Ep #29: Grit, Weight Loss and Healthy Habits

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If you’ve raised a family, built a career or business or even crocheted a blanket, chances are you already have some grit. None of these things are without challenges. You’ve had to learn new skills, face challenges, and deal with failure to persevere. You had the passion to stick with it.

Grit doesn't evaporate as you age and we can actually develop more by creating new neural pathways with our growth mindset. Now, we may face obstacles and set-backs on journey to better health, but by applying our grit, we can truly create the right sized body we desire.  

With the questionnaire below, you can assess just how much grit you have right now. Then listen to the episode to learn just how to develop and apply grit achieve your health and weight loss goals. Let's get gritty, perennials

If you like what you heard today, please go to Apple Podcasts and leave a review. The more reviews we receive, the more women will learn about the podcast and learn from these lessons. If you know someone who is struggling with food, send them a link to the podcast and maybe they can find something here they haven’t heard before!

A special thank you to Susan Mrosek, creator of the Pondering Pool for letting use her art for this episode!

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • What is grit?
  • How do you know if you have grit? (find out by taking this questionnaire)
  • Why do want it?
  • How do you get it, develop it and apply it to your weight loss journey?
  • The skill subsets you'll learn in future episodes of It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight.

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Full Episode Transcript

With Your Host

Pat Beaupre Becker

You are listening to It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight, a podcast with Pat Beaupre Becker, Episode 29.

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. Good to be here. I want to welcome you to this week's episode, where I want to talk about grit, which is the power and passion of perseverance. Now, this is taken from Angela Duckworth's book called 'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance', and I want to talk to you about using grit, which is something that you may have used throughout your entire life, and using it to reach your weight loss or your health and wellness goals. You can go on to Angela Duckworth's website, and I've actually taken some quotes right here from her, the Characterlab.org, where she talks about grit.

"Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals." The interesting thing is she talks about what is not grit, so grit isn't talent. It isn't luck. It isn't how intensely for just a moment you want something, but instead, grit is about having a goal you care about so much, that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do, and grit is holding steadfast to that goal over time, even when you fall down, even when you screw up, and even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow. Now, you might ask yourself, "How do I know if I have grit?", and you actually can take a questionnaire by going to AngelaDuckworth.com/grit-scale, and all of these links will be in the show notes.

A key to having grit is developing a growth mindset, and we certainly have talked about this before, right? This is assuming that you absolutely understand and know that your brain can continue to develop, that you can learn new things even if you're 60 years old, even if you're 65 years old, or you're 70 years old. You can achieve in your future what you have not yet achieved in your past. Now, there's a saying which I don't even want to repeat, but I will. It's that awful saying that, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", but I want you to ban that from your vocabulary, because first off, we're not like old dogs, and yes, we can learn new tricks.

It's required that you have a desire to change, and it's not actually required that you believe in your ability to achieve it, though that will make it easier, but even if you haven't done it before and even if you don't exactly know how, you actually can change, and you can achieve a goal again, even if you haven't done it before and even if you don't know how. Now, this is living in the present, but with an eye on your future, and believing in your future no matter how short you may think it will be, right? I'm 65. I don't know how long I'm going to live, but nonetheless, I'm looking to my future to create something I hadn't really created in my past. Why would I want it? Grit will get you to reach a difficult goal, again as I just said, even if you don't already know how to get there or if you haven't done it before, because with grit, you will grow new neural pathways that will take you to the other side.

Now, grit isn't deprivation, though there are probably times when you may want to choose to be deprived of something for that long-term win, because remember, for us here, the goal is ultimately to fall in love with a lifestyle, which includes a food plan that loves you. We here in It's Never Too Late To Lose Weight, we have an advantage because we're using the model, because we also know that it's our thoughts that create our feelings, and that our feelings are the motivation to get us to do something or not to do something, and any actions we take as we're motivated will allow us to reach a goal or give us a result. In terms of your health and your wellness, in addition to understanding the benefits of whole foods and how those foods interact with your physiology, we are learning to make our desired results inevitable not by relying on willpower, but by understanding our emotional signature, what moves us to action. Something to think about because I want to ask you, "If you could lose your desire and fall out of love with ice cream, do you think that would be the worst thing that could happen to you?" It doesn't mean you have to give it up forever, but what if it wasn't a main food source that you rely on for joy or pleasure?

Would you be willing? Something to think about, huh? I think it's interesting that I learned as I reach this age -- I thought that grit would no longer be required, and I guess it depends on what you want, but I know, that I can tell you that I didn't have any great exercise habits before I turned 64. I didn't have such great eating habits before I turned 60, but in both instances, I learned so much about myself. I learned that grit was something that I actually knew because I had raised a family. I had worked for 50 years, and just by showing up, I was able to achieve certain goals, and that was part of the grit that was already a known inside me.

I think that grit makes all things possible, because when I was younger, I'm pretty sure this was a belief, we thought that if you didn't have talent, you may as well forget about it. All of Angela Duckworth's research has shown that even if you have a talent, if you don't use effort, if you aren't able to withstand the feeling of failure, that talent is not going to necessarily take you to the top. I'm not even talking about reaching the top because I think we get to decide for ourselves what the top is, what success is, but I want to tell you, if we go back to these habits before I turned 64 and I wasn't even exercising, now, I have new neural pathways. I have already become way more fit and active than my mother ever was when she was 50. I already know that I do not have diabetes, and although my back may ache, I am learning to lift my butt, okay, even though it's temporary with my gluteus maximus, and I may have a six-pack yet. Now, it will be a wrinkly one, but just as strong.

Grit got me here because the days that I wanted to give up, the days that I didn't actually look very good, doing what I was doing because I was flailing about as I was learning to exercise and I was exhausted from it, I just kept showing up. I just kept the long-term goal that I had to get into shape because I know that exercise is good for my brain, and it's good for my circulation, and it's just required, right? Exercise is required. What do you get when you develop grit? I think a growth mindset, which is really important as you face the future. We get to reach a long-term goal because of our willingness to stick to something, and as a result, we learn to persevere, and perseverance is always going to give us the strength to get through life.

We will develop our imagination because really, if you haven't achieved it before, you really have to use your imagination in order to see yourself achieving this goal. It also develops character. Character. We have so much character, but character is so important, and when you learn to trust yourself and stick to your goals even when they're hard, even when they don't feel so great, you develop character. After character, I think if we look at, "What do we receive when we are healthy? What do we get on the other side?", develop an interest in the life we're going to have when we feel fit, when we lose that weight, when we finally give up that self-hatred and that terrible body image.

Now, the question you might ask is, "How can I get some of this, and how can I apply it to my weight loss?" Now, if you want to learn a lot more about grit, I recommend you get the book and explore the website. There's a lot of great information, but I just want to give you a little bit about my take on this and how we can use this concept of grit in order to help us achieve our wellness goals. What if the chase to wellness and the challenges of learning skills was actually part of your love and passion for living? What if having a drive to improve your life in small increments and enjoying that process is going to be something you look forward to? I can tell you that it's going to benefit your brain health, which is really important as you age, but what if I told you that failing forward was going to be essential, because we're going to fail?

We're not going to be perfect, but even so, we're going to find that determination to continue in the direction of health and wellbeing, and that is grit. Now, if you've overcome setbacks in your life, and come on, who hasn't, right, you probably have more grit than you know, so don't sell yourself short. There are those who think that, "As we age, but we should just hang it up. Life at the end should be just gliding towards happy retirement", but I think that by this time in our life, we are more mature emotionally. We have an understanding of our humanness, our human capacity. For me, I also want to have a desire for lightness, to add more fun because there's plenty of suffering going on in the world, and we will suffer as we age and as we lose people, but we don't have to use suffering as a way to stop ourselves from growing and from enjoying our life.

Now, what I do for my clients and what my goal is for you, is to enter this final frontier when it comes to losing weight or maintaining weight, and giving up the emotional struggle and the judgments you may have about your body and your brain, because I'm telling you, as our bodies continue to age, which is a good thing because the alternative is not something I want to look at right now, I will continue to use all of these tools in my own life. Here's how I want you to start using grit. First, I want you to look at your health, and I want you to look at it as including weight loss, even if you have succeeded or failed about this in the past, exercise, wellness, and self-care. I want you to see this as a package that is a challenge that exceeds your current skill set, right? This is why you haven't already achieved it, is that your skill set isn't there.

Now, we look at this as a long-term goal. We're not trying to lose 10 pounds in a month, right? This is a long-term goal. Now, the second thing we're going to do is create a list of sub-skills that you need to acquire in order to lose this weight for the last time. One of the incredible benefits as we are acquiring new skills is that we will be creating new neural pathways in our brain, right?

Not to mention, as we said before, we'll be developing character, imagination and perseverance. Now, third is we're going to create a plan to practice with 100% focus on each of these sub-skills, because what we want to do is to become an expert at each of these skills. Now, a 100% focus, this is part of what Angela Duckworth calls 'Expert Practice', and that has three steps that maximize learning. The first, and this is actually working with the teacher or a coach, but first, the teacher, the coach and the student identify a specific sub-skill that incrementally challenges you, and second, you, the student or the client practice that skill with full-out effort, and then third, the teacher or the coach in this case gives you feedback.

This is right from the website: They're going to replace going through the motions. Right? You won't be just going through the motions of practicing, but you're going to have a purposeful effort that's going to lead to true learning. We're going to take this knowledge and experience and apply it to weight loss. Now, the fourth thing here is to continuously evaluate and tweak your practice plan as you grow your skill in each of the areas, and we're going to do that by creating a practice log so that you can create your own feedback. You can decide, "What does a 100% focus look like?"

"What worked? What was successful? What didn't work? What feels good, and what appears to be an obstacle that you weren't even aware of?" Remember, all of this is going to be developing grit, giving you a passion and a perseverance that basically, you will never give up. I want to go over some of these skill subsets that I'm going to cover in future episodes of the podcast.

First sub-skill would be choosing a food plan and creating a protocol, right? "How do you eat? When do you eat? How much do you eat? What kinds of foods work with your body?" This is something that you will need to develop a skill of in order to create your protocol and choose the plan.

The next subset of a skill would be shopping and cooking simply, right? You don't have to make it so complicated. We can just choose foods that are simply wholesome, and that can be prepared quickly. Another skill subset would be using a food journal. Now, food journals have been shown in research to support and be a best practice for losing weight and keeping it off, so we'll go into the skill of what is it to use a food journal.

Another skill set we'll look at in the upcoming episodes is planning. "How do you plan to prepare your food for a whole week? How do you prepare 24 hours in advance?" Then, "How do you plan for a vacation or a special event?", so planning is a very crucial skill that you can learn. Then finally, a big skill that we teach here that I will continue to teach you is learning to manage your emotions, learning to feel all your emotions so that you don't have to eat emotionally anymore.

These are some of the skill subsets that we'll be covering in future episodes that you want to get really skilled at, so we're going to develop grit, so when you create a plan, you're going to add a list of obstacles that you know you will encounter because this is a new skill. Remember, we're challenging what we currently know. Then, we're going to create a strategy for that obstacle so that we will be successful. If that strategy doesn't work, we find another strategy. This is where we use our imagination and our perseverance, because this is a long-term goal.

We're not going to give up. As an example, let's say you hate cooking. That's going to be a problem and an obstacle you want to solve for, so maybe you'll create a strategy to sign up for a food delivery service or you decide you're going to learn how to cook one, simple recipe, or maybe you get a slow cooker and you learn how to cook a couple of proteins in a slow cooker. Let's say another example would be when it comes to learning to manage your emotions, let's say you know that there are certain situations that have always triggered strong emotions, and you've eaten over them. Now, you can plan for them, or you can practice allowing the urge when you have that triggered emotion.

I want to recap. First, just by making health and wellness a long-term goal, even though you're 60, or especially if you're over 60 is going to give you more chances to succeed. Remember, it's that growth mindset. Then, you want to get passionate about your goal by seeing the long-term effect of reaching it. What will you feel and what will you do when you are feeling healthy, vibrant and happy?

Second, developing your grit and understanding that grit just means you need to learn a new skill, even if you think you should already know it because maybe, you tried it before, or maybe you succeeded like a long time ago so you think you should be able to succeed in the same way, but remember, we want to figure out what sub-skills we need to acquire so that we can lose weight for the last time. Then third, we're going to create a plan that will practice each of these sub-skills as you look to become expert at that particular skill. Then fourth, you create a practice log so that you're continuously evaluating and tweaking your practice plan as you grow your skill in each area. Then, when you get skilled in that subset, you move on to the next. I want you to see grit as your friend.

See grit as part of how you already got here to be 60 or 70 years old. You have gotten here because you have had to have some grit.

Now, I want to go to My Favorite Things, and my favorite things today I want to tell you about is the Pondering Pool. If you're one of my clients, you've probably received a card from me, from the Pondering Pool. I love the way it says right here, "Her cards are lusciously twisted and profoundly humorous, both her art and her writing."

I love her cards. It seems to capture to me being a perennial, which is basically questioning the ridiculousness of life and not needing to have stock answers. I really would encourage you to go to www.PonderingPool.com, and if you have a warped sense of humor like me, you may just enjoy the characters and the writing that you will find there.

Thank you for listening to It's Never Too Late To Lose Weight. I want you to keep listening for upcoming episodes where I'm going to talk more about these sub-skills so that you can reach the final frontier, lose weight, maintain your weight, or give up the emotional struggle and judgments you may have about your body and your brain.

Now, if you're blessed with the gift of one more time, one more day on this earth, you're going to continue to age, and having the skills you're going to learn by developing grit is going to help you to reach a healthy, vibrant, and happy life. Isn't that what we want, because one thing we know, it's never too late. I'll talk to you next week.

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.info/guide to download your quick start guide to jump-start your weight loss plan and begin creating an amazing life you love.