Ep 24: Make and Stick With Your Decisions

decisionsThe one where we talk about my favorite weight loss tools of making decisions ahead of time and sticking with them!

To view the show notes, ask a question, or leave a comment, visit www.AmyLatta.com/BWLW24.

Episode Show Notes:

Our brains love routine and comfort, which is ironic because they are also toddlers throwing fits in restaurants every time it wants a cookie. Hardly comfortable!

One of the best weight loss tools I can offer my coaching clients is making specific decisions ahead time on what and when you will eat. There is brain science behind why this works so well, and the more you do all of this conscious decision making – which feels like such a chore at first – the quicker making that plan and sticking with it becomes routine and comfort!
What You Will Learn:

  1. A little brain science around why we love holiday traditions
  2. Why vague plans – for holidays or eating – do not work
  3. Four steps to creating and following through on your decisions ahead of time
  4. How making decisions ahead of time help you build trust with yourself

Amy’s Favorite Things Giveaway:
Win a box of Amy’s favorite things to set you up for weight loss success in 2018!

  1. Leave a review for Business Women Losing Weight on iTunes.
  2. Leave a review for my business on Facebook at the Amy Latta page.
  3. Leave a recommendation for my business on LinkedIn. We must be a first-degree connection!

Action Item:

For this week’s action item, make your decisions ahead of time. Plan each day’s food. What are you going to eat? Plan at least 24 hours ahead.
And then note how it went! Did you stick with your plan? If not, why? What happened? Just approach this with curiosity! You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself!

Take the next step and download The Business Woman’s Quick-Start Guide to Losing Weight:

Building Community:

Bring your question to me! Facebook Live every Friday at 8am central, for discussion and Q&A!

Episode Transcription:

You are listening to Business Women Losing Weight with Amy Latta, episode 24 – The one where we talk about my favorite weight loss tools of making decisions ahead of time and sticking with them! Let’s Go!(Music) Welcome to Business Women Losing Weight, a community for fabulous women small business owners so laser-focused on building their businesses….they have been sacrificing their health! Together we’re going to get back your time, get back your energy, and teach you to live naturally thin.
I’m your host, Amy Latta, and I’m all in! Are you comin’ with me? Let’s take care of you so you can take care of business!

Hello, hello, my sisters! Welcome back from a long holiday weekend! How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was fantastic. Lots and lots of family. Family in town, we traveled out of town. We ate lots of food, we decorated for Christmas, we watched some of our favorite holiday movies to really do it up right! Yes…all the holiday traditions!

Do you guys have family traditions? What are some that you absolutely must do – like, it’s not Thanksgiving or it’s not Christmas unless THIS happens?

There are some things we just cannot imagine not doing – and there is brain science around this! Of course!
You know, it’s been quite a few episodes since we talked specifically about losing weight, and I’m gonna tie the whole thing with why we love holiday traditions in with some fun weight loss stuff again today! Yay!

Because this is the Business Women Losing Weight podcast, and most of the work that I do with my clients is mindset schtuff – why we do what we do and don’t do what we need to do for ourselves. But we also want to talk about legit “how to lose weight” schtuff, too! I got weight loss tools, ladies! And today is one of my favorites!

So before I move on too quickly, I want to ask if you have left a podcast review yet? I have a goal of hitting 100 reviews by the end of the year, and I know I have hundreds of downloads each episode! Listen, my sisters, I am giving you all my goods here on the show. The only thing I can’t do for you is make it personal to you – that is what coaching directly with me can do. But you can get all my tools, all my knowledge – FOR FREE – just by listening to Business Women Losing Weight. All I ask is that you take just a few minutes to leave a review and a star rating on iTunes.

It’s super helpful to help this show grow and to grow our Business Women Losing Weight tribe! And the larger the tribe, the more variety of coaching options I will be able to offer! We all win!

Stick around till the end of the show when I tell you about a super awesome giveaway I have for those of you leaving reviews – but to leave a review on iTunes is ridiculously easy if you are listening on an iPhone. You just open your podcast app, click on my face – the podcast artwork – and hopefully you are already subscribed – if not, Subscribe already! Then scroll to the bottom where it will show you the reviews, select “Write a review.” Then tap out a few sentences on what you think of the show and why other’s should listen. It does not have to be a novel, just what you get by listening every week!

And if you are on an Android, it’s just a few minutes more. Go on your phone or your PC and download iTunes for your computer. It takes no time to set up an account with your email, then search for “Business Women Losing Weight” podcast, and then you can write a review right on your computer!

We are on episode 24 – TWENTY FOUR – which is tons of great free information so far, so all I ask is that you take a moment give me your opinion on the show. It really means so much for us podcasters when you do that!

So today’s show is specifically about one of my favorite tools for losing weight. And it’s ridiculously easy – almost as easy as leaving a review on iTunes! – and yet so many of us struggle with it! Why why!!

So think back to your holiday traditions. Why do you love them? For many of us, it reminds us of family and friends and old times. But what’s going on in our brains? Think about some of what we have talked about in earlier episodes when I’ve talked about brain science. The reason we love holiday traditions is because they are so familiar. Think about our habits – and how our brains release dopamine when we do the same things over and over again. So if eating at Aunt Jan’s on Thursday and home by Friday night so you can do Christmas Traditions down on Main Street is tradition – your brain releases dopamine when you follow that habit. It’s not just the charm of Main Street and the Aunt Jan’s homemade noodles that makes you happy. You have burned neuropathways in your brain that say…Hey, this is how we celebrate holidays. We do this and then this and then this – and when you follow those patterns, our brains are happy. And when we don’t, well, we may get agitated, or feel irritable. And we may not even know why, but I can tell you it’s because your brain is saying “Hey! It’s the first weekend of December coming up, you better be planning our annual trip to the Tilles Park to see the big lights display!”

Even if you don’t do the exact same thing every year, your holiday goes so much smoother and you are so much happier and content when you decide what to do before hand. This is a great family practice – especially if you have a large family and you have to travel to see a variety of people, or have divorce in the mix, or if you want to try something new. If you want to make sure you get through the holidays relatively stress free, it really helps to sit down with the family and make a plan ahead of time.

In years past, especially before my dad and grandma passed away, Trey and I had to decide sometime in early November what our holiday would look like. My parents were divorced, his are divorced, he’s divorced – he was married before – I still had one grandparent alive.

We couldn’t necessarily do the exact same thing every year, there had to be a mix of go-with-the-flow and tradition – but we didn’t wing it. Our brains do not like winging it!

We had to make a plan. We had to decide ahead of time how we were celebrating the holidays.
Here’s the super duper basic science here – you have your primitive, subconscious brain. And you have your pre-frontal cortex.

Your primitive brain is always wanting to keep you safe. It’s likes routine, it likes habit. It likes to do all your thinking for you, to automate tasks and decisions, because, you know, there may be a saber tooth tiger outside that cave.

Your prefrontal cortex, however, is what makes us dynamic and brave and amazing. This is not us operating on autopilot. This is us using our active, thoughtful brain, to make the best decisions.

So when Trey and I sat down to plan our holidays, we were using our prefrontal cortex – our front brain. We consciously made decisions that would be best for our family, weighing the pros and cons of our decisions.

And then, all we had to do, was stick with our decisions.

Now here’s the fun part – the more you do this, the more natural it becomes, and the more it becomes habit. That habit that your brain so eagerly craves! So your brain wants to run on autopilot and it won’t necessarily like all this conscious thinking about things all the time when you are first doing it – geez, can’t we just go with the flow!
But really your brain is not really looking for flow, it’s looking for comfort and easy and old habits.

So think about this.
What do you say to yourself when thinking about eating during the holidays?

This is what I hear from my clients – I don’t want to overeat, but I want to enjoy myself! I want to eat in moderation. I don’t want to gain weight, I want to make healthy decisions.

And that’s as far as it goes, so often! But what does that mean? Because that is all so vague! Lots of room for your brain to interpret!

This is why making decisions ahead of time is so important. It’s not vague statements. It’s coming up with a specific plan!

This is the difference between Trey and I saying we want to see everyone over the holidays and hit a few of our favorite events…that sounds good, right?
But who is everyone? How are we actually going to see them? What are our favorite events and when are they and which ones are more important than others?

Making decisions ahead of time and sticking with those decisions depends on us being specific about what we mean.

I know the kick back I get on meal planning. I hear the collective groans! Episode 9 was all about meal planning, and I talked about it again in, I think it was episode 14, the one about becoming fat adapted. So I won’t rehash why meal planning is so stinking important. But this is the one of the best tools I can possibly offer you.

Just like Trey and I need to make our holiday plans ahead of time, you need to make your eating decisions ahead of time. During the holidays and any time of the year!

You want your pre frontal cortex making your eating decisions! Otherwise, you are on autopilot! And your brain may prefer the comfort of autopilot – but that is how we have struggled with our weight. That is how we eat a bag of potato chips vegging out in front of Netflix. Autopilot is how we shove Chick-Fil-A down as we hit the drive through.
And here’s the thing. The more you make your eating decisions ahead of time and stick with it – the more that becomes habit and eventually…very comfortable for your brain!
So it feels weird at first to be so specific in making these decisions ahead of time, but your brain will get used to it, that that conscious decision making will become new habit!

There’s two parts of the brain at odds here, and you can think of the two parts of your brain like the parent and the toddler. If this is your first time listening, I use the toddler brain analogy all the time!
Your primitive brain is the toddler in the restaurant demanding a cookie.
Your pre-frontal cortex, or front brain, is the parent of that toddler.
The parent has already decided that cookies before dinner is not going to happen, but the toddler is demanding and loud and makes decisions on what it wants, without thinking logically or rationally. It’s straight up Cookie Monster – Me Want Cookie.
So who is in charge? The toddler or the parent?
We know as parents that we make the best decisions for our kiddos, even if they don’t like them! Even if that means no cookie when the toddler is throwing the fit.
Your brain will throw a fit. It will want to make decisions on the fly and eat all the cookies. It’s a toddler. And toddlers aren’t known for making the best of decisions!
You are the parent. You are a whipsmart business woman kicking ass and taking names, and you make decisions so that you will get the results that you want. Even if the toddler is screaming!
We are grown ass women, screaming toddler do not scare us!

So here’s how we make decisions ahead of time for our eating:

First, plan all of our your food at least 24 hours in advance. I love a weekly meal plan, myself, taking a look at my calendar for the week and figuring out who’s gotta be where, when and making an eating plan accordingly. But at least 24 hours in advance – know exactly what you are going to eat! What’s in the house to eat? Will you be out with clients? Where will you be going? What will you order? Salad with grilled salmon? Roasted chicken and sweet potatoes? Have an idea now.
Decide now, what you will eat tomorrow, and then follow through with that plan. Use that forward-thinking brain! Making decisions on the fly doesn’t serve your long term goals, and those are decisions that your primitive brain is making, based on those toddler urges. Plus – it is actually so much less stress to decide ahead of time! The work is already done, and you have bigger fish to fry, like wrapping up this project you are on or signing the next client!

Second, decide now if you will eat something that is not on your normal diet. This is a great tool for holidays and parties! Decide at least 24 hours in advance if you are going to have those cookies. See, as parents, we know that if we decide that we are going to Aunt Jan’s on Thanksgiving and there will be dessert, we will let the toddler have a cookie or two, or a piece of pie, or cake. The parent is deciding, not the toddler. Same thing here! It’s not the pie or the cookies that is the problem. It’s how we decide we are going to eat it!
Decide at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that it’s your pre-frontoal cortex making the decision, not your primitive brain.
And then, enjoy it. Savor it. Truly taste every single bite of your joy eat. There is no guilt, because you made a decision ahead of time that you were going to eat this. For me, on Thanksgiving, it was berry blast pie. My favorite. I knew what was going to be served, I decided before I got there, and I knew pie would be on the list. No guilt, no feeling stuffed.
It’s decision making in an entirely different part of the brain and this is so so crucial! It’s never about the food. It’s always about how we decided to eat it.

Next, when the urge to eat something that is not on the plan comes up – allow it. I’ll spend all of next episode talking about food journaling and allowing urges, and my tool for how to do just that. But for now, just realize that when the desire to eat something not on your 24 hour plan comes up, you can just allow yourself to feel that urge – and not give into it. It will be uncomfortable. Your toddler brain is used to getting the cookies. But you will be the parent, gently reminding your brain that everything will be okay.

Lastly, know that when you are making decisions ahead of time and then sticking with them, you are building trust with yourself. The more you plan and follow through with your plan, you are rewiring your brain to trust its decisions. If you have always spoken in those generalities about eating healthy and being good during the holidays – only to overindulge and walk away feeling guilty – you have trained your brain not to trust its own judgement. The more you plan ahead and make decisions ahead of time and then, most importantly, follow through, you keep giving your brain more evidence that you honor your decisions and you can trust yourself. It’s such a cool thing.

So you ready to give this a try? For this week’s action item, make your decisions ahead of time. Plan each day’s food. What are you going to eat? Plan at least 24 hours ahead.
And then note how it went! Did you stick with your plan? If not, why? What happened? Just approach this with curiosity! You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself!

And don’t forget to take the next step by downloading your free Business Woman’s Jump Start to Weight Loss – yours completely free, just go to AmyLatta.com/quickstart.

So have you left your review yet? Here’s a review that leadership coach Terri Roche left on iTunes – Amy does a fantastic job introducing herself, her heart, and her desire to equip business women! I enjoyed this podcast over my “healthy lunch break!” We can do this, ladies! Thank you, Amy!”
And super big thanks to Terri, who runs Authentic Outcomes, leadership workshops for business teams that utilize horses and horse training. I just experienced one of her workshops just a couple weeks ago, it is super interesting, if you are in the St. Louis area!

Now Terri is entered into a drawing for my box of Amy’s Favorite Things! I am totally channeling Oprah! This is a giant box of Treat Yo Self – things that any business woman trying to lose weight might need. A box of self-love. It’s like a FabFitFun box, but this one is curated by yours truly, of products I love, most of which are items from other badass women business owners such as yourself!
And – there will be only one box! Yes, only one box!
And you can win it! Here’s the deal. Right now, it is November 2017, and I am asking for iTunes reviews for the podcast, and business reviews on Facebook and LinkedIn.
I have big audacious goals – you wanna help me and possibly win a surprise gift box full of all the Amy’s Favorite Things you need to start 2018 right?
Here’s what you do! I am tracking all the reviews I get for the podcast on iTunes and for my business on Facebook and Linkedin, from now until January 1st.
One review gets you one entry; leave a review in two places, you get five; and leave a review in all three places and you get TEN entries! So stinking’ fun!
I am super excited about what is going into this box already, and I’m not even done collecting all the products I am including! There are delectable treats and practical tools, and it’s just a giant box of self-love and compassion. Right? Ah-mazing!
I will leave the links to leave reviews in the show notes to make it easy, but you can easily knock this out in just a few minutes! I don’t ask for money, my friends, and I’m keeping this how advertising-free! So show me some LOVE!
Leave a review here on iTunes, right from your iPhone.
And look up my Amy Latta business page on both Facebook and LinkedIn. I do believe you will need to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Please email me at amy@amylatta.com with your entries – your name, your review titles, email address – so I can keep track of entries. I have my spreadsheet all ready to go.
If you have already left an iTunes review, you already have one out of the three done, baby! Just email me so I can credit your entries.
So get your entries in! I will draw a winner on New Year’s Day, 2018.

My special holiday gift to you for being awesome.

Alright, my Grown Ass Women! I believe in you. Who do you know that needs to hear this episode? I am serious. Don’t keep this awesomeness to yourself. Share this podcast with other women who need to hear it.
Let them know that there is help, there’s another way, and we are a growing tribe of Grown Ass Women who have their back.

Alright, you have been listening to Business Women Losing Weight with life and weight coach Amy Latta. And until Next Week…let’s go do Epic Stuff.

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About Amy Latta

Amy Latta is a life coach helping female entrepreneurs lose weight. Some entrepreneurs struggle with not enough time and not enough energy, and are so laser focused on growing their businesses, they sacrifice their health – not realizing their personal health is imperative to the health of their business. Women hire Amy to help them get an extra hour or two back in their day while figureing out why they don’t do what they say they’re going to do.
The result being more time, more energy, and weight loss.
When she’s not building her own business, you can usually find Amy on her yoga mat or experimenting in the kitchen. When in doubt, bring her guacamole.

What do you think?