Suzanne Culberg Case Study – How she lost 73kg by building her mental muscle!

Suzanne Culberg Case Study – How she lost 73kg by building her mental muscle!

“When I lose the weight then I’ll finally be happy.”

This is the biggest myth perpetuated by western marketing.

I had the honour of interviewing Suzanne Culberg from Health Without Shame.
Suzanne’s first memory of dieting was at 4 years old….

Discover her journey of how losing 73kg to date was NOT about the food she ate or didn’t eat, or the exercise she did or didn’t do.

The answer Suzanne discovered was found in rejecting everything she had ever been taught about losing weight, and instead releasing the pain of the past, and inviting in more fun and play into her present.

Losing weight doesn’t make you happy, being happy makes you happy, and losing weight is just a by-product…


Bianca:  It’s all of these things where Suzanne is always being transparent, always being willing to be vulnerable. She invests a lot of her time, energy and money into learning how to be better, and with young kids. The attention to study and your development is very inspirational. On top of, incredible results that you create too for yourself and your clients.

Suzanne has completed her NLP certification, our Legacy Leaders program with My Mind Coach, after starting and also doing our weight loss motivation programs. So the journey started a few years ago. And now Suzanne runs a program, a business called Health Without Shame. And what’s really interesting is that, yes, we see this incredible physical transformation, but as Suzanne will share, it’s different to the way you think and it’s different to what most people expect that she’s going to share. So let’s find out!

Tell me, Suzanne, where were you before you met us?

I’ve been a lifelong dieter. My parents actually put me on my first diet when I was four.

Suzanne:  I’ve been a lifelong dieter. My parents actually put me on my first diet when I was four to fit into a dress for my sister’s wedding. From that stage we kind of all start together on a Monday, we’d invariably fall over by Thursday. By Sunday, we’d eat everything in the house to get ready for Monday again. So we kind of did that growing up. I don’t blame my parents, they didn’t know any different. That’s how they thought I did things. We did low fat and no sugar… well, actually, lots of sugar.

Basically, I’ve been large for large parts of my life. I tried every diet – well, it felt like every diet. I was really good at doing them for a period. And then I’d just fall over and I would think there was something wrong with me. Like I can’t do it, so there must be something wrong with me because I lack motivation or I lack willpower. And I think one of the biggest things that’s kind of occurred to me is that people who are chronic dieters, we have hell motivation and hell willpower, because if we didn’t we wouldn’t keep freaking doing it. When we give up, that would be it. We’d be on the ground like, “That’s it.” But the fact that you keep going back, that shows incredible willpower and incredible motivation, so I think we should all give ourselves a round of applause for that.

I lost large amounts of weight twice before on different programs. I lost 43 kilos, I lost over 60 kilos, and I always gained it back. And when I was pregnant with my son in 2015, a couple of months after he was born, I couldn’t do it again, I couldn’t face another freaking diet. I was done. I was so done. And I found you on Facebook and I signed up for your program, and it was about the mindset. I suppose the biggest thing too is to commit – not just financially, it’s not a gym membership – to actually show up. And if you can’t show up, listen to the recordings, sending you questions like really… Here’s to the people. You know what I mean? Because if it’s enough they’ll say, but even people who come to me for coaching. And then sometimes you get people who’d love to pay for the coaching, like, “Where are my results?”

Take ownership for yourself and really do it

I can get a bit over responsible for people and it’s like, “Well, it’s not the coaching, it’s what you do in between.” It kind of reminds me of people who get upset about what they eat between Christmas and New Year. It’s like, what about in between New Year and Christmas, like the 51 weeks of the year, not that one week? So it’s really to take ownership for yourself and really do it.

When you go from here to here and you think here and you see all the Photoshopped and stuff, you’re like, “Oh, this person must feel amazing.” And you do but you also don’t, because all the stuff that you avoid and all the stuff that you ate to hide, you have to find other coping mechanisms, and then they can fall over so you actually have to deal with your stuff. That’s a hard work. And I forgot what your question was for the photo.

Bianca:  Beautiful. It’s perfect tangent. I think what you’re talking about is that whole thing about waiting for the weight. So many people think that “When this thing happened, when this thing happens, then I’ll finally be happy.” And they don’t realize that’s where the rebound happens because they get there and everything’s still the same. If anything more, it’s actually harder because now I have no more illusions about it.

The journey is the happiness, not the destination.

Suzanne: Yes, and you push the goalpost back. You’re like, “Okay, I’ll just lose five more kilos” or, “I’ll just go down one more dress size” or, “I’ll just get that bit fitter.” You don’t actually address the happiness is within you now, the journey is the happiness, not the destination. Or then when you finally think, “Well, I don’t want to lose any more weight. Okay, maybe I’ll just make more money or maybe I’ll…” To get to a point where you realize that you keep transferring this outside yourself and it’s like, “Why can’t I have those things now?” And that’s where the work is.

Bianca:  It’s amazing. I love how much you have just earnestly sought out different things from different mentorsand tried all these things on. But what was interesting is that you created a lot of actual pathways or you have these tools… you know, everyone sort of often says, “When I have a weight issue, I know what to do but I just don’t do it.” Most of the time all they know to do is to start on Monday and to quit by Thursday. So you really invested in understanding how to get out of that cycle. But it was when you really paid your attention into other areas or the others parts of the circle.

Can you share with us what actually helped you unlock and access knowing what to do and doing, or and being?

When you make it all about the weight, that’s all it’s ever going to be.

Suzanne:  I guess when you make it all about the weight, that’s all it’s ever going to be. And then when you get to getting the achievement and you get scared and you don’t want to address the other stuff, you just gain weight. So you go forward and back and forth and back, and you feel like that’s who you are. And then when you look outside of the weight to what you actually want to do, it’s scary because you’ve never really thought about that before; you’ve just always been that person or always been a person who can’t finish things or a person who just doesn’t really commit.

You get to look a lot at what’s really important to you versus what you’ve been told is important to you. Like you’ve been told that you have to work hard for your money, and you’ve been told that to lose weight you have to eat this calories or you have to do this exercise – you look to external people to give you the information. But when you actually realize that… you turn into your body and your body’s got this wisdom that you discount because you think, “Well, if I listen to my body I’d get even fatter.” I suppose the big thing for me has been looking at interests and things that I actually want to do and instead of in the past where I’d be like, “I’ll do that once I get to this weight,” it’s like, “Well, why can’t I do this now?”

When I was really big, I was like 150 kilos, there was lots of things that I couldn’t do because I was really big, but I found the smaller I got, I was still in the mindset, like I still had an emotional weight. I’d still look at a chair and kind of go, “I hope that’s going to fit me. Or a seat belt and go, “Am I going to do need to ask for extender?” So that’s the work that are kind of going, “Do I actually really want this? What do I want for me or what I’ve been told that I want? And why can’t I have that now, or at least an area of it now?” and then let it open up as you continue to go towards your goal.

Bianca:  It’s interesting because often the weight or the external circumstances seem to be shouting the loudest. Like we’ve been talking about, it starts in your energetic body first. That heaviness, being wound down, the feeling that you’re being overburdened, that’s why you don’t have time, or having that sense of failure and rejection. It’s like this agony and ecstasy. “I’ll go on a diet and then I’ll fail on the diet.” Those are the external circumstances that reinforce that there’s something I have to change on the outside. But you actually had that courage as you continually invested in learning more about yourself and doing the work. You started using that art of distraction and looking elsewhere for these patterns and how they showed up in your life. So a money was a big…?

Suzanne:  Money was huge.

Bianca:  The way you were doing money was the way you were doing your body as well. Can you share with us about that?

Suzanne:  Basically, I suppose it’s to take that extreme ownership. Like if someone suggests something to you in general, my go to things were “I’m too fat, so I can’t have that one anymore” “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have money.” They still are my go-tos, they come up, but now I say, “I don’t choose to have the time” or “I don’t choose to have the money.”

If you really want something you’ll find a way to make it happen

Because if you really want something you’ll find a way to make it happen. Like how many people moved heaven and stuff to get here today, for this weekend? You made a way, you found a way. And even with money, I invested a lot in myself, and I didn’t have that. Like if I summed up all the money I’ve spent on all the things and all the programs and stuff and said to me on day dot, “You need to spend this…” I’d be like, “There’s no way.” And I suppose being in the masculine like when you were talking about the power circle, it’s like, “What’s the return investment?” and all the small stuff. It’s intangible. Transformation’s tangible so it’d be kind of hard to…

In the power one for speaking your truth and the knowing your truth, you kind of feel a bit worthless and you can be in this place where it’s like, “I don’t know it’s going to work so I don’t really invest.” You kind of want to know ahead of time. And you really have to just have that like, “I’m all in, I’m going to do this, it doesn’t matter how long it takes.” It’s another thing coming from the weight loss thing, it’s like “Oh. Number one question: how long does it take? Well, it’s like I’m never going to be finished, it’s going to take the rest of my life.” And it’s really taken my whole life because my first diet was at 4. So it’s kind of embodying that you’ve got your own back and you’re there for yourself and you’re going to invest in yourself as much as you would anybody else – your children or your partner or your family – and that you’re worth it.

Bianca:  That’s amazing! I just feel like you downloaded so much amazing stuff and probably it’s like, “Yeah, so what did you do?” And that’s probably one of these sticking points that you have. You are now this embodied version of this knowledge and this implement device that you take, and people come to you and then they go, “Okay, so give me the meal plan, tell me what I can and can’t eat.” But that’s not actually your message, is it?

Just think: What’s one thing you got from this weekend, one thing that you can implement? And do that well.

Suzanne:  No, my message would be whatever you do, whether it’s a weekend like this or a webinar, a video, a goalsheet or worksheet… I’m a recovering perfectionist, so in the past if I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t do it. It would be like “I’ll put it aside and I’ll get to it eventually.” But now I’d be like… We’ve all participated and we’ve all been here so if you get home on Monday and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m going to do this!” and you get into Thursday and you’re like “Ughhh…” Just think: What’s one thing you got from this weekend, one thing that you can implement? And do that well. And then once you’ve got that one thing, you could look back through your notes and pick another thing. I think we try to do all of the things, and then we do nothing. And then we cycle through all the things- nothing, all the things-nothing.

You need to find what works for you.

I still have times where things fall over. My nephew passed away very recently and everything fell over. In the past, it would have been like, “How much weight have I gained?” I can make it all about the food. Because if you focus on the food and go, “When I eat this donut, I’m going to be a kilo heavier tomorrow,” chances are you will be, because that’s all you think about. I think I probably ate my weight in ice cream in the first week, and it didn’t even occur to me. And I actually weighed myself before I came here and I’m still the same, because it’s not about the weight anymore. And then I was like, “Well, I need to get back on track, I need to start doing the things again.”

It’s kind of like juggling, like I have all these balls in the air and they kind of just all fell down. I don’t know if I can do juggling as a stage thing because I actually don’t know how to juggle. But when you juggle, you’d be there and you’d be throwing me one and I’ll add it in, or I’ll pick it and I’ll add it in. Or I’ll pick up all freaking eight things and go like this. So it’s like, “Okay, which is the lowest hanging fruit?” Which are the easiest things that I can do?” and I’ll start with those. And then when you’re back to your new normal, a new habit, you pick up another one, rather than just going, “I’m going to do exactly what Kylie says, or exactly what Bianca says, or exactly what Suzanne says… or nothing.” Because you need to find what works for you. What one of us suggests might now work for you because you have a different body type or shape or metabolism or whatever. So it’s kind of like, “I’m going to listen to all these people, I’m taking their wisdom, I’m going to try it, and I’m going to make it mine.”

Bianca:  That’s awesome implementation advice. I love it. What I have really loved hearing you say is talking to people about what is it that you’re actually waiting for, like what are you using this weight or this relationship with money… how is it creating your safe problem? So when people are coming to work with Suzanne, straight away she’s like, “Listen, I’m not going to talk to you about your food. I can help you with that, definitely. I can give you something tailored to your ancestral health type and have it itemized with your amazing scientific background. But that’s not the problem, so it’s never going to actually be the solution. So, tell me, what is it that you really want to do and what is it that you’re saying losing weight will give you permission to do it?

It’s good to say, ‘What do I really want and what’s the smallest step that I can take to start it?’

Suzanne:  Yeah, actually. That’s totally it. So many people ask how many weight loss clients I have. I actually don’t have any, because as soon as someone comes to me about their weight, I’m like, “Cool, we can get to that. Let’s start with this. What do you actually really want to do and what’s the smallest step you can start?” Because we get overwhelmed. I’ve got these big dreams, it’s like, I want to write a book or my daughter wants a million YouTube fans. When her station’s up, I’ll share, and you guys can get her started with it. If that’s what you want, if you want a million YouTube fans, you don’t go “Ughhh!!!” You start it on Monday, and Thursday you don’t have a million so YouTube’s over.

You start small and you bring it up. The big one for me and I suppose for many people with young kids are when the kids are at school. So when the kids are at school, it’ll be like, “When they graduate.” And when they graduate it will be, “When they move out.” When they move out… You’re always going to push the goalpost back. So it’s good to say, “What do I really want and what’s the smallest step that I can take to start it?” and then add the next step in. Not like, “I’m not famous overnight or my book isn’t a bestseller, so I failed.”

Bianca:  Absolutely. And I think that’s what happens when people are going in that Monday-Thursday cycle. It’s representative not just of weight and dieting; it’s representative of every time you get to that choice point and you go, “Hey, I could invest in my faith a little bit more right now,” or I could be scared and have the same problem. That’s when you keep wondering and forcing that going back to the start, going back to the start… So you’re investing in the dim and dark future.

When you actually can see that I’ve got this little small thing that I can do and I can work that and I can implement that, see how then you’re suddenly going, “Oh wow, I can do it!” Instead of always raiding your self-confidence bank, you start making small investments overtime. You were this amazing student, amazing transformation, lots of different mentors, doing the NLP certification, how different has it been for you being able to move you to that teacher space, further understanding what it was that worked for you and how that can help you lead others?

The people that you work with, they might be on the same journey but a few steps behind, but we’re all on the same journey.

Suzanne:  Full transparency, at first it was really hard because I thought, “I’m not fixed yet. I’m not finished.” And to get to a point where you realize that we’re never finished – there’s always going to be new passions and new interests and new tools and new mentors and new things that you can learn. It’s not like before and after or abz; it’s a journey. And the people that you work with, they might be on the same journey but a few steps behind, but we’re all on the same journey.

When you look at someone and you think “They must be some guru or whatever…” it makes it like you can never reach that, so you don’t even want to start. Whereas if you see them as a person, a person a few steps ahead of you, that “Oh, I could do that too,” that really takes the bounce out. The other thing is that you can really learn from each other. It’s not just like the mentor tells you what to do and you go and do it like… no offense to teachers, but when I went to private school, the school teacher would tell me and I would do it. It’s not like that. It’s like what you and Kylie call a co-creative experience. Like a client will say something and I’ll be like, “Oh, that’s awesome!!!” You know what I mean? I learn as much from them as they learn from me.

Bianca:  What’s been the most valuable resource that you’ve been able to add into your toolkit?

Suzanne: The NLP for sure because it’s the mindset and being able to use that with the clients and also on myself. And whatever the problem is, randomly, like a sore knee or a shoulder, there’s an NLP process for that. It’s all-encompassing and it doesn’t have to be used in just specific ways.

NLP is  all-encompassing and it doesn’t have to be used in just specific ways.

Bianca:  For you guys who don’t know, NLP is Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It forms the basics of a lot of this work that we’re doing and there’s guys in the group who have completed their certification. But, essentially, what I always was so amazed at was that the mind follows the same rules as the body. So as a personal trainer I could always figure out if somebody’s knees creaking, they probably need to stretch out their ITB and activate their glutes. If they need to move faster or be a bit stronger, then they can decrease their body fat and they can increase their core string, and I’ll get the result that I wanted.

What I never realized was that my brain, being a bodily organ, was following the same kinds of rules. And all these times that you’re trying to push against stuff is because you’re trying to live in that conscious mind space, and it was actually within your subconscious. Just a beautiful example… The timeline therapy that you guys did is an NLP tool, and just having the wisdom to be able to lead yourself and recognize those little parts that allows you to access that inner cheerleader. You know that advice that you give to a best friend? You go, “Okay, that was really great,” and you go, “That was, wasn’t it? I should really listen to myself more often.” It’s kind of like just that version of you being able to listen to your inner best friend. Would that be fair to say?

Suzanne:  Yeah, definitely.

Bianca:  And you get a really smarter best friend. And you become a smarter best friend, too. It’s amazing. Just anymore parting words for anyone who has… I suppose there’s been a lot of downloads. I mean, you guys even saw me sitting next to Michela, and I’m like… processing what means. It’s like universal truth bombs being drawn there and lots of new concepts. Some concepts that I knew or maybe feel alien, some things that actually make you feel like you’re remembering it back.

How have you been able to simulate things sometimes when they feel too woo-woo or they feel like “There’s been so much upleveling right now, what the hell do I do with this”?

So often, we’ll discount something because some authority said that it’s not a thing, but we didn’t actually see how it felt for us.

Suzanne:  I guess I was very anti woo-woo when I first stumbled in to this stuff. I was like, “There’s no scientific evidence for this.” I’ve got a medical science degree, so I’m very much like, “Where are the facts? Where’s the evidence?” I think I just say to people, “Just be open to it and see how it lands on you and see how it affects you.” So often, we’ll discount something because some authority said that it’s not a thing, but we didn’t actually see how it felt for us. We will tend to go to authorities or people we see in an authority position and do what they say, but they might not know us as a person.

This is completely left of field, but it kind of reminds me of the example that if you look at Tiger Woods, if he gives an example of what golf club to buy, cool, I’d listen because he’s a golfer. But you see him selling watches and stuff and everyone goes to buy it because it Tiger Woods. Oh, I don’t know if he knows anything about watches. So listen to yourself.

Bianca:  Really good. Or, you wouldn’t want to go to him for marriage counselling.

We’ll listen to these celebrities but we won’t listen to ourselves.

Suzanne:  He’s a famous person. We’ll listen to these celebrities but we won’t listen to ourselves. So let’s just try it, see what parts of it work. And maybe not all parts of it would work for you, but if you get one golden nugget from each thing that you do and you’re an avid doer of things like I am, you’ll likely be rich in no time.

Bianca: That’s so cool. Isn’t that awesome? Very inspirational story. Does anybody have any questions for Suzanne?

Do you want to give them just a little bit of story about ph360?

Suzanne:  Yeah, totally. I’ve also trained in ph360. ph stands for personalized health, and basically the reason I say 360 is it’s like a wheel and each grid has 60 degrees. There’s 6 grids and what they represent is your biotype. You know how some people will go, “Oh, I do CrossFit, it’s the best thing ever, I get up at 6am!” And you try it and you’re like, “I didn’t lose any weight.” And then they’re all like, “Well, you cheated, you didn’t do it properly.” And you’re like, “Well, I did,” and you kind of have these arguments… maybe it’s just me. Those people tend to be the activators, so they’re on one side of the wheel and they are very active and they get to eat a lot and they respond well to lots of activity. And then as you go around the wheel, different biotypes have different characteristics.

So I am a guardian. I tend to sleep late. Yeah!!! It’s like scientific, I don’t have to choose that. I stay up late. I can be kind of slow to get going, but once I’m going down that hill, baby, don’t get in my way. I unfortunately don’t do well with snacking, which was hard to get used to. It’s funny – if you’ve given ph360 at day dot, I would have said, “No, I’m not doing this, this is crap.” But how much intuitively I moved towards it was incredible. Basically, it’s like what foods are good for your type, what times to eat them, how much, which exercise, even lifestyle, climate – all sorts of things. It’s absolutely incredible. Anybody that I take through it, I say, “Look, don’t try and do all this, because I don’t do all this.” To start with, it’s like [brain explodes]. But pick one thing, like the times that I eat was a cool thing that I picked.

So there’s activator, connector, guardian, diplomat, sensor and crusader. What can be difficult about it is if your family members are different to you, like you’re a guardian who eats 3 times a day, no snacks, and then you’ve got a crusader who eats 6 times a day. But you could use that as an excuse, so we can happily work around this. 25 or more years of research have gone into this and it’s absolutely fascinating. You can do your profile for free. I think it’s free and it gives you a week to have a look at it. If you do do it, please don’t do all things because it’s overwhelming, bust just pick one thing and go, “Oh, that’s interesting.” It’s incredible.

Bianca:  Yeah, for me it was really freeing to realize that… Suzanne helped me interpret it more a bit as well that I was a diplomat, and then since having Maverick I was on the cusp of almost a guardian, with the diplomat. And I recognized little traits from my dad where he stays up late, he gets up late, but he loves to exercise. He might do 3 hours of exercise a day but it’s lower intensity. And I was actually experiencing this real fallout. I was trying to fall pregnant, and I’ve been doing CrossFit all this time. So much of it was against what I actually was naturally inclined to, but I could absolutely muscle my way through it, so I could do 7-minute hardcore ridiculous vomit sessions up to 60-minute ones.

No wonder though that it was coming at such an effect to my feminine energy and my feminine hormones. And it’s hard because it’s going against all my mates in the CrossFit cult and everything, and they’re going, “You’re being lazy.” I’m like, “Uh, I’m just working on my hormones.” And they’re like “Sounds like emotional rubbish.” And when I actually did try a few things like eating a bit late I started having better energy throughout the day. I realized that I am a bit sluggish in the mornings and Pete’s always saying, “You’re mucking around, you’re stuffing around, you’re making me late.” Now I’m like, “I’m a diplomat, I’m allowed.”

Because he’s an activator, always eats, and so I always try to keep up with him eating. And that’s really been what the 28 kilo weight loss has been, because I just started eating breakfast later, and that kicked off amazing changes. And I also stopped kind of trying do these whole bunch of activities and all my body sculpting stuff that I know how to do. It’s been amazing of how much you unlock shame or you unlock this very part of ‘I’m wrong’ because now you go, “Oh, that’s why I’m like that, that’s why they’re different.” So can you see why there are so many different recommendations? Eat 3 meals a day, no snacks. Eat 6 meals a day. And that’s why there’s so much confusion.

Attendee 1:  Eat breakfast, don’t eat breakfast.

Attendee 2:  Because it’s right for some people and not for others.

If you can take one thing away from what Suzanne really implemented is that she really did listen, she started trusted in that innate wisdom in her body.

Bianca:  So, pretty much, I went from training 6 days a week hardcore to barely doing a walk and a Pilates class, and got better results than ever. So I just have to say that to my coach, I’m like “Coach!” [shrugs] He’s always like, “Regionals!!!” I’m like, “Dude, I’m already awesome, I don’t have the time.” And so it’s been a real pleasure just watching Suzanne and her journey through this. If you can take one thing away from what Suzanne really implemented is that she really did listen, she started trusted in that innate wisdom in her body. She listened to it and she removed all the interferences that said, “That’s a stupid idea” or “No, you failed.”

She experimented and implemented but she took away that inner critic that kept on saying, “That’s a failure.”

Choose your audience of who you’re going to share your stuff with.

Suzanne:  And I suppose one last thing I’d say to people is choose your audience of who you’re going to share your stuff with, especially if you’re a chronic dieter. Because if you go, “I’m going to try this thing,” you’ll get the eye-roll and “Oh, here we go again.” So find your people that you trust, whether it be your coach or your mentor or your bestfriend – or maybe it might not be your best friend depending on your circumstance – and just discuss it with them. Because if you discuss it with people like your family as much, as they’re well-meaning they might have seen you do this present state-desired state dance again and again. And they mean the best for you but they bring you down, and it just doesn’t help. Really pick who you’re going to speak to about what it is that you’re doing, so you don’t be like, “Yeah!” and then you’re like, “Oh no, it’s not going to work.”

Bianca:  Massive. Heaps of magic in that. Awesome. Thank you, Suzanne.


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