Ep #3: How Our Feelings Affect Our Actions

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This week, we continue our conversation about how your mind works and how it’s related to the results that you have in your life today.

Now that you understand that our thoughts create our feelings, I want to dive deeper and explain how our feelings affect the actions that you take on a daily basis.

In this episode, we go into what feelings are, where they come from, what happens when we feel them (or don’t feel them), and how to change them. Join me to find out why you have the results that you have in your life today and how you can begin changing them once and for all.

If you’re stuck in a pattern of breaking promises to yourself, unable to control urges and break unproductive habits, this episode is for you.

And make sure to visit https://www.beauprecoaching.com/formula to download the Formula Worksheet to help you with this work.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • My story of how I was able to break out of a pattern of unhealthy habits and lose weight for good.
  • The relationship between thoughts, feelings, actions, and results and why it’s so important to understand it.
  • What feelings are and where they come from.
  • How different emotions, positive or negative, drive the actions we take.
  • The secret to taking the actions that you need to take to succeed in weight loss.

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

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. As I'm recording this episode, we are smack in the middle of the holiday season, and I am preparing many of my clients for a successful 2018. What does that mean exactly? Well, we started to look at the many accomplishments of 2017. What did we learn? What did we create? What did we not create? And there were so many mind-blowing results, it was really fascinating. Lots of weight loss, lots of improved relationships with partners and spouses and friends. It was really, really amazing.

And now we're creating a plan based on what we want to feel in the future. You know, being 60 - in my 60s, and working with clients in their 50s, 60s and 70s, it's really been amazing because sometimes it's a challenge to actually envision a future, right? If we don't believe that we can accomplish something, it's hard for us to even imagine how it will happen. And so what we want to do is really to look into a vision of using maybe the excitement we had as children, what is it that we really want? If we could accomplish anything, what might it be? So we're not really basing our future on our past, right? We're basing it on an imagined future where we are really blowing our own mind. So it's been really fun, and it is a challenge to create this future that we haven't even seen yet, but I hope that you are taking an opportunity to look back at 2017 and look at all the amazing things that you accomplished in every area of your life.

In today's episode, I'm going to share how I released myself from this pattern of shame and overeating and weight gain, followed by so much self-hatred and more weight gain, and then once in a while there was a little bit of weight loss. But when I started to understand the way my brain works, I was elated, and I finally had some hope.

So if you're stuck in a pattern of breaking promises to yourself and unable to control urges and compulsions and habits, I know exactly how you feel, because I was exactly there. Because no matter how many times I told myself, "Hey Patricia, it's time to change, it's time to get healthy, what are you waiting for?" Sometimes I was forceful with myself, sometimes I was mean, sometimes I was kind, but I was always well intentioned, and I never seemed to be able to stick to a plan.

I did manage to lose weight every once in a while, by going on some extreme diet, but I never was able to stick to it and I lose the same 15 to 40 pounds over and over and over again. The thing that really blew my mind is that I was pretty successful in other areas of my life. I actually had a good marriage, I had a good job, and I just couldn't figure out why I couldn't figure it out. What was I missing? I mean, I could blame my past, I could blame my mother, I could blame my education, and I did. I blamed all of them, but you know what? After a while, I mean, after years, blaming everyone and everything else just didn't add up because it still kept me stuck. I was still stuck, so I knew blaming was not the way out.

Then I learned about my brain. I started to study neuroscience and I had this lifelong practice of meditation, and I learned from my own coach, Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School about how when we understand the way our brain works we can actually see why we're getting the results we're getting in our life. And that's what I want to teach you today, a bit about your brain.

In the last episode, I told you that your thoughts create your feeling, and today I want you to see that your feelings cause your actions. So I want you to think about this. Think about this as almost like steps, connecting sequences. So the first thing is that life happens, right? Your family member or your job, the world, something happens that you have no control over. And then the second thing that happens is that you have a thought about it, or an interpretation of it. And then what happens is that particular thought drums up this feeling. And then what happens is that feeling, it makes you do something, or maybe it makes you do nothing, but in any case, you take an action or you don't take an action. And then what happens is all those actions add up to a result.

So I use this image of a Rube Goldberg sequence machine, these contraptions, and these help me to clearly visualize in how to get a handle on how I ended up where I was. Overweight, suffering, and not able to see a way out. So Rube Goldberg, if you don't know, was a cartoonist and an inventor, and he created these fantasy contraptions where each part was kind of wild, but it connected to another part that made something happen. And if you have never heard of him, I highly recommend a Google search because he was a fascinating man. And there's a good example of a Rube Goldberg in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and it is the amazing breakfast machine. So what happens is Pee-wee wakes us and does his stuff, but he turns on this fan, and this fan actually blows into these pinwheels, which then turn and then that turning releases an egg into this tube and the egg goes down the tube, and all of a sudden it lands in a vice. And then while it's in that vice, a bottle head moves and breaks the egg, which falls into a frying pan that has been turned on by another series of machinations, and all of these sequences connecting up one after the other ends up with a perfect plate of bacon, eggs and pancakes.

So this is how I use this visualization of how one thing leads to another, leads to another, and always gives us the result. So it goes like this: so one, life happens, you have a circumstance. Click, you have a thought. That thought, click, creates a feeling, right? That feeling, click, creates an action. And that action, click, results in a result. Because you have to remember that all of these interconnected actions work in our brain and our body because our brains and our body are connected. So when life causes you to have a thought, which creates a feeling, which causes an action, and then you get the result. Bada-bing, bada-bang, bada-boom.

So now let's talk about your feelings. So your feelings create your actions, but what are your feelings? Where do they come from? And what happens to us when we feel them or we don't feel them, and how do we change them? So your feelings are produced by neurons connecting in your brain, mostly in the primitive brain. And what happens is life and then your primitive brain steps in and the result of the observation of life is that you have a thought, which creates this emotion.

So remember, your primitive brain is all about motivation for the survival of the species. It's always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. And it's also trying to be efficient. But the thing about the primitive brain is that by nature, it cannot tell the difference between an attack of a saber tooth tiger or your boss telling you you didn't get that promotion. Or maybe your husband revealing that he had an affair. The same powerful physiological response happens for each of those things. So life happens, which is the circumstance. Your brain goes into action, assesses the situation with a thought, and then reacts with a feeling and goes into action.

Let's put it simply. So today you come home from work, you're stressed, you're tired. Your brain says, "Danger, I want to relax, I want to seek pleasure, let's conserve all energy." Well, you have this habit when you come from and you eat a whole bag of chips, right? And so in order to calm yourself, you open those chips, you eat them, your brain thinks, "Success". But the problem is that there's a negative consequence when you come home every night and you deal with your stress with a bag of chips. But can you see how this is really your brain doing exactly what it's designed to do? This is the key here because we want to see the way the brain is designed and make it work in our favor.

So we're going to talk about feelings, and we usually categorize our feelings as negative and positive. And we experience our feelings in our body as a vibrations. So I like to come up with some ways to describe the vibrations in your body. Maybe it's a tightness in your chest, or a tingling of your fingers, or maybe it feels like pressure in your head. And what is actually happening here? And this is where we go back to the brain and we look at our central nervous system, which is receiving a message from our brain. And what happens is we have a parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of us that when we're resting we can digest our food and we could feed and we can procreate. And then there's the sympathetic nervous system, which responds with you're going to fight, you're going to run away, or you're going to freeze. So these systems - and they're sending these messages that impact our breathing, like either our breath is deep or it's short; our digestion, either we're digesting our food or it's slowing down and there's no digestion going on; our vision, where we can see distances or we can see close up; the skeleton, is it ready to run, the blood flow, even our heartbeat, whether it slows down, whether it speeds up. So all of these are how we experience the vibrations in our body when we have an emotion.

Now, you know when you fall in love and you may feel lightheaded, right? Or if you get angry, you have an argument, and then you feel hot all over. This is all that emotion is, is just your nervous system preparing your body to respond. It's really giving your body motivation to allow you to take action or no action in order to achieve a goal, which in many cases could be just to survive.

So now if we look at the next part, where the feelings create an action, so how do you act when you feel a certain way? So if you can imagine your own experience here, and think about when you have a certain feeling what is it that you do. So if we look at a negative feeling, and negative consequence, so if you're feeling shame, what do you do? Generally speaking, shame makes you want to hide, it makes you want to stuff your feeling, it's not good to feel shame, it feels very uncomfortable. So quite often if you are an emotional eater, you're going to overeat. What about when you feel angry? Then what do you do? Let's say you had an argument with your boss, or your spouse, or even your kids, and you feel so angry and you just don't want to feel it or you just want to scream and yell, and maybe you do. Maybe you yell. And that's really a form of reacting to your feeling.

What about when you're irritated? Then what do you do? I know what happens to me is I just blame everybody else for not doing things my way. And certainly, if I'm blaming everybody else, the last thing I do is generally take care of myself. And how about when you feel anxious? What do you do? I know that in the past, when I'm anxious, I'm overeating, and sometimes I'm drinking because I really want to calm myself. And even though again, the consequences are negative, in that moment, it makes me feel like I'm taking some action to help me to calm myself.

Now, we could also look at your positive emotions, right? So what happens when you're in love as I suggested earlier? Even if it's like a puppy, or your kid, or if you can remember back when you first fell in love with your partner if you have a partner, I know for me I went on many love diets, which is you know, who's hungry when you're in love? I'm definitely not hungry when I'm in love. Or if I'm excited, what do I do when I'm excited? Well, again, I don't really want to overeat. I kind of focus my brain on looking to learn something new, perhaps that's what I'm doing, I'm learning a skill, I'm discovering, I'm curious. You know, there's also the emotion of being committed. When I'm committed, what do I do? Well, generally if I'm committed to something, I stick with my word, I do what I say I'm going to do. How about you? When you're determined, what do you do? I know when I'm determined I am going to get it done no matter what.

So can you see how your feelings create your actions? I mean, it's amazing, really. I never really thought about it until I learned how my brain works. Because why does it matter? I'm telling you, it matters. Because once you take apart this machinery and then you identify your feelings for what they are, okay, my feeling is a vibration in my body, it's not explosion, nobody dies, the ceiling doesn't fall in, there are no consequences. Then I actually can disarm this whole contraption of fear, right? So much of my behaviors were on this fear of being discovered, fear of being disliked, fear of not making people happy. And really, when I just imagined that it's just a vibration in my body, maybe it's tension in my throat, maybe it's a feeling of warmth going down my body, maybe my fingers are tingling, but really, that doesn't mean anything dangerous is happening to me now.

So if you can disarm this whole contraption and look at this sequence and this knowledge and apply it to when you are eating, or overeating, and when you are taking care of yourself and when you're not taking care of yourself. So it's really brilliant to actually look at your current behaviors or even your current results and then stick them into this formula. And I've created a worksheet which you can find in the show notes, and this will give you an opportunity to practice and to put your own particular situation into this formula.

So let's go back to a client of mine who signed up to lose 40 pounds. That was the circumstance was, that was the fact. She was signed up for a program to lose 40 pounds. But her thought was, "I can't tell my husband I'm going on another diet." And she had been on so many diets and had failed so many diets she just thought there's no way she could succeed and she could not face the humiliation of somebody knowing that she was trying again and yet she wasn't following through. And so what was that feeling? Shame. And what did she do when she felt shame? Well, it was Doritos for her. She really just would overeat these Doritos and then the result was that she would stay stuck and she certainly wasn't telling her husband.

But it wasn't getting her unstuck, so her thought, "I can't tell my husband I'm going on another diet", that was a really not a useful thought because what it was doing was creating shame and shame was not the motivating action. So when you feel shame, the last thing you want to do is proudly work on something new, right? You just want to hide. And if the emotion of shame is driving that behavior and that emotion comes from the thought, "I can't tell my husband I'm going on another diet", well, you can see that there's no way with that thought and that emotion and those actions there will ever be success.

So learn how to look at your own brain sequence. When you are standing in front of the refrigerator at midnight, what is the feeling motivating you? When you're stuffing slice after slice of pizza, what is the feeling motivating you? Is it a habit or is it an emotion? And then once you have that emotion, we can start to look at what are you think that's creating that emotion. Because the million dollar question is always how do we change our thoughts and how do we change our emotions?

Well, here we go, right back to your brain. Only this time we're going to look to your prefrontal cortex. This is the executive functioning part of your brain. This is - we call this the CEO, or now in this case, we can call it the engineer, who can observe the sequence of circumstances and thoughts and feelings and actions and results and go, "Okay, wait a minute, let's see if we can tweak this and make this work in our favor." So when you have that feeling, which is a vibration in your body, negative or positive, the mechanism is the same. Remember that it's signaling for you to do something or not do something, positive or negative. And whatever it is that you're doing, you can be sure it's going to add up to your life. So we've got that prefrontal cortex that's going to see that, it's going to see the thought that you're going to write on that sheet of paper, the feeling that's going to go right in there, and then the actions and then the result.

So I'm really telling you that your feelings are the secret to motivating you to take the actions you need to take to succeed in weight loss. I'll say it again. Your feelings are the secret to motivating you to take the actions you need to take to succeed in weight loss. When you learn to identify each part of the circumstances, the thought, the feeling, the action, and the result that you are experiencing in your life, and you can just use that worksheet and take a pen and just fill it in, you are going to see that your feelings create your actions, and when you can see where you are, where that feeling is in the sequence, then you can stop it. You can use your prefrontal cortex, you can plan, you can reengineer it and then you find the motivation to get you the result you want.

So just go to www.never2late.info/formula, and pick up a copy there. So I hope that you can really see clearly, maybe by using the Rube Goldberg for you, your own vision, whatever it takes for you to really look at this worksheet and see where you can fill out what is your circumstance and your thought, your feeling, your action, and your result. And then next week what we're going to do is we're going to discuss our feelings and why is it so difficult for us to even understand or identify what it is we feel. Why can't we just allow our feelings to be? And I'm going to teach you how to become familiar with your signature emotions. And that's the end of the episode today, I look forward to seeing you next time.

And now we get to the my favorite things section, and I want to let you know that I have been working out. Thank you, at Ody's gym, and as a result, my muscles are very sore. As a matter of fact, there are muscles I didn't even know that I had. And so what I have discovered, thank goodness, is Sagely Naturals Relief and Recovery. Now, this was created by two women, Kaley and Kerrigan, because they wanted to help their moms with their aches and pains. And so they actually took CBD oil and mixed it with peppermint and turmeric, all anti-inflammatory substances. And actually, I'd recently learned about CBD oil and how it's really good for the endocannabinoid system, which I had never even heard of, but which actually helps regulate our immune system, our digestive system, and it keeps our body in balance.

So I was actually looking for a pure form of CBD oil that was reasonably priced, so I found this amazing product by this wonderful company, and when I contacted them, they said that would give us 20% off, so I am passing that discount on to you. You just have to go to the links in the show notes and you'll get 20% discount with the code, BEAUPRE. So that's it for today, I look forward to seeing 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.

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