Ep #6: The Power of Planning

When I was younger, I was a free spirit. I didn’t want to plan things out, because I thought it would hold me back. This mentality did not help me when it came to the diet roller coaster, though – I would eat whatever crossed my path, and wound up eating way more than I wanted to. 

I’m still that free spirit today, but I’ve realized that planning is actually a source of freedom, not an obstacle to it. Every day, I create a realistic plan for what I’m going to eat. This tool has helped me (and my clients!) free ourselves from the lizard brain and from the diet roller coaster – for good.

Today I’m talking about the power of planning and why impulsive eating is more likely to happen when we don’t know what to expect from the day. You’ll learn why it’s so important that this plan be realistic (read: NOT a diet in disguise!), and how to keep it simple.

And here are this week’s transformational questions for you:

  1. What lizard thoughts came up when you started to think about making your realistic eating plan every day?
  2. Why will this be easy?

What You’ll Discover:

  • How our thoughts can encourage us to overeat.
  • Why planning is actually a source of incredible freedom, especially around food.
  • What the realistic eating plan looks like and why it’s such a powerful tool.
  • How you can learn to trust yourself again and rebuild your relationship with food.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Weight Loss for Successful Women podcast with Shannan Christiansen, episode number six.

Welcome to Weight Loss for Successful Women, a podcast for women who are ready to break the diet cycle and end their struggle with weight for good. Here’s your host, Fortune 100 executive and Certified Life Coach, Shannan Christiansen.

Hello, love. I am so excited to be here again. I just cannot believe it’s already episode number six. It has been just an amazing experience watching all the reviews and hearing all the feedback and the emails from all of the episodes. I am so grateful for all of you who are listening.

Before we get into today’s episode, I want to do a listener shout-out. This is where I will read a review of the podcast every week. This week’s listener shout-out is for Sharron Spohn.

She wrote, “These podcasts, for me, are so relatable. I have been on the diet rollercoaster for years. Listening to these podcasts have shown me I’m not alone. Every time something good in my life, such as weight loss, health issues, or my family dynamics, I find a way to sabotage the positives. I find your podcast helpful in my weight loss journey.  It’s given me techniques and information to change my thoughts and realize that I am worth it.” I love it, Sharon, and you are totally worth it.

So in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the power of planning and how we can hack our brains so we can use our thinking brain instead of our lizard brain. And then, of course, at the end I will leave you with a few transformational questions so you can start taking action today.

But first, OMG, ladies, let me tell you about my last week. It has been amazing. We went to Dallas, Texas for two reasons; a football game and a workshop. But let me explain.

So, my dad is a Dallas Cowboys fan. He has been one since he was a teenager and he’s never been to Dallas, Texas, not in his whole life, and he’s been a fan since the early 60s. So my husband and I decided, you know what, let’s do it. Let’s take the whole family and go to Dallas.

And we took my brother, my sister in-law, my son and his wife, and of course, my G-babies. And we went on a stadium tour on Friday. It was so amazing. We went out on the field. My dad, honestly, he was like a kid again. He was so happy. I feel like it’s the happiest he’s been since before my mother passed. And it was just the best feeling to see him so happy.

I think we wants to move there and work in the stadium, that’s how excited he was. So, another reason why we went to Dallas is because I hosted a BFLY Coaching workshop.  Ladies flew in to attend this one-day workshop. My goodness, ladies, it was so good.

It was so amazing to watch such beautiful women be vulnerable and wanting to change. Honestly, it makes me emotional just thinking about it. It was a day filled with laughter, tears, and lots of emotions. And you know what’s so interesting is some of my ladies, who were coming to Dallas for the workshop, they had emailed me or texted me before the workshop to honestly tell me they were nervous, they were fearful. They had even felt shame because they had not been taking care of themselves.

But, loves, they still showed up. They felt the negative emotion and they still did something for themselves. I mean, ladies, I am just – it was the best experience, that workshop, and spending time with those ladies is something I will never forget.

So, we went to the game on Sunday night, because that was Saturday was the workshop, and Sunday night, it was amazing. If you have never been to the Dallas Stadium, holy-moly. I mean, the energy in that stadium, it was just something I had not experienced. I mean, ladies, I was literally jumping up and down. I didn’t even know I could do that.

I was literally jumping up and down. I basically stood for three-quarters of the game. I mean, it was just unbelievable. And not going to lie, it also helped that we won. So it was just so much fun. We went to Dallas, and honestly, it was a dream trip for my family and for myself, and all my ladies who came out for the BFLY Coaching workshop. It was just truly an amazing trip.

So, let’s get into today’s episode. One of the ways that I learned how to break diet mentality and hack my lizard brain was by learning to make decisions ahead of time. This helped me use my thinking brain instead of my lizard brain.

And so, let me tell you ladies a little bit about me. I would say, in my early years, when I think back to my teens and my 20s, I was kind of a free spirit. If you said anything about planning, my lizard brain would completely turn off. I honestly wanted nothing to do with it. I thought planning was hard, that it was like handcuffs. And honestly, I wanted to be free.

But what I’ve learned through this whole process is that planning is actual freedom. When I don’t plan and my lizard brain takes over, that is not freedom. So right now, if your lizard brain is telling you things like you don’t have time to plan, you’ve tried to plan, and you never follow through, planning is hard – if you’re having all of those thoughts, because I know how strong the lizard brain can be, just know that they’re just thoughts and you have the power to believe something different and to change your thoughts around planning.

I want to talk about the brain for a minute because you know, ladies, I love to talk about the brain, and how making decisions ahead of time can actually hack your brain.  We all have this very impulsive lizard brain, our primitive brain. But we also have a prefrontal cortex. It houses our higher-level functions. It makes decision, it plans.

This brain can override the other parts of our brain. I mean, it’s the super-brain. So when we make a plan ahead of time, we’re more likely to go through with it because we used our prefrontal cortex. We used our thinking brain instead of our lizard. And, ladies, I know, my lizard was in control for most of my years. But as I start to use my thinking brain more, it’s amazing to see the results.

Have you ever finished a bag of chips and can’t believe you ate the whole bag because you do not even remember eating them? You have this moment of literally like, “What? I’m done? How can I be done? How could I have eaten all of those chips?”

Loves, that is just the lizard brain. It took over and impulsively ate without you even noticing or enjoying it. And, loves, this is how I ate for most of my life, with the lizard brain in charge. I wasn’t even enjoying what I used to call the foods that I loved. I was just unconsciously eating and not even enjoying it.

So one of my four fundamentals in the process that I teach is the realistic plan. It’s fundamental number two. This is where you write down what you’re going to eat tomorrow. Yes, write it down. Do not try to keep it in your head. That’s the lizard brain.

The hack is actually writing it down. My rule of thumb is at least four hours before your first bite. Most of my ladies do it the night before. It is just a realistic plan of what you’re going to eat; just the food. No calories, points, macros, carbs, none of that stuff is in it. It’s just a simple plan of what you’re going to eat for the next day.

You can put what you’re going to eat for meals, snacks, and if you’re finding that your lizard brain’s like, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what I’m going to eat,” just look at what you’ve eaten in the last few days and just make a plan. Don’t have a lot of drama around this.  It’s really simple.

And the key is that you make it realistic. We have done diets, we have done the food plans that are so restrictive. One key part of my process is that we learn to eat in a way that we can always eat.  No diets here, love. None of the, “When I get off the diet, I’m going to eat normally again.” It’s such a poisonous thought because it just keeps us on the diet rollercoaster.

We’re on this restrictive diet, we restrict our calories, and then we just can’t wait to get off, to eat all our favorite foods. That is the power of learning how to eat on the realistic plan and get off the diet rollercoaster.

When I was on the diet rollercoaster, I would start a new diet on Monday, so Sunday was a full binge of all of the food I would, “Never eat again.” I would have a few last suppers, like I was never going to eat a cupcake again.

I know, loves, you feel me on this. How many last suppers have you had? But it’s not what I teach. It’s not how I learned to lose weight for good. So when you make your realistic plan, put foods that you’re going to eat.

Now, I know that some of your lizard brain thoughts right now are, “I don’t know what I’ll eat, I have a luncheon tomorrow and I don’t know what they’re serving.” But, loves, you do know. You do know what you mostly eat.

When you start to get confused or you make it complicated, know that it’s just the lizard brain wanting to keep you safe, wanting to keep you the same. If you don’t know what’s on the menu. I just always put like a protein, a carb, you know, if you’re going to have a dessert, whatever it is. I just put the labels, I’m going to have a veggie, I just keep it really simple.

And this is it, loves, if you pick up food from Chick-fil-A every Thursday for your family, then put Chick-fil-A on your realistic plan. This is not about diet food. This is about learning to make decisions ahead of time and then eating what’s on the plan.

The first part is a hack on your lizard brain, but doing this every day is a great way to start to keep commitments to yourself. Now, loves, back in episode number two, I talked about commitments and honestly, as women, we break them all of the time to ourselves. We don’t even trust ourselves to make commitments.

The way that we can learn to trust ourselves again is by making a small commitment and then even when we make a mistake, like eating off plan or not making a plan for a day, we just take the next best action and we do it for the next day.

So, make your realistic plan. Make it realistic, then eat what’s on your plan. If you eat off plan, just simply ask yourself why, no beating yourself up, no judgment. Just take the next best action and eat what’s on plan tomorrow. I still make a realistic plan every single day. It was so key in getting off the diet rollercoaster.

Now, loves, sometimes I don’t make a plan, and let me just tell you, when I don’t, my lizard brain is in full effect. Usually I’ll realize around noon or one in the day, I’m like, why is my lizard brain telling me that I need to eat everything? Like, why? And then I’m like, I didn’t make my plan last night or in the morning.

I usually do mine in the morning because I wake up so early. And so what I do is, as soon as I realize it, I just make my plan for the day, just so that I can start to get my lizard back in control.

And when my clients first start doing this, I’m telling you, they’re always like, “Shannan, how can I lose weight if I’m putting a cupcake on my plan?” Because, love, as you start to trust yourself again, as you become more connected with your body, you’ll want to eat more food that fuels you than not. You will not be in this, “On a diet or off a diet,” you’ll be eating what’s on your plan and then slowly everything will start to change.

You will break diet mentality. You will know that you can have a cupcake. You just put it on your plan. We just went to Dallas and we had this amazing celebration dinner Saturday night after the workshop and I invited my whole family and the hotel put a beautiful dinner on for us.

And I knew that strawberry cheesecake was on the menu, so I just put it on my plan. I used my thinking brain when I ate it and I enjoyed every bite. I noticed when I was full and I stopped eating it. There was no lizard drama. I enjoyed a few bites and then I loved on. That is the power of the realistic plan.

Making decisions ahead of time is a way to hack your lizard brain, beginning to keep commitments to yourself and break out of diet mentality. So, love, make your realistic plan. You’ve got this, love. So the transformational questions for today are, what lizard brain thoughts come up when you began to think about making your plan every day? And why will this be easy?

So much fun, loves, spending some time with you. And to celebrate the launch of the show, I am going to be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to 12 lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review this show on iTunes. It doesn’t have to be a five-star review, although I sure hope you love the show.

I want your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that provides a ton of value for you. Visit bflycoaching.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter it. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode. So much love to all of you and I just can’t wait to spend more time with you on next week’s episode.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Weight Loss for Successful Women. If you love what you heard today and want to learn more, come over to bflycoaching.com. That’s B – F – L – Y coaching dot com. See you next week!

Enjoy the Show?

7 thoughts on “Ep #6: The Power of Planning”

  1. I love your process! You have helped me so much already. I have been doing my daily plan. I thought I was struggling with following my plan sometimes on the weekends but then you said even if you eat something different than what you had written on your plan but you stayed with the same categories, that you are still within plan. That took a lot of pressure off. I so enjoy your podcasts, your Wednesday wisdoms and the webinars. I am taking time for me every day because of you and your philosophy. THANK YOU!

  2. I look forward to trying this. I have tried so many things that have not worked. Hopefully this will be the one that works for me.

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