Total Health in Midlife Episode #168: Evaluating Our Mistakes

Evaluating Our Mistakes

I’ll never forget the night I let loose at a party, only to wake up the next morning with a mix of regret and an undeniable curiosity about the choices I made. My overindulgence became the catalyst for a deep dive into the ‘why’ of our health habits, and I’m here to take you through how moments of indulgence aren’t just about guilt but can be powerful teachers. 

Together, we’ll explore the art of post-event reflection, unlocking the capacity to transform our slip-ups into stepping stones for personal growth. I’ll guide you through the murky waters of habitual snacking and unintentional eating, showing you how these can become the ink with which we write our guidebook for a life of health that truly echoes our values and aspirations.

In the company of my clients’ compelling stories, this episode peels back the layers of reducing friction in our daily health routines. It’s about more than just a chicken in a crockpot; it’s about crafting a life where preparation meets emotional readiness, and healthy choices become second nature. 

We dissect the think-feel-act cycle and dive into how emotions craft our decisions, equipping you with the foresight to confront common pitfalls like dieting at social gatherings and keeping active during leisurely vacations. By embracing these lessons, your journey toward health and wellness becomes not just a path you follow but a dance you master, step by step.

Chapter Summaries

Reflecting on Health Choices for Growth (0:00:02) 

Reflecting on our actions after making health choices, understanding the ‘why’, and breaking the restrict-binge-regret cycle.

Reducing Friction and Building Self-Trust (0:14:40) 

Preparation and emotional readiness can reduce friction in health routines, with tools to navigate challenges and learn from deviations.

Journey to Health and Wellness (0:31:43) – 

Join me on a journey toward health and wellness through resources, coaching, and self-kindness.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Understanding hidden motivations transforms regret into growth, empowering aligned decisions for well-being.
  • Analyzing past actions through the motivational triad unlocks future success.
  • Embracing mistakes as learning opportunities catalyze transformative shifts in health journeys.
  • Cultivating self-kindness and empathetically reevaluating goals fosters understanding and acceptance on the path to personal growth.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated or disappointed after making a health choice that didn’t quite align with your goals? So, maybe you promised yourself that you’d stick to your diet at a party, but then ended up indulging more than you intended. Or perhaps you’ve set a fitness goal, only to find yourself skipping workouts.

You’re not alone. This happens to all of us. But what if I told you that these moments, which we often see as failures and we want to shun away from are actually golden opportunities for growth and learning.

In my episode today, we are going to uncover the transformative power of reflecting on our actions. I’m going to share with you the tools and strategies that have not only changed my life, but also helped me with my clients turn their mistakes into stepping stones for success. We’ll dive into practical tips that you can apply in your everyday life to make health choices that truly align with your goals and values.

So, if you’re ready to turn your health journey around and learn how to be your own best guide, this episode is a must listen. Stay tuned.

Welcome to Total Health and Midlife, the podcast for women embracing the pivotal transformation from the daily grind to the dawn of a new chapter. I’m Elizabeth, your host and fellow traveler on this journey.

As a Life and Health Coach, I am intimately familiar with the changes and challenges we face during this stage. Shifting careers, changing relationships, our new bodies, and redefining goals and needs as we start to look to the future and ask, what do I want?

In this podcast, we’ll explore physical, mental, and emotional wellness, offering insights and strategies to achieve optimal health through these transformative years.

Yes, it’s totally possible.

Join me in this amazing journey of body, mind, and spirit, where we’re not just improving our health, but transforming our entire lives.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the next episode of the Total Health in Midlife Podcast. And I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And today, I want to talk about something that might just change the way that you approach your health and wellness. It’s about the power of reflecting and specifically post event evaluation and how it’s a game changer in our desire to be better with our health and our food.

I remember a time in my life when I was constantly at war with my food choices. Let me take you back to a time that you might find familiar. So, I was at a party, I was surrounded by my friends. We were laughing, there was music going, and there was just a ton of tempting foods. And I had made a promise to myself to stick to my food plan, right? I was on this diet, and I was like, oh, I’m going to a party tonight. It’ll be no problem.

But as the evening progressed, my resolve started to waver. And before I knew it, I found myself just diving into slice after slice of pizza. The next day, I was overwhelmed with feelings of regret and guilt.

But here’s the thing, that moment, as uncomfortable as it was became a turning point for me. It made me realize the importance of slowing down and reflecting on my actions. This isn’t just about what we eat or how we exercise. It’s about understanding the why behind the decisions that we make, the choices that we make.

It’s about learning from our experiences and not doing it from a place of berating ourselves, which we are all so commonly able to do. But to grow and make more aligned choices in the future.

Building self-trust is a journey. And it’s not always easy, especially when we feel like we don’t have much evidence to support that trust. But believe me, every woman who’s listening to this right now has innate wisdom about what’s good for you. You have the power to create your own rules and your own guidebook for what works best for you in your life.

The key is being willing to pause, reflect, and listen to that inner voice. So, today, let’s explore this together. Let’s learn how to evaluate our actions, not to criticize ourselves, but to understand and empower ourselves to make choices that resonate with our health goals and our values.

So, I want to start by diving into a cycle that many of us are all too familiar with. It’s the restrict binge regret cycle. Now, this was a pattern that played out in my life, and it’s a pattern that plays out in the lives of so many, particularly when it comes to managing our diet and our overall health.

Understanding this cycle is crucial to breaking free from it and making more empowered health choices. So, let me paint a picture that might resonate with you. During the week, we find ourselves trying to follow the perfect diet.

We restrict ourselves. We say, these are the foods that I’m allowed to eat, and those bad foods, we’re not allowed to eat. We restrict ourselves; we avoid all the foods that we love, and we tell ourselves that this is what it takes to be healthy.

But what happens when the weekend rolls around. That’s when the pendulum swings the other way. At least it did for me. During the week, I was perfect, and then on the weekend, I would have cheat days. Right? Or what turned into cheat weekends.

So, I remember my own experiences. I would dive headfirst into this cheat day. And again, it was a whole weekend starting on Friday and not ending until Sunday. I would eat everything that I had denied myself during the week. I would write lists of all of the foods that I wanted to eat during the week. And then, on the weekend, I would literally eat all the foods that were on my list.

I recall one weekend where I logged over 5500 calories on a Saturday. The physical discomfort was one thing, but the emotional and mental toll was something else altogether. I remember going to bed that night and just feeling so terrible. I’m sure it was actually even over 5500 calories.

The sugar, the processed foods, they left me feeling so sick, guilty, and regretful. The cycle of deprivation and excess was a wakeup call for me. It made me realize that the decisions I made on the weekends were a direct result of the deprivation that I put myself through during the week. It was a pattern, a cycle that needed to be understood and I needed to address it.

But here’s the crucial part. It’s not just about what we eat. It’s about understanding why we eat the way that we do. So, whether it’s habitually snacking when we come home from work, or mindlessly eating whatever’s in front of us. These behaviors are things that we can change. The first step is awareness. And the second, equally important step is curiosity.

So, let’s talk about these habitual eating moments. You know, when you walk into the kitchen after a long day at work, and without even thinking about it, you find yourself reaching for something to eat. It’s almost automatic. Don’t you find?

But what if we paused just for a moment to ask ourselves, why am I reaching for this food? Am I really hungry? Or is this just habit? The same thing goes for those social situations where food is just there tempting us. It’s so easy to eat just because it’s available.

But again, what if we stopped ourselves and considered, do I really want this or am I eating it just because it’s here?

One of my favorite things to share with my clients and actually all of my followers around the holiday time is if you’re at a party and food doesn’t taste good. So, let’s say that you eat a cookie or a salad or something like that and it doesn’t good taste good. Oftentimes, we will keep eating it, thinking that it’s going to taste better if we keep eating it because it looks like we should enjoy it. Right?

But that’s one of those moments where we need to become aware and ask ourselves, this doesn’t taste good. Why am I eating it? And then, throw it away. Now, this is where self-compassion comes into play.

So, it’s about being kind to ourselves as we navigate these moments. It’s about understanding that our eating habits are often deeply ingrained and that changing them is a process. It’s not about beating ourselves up for not sticking to the perfect plan. It’s about learning, growing, and making choices that align with our health and our wellness goals.

So, I want you to remember to be curious about your choices. To be aware of your habits. And above all, to practice self-compassion. Because this is not just a process of changing what we eat or how we exercise. It’s a process of understanding yourself and what it is that you need.

So, I want to introduce you to some powerful tools that I use in my coaching practice. These are tools that if you choose to work with me, we’ll explore together whether in private or a group setting. They’re designed to give you a deeper understanding of your actions and to help you make decisions that align with your health and wellness goals.

The first tool is what I call the three question evaluation process. This simple approach involves asking ourselves three critical questions after an event or a decision related to our health choices.

So, the questions are first, what were the circumstances that led to the event? Okay. So, in this situation, we’re talking about that party. So, really thinking about what happened before the party? Was I hungry? Was I not hungry? What had I eaten during the day? What had happened earlier in the day? What was I feeling emotionally? Those types of questions.

This is about understanding the situation that you were in. Was it a stressful day at work? Were you at a social gathering with lots of tempting food? Setting the scene helps us to understand the context of our decisions.

So, the second question is What decision did I make and why? Now, in my situation with the party, the question is why did I choose to eat the pizza? Okay? It’s a fair question. Here, we reflect on the choice that we made. Did I eat because I was genuinely hungry? Or did I feel it was out of habit or emotional need?

Oftentimes, we are seeking connection and belonging. And so, understanding the why behind our decisions is crucial. So, if all of my friends are eating pizza, of course, I want to eat pizza too. Right? How often do we go to dinner with friends? And if they’re all eating burgers, I’m not going to get the salad or vice versa. If they’re all eating salad, sure as hell, I’m not getting a burger. Right?

We want to fit in. We want to feel a sense of belonging. We want to connect with our friends. So, in that question of what decision did I make and why? There’s some real learning to happen there.

And then, the third question is what could I have done differently? All things being fair, this is a question that I love asking my clients. What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again? Sometimes it’s; oh, I would have eaten before I went to the party. Or I would have had one slice, and then had salad.

So, the question is what could I have done differently that would have produced a different outcome? And so, this is where we explore alternative actions. Could I have prepared something different in advance? Or could I have stepped away for a moment to assess my true hunger levels?

And then, the other thing that’s really super important here and you’ve heard me talk about this tool before is the ‘Motivational Triad.’ Now, the Motivational Triad is a concept that is fascinating because it helps us to understand our behavior through our basic human motivations. We all 100 percent of humans are constantly seeking pleasure. We are always avoiding pain, and we are always doing it as easily as possible.

So, when we can look at our past actions through the lens of the motivational triad, everything starts to make more sense. We can see where we were seeking comfort, where we were avoiding discomfort, and how the path that we took seemed like it was the most straightforward, easiest path at that moment.

Understanding our motivations is just the beginning. The real magic happens when we start to plan for the future. So, how can we set ourselves up for success? One of the things that I love introducing to my clients is the concept of reducing friction. So, how can we reduce friction and make following our plan easier, then not following our plan.

For dinner time, let’s say that you come home nine o’clock in the morning. You’re like, I have a roast chicken and brussels sprouts and all of these amazing things that I’m going to make for dinner. But then, you get home and you’re tired and the kitchen is a mess and you’re like, forget that. I don’t have time for this, we’re ordering takeout, right?

In that situation, how do we make planning for dinner and eating what was on the plan easier, the easier choice than the choice that we don’t want. That’s called reducing friction.

So, what that might look like is putting the chicken into the crock pot before you leave for work so that it’s cooking and ready when you get home. Or what it might mean is partially preparing your healthy meals in advance. So, making sure that you have family members on board who are not going to mess up the kitchen before you get home, right? Or precutting your broccoli so that you don’t have to do it in the moment.

And then, finally, the last tool that I want to introduce you to is something called the Think Feel Act Cycle. This tool is all about understanding the connection between our emotions, our thoughts, and our actions. Of course, we know that our actions create our results, right? If I follow the diet, I’m going to get the result of the diet.

But our emotions, our feelings, they drive our actions. So, if we can understand what we were feeling, what emotion we were expressing at the moment that we made a decision about our health, we can start to see the patterns and the triggers that lead to those decisions.

So, for example, if I’m feeling stressed, I might be more inclined to reach for a glass of alcohol, right? Or comfort food. Recognizing this pattern means that I can start to implement strategies to deal with stress in a healthier way. It’s about creating a cycle of positive choices driven by awareness and understanding.

These tools, the three question evaluation process, the Motivational Triad, and the Think Feel Act Cycle are more than just concepts. They’re practical strategies that can transform the way that you approach your health and your wellness journey.

And if you’re interested in diving deeper into these tools and learning how to implement them in your life, this is exactly what we do in my coaching programs. Together, we explore these strategies, tailoring them to your unique journey, helping you to make choices that lead to a healthier, future.

So, I want to take a deeper dive into some personal stories, both mine and those of my clients. These stories aren’t just anecdotes, they are real life examples of how learning from our mistakes can lead to profound changes in our health and wellness journey. So, let’s start with something I’ve noticed in my coaching practice.

Often, we tend to brush off our mishaps. We’ll say things like, Oh, I totally ate off plan over the weekend, but now I’ve thrown away all of the cookies and I’m back on track and everything is good again. I hear this from my clients all the time.

Now, while it’s great to get back on track, this approach does us a disservice. We miss the opportunity to really look at what happened and to understand why we made the choices that we did.

One key reason we stumble is that our expectations don’t always align with the reality of the situation. This is where the tools that I mentioned earlier come into play. I work with my clients to think about and process what they expect to happen in different scenarios, like vacations or parties. So, let’s look at some examples.

First, let’s look at Jess. She was attending a Super Bowl party and was worried about sticking to her food plan amidst all of the chicken wings and blue cheese dip. Through our sessions, we discussed how she would feel in that moment surrounded by everyone else indulging. It wasn’t just about deciding not to eat certain foods. It was about understanding the emotions tied to that decision and preparing for them.

And then, there’s Cindy, who was going on vacation. She had promised herself that she’d exercise regularly during the trip, but when she got there, She just didn’t feel like doing it. We worked through what that would feel like, and how she could respond to those feelings in a way that respected both her commitment to her exercise, and her need for relaxation.

And then, there’s Michelle. Michelle found herself at dinner where the host kept refilling her glass of wine. Even though, she had decided beforehand to only have one glass. So, we explored how she might feel in that situation. The pressure to conform and be liked by her friends and the host versus the desire to stick to her plan. And then, how she could handle it while maintaining her boundaries and respecting her choices.

The thing about these scenarios is that they’re very common. The reason that we fall down is because we don’t know how to manage them. We don’t have the tools to manage them. If we had the tools to manage them, they wouldn’t be a problem.

And so, these solutions and the discussions around them are central to the work that I do with my clients. It’s about giving you the tools and the words and the skills to navigate these situations where you want to be healthier, where you want to make the better choice.

It’s not just about making a plan. It’s about preparing emotionally and mentally for the situations where that plan is going to be tested. It’s about understanding that these mistakes or deviations from our plan are not failures. They’re opportunities to learn more about ourselves and to implement skills that we need to implement in order to be healthier, which is ultimately, on our backs. Our health is on the line for that.

Now, if you find yourself nodding along, thinking about your own experiences and wondering how you might navigate them differently, then of course, I want to invite you to schedule a consult with me. Together, we can explore these questions and dive into your unique scenarios and equip you with the tools and strategies to make choices that support your health and wellness goals.

By now, you understand the importance of self-reflection, hopefully. Especially, after events that didn’t go as planned. But how do we actually implement these strategies in our everyday lives? So, let’s dive into some practical tips that you can start using today.

The first roadblock to this process is often our inner critic. You know that inner mean girl that can be really harsh and unforgiving when we make a mistake. So, let’s say, that you eat two cookies. And then, suddenly this inner mean girl shows up in your brain bombarding you with negative thoughts about how you failed. That you should just eat the whole box because you’re never going to be skinny anyway.

When we’re in that state of self-judgment, it becomes almost impossible to be curious and to genuinely reflect on what happened. Judgment, the inner critic, she blocks us from understanding and learning.

Next, we need to talk about building self-trust because self-trust is a critical skill that I teach my clients in my coaching programs, and it’s part of this whole process.

Now, self-trust, go into more depth in episode number 78, “Building the Skill of Self-Trust.” And building self-trust is a three step process. First, we want to be nice to ourselves in setting expectations. So, for example, something that I’ve talked about before is planning out your food for the day.

So, being aware that the person that you are going to be tomorrow is pretty close to the person that you are today. And she is not perfect. Here’s another example. Let’s say, that you’re used to eating five Oreos every day at 3 p. m. Deciding that you are going to eat zero Oreos is setting you up for failure.

Why? Because your brain and body are accustomed to this routine of eating five Oreos every single day. Instead of quitting cold turkey, I suggest that you reduce the number gradually. So, go from five Oreos to four Oreos for a period of time. And then, eventually, go to three, and so on.

Now, this approach not only helps you wean off the habit, but it also promotes mindful eating. I’m not going to tell you that you’re not going to feel discomfort. You are because your brain is going to have a conniption fit. It’s like, we’re used to eating five Oreos and you’re only giving me four. This is terrible, right? I want five. I’m used to five. But it’s going to have less of a conniption fit than if you don’t have any.

So, you want to enjoy each Oreo, savor each Oreo, be present with each Oreo. And prepared to experience and lean into that discomfort. Expect the cravings. And then, welcome them and say, Hey, there you are, I’ve been expecting you. I know this sounds insane, but it actually really works.

Step number two in building self-trust is following the plan. If you are kind to yourself in step number one, in creating your plan, following the plan becomes so much more manageable. We often struggle when we set unrealistic expectations. It’s also important to be flexible.

So, life is going to happen. It continually will happen, which means that it’s going to get in the way. And so, sometimes circumstances are going to change. So, for instance, if you had planned to wake up early to exercise but couldn’t because you needed to take care of your sick partner. That’s totally okay, right?

We follow our plans when we can so that we can have the flexibility when we need it. And this flexibility is vital.

Now, step number three is ‘don’t be a jerk to yourself when you don’t follow the plan.’ So, remember that inner critic that I was talking about, that inner mean girl. We tend to be our own harshest critics but beating ourselves up isn’t helpful. It’s important to remember the context.

So, if I skipped my work out because I was taking care of my sick partner, I liked my reasons for skipping my workout. I then no longer have the right to beat myself up about skipping my workout. That’s the agreement that we make. When we like our reasons for not following the plan, we no longer get to entertain the idea of beating ourselves up.

However, here’s the thing. If you find yourself continuously skipping your exercise routine. Then, it’s time to reevaluate. Maybe first thing in the morning isn’t a great time to set your exercise goals. Or maybe you’re setting your goals to be too ambitious. This is something that I see a lot that we are told that we should exercise for an hour a day three times a week.

And so, we say, okay, I should be able to do that because that’s what the experts are telling us to do. But when we really look at our calendar and our load that we have, everything that’s on our plates. Those goals are a little bit too ambitious. So, are you adhering to an impossible standard? If so, ask yourself if you genuinely like your reasons for making those rules for yourself in the first place.

This process of evaluation isn’t about finding Faults or reasons to berate yourself. It’s about understanding our actions, learning from them, and making adjustments that align with our health and wellness goals. So, the next time you find yourself deviating from your plan, take a moment to reflect, ask yourself those three questions.

Understand the motivations behind your actions. And then, most importantly, be kind to yourself through the process.

So, I want to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve covered today. We’ve explored the importance of the post event evaluation in our health and wellness journey. Understanding how crucial it is for personal growth and making better health choices.

We dove into the restrict binge regret cycle, a common experience for many of us. And how understanding and breaking this cycle can lead to a healthier relationship with food in ourselves. We talked about the practical tools, like the 3 Question Evaluation Process. The Motivational Triad and the Think Feel Act Cycle. And how these can help us navigate our health choices with more insight and strategy.

The key to all of this is self-reflection and self-compassion. It’s about understanding our actions, learning from them, and using those lessons to make choices that align with our health goals. I hope you found this episode helpful and that it has given you some valuable insights into how you can approach your health and wellness journey in a more mindful and self-compassionate way.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into the concepts and want personalized guidance, I encourage you to schedule a call with me. You can do so by visiting or by emailing me at I’d love to work with you one on one or in a group to help you navigate your health journey.

I want to thank you sincerely for spending this time with me. Your journey towards health and wellness is something I am passionate about. And I’m honored to be a part of to be part of it.

For more resources and insights and tips, don’t forget to visit my website at And you can also find me on social media where I share daily tips and inspiration to help you in your health journey. Join me on Instagram at, and on Facebook, you can find me at Total Health by Eliz.

If you found today’s episode valuable, please share it with a friend who might also benefit from it. And as always, feel free to reach out for me for a personalized coaching and support.

Have an amazing day. See you next time. Bye-bye.

Thank you for tuning into today’s episode. If what we’ve discussed resonates with you and you’re eager to take your health journey further, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one call with me. It’s an opportunity for us to dive deep into your health goals, explore your unique challenges, and discuss what you’ve tried before.

To book your slot, simply click the link in the show notes. Once you do, you’ll answer a few thought-provoking questions to get us started. Then, all you need to do is show up, and we’ll take it from there.

Let’s make your health journey a priority together. See you on the call!

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