Are you ready to STOP STARTING OVER, and just get on with the business of losing weight for the last time? Then this podcast is for you!
We’ve all been there: things are going so well at the start of the journey to our goal weight, and then – BOOM! – life happens and we feel totally derailed. And when we can finally wrap our head around thinking about losing weight again, it seems like we’re starting from scratch.
But in today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re going to turn that narrative around. My friend, no matter how long you’ve been “away” from your goal, you are still aiming directly for it, when you use this simple process.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
👉 The 3-step DECISION-MAKING process that changes everything
👉 How to BE SKEPTICAL without being critical
👉 How (and when) to check on your RESULTS
Be sure to SHARE the podcast with your friends and family! 💛
How to STOP STARTING OVER (Full transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 240, “How to Stop Starting Over.”
Welcome to the Fitness Matters podcast where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I’m Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author and your best middle-aged fitness friend. Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let’s go.
This month’s book club book is “The Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi. Join me to chat about it live on Tuesday June 14, at 3:00 PM Pacific. There is a link in the description box or show notes to register for the Zoom event. You can download and listen to “The Kindness Method” or thousands of other great titles from Chirp audiobooks at steep limited time discounts with no monthly subscription fees. And first time users can get 50% off their purchase with the code, “PAHLA50.” That’s P-A-H-L-A-5-0. Be sure to follow the Pahla B Wellness Over 50 Book Club at chirpbooks.com/pahla and grab your copy today. I’ll see you live in June.
Well hello, hello, hello, my friends. It is so good to be here with you today and I am very excited about our topic. In fact, I am so excited that this is the third time I have created a podcast about this exact topic with almost the exact same title. I’m actually going to refer you right up top to two other episodes of not quite the Fitness Matters podcast. Both of these were way back when it was the Let’s Run podcast (How to STOP STARTING OVER https://pahlabfitness.com/2-mile-indoor-walk-run-how-to-stop-starting-over-30-minute-walking-workout/ and Starting Over https://pahlabfitness.com/starting-over/). In fact, one of them was one of the very first ones I ever made. It was pretty early on that I talked about this because this is a topic that I feel really passionately about.
But here I am, third time’s the charm, with the How to Stop Starting Over sandwich, because this is a really good topic. You guys, this is something that affects us all, every single one of us. And in fact, if you do go back and listen to the other two old ones, let me tell you first of all, you never, ever, ever have to walk or run. One of them is 30 minutes, actually I think they both are, and I’m walking/running in both of them because that’s what I used to do. That was my shtick. It was a thing. You do not ever, ever have to walk or run while you are listening to the podcast. You’re welcome to if that’s something that you were going to do anyway, but you don’t have to treat it like a workout if you don’t want to. So you’re welcome to just listen to them as a podcast. But one, I think it was the very first one, was basically me just giving myself a little pep talk on the podcast, which is what I still do sometimes.
But I will tell you that today’s episode is actually far more practical in terms of the fact that I have three steps. Here’s what you’re going to do. This is how this plays out in your life, and here’s how you can make it work for you. Whereas the other two, well one of them, basically has six steps also, but honestly, they’re a little bit more mindset-y, which I think is really funny considering that this is a mindset podcast. And here I am today with slightly more practical, doable advice than the older episodes. Super interesting to me. Anyway, here’s what happens to lots of us. We get sick, we get injured, we get distracted from our goal. Let’s just put it that way because this is what’s actually going on in your mind. You’re starting a new goal, you’re totally motivated about it, it feels like it’s top of mind, it’s right there first thing.
I’m doing all the things, I’ve got it all written down, I’m doing my best to plan ahead, I’m tracking my food, I’m drinking my water. It feels very top of mind to be doing the things. Then after a certain period of time – and sometimes it really is because something quite dramatic happens in your life, some circumstance where something rather big changes in your life in one way or another or it could even be something very, very small – and your eye is off the ball. Now, if you have ever been hit by a ball, let me tell you that all it takes is to actually take your eye off of it to suddenly get smacked in the face. This has happened to me more than once, even when I had my eyes on the ball. I never was very good with the eye-hand coordination thing. But here’s what happens. We feel, because we have thoughts, like we’ve lost all of our momentum.
Really the only thing that happened was that it went from being in the front of your mind to being in the back of your mind, something that you weren’t paying as much attention to. And so then when we are ready to come back to our goal (presumably of weight loss, that’s what we normally talk about), we feel like we’ve lost all of our momentum. And so now, we’re starting over, we’re starting from scratch. And in the other two episodes, I will tell you that I went on at pretty great length at basically trying to convince you that you could think about this differently, and you can because truly time only moves in one direction. The way we understand the space-time continuum or the way that we have all socially agreed to talk about space and time is that it moves in one direction. We are moving from the beginning of our lives to the end of our lives, blah, blah, blah. Technically, that’s true. But here’s the thing.
If you don’t pay attention to the thoughts that you’re having about feeling like you’re starting over – feeling like you’re starting from scratch – it doesn’t matter if you try to layer on some new positive thought on top of that. Your feeling of starting over is going to persist. So here’s my practical response for how to stop starting over, and really what I mean by that is how to stop feeling like you’re starting over. And this is actually a really good framework for making any decision or getting any goal. As I often do, I’m talking about weight loss, but you can actually apply this three-step process to any decision that you need to make in your life or any goal that you want to achieve in your life. So the three-step process of making a decision is, step one, make a decision. I know that this is super funny, and it cracks me up every time I think about it because I mean, come on. If I knew how to make a decision, I would not be looking for a three-step process. But here’s what I want you to know about making decisions.
Speaking of things that we have socially agreed upon, we all feel like we should do a lot of thinking before making a decision. We need to weigh the pros and cons. We really need to think about things. We really need to make lists. We need to predict the future. My friend, let me tell you something, you cannot. You do not know what is coming; you don’t. You can shape the future 100% through the things that you decide and then move forward by doing. But as far as what the world’s going to do, I mean I think we’ve all learned over the past couple of years that the world has its own opinions about what’s going to happen next. You have the direction that you would like to go and I mean with or without your pros and cons list, my friend, you actually already know what you want.
This step, making a decision, is going to take some practice, especially from those of us who are used to second guessing ourselves, especially from those of us who are used to dithering, who are used to making lots of pros and cons lists, who are used to taking lots of time and thought to make decisions. It will take some practice on your part to develop this skill. But here’s what I’m going to tell you: it can be as simple as deciding. Choose one. You can flip a coin if there are only two things to choose between. You can do anything you want to decide. But I suggest that you decide quickly because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what you decide. You will always have time and space down the line to change if necessary and even better, you won’t have to. Here’s why. When you make that clear decision, such as, “I am losing weight,” it also involves actually putting some decision-making into what your tasks are going to be.
I’ve lumped this together as step one. It could be broken apart as step one and step two depending on the decision-making that you’re doing. So if you have a very simple decision, there might not be a lot of tasks to it and they might be very well prescribed. For example, if you decide that you’re losing weight, come on over to the 5-0 Method truly, in the show notes or the description box there’s a link. It’s pahlabfitness.com/weight-loss-over-fifty. It’s the 5-0 Method, it explains everything you need to know about losing weight. It has five steps for you to do every single day, super, super straightforward and simple and helps you make a lot of those decisions about what you’re going to be doing every single day in order to meet your big decision, “I am losing weight.” Here’s why it doesn’t matter about your decision. Step two of making your decision is where you’re actually going to do all the thinking. I know you think you need to do it first, but truly there are so many thoughts that you don’t have access to until you’re moving forward with a decision.
You can think to yourself, “Gee, I wonder how I’m going to feel if I’m drinking this much water or I wonder how I’m going to feel . . . ” Or you probably predict, not even, “I wonder” but “I’m going to feel like I’m waterlogged if I drink that much water.” is very different from drinking that much water, seeing how it feels, and then having the thought, “I think this is too much water.” Step two is to commit to finding your thoughts and set a specific date for a review of your process. Again, this could be broken into two things. I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, and these are related enough that I made them one step. When you commit to finding your thoughts, it is so much more effective than trying to predict the future. When we are making our pros and cons list of all the things that could happen, I say this gently, I say this with love and I say this to myself all the time: it’s a waste of time.
I know that you would like to believe that you make excellently informed decisions. I don’t disagree with you, but I do because the way that you know whether or not your decision was informed is by living with the consequences of your decision. You can find out what your thoughts are about the decision in the moment versus spending so much time at the front. Front loading your decision-making with thinking thoughts that don’t have a resolution because you have not done anything to see what actually happens – when you do that you’re just predicting the future. Again, nicely, it’s a waste of time. When you simply make a decision and then you commit to finding your thoughts about that decision and set a date for when you will review how the process is going, you are able to put your time where it is most effective. Once you are actually calculating your calories, once you are actually eating that number of calories, once you are actually drinking that number of ounces of water, once you are actually trying to go to bed at 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM, or whatever time it is. If you’re me, 7:00 PM, but that’s just because I get up really early.
When you are actually doing the thing, that’s when you will most effectively find your thoughts about it and see how it is truly affecting your life in the moment. So rather than front loading with all that thinking time, you’re going to spend a little bit of time every day. It’s going to be the same amount of . . . I mean it may not be the same amount of time, but it’s going to be more or less the same amount of time no matter which way you do it. One of them is effective; one of them is ineffective. Finding your thoughts in the moment is much more effective. “This is how many calories I ate today. What do I think about that?” “This is what I had to do to fit that number of calories or the foods that I wanted into that target, and this is what I think about that.” Making that commitment to finding your thoughts means that you’re going to be journaling every day. This is really, really practical.
Every day, you’re going to sit down and you’re going to be like, “Hey, what did I think about that decision? Or what did I think about the tasks rather? What did I think about the tasks about what I’m doing in order to get my big goal, my decision?” And then you’re going to set a specific date for a review of the process. Generally speaking, I like to tell you four to six weeks. Four to six weeks is just a good amount of time for most decisions. Some decisions you can look at the process a little bit faster. I don’t suggest looking at the process within a couple of days. I mean just scientifically speaking, you don’t have enough data in a couple of days to have any big, broad understanding or to have a big, broad understanding of what’s going on. When you get to that date and you are ready to sit down and review, I’m going to caution you because lots of us do this. Lots and lots and lots of us do this. We think about how we think the decision is going.
“Well, I haven’t really lost much weight so I think it’s not going well. I think I should change how many calories I’m eating. I think I should change what I’m doing here or there.” Uh-uh (negative). This, my friends, is where you need to have your data. This is where you will really look at those thoughts that you’ve been finding and understand how they are affecting you. If, for example, you have a calorie target and about that calorie target every single day, you’re just flooded with thoughts about how, “This is too much, I’m never going to lose weight. I’m having a hard time. I can’t possibly fit what I want to eat into this because I have to eat extra or whatever.” When you are flooded with those thoughts, specifically about your calorie target, it is not time to change your goal weight. It is not time to change your decision to lose weight. It’s time to review whether or not that specific task is working for you.
So when you are doing step three, which by the way, step three is to be skeptical about the process, not the decision. When you are skeptical about the process, you will look at the individual components and you will have first of all the data of where you are actually making progress, and you will also have all of your notes, your field notes which are the thoughts that you have been finding. In our really specific example, you’ve made the decision, “I’m losing 50 pounds. I’m eating X number of calories.” And then over the course of four weeks, you have found a flood of thoughts about how that calorie target cannot possibly work for you. My friends, you are then welcome to make a small decision about your calorie target and how you might get there and how that might work for you. It is not time to throw out your thought or your decision about how you’re going to lose weight. It is not time to simply give up on weight loss. It’s time to review what you’ve been doing and what you’ve been thinking.
Here’s how this plays out when you have a big life event that took precedence over all of the other things that you were doing. You will notice, “Hey, when I’m trying to lose weight, it’s not a great idea to get sick for three weeks. It’s not a great idea to have a gigantic life event. That gigantic life event is not one of the tasks that is moving me towards losing weight. Here are all the thoughts that I have about this that can have me moving towards making decisions that will help me get to my goal eventually. And maybe that decision is ‘I’m going to take time right now to deal with this life event.’ And then in another four to six weeks, I can review again where I’d like to be and what I’d like to do to continue making progress towards my overarching goal.” My friend, you are never starting over. You are always collecting data.
When you think of your goal as a decision – I’m going to say carved in stone, even though it’s really not. It is as carved in stone as anything could be that’s not actually carved in stone – it is always waiting for you. This is actually where I’m going to refer you to the episode from just a couple of weeks ago called The Finish Line (Ep. 236 The FINISH Line https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/236-finish-line/. Your goal is always waiting for you and you are never at the start of your goal ever again. You are always figuring out what’s going on and what is working for you and what is not working for you on your way to that goal. You make the commitment to find your thoughts and figure out which ones of them are in service of your goal, and frankly, when you are sick or are dealing with a big life event, your thoughts are something along the lines of, “I can’t think about weight loss right now. I can’t even imagine trying to count my calories right now. I don’t have the time to be able to get to bed at nine o’clock. I have other things that are going on.”
When you are collecting the data of those thoughts, you can see that you are still working towards weight loss. Those thoughts happen to not be helpful for moving towards weight loss in a physical sense, but they are still data that you are collecting as progress. Here’s why this is actually a really foolproof way of thinking about your goal. When you stop re-deciding your decision and you simply know that it’s there, that it’s coming, you’re making progress towards it. Every day is actually one more step closer to it in terms of, “I am still moving towards it, even if my weight is actually moving in a different direction. I am moving towards my weight loss goal by doing things and finding my thoughts about those things and continuing to look skeptically and lovingly at the process.” It means that you’ll stop thinking that your goal is a problem. Sometimes this is how we approach a goal. We set ourselves a goal and then we think that everything on the way there is a problem that needs to be solved, or getting there is some problem that we need to work out.
When the goal is simply a thing, it’s simply there. It’s a decision that’s already been made. There’s no need to continue overthinking it. We can then take a look at the process as not necessarily a problem, but not necessarily working the way you’d like it to. Being loving and skeptical of the process means that you’re not being skeptical of the goal itself. And let me tell you something, you’re going to have to remind yourself of this. Trust me when I tell you that I have asked myself numerous times to simply give up on my goal of creating a million dollar business. I cannot tell you how many times that thought has crossed my mind. And it’s like, “No, that decision has already been made. This is coming. Let’s just take a look at what I’m doing right now. Does this feel good? When I’m working these hours, when I’m doing these things, how do I feel about the process of creating a million dollar business for myself?” Let’s be skeptical about those tasks and whether or not they are working for you as opposed to whether or not the goal is working for you.
The goal is working because that’s a decision that’s already been made. When you can think about your goal as a decision and create for yourself that feeling of decisiveness, it frees up your brain space. When you think your goal is an opinion, and it is, but when you think of it as an opinion that could be changed, that could be different. Maybe you don’t know and you have lots of thoughts about it and maybe those thoughts are true. When you are looking at your decision as something soft as opposed to something firm, you will constantly feel like you are not sure whether or not you’re getting there. When you make a decision – and I want you to think about a decision that you’ve made in your life – when you have made a decision that something is simply going to happen . . . For example, I mean it could be something as simple as, “I already know what I’m making for dinner tonight. It’s on my whiteboard because this is what I do.”
I make a decision about what we’re having for dinner before I go grocery shopping, and then I buy all the things for it. And then I simply know. I knew on Saturday morning that today (Monday) I would be eating fish tacos for dinner. Now, as it happens, I’m not super excited about fish tacos for dinner tonight, but the decision has already been made and therefore I’m not doing any extra thinking about it. What I am doing is committing to, “This is what I’m having for dinner.” And I’m going to pay attention to all the thoughts that I’m having while I’m making it, while we’re eating it, ask myself if this is something that I want to do again next week or the week after or whatever. That’s the data that I am gathering. I am not changing the decision because I’m having thoughts. I am noticing the thoughts and moving towards the decision. When you decide on your goal, it’s going to feel very different. It’s going to feel decisive as opposed to maybe.
Part of the reason why we think we’re starting over is because of that “maybe” feeling, because, “Maybe I was going to get there. Maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I’m going to get there now. Maybe I won’t.” When you make a decision, “I’m losing weight. This is happening,” it takes away all the pressure of needing to be there at a certain time, needing to be there in a certain way, needing to get it done now. It’s simply happening. It is a decision that has been made. Your three-step decision-making process is to step one, make the decision. When you make a clear decision, you know exactly where you’re heading. When you’ve made that clear decision, it helps you understand the tasks that you’ll be doing to get to that decision. Step two is to commit to finding your thoughts and set a specific date for the review of your process. Step three is to be skeptical about the process, but not the decision. My friends, when you employ this three-step process to get your goal, there will be no starting over. There will be no feeling of, “Now I’m starting from scratch.”
It’s always moving forward and collecting data. And that moving forward and collecting data part is actually exactly what we do in the Get Your Goal group. I help you find all those thoughts. I mean, through coaching and through the accountability threads in the forum, we talk about moving forward, about having your decision already made and then finding the thoughts about the process on the way. Consider this your invitation to come and join if you’d like some help with the process. My friends, make a decision, commit to finding your thoughts, be skeptical about the process and not the decision. I hope this was helpful for you today. Thank you so much for being here. I’ll talk to you again soon.
If you’re getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters podcast and you’re ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love the Get Your Goal coaching and accountability group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast and actually apply it in real life on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It’s hands on, it’s fun, and it works. Find out more at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal, and let’s get your goal.