Ep. 299: Answering Your Weight Loss Questions
Hello Goalfriends! Welcome to episode number 299, the one where Pahla is doing something different. I am answering your weight loss questions, but really specifically the thing that I'm doing differently, for those of you who are listening to the podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, I will tell you that there is something special going on this week and possibly, possibly in the future as well. This is a test run. This is a beta launch of me doing a video podcast. I got so many requests. I put out a survey to my email list. I'm gonna say it was a couple of weeks ago at this point and I had so many suggestions for this exact thing that I had been thinking about doing for a while. I watch a couple of video podcasts on YouTube and I find them very enjoyable and I was thinking about doing this.
I've been thinking about it off and on for a while now, but I got so many requests when I put out this survey that I was like, okay, maybe this is something I can do. And I will tell you, maybe it is right now I'm drenched in sweat. I'm completely nervous. It's not because it's hot outside, although it is, but also it's just this is new, this is different. I'm trying it out. So I threw myself a softball with this one today because back in the day I used to do a thing called Q & A Friday where every Friday I would go live on Facebook. This was years ago at this point and I love answering questions. Honestly, if there's a thing that I love most, like in my business and as a teacher, a YouTuber, a podcaster, a life coach - I just love answering questions.
There's something very satisfying about it for me and I know that it's really satisfying for you. So knowing that I was going to feel nervous about doing something new, I threw myself this softball and I gathered a few of the questions that actually came in during that exact same survey where people were like, Hey, what do you think about doing like a video podcast? I have lots of different questions about weight loss that I would love to answer for you. And before we dig into those, let me also tell you a brief little something if you are watching or listening to this podcast, the day it comes out, which I believe should have looked at the dates, I think it's gonna be like the sixth here. Look, I actually have my calendar. It is the 6th of August. If you are watching or listening the day that it comes out, I have a live webinar that you can get to through the show notes or the description box.
You do have to register for it. It is exclusive to my audience on Zoom. I don't think that people can still break into Zoom the way they used to once upon a time when Zoom was new. But I still like you to register just so that we're nice and safe. Once you're registered, I know that you are there because you're not a nefarious person. So I am hosting a webinar on August 8th and gosh, speaking of things I really should have had, you can also answer or ask questions there. I did not write the title of the webinar on my notes. Okay, you guys, I'm gonna look that up somewhat quickly while we are here together because I really wanna tell you the name of this webinar because it's gonna be very fun and interesting for you. But what I'll tell you about it right away, while I'm pulling this up on Zoom, not on Zoom on my Google Drive, what I will tell you is that there will be the opportunity to ask questions.
One of the things that I love to do as we just discussed is answer your questions. So the name of the webinar is “Speed Up Your Results By Doing These Two Things”. I have two very specific things that can help you speed up your results and I will be asking or answering questions. You know, this might be why I'm nervous about doing a video podcast. It's because it feels all different and stuff. So you guys, let's answer some questions. Let's answer your weight loss questions today and maybe I'll see you in two days for the webinar. Like I said, there is a link to register in the show notes or the description box depending on where you're watching or listening. But let's answer some questions. First up is, Lucy says, what's the timeline for seeing results? My body is in early menopause and really not responding to my efforts in the same way as it has in the past.
Oh my gosh, yes. Right, exactly. This is what happens in menopause. All of a sudden everything that we've been doing is just a little bit different and it feels like a big difference because we've had this routine. I mean basically since puberty, as long as you've had all the different cocktail of hormones that's been running your cycle, your body has been responding more or less the same way. But it's not just your cycle that changes during pen perimenopause and menopause. It changes lots of functions in your body. The most important function that in my opinion, the most important thing that estrogen changes is the amount of recovery that you need after a workout. I know that lots of people talk about things like, oh, when you're aging, like you have to do things differently, you have to be more careful of your joints and things like that.
Yes, and the truth of it is you're actually still just as capable. You are still in as good a shape as you've ever been in. You have the same fitness that you've had before. What has changed is the amount of recovery you need afterward. And what happens is that if we keep doing things the way that we've been doing things, which is to say exercising vigorously, enjoying ourselves, and having a good time with it, our body starts to build up stress. This is totally normal, totally natural, like your body puts out stress, the stress hormone, cortisol right after a vigorous workout because that's how you uh, make adaptations after a workout. But once it starts putting out cortisol, one of estrogen's jobs is to ameliorate it and bring the cortisol back down, but without estrogen over here, all of a sudden the cortisol stays elevated. The way that cortisol works is that it raises your blood pressure and raises your blood sugar and over time, if it continues to do that, it actually starts eating your muscles in order to get the blood pressure and blood sugar. So we do not want an excess of cortisol. What this means is that we really have to prioritize recovery after a workout. It also means that we need to prioritize fueling in a way that we didn't used to need to. We used to be able to undereat - like really significantly undereat and your body was like “hey, that's a little bit stressful, but also we'll figure it out”. Now, the stress of undereating also elevates your cortisol. So what we need to do is really prioritize fueling and recovery in a way that we didn't need to be used to. Which means I'm trying to decide if I wanna state this as emphatically as it might sound, it doesn't mean that weight loss has to be slower, but it means that it's not likely to be as fast as it used to be when your metabolism was super efficient, when when you were young and you used to just like exercise real hard and eat nothing, I mean I'm raising my hand here, that's how I used to lose weight all the time.
I've gained and lost 50 pounds like half a dozen times in my life and most of those were done by severely under-eating and at least mildly over-exercising. It worked. It worked right up until it didn't. Now it's not that you have to adjust your expectations like oh it's gonna be really slow, but also it's not gonna be as fast as it used to be. And what I'll offer you is because this is so different, like you really have to get it in your head, okay, I'm fueling in order to lose weight like I'm eating, I'm gonna say more than I used to. In order to lose weight, like wrapping your brain around that means that you're probably not gonna be super consistent hitting your calorie target. I am trying to exercise, you know, less, your brain is gonna have a hard time wrapping itself around that concept.
Also, this is actually why we do so much journaling with the Five-O method. It's why the mindset work is number one so that you can find those thoughts that have you undereating and over-exercising, but knowing that you are not likely to consistently hit your targets right out of the gate means that it's gonna take a while for you to really get in the groove and for your body to understand, okay, this is what we're doing now. We're releasing weight. Once you can hit a hundred percent consistency on all five of your targets, your weight loss, can I say it's gonna speed up, it might and it might not. Your weight loss will be steady, if not necessarily linear, and if not necessarily fast. The truth of it is that you can lose weight. This is really where I wanna go with this.
You can lose weight, you will lose weight eating in that slight caloric deficit over time when you believe that you can when you believe that what you're doing is leading to weight loss when you're hitting all your targets, consistency, those, those five things, you know the five things that you're doing with the Five-O method, they have to all line-up. So your runway to get there might take a while and it's completely okay and it means that the timeline for seeing results, my rule of thumb is that you don't even start looking for results on the scale until you can hit your targets with a hundred percent consistency. And I know, I know some of you actually are getting results without hitting a hundred percent consistency and that's fantastic and good for you, that's great and I like to offer that as the rule of thumb so that you're not constantly looking at the scale and getting super duper frustrated when you are still over here not quite hitting your consistency with your targets.
So really just focus on the consistency with your targets, being super gentle with yourself, understanding that this is all new, it's all different. I mean I have some sympathy for this today. All new, all different, really giving yourself some grace with that, giving yourself some softballs with that is going to be the way to go. And thank you for asking. That was a great question.
Lisa says, what should you do when you stall and how do you figure out why you're stalling? I love this question and this is a little bit more nuanced than I can answer very thoroughly here. It's actually one of the things that we go through in the get your goal group. In fact, it's an entire course that we spend really figuring out like what's going on with different stalls. And I will tell you that there are a couple of different reasons why you might be stalling.
Number one is the one that everybody thinks and it's actually a little bit more rare than you think, but number one could be that your body has changed enough from weight loss that you actually need to change your calorie target. It's rare, it's very rare though honestly almost always it is some other mechanism and it's very rarely the calorie target thing, but everybody wants to go to calories first. So I will offer you that that is one of the reasons why you might be stalling. But it's not generally speaking, it's not the reason, the reason why most people stall is because of mindset. And I don't say that like, oh, your mindset is bad. You have to think positively. Not at all. Really what's going on for most of us is that we have some kind of prior association with either our weight right now or the weight we're getting to or the very next milestone.
I know I don't, I don't think I've worked with a woman yet who didn't have a little bit of a stall and sometimes a lot of, a bit of a stall right before they went under 200 pounds, that 200-pound mark, we all have some, some mental baggage to kind of untangle there. Lots of women get stuck and stall out at a particular weight where something else happened in their life. I've met women who stalled out weighing less than their husbands. I've met women who stalled out when this was the lowest I'd ever gotten, you know, in my adult life. Lots and lots of just associations that your brain has made with your weight that by the way are completely illogical and not associated at all. Literally has nothing to do with your weight, but your brain being super efficient, connects things together that aren't connected and then just keeps those associations because there was kind of no reason not to.
I actually have an entire chapter about this in my book, which is Mind Over Menopause, right on the shelf right behind me. I couldn't tell you which chapter it is. Can I look that up quickly? I'll see, I'll see if I can find it quickly. But I talk about how your brain makes associations with your weight that it's under-scale thoughts. So it's chapter four where maybe, yeah, I think it's under scale. Thoughts, have I memorized my book? No, I have not. But I believe it's in chapter four where I talk about the associations that your brain has made with your weight that are honestly for all intents and purposes, completely illogical and part of our work with weight loss is to just untangle those to really recognize that you have a thought about your weight that is untrue, it's optional and it's unhelpful.
Not that you need to judge yourself for it, not that you need to beat yourself up for it, but simply that you can observe and recognize this is a thought, it has nothing to do with reality. I can absolutely get to the weight that I want to get to. So, the short answer, which was not short at all, but the short answer to that is that what I offer you is journaling to find out why you're stalling. I'm not asking yourself the question of why am I stalling? But really asking yourself what do I think about this weight? What do I think about the next milestone? What do I think about my goal weight? Just find the subconscious thoughts that are rattling around in your brain and recognize them for what they are. Lots of them are illogical associations with other events in your life.
Thank you so much for asking that. I love that question.
Jenny says, I'm curious what you think and know about intuitive eating. Okay, wow. Speaking of topics that I could talk about for quite some time, let me, excuse me, offer you a short version of my opinion of intuitive eating. My opinion is that intuitive eating is fantastic for maintenance. It's actually what I recommend for maintenance, which means that the entire time that you're losing weight, you are building the brain-body connection that will help you eat intuitively. The thing about strictly intuitive eating is that it's not as reliable as we wish it was. We have so much socialization around food so much I, I would, I don't wanna say it's impossible, it's not impossible. I have found in my own life that I have not untangled every single one of my socialized ideas about food.
I've untangled enough of them that my version of intuitive eating is listening to my body and making some decisions like thinking about how much exercise did I do today? How much do I need to fuel for the exercise, how much would I like to fuel based on what kinds of foods sound good and what would I enjoy eating? I think that my version of intuitive eating is not strict, oh I eat when I'm hungry and I stop when I'm, you know, two-thirds full because of course you have your body, and your brain takes a little while to actually tell you that you're full. So I don't go strictly by the physiology of it. I do follow an eating schedule, which means that I eat breakfast at more or less the same time every day. I eat, you know, lunch at the same time I eat dinner at more or less the same time like I follow a schedule.
I also really prioritize foods that I enjoy for social reasons as much as physical reasons. And I take into account how much fuel my body is telling me it needs and how much I think it needs to be based on my activities and my recovery. So I think intuitive eating, like my version of intuitive slash like scientific eating, is fantastic for maintenance. I find that level of being able to pay attention to your body and really trusting and understanding and nurturing and loving the brain-body connection. I have found that to be, again, I don't wanna say impossible but incredibly difficult for women who are losing weight. One of the reasons why we gain weight even if it really is just from the changes of menopause. But even in that little bit where there was a change in what you anticipated from your body and what it's doing now, there's a disconnect between your brain and your body.
I mean this is what happened to me. I wanted to keep on doing the things I had been doing and my body was like no and I ignored it. That brain-body connection is vital for maintenance and you probably don't have it right now. And again, I don't mean that to sound discouraging, I know it's coming across as a kind of tough love. What I wanna offer you is that if you are going strictly right now by, well I'm not hungry or I feel so full so I can't eat the calories, your body may be sending new signals that you might be ignoring. We all learn how to ignore our body's signals. All of us get socialized from the minute we're born to ignore our body's signals. Really, really developing that trust and that connection between your brain and your body for me personally is something that A is ongoing.
And B, once perimenopause really started kind of doing its thing, I was probably three years in and I'd had a great brain-body connection before that. It took me about three years to really start understanding my body's menopausal signals. So this is what I know and think about intuitive eating. I think that it is not necessarily your best bet for weight loss. I do think that it is a fantastic tool to use in weight maintenance and I think that spending your weight loss time thinking about your brain and your body connection so that you can eventually move into intuitive eating, that's actually my goal for you. I don't personally want you to count calories for the rest of your life, especially those of us who are like this is a means to an end. I'm willing to do it for a short amount of time, but also I'd like to love and trust my body.
That was not a short answer at all.
Okay, so the next question is from Kathy who says, how do people successfully count calories without spending money or taking lots of time? I love this question and the answer that I'm gonna give you is gonna come off a little bit glib and I promise you that's not how I mean it. I actually ask anybody in the get your goal group, I ask a question like this just so that you can hear what your brain has to offer. So what if it does? And it's a real question, what if you spend money and take time to do a thing that's going to get you what you want?
Right? For those of you who are just listening to the podcast, I'm making a go-ahead and thinking about it now because I really want you to actually think about this. What if you spend money to reach your goal? What if you spend time and effort and frustration and it doesn't come easily to you? What if that's part of the process? What if that's okay? And if it's not, make sure that you really like your answer because I think lots of us are like, oh no, these are resources I do not want to spend. I wanna lose weight but only if it's easy. I wanna lose weight but only if I don't have to spend any money on it. I wanna lose weight but only if I can do it quickly. Just ask yourself why. Why is that? What is it that you want?
And therefore is it something that you are willing to step outside your comfort zone because spending money is stepping outside your comfort zone? Spending time is stepping outside your comfort zone, spending effort is stepping outside your comfort zone. And if you're not willing to, this is no judgment at all. Like truly this is no judgment. It means that you don't really wanna lose weight and that's okay. Please hear that. I know, I know sometimes I know sometimes that there's that weird kind of anti-motivation thing where trainers will say something like you just don't want it enough and you have to really want it. And I don't, I don't love that version of motivation 'cause I don't find it motivating. What I wanna offer you is that sometimes we kind of think we want something but the amount of time, money, or effort that it would take to get it means that we really don't.
And being really okay with that is important. I mean there are absolutely, there are absolutely things that I kind of sort of want but the effort involved like yeah, you know what, I'm gonna go ahead and take that off my plate. That is not something I'm gonna put on my dream board. It's not something I'm gonna tell myself that I really want because I don't, being honest with yourself is really important. And having said all of that, if this is something that you really do want, let me offer you a couple of different things. Number one, you don't actually have to spend money. I mean especially to count calories, you might spend money on other things but for counting calories you could just use a pen and paper. You actually can't. Google is free pen and paper. I mean yes they cost money but you probably have those resources at home.
You can just write it down. There's nothing inherent about using a calorie-calculating app that is necessary for weight loss. You don't need to know your macros, you don't need to honestly know any of the bells and whistles that those uh apps will offer you. You can just count your calories, you can use the calculator on your phone, you know, add them up like that or you can add with pen and paper or in your head like there's nothing about the apps that you have to spend money on. And the lots of time I will gently offer you that lots of time is a thought and I know that it feels very real and truly there is a learning curve. I mean the first couple of days, weeks, and possibly months where you are looking things up where you are really thinking about it, where you're in that first-gear grinding part of weight loss, it does take more time than it will later on down the line.
I really, even though I took music lessons for all three or four months when I was a teenager, I really do like to make this analogy that it's a lot like learning to play the piano. It's all difficult, it's all clunky. It feels like you're taking forever. You have to practice so much when you first get started and then it gets easier. That's the same thing with counting calories. It really does get easier really allowing yourself the space for it to be difficult at first. Taking time and effort is part of the process. It truly is. And again, absolutely no judgment. If that is not something you want to spend time or money or effort on right now, then it's not for you right now and that's completely okay. It doesn't mean that you never can, you never will or you never want to.
It means that right now you have a different priority. Totally. Okay and thank you for asking that.
And then Erica says, how do I negotiate calories when I'm having friends over once a week or once a fortnight? We are non-drinkers, my calories go way over and I get out of my routine real quick. Is it portion control and learning to say no that needs dressing? Definitely not. I love this question so much and I'm actually gonna offer you, this is the one thing I did look up before I started doing this podcast. I have three I think really good other podcasts that address versions of this question. And it's not to say that I'm not gonna answer your question right now, but I really wanna offer you these resources. Number one is episode number 278. When you overeat, it really helps you get into the exact moment where I'm gonna say you make the decision to overeat except you're not hearing the decision.
You have a subconscious thought that creates a feeling that you're not really feeling in your body and it drives an action that you didn't mean to do. Really knowing that that's all that's ever going on, it doesn't mean anything about you as a human being going over your calorie target. It's not a character flaw. It is a thing that you do from subconscious thoughts, which is to say like almost everything else in our lives you guys, we do so many things from subconscious thoughts and it's not a problem until it is. So episode number 278 really addresses exactly how to dig into that, and I will offer you, I don't know that I said it so much during that podcast, but I will offer you that really just peeling off any kind of judgment is gonna be the first step. It's completely okay that you went over, it's not a big deal and you can figure out what's going on and move towards not doing it.
Again, not to say that you have to fix this, not to say that it won't ever happen again, but you can move towards the outcome that you would prefer. And then, resource number two is episode number 274. It's called self-discipline. I have strong opinions about this one and, even though I've made two podcasts about self-discipline, I will share them here. I don't think you need self-discipline. I don't love the idea of self-discipline. I don't think it's necessarily helpful. Self-discipline in my opinion is very akin to willpower, which is to say it's not permanent. Finding things that really work for you that feel good is always gonna be the way to get long-term sustainable results. So telling yourself I have to say no or I have to be in control or I have to, you know, control my portions, white-knuckling it.
You might get some short-term results from that but you're not going to, you're not gonna learn how to live a lifestyle that feels amazing and make choices that you love until you figure out how to make choices that you love. Emphasis on the word love and that. And then the third resource for that one is episode number 296, which was about what to do when you overindulge. Haven't actually just come out because this is 299, so that was just a couple of weeks ago. And that one is kind of a reframe of how to think about indulgences, how to think about specifically when we overindulge by spending time and calories with our friends. And a different way of turning it around in your mind is to think about the time and calories as an investment in yourself and your friendship and offering yourself, the gentleness, the kindness that it's completely okay to enjoy yourself and to have what you want and to meet your targets.
Hopefully, that answered at least some of your questions and also sent you in a direction where you can get even more answers to that question.
And then Meredith, if this is our final question, says, I would really like to understand how to eat at a slight caloric deficit. How do I figure out all the numbers and how do I control portion sizes more effectively? I love this question as I love all questions because I love answering questions. First of all, I have a really thorough explanation for the slight caloric deficit, like how to calculate your personal slight caloric deficit in the Five-O method, which is my free weight loss program for women over 50. You can get it on my email@example.com. The long and the short of it truly is that it is your current weight with a zero on the end of it.
And then there are some adjustments for height or age or activity level that can help you come to your starting number. And what I'm gonna offer you about that is that when I say the word calculate, I know that it really puts it in your mind like oh this is the number, this is like super specific, this is science, this is the thing that's gonna work. And what I really wanna offer you is that this is the estimate that gets you started. This is approximately what your body very likely needs and you get to do a couple of things. Number one, you get to eat that number and see whether or not you can be consistent with it. 'cause if you can't be consistent then that number doesn't work. And you also get to eat that number and see how your body reacts. Meaning that you do get to start paying attention to your brain-body signals.
Just like we were talking about intuitive eating. Do you feel full? Do you feel hungry? Do you feel sad? Do you feel energetic? Do you feel good? Do you feel sluggish? Like how do you actually feel in your body with that number of calories? And then after you've been paying attention to your body's signals and working on a hundred percent consistency, then you can start looking at the scale. Once you're at a hundred percent consistency, then you can start looking at the scale and seeing whether or not you're getting the results that you want. That is how you calculate over time your slight caloric deficit. And what I will offer you is that most of us are trying to eat at two steep of a caloric deficit. Most of us think we have to just slash our calories just way under-eat. And coming back to, I think it was our very first question, your menopausal body just doesn't like that anymore.
It's not that you can't do it, you can but your body doesn't like it. And really loving and accepting that your menopausal body does things differently now is such a huge part of this journey. And then the second question about how do I control portion sizes more effectively, my friend, I love this question, plan ahead. It's the whole answer. You can take a look at what you are planning on eating today and figure out how much of each thing you're going to fit into your calorie target. If you have a breakfast that you absolutely love, figure out how many calories there are in that breakfast as it stands. If you have a lunch that you are very likely to eat more or less, more often or less often, you can go ahead and figure out the calories in that lunch dinner I think tends to be the most variable, but you'll know how many calories you have left and if you're me, you're gonna prioritize dessert after dinner.
So make sure that you have calories for that too. Once you know how everything is gonna Tetris in, that's how you figure out your portion sizes when you know, okay, here's this breakfast that I like to eat and it's you know, a thousand calories and my target is 1600 for the day. It means that you're probably gonna have a smaller portion than you are used to. This is an example, I don't think most of us eat a thousand-calorie breakfast, but just in case now you know I'm gonna portion that one a little bit smaller so that I have room for lunch and I have room for dinner and I definitely have room for dessert. Looking at your whole day as opposed to one individual meal or snack at a time can really help you see how they all fit together into your target. And you can make your portion sizes whatever you want as it happens. I don't eat a thousand calorie breakfast but I eat more calories for breakfast than I do for dinner. I actually really like starting my day because I wake up hungry. So I like starting my day with an amount of food that really fuels me for a good couple of hours. I tend to work better in the mornings so I really like to have enough fuel to get a lot of work done. And then I kind of taper off as my day goes, as my energy is lower. I don't need a huge dinner 'cause I'm not really doing a lot. After dinner, I go for a really short little meander with the dog and then I kind of sit around and play on my phone and go to bed. So I don't need that same kind of energy from food that I do earlier in the morning. So for me personally, that is how I portion my day out. Bigger breakfast, smaller lunch, and medium-sized dinner. How it works for you is gonna be completely individual for you.
You get to figure out what portion sizes work. It might not be the portion size on the box, it might be a portion that you choose based on how you've put all your numbers together. Are you guys okay? I survived. You survived. I hope you'll enjoy the video podcast if you come and watch it. I would love some feedback on this one. Really specifically, come on over to YouTube and tell me, tell me what you think about a video podcast. 'cause I am, I'm kind of committing to doing this. This is a soft commitment. This is a beta launch of me trying something new and seeing how it goes. And I think I'm gonna enjoy it 'cause this one was super fun. But we'll see. I hope it was helpful to you. Thank you so much for joining me and I'll see you again next week.