Full Episode Transcript
With Your Host
Pat Beaupre Becker
Welcome to It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight, a podcast for women approaching
60 who have been successful at everything but reaching their weight loss goals.
Tune in each week for tools and strategies to help you lose weight, create a
strong body, and support a healthy mind. Here's your host, certified weight and
life coach, Pat Beaupre Becker.
Hello my dears. I recently was looking for a name for us, and I was not happy
with seniors. Elders was, I kind of like that one, but it didn't have something
that I was looking for. So I went online and I started searching, and it was
older people, crones, we can't teach old dogs new tricks. Anyway it just went
downhill from there in terms of how I wanted to refer to myself and to you in
this time of our life.
Then I came across an interview in AARP's bulletin with Stanford's top aging
expert, Laura Carstensen. She came up with the name Perennials. Perennials, I
love it. She talked about considering her elders and noting how generous,
thoughtful and emotionally complex they were because at this stage we are able
to regulate our emotions way more than when we were younger. At least, I know
that's true for me. And also that we are still blossoming again and again and
again. So I love the vision of the perennials. I was talking to a friend
recently, and she said that when she observes her perennial flowers, every year
they come back stronger and stronger and more beautiful.
We're going to find Perennials who are more likely to say, "I've got stuff to do
and I'm going to make a difference." So, Perennials, let's get started with
today's podcast. I want to help you make a difference when it comes to your
habit of overeating in the evenings. I know sometimes I think of it, or I used
to think of it as the bewitching hour or the bewitching hours.
Let's say for many of us, we're able to start the day, and we can actually even
get all the way through dinner eating planned healthy foods. Then we find
ourselves overeating, even when you're telling yourself, "I don't want to
overeat. I just want to eat my meals." Telling yourself you don't want to do it
usually doesn't work because you're actually relying upon your willpower. Now,
willpower is fantastic, especially for short term, but it's exactly what will
not work to change a deeply ingrained and highly rewarded habit. And especially
after a long day of making decisions and doing things for everybody else.
The most important thing I want you to realize and understand is that a habit is
driven by your unconscious thoughts. In my experience working with hundreds of
women who want to lose weight, willpower is the wrong tool to pull out when
you're trying to get to your unconscious. How do we make a desired change so
that we can get through a whole day and a whole night eating on plan, losing
weight, and feeling better in our bodies and about ourselves? Well, I propose
three steps. The first one, become aware. The second one is to ask powerful
questions. The third one is to create a protocol.
Now, the whole idea is to begin to look at your evenings with wonder instead of
beating yourself up or worrying. Let's get started on the three steps. The first
one is awareness. You need to become aware of your cues and your thoughts and
your feelings. Now the good news is that you are very familiar with what happens
to you each weeknight. Even if you can't seem to control it, but in order to
understand and change something, you have to have that awareness first. Now
habits are driven by cues. Researchers have actually looked at the brain and
studied the brain of heroin addicts, and they can see that there's excitement
every time the addict thinks even of scoring the next hit. Each step along the
way towards scoring provides the brain with that hit of dopamine, building in
anticipation to that final reward. When you can identify the cues that are part
of the habit of overeating in the evening, you can then see the cause and make
The step that I want you to do in becoming aware is actually to document what
happens to you. You start to become aware of yourself, of your feelings, or your
thoughts during the course of the day. Let's just say you decide Monday I'm
going to start taking notice. I'm going to take notes on what's going on for me
in the day. You might discover that like three o'clock every afternoon you
think, "Oh, I'm hungry. I'm tired," or something that happened, and you just
maybe tuck it away in your brain. When do you first notice a feeling of anxiety?
Is it in the car on the way home? Sometimes for people it's as soon as they open
the door to their home or their apartment.
The other thing to ask and document is: Are you dramatizing your problems by
endowing food with magical powers? Now in episode 23, I taught you about the
mindset of math versus drama. This is where you can apply that teaching. Are you
building up drama with your language? Oh, it's a monster waiting to get me. Or
are you seeking the math? “I have an urge that I'm not used to allowing.” Right,
so you just can see even the way you talk about it will have a big effect on the
emotional impact on you.
You want to also document the negative thought patterns you have leading up to
the evening. Now not surprising, it was my thoughts and emotions that were
drivers to my evening overeating. For example, I did really well when I was
scheduled during the day, but when I had free time, I was always wondering, am I
doing enough? Is there something I'm supposed to be doing? That thought made me
feel very anxious. On other evenings, I'd find myself mulling over a
conversation that happened during the day and berating myself for it, saying the
wrong thing. Why didn't I keep my mouth shut? How could I have said that to him?
You're such an idiot.
Now these thoughts resulted in more emotions that fed into other habitual
thoughts that I actually had been thinking about myself over the course of my
lifetime. Don't expect to change, you poor fat ugly loser. Whoa. Where did that
even come from, right? But my past would join in and really hijacked my
evenings. But all of it unconsciously. What are your thoughts? Write about them
and become aware of them. That is step one, become aware of the cues and your
thoughts and your feelings.
Now step two is to ask powerful questions. In episode 24, I proposed that you
ask yourself powerful open-ended questions to get your brain into solution mode.
Here are some possible questions to get your evenings to be successful and on
track. The first question you might ask is what does my ideal evening even look
like? The second question, what emotions am I feeling as I imagine this ideal
evening? The third question, what are the thoughts that I'm actually thinking
and believing about myself and about the evening? Then finally, the fourth
question, what actions can I take to get the results I want?
Now for me, an ideal evening includes finishing up my work for the day,
preparing and cleaning up after dinner, having conversations with my husband,
sitting and reading a book or watching TV, catching up on a magazine article.
Then I like to take a quick review of my calendar, so that I know what my next
morning is. Then if there's any preparation for breakfast or for lunch that I
need to do, I like to get that done the night before. Sometimes I just want to
check in with a friend and make a quick call to say hi. Then I want to get into
bed and I have a book that I'm reading. I usually want to be in bed by 10
o'clock so that I could go to sleep and have a good night's sleep.
That is very simply an ideal evening for me. When you think of your ideal
evening, what would you like it to look like? Now, if you still have kids at
home, obviously it's going to be different. If you live alone, obviously it's
going to be different. But for you, what would be the best evening that you can
imagine? Then when you ask yourself, what emotions are you feeling when you
imagine that ideal evening, when I ask myself what emotions I want to feel,
they're accomplished, proud, and competent. Then when I look at what are the
thoughts that I would believe to feel those things would be I've given my all
today. I've done the best that I can. I've learned a thing or two, and I'm
grateful for the opportunities I had today.
Now, I want to tell you there was a time when my evenings were spent in pursuit
of eating yet another cookie. And in hiding, hiding the anxiety, hiding the
eating and the shame of disappointment in myself for yet again not being able to
change or to manage my emotions. Learning to feel what done feels like, right,
knowing that I did enough for the day, and accepting the feeling of being
accomplished, that took some practice. Because what I was doing was I was
exchanging that dopamine hit that I was getting with not feeling great, but then
eating that cookie, which was very confusing, but then I had to exchange that
for a little bit of a slower discomfort in the sense that I still felt
uncomfortable learning what accomplished felt like, and that a sense of
well-being is not as intense. It's more like a lower dose of dopamine than that
intense dose of sugar dopamine which hits my brain.
Another thing was that knowing my propensity to feel shame when I reviewed the
day, I decided to teach myself that that feeling in the pit of my stomach, that
tightness in my throat was just a vibration in my body and it didn't mean
anything. Asking powerful questions and understanding what you want for your
evening is really crucial for creating it.
And then step three is we're going to create a protocol. I've broken this up
into several parts. The first part is a daily review of the day. You want to
identify the cues that happened in the day. Maybe there was a difficult
conversation you had. Maybe you had an argument with your spouse in the morning
or with your child. Maybe there was a news article you read. Maybe you got upset
during the day and you wanted to cry, but you couldn't cry because you were in a
public place, so you had to put that emotion and park it somewhere. Maybe you
just drive past the food market and every time you drive past it, you think of a
certain food. Maybe you're fantasizing about how you're gonna feel better after
you gorge yourself on some potato chips, worrying about how the evening will go.
Make a daily review of what actually happened. What are the possible obstacles
that you're going to be facing that evening? Then you're going to create a
written plan for the evening. I like the idea of changing up your first
activity. If you generally go home and maybe you open up the refrigerator and
get something to eat, maybe this time you go home and the first activity you do
is you go for a walk. When you review your day, give yourself a new story about
the day. Maybe challenging the fact that that conversation you had was a total
disaster. Maybe you could see the opportunity in it. But tell yourself a new
story about how the day was an opportunity to learn something new. How it's
another opportunity to teach yourself a new skill.
I want you to remind yourself in your protocol, remind yourself that your
problems are not going to be solved tonight. Now you could schedule time to work
on each of your problems, but it is not going to be tonight. You can ask
yourself, what will feel good in the long term to de-stress yourself from the
day? Look at the difference between short term and long term. Maybe you want to
read a good book. Just take yourself to the library and read a magazine. Look at
some pictures. You can call a friend for a quick check-in. Maybe you want to
subscribe to a new podcast and listen as you take a walk after work. Maybe you
just want to grab some aromatherapy to change your brain state. These are things
that you can do as you change up your activities so your brain knows that
there's something different is going to happen.
Clean the bathrooms on the weekends. Maybe you can take two parts of that
activity and do it in the evening after you finish dinner. But what you want to
do is you want to change up your emotional and mental state. You want your brain
to feel more comfort so that it also will start to seek to repeat these new
behaviors that you're doing because what's happening is as you try and create a
new habit, you want to substitute the negative habits for a positive habit. This
is really applying neuroscience to your daily routine, as well as adding to that
Perennial wisdom that you have. That will help you to start to love your brain,
love your evenings.
I just want to summarize the three steps to helping you create a different kind
of evening where you're not overeating. The first one is to become aware. Become
aware of the cues. Become aware of your thinking and your feeling. Number two is
to ask yourself some powerful questions. What do you want the evening to be
like? How do you want to feel? Then you want to create a protocol to follow.
This will give you some opportunities to take new action in the evening so that
you're not overeating. I want you to practice these steps and then I'm telling
you, you will learn to love your evening. I promise it's going to lead you back
home to yourself, where you're going to find health, joy, and pride in a right
Now I want to talk about my favorite things, very excited. It's actually a book.
A friend of mine, Janet Archer, wrote a book called An Invitation to Pause. I'm
very excited to say she's gonna be on an upcoming episode where we're going to
discuss mindfulness. But reading her book today was just what the doctor ordered
because I was making things very complicated in my brain about these
opportunities and these options set out before me. I read the introduction and
all of a sudden, I felt this release of serotonin in my brain, all is well. All
is exactly as it should be. Oh my god, isn't it nice when a book feels like an
anecdote and it's simply pointing out there really isn't anything ailing you
after all. That's what I found today by reading An Invitation to Pause. You can
grab a copy at Amazon. I highly recommend it.
Thank you once again for listening to It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight. I look
forward to speaking with you again next week. Bye, bye.
Thanks for listening to this episode of It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight. If
you liked what you heard and want more, head over to Never2Late, that's number
two, dot information, forward slash guide, to download your quick start guide to
jump start your weight loss plan and begin creating an amazing life you love.