How to Stop Eating Your Feelings

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It’s been a long day, and your coworkers got on every single one of your nerves, including your last one. You’re super stressed out and you’ve got a deadline to meet, but… it’s like you can’t even stop yourself from heading to the pantry and stuffing your face. You know you’re eating your feelings, and you’re really ready to stop doing it, but how? My friend, like THIS.

This week’s episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast is super practical, with step-by-step instructions that’ll help you

  • Make peace with your feelings
  • Understand why they’re doing what they do, and
  • Stop stress-, comfort-, or overeating permanently

We’re covering a lot of ground today, so take notes and get ready to practice some emotional skills, so you can lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.


Pahla B [00:00:00]: It's been a long day, and your coworkers got on every single one of your nerves, including your last one. You are super stressed out, and you've got a deadline to meet, but it's like you can't even stop yourself from heading to the pantry and stuffing your face. You know you're eating your feelings, and you're really ready to stop doing it. But how? My friend, like this. 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, Pahla B, certified life and weight loss coach, author of mind over menopause and former yo-yo dieter. Pahla B [00:00:50]: When you're ready to change your mind about weight loss, I'm here to help. Let's get your goal. Hey, GOALfriend. I'm gonna start this episode with a disclaimer. There are lots of times when personal, professional 1-on-1 help is better and more effective than simply listening to a podcast, and this might be one of those times for you. I am a life coach, not a therapist, and today's episode is not intended to be therapy. It's general advice for a general audience, and you are always the authority on figuring out what's best for you. I know that, I mean, even coming to this topic with the title of this podcast being how to stop eating your feelings, it already kind of feels a little bit loaded. Pahla B [00:01:40]: Right? And that's why I want you to know that what I'm offering you today is life coaching advice. And having said that, I mean, let's dig in. So here's the thing that I want you to know. Your thoughts always, always, always create your feelings. That's their job. And your feelings are supposed to drive you into action. That's their job. The reason you have feelings is so you can do things. Pahla B [00:02:13]: And really understanding that that's what's always going on in your brain, in your body, in your life all day, every day, is really the thing that I like to start with so that you can take some of the let's even call it an emotional charge out of this topic. In the normal course of your day, Your feelings are driving all of your actions, even the really mundane ones. I mean, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, eating breakfast, driving to work, picking your nose. Like, literally every single thing you do is because of a feeling. And, like, 99.99% of the time, that actually works out just fine for you. And this is gonna be really important for you to keep in mind because your feelings really, truly are not the enemy. The very small percentage of time that you find yourself doing something that you didn't intend to do, it's really not because feelings, like, as a whole, are bad. It's actually, something really simple that's going on. Pahla B [00:03:26]: You're avoiding feeling them. Now before we walk down any kind of, like, shame or blame train here, let me tell you. You've been taught almost literally since birth how to avoid your feelings, or at least ignore them or think of them as being bad or inconvenient or less than, like, your logic. Like, we all have been socialized to think that your feelings aren't helpful. So when I come to you with this topic today, I want you to know that keeping an open mind about what feelings do, what their job is, and why you might be eating your feelings or eating your emotions or eating for comfort or giving into your cravings or stress eating, like, literally, no matter what you call it, it's actually the effect of not allowing yourself to feel the feeling rather than because of the feeling. And I want you to sit on that for just a moment, before we go further, I am gonna tell you how to stop eating your feelings, but this is really important background to get a sense of why you have feelings, and what they're supposed to be doing for you so that you can kind of neutralize thinking that this is a problem. Eating your feelings actually isn't a problem, which means that there is definitely something that you can do to help yourself continue to eat in a way that makes sense for your weight loss goals. So coming back to the reason you find yourself eating is because you're not allowing yourself to feel the feeling. Pahla B [00:05:14]: I have a suspicion that your argument here is, no, Pahla. I definitely feel the stress. I have heard that one before, and I absolutely agree with you. I know you're feeling the feeling. What I'm talking about here is actually allowing the feeling to come all the way up and do its job. Your feelings have a job, And so it keeps building up until you do something from that feeling. It's why when you notice yourself, like, first of all, starting to feel stressed, you start noticing that you don't feel good, you feel agitated, you feel uncomfortable, you're starting to get angry at all of your coworkers or your family or your your friends or your pets or your whatever, you start noticing that you feel stressed, and you're kind of looking around for some way to relieve it. It's why when you very first have that thought in your brain, like, I should go get something to eat, it kinda doesn't feel like a big deal, and you tend to be able, usually, to kind of ignore that first niggle to go get something to eat. Pahla B [00:06:19]: But then it starts getting louder and louder and louder and louder. And all of a sudden, it's very urgent, and all you can do is go get something to eat. Here's why. You have a thought that creates the feeling of stress. Rather than feeling the stress, allowing it to do its job, which by the way, just super quickly, I just wanna tell you a little something about stress. It gets such a bad rap, and stress in and of itself, is honestly, not bad. Like, your body produces cortisol, which is what we all call the stress hormone, all the time. I mean, well, all the time. Pahla B [00:06:57]: Your body produces it regularly. In fact, it's what we call our circadian rhythm. Your cortisol is very naturally high in the morning to wake you up. Stress is good. It gets you out of bed in the morning. The thing that you notice with stress. What happens when cortisol is released into your bloodstream is it raises your blood pressure. Again, good up until a point. Pahla B [00:07:21]: You actually want blood pressure to be able to feel energized. It raises your blood sugar. Again, good up until a point because you want to have sugar in your bloodstream to have energy to do stuff. It also focuses your brain. This is subtle, but the elevated blood pressure and the elevated blood sugar help you think a little more clearly than if it were lower, if it were, for example, surely lower the way it is when you're about ready to go to sleep at night, unless, of course, you've elevated your stress because of work. So what happens is you have a thought that releases cortisol, that creates a feeling in your body. And then you'd rather not feel the feeling of stress. That feeling, just physiologically, because you've elevated your blood pressure and elevated your blood sugar and kind of focused your brain, it can actually feel a little bit uncomfortable. Pahla B [00:08:20]: It can feel a little bit like electricity buzzing through your body Because it feels a little bit uncomfortable in your body, your brain, which by the way is always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain or discomfort says, uh-oh. That feeling's bad. Probably shouldn't feel it. Between your brain seeking pleasure and avoiding the discomfort of the stress feeling and your natural socialization that you have had your entire life that you should shove your feelings down and just keep working. What you're doing is continuing a low level of stress building up and then shoving it down, stress building up and shoving it down. That constant low grade turns into higher grade stress, which then leads you to finally needing to do something, which generally speaking is going to be eating. Now here's the thing. I really wanna drive home this part of the podcast before I move on. Pahla B [00:09:24]: When you think about all of the things that you do in the day. When 99.99% of those actions are things that are just you living a great life. Really think that all of those actions are also driven by your feelings. When we can really take the sting out of your feelings are bad or you shouldn't have feelings or your feelings get in the way or the only time I eat outside of what I intended to do is when I have feelings. I really, really wanna open your mind to the fact that you have feelings all the time. And when they're simply allowed to do their job, you kinda don't even notice them. The thing is you notice them a lot when you're not letting them do their job. And I love to think about this. Pahla B [00:10:22]: So okay. A really long time ago, I used to work for a, a staffing service, like, Parker Staffing Services in Tacoma, Washington. I honestly don't even know why I just gave them a shout out. They are probably not in business anymore. I worked there. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I worked there 25 years ago. Pahla B [00:10:41]: I worked there when I was, well, I wasn't pregnant the whole time. I got that job, and then I got pregnant with my oldest son, and that was the job that I quit from when I decided to be a stay at home mom. Oh my gosh. It's been 25 years because my oldest child is 25 and a half. So, anyways, I used to work at a staffing service. And true story. Okay. So I worked at Parker Services in Tacoma, Washington. Pahla B [00:11:06]: My husband was stationed up at Fort Lewis, which is now Joint Base Lewis-McCord. But at the time, it was just an army base. And we lived in Tacoma, and I worked at this place. And we used to staff Amazon. Back when it was this podunk weird little thing on the World Wide Web that was just, I mean, just a bookstore. Obviously, they do more than that now. But it was a bookstore, and it was it was well known, at least in the area. I have no idea how famous it was outside of, like, the Seattle Tacoma area, but it was well known because it was a place where you could always get Magic the Gathering cards. Pahla B [00:11:49]: And I remember going on the website, I mean, you know, doing the dial up to go on to the World Wide Web in 1997 and looking at this Amazon .com website and being like, this is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. This'll never amount to anything. Little did I know. Anyways okay. Coming back to your feelings. Here's the thing. The staffing service that I worked for, we mostly did office workers. Every now and again, we would fulfill different kinds of, like, physical labor jobs, it was not our specialty. Pahla B [00:12:25]: It was it was in fact incredibly rare that we would do, like, warehouse work or things like that. But I always think about how on days when it was, like, super duper busy, how a lot of people would come in and they really wanted to work. Like, they were there to get a job, and they really wanted to work, and they wanted to work now. And they were hoping that we would have jobs for them because that was literally what the business was. This was to send people out on temporary jobs usually, but sometimes they would turn into, like, full time jobs. So I often think about not that we frequently had a lobby full of people, but we did occasionally have a lobby full of people who really wanted to work. And sometimes the tension would kind of ratchet up a little bit when people were expecting to be able to go out on jobs and we didn't have much for them. So for me personally, this is a really easy visual. Like, imagine a lobby full of your feelings that just wanna do their job, and you're like, no. Pahla B [00:13:28]: I don't have any work for you today. But, really, you do have work for them. You just don't wanna send them out to do their job. So, again, before we walk down any kind of shame or blame, I'm telling you, oh, it's you. You're blocking your feelings, but, also, you've really been socialized for this. You have so much more practice blocking your feelings than feeling them that there's a whole podcast about it, and it's this one. I'm gonna tell you how to feel your feelings because that really is the solution here. Instead of constantly having a feeling and shoving it down, a feeling and shoving it down, a feeling and shoving it down, and then finding yourself needing to relieve that tension, needing to open the doors and send the workers out into the street. Pahla B [00:14:14]: You can simply feel the feeling. And let me let me tell you that I have an actual process for this, because here's the thing. Feeling your feelings is actually a skill. I mean, it's a thing that you do, that you can practice. And because it's a skill, that actually means a couple of different things. Number 1, you're going to need to practice it. Yes. Technically speaking, you actually feel your feelings all day long, but you also, technically speaking, shove some of them down. Pahla B [00:14:48]: You have just as much practice shoving some of them down as not. So, therefore, doing this intentionally is going to be something that you need to practice. And because you need to practice, that means you're gonna be bad at it at first, which means that you're going to feel awkward, you're going to be unhappy with it, you're going to question yourself, you're going to doubt that it's working. You're you're going to really I hate to say struggle, but you know what? I just did, so let's go ahead and let it lie. You're going to struggle to feel your feelings at first. And, also, because it's a skill, you'll get better at it. And you'll do best if you have very, very clear instructions to get you started, which, by the way, happens to be my specialty. I love this is this is part of why I became a life coach and definitely why I became a goal coach and a journaling coach. Pahla B [00:15:45]: I love taking something that I've heard before. Like, when I came to life coaching, I heard, oh, you should journal, and you should feel your feelings. And that's about as much instruction as I got, and I kinda looked around me like, is everybody else getting this? Like, other people seem to be really making it work for them, but I kinda don't get it. So I sat with myself and struggled and figured out an actual process for journaling, a process for feeling your feelings, because when in doubt, even though I'm not great at math, I love having a formula. I love following step by step instructions and knowing exactly what I'll get from it. So let me tell you. Here's what you're gonna get from it. You are going to allow yourself to feel a feeling all the way through so that you don't eat them. Pahla B [00:16:45]: Here's the process. I actually even have a fun little acronym for you for this process, and the word is IDEA. Step number 1 in idea is identify. Now what I mean by this is not that you necessarily have to name the feeling. Whether or not you know what the name of the feeling is is really, it's beside the point. You simply need to know that you're having a feeling. And if you are anything like me and you've been socialized your whole life, like I've told you numerous times in this podcast, to not feel your feelings, sometimes this is the hardest part. Sometimes you are so determined to shove it down and put a smile on your face and grit your teeth and just get through it that you literally don't even notice that you're having a feeling until you find yourself in the pantry. Pahla B [00:17:33]: Here's before I finish up with the rest of the idea thing, let me just tell you this. It's totally okay if you notice yourself at the end of the bag of chips before you even think about doing this feeling your feelings thing. Identifying is the first step, but it might take you a while before you're even capable of doing this. Simply keep on practicing. Keep coming back to it. Keep recognizing it after the fact, and you'll get closer and closer and closer to being able to do it in the moment. So identify that you're having a feeling at all. If you know the name of it, great. Pahla B [00:18:13]: Name it. If you don't, don't worry about it. Step number 2 is to describe. The way that I like to think about describing the feeling, here's a formula within a formula, is to say a body part and then name the sensation that you're feeling. Here's why: You're focusing your brain on what's going on inside your body. Feeling your feelings all the way through is actually putting together your brain body connection. You're focusing your brain and trusting your body with the sensations going on inside of it rather than doing what you would normally do, which is to say either allow it and move on through your day, you know, with brushing your teeth or doing whatever normal or continue to shove it down. By stopping yourself right in the moment and describing what's going on, it keeps your brain from running off down the rabbit hole of thinking other thoughts and moving on to other things, and it also keeps your body feeling the sensations so that the hormones, which by the way is what your feelings are, they are simply hormones inside your bloodstream, so the hormones can do their job, get up, and dissipate, and move on. Pahla B [00:19:31]: Keeping your brain and your body focused is what allows this feeling to come all the way up and be felt. So you're gonna describe by naming a body part and a sensation. The top of my head feels tingly. My neck feels itchy. My throat feels scratchy. My chest feels heavy. My shoulders feel tight. My jaw feels clenched. Pahla B [00:20:00]: My stomach feels churning. Generally speaking I mean, this is kind of a note to the aside, but generally speaking, most of my emotions tend to be in my head and my torso. Every now and again, I'll notice, like, my hands or my feet feel twitchy. But generally speaking, when you're looking for a body part in a sensation, you can kind of stick to, like, right smack dab in the middle from your head down your shoulders and into your torso, and that's where most of the body sensations are going to be. The 3rd step, e, is to express safely. Now what I mean by this is that you'll certainly have noticed that lots of emotions have you doing things like laughing or crying. And sometimes you might notice I mean, in the in the case of, like, know, my neck is itchy or something like that, you might scratch a little or you might notice that your hands feel like they want to flap. That one's actually really, really common. Pahla B [00:21:01]: Don't be freaked out if that happens to you. I have I have some pretty frequent feelings where I would love to flap my hands, and I allow myself to do that safely. You might also, like, squeeze your hands or squeeze your eyes or put your hands over your face, kinda depends on what feeling you're feeling. What I'm saying here, though, is to really notice that, again, you've learned how to get rid of your feelings by, you know, punching a pillow or go walk it off or take deep breaths or, you know, scream into a pillow. There's lots of well meaning advice out there that is not exactly what I'm talking about, when you are expressing safely, you are more or less sitting still and noticing the sensations inside your body that drive things like squeezing or flapping or clenching, but not trying to get up and get the feeling out of you is really what I mean about expressing safely. And then the 4th step, a, allow, allow, allow. This is tough. Pahla B [00:22:20]: I'll be honest with you. Especially as you are first learning this skill, you have so much practice shoving your feelings down or aside or ignoring them or trying not to feel them, that actually allowing it to exist in your body sometimes feels like too much, and I want you to know that no matter how this process goes, that you've done it properly. This is something that comes up actually really, really frequently in the Get Your Goal group. A big part of what I do inside the Get Your Goal group, by the way, is facilitating the feeling of feelings. On our coaching calls, people will come to me with a variety of situations, and I very frequently have the advice that feeling the feeling rather than shoving it down is the way to move forward. So not every call and not every And, obviously, if you ever join the get your goal group, I'm not gonna make you feel a feeling. I do ask. You know, it's always up to you. Pahla B [00:23:19]: You always get to choose. You are always the authority and the person in charge of whatever you do. I very frequently facilitate the feeling of feelings, and the allowance part of it is absolutely the toughest. Resistance of your feelings is very natural, especially the uncomfortable ones. I mean, again, we're always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. You're going to resist feeling an uncomfortable feeling. So having somebody kind of virtually hold your hand and help you allow is incredibly valuable. And beyond just the facilitation of the feeling itself. Pahla B [00:24:02]: The next thing that I do most often is assure you that you've done it correctly. There is I mean, unless you injure yourself, there's no way to do this wrong. When you first start, it's gonna it's gonna feel awkward, it's gonna feel like you're doing it wrong. You're going to be judging yourself. You're gonna be embarrassed afterwards. It's gonna feel weird. Everything about it is gonna be, honestly, like the first time you do anything, the first time you cook a new recipe, the first time you drive someplace new, the first time you do something always just feels not quite right until you practice and do it again. I assure you that no matter how this goes, you practicing feeling your feelings is 100% moving you forward. Pahla B [00:24:50]: You are 100% moving towards the day when you don't eat your feelings. So let me give you a couple of timelines on that because I know that I I know that this can feel well, it can feel lots of different ways. One of the things that I hear really frequently is that okay, Pahla. I tried to allow this feeling, and it lasted way too long. I obviously did it wrong. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm never gonna do this again. I mean, I don't usually hear that part dramatically, but you've probably heard, and in fact, you've probably heard from me, that your feelings will last an average of 90 seconds. Pahla B [00:25:29]: First of all, here, that word average, it means that some of them are shorter and some of them are rather significantly longer. The more you resist a feeling, the longer it lasts. This is why you can literally be stressed out for months. You can feel a feeling a very long time when you're not quite feeling it. And even in the moment, even when you're practicing, like, okay. I'm here. I'm feeling this feeling. I'm gonna allow this feeling. Pahla B [00:25:58]: There will still be some natural resistance. Absolutely. This is totally normal and part of the skill building process. So when you first start feeling feelings, they're all gonna be longer than 90 seconds. 100%, maybe not a 100%. Lots of them are gonna be longer than 90 seconds. It doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. It means that there's still a little resistance in there. Pahla B [00:26:21]: Totally okay. They're gonna practice, practice, practice. It's gonna get faster and easier, and there will be, I'm gonna say, less resistance. I will tell you. I'm pretty sure I still resist almost all of my feelings. I've gotten so much better. I've been practicing feeling my feelings for, what's it been now? Like, 5 years? Yeah. Oh my gosh. Pahla B [00:26:43]: Yeah. Like, almost yeah. 5, 6 ish years. And some of the the tough ones, some of the really uncomfortable ones, I definitely still resist first. Here's where I am on my timeline is that I notice the resistance, I recognize it for what it is, and I can, generally speaking, lay it aside. I have gotten faster at putting the resistance aside, but it doesn't mean I don't resist. Your timeline for how long it takes to be able to feel a feeling, first of all, at all, could be could be the minute you hear this podcast, or it could be months from now. Really allowing yourself the time and the space and the skill building to let this process unfold for you is some of my best advice, allowing yourself to come to this work knowing that it's going to feel uncomfortable, knowing that it's going to feel awkward, and knowing that you can't get it wrong, but also you're not gonna enjoy it right away means that it's gonna take as long as it takes. Pahla B [00:27:49]: Being able to, like, truly allow a feeling, I think it takes a couple of months to really kinda get into this work intentionally. I the first time I felt a feeling all the way through. It was actually spontaneous and completely 100% by accident. I did not know that this was even, well, that's not true. I knew it was a thing, but I didn't know how because it didn't have a process. And because of that spontaneous accidental feeling of my first feeling all the way through. That's how I have figured out exactly how to do this. It's it's weird. Pahla B [00:28:31]: It's unnatural, and it takes a while to figure out how to do it. And here's the thing. I mean, as far as timelines go, you are going to have feelings for the rest of your life. Like, you have feelings right now. You're going to have them forever. It is part of being alive. Not having feelings means that you are not doing anything. You actually want feelings. Pahla B [00:28:56]: So making friends with them now since you're gonna have them the rest of your life, feels like a really nice timeline. Right? You know, here's a couple of things to keep in mind. I I already mentioned that you are doing it right. As long as you are not injuring yourself, you did it right, absolutely, even if it seems like you got it wrong. That's actually just another thought. That's kind of a podcast for a whole another day, but thinking that you got it wrong is just another thought. It's creating another feeling, and it's completely okay. And if you think you didn't feel it all the way through, this is actually another really common one. Pahla B [00:29:33]: What happens when you feel especially, I'm gonna call it a big feeling, like, a feeling that seemed very uncomfortable that you had a fair bit of resistance to that really seemed like it came up very big in your body, you will actually feel some of the aftereffects of that for a while. Your feelings are hormones in your bloodstream. Your body is always looking to try and maintain homeostasis, which means equilibrium or balance. So sometimes when you have, let's say, a flood of hormones in your bloodstream that feel physiologically, like, a lot, your body will very naturally, in order to come back to homeostasis, kind of drop that big feeling down a little bit lower before it comes back to homeostasis. So you might, right after you feel a feeling, actually need to take a nap, go to sleep for the night, or feel a little bit I call it the feelings hangover. You might just feel a little bit discombobulated, a little bit out of sorts, a little bit like you're not quite right. This is why some of the self doubts can come up like, oh, I must not have felt it all the way through or I must have done it wrong. It's because your mood is actually a little bit or can be a little bit low after feeling a feeling because your body is just trying to come back to balance. Pahla B [00:30:54]: Totally normal, totally natural, totally okay. You also, on the other hand, might kind of not notice anything different right away. Like, you might be looking around like, okay. I just felt that feeling, and, now what? And here's maybe the most important thing that I can tell you is that this is not a quick fix. You don't just find yourself at the pantry, easily feel this uncomfortable feeling, and then never eat your feelings again. This is absolutely a long term solution to the habit of eating your feelings. This is not going to magically cure this thing that you've been practicing doing for if you're me, basically, your whole life. I remember from a very, very young age knowing that eating your feelings was a thing. Pahla B [00:31:50]: It was a it was a habit that I practiced for years years years. And undoing, unwinding, learning how to feel through getting getting even closer to getting in the moment of feeling the feeling versus eating my feelings and then sometimes having success with it, sometimes really not having success with it. Honestly, the whole unwinding, I'm gonna say that's been. That's been easily the 5 to 6 years that I've been feeling my feelings. This isn't a quick fix, but that doesn't mean that it's not a fix. Here's the thing about any kind of mindset work, honestly, anything that I teach you, it's slow magic, but it is magic. It does work. Everything that I'm teaching you here on the podcast or in any of my materials really is about long term solutions. I wanna help you lose weight for the last time. Pahla B [00:32:45]: I wanna help you lose all the weight you want and never ever worry about losing weight ever again. Everything is a long term permanent solution. This skill of feeling your feelings instead of eating them will take you everywhere you wanna go. When you learn how to not just regulate your emotions or live with your emotions or manage them by shoving them down, when you learn how to feel your emotions, you'll be free. You'll be free from all of those times when you felt like your emotions were out of control, not because you're controlling them, but because you know what they are and you're allowing them to do their job. My friend, I really, really hope that this was helpful for you today. I'm really glad you were here. Thank you for listening. Pahla B [00:33:40]: I'll 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 five o 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

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Originally aired February 15, 2024
It’s been a long day, and your coworkers got on every single one of your nerves, including your last one. You’re super stressed out and you’ve got a deadline to meet, but… it’s like you can’t even stop yourself from heading to the pantry and stuffing your face. You know you’re eating your feelings, and you’re really ready to stop doing it, but how? My friend, like THIS.

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.