Ep. 280: When Weight Loss is SLOW

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.

Sure, you expect weight loss to be slower over 50, but your weight loss feels like it’s REALLY slow. So what’s a menopausal girl to do? THIS.

Slow weight loss is frustrating, isn’t it? Even when you’re faithfully putting in the work with The 5-0 Method, you might still be losing weight slower than you want to, and you’re just so… over it.

But what if slow weight loss isn’t the problem that you think it is? What if there’s a simpler answer than just trying to work harder?

Because there is: in this week’s episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’m covering the science of how fast or slow you can reasonably expect to lose weight at our age (and why), plus the mindset shift you can access TODAY to get the scale moving faster.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why SLOW weight loss isn’t really a problem
  • The REAL issue that’s slowing you down, and
  • The ONE EASY TIP that can get the scale moving faster

No matter how slow it’s going, my friend, you *can* lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever when you’re working on your mindset like we do here on the Get Your GOAL podcast!


Hey GOALfriend, welcome to episode number 280, the one where we're talking about what to do when weight loss is slow. You guys, boy, oh boy, do I feel you on a deep soul level on this one? This is a, I'm gonna call it a complaint or a concern or just a topic that comes up a lot with a lot of my clients that I meet in, like my free Facebook group or in my paid group that Get Your GOAL Mastermind, the idea that weight loss could be or should be fast. And it is unfortunately slow is a, well, I'm gonna call it a problem, even though as we're gonna discover over the course of this episode, it's not really a problem per se. It is, it is something that you think when you are telling me that weight loss is slow, you think you are telling me the news that this is a thing that is happening. And I want to approach this idea that first of all, there are a couple of reasons why your body is behaving the way that it's behaving. Like we're gonna talk about the science of why weight loss takes the amount of time that it takes. And then of course, because that's what we do here on the Get Your GOAL podcast, we're gonna talk about the mindset and what you can do, what you can think, what you can feel, what you can do with your mindset to help not feel like weight loss is slow and possibly even actually physically speed up your weight loss. Now, I wanna just, I wanna just start off really quickly with the science so that you know that I am not promising that you are gonna lose, you know, 50 pounds this month. I, you guys, do you play a lot of like games on your phone? I do. I play a fair few and I play this one game that I would very much like to not play anymore, except that I really, I enjoy the game so much, but I just can't stand the ads that I get on this game. And I also have not sprung the whatever, $5 to get the ad free version. And I probably, because I enjoy the game, I probably should. But there's this one ad that I get, there's a lot of ads for like the, the serum that can erase all the wrinkles and all the age spots and all the, everything from your face and your hands. And that one always cracks me up because it's very clearly photoshopped like a before and after allegedly. But there is this, in fact, several ads that I get for weight loss products, they're probably all the same thing. I don't really pay that much attention to them, but there are weight loss products and one of the ads that I saw recently was talking about how this person lost like 64 pounds in 30 days, and they show this alleged before and after, and it's very clearly a different person. And it's just the thing that always kind of makes me laugh with it. I'm like, I, I don't even know what you think you are showing me, but you're very definitely not showing me realistic or even remotely possible results. So let's just talk really quickly about the actual science of weight loss. And I know that you have heard many millions of times in your lifetime that you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. And I want you to know that it's not that simple that the calories in calories out has long, long been debunked as a myth that there is, there is a way to lose weight and it is to be in a slight caloric deficit over time. And the way to be in that slight caloric deficit is to definitely be eating the right number of calories. And it can be, there's the possibility that burning calories through not just like exercise, exercise, but just movement in your life can contribute to that slight caloric deficit. The thing that can also happen from really specifically like directed exercise or even daily movement just living your life is that you could unintentionally or intentionally over exercise, which actually does not contribute to a caloric deficit, but contributes to another function of your body. Which is to say that when you get into too much of a caloric deficit, your body actually stores fat relying on exercise to be part of the equation of your caloric deficit is, I'm gonna call it dicey. It's, it's not your best bet. Your best bet is to enjoy movement, to have a regular amount of movement in your life, and to think about your body's functioning in terms of your heart and lungs behaving, uh, you know, at optimal efficiency, your balance working in a way that makes sense to keep you on your feet, your muscles and bones being strong and thinking about your, your bone density. Like you can think about movement in a way that enhances your health, but thinking about exercise as a way to lose weight is not in your best interests. And here's the thing about that slight caloric deficit. When we were younger and our bodies were at their, let's call it your peak efficiency. There's, there's a time in your life that's somewhere in your, like twenties or probably early thirties when your body had the potential to be operating at its peak efficiency that it was ever going to. Like if all the stars aligned, you were at a healthy weight, you were exercising, you know, regularly, and I'm gonna say vigorously, but vigorously in a way that made sense for you at peak efficiency. And you were resting well and well hydrated, and your, your mindset was, was clear and relatively free of stress. Like there was a time in your life somewhere in your like twenties to thirties at which you might have been operating at what was going to be your body's peak efficiency over the course of your lifetime. Now here's the thing, if you spent your twenties and thirties like I did , either a, let's see, when I was in my twenties, I was partying a lot. I was not sleeping, I was not eating healthy foods, I was not taking care of my body in honestly any manner in my especially, gosh, in my early twenties, I had a job where I was working nights and trying to sleep during the day except for the fact that I was also going to school. I for a time had a couple of jobs, so I was working a lot. I absolutely ate junk food and fast food and drank a lot of caffeine and sodas and like, there was not a lot of healthy habits. Uh, in fact, I'm gonna say none, uh, gosh, in my early twenties, I will fully admit that I, there were days when I would go to bed and I was like, gosh, did I drink any water at all today? So, so my body's potential for peak efficiency went unnoticed in my life because, okay, again, thinking about like my early thirties, I had very young children, so I still was not really getting a lot of sleep. I was not really taking care of like healthy foods or healthy habits in terms of like my sleep or my exercise, like my, my body's potential went undone. I did not take advantage of my twenties and thirties in the way that I coulda [inaudible]. However, here's the thing about potential or peak efficiency. Your body always has a peak efficiency for where you are right now. So even though my peak efficiency here at age 53 is not the same as it was back in my twenties or thirties, I can still maximize my current body's efficiency by interestingly doing all the things that we do with the 5-0 Method, which, here's my, here's my weekly plug for the 5-0 Method, which is my free weight loss program for women over 50. That takes into account a very holistic effort. The truth of the science is that you can lose weight by simply eating in a caloric deficit. The end, however, because you are not a simple calories in, calories out kind of robot, the best way to think about weight loss and really to think about your health, to think about your life is to look at a lot of different factors that go into taking care of your body's health and efficiency. And by efficiency what I mean is metabolism and losing weight to get to a healthy weight, which is part of operating at peak efficiency by the way, it's being a healthy weight. The 5-0 Method takes into account your mindset, which is to say the level of stresses that you have in your life, the kinds of unhelpful thoughts that are not taking you where you want to go. It also takes into account the amount of calories that are you are eating. The energy that you are taking in the 5-0 Method, by the way, does not actually talk about the quality of your calories. I do consider that to be part of your overall journey. But the 5-0 Method is really geared towards getting you moving versus where you might end up at some point in your weight loss and health journey, you might eat a healthy diet and I'm just gonna lay that out there as though it's an actual thing, but healthy for you, as healthy as you can be, as healthy as you wanna be. The 5-0 Method really specifically offers you that simply paying attention to the energy, the number of calories can get you moving towards weight loss. It is not necessarily going to be you at your optimal health, but it is the easiest way to get started with weight loss and help you start making choices that feel good in your body. The 5-0 Method is truly not intended to be like the finish line. It's intended to be like where you start and how you move forward, where you actually end up could look quite different from where you start. And that is kind of a whole nother conversation. In any event, the 5-0 Method takes into account your mindset, the calories you eat, the water you drink, the amount of sleep you get, and the amount of exercise you get. It is a five pronged approach to thinking about weight. All five of those factors play into your current, I'm gonna call it your peak efficiency right now, thinking about all five of those factors as being, if not equally relevant to weight loss, equally relevant to your body's efficiency is the way I like to approach it so that you can see that you are not just doing one thing, you are really taking into account all of the factors of your life that you have direct control over. To be fair, there are lots of things you don't have direct control over, which is to say other people circumstances in the world, uh, certain I, I guess I'm gonna say diseases that could afflict you that are not related to things that you have control over, accidents that you don't have control over. There are, there are facets of your life that you don't have control over, but the things that you do are the things that I include in the 5-0 Method. And here's the thing, your body operating at either its peak efficiency in your lifetime, which is to say for many of us many years ago, or your peak efficiency right this second is still not gonna lose 60 pounds in a month. Like that was never, ever, ever, ever possible, nor will it ever be possible because your body has safeguards in place to stop you from either losing or gaining too much too quickly so that it could jeopardize your life. Your body above all else, has the biological directive to stay alive. This is super, super important to understand that in order to stay alive, your body simply will not burn. It will not go through an amount of energy that would cause you to lose weight at, I don't have a specific number, but at an elevated rate and really particularly not over time. You might at some point lose what could be considered a significant amount of weight in like a week or two weeks where it's like, oh my gosh, that's a, that's a pretty big number. That's a pity, pretty big drop, but it's not going to, your body is not going to sustain those kinds of losses over a long period of time because it always wants to stay alive if you dropped weight very, very quickly. Let's even think about what, what your body is afraid of. If you are already a healthy weight and for whatever reason was in some kind of a relatively significant caloric deficit for like a couple of days, your body wouldn't want to lose 10 pounds off of that healthy weight because it could plummet you into an unhealthy underweight situation which could jeopardize your ability to stay alive. Your body is always, always going to safeguard its ability to stay alive, which means your body is going to lose weight slowly. Now here's the thing about that word, slowly, it's why I've mentally been putting air quotes on it this entire time. Like every time I say slow or fast, slow or fast is always going to be relative to you. And this is where we're gonna start talking about the mindset of what that even means when we am gonna use the word complain. When we complain about weight loss being slow. When you are losing weight at a rate of approximately one pound every week or two weeks, or even three weeks or even a month, I want you to know that that's well within the realm of what is normal, what is acceptable, what is possible, what is your body's weight loss. There's nothing inherently wrong with losing weight at a rate of one pound a month or every couple of weeks or a week. You might be capable of losing, let's say two pounds a week. Honestly, that's pretty accelerated for women our age. It's not unheard of, you're not incapable. I'm not here to, you know, lay down the hammer of doom like, oh, you'll never lose weight like that. You might, you could. It's within the realm of possibility, but expecting to sustain something like two pounds a week every week until you get to your goal weight is unlikely. When we consider the the rate at which our body is likely to lose weight, we very frequently judge that rate as being slow, even if it's reasonable. And here's what I wanna point out to you about thinking that your weight loss is slow and being concerned that your weight loss is slow and worrying or complaining or feeling unhappy that your weight loss is slow. The the mechanism at work here is truly the mechanism that keeps you alive. It's the pleasure principle, and it's not just what Janet Jackson was singing about, but it is the fact that we are like biologically destined to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And what's going on here is that your brain perceives slow weight loss as painful, like emotionally painful and simultaneously perceives fast weight loss as emotionally pleasurable. And what I wanna do as your life coach is question that, you know, I know that we all kind of, kind of take it in as like understandable. Like obviously fast weight loss is better, slow weight loss is worse. Like it, it's so, it's so natural to think that that, I don't know if you've ever questioned it, truly I didn't either until I became a life coach and started kind of pulling this apart. And here's why this is really important to notice when you are seeking pleasure and avoiding pain and biologically the thing that you are doing, which is to say losing weight at a rate of let's say a pound a month or a pound every couple of weeks, or even as as fast as a pound a week. If you perceive that as slow, even though it is reasonable, natural, and what your body is very likely to do, that you will think that it is painful. And my friends, if you are avoiding the pain of what your body is very likely to do naturally, you could actually stop yourself from losing weight at all. Okay, follow me here. Let's, let's pull this apart by the pleasure that we are likely seeking and the pain that we are likely avoiding, the pleasure that we are likely seeking by looking for like fast weight loss is something like the feeling of relief that you don't have to keep doing all of the things that you don't have to keep paying attention to all five factors of weight loss. I hear that one a lot, that it feels like a lot to be thinking about what you're eating, to be thinking about what you're drinking to be thinking about how you're sleeping, to be thinking about how you're exercising, to be thinking about your mindset, like it feels like a lot to do. A relief from doing all those things could be what you're seeking. If you were losing weight fast, you could be done with all of that faster. It would be a relief if you were losing weight fast. You might have the confidence that what you're doing is working. This is something else I hear really, really frequently. I get asked a lot, but what if this isn't the right number of calories? But how do I know whether or not I'm exercising moderately, but what if I can't sleep with a regular bedtime? But what if journaling feels difficult? What if I'm doing it wrong? What if I'm not feeling my feelings? Or what if I'm not finding my thoughts? Or what if I'm not labeling them as unhelpful? Like what if I don't know how to do it? Seeking the confidence of knowing, oh my gosh, what I'm doing is totally working. You think that's available to you if your weight loss is fast? You might also be seeking the pleasure of loving and trusting that your body is behaving the way you want it to, because if it's losing weight fast, that means that you actually do have some control over it, that you actually are in charge of making your body do what you want it to do. Those all sound really pleasurable, right? Relief from the struggle, confidence in knowing that what you're doing is right or loving and trusting your body. Well, let's compare that with the pain of what you might be thinking is happening right now. If your weight loss is slow, you might be struggling with making yourself do all of the things, making yourself eat the right number of calories and track it and weigh yourself and weigh your food and think about how much water you're drinking and keeping track of that and trying to go to bed at the exact same time and trying to get up at the exact same time and trying to journal every day and finding your thoughts and really not wanting to dig in and struggling to make sure that you're exercising, which for some of us means that you're holding yourself back. And some of us means that you have to make yourself exercise like the struggle of making yourself do all that feels hard or the uncertainty of not knowing if what you're doing is right. My friends, this is something I feel on a deep soul level. I really, I really think, you know, that phrase, your vibe attracts your tribe. I feel like my vibe as like this rule follower who really, really looks for some kind of external validation that what I'm doing is right, that I'm gonna get an A, that I have followed the rules and that things will go my way. I really think that a lot of you can totally relate to that because it's, it's my vibe. It's what I kind of put out there. And what I want you to know is that that fast loss is not the only way to know that you're doing it right, but we'd love to get away from that uncertainty. What if I'm doing it wrong? And also we'd love to avoid the distrust or that feeling of betrayal that we have about our bodies right now. Like menopause changed everything. I don't even know if I can lose weight anymore. I don't even know what the heck my body is doing anymore. Some days I wake up and I feel like my body is a foreign country. I don't know what it's doing. Those feelings are rough. They're rough. No wonder you'd like to avoid struggling and feeling uncertain and that feeling of distrust or betrayal and no wonder you'd like to seek the pleasure of relief and confidence and trust, of course. But here's what's going on my friend, when we were talking about peak efficiency, one of the things that helps your body operate at peak efficiency is a, I'm not gonna say an absence of stress. The truth of it is the way our brains work with negativity, bias and always like looking for and trying to solve problems like your brain is always going to be producing for you a certain level of stress that is, it's truly, it's natural. It's part of being a human being with a human brain. There's a certain level of of stress and difficulty that you just are going to have in your life. It's completely okay. It's completely natural, it's completely normal. It's not, it's not gonna stop you from operating at your most efficient. But there is also a level at which your, your thoughts are slowing you down. Your thoughts about this is a struggle. I don't know if I'm doing it right, my body isn't behaving the way I want it to. Those thoughts are, I'm gonna call them stressful. I'm also, you've heard me talk about this before, going to call them unhelpful. They're slowing you down because they feel lousy in your body. That lousy feeling is a cascade of hormones. And one of those hormones, my friend, is probably cortisol. Cortisol, you know it as the stress hormone. The fact is cortisol actually does a lot of good right up until it doesn't. There's nothing wrong with cortisol in and of itself. It performs a really important function in your body, really specifically it. It elevates your blood pressure, which is not always bad. It elevates your blood sugar. Again, not always bad. It does those things to give you energy. Cortisol gives you energy when your body has depleted its energy in other ways. The problem with cortisol is if it sticks around too long, it keeps trying to give you energy that maybe you could get from other resources. And the way that it gives you energy is by catabolyzing your muscles over time. Cortisol can wreak havoc on your body in small doses in ways that make sense. Cortisol is completely fine, but here's what I'm offering you. When your brain is rolling around with these thoughts of this is a struggle, I have too much to think about, I don't know if I'm doing it right. I don't know if my body is gonna behave the way I want it to. Those thoughts releasing perhaps a small amount of cortisol over and over and over and over again is stressing your body. Those thoughts are unhelpful for getting you where you want to go, which is to say losing weight at any rate fast or slow to get you to your healthy weight. So what's the, what's the trick here? What? What do you do when you have these thoughts rolling around in your mind and it's slowing down your weight loss that you already thought was slow? Well, my friend, the trick is twofold. Number one is to simply recognize what's going on here. Your brain has thoughts about your weight loss, about the speed of your weight loss and what it means and why it's a problem for you. You also have thoughts available to you about the pleasure that you could be seeking of weight loss, that you could have the pleasure of relief, of confidence of love and trust. When you recognize that some of your thoughts are unhelpful and some of your thoughts are helpful, you can intentionally, well, I'm gonna say you can intentionally gently remind yourself that the unhelpful thoughts are unhelpful and gently intentionally remind yourself that the helpful thoughts are helpful. And I know that that sounds so obvious, right? Like an unhelpful thought is unhelpful and a helpful thought is helpful . But the problem, the problem, as your brain probably sees it right Now, is that the unhelpful thoughts sound so true. They sound so true. If you could lose weight faster, you'd have those other thoughts more available to you. And what I want you to know is that that's not true. The helpful thoughts are available to you right now. Your weight loss at one pound a month could feel like relief. That you don't have to struggle with all of the things because you're perfectly capable of doing all of the things. One pound a month could feel like confidence that what you're doing is working because it is. One pound a month could feel like love and trust for your beautiful menopausal body because this is what your body is doing. It's losing weight. The speed with which you are losing weight has absolutely nothing to do with struggle, with trust, or with confidence. You can feel at ease, comfortable, confident, loving, and trusting no matter how fast or slow you are losing weight, my friend, I'm gonna let that sink in. I'm gonna let you listen to this episode again, to really wrap your brain around this and to really, really recognize that relief and confidence and love and trust are available to you right now and can be the mechanism that helps you lose weight faster. Thank you so much for listening. I'll talk to you again soon.

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

Originally aired March 26, 2023
Sure, you expect weight loss to be slower over 50, but your weight loss feels like it’s REALLY slow. So what’s a menopausal girl to do? THIS.
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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.