Ep. 286: Top Five Weight Loss Questions

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.

You have questions about weight loss over 50, and on this week’s episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’ve got the answers!

I’ve been studying weight loss for over ten years and really paying attention to the questions you have – especially when you first get started on your journey. It feels difficult to navigate all your choices, and unbelievable that others have had success with such a counterintuitive plan.

You want to get everything right, so you can stop gaining this menopausal weight and start losing. But it’s confusing to figure out what to do or where to go for credible information.

The wonderful truth of it all is that even the most complex questions have a simple answer.

On today’s empowering episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re exploring calorie apps, chatting about whether or not to eat junk food, and deciding what to count as water, with science-based answers and the mindset shifts that will help you move forward with confidence.


Hello GOALfriend, and welcome to episode number 286. Before we dive in today, I wanna give you all a little bit of a life update. I feel like I haven’t updated you in a bit. I’m recording this literally just a few days before you’re going to hear it (if you’re listening on the day it comes out), so this feels like a real conversation with my friend. Sometimes when I record the podcast super far in advance, I don’t even remember what I talked about by the time it comes out. And then you all leave comments, and I’m like, “mmm hmm” because it’s been weeks for me. So, I’m recording this the first week of May, which is when I do a monthly check-in on my goals by looking back at the tasks I accomplished in April and assess how things are going. And oh my goodness, y’all: April was a month! In a really good way, and so I wanted to share with you a little about what I’ve been going through, and why I’m – for me – running “late” on the podcast, and then we’ll dive in to your Top Five Weight Loss Questions, because this is gonna be a good one today. So, April was a big month of personal growth for me, meaning that I took some pretty exciting steps forward in my business. If you are new around here, I am a weight loss coach and we talk about weight loss, but we also talk about getting goals, sort of in general. So over the years of recording the podcast, I have shared all of my personal and business goals here, too. The business goal that I’m currently working on is creating a million dollar business. And as those words are coming out of my mouth, I can hear the chatter in my head about how I’m nowhere close to that number, and it’s a really lofty goal, and how it still feels so far away, and how I know that not everybody can relate. Just so many thoughts and justifications. And this is why I love to talk about and share the behind-the-scenes of my goal journey, even though it’s not weight loss, so I can normalize for you that everything you’re going through – including the chatter about how big your goal is, and how far away it still is – is exactly what all goal-getters go through. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose fifty pounds or make a million dollars, there’s mindset work to be done! So, here was mine: I finished off the month of March by hosting my first ever webinar, “Why Weight Loss is Harder Over 50 (and what to do about it!).” It was super exciting. The tech felt really scary beforehand, but it all worked out. I had a huge audience attending, which was amazing, and I got lots of great feedback about how helpful it was, and how much people enjoyed it. It was great. The replay is still available, actually, if you want to watch it. You can go to https://getyourgoal.com/webinar/ and check it out. There’s a link in the show notes or the description box. And that webinar is not going to be available forever, so if you’re listening to this at some point in the future and that link doesn’t work, that’s why. But so that webinar experience was all kinds of stepping into a new version of me – the life coach me, who does things like host webinars while wearing a dress and stuff. And then I went almost directly from the webinar into recording my audiobook. I told you about that, right? Oh, golly. I honestly cannot remember if I mentioned that on the podcast. I know I talked about it on Facebook and sent out an email, but I have no idea if I talked about it here. In any event, I’m telling you now – I recorded my audiobook! It’ll come out at the same time as the hardback version of Mind Over Menopause, which is on June 27th of this year, 2023, and I have confirmation from my publisher that it’ll be available on Audible, but I’m not sure yet if it’ll be on Chirp or other audiobook providers. Closer to publication, I’m sure I’ll know all the details of where it’ll be, and whether or not you can preorder the audio version... All the things. I know you can preorder the hardback version. You can go to my website for that, too! https://getyourgoal.com/mind-over-menopause/ There’s a link in the show notes, of course. That page on my website has links to all the major retailers, including bookshop.org, which supports local book sellers. So, you can feel really good about the convenience of shopping online, while also helping your local community. So, recording the audiobook was every bit as life-changing as hosting the webinar in terms of personal growth and learning to see myself in a new way. Specifically, the audio engineer complimented me numerous times during the week about how professional I am. And that word – professional – has always been super sticky for me. It’s just not how I have historically seen myself. I’m loud and rambly and I dress very casually and if you’re in the Get Your GOAL group, you know that I swear a lot and I’ve really only ever worked at a job that you might call a “career” for a very short time, a very long time ago. And so I see myself (or, I used to see myself. That is in the process of changing right now.) as… not being professional. But of course I also am. I mean, in addition to all the swearing and rambling, I’m on time for things. I meet deadlines. I don’t cancel things at the last minute. I have reliably put out this podcast, for example, for nearly six years. I always show up prepared and ready for the task at hand. I know what I’m doing. But I had this thought, “I’m not professional” in my head, and it felt true, and I had all kinds of evidence in my brain for why it was true – because, confirmation bias. But also, there’s this mountain of evidence that I had in front of me that I am, of course, a professional. So, imagine, fresh on the heels of both the webinar and the audiobook experience, where I’m exploring these self concepts of being a life coach and being a professional – I then went and hosted an entire week of learning inside the Get Your GOAL group, called Weight Loss University, which I have mentioned a couple of times here on the podcast when I was preparing for it. And, can I just tell you? Weight Loss University was SO GOOD. Like, so good! It was the work of my lifetime. I took basically everything I know about weight loss and broke it down in a way that I’ve never fully explained in this exact way before, and I walked my Get Your GOALers through the whole weight loss journey, from start to maintenance. I fully stepped into my expertise. I mean, I’ve been studying weight loss for over ten years now and really paying attention to the things that seem to really trouble most of the women that I work with. And the truth of it is, that every problem is always solvable. You are 100% capable of losing weight. And I literally have a completely doable, 3-7 step process to get you unstuck from everywhere. Like, when you first decide to lose weight and everything feels confusing, there’s a process to move forward. Or when you first start trying to do the tasks of counting your calories or journaling and can’t seem to make them happen, there’s a process to pull yourself out of that. Or when you’re spinning around in scale agony and can’t see the numbers as information, but really think they mean something about you – I have a process for that. Or when you’re just stuck stuck stuckity stuck on a plateau. I can help you with that, too. I’ve thought about the weight loss journey deeply. I have literally helped thousands of women lose weight after menopause. This is my life’s work. This is my deep passion for helping. And during the month of April, I owned it. I am an expert, professional life coach. I help women lose weight and change their lives. So, my friend. Let’s lose weight and change your life! Here’s the thing about today’s topics: these are all going to sound like very practical questions. Like, when you ask them, you truly believe that you are simply missing a piece of information. But what’s really going on is that there’s a mindset shift you can make that will actually make all the difference in the world. Question number one is “Which calorie app is the best?” I hear this one all the time, and I totally get it. There are literally hundreds of apps to choose from, and even though they’re all the same, they’re also all just a little bit different. And if you download three or four of them and put in your information (like your height, weight, age, and goal weight), they’ll give you very different calorie targets. And beyond that, if you start inputting the foods you eat, when you’re searching for a particular food, there will be a pretty wide variety of calorie counts. So, are some of them inaccurate? Is one of them (or all of them) wrong? How can you lose weight if the numbers are off? You’re trying to hit your calorie target on the money, but now you don’t even know for sure what your target is. And maybe you’ll never know! So, of course, you’re just missing some information here, and an expert opinion (like from your best weight loss life coach friend, Pahla B) is needed. Or. Let’s consider this from a mindset angle. With my students in the Get Your GOAL group, there are three questions that I ask almost every time we coach, and here they are: How do you feel when you say ______ (fill in the blank, whatever the underlying problem is)? I ask this question so we can determine whether or not your current thought is helpful to getting you to your goal. This is the Two-Step Tool in action, where we find your thoughts and decide if they’re helpful. The criteria for a helpful thought is that it feels good, and an unhelpful thought feels bad or uncomfortable in your body. How do you WANT to feel about this issue? With that feeling in mind, what do you want to DO? So, let’s apply those questions here. Number one, how do you feel when you say, “I don’t know which calorie app to choose”? Actually answer that. Sink into your body for a second, as see what it feels like. … For me, the thought “I don’t know which calorie app to choose” feels helpless. For you, it might feel frustrating, or powerless, or confused, or overwhelmed, or resigned, or defeated. The feeling that thought creates is going to be individual to you, so one of these choices might resonate, or not. But here’s what I want you to notice: whatever the feeling is, it’s not good. It’s tight in your shoulders or your jaw, or churning in your stomach, or a deep heaviness in your chest. That FEELING is all the information you need to recognize this as an unhelpful thought. The thought, “I don’t know which calorie app to choose” is NOT going to take you to your goal. So here comes the next question, how do you WANT to feel about choosing a calorie app? My guess here is that you’d like to feel certain. Or confident. Or at the very least, decisive. I believe that you’d like to take this decision off your plate and get moving forward, right? Fantastic. So now, I’ll remind you that your feelings never, ever, ever come from a thing. Your feelings are always alway always created by your THOUGHTS. This is where I’ll refer you to the episode of the podcast called, “The Wheel,” you can find it at https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/the-wheel/ and there’s a link in the show notes or description box. So, knowing that the feeling you want – confidence, certainty, or decisiveness – don’t come from the calorie app AT ALL, but instead, come from you, you can simply make a decision. And that’s the third question: with that feeling in mind, what do you want to DO? Here’s the biological truth of the matter – all of the apps are pretty accurate, but there’s actually no way to ever know for sure how many calories are in a specific food or how many calories your body is actually taking in from that food (because every body is different, and your specific body might vary by up to 25% from somebody else’s – this is because of the microbiota that live in your gut). You really are a special snowflake! And here’s the mindset shift: you can literally do anything! You are not helpless, and there’s no way to get it wrong, because you’re going to gather information from YOUR BODY over time to get the real answer. So you can just pick. Personally, I like to use a pen and paper. I know that’s super old fashioned, but so am I. Knowing that my success or failure doesn’t depend on the mechanism by which I’m recording calories, I choose to do the thing that I feel confident with. That’s physical handwriting. What do YOU want to do? Top Five Weight Loss Questions number two is, “Has anybody lost weight eating this many calories?” We get this one a lot in the B Hive, which is my free Facebook group. When you first get started with The 5-0 Method – my free weight loss program for women over 50 – you might be shocked at how high your calorie target is. This is super common, and it’s a topic for another day as to why this number is actually very accurate for most women, and why the goal of weight loss isn’t to eat as little as possible, but to eat as much as possible while still losing weight – but we’ve been told otherwise our entire lives. But anyway! You ask this question because, again, it sort of feels like you’re just missing a piece of information. You’d like some proof of concept. And, I get it, but let’s go over our coaching questions again. How do you FEEL when you tell yourself, “I don’t think anybody can lose weight eating this much.” How does that thought feel in your body? For me, this thought creates a feeling of doubt. Of skepticism. And let’s be really clear that I don’t feel doubt or skepticism because of the program or the number of calories! Especially me – I created the program, and I have years of proof that your number will work! But that THOUGHT… that thought creates the feeling. For me, doubt or skepticism doesn’t feel good in my body. It’s almost itchy, or jittery. I’d very much like to get away from it. And that feeling inside your body is how you know that this thought is unhelpful. So, how do you WANT to feel about your calorie target? My guess here is that you’d like to feel comfortable. Like, physically comfortable and emotionally comfortable. You don’t want to be stuffed – or restricted! – and you want the number to feel like it’s just right. Knowing that YOU, with your thoughts, create your feelings, what do you want to DO to feel comfortable? Biologically speaking, the main driver of weight loss is A.) believing you can, and B.) eating in a consistent slight caloric deficit over time. The key words here are “belief” and “consistent,” so here’s the mindset shift: your scientifically best bet is to eat whatever number of calories you feel super confident about hitting every single day. Maybe that’s the number The 5-0 Method gives you, but maybe it’s MORE. Or less. Kind of like the calorie app, the only way to really know what’s working is to give your decision a try and see how your body responds. There is no doubt that your body will give you information about your choice. So, you can just pick. For me, I like the number the calculator gives me. It’s enough food without being too much, and I know I can hit the target every day without struggling. What do YOU want to do? Top Five Weight Loss Questions number three is, “Is it okay to count coffee or tea in my water target, or does it have to be only water?” And this one is a question that I feel deep in my bones, because at the root of this one is a deep desire to do things right, to follow the rules. There’s also possibly a fear of doing it wrong, with the consequence of not losing weight or even gaining. So, what you’re seeking here is some sort of reassurance that there is a rule, and you know how to follow it, so everything can turn out okay. But how does it FEEL when you tell yourself, “I don’t know if I’m doing it right”? For me, the feeling this thought creates is powerlessness. Pretty similar to our first thought, which was also an “I don’t know” statement. Side note, I’ve noticed in my own life that whenever my brain offers me an “I don’t know” or “I don’t know how” thought – they always feel bad, so they’re always unhelpful thoughts. For you, “I don’t know if I’m doing it right” might create a feeling like helplessness, powerlessness, resignation or defeat. And you can feel in your body that this is not a helpful thought. So, we move on to the second coaching question, what do you WANT to feel about counting coffee? Sure? Certain? Resolved? I’ll make a suggestion that a great feeling to have here is open or curious. The truth of it is that yes, you can count anything liquid in your daily water target. Some peoples’ bodies do great with watery foods and all sorts of beverages – and by the way, the way you know your body is doing “great” with your hydration is that your digestion is regular and, let’s call it “non-problematic” in terms of bloating or gas or other discomfort. Good hydration will also show up in the form of mood regulation, soft skin, hair and lips, and you won’t be dizzy when you stand up quickly. And yes, over time, you will also lose weight if you’re well-hydrated (along with the other four things we do in The 5-0 Method). On the other hand, though, some people, and I’m one of them, literally can’t count anything else as water and still feel hydrated and get all the benefits of weight loss and skin and moods and such. So, personally, I prefer to be very dogmatic about my water intake, because I really feel like my body works better, and – as I mentioned – I do enjoy following a rule. So, here’s the mindset shift: you aren’t powerless at all. You have the power to create your own rules, and then pay attention to how YOUR body feels and notice the results that YOU get. There really isn’t a wrong answer here, nor a hard and fast biological rule to follow. You get to pick. So, coaching question number three: what do you WANT to do? Count? Or not count? It’s your choice! Alrighty, we’ve made it to Top Five Weight Loss Question number four, which is “Can I go for a walk, too (or do yoga, or do gardening, or some other activity)? What’s moderate?” I know when you first read The 5-0 Method and I tell you how little you’re going to be exercising with this weight loss program, some people kind of freak out. For those of us who are used to being very active, it can be super tough to cut back. But let’s notice that the crux of this question, again, is this idea that you’re missing information, or need clarification, or you think you don’t know how to figure it out. How do you FEEL when you think, “I don’t understand what moderate means”? For me, this sentence creates a feeling of being flummoxed. I love this word. However, it is not an especially nice FEELING. It feels very heavy, very stuck, very… unable to move forward. And that bad feeling means that this thought – “I don’t understand what moderate means” is unhelpful. It’s not going to help you get to your goal. What do you suppose you WANT to feel about figuring out what moderate is for you? For me, this one is easy: I want to feel pleasant, enjoyable, nice. Even though my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Ponte, told me in no uncertain terms that “nice” is not a compliment, and should be avoided in anything that would be considered good writing… well, I think it fits here. I’m not looking to feel amazing. To me, feeling amazing, or hard core, or really fantastic – those are all words I associate with pushing myself in a workout. Which I’ve done to my detriment. That’s how I gained my menopausal weight. So, I am intentionally looking for a sort of bland, mild feeling when it comes to exercise, and in particular, when I’m figuring out what moderate is, so that I’m not going over the top. Biologically speaking, the word moderate – especially the way I use it to describe the exercise component of The 5-0 Method – can be hugely variable between one person and the next. Your personal, unicorn of a body has its own version of moderate that’s based on a lot of individual factors. The definition I like to use is that if you can do what you’re doing with the exact same intensity and duration every single day for the rest of your life, then what you’re doing is moderate. And, from my own personal experience, I truly believe that the only way to figure out what’s moderate for YOU is to go over it and feel the effects afterward. Being sore, feeling all the inflammation, getting burned out, not having enough energy for the rest of the day, and of course not losing weight (possibly even gaining) – these are all signs that you’ve gone past moderate. Now you know! So, knowing that you don’t feel flummoxed because of your activities, or from a lack of knowledge, but from your thoughts, here’s the mindset shift – you get to define moderate for yourself. Doesn’t that actually feel amazing? You can simply decide: what do you WANT to do? What feels moderate to YOU? You guys, we’ve made it to Top Five Weight Loss Questions number five! And this is a good one: How do I eat all those calories without eating junk food? When you ask this question, you really think you’re just looking for suggestions, like there’s some other healthy food option out there that you just haven’t thought of yet. Oh, but of course you already know that there’s a mindset shift for you here. So, let’s ask, how do you FEEL when you think the thought “I can’t eat junk food or I won’t lose weight”? Ooof. Did that one go straight to the feeling of restriction for you, too? Like, my chest is tight, my jaw is tight, I feel caged in. Definitely not a good feeling, so this is definitely an unhelpful thought. What do you WANT to feel about eating junk food? This one’s kinda tricky, right? Like, you think you *have to* feel bad about junk food, because it’s junk food. It’s right there in the title – it’s bad for you, you won’t lose weight if you’re eating it, so it’s super important to keep yourself on the straight and narrow. And yet… Everything I’ve ever taught you about The Wheel and how our brains work says otherwise. Remember that it’s GOOD FEELINGS that move you closer to your goal. And yes, what I’m saying here is that you can feel good about eating junk food. For me, the feeling I love to have here is self-assurance. As in, I am sure that I make good food decisions, I am sure that I can find balance between junk and healthy stuff. Biologically speaking, weight loss is driven by eating in a slight caloric deficit, without regard to the quality of those calories. Now, hear me out! Yes, of course you’ll feel better, stay fuller longer, and have more energy if the bulk of those calories are coming from healthy foods. But that doesn’t mean you *can’t* eat junk. Unraveling your thoughts and feelings about WHAT you’re eating, and moving toward simply calculating HOW MUCH you’re eating is a huge mindset shift for most of us. Pulling off that layer of judgment you’ve put on yourself will change… well, honestly, it’ll change almost everything for you. When you’re not telling yourself you *can’t* eat certain types of foods, you’ll make beautiful, loving decisions for yourself and your body that includes both healthy and not-so-healthy foods that you simply enjoy eating. This is why I offer you the simple rule of thumb that you can eat anything you want, in portion sizes that make sense for your goals. We had a really good, thorough discussion about this a few weeks ago, on the episode about What to Eat for Weight Loss. There’s a link in the show notes: https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/282-eat-for-weight-loss/ So, that all leads us to our final self coaching question: What do you WANT to do? What do you WANT to eat? How much? And how often? My friend! So much good stuff on this episode! You are now empowered to ask yourself insightful questions that will move you forward with loving decisions that feel amazing instead of helpless, powerless, restricted, or confused. Thank you so much for listening. Have a fabulous week and 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 May 7, 2023
You have questions about weight loss over 50, and on this week’s episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’ve got the answers!
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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.