What To Do When the Scale Goes UP

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You stepped on the scale this morning, and it was up. Your heart sank, and your brain went into overdrive, telling you that obviously, this is a disaster – you’re gaining weight! Sound familiar? My friend, today on the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re digging deep into the monkey chatter you hear in your brain, and I’ve got a simple, practical mindset solution for what to do when the scale goes UP.

Before we talk about mindset, though, let’s clear up a little biology: today’s weight didn’t go up because of what you ate yesterday. Your body has billions of daily processes that affect the scale, and what you’ve recently eaten is only the tiniest fraction of that.

The problem is that simply understanding this fact intellectually doesn’t stop you from feeling bad. Well, here’s why: your brain is hard-wired to make meaning from data. It’s normal, it’s natural, and it’s just what your brain does!

But hang on, because here comes some amazing news: your brain is ALSO hard-wired to be able to simply observe without making meaning. We just don’t get taught to use this skill, because the other way is sort of the default.

When you practice this superpower, though, you’ll be unstoppable. The scale won’t ruin your day, you won’t be tempted to overexercise or undereat in response to today’s weight, and you’ll feel calm and in control – even when the scale goes up.


You stepped on the scale this morning, and it was up 1.2 pounds from yesterday. Your heart sank to your stomach and your brain went into overdrive, telling you that obviously this is a disaster. You are gaining weight. You're never gonna get to your goal. Or if you do, well now it's just gonna take longer. And it's all because of those stupid cookies you ate yesterday. If you had any self control at all, this wouldn't have happened. But it's going to be okay. Today's a new day, and you'll just get on with it as best you can. This all sounds familiar, doesn't it, my friend? Today on the get your goal podcast, we are digging deep into the monkey chatter that you hear in your brain when you step on the scale. And I've got a simple, practical mindset solution for what to do when the scale goes up. Listen, anybody can help you lose weight after menopause by restricting yourself and using willpower. But my zone of genius is helping you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever by changing your mindset. Welcome to the get your goal podcast, where ambitious menopausal women come to lose weight for the last time. I'm your host, Paula B. Certified life and weight loss coach, author of Mind over Menopause, and former yo yo dieter. When you're ready to change your mind about weight loss, I'm here to help. Let's get your goal. Okay, before we even get into it today, I just want to warn you that if you hear my teeth chattering, it's because I am freezing cold, you guys. I am back in the podcast studio today. I am sitting in my freezing cold minivan in my freezing cold garage, and I am freezing cold. And of course, what I mean by that is that it is California cold. But here's the thing. My husband is at home today because he's home all the time. He is retired now. So he is home, and he is ratling around on a project inside the house. And oh, my gosh, the cats are going crazy cuckoo this morning. They have an internal cat alarm that tells them when they're going to get fed. And if you've ever had any kind of an animal, I'm sure you know what this is like. They've been mellow all morning, but we feed them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They get a little bit of crunchy food. When I get up in the morning or half an hour before I would like to be getting up in the morning is when they start waking me up asking for food and then they get soft food a little bit for lunch, and then they get a little bit more crunchy food for dinner, which is more or less at the time that my husband and I eat dinner, which, by the way, we are trying really hard to push our dinner back. I'm trying really hard to make adjustments to our schedule. And I tell you what, my brain feels like the cat's brain. Like, I have been getting up so early in the morning for so many years, and we've eaten dinner so early for so many years, it's been an adjustment. I tell you what, and I will keep you updated on this, but in an event, I'm recording this podcast in what is approximately a half an hour before the cats are supposed to eat lunch, and they are running around and meowing and wrestling with each other. And there was not one moment of quiet to be had inside the house. So here I am in my freezing cold minivan. Hey, you know what? Let's go ahead and talk about what to do when the scale goes up. But actually, before we even get into the mindset part of it, I really want to cover a little bit of biology about how your body works. And you probably have heard me say this. I mean, over the course of my career as a weight loss life coach, I have definitely said this dozens of times in different ways. I'm pretty sure I have said it hundreds of times. And honestly, you know how as a mom, you feel like you say the same thing over and over? I personally feel like I have said this hundreds of times and maybe even thousands of times. But here's the thing about your body. Today's weight is never, honestly, never because of what you ate yesterday. What you ate yesterday is not completely unrelated. I'm not trying to say that. What I want you to know is that it's never, ever a simple one to one correlation. Your brain would love it to be a one to one correlation, because that's very simple. And your brain is always looking for the simple solution, which in so many ways serves us so well. But here's the thing about your body. You actually have billions with a b, billions of processes that your body performs every single minute of every single day. And there's a couple of those that you do actually have control over. You have control over what you eat. You have control over how much water you drink. You have control over what time you go to bed and what time you get out of bed. Not necessarily control over how much you actually sleep. You have control over how much you exercise intentionally. And I'm being very careful about, very careful about how I say that because I know that obviously there are circumstances in life. Sometimes you, in order to live your life, have more activity than others. But what I'm talking about is your intentional exercise. You actually have complete control over that. And even though I offer it as an input with the 50 method, which is my free weight loss program for women over 50, that is led by mindset, I do offer that mindset is something that you control, as in, you control whether or not you journal, whether or not you are finding your thoughts and feeling, if they're helpful. You don't necessarily control all of your thoughts. So, yes, you do have control and direction over quite a few of your inputs, quite a few of your processes. Ultimately, there are literally billions of other processes going on inside your body that you don't control. So your brain trying to make a one to one correlation between only what you ate and the number on the scale today, frankly, it's a thought error. And I offer you that, I know I didn't really sound gentle because so frequently I don't. But I do offer you that gently, like, you can let that go, that your brain thinks that it's because of, like today's weight is because of what you ate yesterday. But you know what's really funny about this? Knowing and understanding intellectually this simple fact that your weight today is not because of what you ate yesterday. That doesn't stop you from beating yourself up or trying to make this one to one correlation between what you ate and what you weigh, or even honestly trying to shove it down and get on with your day. Like all of the monkey chatter that you hear when you get on the scale, I want to offer you that. It's actually just really normal to hear all of that. It's normal to try and make a correlation. It's normal to beat yourself up. It's normal to try and shove it down and get on with things. And even though it's normal, I am going to offer you, I'm going to call it a better solution for what to do when the scale goes up. But first, let's understand why that's completely normal. Here's why. Your brain is hardwired to make meaning from data. Data, like numbers, are actually meaningless unless we give them a meaning. And I want to give you an example. 42. I know you're like, and this is what I mean, where did your brain just go just now when I said that number? Like, I offered you absolutely no information about that number. I just blurted it out. But did you notice your brain immediately went in search of some kind of a meaning? You might have found yourself asking a question like, what does Paula mean by the number 42? But you also might have very naturally just started kind of casting about for what it could mean. Did you think about losing 42 pounds, for example, especially if that is your goal, that number 42 probably wouldn't, like, lit up little areas of your brain where you're like, oh, my gosh, she's talking about me, I'm losing 42 pounds. Or did you think about something like trying to get within 42 calories of your daily target? Seems like a random number. But if that's approximately where you tend to fall from day to day, that number had meaning for you. Or maybe you thought about what 42oz of water looks like, because maybe that's how you parcel it out during the day. You've got 42 in the morning and 42 at noon, and I don't know, like another 42 later or something. I don't know. I don't know. But maybe you started thinking about what happened in your life when you were 42 years old. Lots of good things happened to me when I was 42. 42 was a really especially good year for me. It's funny how we have those. So my brain totally went there. Or maybe one of your kids is 42 years old. Or maybe you went immediately to the hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy and thought I was talking about the meaning of life. Or, oh, my gosh, maybe you remembered that band from the 1980s, level 42. And immediately your brain started offering you up that song. Because there is something about you, baby. Oh my gosh, I am so off key. And also, do you know that the level 42, that band, do you know that that is actually a reference to the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, where level 42 was the meaning of life. So long, and thanks for all the fish, you guys. The number 42 has no inherent meaning, and neither does your weight. If you need to pause the podcast and really take that in for a minute, I encourage you to do so, because I'm actually going to keep talking. Your weight has no meaning in the best way. Like, truly, it is a number, and your brain is simply trying to make meaning of it. And now, here's the thing. Some of you might have skipped two steps ahead of me and actually made meaning out of your brain's hardwired tendency to make meaning. And then you thought to yourself, oh my gosh, if my brain does that automatically, then I must be doomed to keep hearing the monkey chatter when you step on the scale, right? Not quite right. Because here's the thing. Yes, your brain is absolutely hardwired to make meaning, but also it is hardwired to be able to simply observe without making meaning. Like, yes, we automatically make meaning out of everything, but you also, at any point in time, have the capability. You have the hardwired hardware. I don't know. In your brain. I don't know how I want to think about that. Okay, I'm going to tell you something. When I was making the notes for this podcast, I was going to make some kind of an analogy about the way a computer works. And for the life of me, I don't understand enough about computers to know how this would work. But I think that your computer works and you also have some kind of app or program or something that observes how the computer is working. And if so, somebody's going to corroborate this for me. If so, that's your brain also. Yes, your brain operates a certain way, but you also have the ability to simply observe your brain operating that way. It is amazing. And also it's awkward. I want you to think about this one. This is analogy I do have some good information about. I want you to think about having a dominant hand and a nondominant hand. As it happens, I am incredibly right handed. Like so so right handed. It's almost ridiculous. I'm also right legged, meaning that when in doubt, my right leg always feels stronger. I tend to balance better on my right leg. When I'm stepping up on something or stepping down from something, I tend to lead with my right leg because my brain just automatically trusts my right side, much more so than my left side. But my left side, technically speaking, still capable of doing all the things that my right side can do. My dominant side, I mean, when you think about having a dominant side, and by the way, just so you know, your hand and your leg, or rather your arm and your leg might not be dominant on the same side. I tend to be very right dominant on both my upper and lower body. I have met so many people, and I find it super duper fascinating, that are right dominant for their arm, but left dominant for their leg. And I've also noticed over the years that people who are left handed who are left dominant tend to be far more ambidextrous. So if you are left handed, this analogy might not make quite as much sense. But if you do have an extreme dominant side, like I do, then you will understand what I'm saying here. You will be way more likely to pick up a ball, or throw a ball, or pick up a fork, or open a door, or step up or step down with your dominant side, but you are still capable of feeding yourself or opening a door or throwing a ball if you had to. And please don't ask me to, but I could throw a ball with my nondominant side. It feels awkward and weird, but you can. This is how I love to think about mindset work. Like just in general, it feels awkward and weird, but you can do it. And so this here is the actual three step process for what to do when the scale goes up. Step number one is to really, truly understand that your brain wants to make meaning of a number that is meaningless. And then step two, know and understand and really feel deep in your bones that you also have the ability to simply observe without making meaning, and that it's going to feel awkward and weird when you try to do so. It is your nondominant, nondefault way of thinking. And then here's the thing that's going to set you free. You simply collect your scale data without making meaning. Again, if you need to pause the podcast to really take that in, please do. Because here's the thing. Can you feel how different that is in your body? Just when I said that you could picture yourself, like stepping on the scale, noticing the number, and probably not even probably, no, you know what? Not even probably, I'm going to tell you. You will still hear the monkey chatter. Feel the monkey chatter, and be in the monkey chatter, at least momentarily, while you weirdly and awkwardly intentionally ask yourself to observe without making meaning. And I want to pull this apart just really, really quickly here. Observing data without making meaning is very different from shoving it down, arguing with yourself, and saying, no, don't make it make that meaning. Don't say that to yourself. This is just monkey chatter. No, I don't have to feel this way. Notice how much tension that brings up in your body to argue with yourself. I'm actually talking about. I'm going to use the word detaching. And be careful with that one too. Again, we have so much practice shoving things down or arguing with ourself or trying to get away from our thoughts and our feelings. I want you to notice that you can feel the difference in your body when you are arguing with yourself. It feels very tense when you are in your default thinking. It feels honestly, it feels either frustrating or defeating or sad or angry or something unpleasant. When you are observing without making meaning. It actually feels really calm. It feels really gently curious, gently open. It feels spacious. It feels very different inside your body. I know you can hear it in my voice, too, like thinking about that monkey chatter. All of a sudden, your tensions are heightened. You can feel it inside your throat, inside your shoulders. But when you're like, okay, this is a number, and my brain is trying to make it mean that I'm gaining weight, or trying to make it mean that what I ate yesterday must have been wrong, or trying to make it mean that I can't have what I want, or trying to make it mean that I need to shove this monkey chatter down so that I can get on with my day. It. But also, it doesn't really mean any of that. It just means that this is a number. I'm going to record the number. I'm going to observe that this is what's going on. I can see the dust storm happening and swirling around me, but I don't have to be in it at all. Really notice how different that feels. The reason you actually feel like crap after you weigh yourself is because your brain made a crap meaning of the data. But when you simply collect the data without making meaning, you're going to feel fine, and I want you to project that out. You know how when you get off the scale right now and you've got all that monkey chatter and you're feeling kind of tense in your body and you're kind of arguing with yourself and trying to shove it down, and you're like, but Paula says I have to feel good in order to get my goal, so I really better let this go. And you're trying so hard. Let it go. And you're singing the frozen song, but you feel all that tension in your body? You notice how as you're getting on with your day, it comes up again and again in small ways, you kind of feel like, well, why bother eating the calorie target if I'm just going to gain weight anyway? Or you try so hard to hold yourself even more rigid to your calorie target? You are behaving the rest of the day because of the meaning that your brain made that number on the scale mean. But when you can simply observe and collect data, imagine feeling calm throughout the rest of your day. I have the data. I'm going to keep collecting the data because over time, this data is going to show me that I'm losing weight, that I'm getting to my goal. Therefore, it's incredibly easy to eat my calorie target. It's incredibly easy to drink my water. It's incredibly easy to at least go to bed on time and get up on time, no matter how much you sleep in between. It's incredibly easy to intentionally move my body in a way that I meant to for the amount that I meant to. And obviously, I mean, if you are observing and collecting scale data, my friend, you are totally managing your mind. You are observing and understanding what is going on in your brain. This is how you get your goal. I mean, truly, this is how you lose weight for the last time. This is the work, actually, that we do inside the get your goal group. Every single day, you will be surrounded by women who are putting this data collection into practice. And here's the other thing that I really want to normalize for you. This is why we talked about thinking about collecting data and not making things have meaning as using your nondominant hand. You will feel awkward and weird and you will need to practice it. This is actually really what I think of as one of the secret sauces of the get your goal group is to practice in a place where you can see other people practicing. Also, there will be people in the group who are a little bit further along in their journey and have more practice with this. People who are at the same place as you and people who are just starting, who have literally never even thought about just collecting scale data as data. Being able to see that this is kind of a continuum. It's a thing that you can do and practice and get better at, like a skill, because it is a skill over time. It's so nice to be able to see other people working on this because, let's be honest, out in the real world, when you go to work or you talk to your friends or your family or people, you know, pretty much everybody is operating from that default brain. They're making every single thing make meaning. They're talking about their weight like it means something. They're talking about their frustration with weight loss, as though the number on the scale really actually ruined their day. When you surround yourself like we do in the get your goal group with other women who are really actively using their nondominant brain, using the side of their brain that can simply observe and talking about it and normalizing how difficult it is, how weird it feels, how awkward it feels, it'll really help you continue to practice this skill, because, my friend, this is absolutely a skill. You can absolutely collect scale data. This is what you do when the scale goes up. I really, really hope that this was helpful for you today. I'm so glad you were here. Thank you for listening. Have a great rest of your day, and I will talk to you. I will talk to you again soon. Hey, thanks for listening all the way to the end of the podcast, my friend. There's no better time to lose weight, and there's no better way to do it than with the 50 method, my free weight loss mindset guide for women over 50. It's simple, sustainable, and backed by science. We start with your mindset, because your body only goes where your brain goes first. This is the thing that's been missing from all those other weight loss programs you've tried. Download your free copy today at getyourgoal.com.

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Originally aired January 25, 2024
You stepped on the scale this morning, and it was up. Your heart sank, and your brain went into overdrive, telling you that obviously, this is a disaster – you’re gaining weight! Sound familiar? My friend, today on the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re digging deep into the monkey chatter you hear in your brain, and I’ve got a simple, practical mindset solution for what to do when the scale goes UP.

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.