We are officially in the holiday season, and I wonder, how many of you are experiencing the aftermath of indulging over Thanksgiving? I always used to intentionally overeat at this one big meal every year, and I never gave a single thought in the moment to how I’d feel the next day or what would happen on the scale.
If you intended to be good this year but ate like I used to, you’re probably experiencing a lot of judgment, guilt, and shame. So today, I’m focusing on the aftermath of our eating decisions because I know it’s something so many of you struggle with, especially right now during the holidays.
Join me on the podcast this week as I offer you a simple reframe that will shift how you feel about the aftermath of your eating decisions. Judgment never serves you, and swimming in the drama is totally optional. So instead, I’m laying out questions that you can ask yourself to consciously decide what your aftermath is going to look like, to guide you to more success in the future.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 42.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, certified life and weight coach Natalie Brown.
Hey everybody. Stay tuned today for an important announcement at the end of the podcast about something fun we’ve got cooking in December. You don’t want to miss it.
For many of us in the US, last week officially kicked off the holiday season with one big meal, Thanksgiving. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving traditionally anymore with one big meal, but oh boy, did I use to.
My parents got divorced when I was two-ish and both remarried, and all of my grandparents and step-grandparents were still living. So my childhood holidays were a whirlwind of food and fun at multiple locations all day long.
Mom’s side and dad’s side and all the grandparents, it was basically non-stop endless eating. My mom’s mom however was always the highlight of my Thanksgiving. She was this tiny gentle woman who never sat down, never ate a hot meal as a result, and who worked for days to make the meal and the atmosphere magical.
She molded little turkeys out of butter and always presented our Waldorf salad on a fresh lettuce leaf. And she made these homemade rolls from scratch that were to die for. She had a signature pie, chess pie, and she always sent me home with a piece for my dad because he loved it, even though he was no longer technically in her family.
She put all of her love into her food. From the buttered corn to the perfect turkey, and I gobbled it up. I remember specifically planning my outfits on Thanksgiving to accommodate the overeating I intended to do at my grandma A’s.
I wasn’t thinking about what would happen on the scale the next day. I couldn’t see beyond the immediate aftermath of the meal. I remember needing to unbutton my pants or sometimes lay down at the end of that meal, overindulging was the name of the game.
Anyone else have some aftermath from Thanksgiving? If you are on a weight loss journey and you ate like I used to on Thanksgiving, you may see the aftermath showing up on the scale this week. If you intended to be “good” and instead ate like I used to, you may notice the aftermath showing up in your head in the form of lots of judgment, guilt, and shame.
Whatever it is, I want to focus on the aftermath of our eating decisions in this episode, especially at the holidays, and I want to give you a simple reframe that will help you turn the aftermath into something useful.
The biggest issue in the moment is that we are not considering anything beyond the moment. Our toddler brain is in full control and is focused on what the food tastes like, what we might miss out on if we don’t consume it now, that this food/this event/this holiday only happens once a year, that it tastes amazing, that we must take advantage, that we need to get it in while we can.
And other in the moment nonsense that doesn’t serve our future selves who have to deal with the aftermath. Your in the moment toddler brain self gets to do all the tasting and your tomorrow morning self, or even your one hour from now self has to live the consequences of the moment.
So of course your toddler brain is all about it. It’s all pleasure and no consequences for the toddler. Your adult brain is the one that has to clean up the mess and deal with the aftermath. But guess what? Like we talked about before, your adult brain is not locked in a closet or asleep or running errands while this toddler is in control and all of this is going on.
Your adult brain has just become complicit in the whole scheme. Your adult brain has just surrendered and is going along with the toddler because it feels easier. Your toddler brain actually has no power to act. It can pester you with urges and distract you with FOMO, but it is your adult brain that makes the decision to eat.
The hand to mouth is controlled by a decision made by your adult brain. It’s like when your toddler is demanding to go to the park or McDonalds, or when mine was little, Target. She loved and still loves an outing to Target. In fact, we recently went after a long spell of not visiting Target, and as we walked in and she smelled the distinct Target smell, those of you who visit Target know that smell, she said, “Ah, this feels like my home.”
I died. She is such a character. We wasted many hours at Target when she was little while we waited for her older brother and sister to be done with preschool or kindergarten or whatever. So I don’t blame her. It kind of was like her home. The memories.
Anyway, your toddler is demanding to go, but they rely on you to get them there. They can’t drive. They can’t navigate. They can’t walk that far. They don’t even know where it is or how long it takes, but they know they want to be there and that you are the one who gets them there.
Same situation here. You, adult brain, highest self, you are the driver. That’s why it’s so critical to bring a pause to the moment of decision, to get conscious about what’s about to go down and what the aftermath of that decision will be.
I’ve given you lots of tools for this moment, this decision moment in past episodes, but it doesn’t require anything fancy. It simply requires a willingness to stop before you act. I know this feels impossible at time, but I promise you, just like any skill you build, with practice and patience and persistence, it will become easier and easier.
We want to stop and think for a minute about what the aftermath will be. How will I feel in my body in an hour if I eat this? How will I regard myself later for this decision? What will happen on the scale? What is the relationship of this decision to my goal? How does this affect my work on keeping my commitments to myself? What is the message I send to myself about what is important to me with this decision? What happens if I don’t eat it?
Eating anything is a choice. And by choosing to eat that thing, we are also choosing the consequences of that decision. Okay, so here’s a little different spin on the aftermath. The aftermath of our eating decisions are not just in our body. Like feeling overfull, having to unbutton our pants or lay down, gaining weight, but also the aftermath shows up in our brains as drama.
The story our brain tells about it, the spin our brain puts on it, our opinion of ourselves for the decisions, all of the damage that decision caused to our relationship with ourselves, it’s like all sorts of destruction and craziness and repercussions and fallout. So much drama. Made up unnecessary suffering really.
But aftermath can also just be the “after” math. Math is the antithesis of drama. It’s very straightforward. It’s just numbers, just facts, just data. This equals this. There’s no emotion in math. There’s no interpretation. There’s just a problem and the solution. An equation and the answer to the equation.
So if we’re going to look at the aftermath of an eating event, a holiday, a series of decisions, it would look like an objective evaluation of what happened and why. And then a looking forward to how to prevent that in future experiences. A problem and a solution, an equation and an answer.
We want to look at the story our brain is telling and pull out all the facts. I ate this much of this, I ate this much of this, I wasn’t planning to eat this but I ate it anyway, I passed on this, but I ate more of this other thing, et cetera. And then we want to ask why.
Why did I do what I did? Why did I eat what I ate? What was the result of this for me? How did I feel in my body? Did I like that result? What do I want to do differently next time I’m in this situation or a similar one and am faced with this decision? How can I prepare differently next time? What’s important to remember about this? What do I want to let go of? Open up to the opportunity to learn and grow here. Lean into the aftermath and use what you discover to help guide you to more success in the future.
Okay, so here it is, announcement time. My favorite part of Christmas is giving. So every week in December, I’m going to be giving away $50 Amazon gift cards to you, my lovely listeners.
All you have to do is share the podcast. Here’s how. Go follow me on Instagram, @itbeginswithathoughtcoaching. Click on any of my podcast posts, there’s one every Wednesday. Super easy to find. And share it on your story. That’s all you have to do.
I get notified when you share, so you’ll be entered to win as soon as you do. Share multiple podcast posts on multiple days, get entered multiple times. Easy as pie. I can’t wait to start giving. So again, @itbeginswithathoughtcoaching, share a podcast post, and you’re on your way. Thanks everybody. See you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.