Ep. 261: What to do if you HATE counting calories

Ready to change your mind about weight loss? Grab The 5-0 Method to lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.

Today takes a deep dive into what’s really going on when you don’t want to count calories, and what to do to fix it and get your goal anyway!

So you’re working on weight loss, but you hate counting calories. Obviously, you’re just doomed to never lose weight, right? NOT RIGHT. In fact, today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast takes a deep dive into what’s really going on when you don’t want to count calories, and – the good stuff – what to do to fix it and get your goal anyway!

What You’ll Learn

👉  The PROVEN SCIENCE of weight loss (a/k/a, WHY calories matter)
👉  WHY you hate counting calories
👉  WHAT TO DO to unblock your brain and find a solution


You're listening to The Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 261 "What to Do If You Hate Counting Calories?"

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.

Real quick before we get into today's topic, I want to invite you to join the Pahla B Wellness Over 50 Book Club in partnership with Chirp Audiobooks. The book we're reading for November and December is The Wisdom of Your Body by Hillary McBride, which you can grab a steep discount with no monthly subscription fees at chirpbooks.com/pahla. That's P-A-H-L-A. While you're there, be sure to click the follow button to get exclusive access updates and register for the live book club event on Friday, December 16th. I'll see you there.

Well, hello, hello my friend. It's so good to be here with you this week. Do you know what I am? I'm excited. I know you know that I'm going to say that every week. Should we just pre-record that part of the podcast where every single week I tell you how excited I am to be here with you talking about this topic? And here's why. I mean, here, let's take a left turn. I actually really do get excited about the topics that I come up with. I have this idea in my head that at some point I'm going to be so far ahead of my podcast topics... You know how it's almost the end of the year? I bought a huge wall calendar with all of the months of the year, and I have this picture of me being the kind of business owner who knows all of the content that I'm going to put out for the next year.

It's my dream to have 52 weeks of podcasts prepared and ready to go, not necessarily recorded, but decided on with topics and ideas and an outline and be so far ahead of the game. And yet, there's a little secret squirrel part of me that's like, "But I actually kind of like... " not necessarily being last minute, I don't enjoy being last minute, but I do like thinking about a topic deeply, writing the notes and then recording in the moment. What happens to me sometimes when I'm thinking too far ahead about content is I'll get really excited about content that's not supposed to come out for another three months and then it all just feels like, "Okay, but this stuff that I'm doing right now isn't as exciting." And yes, there's definitely, definitely mindset management to be done about all of this.

In fact, that is, here, still taking a left turn, I promise I'm actually going to talk about calories today. But that is something that I am working on right now in my business is not always going with the whim and learning how to really deeply have my own back when I make decisions ahead of time about things that aren't going to come down the pipeline for months. Because I do get very excited and motivated and carried away with it sometimes. And I wonder if maybe, even though this isn't our topic today, if maybe this sounds really familiar to you. My friend, here's the thing about getting any goal, really specifically though, getting weight loss. We get so fired up sometimes and then we forget what a long game it is.
There is so much value in the planning ahead and the being calm of it all that it is something that I do plan on talking about at some point in time in the future because it's not what we're talking about today, but it's work that I am currently doing that I know when I come out the other end of this, I am going to have something so helpful for you because I understand the difference between being very excited, something that I just thought of this morning, which is not true. I actually thought of this topic several days ago, but still the getting caught up in excitement versus the planning ahead and knowing and feeling such certainty and calm that you can always execute on your plan instead of waiting for motivation to strike.

I will have something so fabulous to tell you about that in a couple more months is my guess. But anyways, right now, hey, you know what we're talking about? We're talking about what to do if you hate counting calories. Let me tell you something right at the beginning of this podcast, I am one of you, I hate counting calories. What? Y'all, If you have the 5-0 method, which is my free program for women over 50, it really literally tells you everything you could possibly need to know about how to lose weight over 50 really specifically because it takes into account how much your hormones have changed with menopause, even if you're doing hormone replacement, even if you're not actually menopausal. Truly the science behind what I say is good science for every single person, but it's really specifically science geared towards menopausal women.

And the one thing, not the one thing, there are five things that we do every day, but one of the things that we do every single day is we eat the right number of calories, which implies that you will be counting calories. In fact, I tell you in the book exactly how to calculate the number of calories that you need to be in the slight caloric deficit that always, always, always drives weight loss.

Just super quickly, I'm going to refer you to episode 257 where we talked about the science of weight loss and how being in that slight caloric deficit is the thing that has been proven time and time and time again. That is the thing that drives weight loss. I will add a caveat there that yes, it drives weight loss, but only if you're capable of doing it. And the reason that you would be capable of doing it is because you're doing the mindset work. I personally, as you probably know, if you have listened to any of these podcasts, I personally believe that mindset work is the umbrella under which everything else falls. You truly cannot do something that you are not currently doing without doing mindset work first. Again, not entirely what we're talking about today, but also kind of a little bit of a precursor.

Here's the thing, I don't like counting calories, so how in the world have I successfully lost weight? How in the world do I get off telling you to count calories? Well, the reason I tell you to count calories, like I said, is because it's science backed. It really is the thing that drives weight loss. And having said that, I also deeply, deeply, deeply understand how much you might not want to count calories. I get it, I get it. Here's what I have to tell you about what to do with yourself in that conundrum. Lots of women do things like count macros or eat a certain way like keto or vegan or do intermittent fasting or follow some other program that essentially sets for you how much to eat. And I want you to know that it's literally the same thing as counting calories when you are eating in a certain prescribed way for the intent of weight loss.

The way that is going to work for you for weight loss is by eating in a slight caloric deficit. The reason I mentioned that is because there's, I don't love to use the word confusion, but I'm just going to say confusion. There's a lot of people talking on the internet, let me say it that way. There's a lot of people talking on the internet about how the science proves things like keto or intermittent fasting or X, Y, or Z that can help you lose weight. The fact is the science doesn't prove that it's good for weight loss. I found this absolutely fascinating. I was reading a couple of studies very recently that showed that intermittent fasting is actually fabulous for your health, but it doesn't make you lose weight unless you are eating the right amount.

There are lots of reasons why certain styles of eating, for you really specifically, it might just feel really aligned with who you are to be a vegan. It might feel really aligned with who you are to eat keto or paleo or something like that. It might feel really aligned with who you are because you have allergies or food sensitivities to be gluten free or something like that. The fact is that none of those styles of eating have been proven in themselves to be good for weight loss unless you are eating the correct amount. It always, always, always comes down to the amount of food that you are eating.

And here's the thing that I want to be really clear about with that is that eating in a particular style can be helpful. I mean, as I just mentioned, it can be helpful first of all because it feels like it's in alignment with who you are and what you want in the world. That right there, my friends, that right there is what I tell you all the time that something has to feel good for you to be able to stick with it and to get results from it.

I absolutely want you to feel good and I want you to understand that you could feel good about anything, that simply glomming on to something and saying, "This is the thing that's going to work." On the one hand, does help it work. And on the other hand, isn't always necessary. And here's why I mentioned this because for some of us, myself really specifically, I didn't want to do intermittent fasting even though, and this is totally to decide also, it's really kind of interesting because I actually kind of do intermittent fasting in the sense of I have a very lovely routine that I enjoy deeply and almost never deviate from because it feels so good to have a routine. And then one time I did the math and I was like, "Oh yeah, I actually do eat within about a 10-hour window." And I had just never ever thought about calling it intermittent fasting. And further to that, I also wouldn't want to narrow that window. I know and understand that you can do intermittent fasting with lots of different windows of time and things like that.

When intermittent fasting first became a really big deal several years ago at this point, I looked at that eight-hour window because that was the thing that was really considered the standard for intermittent fasting was the 8/16 thing. And I was like, "I don't even want to try that. I'm not interested." And additionally, a lot of people talk about how you just don't eat breakfast, that you eat only lunch and dinner in that eight-hour window. Again, totally left turn here, but did you know that you could actually eat three or five or 10 meals in an eight hour window? There's nothing about intermittent fasting that specifically says that you have to quit eating breakfast. I just think that's really fascinating.

But at the time, okay, years ago when it first came out, that was really how it was pitched in the popular media that you skip eating breakfast, you only eat two meals and you eat later in the day and all this kind of stuff. And I just wasn't interested. Turns out that what I do is very similar to intermittent fasting. I just never called it that.

Anyways, also, there are plenty of other ways that I wouldn't care to eat. I'm not a huge meat eater, so something like keto or paleo doesn't entirely appeal to me. I do however, really enjoy cheese and chicken and fish and all those kinds of things. So I also wouldn't want to be vegan. I feel like there's a way to adapt any kind of popular eating style, but in my mind, coming to weight loss, I was like, "There is nothing that I want to do that sounds like I could do it except counting calories." I know you can't see me, but I was making a really sour face when I said that because at the time I was the kind of person who said, "I hate counting calories. I don't like the way it feels. It feels yucky." And I want you to know that whether or not you want to count calories or don't want to count calories, you can do mindset work to understand what's going on with you, to get the self-awareness to help you make the best choice for you.

This is where we're going with this today. My friends, you never have to count calories, but you might want to figure out how to manage your food portions to be eating in a slight energy deficit, energy is another word for calories, but I understand that the word calories can feel very loaded that's why I'm saying energy, so that you can lose weight. My goal is to help you lose weight in a way that feels amazing to you. And the way that's going to feel amazing to you probably requires some mindset work. So let's do that.

Here's the thing about the thought, yes, that was foreshadowing, the thought that you hate counting calories. My friend, do you know that's a thought? Do you know that there is absolutely nothing about counting or calories or counting calories, those two words together that has any real emotional charge. Counting calories is actually completely neutral and your opinion of it is what creates the feeling of hatred for you.

Here, let's take a little quick left turn on this one also, because as the word hatred was coming out of my mouth, I'm like, "Wow! That's a big, strong word." I don't love using the word hate. It's not my favorite. It used to be a big go-to and I have pulled away from it because I don't love the energy of the word hate or hatred. And I also understand that it is a word that lots of us use very easily in situations like this. So if that word... Well, if any of the words I ever use ever feel like too much for you, please hear this podcast with whatever word makes more sense to you and whichever word you would use in the sentence of I, whatever, I feel whatever about counting calories.

And for those of you who are like, "I actually love counting calories," thank you for getting so far into this podcast already. Thank you for listening to the podcast at all. Thank you for even remotely wanting to click on it. When I had a title like, What to Do If You Hate Counting Calories? If you love counting calories, this probably still has some really good information for you honestly, because mindset work always does. You can always apply it to something in your life. So thank you for listening.

Okay, anyways, counting calories, completely neutral. It's a thing that you could do. And the way that it's neutral, first of all, is because there is somebody listening to this podcast who is like, "I love counting calories." That's how you know that it's an opinion, a thought that you have. Further to that, you also know that if you were asked to count something else, fluffy pillows, golf balls, I can't come up with anything else, paper towels, I don't know. I'm looking around me right now. I don't know why you would be tasked with counting paper towels, but you know what? Maybe you would be. If you work at a paper towel factory, maybe that's your job, in which case that probably wouldn't feel very neutral to you. You'd probably have a deep emotional charge. "I hate counting paper towels."

But when you picture yourself counting something that feels very benign, fluffy kittens, unless you're allergic to kittens or something that you enjoy, something that you like, it wouldn't feel like a burden, it wouldn't feel difficult, you wouldn't hate counting it. That's how you know that counting calories, there's nothing about the calories or the counting or the counting of calories that is inherently hateful. It's your thought. You have a thought. And if I actually had to venture a guest, you have lots of thoughts about counting calories born from many, many, many experiences in your life, not the least of which was when you were a kid and your mother complained about counting calories. Am I right?

I don't remember my mom actually complaining about counting calories. I do remember her being very, how can I say this nicely? I remember her being on edge. I don't think that's necessarily the nicest way to put it, but it is, in my opinion, an accurate description of how she felt about counting calories. I know my mom wanted to lose weight and simultaneously in a very real sense, did not because she didn't enjoy anything about the process and frankly had a lot of pressure, verbal pressure from my dad, which I also remember very clearly, about how she should lose weight.

These are my early impressions. This is my feeling about counting calories. This is where some of my automatic thoughts came from, was those very early impressions. And then of the millions of other things that have crossed my awareness since then. I mean, I'm thinking about billboards and magazine articles and advertisements. Honestly, doesn't everybody in the world have an opinion about counting calories? Because I know that lots of you do. You share them with me every time I talk to you about counting calories. I've heard lots and lots and lots of opinions about counting calories. And my friend, they're all opinions. You have opinions, thoughts about counting calories. And really just being aware of that can already help you almost detach emotionally. Probably not completely, but it can help you understand that this is a concept that you can examine with curiosity and compassion and tenderness for yourself.
When I became aware of the fact that I had lots and lots of social conditioning that formed my opinion about counting calories, it took a lot of me taking it personally out of the equation. There was definitely a part of me that felt like I should be able to count calories and that there was something fundamentally wrong with me personally that I didn't like counting calories if I wanted to lose weight. I want to normalize that for you. Also, my friend, you have thoughts about counting calories that create feelings for you and none of it means anything about you. This is not some failing on your part if you hate counting calories. It's a thought that you have that creates a feeling, like all thoughts create all feelings.

This is the point in the episode that I'm actually going to refer you to the podcast, How to Change. I want to say that it's episode 35, but I'm totally making that up and I haven't referred to it in a while. But I do think it's a really good foundational one in case you don't know that your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings drive your actions, and your actions get you results. It's a very thorough conversation about how that all works, and it's a really good reminder that that's exactly what's going on here. If you hate counting calories, you are having a thought about counting calories that is creating the feeling of hatred, that's driving the actions of, if you're me, complaining about counting calories, not counting calories, not coming up with any other solutions and therefore not losing weight. This was me for years, my friends, years.

And here's the thing that I also want you to recognize, and this is really where we get into the meat of this podcast where if you love counting calories, all of a sudden you're going to be like, "Hey, this does apply to me in some other way." Because it's not just the thought, I hate counting calories, that's at play here. What's really going on is that hatred of counting calories is actually resistance to feeling some other feeling. We express it as, "I hate counting calories," but what's really going on in your brain is that you don't want to feel a feeling that you associate with the counting of calories.

Follow me here because this is the part of the podcast where it's kind of going to feel like we're walking into a dark cave, and I want you to know I'm right here, I will hold your hand, I will hold the flashlight, and we can dig through this. This work is going to set you free. Coming back to that idea that you have a lot of thoughts about counting calories and about what it means and about eating and all the things. My friend, you have a lot of thoughts about what you can and can't eat, what you should or shouldn't eat, what you have to eat or what you could never eat, or what it means about you that you like eating certain things, or don't like eating certain things, or that some things are good for a diet, some things are bad for a diet. You have so many, many, many thoughts about the foods that you eat, about the quantities that you eat them in.

I'm not going to say that they're all bad thoughts, they're all just thoughts, but also those thoughts create uncomfortable feelings for you. Some of those feelings are in the genre of shame. Really specifically, this is me drawing from my own experience. I feel like I've shared this story before. I could not even begin to tell you. I have no idea what podcast it was. I'm 99.9% certain that it was before they had numbers and it was still the Let's Run podcast. I'm picturing myself walking and running while I'm telling this story and I have no idea how it was related to what else we were talking about in that particular episode. I certainly don't expect that you have listened to every episode I've ever made, but if you have, tell me which one it was.
When I was a kid, probably 10 or 11 years old, we were celebrating somebody's birthday in my family and I couldn't tell you who, but I don't think it was mine. I feel like it was my grandfather's birthday. Totally a guess at this point because it really was, I mean, hello, I am 53 years old, y'all. That was a while ago. That was 40 plus years ago. But anyways, there was a cake on the table and we were getting ready to sing Happy Birthday or whatever, and I remember my grandma looking at me and saying to whoever was next to her, which might have been my mom and could have been literally anybody, I come from a really big family, saying, "I bet Pahla could eat that whole cake." And I remember being completely mortified by that because frankly I could have, I totally could have eaten that whole cake.

I am not the kind of girl who historically had a lot of portion control. I do now. I absolutely do now, but I didn't then when I was a kid. And that sentence stuck with me and the shame and embarrassment that I felt in that moment stuck with me for years. You probably have a thought like that, or if it's not, maybe necessarily shame about the quantity of food you're eating. There are probably thoughts in there about being restricted, being clamped down, having a lid put on top of you, being deprived, wanting more and not being able to have what you want. You can see how these thoughts can actually apply somewhere else also for those of you who love counting calories. Here's the thing about those thoughts and those feelings. Those feelings are really, really deeply uncomfortable.

The thing about a deeply uncomfortable feeling is that your brain, this is how biology works all the time, every time, no matter what, your brain is seeking pleasure and trying to avoid pain. So your brain knowing that if you start counting calories, that the automatic thoughts that are very likely to come up are going to be thoughts about how Pahla could eat that whole cake or about how I want more than this and I can't have more or about how this just feels restrictive. Your brain would much rather not feel those feelings, therefore it simply stops you from counting calories by announcing, "We hate counting calories, therefore we're not going to."

It's just biology that you would rather not feel an uncomfortable feeling. And that's why when I suggest to you that we do, it's going to feel, first of all, unnatural, second of all, uncomfortable. Third of all, unpleasant. And I'm going to help you do it. You don't have to necessarily follow along with me right this second. I'm simply going to walk you through what my process was so that you can do this work for yourself at a time when you are prepared to feel through a very deeply uncomfortable feeling.

I will tell you that feeling through a deeply uncomfortable feeling is something that you are 100% capable of doing and something that you are very likely to resist doing. In fact, you have lots of evidence that you resist doing this because that's why your brain has offered you for however long it has offered you, that you hate counting calories.

Now, here's the thing, I want to make this super, super clear. It's not the food, it's not the calories, it's not the numbers, it's not the amount, it's not the totals. It's not even the memory of the thing that somebody said to you. None of that is creating the feeling, the uncomfortable feeling that you would rather not feel. Your thought creates the feeling. My friend, you have all of the power in this situation. You have all the power in all situations, but really specifically in this situation, there will be a point when you're doing this work that it does not feel like you have the power. It feels like this is an inescapable memory. It feels like this is an inescapable thought. It feels like this is just the truth. It feels like these are facts and this is why I want to be really, really, really clear with you and gentle with you that these are thoughts.

The fact is that my grandmother said words. My grandmother had an opinion. My grandmother might have been making a joke. I honestly have no idea. I mean, further to that truly is that I was a kid. I could literally be misremembering this entire situation. I have no idea. There's the very real chance that I have, not fabricated it entirely, but made it more or different than it actually went down. I have no idea and it doesn't matter. My thought about that situation is exactly that, it's my thought. I can, at any point, choose to think anything about a woman saying words about a cake. And frankly, what I have come to in my adult life because I love my grandmother deeply. She's been gone for many years, but I love my grandmother deeply.

I choose to believe that she had an opinion and that she had a lot of opinions about herself and her weight. And maybe she could have eaten the whole cake and maybe she had deep shame and maybe she felt restricted and maybe lots of things that I will never have access to. I have absolutely no idea what my grandmother was thinking that made her feel a certain way that drove the action of saying those words. However, I have a lot of sympathy for what that's like because I have been in situations where I had thoughts that created feelings, that drove actions of me saying something that probably hurt somebody else's feelings.

Again, I'll never have access to exactly what the other person thinks or feels, but I'm assuming I have hurt somebody's feelings, that my words have caused an automatic thought to appear in somebody else's head that created for them a feeling of deep hurt or pain. We all do it and it's all okay. And at any point in time, I can choose to do the work here to decide what I want to think on purpose rather than just listening to my automatic thoughts, which were something along the lines of, I eat too much. In fact, not just I eat too much, I always eat too much. That thought, "I always eat too much," create for me a feeling that I will describe to you as howling pain.

I'm going to take a quick left turn here because I want to clarify that the name of your feelings don't ever have to fall into some category of something that somebody else would understand. There is a lot of information in the world about how we have universal feelings. I have even talked about universal feelings. I have completely changed my thoughts on that specific matter and lots of things about feelings from really early podcasts. I want you to know that your feelings are your experience and you can name them anything you want. I highly recommend that you do a little bit of exploration to call it something that makes sense to you because giving something a name is part of what gives you agency over it and trusting yourself to name something in a way that might not be conventional is also just a really beautiful gift to yourself.
So that feeling of howling pain was very uncomfortable for me. It felt very much like having a giant, hot rock in the middle of my chest that was melting all of my insides into a molten piece of coal. Everything about this feeling was deeply painful as you can imagine since I had given it the name "howling pain." Feeling through that feeling took about two minutes, the way all feelings do. Your body releases chemicals into your bloodstream that creates sensations in your body. Things like a pounding heart, sweat, rapid breathing, clammy skin. Sometimes you'll have clanging or stuffiness in your ears very frequently. If you're me, it will go straight to your snot box and make your nose run and your eyes tear up. And probably again, if you're me, it will make you drool. Have I ever shared this before that I drool a lot when I'm having emotions? You're welcome. So glad I shared that.

But here's the thing. It is the chemicals that have been released in your bloodstream that are creating these physical sensations. They are all sensations inside of your body that because of the way your body works, your body is always, always, always. This is one of its biological imperatives. Your body would always rather stay the same. So when your body releases these chemicals, the next thing it's going to do is release another batch of chemicals to bring your body back to homeostasis. This is why your feelings don't last very long. Your feelings are supposed to get you to do something, which is why the hormones get released in the first place. By the way, hormones, chemicals, they're interchangeable. It's the exact same thing. Your hormones are chemicals that are released into your bloodstream.

Your body releases the chemicals, the hormones into your bloodstream to get you to do something. And then because your body would rather be in homeostasis, it releases other chemicals, other hormones to not negate the effects, but to dissipate the effects of the first batch of chemicals. This is what your body is always doing, you will never, never have a feeling for a very long amount of time because your body would rather be in homeostasis, which is balance by the way or sameness. You can use those words interchangeably. I will look up the exact definition because homeo means the same and stasis is balance or something like that. Point being, your body wants to stay the same as much as humanly possible.

So knowing that, truly is the thing that helped me the most. Understanding my body's chemistry has changed my relationship with my feelings. My body will never let me get stuck in a terrible feeling. My brain will, absolutely, and that is a conversation for another day. But here's what I'm going to offer you here. When you allow your body to do what it wants to do naturally, which is to say feel a feeling all the way through, it will dissipate relatively quickly because your body wants to dissipate it. Your body wants to be ready for the next feeling.

Here's what happens when you do this work. When you identify your, I'm going to call them painful thoughts, they're actually still just thoughts, but they are thoughts that create for you uncomfortable or painful feelings. When you uncover those thoughts and feel those uncomfortable or painful feelings, here's what happens. Your body releases its hold on that feeling. All of the years that you spent resisting, "Oh my gosh, I can't possibly feel that feeling. Ooh, I'd rather feel anything than that deep shame. I'd rather feel anything other than that howling pain. I'd rather feel anything other than deprived or restricted or there's a lid on me or all of those yucky, yucky things." As soon as you are not afraid of feeling that feeling because you just did it, you lived through it, and frankly, sometimes after you feel these uncomfortable feelings, you feel like a superhero. Like, "Oh my gosh, that seemed like it was going to be the worst thing ever and then I did it, and that was it. It was just two minutes of sweating and saliva on my chin." Like, That's it? That's all you got?"
So when you are not afraid of that feeling anymore, your brain won't block it anymore. By thinking thoughts like, "I hate counting calories," you will... I love this visual and I apologize if you don't like this visual, but this one is so very clear for me. I love thinking about this like unclogging a drain that's full of hair, which is to say, my shower. Every six months, I have to unscrew the drain and pull out those clumps of stinky, nasty, disgusting hair. So gross. It's literally the worst smell in the world, and yet it is so satisfying because when you pull that hair out, oh, all of a sudden the shower can flow freely. This is what happens when you feel your feelings. You pull the clogged drain of stinky, gross hair free and all of a sudden you will realize that you are capable, well, first of all, of anything, really specifically feeling all your feelings. But second of all, of deciding what you'd like to do.

Because when you say to yourself, "I hate counting calories," you are closing the door to that even being an option. When you open the door, open the drain of that being an option, you might still choose not to count calories. Here's the thing, I know I promised you in the title that I was going to tell you what to do if you hate counting calories. The fact is, you might always not want to count calories, but your brain will have the capacity to decide what to do that feels good in a way that it simply couldn't when it was spending all of its energy trying to avoid feeling bad. Your brain is spending a lot of time trying not to feel bad.

This is what I want you to take away from this. The things that you think you hate doing, you may or may not actually hate them, but what you're actually doing by entertaining that thought is you are resisting. Resistance takes energy and lots of it. As soon as you stop resisting feeling that uncomfortable feeling, all of the energy that you were spending resisting that will now flow towards finding a solution that just makes sense. For me, personally, here's what I came up with, and I'm not recommending this as like, oh, this is the thing you should do. If you hate counting calories, you might, and you also might not. You might decide to do whatever feels amazing to you that helps you eat in the right portion. Meaning, slight caloric deficit to help you lose weight.

For me personally, what freed me up when I freed up my brain space, what I came up with is that I sat down, I'm laughing at myself. I hope you laugh with me because this sounds kind of ridiculous, but it worked so well for me. I sat down one weekend and I counted up the calories of everything that I was ever willing to eat. I put together all of the recipes of all of the casseroles I make. I put together all of the sandwiches I might be inclined to have for lunch. I have always eaten the same thing for breakfast, so that one was really easy for me. But I counted the calories in every single thing I cook and it took hours. It was hours. Like I said, I dedicated basically an entire weekend and then I knew, and then I never had to count calories again.
When it took me nine months to lose 10 pounds. And yes, it took me nine months to lose 10 pounds because there were other thoughts that needed to be found too and other feelings that needed to be felt, and that is its own story. And in fact, gosh, that was before podcasts had a number. In fact, it was one of the very last ones before podcasts had a number. It's called, How I Lost Weight at 49 While Going Through Menopause. And in it, I tell the story of some of the other thoughts that I needed to figure out for myself.

It is one of the ones where we walk and run. Don't feel like you have to. You guys, never feel like you have to walk or run unless you actually enjoy that sort of a thing. And it's moderate for you to do so while you're listening. You can always listen to the podcast while you're, I don't know, vacuuming the house or watching dishes or whatever. But anyways, I sat down and I counted out the calories of literally everything I could possibly eat and then I never had to count calories again.

I never had to count calories. Well, actually, I want to correct myself on that one. There was, I'm sure, not even a handful. You guys, I don't really like to go out to restaurants to eat. It's not my favorite thing. But I do know that there was probably at least a couple of occasions where we went to somebody else's house because it was pre pandemic. So we went out willy-nilly with all the places, all the things, all the times. And so there was other foods. What I did in those situations, frankly, instead of counting was I figured out an approximation of how much I thought it might be and what sort of a portion size was probably going to be appropriate. And then I allowed myself to eat that much and call it good, instead of trying to double check the math or be nervous that I wasn't counting properly.

I chose to believe that what I was doing was working, which brings us right back to where we started. Well, maybe not quite where we started, but when we got back from the first of the five left turns, when I said that finding the thing that feels in alignment with you is the thing that will make you lose weight. It is the thing that will drive weight loss. When you believe that you are doing the right thing, either through mindset work or because this thought comes to you very automatically, naturally and easily, that you are doing the right thing, it will be the right thing, especially if that right thing is eating in a slight caloric deficit.

My friends, the fact is, there are so many ways to eat in a caloric deficit. Find the one that feels amazing for you. And if none of them feel amazing for you right now, pick the one that you're going to do the mindset work on. It's available to you. Here's what we did, y'all, just in case it wasn't clear, we found our thoughts and decided if they were helpful by feeling the feeling. When you find your thoughts and feel your feelings, you have all the power to make all the choices that are going to get you everywhere that you want to go.

Thank you so much for listening. I hope that this was really, really helpful for you. And if you know what podcast it was where I talked about my grandmother telling me about the cake thing, I'm pretty sure... I suspect because I had a five episode series way back. Again, back when it was the Let's Run podcast that I think it was maybe either the My Story or the Muddle in the Middle where I talked about mindset work. I think it was one of those. If you know, can drop a comment somewhere, depending on where you're watching or listening. I always love to hear from you. Thank you so much for listening. I'll talk to you again soon.

If you are 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 of 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-dash-goal and let's get your goal.

Listen to the full episode here, and be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

Originally aired November 13, 2022
Today takes a deep dive into what’s really going on when you don’t want to count calories, and what to do to fix it and get your goal anyway!
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Meet Your Host

Mindset expert and certified life coach Pahla B knows a thing or two about changing your mind to change your weight and your life. She’s the creator of The 5-0 Method, Amazon-best selling author of the book “Mind Over Menopause,” and former yo-yo dieter who has cracked the code on lifelong weight maintenance. Join Pahla B each week for the personal insights, transformative mindset shifts, and science-backed body advice that can help you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.