonderful story of stopping smoking, but how quitting prompted her to begin a journey of self love, which included releasing weight. She has now let go of 52.4 pounds so far. So learn the shifts she made in her thinking in our 56th episode of the Thin Thinking Podcast. Come on in.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right, the key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist, weight loss expert, best-selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict, and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need. Not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life. Sound good. Let's get started.

Rita Black: Hello? Hello. Hello. Come on in and just take a deep breath and exhale and center yourself. We are going a little outside the box today of our Thin Thinking Podcast. Well not completely, we're just stepping our toe outside the box because today we are talking a bit about smoking cessation, but with gliding right in to weight mastery. Because my coming up guest, Melanie Lee, has stopped smoking, but then began her weight release journey, which is really exciting and I can't wait for you to hear what she has to say about her journey because here's the thing, so many people, I mean, I have seen thousands and thousands of smokers over the years that I've been a hypnotherapist, 20 years, and helped many, you know, those are my two things, right? Those are my. That's my jam. Helping people stop smoking in one session, helping people master their weight and find thin thinking.

Rita Black: And those things are my greatest joys because those things were my greatest pain, personally, myself. And for those of you who don't know me, too much or know my story, I am a former pack and a half a day smoker. And I stopped smoking first with hypnosis before I even lost weight. And here is the thing about me and smoking is I actually began smoking well, I began it socially. So here's the thing. I was this nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, overweight person, you know, living in Seattle, Washington going to high school. And I didn't smoke in high school. I wasn't one of those cool kids. I was never that cool. But I moved to New York City in the eighties and everybody smoked everybody. I mean, and I tried a couple of times to smoke and I, I couldn't. And then there was one night I went out and this is, you know, I thought my story was unique, but I have learned from working with thousands of smokers, that this is not an uncommon story where they might have tried smoking, didn't like it, and then, you know, like went out one night, had a few too many drinks and smoked and then really got hooked. And, and that is certainly what happened to me, you know, some people, the first puff they take they're hooked, but it took a little while for me, but once I was hooked, I was really, really hooked. And what I thought smoking gave me was a way to manage my weight because I could smoke instead of eating. But over time that didn't really help me out because like, I, I don't know if any of you, and, and I'm assuming that because I have worked with many, many smokers who have a lot of fear about gaining weight when they stop. And I know many weight people, you know, people who struggle with their weight who smoke secretly or on the side or vape again, as a way to manage their weight.

Rita Black: So, you know, I struggled with my weight despite the fact that I smoked, but I continued to smoke thinking I would gain even more weight if I stopped. Now, I tried to stop many times. And when I did stop, I did gain weight. I would gain, you know, sometimes 10 pounds. Once I gained over 20 pounds when I quit smoking. But that is because, I stopped smoking in the wrong way. And you know, there's really not the right way or wrong way, but there's a powerful way to become a non-smoker. So, anyway, not to get off track, but I guess I did, but I, I just want you to know that I understand, and I, what happened for me and if you are out there and in the place I wanted to, I wanna speak to you. And I wanted to say that, you know, I had to sit myself down because I was very afraid of gaining weight when I did hypnosis to stop smoking. And I kind of had to have a little conversation with me, myself, me, my, myself, and I, and I said, look, girl, you are smart. And, you know, continuing to smoke is not a long term weight strategy. I mean, think about it. It's not, I, you know, and, and I have many, many clients who are in their fifties and sixties and are afraid of gaining weight when they quit smoking, but they are now compromising their health. And it really just is not a long term strategy and worse than their, well, not worse than their health, obviously, but alongside their health, what happens is when we continue to smoke, we, it just starts to take away our power. Just like food takes away our power, certain foods take away our power. Well, smoking takes away the power from the smoker.

Rita Black: So, anyhow, I sat down with myself and I just said, you know, you can figure out weight management as a non-smoker. And, and that is really what I did. And I began my journey with hypnosis and I really, you know, started and opened the, it was really a door opening for me and I released 40 pounds and I've kept it off for 25 years. Now that was a journey in and of itself. And if you've been listening to the thin thinking podcast, you know, more about my journey, but you know, if you're a smoker and you're listening to this well, that's, that's my story.

Rita Black: But anyway, I want you to hear Melanie's story. Melanie is so soulful. She's such a cool gal. And, I can't wait for you guys to hear what she has to say about her own journey, but before we dive in, I just wanna give you guys a couple of offers and say that this week, I have in the show notes, a link to my free Shift Out of Sugar Cravings Hypnosis session. So if sugar is your cigarettes and there's sugar in cigarettes, FYI. But if sugar is your cigarettes, you know, go check that out. And I also have, which is, you know, for those of you who do smoke or those of you who know have a loved one who smokes, I do have a free webinar link, or a masterclass link, I should say to my masterclass called How to Stop Smoking Without Withdrawal, Cravings, or Weight Gain. So if that is of interest to you, go check that out in show notes, and now let's get onto my conversation with a fabulous Melanie Lee.

Rita Black: So Melanie, nice to be here with you and thank you for coming on and sharing.

Melanie Lee: Thank you.

Rita Black: Melanie we have known each other, gosh, now, well, we were just saying right before we hit record that it was, it's March of 2022, and you stopped smoking with Smokefree123 in March of last year, right?

Melanie Lee: That's right. Been a year.

Rita Black: So we've, and I didn't really know you at the time until you kind of found your way into the Shift because with my Smokefree123, it's kind of, you do it on your own. It's an online hypnosis-based smoking cessation course that you do on your own. But, I really would love your, because I think people sharing their experiences is so helpful for other people because there's so many people out there who smoke and are also afraid of like gaining weight after they quit smoking. So I think your story is very inspirational because not only, you know, did you stop smoking, but you began a weight journey after stopping smoking. So tell, tell us a little bit about you, and how life was like with regards to smoking prior to stopping, you know, like what were you struggling with as a smoker? Cause I think it's helpful for other people to hear your struggle.

Melanie Lee: Okay. So smoking was something that I, you know, I, well, historically, when I was younger or, you know, a lot of people try it when they're teenager. And I remember trying it and not really ever giving the hang of it and just being like, oh, I can't even figure out how to smoke correctly. And it doesn't, really doing anything for me. So I'm just gonna stop doing this stupid. And so when I was in my twenties and my husband, or no, sorry, early thirties, I think my husband was trying to quit smoking. And I was kind of irritated at him because he said something like, well, I could, I could quit smoking if you stop bothering me about it. So I was like, oh, really? So I grabbed a cigarette thinking, that's not gonna be a problem for me because I never could get the hang of it. And I had one cigarette of his and it was like, it that's when I got it. Right. And it did that thing that it does to you where you feel like kind of floaty and, and, I felt really, kind of, I don't know, like buzzed high, whatever it was and it relieved stress. It felt like it was relieving something. So it, I was hooked. And that was something like 20 years ago now.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: And so, you know, basically I found that as a thing to, to do that seemed, I thought to take away my stress. It was a, it was a way to stop what I was doing. If I was, if I was stressed out at work, I could, I could leave and I could, you know, take a walk around the block and have a cigarette. I could, if I'm at home, I could walk outside and have a cigarette. And yeah. And if things were stressful enough, I could have several cigarettes in a row. You know? I mean, I've tried countless times. I can't even count how many times since I started that, I tried to stop. I've tried every possible way you could think of. I tried gum, I tried patches. I tried cold Turkey actually seemed to me, cold Turkey seemed to work the best.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: But, for me, just because, but that process was having to force myself to endure the withdrawals. And it was really, really difficult. It felt to me really, really difficult and painful. And I, you know, I didn't ever wanna get to that point. I was like, I'm smoking. I wanna smoke. I'm doing this. This is like, I have to, I really felt like I had no choice.

Rita Black: Melanie. Can I ask you a little bit more about like your journey as a smoker? So your husband was smoking and you were smoking as well. This was prior to having children, or was this after you had your children?

Melanie Lee: No, this was after I was, I had my kids. Cigarettes for me weren't even in the picture at all until I was working maybe several months into a job when my kids were okay. Well, no, I I'm sorry. Well, my kid, it wasn't before my kids were born. It was, they were about something like two and five.

Rita Black: Okay. Well then makes a lot of sense.

Melanie Lee: Yeah. And my husband had lost his job that we came out here on a, a job transfer. He lost his job. I had to get a job real quick. And, and my plan was not to be working. My plan was to stay home with my kids.

Rita Black: Okay.

Melanie Lee: So there was a lot of stressful things going on. My life was not going the way I thought it was gonna go. I, I wanted to be there for my kids. You know, you know what I'm saying? Just a whole, but a whole bunch of things.

Rita Black: Oh yeah. And I am sitting here kind of nodding my head because can I tell you something? I get a lot of parents who come to me to stop smoking. And I say, how old are your children? And they're like two and four. And I'm like, and I'll tell you why, because when you have a two-year old and you have a four-year old, as you know, you can't, you don't not have any time for yourself. Right. You're there and they're loud, it's chaotic. And then you're working on top of that. For a working, working mom and even for a mom who stays at home, so much of smoking is an escape hatch from the chaos.

Melanie Lee: Yeah.

Rita Black: The, the kids, the, you know, and, and as women, it's such a, it's such a permission slip that we probably wouldn't give ourselves if we weren't gonna smoke. You know what I mean?

Melanie Lee: Yeah.

Rita Black: Yeah. And I think food is too, cause we're gonna talk about food later, like going and escaping to the kitchen and having that like little sneaky snack in the pantry is kind of an escape from family from the moment, calming whatever. So we, our brain starts to make that association like, oh, smoking calms me down where ironically it doesn't, but it, you know, elevates our heart rate, stimulates our central nervous system. But stepping outside when your kids are screaming and taking a five minute breath, breathing deeply, even those tainted with carcinogens and toxins, you know? Yeah. You know, it's going to take the edge off, not the cigarette, which we give the power, but you take the edge off because you give yourself that break. But so I'm not surprised. That's very interesting that you started at that and you are not the only person like there, there are a lot of women who had smoking husbands who never smoked. And then after they had their children, they were just, they picked it up for whatever reason, you know? And then so did your husband and you sit together and smoke as well? Like, was that a thing too?

Melanie Lee: Oh yeah. Yeah. That also became like a ritual, like, Hey, let's go outside together. And so it was kind of weird when one of us was like, okay, well now I need to quit. Or it was just, there were many, many years of he would quit and then I didn't, or I would quit and then he did it and just went on and on. And then finally he was able to quit.

Rita Black: Okay. He did it first.

Speaker 2: Just completely. And, and then

Rita Black: He did it cold Turkey Melanie?

Melanie Lee: I think. Yeah, I think so. Oh no, he might have used, like what I tried to use. What was that? What's that newer one. Chantix.

Rita Black: Okay.

Melanie Lee: I think he used Chantix and, and that seemed to work fine for him. I tried it. One time it worked for me one time it didn't and, meaning I couldn't keep taking that, that actual medicine. It wasn't, it didn't respond. My body didn't respond well to me.

Rita Black: A lot of this will get sick from it or have suicidal thought.

Melanie Lee: Yeah. Yeah. It just, it felt really bad. And so, this last time though, that he had quit, he was actually quit for several years.

Rita Black: Okay.

Melanie Lee: While I struggled with it.

Rita Black: Wow.

Melanie Lee: While I was just like, why can't I quit? I don't understand it. It was, it was extremely frustrating to me.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Melanie Lee: It was extremely demoralizing, like right. You know, emotionally and mentally that I, I just couldn't do it.

Rita Black: Right. And so, it, I did wanna point out with two listeners who maybe are smoking and, and smoke with their spouse. Yeah. That smoking also becomes like an intimacy point. Like, you know, again, when you have kids, when you put them down, it's like, oh, let's go smoke a cigarette. And it's sort of a entree into catching up on the day and talking that you might not do if you weren't gonna smoke. So lot of people when they try not to smoke. They, they stop talking. They're like, well, maybe we should smoke again so we could talk. So it, it becomes a very, and it's so important when you become a non-smoker or just those of you out there listening to this is to really, really understand that your brain is making that association of intimacy with the cigarette. The cigarette gets all the power. So it's so important when you become a non-smoker to sit down with your spouse as a non-smoker. So, anyway, so, well, tell me how you found my program. Like how did you, I don't even know, like you see it online, did your...

Melanie Lee: I think it was Facebook. I think I saw a, an ad on Facebook and I think I went through it and I kinda looked at it and I was like, why not? And there might have been, I had a friend that got me a book that started to make me think differently about my life a little bit that made, that might have been, I don't remember if it was just before I was willing to buy the course.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: Or if it was after I got it, that made me decide I'm gonna do it.

Rita Black: Right. And for those of you who don't know it, the, the, what the course is, is it's not, it doesn't, it's like a online, you do it yourself. You listen to some coaching, you listen to some hypnosis and you get, follow up hypnosis and meditations too, you know, it's just like a, it's a transformational process to become a non-smoker that uses hypnosis and in one session pretty much so

Melanie Lee: It's magical. It's magical.

Rita Black: Well, okay. You can call it magical. You are the magic. People say that all the time. They're like, oh my God, you are like a miracle worker. I'm like, it's not me. It's your brain. When your brain, you know, works with itself, which is what it doesn't do when we smoke. Cuz 12% of our brain wants to quit smoking. The other 88% wants to keep going on smoking and hypnosis just helps that 88% get together with the 12% make the decision. Hey, you know, but so for you was the idea of hypnosis foreign? Was it like, mm, I don't know about that hypnosis thing or were you open to it? I know.

Melanie Lee: I think in the past I might have been like, yeah, there's no way there's no, that's not a thing. And at this point, I guess at that point I was like, well, you know, know what I've tried, everything else. And I think I also felt like, I don't know, there was just something about the way that it was described that made me feel like, honestly, what harm could it do? And you know, I'm, I don't, I don't know if I remember for sure why I was, I, I was willing to just go for it, but what I did.

Rita Black: Well, good.

Melanie Lee: I did. And I'm really, really grateful.

Rita Black: So when you went through the process, I know you did it on your own. How was life after that then? Like, as far as your and oh, well, let me ask you Melanie, before we get into your transition into being a non-smoker. I know I asked you this and you gave me the answer, but I just want the, our listeners to understand about like, because we are talking, you know, this is a weight management podcast.

Melanie Lee: Yes.

Rita Black: But you know, so many women especially actually men to, but more than you would think, you know, FYI, are very, very afraid of gaining weight after they quit smoking. And, and I know for myself personally, that was a huge factor in me continuing to smoke for years, was I, you know, I'd struggled so much with my, I wait and I didn't wanna gain more weight when I quit smoking. So, you know, was that a concern when you, you know, decided to quit smoking? Like, were you worried about that?

Melanie Lee: It as a, I, I think it was, it was a fear mainly because, you know, I didn't know it at the time, but, I used food in much the same way as I was using smoking.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: But I didn't know that, but, but, but what I did know is that, I remember in the past that I wouldn't have as nearly as much of an appetite when I was smoking as I did when I wasn't smoking. And I knew that I would really want to eat. I knew I would, at some point after quitting smoking, I would want to eat a lot more than I was when I was smoking. I guess, if that makes any sense. Then my appetite would be back and I would feel hungry more often. And so I was, I was afraid it would happen, but it wasn't like at that point, it wasn't like a deal breaker for me. I wasn't think like, oh, I can't smoke. I can't stop smoking because I will gain weight or something. You know what I'm saying? I wasn't smoking to not gain weight.

Rita Black: Right. Right.

Melanie Lee: So it didn't occur to me too much, but, but, yeah, there was always a fear that, oh, well, I guess that's, what's gonna happen. I just assumed that's, what's gonna happen. I'm gonna gain at least five, 10 pounds, maybe even more.

Rita Black: Right. So, so then you went through the program and how was that experience? Like as far as like just, you know, doing the session and finishing and

Melanie Lee: The stop smoking one. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, this is what it was like, I listened to it and the first time I listened to it, I got up to the point where it said, that I should be a hundred percent committed. Okay. And then I was like, I don't know if I am. I don't know if I am, because of all the times that I quit before and, and wasn't successful or went back to it again. Right.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Melanie Lee: And I also felt, I felt completely dependent on it. I felt like I could not go without it. And I was like, I don't know how I can say I'm a hundred percent committed if I don't even know if I can live without it. I don't, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what was gonna happen. So right. I literally stopped right there. I stopped for, and probably several weeks, if not a month before I went back to it and was willing to try again.

Rita Black: Yeah. Hey, you know what, and I bet that is why you were successful because I think sometimes people think hypnosis, like you said, it's magic, but it's magic when you are ready. And you know, I think if people have done hypnosis before to try to quit smoking, I think there's this really hard thing to explain to people as a hypnotherapist. It's the hardest part of my job is to say hypnosis is powerful and it's so effective. However, because your conscious mind needs to be in that place of like wanting to stop, you can't come to this like, well, you're gonna make me wanna quit smoking that magic, you know, is gonna just like, I'm gonna, I could sit here with my arms crossed and say, you're not gonna make me quit smoking. And then, you know, the session will, you know, cuz people will send people to me who are, you know, people will call me all the time. Oh my gosh, you help my cousin quit, help my husband quit smoking. And I'd be like, does he wanna quit smoking? And they're like, no, but you're gonna make him wanna quit. Right. And I was like, well, no, your husband actually does need to wanna stop for hypnosis to be effective.

Rita Black: So, but here's, and I, I'm glad you brought this up Melanie, because I think this is a clarifying point for a lot of people, is that I think the litmus test for am I ready? Am I, you know, really ready? Is, is what I'm getting from smoking currently being outweighed by what I know I would get from being free, you know, and, and you know, more health vitality, more money in my pocket, all those things. There comes a point where people are, are, you know, there's fear. We have to kind of sit with that fact that like, we don't know nothing is ever, you know, like a hundred percent, but we know like we are such a slave of cigarettes and they so own us that, that willingness it's like, I, I use an analogy in the program. I say, you know, it's like being in an abusive relationship and, you know, being willing to leave and create something new. And, I don't know if that's exactly right, but, but, it's that the place of smoking, we, you know, like it's a relationship in our mind and our cigarettes, or like a friend, like you were saying, it's like, you know, it's very hard to leave, but then when you realize that this friend is now, you know, asking you for $12 everyday and saying, I'm not gonna pay you back and kind of beating you up, sitting on your chest, making your chest feel heavy and telling you, you can't live without me. It takes so much of your power away from you that that's when I think people are like, okay, yeah, I'm really ready. And to believe in myself. And I think really ultimately that's what you've done. This has been a really big journey for you of like really taking back ownership over yourself.

Melanie Lee: Yeah. And, and honestly, that was, that was, I think the tipping point was, all of a sudden I was paying $10 a pack. Literally. And I would've kept doing it except I was like, I, I got sick of it. I was like, I kept going to the place where I was buying it from and being like, this is ridiculous. What am I doing? And finally, I was like, no, you know what, this isn't worth it anymore. That's when I came back and I started the tape over tape.

Rita Black: I know. Everybody still calls it tape. I mean, when I started my practice, I mean, literally it was cassette tapes. I've had to, my old dinosaur brain has had to adjust to all these different modalities. But anyway, yeah. Everybody still calls it. I'm listening to your hypnosis tape. I'm like, yeah, it's kind of digital now, but yeah, I get it.

Melanie Lee: It was on my, exactly on my iPad into this current century, it is on my iPad and I pressed the play button.

Rita Black: Yeah. Yeah. So, well, cool. So you, you did it and you went through the program and you became a non-smoker and how was that? Like, as far as like cravings, withdrawal, that stuff, you know, how was that?

Melanie Lee: It was, it was just, it was one of the easiest times for real. It was like, I, it was amazing to me. Like, I think I might have had some slight physical cravings for the first day or two, which is normal, but it wasn't unbearable. Like it had been in the past.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: And in my, my attitude was so much better. I felt more positive and more confident and more at peace, I think, than I ever had. There wasn't a lot of fear in it. I, I was just like reinforcing, I, I just kept reinforcing, you know, uthe, some of the, the ideas that, that you had talked about that I was, you know, learning about in, in the process. And I just kept, you know, reminding myself that I was a nonsmoker and I just kept going through the days. And I, you know, there are still days, sometimes it's been a year and there are, when I'll, I'll be in a new situation and I think of a cigarette and I'm like,

Rita Black: That's so weird.

Melanie Lee: Look at this. I'm a, non-smoker

Rita Black: I know

Melanie Lee: One thing, but as a non-smoker this time, and it's like, it's really freaking cool.

Rita Black: That is cool. You know, you bring up a very important point that every time you go through a new thing as a non-smoker, a lot of times your brain will bring it up. I mean, you know, and then you dismiss it. Okay. No, I'm a, non-smoker doing this thing, but

Melanie Lee: Yeah.

Rita Black: Yeah. It takes a few years to go through all those life experiences or you have a really big thing, like a negative thing that happens or a positive thing that happens. And you're, oh, I'm doing this as a non-smoker. How cool is that? So, yeah, I mean, I just had, it's so strange. I had a dream about smoking, cuz I still, like, I've been a non-smoker for 25 years and I had a dream about that I was smoking, maybe about six months ago and it was so weird. I always know I'm really stressed out when I dream about smoking and it's always, but the funny thing about the dreams is because I'm a hypnotherapist and I help people stop smoking. In the dream, I go, well, you can always just do self-hypnosis and stop yourself from smoking. And and it's so weird, but I wake up and I'm like, oh good. I'm still a nonsmoker. Oh my God. That was so weird. Okay. Well anyway, so Melanie let's, let's talk about now, like, so you became an nonsmoker and what made you kind of transition into like now I'm ready to work on my weight? Like what was, what kind of talk us through that transition?

Melanie Lee: Honestly, I, okay. I would not have purposely gone out and said, okay, now I'm gonna work on my weight because I literally just assumed that this is just my life now. Like I literally just assumed my body doesn't lose weight anymore. I am 50, whatever. I, I, that I think I was well I'm how old am I now? I'm 51. So I was 50 years old when I started this. Okay.

Rita Black: Oh, wow. Okay.

Melanie Lee: Yeah. So I just figured when you're 50, your body just doesn't lose weight anymore. Right? Like this is where I'm at now. This is how it's always gonna be the kind of, I have a sedentary job. I don't like exercise. I like to eat things like this, then I'm just gonna keep eating the things that I like. And, and that's just how it is. So except for the fact that I had found you through the smokefree process. And then, I saw something that you had emailed and said, oh, you know, there's also this other thing and you wanna check it out. I was like, right, sure. Whatever, why not? And I checked it out and then I was like, let's just see what happens. I had absolutely no expectations except for the fact that the smoke thing worked so well.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: I thought if that works so well, maybe this will also work really well. And it, and it has.

Rita Black: Right. So you have over the course of a year, I think, as you signed up, you did the shift weight mastery process last spring. Right? And the spring of 2021. Yeah. In one of the most weird years of on the planets and you've released as of today, you told me 52.4 pounds.

Melanie Lee: That's right.

Rita Black: Great. That you're so exact. So now I know. And, and you know, because you've been working at your weight mastery journey, cuz that's what we do, when we, we are not like dieting, but we're on a weight mastery journey. What was it about hypnosis and meditation and the process that was helpful for you and maybe, maybe talk by a little bit about like what, how you struggled before with weight. Like, you know, like, it, it sounds like you had kind of given up and you were kind of a resigned about weight, but you know, just, what were your hopes, what were your, you know, with weight? Like, did you struggle with weight your whole life or was this something that, did you feel like you put on a few pounds, you know, in your thirties or how did that all go?

Melanie Lee: I can tell you that I struggled with the concept of weight for most of my life since I was probably starting from about between eight to 10 years old on, and I was not overweight as a kid at all. BMm. Um, but I thought I was.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Melanie Lee: If I look back at pictures, I was pretty skinny.

Rita Black: Isn't that amazing?

Melanie Lee: And if I look at pictures from when I was a teenager where I thought I was fat, I was pretty skinny.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Melanie Lee: I had a, I had parents who were, one parent who was very overweight. One parent who was, who was not at all overweight, but was very weight conscious. And both of them had, had serious judgements over how my body looked, both my, my mom and my dad. And

Rita Black: So, so often that happens. Yeah.

Melanie Lee: And then I had judgments about myself. Like there was, there's an ideal way that I guess girls were supposed to look. And so I thought I, if I didn't look like that and they, and that I was fat or whatever it was. And so, so it's amazing to me when, like I said, when I look back at those pictures and realize I wasn't at all, but, I had no concept of how to eat, to be, to, to feed my body in a way that helped it. I, there were certain kinds of snack food that I grew up with that I would use that just made me feel better over, you know, stress or feeling lonely or feeling sad or whatever it was. I would eat these things that I would make me feel better. And so those are the things that I would look for to eat. Right. I, I, I know ever, I, I mean, yes, I felt hungry, but in my, you know, obviously everybody feels hungry, but, but the things I would choose to eat, if I had a choice, it wasn't like, you know, whatever I would eat, the things that make me feel good. Do you know what I'm saying? So, as I got older and my metabolism started so slow down, that's when I would, I mean

Rita Black: You couldn't get away with it anymore.

Melanie Lee: No. And, and my entire, oh, okay. Also, you know, having two children. You know, I would gain weight. I gained more and more weight every time I had a child and so, I, I'm trying to think. I was at an okay weight before I, I think when I started my job, the same job I started smoking in, which is, you know, I love my job. It's still a job I still have, and I just love it. But, but you know, there's some moments of stress. And so I also will work right across from our Wendy's.

Rita Black: Oh my,

Melanie Lee: And I wasn't bringing my food to work. I'd just be like, oh, wow, I'm really hungry. It's lunch. I haven't really eaten not much. And I smell the fries and the things frying. And then that's what I eat for lunch for years. I've been in this job for 20 years.

Rita Black: Wow.

Melanie Lee: And every year I was gaining more and more.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Melanie Lee: And I hate exercise. Did I tell you that Doesn't help?

Rita Black: Doesn't help?

Melanie Lee: No.

Rita Black: So how did your, I know you didn't really have any expectations so much when you signed up, so what has been your experience, you know, like how was it in the beginning going through the actual 30-day process?

Melanie Lee: I, it was cool. Like I learned so much that I had no idea about. I learned about, that it, I learned about how calories actually work. Not that, that it's something that I, I have to keep track of because I'm a bad person. Right,

Rita Black: Right. Yeah

Melanie Lee: Like I learned a lot about how to be kind to myself in my mind and that tracking, like how much calories I have and how much weight I'm, where, what the weight is that I am at, according to the scale, all of those things give me information that helps me to know what steps to take. And it wasn't, it's not a judgment. And it's not about like, I'm doing anything

Rita Black: It's not about deprivation, but it's about really getting clear.

Melanie Lee: Yes.

Rita Black: And cognitively clear, like getting your brain out of cognitive distortion. I was good. I was bad. And, and also teaching your brain, the value of foods for you. Like you, you, we were talking about it before we turned on recording that what I love, where you're at right now is you, Melanie has cultivated a way of eating that she loves, that allows her to release weight and ultimately allow her to stay at her ideal weight. But it was through figuring stuff out by, by, by tracking and getting kind of clear on and like, oh, and, and that you can eat nourishing foods. Like you eat mostly nourishing foods, but that you can still eat foods you love that are not nourishing and make them work together, but you have ownership over it. And it's not some diet that you have to be on, be good on. And I think a lot of people shy away from tracking calories because they think of it as very old school, like, oh, it's, I have to count calories. And, and that does seem like such a painful weight struggler identity thing like, oh, that separates me. But it's so interesting because I, you know, work with thin people as well. And so many of them track calories too, just because once you get over a certain age, especially, it is really weight management becomes harder and you have to get just, you just have to get clear of how much energy you're putting in your body and how much energy you're spending. And you have to kind of figure out a way of eating that works for you. And, it's a process. And, and, you know, I think so, you know, as you went through the process and started releasing weight, I know you've, you've had, you know, and it's not all butterflies and fairies. You've had, you know, plateaus and things that have been very frustrating for you, but over time you have cultivated somewhat of a, not an absolute love affair with exercise, but you are now see yourself as more of an exercise person. Right. Would you say that that's a true assessment or not?

Melanie Lee: I would say, I would say that I walk my dogs

Rita Black: And you make that work for you, right? You make that,

Melanie Lee: Because, yes, because the whole I'm going to stand in front of something that tells me what exercises to do, is just, I don't wanna do it. Like, I, it seems boring to me and it seems torturous. And so even though I did it like many years ago and you know, it kind of helped or whatever, I think I really just wanna, I like the idea of, of, of exercise being a side effect of something else that I'm doing. Like I have to walk the dogs anyway. Right. I would like to walk the dogs, I guess I like be being outside. I like, I like feeling being outside and smelling the fresh air and, and all of those things. So I've kind of made it be a thing that I want to do and need to do. And I've also, you know, have people that work that walk with me during the day on, on our lunch breaks or whatever. So before I, I wasn't really too willing to do that. Like I would, on my lunch break, I would get in my car and I would sit in my car and I would like play games and eat, eat fast food. I mean,

Rita Black: Right,

Melanie Lee: Right. And now I'm not doing that. I am having my food that I brought with me from home. That I know fits in my calorie budget. And then I, me and my coworker go out and walk around. Rita, I work by the beach.

Rita Black: Oh my gosh.

Melanie Lee: I work a block away from the beach. We, we take our walk and go down a block and go around the block and visit the beach and come back.

Rita Black: Oh, nice.

Melanie Lee: And that's like a mile and a half.

Rita Black: Wow. Gosh, that's great, Melanie. I mean, you know, and the thing is with long term permanent weight mastery, and what the shift program is based on is, you know, data from tons of studies that people have kept weight off permanently. And why I'm bringing this up right now is exercise. Because the majority of people that you know, were studied with regards to long term exercise, most of them walk because it is something you can always do no matter where you are, no matter what well, the weather does depend on, but you know, we have people in our group, right. You know, live in snow. They're always sending pictures of they're going out and hiking in the snow or wherever you can, you can make that work for you. And I agree with you that when you're doing something and it's not just exercising for exercise sake, but there's something like you're talking with somebody, you're coworker, or you're walking your dog. It brings a different meaning to it that is so valuable.

Melanie Lee: Yes. And you know what that reminds me of something. Should I bring up that injury that I had?

Rita Black: Yeah, for sure.

Melanie Lee: Oh my gosh. Okay. I forgot to mention this, but, the same time as the pandemic happened in, the first or last week of July around that time. Right. So I'm guessing that was my, that was 2020?

Rita Black: 2020. That was prior to your stopping smoking and that stuff, right?

Melanie Lee: Yes. So what happened was, my dog was barking and I was in the backyard and I wanted to stop it from barking. So I went around the corner and as I'm trying to get around the corner in my backyard, I take a bad step down and got my foot wedged in between the step and the ground. And my entire body collapsed forward and I heard my ankle snap. It was bad. And so the reason I'm telling you this is because it took the entire next year and a half to get over that injury. And it was, it was awful. I couldn't walk. I mean, obviously right next, as soon as I could, I had to go in for surgery and they had to, like, I have, I still now have pins in my ankle.

Rita Black: Wow.

Melanie Lee: And everything. Right. I have like two, four pins and a plate or whatever, all holding it all together. And so the result of that was I couldn't walk, I couldn't dress myself all the time because you know, I needed help with that. It was humiliating. It was painful physically and emotionally and mentally. It was, it was just horrible. And I knew for a fact that it wouldn't have been nearly as bad if I didn't have as much weight on me.

Rita Black: Right.

Melanie Lee: So you asked me why it wasn't now that I think about it, it wasn't just because, you know, I put smoking and Rita has it helping, you know, weight release program. It was because I really, really was sick of it. I was, I, it took me several months to kind of process what happened in my mind. And to realize where I was at. And I think it was just a low spot for me. And that I just, I, I, I wasn't willing to, to have that in my life anymore. I, I, I, I, I think the quitting smoking gave me some hope that I can, that things can change. That I, that there was actually room for the possibility that I could do this.

Rita Black: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Right.

Melanie Lee: But that, that it was that I could do it and that it was worth trying.

Rita Black: Yeah. Well, I think it's a journey. I, you know, I think becoming a, non-smoker opens up your idea of yourself. It changes your idea of yourself, right? Like, because smoking is an identity. And when we become a non-smoker, it's like we step into a new identity. And with the shift, we also, you know, when we struggle with our weight, one of the biggest challenges we have is that we see ourselves as a struggler. So any diet, anything we go on is already doomed because you don't believe in ourselves, we don't have any respect for ourselves. And so when we step into that apprentice of weight mastery, when we think of ourselves as a learner, it's such a transformation. And I, and I could see like, you became unwilling for things to stay the same. You know what I mean? Like, and I think we all reach a point where that, you know, there's, there's that saying, we talk about sometimes, you know, the pain pushes until the vision pulls. And I think that it's painful smoking, it's painful, struggling with your weight. But when you can get a vision of like, Ooh, I could be free. And, and I hear you, like you were pain and all that physical pain of having weight on and trying to struggle with that pain. Oh gosh, that sounds so horrible, Melanie, that, you know, that vision of you being a healthier person, a vibrant person. And I think what's been beautiful in watching you transform because you definitely have been through a transformational journey and you are still on one, but that it is that critic, that inner critic that, you know, because we have such a vicious inner critic in us when we struggle with our weight, that, you know, you've turned down the volume on that and really turned, you know, really believing.

Melanie Lee: Thank you. so much. Huge.

Melanie Lee: Yeah, no. And, and I think, look at you, you're a leader. Like you're getting other people to go out and go walking with you at lunch. You know, people don't realize that when they make that decision to make their lives better, that they also impact all the people, your kids are looking at you, you know, and they see you taking care of yourself. And that is gonna model amazing behavior for them. Maybe not right now, but it may be, but down the road, when they're an adult, you know, our kids are watching, you know,

Melanie Lee: They have told me that they're proud of me and that they notice. And, and it's really neat.

Rita Black: \Yeah. Because we can say things to them, like, you know, do this, do that. You're gonna be happier when you do this, but they're watching you. And, you know, they're, they're, they're, they might listen to some of what you're saying, but no, they're like looking at well, what's mom doing how's she taking care of herself? How's that cuz my mom did not take care of herself at all. And I just was like, you know, you don't, when you don't have a role model like that, it's hard to figure that out more for yourself too. Yeah. So good for you. It's so amazing. Well, I wanna thank you for sharing your story. So I guess one question I have one last question, Melanie. Is that, is there anything like if somebody's struggling with, you know, stopping smoking or, or losing weight, like, do you have any words of advice for them as far as just like how to take that first step for them, like, you know, know from where a place for where you took that first step for you?

Melanie Lee: I would say, I mean, it's, I know it, this might sound trite, but literally believing, believe in yourself, believe in yourself. You can do it like it, this journey for me has been a lot about self love that I didn't have before.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Melanie Lee: And I think that this process has done so much more for me than just smoking and releasing weight. It has taught me to care for myself and to be kind and good to myself. And I think that if anyone is trying to, first of all, you know, quitting smoking is, is, would, is such a huge gift for your entire life, for your health, for your, for your feeling of, of, of, of being who you wanna be. If you think that you, that you can never do it, it's not true. It's not true. You have so much more power in you than stupid cigarettes. Do you know? Like you might not think you do, but you do. And, and, and this process taught me that and the releasing weight think it's totally, totally worth it. You're worth it. If you don't think you are, you will, you don't believe that you are, you know, it's, it's, it's a wonderful process, wonderful journey. And I am incredibly grateful that I met you. And that, that, that I get to do this with you.

Rita Black: Oh, well, thank so much. You are an inspiration Melanie and thank you for being vulnerable and sharing all of this with us. Thank you.

Rita Black: Thank you, Melanie. So I hope that Melanie and her amazing journey moved your heart and your thinking. So just a reminder to sign up for that smoking masterclass or the sugar hypnosis or both, they are in the show notes or send the links to someone you love. All right. So have an amazing week. You guys, and remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door of the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: Thanks for listening to the thin thinking podcast. Did that episode go by way too fast for you? If so, and do you want to dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release, tips, strategies, and more, and be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind For Permanent Weight Loss, and to learn how to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode.