Ep #18: How to Change Your Thoughts

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We know what we need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some of us have even been successful at it in the past, so why are we struggling now, aged 50 and 60 something? It’s time to look at our mindset in relation to our diet and exercise.

This week, we’re busting the bad thoughts. How you perceive your ability to succeed has a huge effect on your ability to lose weight and maintain good health. I want you to see how you can change your beliefs, giving you a critical advantage in weight-loss success.

If you’re plagued with thoughts that you constantly deserve a treat or that you're too old to change, you’re going to want to tune in. I’m going to share a method that will allow you to change the thoughts that are holding you back. If you dedicate your attention and focus on this task, you will see a huge difference sooner than you might think possible.

If you like what you heard today, please go to iTunes 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!

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why a tentative connection with your body can stop you from overeating.
  • How pleasure foods are ruining your appetite.
  • Why we use food as entertainment or reward.
  • How your thoughts dictate your emotions.
  • Why education is the first step in achieving weight-loss.
  • Three steps to proving a disempowering thought wrong.
  • Six steps to replacing the disempowering thought with a new empowering thought.

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. I just got back from Arizona to visit my dad and his girlfriend who just kind of got moved into an assisted living facility. And being there and being with them sure gave me pause and I came home and I’m seriously thinking about how I want to plan and be very deliberate about my future care, depending on who knows what happens, right.

But more will come on that, I’m sure. I really want to share my excitement about an interview that’s going to be happening on an upcoming podcast, and it is with Ari Whitten, who is an expert in weight-loss and, actually, energy.

He is an expert who’s been running his own counseling and personal training business for over ten years and he is actually a tireless researcher and was mentioned in one of the episodes where we talked about my favorite things, because his work has really turned me on to some interesting ways to add to our knowledge and information about how to lose weight and how to be healthy and get fit and have lots of energy. So, keep your eyes open for that episode; it’s going to be fantastic.

So, I want to welcome all you women over 50 and over 60 who continue to see themselves as struggling with food, struggling with their weight and their body image. I’m very excited about today’s episode because we know what we have to do, right. We have done it even before, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so successfully, but we just don’t seem to be able to do it.

And why – why can’t we seem to find the methods and the motivation to do it? Well I think, often the main barrier between you and successfully sticking to your weight-loss are, in some ways, the way you think about your ability to succeed. That’s one way. Another obstacle is this over-desire we have for reward or pleasure food. I like to call them Frankenfoods. They’re highly processed and they’re developed for the flavor and taste to actually get you to want more and more.

And there’s also the quality of your connection with your body, right, in terms of, how do we even know when we’re hungry. And part of the problem is when we eat these Frankenfoods, our hormonal and appetite system goes a little bit wonky and we actually feel hungry even if we’re consuming food if that food is not necessarily nutrient-dense food.

It also has to do with the way we use food for entertainment and reward. So prevalent, right, we just think that food should entertain us and when we work hard or achieve something, food becomes our reward. And this is a problem, right, because when you continuously are looking at foods as a reward, actually your relationship with food is not going to benefit you if you are looking to lose weight, maintain that weight-loss and become a healthy and fit person. Then there’s also the way we use food to avoid our uncomfortable feelings; sadness or boredom, sometimes even just restlessness. Like, we don’t like that feeling and so we would prefer to distract ourselves by eating. And then another way that we prevent our self from success is how we see ourselves in our future.

And sometimes, we don’t have a vision of that future, right. We don’t even imagine that we can be successful so we don’t look to that future because it doesn’t seem to have a lot of hope for us. Now, I know I have discussed, and probably ad nauseam, the conditioning that we face surrounding us about food.

You know, you wouldn’t think that this is a society who values healthy foods when you – let’s just say you were an alien and you came from outer space and you are looking at this society, when you’re going to see is a huge number of growing fast food restaurant chains. Especially as I was traveling in Arizona and there’s been so much growth there, but really what’s happening is the same kind of shops are opening up in different places.

A neighborhood might be a different neighborhood, but pretty much the restaurants are similar and there’ slots of fast food. There’s lots of food that is highly concentrated, sugar added, so we know what we know from research, that this is not actually going to give us health. Yet, in our expansion and our seemingly success, which includes expansion, we are actually not valuing healthy food. Now, we don’t often see that because to us it’s kind of just normal to see all these restaurants. But when you see that the expansion and economic growth is so connected with the growth of establishments who are selling high sugar, high processed foods, you’re going to believe that this is normal. And it has become normal, right. They call it the standard American diet, which is sad, and that diet is definitely not allowing us to have a healthy future.

And the other thing is, you really don’t have a lot of options for easily finding 100% whole foods as you travel through different states across the nation. So even though we have all this information that supports eating a healthy diet to fight diabetes and heart disease and brain health, the other thing, you can into a large percentage of senior care or senior living facilities and see and find that the food that is being prepared there is also highly processed food, high in sugar and everyone’s getting desert, right. Then there’s drinking sugary foods.

Now, I think also that part of the problem is the workers and the people who create these facilities – and they have big hearts, they want to serve their community, but they’re also drinking sugar-laden sodas and eating fast food themselves, right. You can see everyone drinking Diet Coke and Red Bull.

So my passion is to educate you and to teach you how to apply the latest research so that you can live healthy lives in a fit body to the best of your ability because I think longevity is only worthwhile if you have the capacity to feel as good as you can. I know there are no guarantees, but I also know that there are proven methods of eating and behaviors that support healthy brains, hearts and bodies. Now, if you listen to earlier podcast episodes and if you’ve grabbed the free quick start guide to creating comprehensive and successful weight-loss plan, I’ve given you lots of parameters for when you can eat that would help you towards this successful weight-loss. I’ve taught you in previous episodes about The Model, right, which is a formula for understanding the causes of why you have what you have in your life, including the weight you are.

I’ve shared a method for experiencing your feelings so you don’t have to eat them and I’ve shared the impact of processed and concentrated foods on your brain. And we’ve also discussed managing stress and how to develop self-compassion for yourself and your body. So I always encourage you to go back and listen to earlier episodes when you have an interest in any one of these areas.

So today’s focus is how to change your thoughts and beliefs that will give you a critical advantage to weight-loss success. So first, I’m going to assume that you are conscious of the thoughts that do not serve you toward the goal of weight-loss success.

So for example, thoughts like I deserve a treat or I’ll never be able to lose weight or I just don’t care anymore or it’s just too late for me; I’m too old. I can’t change.

Now, these are thoughts that we are going to bust. In other words, we can learn how to believe new things and I’m going to share a method for making it work today. But let’s review – so why are our thoughts important? Well, really, everything in the world was created from a thought and as human beings, we have a consciousness that gives us the ability to think and then to think about what we’re thinking about.

Now, we have seen studies that show that our thinking has a huge effect on our emotions, how we express certain proteins in our body and our biology and the influences that those processes have on our genetics. Now, we’re born with certain genes that have maybe a propensity towards a disease or towards a problem, but they are not our destiny because we have also seen research prove that the way we behave and how we take care of our bodies make any disease that we might have in our genes is not inevitable.

So we can change the trajectory of our health by influencing what we think and eat and how we move. So bringing thoughts to consciousness is a big part of this because right now, we’re not conscious of all of these thoughts that we’re having. Just like we’re not conscious of the air we’re breathing, we just kind of breathe it.

I like to say, we’re not conscious of electricity and yet it’s working, right. And so, in the same vein, we don’t realize we’re creating thoughts in our head. So how does it work? We have an idea in the form of a thought, which is a sentence in our head. Let’s say, “I want to go on vacation.” Now, next we make a plan to bring that idea into the world. So let’s say, we’re going to go to Italy or we’re going to go to Paris, and then you create a plan. Then you follow that plan and following that plan means you’re taking action. And then the results of those actions is that a dream becomes a reality.

That dream, which was just a thought that you said, a sentence, “Let’s go to Paris, I want to go on vacation,” is now a form. So dreams are really just sentences in our heads that are realized. So you have the thought, I want to go to college, so then you research, apply, and then you attend college. If you consider what we have talked about on previous episodes, which is our mantra we have for using the model, that mantra is, your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings drive your actions, your actions add up to give you a result and your result is your life; your daily life.

So we use the acronym C for circumstance, T for thoughts, F for feelings, A for actions and R for results. So that’s CTFAR. And so this is how we understand how we can create something from a thought. Now, where do your current thoughts come from? I believe that your current thoughts come from your past because part of growing up is adopting beliefs that were handed down by our families, by our parents, by our culture.

And it makes them very efficient because when we practice them over and over and over, they become part of our habits, part of our unconscious. And in some ways, these are unconscious agreements that we make in order to participate in our society. So those agreements are: I’m going to follow the traffic laws, maybe most of the time. I will go to church, maybe if you are a churchgoer. I will be a parent. I won’t yell at everyone when I’m annoyed.

Now, this obviously isn’t always true. I’ve certainly yelled a lot, but generally speaking, we don’t go around just yelling at everybody. I will get a job. I will go to school. Sometimes people have this belief; I won’t speak too loudly. But all of these thoughts and beliefs, and then the decisions that we make because of them on how to behave, these are our subconscious. They’re below the conscious awareness.

But even though we don’t expressly articulate these thoughts, we don’t think about them much, they actually are driving your actions in the world. So really, those thoughts are very much running your life and getting you the results you have.

So why these thoughts? Now, the other reason that we operate on these subconscious thoughts is that we practice and repeat them over and over again. Remember, a belief is just a thought that you have said so often you start to believe it and you start to see it as a fact. Now, if you love the results you have in your life, this is fantastic because it means your thoughts are generating the right emotion, that are giving you the ability to take action to get the results you want. But the thoughts that I’m concerned with are the thoughts that we have that create disempowerment.

Now, what is disempowerment? When you’re disempowered, you actually don’t believe you have any power over your actions. And how common is this when it comes to weight-loss? We think food is the reason, flavor is the reason, that we are eating or that we are not going on a diet.

So how does this actually work? So we have this disempowering thought and then we feel apathy, or maybe we feel sadness or even frustration. And when you’re feeling apathy or sad or frustrated, it’s not going to drive you to take action that’s required to change. Now remember, change is not easy for your brain. It takes energy and focus. It’s going to feel uncomfortable. The second reason is that these disempowering beliefs will block your new beliefs to get you self-empowered. And it’s really true when you’re trying to change your thoughts about yourself.

So some thoughts that I’ve had are, “I’ve never been good at being on time. I can’t do that. I’ve always had a hard time with losing weight. I could never learn how to stick with a diet and I’ve always been unable to exercise consistently.” Now, we have hundreds of these thoughts a day and we think we’re just observing something about – like, I just think I’m observing a fact about myself. And so we don’t see that it’s actually a judgment or it’s a thought that was created from your past and it doesn’t necessarily define your entire future. But these are sentences that we say in our heads and we repeat it so often, they seem to exist just like the air we’re breathing. So you can change your thoughts and beliefs. You can. And if you don’t believe me, just follow along because I’m going to show you a process that you can follow in order to change your thoughts and beliefs. Now, it’s not a magic pill, it’s something that takes practice and repetition. But if you take the time, if you dedicate your attention and focus, you will be able to see a huge difference in the way your actions are played out, especially when it comes to weight-loss. And then you will start to see success.

So, this first is going to be three steps for how to disbelieve a disempowering thought. So we have all these disempowering thoughts and we want to understand that we have actually accepted that these thoughts are true. Our brains, in some ways, have decided to accept this thought. And even though it’s disempowering to us, we believe it’s true.

The second thing to do is to notice the feeling that’s created by this disempowering thought. It’s generally suffering, right, this feeling of inaction or sadness or frustration; resentment of ourselves.

And then the third step is to decide to change your mind and you will no longer accept the thought to be true. So let me give you an example.

So the disempowering thought that I believe was that I can’t sustain anything that takes discipline. I can’t exercise. I can’t eat the same way. If it takes discipline, I cannot sustain it. And when I believe that thought about my inability to sustain anything, I feel disappointed and hopeless. And the action I took was really inaction or sometimes overeating, but I certainly didn’t want to feel bad, so I detracted and I resisted these feelings.

So now that third step is I am deciding to no longer accept the thought is true. Now, it doesn’t mean that the thought is going to go away completely, but when it does come, I’m aware of it and I’m aware of the feeling that it just doesn’t feel so great. So my new thought is going to allow me to consider that I can take sustainable action to be healthy and fit.

So once you take these three steps to acknowledge, to decide, and to disbelieve a disempowering thought, we’re going to move to another series of steps. And these are six steps for how to believe an empowering thought. Now, the first step is you create this thought, right, a sentence in your head, and you want to find language that generates motivating emotion.

So, it’s not just I need to lose weight. While that might be a thought, it’s not going to generate excitement or something that’s going to allow you to sustain. Well, maybe it will; everyone’s different. You pick the thought. But basically, you want to try and use language that generates motivating emotions like confidence, excitement, discipline, clarity, focus.

So the next step is so you create this thought, the sentence in your head, and then you want to notice how it feels when you think it. If it feels good, then it’s a good sentence. So you’re going to decide to accept and believe the empowering thought is true. Now, you may not believe it right away but this decision and this acceptance is a key part of the process because you want to see that that thought is true.

It certainly is possible that it is as true as the disempowering thought. And then the next step, step four, is we take massive action to create evidence that this empowering thought is true. And then, the fifth step is we practice believing this new thought. And finally, the sixth step is to practice feeling the emotions you get from the empowering thought.

So let me show you how it works; here’s my empowering thought. I’m going to create it and the one I created is, I’m vibrant and engaged in my life, eating foods that give me fuel and exercising to be in a fit and strong body.

And then I notice, when I think this thought, it feels exciting and it actually feels motivating. I mean, I want to be those things. I’m really excited to be vibrant and engaged in my life. That’s one of my goals for my life. And to be fit and strong in my body is another goal that I really – that makes me motivated and excited.

So then, I decide I’m going to accept that this thought is true and I’m going to write about it every day. I’m going to focus my brain on creating activities that prove this thought to be true. Then in step four, where we’re taking massive action, so the action that I’m going to take is I create a food plan to follow. Then I’m going to create an exercise plan to follow. Then three, I’m going to commit to follow that plan each day. And the more I follow it, the better I’m going to get at it. Then I start to really believe that I can do it. And I definitely have had this experience recently with exercise. So the fifth step, practice believing the new thought – so as I continue to take these simple repeated actions, follow my food plan, follow my exercise plan, I start to prove to myself that it’s true, I’m starting to give my brain the evidence that I can believe this. And then the sixth step, in order to keep my commitments to practice this over and over again, I actually was told about this app. I think it’s called ThinkUp. And I’ve recorded the new thought into this app. Now, I also wake up in the morning and while I’m getting ready, I have it on a sticker in my bathroom and I repeat it out loud. Now, it sounds kind of weird initially, but you start to say it over and over again and it starts to feel more comfortable. So I schedule this app, this notification, to give me a notification of this belief that I want to believe like three times a day. And the reason I love this app is you record your voice and then they play it with music. So it’s very dramatic and it’s very exciting, but it’s your own voice, which is actually really good for your brain.

So the other thing that happens is I’m prepared for not wanting to do it, but I am planning to do it anyway because that is what my commitment is. So my commitment is to practice it even if I don’t want to. Even if it doesn’t always feel 100% good to do it, I’m going to do it anyway because that repetition is how we learn.

Now, the thing that you have to expect, which is part of this being prepared for not wanting to do it, is called cognitive dissonance. So when you have two conflicting thoughts in your brain at the same time, your brain is like going a little crazy because it doesn’t feel very relaxed. It doesn’t feel easy. It’s creating this discomfort as it’s trying to make sense of something new.

So your brain is trying to discern, is this thought, like, a problem? Is this a threat to my survival? Is this going to make me feel uncomfortable? It’s going to make me work. And so your reason to change, it’s got to be gripping, right.

So the more your brain believes that it’s necessary to its survival, it’s going to make that change. So you can expect that your brain is going to want to go back to its old practiced ways, but that doesn’t mean that anything’s gone wrong with it or that there’s anything wrong with you. There’s no deep dark secret of your unworthiness. This is just the way your brain works. So you expect it and you plan for it.

So that is the methodology, the three steps and the six steps. So in summary, I just want to remind you, it’s your thoughts that create your feelings. And if the feeling is over-desire or frustration or sadness or apathy, you will not be successful at changing your behaviors in a sustained way because these particular feelings, they’re not going to give you the motivation you need to take actions that are required to lose weight and get fit.

Now, you can change your thoughts and beliefs that are disempowering, and I actually want you to change your thought and create empowering thoughts. So how do we do it again? There’s the three steps for how to disbelieve a disempowering thought.

So we recognize that we accept that this thought is true. We notice that feeling that’s created by believing that thought, and then we decide to un-accept the thought as true. And then once we take those three steps and we acknowledge and decide to disbelieve our disempowering thought, we now take six steps for how to believe an empowering thought.

And how do we do that? The first step is we create the empowering thought. We want to use language that generates motivation. Number two, we notice how it feels to think this thought. How does it feel? Does it feel exciting, inspiring? And then we decide we’re going to accept and believe the empowering thought as true. And number four, we take massive action to create evidence that the empowering thought is true. And then five, we believe this new thought by practicing it. We have the app, we have our morning ritual where we say the thought loud to ourselves in the morning. And then we practice, what does that feeling feel like in our bodies when we get this empowering thought? And if the feeling is motivating, it’s going to be maybe excitement or clarity or confidence; whatever emotion that gets you to make different choices.

Now, no one ever told me that I get to believe whatever I want. Isn’t this a crazy idea? But isn’t it also true that what goes on in your mind and my mind is our own creation? Like when we’re children, we create these stories from things that happen to us. When we meet people, how often are we creating stories about them? So why not use this information to support us, to support ourselves, in getting what we want? So I am really asking you to empower yourselves. And I want to know, what are you waiting for? Let’s do this.

So now, I want to talk about my favorite things. And this week, my favorite things are actually my local rec center. Now, many rec centers around the country provide exercise classes and other educational classes to general community or seniors in particular. Now, I like to do both. I like to spend time with people my age and I also like to spend time to be among people of all generations. And I find these kinds of experiences in two places. So for me, the rec center where I play ping-pong with seniors is a great place to go and have fun and to be with people my age.

And then I have my local community college where I take classes. And in those classes, there are students of all ages and I really enjoy that. so as we become a more electronically connected society, it’s very important to your wellbeing and to your brain health that you stay physically connected to peers and members of your community. That means being with them in person.

Now, I like using the internet to search out the area. Like, you can use the internet as a tool to stay connected by finding in person activities at your local rec center, your senior center or your community college. Now, these are vital to my wellbeing and my health. Really, I don’t know what I would do without them.

So I want you to search out your local rec center, your local library or your local community college – or sometimes, it’s a local high-school – and find out what programs they have for you to participate in and to be with other people as well as to get some exercise. So thank you for listening to It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight. Next week, we’re going to have a real treat, if all the stars align. So as I said, Ari Whitten, a fat-loss and nutrition expert, has agreed to be interviewed. And Ari is a tireless researcher and he has kind of obsessively devoted the last 20 years of his life into the pursuit of looking at the cutting-edge science and actually translating it for people in the area of health, fitness and nutrition and really, his primary focus on maximizing vitality and energy.

Well that works for me. And I have learned so much from Ari and I can’t wait to share that knowledge and to get his wisdom and his intelligence and his experience with working with hundreds and hundreds of clients to offer his wisdom to you. So keep your eyes open for that episode and I really look forward to it and I look forward to seeing you next time; 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.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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