Ep. 306: Are You Doing Too Much?

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.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, taking a look at how much you’re working out is one of the first places you can troubleshoot. Menopausal women have different exercise and recovery needs than younger women, and – believe it or not – too much exercise can actually lead to weight GAIN over 50. On this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re exploring how much is too much.

Overexercise isn’t always the problem, but it’s a far more common issue than the internet would lead you to believe. And it’s particularly problematic for menopausal women, because we recover so differently than we used to.

We live in a society that values hard work, doing more, pushing yourself to extremes, and being the best. And I don’t argue with those values, exactly – but I do want you to understand the nuances of how to incorporate those ideals into your menopausal life. Especially as you’re losing weight.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to know when you’re doing too much (including the signs and symptoms you’ve been ignoring)
  • Why you find yourself continuing to do what you’ve always done (even when you’re not getting the results you want)
  • The step-by-step process for finding your balance and losing weight with ease (instead of willpower)

If you’re ready to get to your goal weight without pushing yourself to extremes, this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast is for you!


Hello, hello, GOALfriend. Welcome to episode number 306: Are You Doing Too Much? AKA, the title that I almost gave it: how to stop over-exercising. And before we even get into this today, I'm gonna talk you out of this podcast. I mean, not the podcast in general, but I'm gonna talk you out of thinking, oh my gosh, this is a problem for me. Because the truth of it is, it might be a problem, and it also might not. And diagnosing whether or not this is even a problem for you is part of the bigger picture. So that's where I really wanna say I'm not really talking you out of the episode. I want you to listen because no matter what I say, there's always something here for you, and simultaneously, this very specific information might not apply to you, which I know sounds like a contradiction, But maybe even thinking about it, like, oh my gosh, this doesn't apply to me, is the thing that's here for you. I know when I first started on anything… I mean, truly, anything when I first get started on it, I really think everything applies to me. I'm thinking really specifically right now about my business journey. When I went into business for myself, I listened to everybody about everything and I spent literal years spinning out and trying to be good at Instagram and good at YouTube and good at Facebook and good at making videos and good at marketing and good at sales and good email and good at all kinds of things, but some of them actually didn't apply to me, and I had no idea. So that's where I want to start our conversation today. This might apply to you, and if it does, I have some really practical steps to help you out. And it also might not. Let's look at the big picture of a, what would even be going on to know whether or not this applies to you, and b, how to actually discern whether or not it applies to you. So the big picture of losing weight is really everything that I tell you in the 5-0 method, which by the way, is my free weight loss guide for women over 50. You can get it from getyourgoal.com. Everything that I tell you, there are 5 things that we do everyday that make you say, oh, which is why it's called the 5-0 method. There are 5 things that we do that make you say, oh, I didn't know weight loss could be so simple at this age. The 5 things that we do are the only 5 inputs of your day that are actually 100% under your control. You journal to manage your mindset, find your thoughts and decide if they’re helpful. You eat the right number of calories, you drink the right amount of water, you have a sleep schedule, and you exercise moderately. Those five things are a, 5 things that you have 100% control of, and b, all about stress inputs in your body and see the thing that's more important than anything else I'll tell you today. They all work together. When you are troubleshooting whether or not something applies to you, you will come at it if you are anything like everybody I've ever worked with ever. You will come at it, like, oh my gosh, I'm having such a hard time losing weight. I should probably eat fewer calories. I will tell you that if that is immediately where your head went, I do have an episode for that. It's episode number 288 when to adjust your calories, and I'll have a link to that in the show notes, wherever you're watching or listening. And then the other thing you're gonna say is, oh my gosh, I should exercise more. You've heard your entire life that you have to eat less and move more in order to lose weight. The tenant of the 5-0 method and of weight loss in general is that what you actually need to do is really manage your stress. When you are journaling, you are managing your mental and emotional stress. You're taking a look at your thoughts and figuring out like, oh my gosh, this is why I feel so tense all the time. This is why I feel so much doubt about my weight loss journey. This is why I feel so conflicted about the number of calories that I'm eating, etcetera. This is why we journal. It is 100% within your control to journal every day to find your thoughts and decide if they’re helpful, and the reason we do that is to manage your stress. The reason you eat the right number of calories, which is probably for many of us more than you have been, is because it's stressful for your body to under eat. It didn't used to be. Before you were menopausal, you could eat way under. You could literally starve yourself. I mean, maybe not literally that's more of a figurative But kind of literally, you could eat so little. You could eat so little and your body would respond. Now your body is just a lot more. I like to tell my husband. I'm like, I'm a delicate flower. I have to be very careful. It's kind of funny, but it's also kind of true, and it's funny because it's true. Your calibration is a lot more sensitive now than it used to be. You used to be able to way under-eat and get results from it, and now you just can't. You do still have to be in a caloric deficit, get me wrong. I'm not telling you that you get to eat any old thing in the whole entire world. I’m saying that your window of the number of calories to eat just got a little bit squeezeier. You can't way under eat, you can't way overeat, you gotta be right in this nice tight window. The reason I tell you to drink your water is because it's really stressful to be dehydrated. And in fact, your body won't actually adapt to dehydration. It will just shut things down. The two things that it shuts down and I always find this ironic, which is why I have shared this factoid with you so many times, when you are dehydrated, your body slows down your digestion and also slows down your thinking. It actually constipates your brain and your body when you are dehydrated. It's stressful for your body to try and work through its digestion process. Under hydrated. The reason I tell you to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, meaning go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning to have a sleep schedule. This is because not having a sleep schedule is actually really stressful on your body. Your circadian rhythm and your sleep schedule actually run a lot of your other processes during the day when you have been off your sleep schedule, you will be hungrier and less satisfied with what you eat because of being off on your sleep schedule. All So one of the things that your body very naturally does on your normal circadian rhythm is it will spike your cortisol first thing in the morning because that just gets you and, and, I mean, it gets you up enough to get to your cup of coffee, but it gets your body up and moving when your circadian rhythm off when you are going to bed at different times or waking up at different times. Your body doesn't quite know when to spike that cortisol, so cortisol stays in your system longer. That's stress. I mean, cortisol is called the stress hormone because of that it is a stress response. The reason I tell you to exercise moderately isn't because you can't exercise or shouldn't exercise. It's because when you do a vigorous workout, your body simply needs more time to recover. That recovery time is when the cortisol comes back out of your body. By the way, cortisol. I mean, yes, it wakes you up in the morning. You also get a cortisol spike right after you've exercised. So over time, if you continue exercising vigorously, your body will have that cortisol stress response. The 5 things that we do, a, all work together, just like I already mentioned, they're all well with control, which I actually think was A last time and then B was that they all worked together, and then C, it's all about managing your stress. The reason I tell you to exercise moderately is to reduce your stress so that you can lose weight. I don't tell you to exercise moderately because you can't continue to do what you used to do. I don't tell you to exercise moderately to be mean by the way. I don't tell you to exercise moderately for any reason other than it is the simplest way to lose weight. And let me explain that one to you really quickly. You actually can exercise any way you want to while you're losing weight. For me, it makes sense to do the math once on your calories to say, okay, this is how much I'm gonna eat every day because I'm putting forth about the same amount of energy on my workout every day. You could eat in a slight caloric deficit while exercising above and beyond your moderate and then having rest days and then, you know, vigorous workouts and then rest days and vigorous workouts and then rest days. You are absolutely good. It's just the math is more you'd have to be eating in that slight caloric deficit on each of those days. So you'd have to be figuring out approximately what your calorie burn was. Calorie burn is not up to you at all. Of the inputs that are under your control, your calories are out. First of all, it's not an input, it's an output. You have no control over it. None. None. You can safely disregard anybody who tells you, oh, you're always burning fat when you are doing X, Y, or Z. You are burning fat when your body wants to burn fat. Not because your brain wants to burn fat. So the reason I tell you to exercise moderately is because it's easier because it's simpler. And yet it doesn't always feel that way. Sometimes we are doing too much. The reason you would know that you were doing too much is that you would. Well, the reason you would come to me and say to me, am I doing too much, is because you're having trouble losing weight, because for whatever reason the results just aren't coming out the way you think they should. This is one of the things that you can look at in order to troubleshoot weight loss that doesn't seem to be going the way you think it should be going. Here's why I'm being really careful the way I say that is because exercise really doesn't exist in a vacuum. And for lots of us, the worry about our exercise is actually the problem even more so than the exercise. So when you come to me and you say I'm having trouble losing weight, it must be my exercise, It might be and also I will encourage you to look at the other 4 things because they all work together And because there's a very good chance that what you're thinking about your exercise is It could be a bigger problem than the exercise itself. Here's why we're gonna talk about this though. In my personal experience, I was managing my mind. I mean, I was managing my mind as much as I managed my mind back in 2019 when I lost the weight. But also I really was over-exercising. I really was. I can look at it now and see very clearly that I came to my fifties as a person who loved extreme exercise. And for the longest time, my body could handle it. This conversation is really directed at you. You sort of love to exercise. You love to work out. If you really only wanna keep working out and you're kind of grudgingly listening? This is for you. This one's for you. I loved to work out, actually, I still do. I love, present tense, to work out. I used to love to work out and really push myself hard. To really see where my body could go and to really figure out where my limits were. And by the way, you don't have any. This is almost the problem. You don't ever actually hit a limit. What you hit is the point where you need to recover from what you've done. That's it. Your body can adapt to anything. Here's what happened, here's what happened to me, here's what might be happening to you. You might notice that you want to continue exercising, but it doesn't feel the way it used to. And so you keep trying to exercise harder to feel good and you keep feeling lousy. This is exactly where I was a couple of years ago. Let's go on the way back. Whoo. So a couple of years ago, I was an ultra marathoner who was also a fitness trainer on YouTube. I used to make full-length workouts for well, at the time, it wasn't necessarily for women over 50. I turned into full-length workouts for women over 50 as I went through my own over-exercising journey. But at the time, I mean, gosh, I was running ultra marathons, and I was doing a very, very workout that it felt amazing right up until it didn't. I noticed over the course of, I'm gonna say a while, like it really took me almost a year to even understand what was going on. And then even after I knew what was going on, it took me about another 2 years to really make peace with it in my brain. I offer you that 3-year timeline so that well, for a couple of reasons, and I don't offer it to you to make you feel terrible. Like, just gonna take me 3 years to figure this out. I offer it to you, like, it's okay and I'm okay and I'm not doing it wrong, if it takes me a while. Like if you are on an approximate 3-year journey with changing your mind about over-exercising, You're right on track, baby. You're doing great. Don't worry about it. It takes a while to change your mind. It takes a while to change your body. It takes a while to figure this stuff out. It's all completely okay. That's why I offer you my timeline. But so here's the thing. We all live in a society that really values hard work. We have all had these messages. I was in, like, a lot of Facebook groups, and I took in a lot of media, a lot of social media that really reinforced everything that I was doing. Like, I would watch other exercise people on YouTube. I would pay attention to, like, exercise on social media. I followed so many running accounts on social media, like tons of them. I wanted to be part of that group. That, you know, 100k group, and the Iron Man group, and the people who were pushing themselves to their extremes. So I was taking in a lot of messages whether you belong to those kinds of social media groups or not, you are too. There's a lot of just messaging in the world that we as a society, value hard work, we value pushing ourselves, we value doing more. We value extremes in a lot of ways, and we really value being the best. And if not the best, then your best. And I wanna offer you that you can still value all of those things while respecting your menopausal body. So what happened to me was that I was, you know, I was an Ultra marathoner, I was a fitness YouTuber, and my body just didn't want anything to do with any of it anymore. Like, and I knew I knew what was happening and I really didn't wanna hear the signs. I didn't wanna pay attention to the signs. I didn't I didn't wanna know. I didn't want to hear that I was exhausted. I didn't want to hear that I was on the verge of injury. I didn't want to notice that I had gained a lot of weight. It felt like I had a lot of drama over it at the time. Looking back now and looking at the numbers, I can see that it really wasn't dramatic. But at the moment, as it so often is, as I'm sure has happened to you, those pounds felt monumental to me. And I just really felt like I had lost control of my body. I went through a lot of that kind of drama because it was when I was first menopausal, so I really had a lot of Oh my gosh, I'm not in control of this anymore. This is all outside of me. I'm not who I used to be. And the only way that I had ever managed any of that kind of, like, stress and emotional drama was to go run it off. And then and than that made it worse. And it was really it was hard. It was really hard. And if that is where you have found yourself, and that is why you are listening to this particular podcast episode. I just wanna give you a big hug. I just wanna sit next to you and hold your hand and say, yeah, I know. Me too. Me too. And here's why you might have come to me because you are trying to lose weight, and you are looking at the numbers, and you were like, oh my gosh, I wanna be able to still do this stuff. I think I can make it work. I'm willing to eat more. But I don't think I'm willing to exercise less. Maybe Pahla's got some easy way to turn this around, and I do. You know what? I do. And I'm not gonna present this like, Oh, you're gonna have to cut back on every single thing. Yeah, I have cut back And I have really, truly made peace with what I do now and find so much pleasure from it. I find so much enjoyment in what I am doing because I have figured out how to let go of a lot of the nonsense that I used to pay attention to. Here's what I'm gonna offer you. Changing your exercise habits contains two parts. There's the part where you listen to your body, and then there's the part where you get your brain on board with what your body actually needs. The part where you listen to your body is the part that took me the longest. That was the part where my body was giving me all kinds of signs and signals. And I was like, nope, nope, nope, nope, I'm a runner, I'm an ultra marathoner, I'm a fitness YouTuber. I can keep doing this. It's okay. Watch me. My body kept saying, No, no, thank you. I don't care for this. What I will offer you is the collection of data over time. Keep doing what you're doing because I know you're going to. And also keep some records of how your body actually feels. The reason you think you love to exercise, the reason you push yourself to exercise the way you do is because for so long, it actually did feel good. It truly released endorphins, made you stronger, and really felt good. But now it probably doesn't. And you might not be paying attention to that. Here's where it will show up. Your daily energy level. If you notice yourself kind of constantly thinking about reaching for another cup of coffee or kind of constantly Not really wanting to get everything done that's on your list and not really wanting to do anything extra, maybe turning things down that you used to find pleasure in. First of all, let me offer you the way that I'm describing this. Do talk to your doctor. There are actual physical things like your thyroid. There are, you know, emotional things like depression. Go rule those out first. But also pay attention. Pay attention to your daily energy level and see if it's where you think it could be. You also want to actually collect some data on your body's physical discomfort. As happens, as an Ultra runner, and a fitness trainer, I used to love pushing through pain. I used to think that pain was a weakness. Do you remember that? Have you ever heard that one before? I used to think that being sore was easing, and for a long time, I actually associated physical discomfort with good things. I mean, I'm making adaptations. I'm getting better. I'm getting faster. I'm getting stronger. But what I noticed, as I was collecting data over time, is that it wasn't just soreness. It was like nagging injuries, and it was soreness that didn't feel good. It was soreness that stayed in my body that didn't work out a long time ago, maybe not a long time ago, but many years ago, I used to be able to go for a long run on Sunday. And then on Monday, I would go for a recovery run, which cracks me up now because now recovery looks very, very different, very different. I do not run for recovery. I run as more of a push workout, and then I recover by recovering by going for either a very gentle stretching or definitely spending time on my foam roller. Like, my recovery activity is very gentle now. What used to actually help me recover didn't help me recover anymore. Really paying attention to your discomfort, your pain, how long it takes to work through that pain, and whether or not you're actually working through the pain or if it is staying. Collecting data over time will give you some insights as to what's actually going on with your body. The other thing that you wanna look at is your daily mood. This was the thing that I didn't want to pay attention to at all. I thought I was just fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I was not fine. I was crabby. All the time, all the time. I was so crabby. And in my case, really specifically, I mean, here's the thing. When perimenopause really hit me, it also happened to be the year that my kids were away at college, it was the year right after my sister died. I had lots of reasons why my mood was all over the place, and why my emotions were all over the place. I had lots of reasons why a lot of this stuff honestly slipped and escaped my notice. I had bigger fish to fry. However, when I took a look at it, it wasn't just grief. It wasn't just empty nesting. It wasn't just, you know, the things that I could kind of say, okay, yes, this is what's going on. I was just kind of crabby because I didn't feel good. My body physically did not feel good. My body physically was not coping well. With what I was putting it through. The other thing and this was the one that was especially hard for me personally. Another thing that I will offer you to collect data on over time is to actually assess your performance. Like really, especially if you are like a runner or a walker or you keep some kind of records about weights you're lifting and things like that. Really take a look at the numbers, my friend. The reason you push is to improve if your push isn't bringing you improvement, then you're just pushing. I say that to you so gently because I didn't wanna hear it either. I have so much sympathy for this entire conversation. Like, my whole body is just like, I remember what this felt like. I kept looking at the numbers, and I kept thinking I just had to push harder. I just have to push harder. And the harder I pushed the slower I got, the harder I pushed, the harder it was. I have said this to you in so many workout videos, if you have ever done my workout videos after I did this mindset work, The harder you push, the harder it is to lose weight. The harder you push, the harder it is to get your goal. Your body is asking you. It's begging you for recovery if you are struggling, not just with your weight, but with your performance, with your energy, with your pain levels, with your mood. Take a look at all of the data. Collect data for a while. I will offer you that a month would be your minimum, and honestly even a couple of months, like really get a big picture. And part of the reason that I offer you is so that you can keep over-exercising for a little while longer. I'm totally letting you continue doing what you're doing right now while you're collecting the data because when you're collecting the data, it's gonna be so obvious. It really is. And having more numbers will really help you see what's going on. It will, but here's the thing, here's the second part of it. So number 1 is to collect data from your body, and then the second part of it is really get your brain on board. Again, you have so many messages. You have been socialized from birth to go hard, go big or go home, do more push more. All of the things. All of the things. This is a different message, and it takes a while to change your mind. I mean, changing your mind is not just going to come to you. Me presenting you with all this information. You present yourself with months' worth of data collection. Isn't going to change your mind. It's just going to feel like a constant nonstop argument. In order to get your brain on board, you're gonna have to take a look at what's actually in your brain. Take a look at what you're telling yourself. Take a look at how you've been socialized. Take a look at the thoughts you're thinking. This, my friends, is where we get our journal. Of course. Of course. You know, I don't wanna say your journal is the answer to everything, but your journal is kind of the answer to everything. When you have some self-awareness about what it is that you are saying to yourself, it will make it so clear why you're doing what you're doing, even though You have all this data from your body that it feels terrible. It's kind of weird. It was weird for me. Let me keep this all about my story. Your journey is gonna be your journey for me. I found it so amazing that I had all this data that I was punching myself in the face, and yet I couldn't seem to stop punching myself in the face until I looked at my journal where I wrote down, I am punching myself in the face, like, like I had no self-awareness about why I was doing what I was doing until I had self-awareness about why I was doing what I was doing. I had all kinds of thoughts in my head that simply weren't serving me anymore. I have to push harder, I have to do more running on repeat in my brain. I offer you the 5-0 method, my free weight loss program for women over 50 that you can get from getyourgoal.com. I offer you journaling pages and a really, really prescriptive journaling practice. That makes it very clear exactly why you're doing the things that you're doing. It makes it very clear exactly which thoughts aren't going to take you to your goal weight. And if you are anything like me, it is almost all of your thoughts about exercise and how you have to do more. The 2-step tool, which is the journaling practice that I offer you, I'm You know, it has been a little while since I've looked at the 5-0 method. I don't know if I actually explicitly call it the 2 step tool. In any event, the journaling pages that are for free in the 5-0 method have instructions for the 2-step tool. And if I don't call it the 2-step tool, you're gonna be like, There are seven steps here. Yes. The 2-step tool to find your thoughts, that's step 1, and decide if they're helpful, that's step 2, but the really prescriptive process for how to use that 2-step tool has 7 steps, and that's what I offer you. Oh, my friends. We make everything complicated, don't we? If not, I make things complicated in an effort to make them simple, I complicate them. The 2 step tool, though, truly is the thing that will change your mind. You will find yourself, as I already mentioned, you find yourself arguing with yourself or simply trying to use willpower. And what I'm gonna offer you here is that neither one of those things is gonna work long term. You really do want to get your brain on board. When your brain feels amazing about how you're exercising, your body will feel amazing too. I mean, it really is. It really is that simple. When your brain and your body work together, you can go anywhere. And this is the thing that I think is so amazing about this process. The thing I took away from my over-exercising journey is that I really thought I had a great relationship with my body, and I did until my body changed, and then I didn't understand it anymore. And so I had to rework and re-imagine everything, my entire relationship with my body, I loved my body so much pre-menopause. And I had to dig through all of those thoughts and recognize that they did not serve my menopausal body. My menopausal body needed something different from me, and I wanted to love her. So I did the work. I listened to her. I listened to my brain and I got them on board together. This is what I offer you. I suspect that you loved your premenopausal body, that you loved what she could do, that you loved pushing her as hard as she could go. You loved those endorphins. You loved how good it felt, and then your body changed. And now You are reimagining your relationship with your body, and here's what I have to tell you. When your brain and your body work together, you can have that magic again. It will be different. You will be doing different things, but you can feel as good as you ever felt. You can feel amazing when you listen to your body and you get your brain on board. And if this is the thing that needs to happen, stop over-exercising. You may or may not be doing too much if this entire podcast totally resonated with you. If you find yourself in tears right now, my friend, this is work. This is your work. I offer it to you gently. I offer you the timeline of let this take as long as it takes. There's a lot of digging to be done here. There's a lot of digging to be done in your body, and a lot of digging to be done in your brain, your body and your brain, are both there. They're not going anywhere, and they are ready and willing to work together when you are ready and willing to put in the work. I really hope this one was helpful for you today. Thank you so much for being here for listening, for watching, and for being my friend. I'll see you again soon.

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

Originally aired September 24, 2023
If you’re having trouble losing weight, taking a look at how much you’re working out is one of the first places you can troubleshoot. Menopausal women have different exercise and recovery needs than younger women, and – believe it or not – too much exercise can actually lead to weight GAIN over 50. On this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re exploring how much is too much.
  • Spotify
  • Soundcloud
  • Apple

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.