Why does it seem like sometimes we are able to control our impulses when it comes to food and managing our weight–and sometimes we just CAN’T.

Or so it seems…

I mean, here we have great intentions to be healthy and start the day right–but there seems to be this other part of us that takes over and just grabs for things and pops them in our mouths–as the other part of us watches in horror. It seems like we are possessed by this other part of us that just doesn’t care about our health or our weight.

Don’t worry–we are going to give you some thin thinking tools to get this part of us in line and to be able to control our impulses consistently.

In episode 71 of The Thin Thinking Podcast, we will learn about the 5 Ps of impulse control and managing it when trying to release weight.

I am thrilled to announce that I will be a speaker with the You’ve Been Dieting Wrong summit. It’s 14 straight days of cutting-edge strategies and inside access to top coaches who are there to help YOU learn the steps and habits to build a relationship with yourself that counts and a life feeling confident, strong, and happy that matters.

It’s free, but you have to save your seat to get access.

Claim your ticket to the online event. The summit begins July 28th.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: Our damn impulses. They make us human but they also make it hard to manage our weight as a human being. I've helped people for over 20 years with weight management and a huge part of the long-term weight journey is becoming a master over your impulses after all you either own them or they own you. So get ready for a crash course and taming that inner rebel with my five P method to impulse control. Stay tuned.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right, the key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist, weight loss expert, best-selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict, and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need. Not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life. Sound good. Let’s get started.

Rita Black: And a warm, warm welcome here in the middle of a warm, warm summer. Hello, everybody out there in the thin thinking community, just sending you lots of love here in the middle of the summer, there is something about July being the middle of the middle. If you know what I mean? Well, this is when I usually see people getting what I call a summer weight release brain fog. Does this happen to you? You have really great intentions for the summer, but because we sort of relax our structure during the summer and everything's a little more loose and it feels a little harder to stay focused. And there are a lot of distractions like holidays and weekends away and parties, ah, white release becomes a little more well, foggy. So I hope you don't mind that today's episode is a session that I made all about impulse control, because the less focus we have, the more challenges we have with managing that more impulsive part of our brain. So let's dive in.

Rita Black: I wanted to walk you through a training about impulse control. A lot of you guys have been asking me about how do I manage my impulse control when I'm trying to release weight. So I wanted to really quickly explain just sort of the why of why we are so impulsive a lot of times, even though we don't wanna be obviously, and then to go through the five Ps of impulse control with you, with the hopes that you can get some tools so that you can manage impulse control and release weight more easily and feel more in charge of your being. Right?

Rita Black: Okay, so why, why do we have, why is there a challenge with impulse control? Well, one of the things is we live in a super stimulated world. You know, since 2007, and I've been in practice since 2002, by 2007 was when those smartphones came along and started zinging our brains with a lot of input. And I think the average American adult or the average adult, regardless if they're American or not, and child, they have just so much more signals going through their brain. And a lot of people consider themselves having attention deficit disorder, when really there's just so much input and information going into our eyes and into our brain now on a daily basis. I think one of those things is like on a daily basis, we have a challenge with just too much input.

Rita Black: So what that does is it starts to wear down our willpower because at the beginning of the day, we have a fair amount of willpower. That's why most people, can manage themselves, breakfast, lunch, not too much of a trouble, with their meals or anything like that, but come, afternoon, evening and after dinner, those are the times where our impulse control that, that our ability to exert will over our actions really diminishes. And that's when we ourselves reaching for that food. Shoving it in our mouth even before we even, like are consciously aware that we are doing that. Right? And so this is really challenging and it's super frustrating because here you are, you're trucking along and you're doing great on your healthy eating and nourishing yourself. And then all of a sudden you shove some highly, crunchy, salty, refined thing in your mouth, and then you eating, you feel bad. And then you're like, oh, well, I might as well eat a few more. qAnd then the bag's gone. And then you say, oh, well, I blew it for today. And it makes you feel like you're inconsistent on your weight release plan it's and it be very self sabotaging.

Rita Black: So one of the, so I just wanna kinda look at the brain really quick and just like, see why, why is this going on? So, you know, if we had to look at the brain, I know that's a little brain, but you know, there's that 12% of our mind. I'm just gonna get in frame here. 12% of the mind is that critical, analytical willpower part of the mind. And that's the part of the mind that really wants to be, you know, be good, right, be consistent. Then this 88% is more our old habits and beliefs, but, and it's, and it's our old relationship to food. So also when we have relationship to particular foods, you know, our brain has gotten wired in with, comfort and love and emotions and friends and social ability. And then once it's wired in, this is a much more powerful part of the brain than that conscious willpower part of the brain. Right? So as the day wears on this part of the brain is diminished. And, and especially if we are stressed, right? So if we're in a stressful situation or we come home and we're stressed or, or it's tax time, or the kids are, you know, demanding a lot from us or, the bosses, you know, or we are the boss and we've got a zillion things to do. And we, we have stress or we have emotions, stress and emotions actually also when we're in a highly stressed state, it in instigates, our fight or flight instinct, and it literally shuts down this rational part of the brain. So the, then we are left with that more base, um, impulsive part of the brain, that part of the more, um, habitual part of the brain, the, the old habits that we have that are just like eat that, that will make me feel good, eat that that will be comforting. Right? Okay. So stress or emotions can definitely diminish our impulse control. Also this idea of reward, right?

Rita Black: So, the neurotransmitter dopamine is associated with reward. And when we are in the habit of eating something as a reward, our brain starts to develop a little muscle around that idea of that particular food and, and, and dopamine muscle, meaning, meaning like it sees it. And that dopamine brain starts to get agitated and say, Ooh, Ooh, I want that. I want that. Give that to me, give that to me. Or the idea of, like, let's say, you've worked really hard all day and you feel like you deserve a reward, like to go out and have drinks and dinner. And again, that's the dopamine brain starts to buzz and say, oh, that equals reward. Because in your subconscious mind, the food isn't necessarily the reward, but it's everything that happens around the food or going out is the reward. But, but we see the reward as the food and the drink, but really it's, it's the true reward as you're going out and letting your hair down. But that the brain doesn't know that it's just like, oh, gimme that food. That's gonna be fun. Gimme that food that's gonna reward me. Right. And, and that agitation supersedes our rational will meaning like, you know, I did, I said, I wasn't gonna go out tonight. I didn't wanna drink. I didn't wanna eat dessert. Any of that stuff. When, when that dopamine brain starts to get going, it becomes hard to resist that. So then we have these highly loaded food and drinks that are what some would call highly palatable, which just means when the brain feeds them and associates them with them. And, and this is where it comes more down to personal things. Cause like what might trigger my brain to start buzzing and going, Ooh, I want that might not trigger your brain. Right? So those things get wired in personally, like snowflake, like we all have our own particular buzz foods that our brain just goes crazy for. And it becomes very hard again to have practice restraint around them or drink right. Food or drink.

Rita Black: And then the other last thing is, well, not the last thing. Then, then there's that also like, you know, have you ever had that experience of, it's four o'clock and you're tired and you said you weren't gonna snack or go to the snack room or eat chocolate today, but you're just tired. And then all of a sudden you're reaching for it. Well, again, that is, because this part of the brain, you know, where it it's tired now and it it's just, it's taken a nap. Well, this part of the brain is gone and getting some chocolate outta that staff room because it thinks it's gonna pep you up or take care of you. Right. And then the last thing is the time of day, because the time of day, whatever you've wired into the time of day is being your reward time. That also can be, or if we're just tired, if it's the end of the day. So tiredness, emotions, even being hungry, all of those things are gonna wear on our ability to control our impulses. So let's work in some ways that we can manage our impulses and begin to have a more masterful relationship over our impulse. Shall we? Let's do it.

Rita Black: So, the first thing we wanna look at is, and, and this is probably one of the most powerful things we can do is prevent the impulse from having to happen. That's why stimulus control is 60, 70, 80% of weight management. Yeah, that's right. It, it's so powerful, just not having those foods in your environment. So if you come home and you're tired and there's some crackers, you know, that are in the cupboard or sitting out, or there's a plate of cookies sitting out, or even in the cupboard, if they're your thing, your mind is going to start to hum and say, oh, go, go get those things. And, and, and, and because there is no resistance left in your brain, it's gonna very hard for you to resist those things. So to prevent the impulse from happening. One, maybe if you're gonna go grocery shopping, that's why they say, when you go grocery shopping, please go when you fed yourself. And maybe when you're not even tired at the end of a Workday, because your impulse control is gonna be diminished. Don't have highly loaded food and drink in your environment. If it's gonna be challenging for you. Now, I know that's a conversation in and of itself because maybe there are other people in your environment that have brought that in, but that's, that's where support comes in and asking people to keep those things out of sight. My husband and my kids might bring in stuff to the house, but they know that I, I don't like to have it around. And so they'll keep their own covered or they'll they'll, I don't have to look at those things. So, so preventing that impulse from happening and being proactive in that really thinking about your environments and keeping them clear of things that are gonna be challenging for you in your day.

Rita Black: The other thing, the other prevention, tool that you might use is the idea of fasting. So what I mean by that is when it is not an option in your brain, like I don't eat between lunch and dinner, it's not an option. And you start really practicing that as something that you are doing. But it's not something like you're trying not to eat. It's more, you are practicing fasting. That's an active thing and your brain can see that. And because food is not an option, the thought of the snack or the thought of the chocolate might pass to your mind, but you're like, oh, that's not an option cause I'm fasting until dinner. That helps to move your mind along and focus on something different dinner or focus on something different fasting, oh, maybe I can get a cup of tea, but food for me is not an option. It keeps you from having to negotiate and especially negotiate when you are hired. And that impulse control is diminished. Does this make sense? I hope it does.

Rita Black: Well, let's move on. Well, let's move on the next P. Now this is something that is a skill that as you, as you move forward in your weight mastery, I think this is gonna be a, a real skill that will serve you very, very well. This is what I'm gonna teach you. I mentioned, I've mentioned my book and I've mentioned in my shift weight mastery process, and it's this idea of practicing following through past and impulse. And I'm gonna explain to you that really quickly. So I'm gonna remove the smiley face, come on, smile face. Okay. So when we're dealing with a, a food that is making our brain go, Ooh, I want that. And we're gonna go grab that food. The brain at that time is just thinking pleasure. It's just thinking, yes, pleasure, Woohoo. Right? Now, the problem is that once we go and we eat that thing and, and our brain goes, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Then that, that ding, ding, ding slowly kind of goes down to diminishes the, the pleasure diminishes and we eat and we eat, or we eat that thing. And then we start to feel bad. And, and sometimes if we've eat, eat, eaten, like a big bag of things, we physically feel bad. So we experience pain. We either experience emotional pain because now we're regretful and we're mad at ourselves for eating that thing. Or we're physically in pain and emotionally in pain and kicking ourselves and going, oh my gosh, I did it again. And I'm a bad person and it's horrible and awful and blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, now it's, you know, it's, it's not that initial fun time in our mind. So what you can start to do is practice ahead of time in your mind, to alternative roots, choosing the healthier alternative. And what I mean by that is this before you are in those situations, because, because here's something else that's important to understand is that most of your impulse control is your challenges are probably the same challenges you always come up against meaning that my challenges are not your challenges and what my, my impulse control challenges are, are, are pretty consistently the same though, because I'm in the same environments, typically with the same foods and maybe the same people bringing in the same foods. So when you start to recognize, instead of saying, oh, I have an impulse control problem and start to say, oh, I have a problem with bagels coming into the office on Monday morning, every Monday morning, then what can happen is because you'll impulsively grab one and eat it. And then, then, you know, eat another one or it feel bad for the rest of the day. What you now have is a bagel on a morning challenge. And now you can sculpt that down and start to practice how you're gonna behave differently with that particular environment before you are in that environment, just like an athlete, doing crunches and running drills before they're in the, on the field and playing the game. You wanna run these drills in your mind before you are in those situations. Now you might be saying, but that seems like a lot of work having to practice. But, but think about it. If, if athletes do it, why wouldn't you wanna do that as a weight master? Because I assure you, once you highlight and start to recognize like, oh, this time and that food are a challenge this time, and that food are a challenge and you start to practice what I'm about to teach you.

Rita Black: You're gonna start managing those situations and not having impulse issues. So wouldn't that be worth some of your time and some of your mental energy, because think of how much mental energy you spend beating yourself up about your weight and then the struggle, right. And just starting to learn to manage it instead. So here's, here's what you can do. So remember how I said, you see the food pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. So what you wanna do prior to being in that situation is you wanna think of the pleasure going for the food, and then you wanna immediately follow it through and, and you really wanna feel these feelings. It's not just, I'm really wanna feel these feelings and it's not, you know, intellectual it's like imagine yourself being in that situation and eating that bagel on Monday morning and what that would feel like. And then you wanna feel that feeling of having eaten the whole thing an hour later, and starting to feel like indigestion, bloat, and really mad at yourself for having eaten that bagel. So you want that emotional visceral feeling of pain. So you can imagine the, the, the pleasure into the pain and what you're doing is kind of closing up that loop. Cause you're, you're training your brain in that moment, cuz our brain cannot separate fantasy from reality. You're training your brain to go from a, a pleasure point in the brain to a pain point in the brain and, and the brain then starts to make that connection between the pleasure and the pain pleasure to pain, pleasure to pain. Oh, bagel eagles, ehhh pain. Right? You can you see how you're, you're closing that up and you're going bagel, pleasure, pain, pleasure, pain. but it works because then you start to go, oh, that bagel takes my freedom and my power away from me. Yeah. You know what? So when you get into that situation, you're you might have that. Ah, but then you remember the pain you're like, yeah, no, don't need that bagel right? Now. So that's pleasure pain loop now that you can also shift.

Rita Black: So this is the next step is shifting into the promise, which is the bigger pleasure vision. So, so once you go from pleasure to pain, the next step is going from the pain to, or sorry, once you go from pleasure to pain. So that's one route. So you're, you're sort of making that a dead end, but then you wanna offer the alternative route to yourself, which is if, when I abstain from that bagel, I'm gonna be one step closer to being my masterful weight release, beautiful vision of myself, but not just the vision of you being thin, because that, that, that works but not in that moment when you're thinking that bagel and it's great. The, then isn't as important as that bigger vision of you being powerful, being powerful masterful at your lightweight, that beautiful long term, permanent weight mastery vision, that's your highest self, it's your best self realized, right? So what you're offering yourself is instead of the bagel, you're offering yourself the bigger promise. Like I don't want that bagel because I am moving the direction of my powerful, light, ideal self. That's able to express myself fully in the universe, bringing my gifts to the universe cuz I'm confident and I'm free and I'm fabulous. Right? So you are not only closing that loop with that pleasure to pain, but you're going, and then what's going on really as I'm going from, from the bagel to my promised vision of highest self, ideal weight, masterful feeling good. So you wanna practice that in your head as well. So, oh, I can see myself that bagel. It looks good, but not, oh, I feel that pain and that bloat and but now what I'm choosing is my power and it, and just imagine yourself and at that lightweight feeling, powerful, feeling confident, feeling strong and allow that feeling to reverberate, you know, within you when you're practicing so that when you get to the bagel, you see the bagel, not only as pain, but you see abstaining and, and moving forward and just walking past the bagel as like high power, enlightened, lighter, lean. Okay. So practice that ahead of time and, and, or practice just walking right on by and feeling awesome or practice grabbing that thing and throwing it out or whatever, whatever that thing your, your impulse now is to go pleasure to pain, highest self walking past it or saying, no, thank you. I feel good in and of myself. Okay.

Rita Black: Now the next P is when you're in the moment, like let's say you get to the bagel to, and you've practiced it. You take a pause to take a breath. And, and what you're doing is reaching for that higher level self. You know, we have our base instinct, which is our reptilian brain, which will go eat the bagel. Right. But we're taking that pause. Now the bagel equals pain and I'm reaching for my higher level self. Okay. So taking that breath no matter if you've practiced or not taking that breath and pausing and saying, do I really want that bagel? Because that bagel, what, how am I gonna fill three hours from now? I wanna feel better three, four hours from now? If I, the bagel. Yeah, yeah. I would, okay, let me do that.

New Speaker: Okay. Now. The fourth P, Probe, probe. The heck does she mean probe. So what I mean by probe is ask yourself if it doesn't go well for you, like if you innate the bagel, don't take it at that. Don't say, oh, I was bad. I have no impulse. I am just, I am just, oh, I'm just at a creature of impulse. Right? Don't allow that for yourself. Don't allow that old story to keep strangling you and pulling you down. Don't allow for that. Just be stubbornly probish. And what I mean by that is act like, wow, I reached for that bagel, why did I do that? You know, what, what didn't happen prior to grabbing the bagel that didn't work for me? Did I, was there something I could do to prevent it? Was there some sort of practice I could engage in that would keep me, allow me to do that. So to keep probing, you know, if things don't go well for you, don't allow yourself to go, oh, well, it's just, cuz I don't have any impulse control and you know, that's me. No, that's not, you you're becoming a master or a weight master. Right. And weight masters. Don't just, you know, tell stories to themselves like, ah, that's who I am. I just don't have impulse control, Uhuh that ain't you no more. Okay. You are a weight master and you are inquisitive. And you're, you know, quality of the questions we ask ourselves is the quality of our life. Right? So ask yourself that deep question. Like I eat that big. That really didn't work out for me. Why, how could I prevent that in the future? Right. So you can say, oh, well if I ate that bagel, but that bagel caused me to ask the questions that allow me to not eat the next 180 bagels that crossed my path. Well then that bagel was worth eating. If I asked the right questions. Right? So probe don't, don't allow yourself just to say, well I have no income control or I blew it and oh, I'll just do better tomorrow. No, you, you need to ask yourself those questions and get really curious, get underneath them and you can solve these challenges. I swear to you, this is not rocket science. You can make this happen for yourself. It's really super exciting.

Rita Black: Okay. One last thing. I don't even remember what it's but let's see. Okay. Persist. So keep going, keep doing this. Keep practicing this, you know, this takes time and it does take some focus and it does take some willingness to work with yourself. But like the athlete, like, you know, if you were a kid athlete and you went out and kicked the ball, or if you were a kid mathematician or if you were a kid, something, so you did something as a kid that you got down in and you just like really, you know, reading a book or whatever, you just kept persisting and reading better books and different books and, or kicking that ball and kicking that ball until you got it good. You kept practicing driving that car until you were the driver. You weren't just trying to drive. So you can be the master of your own weight. You can, you can learn and cultivate skills that allow you to not only release the weight, but achieve long term permanent weight mastery. But it's taking the time to look beneath these things and to practice and to put these in place. It doesn't take a lot of energy, but it does take some focus to retrain your brain, to shift from fat to thin thinking, and you can do this.

Rita Black: So try this out. Simple prevention, get that stuff out of your environment, practice, practice, going from that idea of pleasure to pain. Oh that in the moment but it causes me pain, it causes me pain. And the alternative is you walking by, having my freedom and my power and feeling fantastic. You really get that into your body, into your beliefs, pause is that bagel really gonna serve me three hours from now? I don't think so. I'm just gonna pass on that. I ate that bagel. Why did I eat that bagel? I oh yeah. My boss brings those in every morning. Maybe I can ask him not to put them on my desk and to move them down the hall. So I don't even have to see 'em when I come in. Eureka or you know, some other thing persist, keep persisting. If the bagel keeps coming into your environment, you will find out a way if you make it important to you. All right! So I believe in you. I hope this has been of service to you. Use the five Ps, prevent, practice, pause, probe, and prevent. Thank you for letting me of service to you.

Rita Black: That's it. Everyone. I hope you have an amazing week managing those impulses, being the master of them, enjoying a new found power and have amazing focused impulse free week. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: Thanks for listening to the thin thinking podcast. Did that episode go by way too fast for you? If so, and do you want to dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to www.shiftweightmastery.com where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release, tips, strategies, and more, and be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind For Permanent Weight Loss and to learn how to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode.