Hello, hello, GOALfriend, and welcome to episode number 290, where we’re learning how to lose weight. And thank you for clicking on this one, especially if your first thought upon reading the title was something like, “I already know how to lose weight.”
But my friend, let me tell you something – if you have weight to lose, if you’re trying to lose weight, then you have something to learn. And I have the exact thing to teach you.
And, on the other hand, if your first thought was, “Oh, thank goodness, I have NO IDEA how to lose weight!” Well, I have something to teach you, too.
And in both cases, it’s probably not what you think. We’re not really diving into the nuts and bolts of weight loss today, or even the science behind it, because you can get all that in my free weight loss program, The 5-0 Method. Go download that from https://getyourgoal.com/
And I also have a really good podcast – Ep. 257: How to Lose Weight, https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/257-how-to-lose-weight/ – that you can go listen to along with this one. There’s a link in the show notes or description box that’ll take you right to it.
But even better than reciting facts and science, today I’m actually going to point out how both of those thoughts – I already know how to lose weight, and I don’t have a clue how to lose weight – aren’t really serving you, and then I’ll offer you the most powerful mindset shift that will teach you everything you need to know about losing weight.
First up, telling yourself that you already know how to lose weight sounds, on the surface, like a good thing, right? Like, you know about how menopause has changed weight loss (with dwindling estrogen and rising cortisol, how you can’t just eat less and move more anymore), and you understand the science of how eating in a slight caloric deficit over time is the way your body releases weight, and you know the five tasks to do every day (journaling, eating your calorie target, drinking your water, sleeping, and exercising moderately). I mean, this is all really good stuff!
Here you are, getting the five tasks done, but not losing weight. Whether you’re aware of it or not, here’s why. Yes, you’re checking the boxes and technically completing the tasks, but you’re squeaking in on the calories, or tracking (let’s say) most of them, or you’re getting to bed more or less on time, or you’re exercising just a teeny tiny bit over your moderate.
So, yes. You’re doing the tasks because you know how to lose weight.
But what is also going on is that you are a little (or a lot) frustrated, and feeling some resentment. The way you might present this to me – or on Facebook, or to your friends or whatever – is by saying something like, “I don’t get it. I’m doing all the right things to lose weight, but the scale just isn’t moving!”
From that place, I’ve seen clients go a couple of different ways. Some will just quit what they’re doing and go back to the drawing board to look for another program. Some will linger and keep trying and just kind of quietly simmer that they’re not getting the results they want. And some will get really angry and bitter that nothing ever seems to work for them, and start blaming me, or the program, or their body, or other people, or circumstances, or … whatever.
But the thought stays the same, that they know HOW to lose weight, but “it” just isn’t working.
It’s so hard to be in this position! I’ve been here. Many, many years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I was what you might call a “program hopper.” Okay, you might not call it that, but I do. Now. At the time I didn’t. As a weight loss coach now, this is something I see all the time! But when I was young, and desperate to lose weight, and really thought I knew what to do, I jumped from diet to diet and could NOT for the life of me figure out why none of them worked the way they were supposed to.
I would go full steam ahead for a few weeks, then fizzle out when I wasn’t losing or wasn’t losing fast enough, and then just quit after a couple of months. Well, I quit following the diet or the program, but I did NOT quit complaining about my weight and wishing that I could get it right.
At the time, I was still really young, so – to the best of my memory – I didn’t really blame my body the way it’s so easy to do now that we’re menopausal. I’ve had clients who have done this, though – blaming puberty or having kids for “ruining their body.” For me, at the time, that wasn’t my go-to. I definitely blamed myself, though. Not my body, but my personality or my character or, you know, my essence. I thought for sure that I, personally, was too lazy or too stupid to figure it out. And I also totally blamed the diets and the programs!
At the time, I really believed (and I suspect that you really believe, currently) that there was some magical combination of things to DO that would turn the weight loss faucet on.
We’re socialized to believe this, of course. And it shows up when you think you don’t know how to lose weight, too.
Thinking that you don’t know how to lose weight presents as confusion or overwhelm or doubt, and asking a LOT of questions without really implementing any of the answers, because you sort of think that that must not be it.
And let me pause here for a second. For those of you listening who are like, “But wait, I feel all of that – I’m angry and frustrated and confused and overwhelmed and I definitely know the mechanics of how to lose weight but also have lots of doubts about every program I’ve ever tried.”
Yes. This is what happens. And I promise, by the end of this episode, you’ll have the answer to all of it.
This is actually what happened to me when I decided to write a book. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. I wrote my first “novel” when I was eight. I also used to make a weekly family newspaper, and literally played with the typewriter as often as my favorite toys. My parents even bought me a charm necklace that was a little gold typewriter! I wish I still had that.
I’m an avid reader and writer, and over the years, I’ve read several “how to write a novel” books. Now, deciding to write a nonfiction book is very different, there is a different way to go about getting it published, but still.
I spun out for nearly THREE YEARS on telling myself that I didn’t know how to write a book. I asked my friend Lori, who is a published nonfiction author and currently completing her first novel, for help and she gave me tons of advice. She sent me examples of book proposals (which is what you do for nonfiction – with fiction, you have the whole manuscript written before you start submitting to agents and publishers, but with nonfiction you do a proposal) and she offered me her process and she sent me her nonfiction book. I mean, she told me exactly what to do.
And, hello, Google exists. There’s no shortage of information on the internet on how to write a book proposal. I watched YouTube videos, I read blogs, I completely immersed myself in information.
But in my mind, I did not know how to write a book. I just had no clue. I kept doing all the ACTIONS – make an outline, use index cards for subtopics, open up a Google doc and just start getting words onto the damn page! – but I still had this huge disconnect.
I was DOING THE THINGS and still not understanding how to write a book, so somehow – I have no idea how or why – a book was not getting written. In over two years, I produced pages and pages and hundreds of index cards and many, many Google Docs of basically unusable crap.
But then I hired a coach, and learned the incredibly simple but absolutely life-changing mindset shift that I’m going to teach you right now.
Here it is, are you ready?
Getting the result you want doesn’t happen because of what you’re doing. You get the result you want because of how you FEEL when you’re doing those things.
Let me say that again, specific to weight loss: you don’t lose weight because you’re DOING the five tasks every day. You lose weight when you feel GOOD about those five tasks.
Go ahead and absorb that while I give you some concrete examples of how this worked out for me in SO MANY areas of my life.
In 2009, I trained for and then ran my first marathon. I was in fabulous shape, still very young at 39, I had been running for several years already and physically, I was 100% capable of completing a marathon. So, I got a training plan and ran all the runs on it and I was – technically speaking – ready for the marathon. But on race day, I fell apart and ended up quitting at mile 20. I was a wreck.
I had spent the entire training cycle just agonizing over the runs. They were all hard, I was plagued with self doubt, and I was basically miserable the whole time. But I kept pushing through because, hello, I had a training plan, and that’s how you run a marathon. You do the training.
For a couple of weeks after that DNF (which stands for Did Not Finish – that’s what they write in the official race results online), I really turned it all around in my head. What had I done that didn’t work, how could I fix this, and what can I do differently next time. And this was before I was doing any kind of official mindset work, by the way. Like, years and years before I became a Life Coach.
So, what I discovered in there, in my brain, was that I really didn’t think that I could run a marathon. I fundamentally believed that I was the sort of person who quit everything.
But also… I definitely wasn’t the sort of person who quit everything. At that point, like I said, I had several years of running experience, and tons of evidence that I finished things. I’d completed lots of training plans successfully. Plus I had twenty years of marriage and kids to prove that I could stick with things when I wanted to.
Like, as soon as I dug up that old thought of how I supposedly quit things, it was surprisingly easy to just let it go. I’m not a quitter.
So, I embarked almost immediately on another training plan, and this time the runs were all awesome. Effortless. I knew, deep in my bones, that this marathon was happening and I was completing it. I wasn’t going to quit, because I don’t quit. I FELT committed, and certain, and open to the possibilities.
And – no surprises here – two months after my DNF, I ran my actual first marathon and finished with a smile on my face.
Same exact training plan, I was DOING the same things, but got two very different outcomes, because of very different feelings fueling the runs.
You’ve already heard most of the story of how I struggled for years to write a book, so let me finish it up by telling you what happened after I hired a coach. First of all, the decision to hire a coach AT ALL came from a completely different feeling than all of the wallowing in confusion I’d been doing for the two years prior.
Just by looking her up on the internet, I was already tapping into a feeling of commitment. Then, at our first meeting, she had me describe in detail what I wanted from our coaching and I cried my eyes out picturing holding a copy of my traditionally published book in my hands.
And for the very first time in – what? – 45+ years, it felt possible.
Unlike the marathon training, though, the writing did NOT feel effortless. OMG, I struggled.
There were many tears during coaching, many tears during the writing of the proposal, many tears while I was querying agents… no tears while I was out for submission with editors, interestingly. It literally didn’t occur to me that somebody wouldn’t pick up my book, which is interesting.
But then there were many, many, many tears again during the actual writing of the book. There was nothing about writing my book – which, by the way, quick shameless plug, “Mind Over Menopause” comes out June 27th, and you can preorder on my website at https://getyourgoal.com/mind-over-menopause/
I wrote a book.
And there was nothing easy about it! But also, none of the tears were from frustration or confusion. They were tears of… just pure transformation. I stripped away years of thinking of myself as stupid and incapable and unlikable. I let go of thinking that I was weird and unrelatable. I loved myself so, so, so deeply through the process of putting some very vulnerable things onto the printed page.
Every single word in that book came from love, and a desire to be helpful, and a feeling of “this is just who I am, I’m a writer.” Which made it a lot easier to write than when I was feeling useless and unsure of what to do.
Same task – put words onto the page until it creates a book – with very different outcomes when I had very different FEELINGS.
In between the marathon and the book is a story that’s maybe a little more relatable here on a weight loss podcast, because it’s from when I was trying to lose weight. So, when I was in my late 40s and perimenopause was really changing things in my body, I had put on about ten pounds from the combination of overexercising and unintentionally undereating. Actually, they were both unintentional, to be clear.
Up until my late 40s the amount of exercise I was doing was perfectly fine, but then my estrogen started dipping and I wasn’t recovering as fast as I used to (which is what happens in menopause), but I was still training the way I did when I was younger. And at the same time, for possibly the same reason, I stopped having hunger cues. This is something that can happen when you’re overexercising, by the way, and that’s a topic for another day, but it’s good information to have. Tuck that in your back pocket.
Anyway, the first time I lost those ten menopausal pounds (and yes, that’s foreshadowing), I felt desperate the entire time. I was doing the five tasks – MY five tasks, let me be very clear here. I was following MY OWN PLAN, The 5-0 Method. So you’d certainly think that I would feel amazing about those tasks, right?
No. I felt angry.
I was so angry at my body, and SO sad that I couldn’t do what I used to do. I had literally just run a 50 mile race, and now I was walking like two miles a day.
I felt so sorry for myself.
And, to be clear, I also felt determined. I mean, I wanted to lose weight. I felt committed to following the process. I felt curious, like professionally curious, to see how weight loss would feel for me, as a weight loss coach.
So, I felt a LOT of feelings, and I want to parse this out for you. Because on any given day, you might feel pretty okay about your tasks. This is why I was able to lose the weight. I felt… OKAY.
But not two seconds – which was actually like three days, I think – but more or less immediately after I saw that goal weight on the scale, I went directly back to everything I’d been doing that got me to the point where I’d wanted to lose weight in the first place. And within three months, I had ten pounds to lose again.
I wallowed in that for a WHILE, if I’m being completely honest. But I also – and this was the thing that changed everything – I got curious, and I decided to just soften myself to the whole process. ALL of menopause, ALL of weight loss, ALL of business, and life, and grief, and relationships, and everything. I just softened myself and allowed things to be what they were.
This was – not coincidentally – around the same time that I decided to certify as a life coach, which is a decision I am so grateful that I made.
And here’s the thing: it still took me nine months to lose ten pounds. Letting go of the anger and the sadness and the grief was NOT FAST. This was daily work, and it was difficult in the moment – like, the actual feeling of the feelings. It’s uncomfortable. But it’s only uncomfortable for those two minutes, and then you can literally feel yourself letting go of old thoughts that don’t serve you anymore.
It’s really gratifying work.
And that’s the feeling that fueled my weight loss the final time: gratitude. Truly, every day, I’m just so grateful for my menopausal body. It’s taught me EVERYTHING. Everything. It’s amazing, and beautiful, and adaptable, and changeable.
So, here’s your takeaway: you DO know what you need to know about weight loss (and if you don’t, just download The 5-0 Method and listen to that other podcast that I mentioned), AND you can learn more.
You can LEARN two things: first of all, which feelings are NOT driving weight loss for you, which is to say, get out your journal and find out what you’re thinking and feeling right now. And second, you can learn which feelings ARE going to drive sustainable weight loss for you. You heard my stories, some of the feelings that fueled my greatest successes were things like commitment, certainty, curiosity, openness, and gratitude.
These feelings, and more, are available to you.
Stop thinking so hard about what you’re DOING, and start paying attention to how you’re FEELING when you do the things.
Thank you for listening, my friend. I hope this was helpful for you, and I’ll talk to you again soon.