Ep #16: Your Future Self

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Despite what some of you may be feeling as you're approaching or in your 60s, we are the future! We're more than "still viable," we're considerable contributors to the economy and we have so much more life to live.

If you're not sure you believe that, I want you to listen to today's episode and ask yourself what you do believe about your future: Are you afraid? Are you excited? Do you think it's too late for you? Although most of us start off when we're young with a vision of a bright future, often it doesn't work out the way we thought they would. Sometimes it's different and sometimes it's even better than we could have imagined.

Join me on this episode of It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight to learn how you can apply my 5 action items to create an intentional vision for your future. If you don’t believe it now, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to change your beliefs.  You must stop looking to your past for evidence of what is possible and I'm going to show you how to do just that. 

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 women in their 60s are the future.
  • How to use our mantra to examine what you believe is possible for your future.
  • Why you must be intentional to create a future.
  • How not living intentionally is like a teenager with nothing to do.
  • The reason you must not look to your past for what is possible for your future.
  • 5 action items to start on the journey of creating your future.

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. Oh, I'm reading a new book, it's called The Longevity Economy by Joseph Coughlin, who is the founder and director of the MIT Aids Lab. Who knew there was such a thing, huh? But I have really good news for you. We are the future. So I'm going to read pretty much a quote from this book. "So women over 60 are a pioneer consumer class that notice that the 20th century story of how to live after age 50 or 60 is not a guarantee for satisfaction in life. So they're striking out on their own."

So do you know that we appear to represent five to 15 trillion dollars of spending every year? And that is you, ladies. You may not think you have much or you may know that you have plenty, but in any case, you are adding to that five to 15 trillion dollars of spending. And we are finding new ways to live basically because products and ideas that are pretty much led by men at this point. They're not satisfying our desires for aging.

We're more concerned about how can I fulfill my wants and my needs? What will be my reward after working and taking care of everybody? But there's a few problems. When it comes to the tech world, we are really underrepresented. First off, most of the people working there are under the age of 60, likely under the age of 55, though that's not a fact, and only 11% of executive positions of let's say in Silicon Valley are held by women.

So we have young men predominantly designing the technology and also leading the marketing. So we need to look at how can we be part of this innovation from what we want because we're not just solving old age, but how about living through old age or living aging, or just living.

And the other problem is our own participation in creating what we want, right? Especially if we cannot see it yet. So my question is, are you ready? Will your mind be clear so that you can engage in this life and continue to contribute to our world in your 50s and 60s and 70s?

I know when I was in my early 50s, I was still in the midst of a food struggle. I was spending inordinate amounts of time thinking about food, worrying about what to eat, deciding what to eat, criticizing my efforts and my body. I was certainly not preparing for the future very effectively.

So if you look at where you are today, is it where you could have predicted you would be 10 years ago? Now, most of us start out when we're younger with a vision of a bright future. We imagine finding a partner, having children, going to school, writing a book, maybe joining the circus. But working in a career that gives us some satisfaction. All the things we dream and we hope for.

Well, I don't know about you, but when I was 20, I said I would never get married, just live together, I don’t need that piece of paper. I never could imagine owning a home and I hoped to have lots of children and I knew I wanted to be very happy. Well, often it doesn't quite work out the way we imagined, right?

I've been married twice, I have one child, and I own two homes. Now, I'm happy now but I was miserable for so many of those years struggling with overeating and depression, and blaming my mother, blaming my father, blaming my genes, whatever. Now, I look at my past as a treasure trove of learnings because I would not be who I am today without every single one of those experience.

So I draw from the school of hard knocks, but I also draw from the school of love and fun. So you know, sometimes life works out different than what you thought, but sometimes it works out better. Now, if you look at all the things you've accomplished in your lifetime, I'm sure that you would be a little bit surprised and amazed.

So I want to ask you, if you could speak to yourself 10 years ago from what you know today, what advice would you give yourself? What would you tell that woman about her body? What would you tell her about what she's eating and her habits, her exercise? What would you tell her maybe not to worry about? What would you tell her that's more important than anything that you have learned over the past 10 years?

Now, we know that our brain's propensity to survive and then we have that in combination with this mention of fast food, corn syrup, the use of hormones and antibiotics in our food chain, and chemicals for processed food and then you add our modern lifestyles. These have not supported us to be healthy and strong and thin for sure.

So what is our solution? Our solution is to rely upon our evolved brain, our prefrontal cortex. We have available to us a wide range of scientific research and obesity research about the brain, about the body, and it's giving us all the knowledge we need, but the missing piece is how to change our behaviors in the face of this overwhelming temptations and conditioning.

Well, this is where I come in, right? Because I help women create a vision for the future. We, at our age, have come through so many experiences and we have succeeded in many, many areas, but somehow weight is that one that we just can't seem to figure out. And it's not a surprise when you look at the current modern lifestyle and modern food.

So I think a great place to start is what you actually believe about your future. We have these beliefs that we're not even aware of. Are you afraid of your future? Are you excited? What do you actually believe about your dreams coming true? Do you think it's too late for you? What do you believe about your ability to create a future you want?

So if you remember our mantra, your thoughts create your feelings, and then your feelings create your actions, and all of your actions add up to give you certain results. And this is the model that we use and we use the letters CTFAR for circumstance, thought, feeling, action, and result.

So if we use this system and we start at the bottom from the R line, we can see that the system points out that the reasons why we have the results we have is because of the actions which we take. So if you for example, today, if you've been eating or overeating processed foods or too much food, you're likely becoming overweight. Your actions of eating equals your results, which is overweight.

Now remember, the emotion driving you to overeat, which is different for everyone, but maybe you overeat because you feel disappointed or afraid, or maybe you're disgusted with yourself and maybe you're feeling a lot of stress. So if we put that in the model, we have the circumstance, the thought, the F line, disappointed, fear, disgust. Now, you pick one feeling but many of you will have different feelings. And then when you feel disappointed and fear and disgust, you tend to overeat and the result is you're overweight. And then we go back up one more in the model and we look for the thoughts. For example, the thinking, "I deserve it," or, "I'll start tomorrow," or, "I'm afraid of eating just one," or, "I'll never be able to lose weight." These thoughts that are driving that feeling of maybe disappointed, fear, and disgust. And then each and every time we have that thought, it results in that feeling which then drives our actions, giving us the result and the most amazing part is that your result now proves your thought. And you end up right back at the start on a hamster wheel where your brain is going around and around and around because your brain thinks that it now has evidence that you can't do it, and you see it as proof. And then we have the thought feeling action result cycle starts all over again.

Now, we can also apply this model to get a different result, and I want us to use it to look at our future and what we believe about our future, because it's no different. So to create a future, you must be intentional about it. In other words, if you fly by the seed of your primitive brain, doing anything different seems like the worst idea and it certainly won't feel like flow when you start to change. It will take attention, intention, and it will take focus. And when we do those things, they engage our prefrontal cortex and then we set the groundwork for creating new habits.

Now, this doesn't mean that you start and everything goes smoothly or works out to your exact specifications. So we always want to be ready for life's responses, right? People do what they do and we have different responses to every different new situation.

Now, I think the brilliance of coaching is that you work on each new situation and you kind of clear it out so that when I talk about, you know, having the autobahn, your brain on the autobahn, it's like it just speeds through quickly, goes to that primitive part but the autobahn is not going to get you where you want to go.

And so what you have to do is you have to look to the other side and see that path, which is actually getting clearer and clearer and you can almost see the end. But it does take you where you want to go, it's just not going to be as fast as the autobahn.

So if we look at the circumstances, let's say five years from now, and if your thought is, "I will never lose weight," maybe the resulting feeling is that you feel sad. And when what happens is you eat. And then you gain weight, or you certainly don't lose it. And that proves the whole thought, "I'll never lose weight."

Now, I know that not living intentionally is kind of like a teenager with nothing to do. You know, a lot can go wrong. Or imagine a young woman who’s looking outside herself for validation and finds nothing but rejection.

Now, when I believed as a young woman all my negative thinking, it led me to self-hatred, to overeating, and lots of buffering so that I would avoid being alone with myself. And I do not recommend this as the way to go.

So let's take a look forward. So what do you want? And that would be your results. Why do you want it? That could be the feeling. Like, what is the feeling that you are thinking you will have when you get those results? And then you think what will you be doing when you get there, and those are your actions. And then you could think, "What is someone who's already at that weight or has already not worried about food who's maybe writing a book, what are they thinking about?" And then what will you be feeling?

Be creative. Let's use our imagination. So what life are you looking forward to? I can tell you I'm just about 65 years old and I'm looking forward to being 77. Now, I'm in no rush to get there because I really believe in living the journey, living the day, but I take inspiration from the runner, Olga Kotelko, who started training for track and field when she was 77 years young.

Now, I have never been athletic, but I do love to move. And I have a vision of myself arriving at the age of 77 buff and fit. Now, if I look only to my past, I would find evidence that I have never been athletic. I would also observe that I have never consistently exercised, let's say, for more than three months. So there's actually no historical evidence that I can reach my buff and fit goal.

But I do desire it and it lights me up. And when I go to the gym and I see Mike, who's about 10 years my senior, lifting and working out and he looks so healthy, I mean, it doesn't look easy, but he looks really fit. And then another goal that I have is a goal of writing more, and when I conferred with my future self, she was like, all in with the fit and buff goal, and she told me to stop looking at my phone and to sit and write some more.

So we want to anticipate difficulties in this process, right? And when my clients lose weight after struggling with it for a lifetime, even though they're reaching their goal or they're on their way to reach their goal, they're shattering their former identity. And if you're creating a new future, you're going to need to grow and take different actions, which means you need to change. Change, and that's not only a challenge at any age, but it challenges your condition brain that strongly prefers that everything stays exactly the same. And when you give up on beliefs which you have held for so long, you feel unprotected and vulnerable. So the change feels uncomfortable for sure. But what happens is you become strong enough to tolerate and kind of surf those waves of vulnerability as you learn something new each day.

So interestingly, we now know that this kind of change, it'll actually keep you younger. It's a form of hormesis, which is good stress. This is stress that is on our system that forages and creates the strength required to keep going and it kind of builds one on the other on the other.

So the small stresses prepare us for the big stresses in life. And science tells us that we can actually increase our energy cells, the mitochondria, and grow stronger by continuously adapting to the new environment, the new growth.

So this is what we're after, and the wonderful thing is this is also built in because survival came because our ancestors withstood stress and survived, right? They didn't have air conditioning, they didn't have heat, they didn't have supermarkets, and they didn't just go to the office in a car, right? They were cold, it was hot, there were times where they didn't have food, and physical work was much more compelling than it certainly is today.

So how do we apply all this information looking forward? So I think you start with your desire. And Martha Beck calls this your hot tracks. She compares it to tracking for wildlife on the Serengeti. So you see something and it lights you up, right? Then you take another step and you're searching. So you think about what lights you up and then you find out a little bit about information about it. Maybe you've wanted to paint. You've always wanted to draw or paint and you can go online and you can take a painting class. You can do some research, maybe there's classes near you.

And then you could also ask yourself, if you knew that you would not fail, what would you do? So where do you want to be in five years? And I'm going to give you five items to start this journey. So number one is I want you to write a letter to your past self. Tell her what you think and feel today. What advice would you give her? Give her some insight into your future?

I know what I'd be doing. I'd be saying, "Girl, get a coach right away," because since I started learning all these tools of coaching, my life has just moved forward so fast, and all of the years that I wasted worrying and fumbling through life, I'm still fumbling, believe me, but it is intentional, and the fumbling is just the results of not knowing exactly what to do next. I trust that it'll get done but may not be done very gracefully. So write that letter to your past self. And see what comes out.

Then I want you, number two is to write from your future self. Imagine your future self who's already achieved your goal, whether it's a weight loss goal, whether it's learning something new, running a 10K. I want you to imagine she's giving you advice. Ask her for advice. What would she tell you to stop doing right now? And what would she tell you to start doing? That's where I got my stop looking at the phone, right? And start writing more.

So I want you to seek guidance from within. We have so many experiences and we have earned our wisdom. And you know what you desire. And you know a lot about your life and that's the place to start.

Number three is a practice called Pray Rain, and this is by a woman named Jeannette Maw. And so it's a daily journaling where you actually write as if you are the person who has already achieved what it is that you're looking for. So I would say, let's say I just came back from the gym looking buff and fit, I was able to hike around Phoenix Lake and I wasn't even out of breath, and then after that, you know, we went to the Italian restaurant and we were planning for our trip to Italy, and decided that we would go to Venice and you know, so you actually write a journal as if you are living the life you want to live.

And what this does, it's kind of priming your brain, and you want to just each day, write a little bit as if you are already have achieved your goal. This is comparable to kind of what athletes do when they imagine themselves already have won a gold medal.

Then number four, mental rehearsal. So think about the changes and visualize yourself already there. I like to think about it as imagine that you are taking a video of your life, and what's different about you? If we took a video of your life today and a video of your life 10 years from now, what's going to be different? How do you handle problems differently? How do you feel differently? How do you act differently?

And number five is to be mentored. I love being inspired by my teachers, and my husband was just reading Hillary Clinton's book and was talking about how she was inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, who was an amazing woman. And I know many writers and podcasters are interviewing accomplished men and women and always asking for their secrets of success. I mean, you can find them everywhere.

Well, my mentors today are Brooke Castillo from The Life Coach School, Pema Chodron, who's a Buddhist nun, Ari Whitten, who has an energy - I call him the energy magician. He has a podcast called The Energy Blueprint. And then Russ Harris from ACT.

Each of these folks have led me to discover things about my life that I didn't know before, where I was totally in my blind spot. And by learning from them, I have changed and my life has been enriched. So find someone to be inspired by. Read about people you admire. So in summary, looking forward to your future depends on your beliefs about it and your beliefs about you. And if you don't believe it now, that's okay. It doesn't mean you can't learn how to change your beliefs. That's what these practices are all about.

So I don't want you to be left behind. I want you to become a leader in any capacity. It doesn't mean you're going to necessarily be a leader and out in the world. You can be a leader to your own life, a leader to that inner self. I want you to engage in life, participate, decide where do you want to be in five or 10 years.

And then you're going to look at the strengths you've taken from the past by writing a letter to your 10-year younger self, then you'll imagine your future self achieving weight loss, speaking Italian in Venice, running a 10K, writing a book, whatever dream you discover. So you write that letter from your future self and you take her advice. You do the daily Pray Rain practice where you're writing from the place of your future self. And then you see that video of your future and you mentally rehearse, what's going on there, and choose to be inspired.

So what would that model look like? Let's say the future me, 30 pounds lighter. So the thought would be, "Following a plan will get me to my goal." And maybe the feeling would be determined. Then your actions would be creating an eating plan, stick to it, do whatever it takes, do not give up. Keep asking my future self for advice, keep reading inspiring books, maybe plan a 10K run. And then the result is you follow the plan and you get your goal weight, which is still proving that thought, "Following a plan will get me to my goal." The result is you follow the plan, you get to your goal weight. Now I want to talk to you about my favorite things. I want to turn you on to Ari Whitten from The Energy Blueprint podcast. Now, Ari's only about 35 and I think about that. He could certainly be my son, and he's the number one best-selling author of this cutting-edge book called Forever Fat Loss.

Now, he's a fat loss and nutrition expert but really what he is a tireless researcher and he's kind of obsessively devoted to the pursuit of being on the cutting edge of science when it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition. So I love about him is that he's this science geek who loves to pass on his knowledge. He gets really excited. And he has opened my eyes to other aspects of weight loss, health and fitness.

From him, I learned about NEAT, which is non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is just moving more in your life. I've learned from him about Circadian clock and how important it is for weight loss, I learned about hormesis, which is like my new best friend. Good stress.

And he was really me inspiration originally to start moving and start exercising. So I think Ari Whitten is very generous and available, so I really hope that you look him up.

Well, that's it for today. Thank you so much for listening. If you like what you heard, please go to iTunes and leave a review. The more reviews we receive, the more women will learn about the podcast and learn from the lessons. If you know someone who's struggling with food and if they're over 50 or over 60, send them a link to the podcast and maybe they can find something here that they haven't heard before.

So I'll see you next week when we talk about the speed of your weight loss and what you make it mean. Alright, I'll see you then.

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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