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. Oh, the buds are on the cherry tree now, full swing and the sun was so warm yesterday; it was fantastic. I’m so happy spring is here. So let’s see – I’m going to give you some information; 144.2, 143, 142, 144.8, 146.6, 145, 143.6, 145.3.
Now, this is not Morse code, but it’s a list of the natural fluctuations of my weight over the past month. I give you this information to share that how much shifting happens in our bodies over the course of a day, of a week, and certainly of a month and then a year.
Now, if you’re post-menopausal, your body’s ability to lose fat may have slowed down. And if you have thyroid issues – and I’ve been reading that it’s estimated that one woman in eight will actually develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime – so if that is you, it may be even slower.
But you decided to eat healthy. You’re not going to give up on losing weight and you’ve given up those prized foods like pizza, cupcakes and ice cream and you’re losing weight at maybe a pound a week. Some weeks it’s 0.5 pounds a week. Then you start looking back, when you did successfully lose weight, way back and maybe then you dropped 13 pounds in one month.
I know that’s how I lost weight in my 40s and in my 30s, but only one pound a week after all this hard work? If this feels like a downer situation for you, we need to talk. Because if progress is slow but you’re moving in the right direction, then what’s the problem?
If you are holding onto beliefs that you should be losing weight faster, which is thoughts created by looking at your past, let’s examine whether hanging onto those beliefs is actually in your best interest. So let me give you a hypothetical situation.
You’re on a game show, and this game show – it’s a little morbid – it gives you the date of your death. And let’s say that’s two years into the future. And now the next step in this show is that you have to choose from two options, door number one and door number two, but you know in advance what’s in these doors.
So door number one, abandon all caution to the wind, you’re going to eat all your favorite foods all the time, you’re not going to care if you gain weight and you’re going to decide never to exercise again. After all, you only have two years to live.
And then we look at door number two. And behind that door is you’re going to learn how to be present. You’re going to eat 100% whole foods to support your body for optimal energy and performance and keep moving, even though you only have two years to live. What do you think of those two choices?
I had a friend who didn’t get to make that choice. She was diagnosed with glioblastomas, which are brain tumors, just before she turned 60. And soon afterwards, she was gone. And that gave me pause. It was actually a big moment in my life because I thought, what would I do if it were me?
Well, I thought for sure it wouldn’t be worth giving up all my favorite high sugar, high fat carbs like Oreos and Haagen-Dazs and those wonderful damn dried figs, because that was pleasure for me. Or was it?
I’m going to confess to you that at that time, I was really a slave to food. The habits I’d developed where squarely installed in my unconscious brain and this habit of overeating and thinking about food all the time was not a fun party. Now, there was the joy of the moment, and I mean the teeny tiny moment I placed that food in my mouth. But once it hit my stomach, that feeling was not good and immediately after hitting my stomach, it was followed by regret, recriminations, and that did not feel good.
So I began to question if door number one was really a sane response. In any case, I decided to test it out. I decided that I would just eat for pleasure and over the next several years, I ate those sugary foods that made my brain light up.
However, over the course of that time I gained weight, I felt like crap, I had brain fog and I was very depressed. And I learned over that experiment that there’s always a cost when you choose false pleasures. Now, what’s a false pleasure, right? It’s something that sends dopamine to your brain center in increasing and unsustainable quantities and then what happens is it creates this unquenchable desire.
Now, eating reward foods also creates physiological problems, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation. And eating these lab-designed, highly processed foods also creates psychological problems, mood swings, depression. So I had to ask myself, what was so great about Oreo cookies that was worth exchanging for my vitality?
So there’s the tradeoff, right, false pleasures with limited consequences; that’s if you know you’re going to die after all, right. But I considered, well what is the opposite of false pleasure? So I had to, what is the opposite of false pleasure? Well, that would be natural pleasures, right. So it would be enjoying real food, engaging with real people, accomplishing goals with a sense of pride.
Being in nature – love the ocean, I love the forest, the deserts are okay too and these are truly natural pleasures. Exercising and moving, they give me natural pleasure. Playing games, singing, laughing with friends, meditating or praying, these are all-natural pleasures.
So I realized that natural pleasures involve true presence and engagement and time to self-reflect compassionately and lovingly. And this is why I’m so grateful I learned to give up false pleasures even though it meant giving up those sweet food memories of my youth.
Many of those memories were selective and delusional anyway, right. I mean, I could count as many memories about food growing up that were definitely not so joyous and free; I can see them in my mind.
So ultimately, I chose door number two. I actually even put it in my will, “If I am diagnosed with any major disease, don’t feed me flour and sugar. Let me eat less so that my body can put its energy to healing and so that I have more time to go on adventures that don’t involve food.”
Now I have a mindset that choosing what is best for me based on a thoughtful decision and then translated into a food plan, that is what I do today. It’s my door number two. Now, my weight may fluctuate, which it will, but I don’t get all riled up.
If your weight-loss is slow, as long as you’re choosing a healthy plan and putting what you want to eat and enjoy eating on that plan, you’re living exactly how you want, no matter what the scale says. I choose to focus on what will get me to my healthy future, not some old idea of how I lost weight when I was 28.
I won’t focus on feeling like a victim because I’m viewing my choices as making a great sacrifice. “How come they get to eat whatever they want and I can’t?” Right, this sense of victimhood, which doesn’t serve me at all.
So we are choosing to be empowered. And when you make the decision to eat for health and vitality, you have to own it. You want to revel in it, you want to be proud. Why? Why would you want to do that? Because you’re in it for your future self. I know I’m creating a pile of nows that add up to, number one – a place I want to be and, number two – being a person who lives according to her values.
I’m not in a rush to get to the end, right. I’m savoring the laughing, the eating, the bending and picking things up, the being with my friends and family, the dancing. So I really want you to see that having made your decision to eat healthy, you are already there. Living with healthy choices is living in the present.
Now, don’t get me wrong, goals are required. They’re fantastic and we need these end points to design a plan to reach a destination, just like a road trip. But enjoying the journey is just as important.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’m in my 60s, because maybe I didn’t think about that when I was younger, but I think at 60 it doesn’t help to think of yourself as an urgent problem that needs solving right now, even though we feel like maybe we’ve wasted a lot of time in our lives. Thinking that you’re broken and you need to be fixed and you have to do it now just creates the feeling of anxiety and it’s not going to give you the presence to take care of yourself in the moment, in the day.
So instead, how about thinking of yourself on a continuous path of improvement? Not a thing that needs fixing, but a creature growing in knowledge, wisdom and intuition. I think we should keep learning the art of living our lives in a way that gives us natural pleasure. And right now, health, vitality and freedom from the bondage of food, that’s my natural pleasure.
And if that means that it takes more time to really understand what your body needs and how it can release weight, then give it that time because eating healthy today for your future self is adding love to the world. It’s loving yourself today.
So in our world of uncertainty, isn’t living the way you want right now more important than attaining a goal. When your goal is to lose weight, let’s say, then you pick a food plan that’s sustainable. It has to work for you. And I think this perspective comes with these wise years because I certainly didn’t think this way in my 20s, when I was willing to starve myself on coffee and cigarettes to lose a bunch of weight. But today, it has to bring me natural joy in each day.
So to summarize, I keep thinking of Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hair, slowly does it every time. So you’ve made it to your 60s and when you start walking on a path of eating 100% whole foods and you want to lose weight, be patient with your body. Evaluate if you’re living the way you want to today, no matter how fast you’re losing weight.
If you speak to your future self, can you see her? Is she happy with you because you are on a path? Is your diet providing for your nutritional needs? Are you eating for fuel and living for joy?
I think knowing that you’re travelling on the right path, which means that you know that path is leading you where you want to go, then what happens is you have the confidence to look up and around and to the side and you can look into your companion’s eyes and enjoy the journey.
Don’t worry about how fast you get there. What you’re learning on the way is what it’s all about.
So now, I want to talk to you about my favorite things. Okay, this is actually a Facebook group and it’s called the Going Grey Guide. So I’ll ask you – maybe you’re in your 60s – what color’s your hair today? Have you decided to give up the illusion that you’re a blonde or a bronze? It doesn’t matter to me what your choice is, I love whatever people want to do and however they want to be in the world.
But whatever your hair color, I hope you’re loving it. But if you’re thinking about going grey, or if you’re already there or halfway there, I highly recommend the Going Grey Guide Facebook page. It was started by Jan Westfall Rogers, the author of the book Going Grey Beauty Guide and is designed for all of you, no matter where you are on your path to greatness.
And my favorite thing about this website is that the women who post here are some of the most loving, kind and generous spirits. Now, I know when I decided to go grey, my first fear came in the form of Esther Minciotte, who played Ernest Borgnine’s worried mother in the 1955 Paddy Chayefsky movie, Mart; one of my favorites.
And Missus Piletti, she cried, “I’m only 50 and my life is over.” So then I woke up and I noted that I wanted the natural pleasure of having my own hair. I wanted not to have to run to the hairdresser every time I saw the roots changing. But I also loved Alex, of Alexander G, who did my hair for over 25 years. We have such a good time catching up about our children and business and life and I didn’t want to give him up.
But you know what, I didn’t have to. So I have not had one regret about giving up the hair dye. I enjoy my time with Alex, who now cuts my hair in way less time than that cut and color took. And when I’m looking for a virtual hug, I visit Going Grey Guide to be uplifted and inspired by a courageous and kind community.
So whether you’re over or under 60, if you need a virtual hug and you’re thinking of going grey, go to the Going Grey Guide Facebook page.
So thank you so much for listening to It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight. Next week, we’re going to talk about how to bust a thought. So if you are hanging onto those thoughts about needing to lose weight fast or it’s not worth it, we’re going to teach you how to bust that thought; identifying the beliefs we hang onto that just don’t work for us anymore. So come back next week and I’ll see you then; bye-bye.
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