Should You Change Your Calories?

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Hands down, the most common question I get from women who are struggling to lose weight after menopause is, “Should I change my calories?” And the short answer is “Probably not.” But if you want to learn all about it, let’s dive in!

You’ve been trying to lose weight for a while. Months. Maybe even years. And in spite of your best efforts, the scale is either staying the same or bouncing around within a couple of pounds.

Every time you weigh yourself, you’re feeling frustrated and doubtful. At the end of the day, you’re looking at your numbers and wondering why you’re even bothering. It just seems like you’re standing still.

So you must need to change your calories, right?

GOALfriend, I feel you on a deep, soul level. But instead of continuing to spin around and around with the question, “Should I change my calories?” on this week’s episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’ve got four even better questions to ask yourself.

If you’re ready to shift out of calorie confusion and into weight loss confidence, this is the episode for you.

Transcript

Hands down, the most common question I get from women who are struggling to lose weight after menopause is, “Should I change my calories?” And the short answer is “Probably not.” But if you want to learn all about it, stay tuned and let’s dive in. Hello, hello, my overachieving, overthinking GOALfriend, and welcome to the podcast! I’m going to assume that you’ve clicked on this one because you’ve been struggling to get your calories locked down. You’ve been trying to lose weight for a while. Months. Maybe even years. And in spite of your best efforts, the scale is either staying the same or bouncing around within a couple of pounds. You’re feeling antsy and like nothing’s happening. Sometimes you feel too full to eat all the way up to your daily calorie target (which, by the way, if you’re new around here, be sure to download your copy of The 5-0 Method, my free weight loss guide for women over 50, that has this super simple formula for calculating your calories: it’s your starting weight in pounds multiplied by ten). Or maybe sometimes you find yourself eating out of boredom, or because of stress and you feel like you should change your calories to help clamp down on that. You don’t want to feel like you’re on a diet, exactly, but you just want to move things along! Every time you weigh yourself, you’re feeling frustrated and doubtful. At the end of the day, you’re looking at your numbers and wondering why you’re even bothering. It just seems like you’re standing still. So you must need to change your calories, right? But on the other hand, you’ve heard me talking about how you need to eat the right number of calories, and you’re terrified that you’re already eating too little. Or maybe you are eating too much. Ugh! You just want somebody to tell you what to do so you can get it right! Oh, GOALfriend, I feel you on all of this on a deep, soul level. And the very first thing we’re going to do here is come up and out of this tornado of calorie confusion. Instead of continuing to spin around and around with the question, “Should I change my calories?” I’ve got four even better questions to ask yourself that’ll shift you out of calorie confusion: Question Number One: Am I willing to take responsibility for my calories? I know this sounds like a weird question, but after working with thousands of women who want to lose weight, I’ve seen again and again that this first mindset shift is the most important one. Losing weight for the last time isn’t a passive activity. It’s not a plug-and-play formula that you can just go through the motions or grit through with willpower and expect any kind of lasting results. Permanent weight loss requires you to be a scientist – to make guesses, to collect data, to analyze your results, and to make adjustments when it turns out that your hypothesis was wrong. Of course I can, and I will, and I literally just did tell you the number of calories that are likely to produce weight loss, but only your body knows for sure what’s really going to work for you. So making the shift away from external information and into internal responsibility will move you forward with much more ease than constantly changing your calories will. Inside the Get Your GOAL group, which is my monthly life coaching membership, one of the first lessons you’ll get access to walks you through this taking-responsibility process of setting a calorie target for yourself, which is the foundation of self-trust that will take you not just to your goal weight, but to a lifetime of easy maintenance. If your answer to this question of “Am I willing to take responsibility for my calories?” is yes, keep listening, I’ve got three more questions to get you out of calorie confusion! Question Number Two: Am I hitting my current calorie target with 100% consistency? Confession time: the reason I know that you should ask yourself this question is because so, so many times while I was desperately trying (and failing) to lose weight, it was a question I did not ask myself. I had all kinds of stories about how I was doing everything right, but I just couldn’t lose weight. I was pretty sure I was hitting my calories. I mean, I was mostly sure. I was probably hitting my calories. Maybe. Sort of. The mindset shift you’ll get from this question is all about taking an honest look at the data you’ve been collecting. Left to its own devices, your brain will tell you story after story about your consistency – sometimes wildly overestimating it and sometimes completely diminishing it. The only way to know for sure what’s going on with your calories is to look at your numbers and do the math. For many women, including me all those years ago, this will actually show you that you’re not even really tracking consistently, let alone hitting your target consistently. Even though this won’t feel like especially good news while you’re looking at it, I promise, it really is. Instead of wasting more time on raising your calories here or lowering your calories there or just spinning in confusion, you can get down to the business – the mindset business – of figuring out why you’re not tracking. Inside the Get Your GOAL membership, you’ll get access to a journaling Masterclass and workshop that takes you step-by step through the process of understanding why you’re not doing your weight loss tasks – including tracking your calories, weighing yourself, drinking your water, working out, getting to bed on time, or hitting your calorie target. Once you know what’s going on in your brain, making adjustments to your habits in the real world is a breeze. Okay, so if your answer to the question of “Am I hitting my current calorie target with 100% consistency?” is yes, you’re ready for… Question Number Three: Have I lost weight with these calories in the last six months? Notice how far back you’ll want to look at your weight data. Have you ever looked at your weight chart with a timeline that long? Most women don’t, and that’s why this question can be a huge mindset shift. We, all of us, get so caught up in the numbers we’re seeing from day to day (and the stories we’re telling ourselves about those numbers) that we usually forget to look at the big picture. But weight loss is always a “big picture” kind of project. Most weight loss programs focus on getting fast, short-term results so you can look good for a special occasion, but so few of us are talking about what you’ll do for the rest of your life. Inside the Get Your GOAL membership, you’re not finished when you reach your goal weight. I know you’re an ambitious woman with lots of goals and dreams for yourself, and weight loss is just one of them. The skills you’ll learn, the confidence you’ll gain, and the bridge of trust you’ll build with yourself is the path to even bigger and better things for you. Which is why, when you answer yes to the question of “Have I lost weight with these calories in the last six months?” the next thing to turn your attention to is… Question Number Four: What number of calories do I want to eat? Now, if you’re like most of the women I’ve worked with over the years, you’ve just had one of three reactions to this question: One, you had complete and utter resistance to it. You can’t eat as much as you want! You have to eat less than you want and be hungry and restrict yourself. Or, two, you were plunged directly back into calorie confusion. What do you mean what do I want? Isn’t there a “right” number, and don’t I have to eat that? Or. Three. You felt the weight of diet culture and diet thoughts and dieting completely lift off your shoulders. My friend, it’s absolutely okay if your reaction was one of the first two – almost everybody’s is, the first time they hear this question! We’ve all been socialized since birth to believe that we have to do things a certain way – the restrictive way – to get to our goal weight. But here’s the real secret to losing all the weight you want without feeling like you’re on a diet and keeping it off forever: you can do anything you want. It’s not really about the calories, nearly as much as it’s about believing in yourself, trusting yourself, and feeling good about the calories. You’ve heard me say it before, but I’ll say it again. Losing weight comes down to three things, in this exact order: number one, believing that you can, number two, eating in a slight caloric deficit over time, and number three, lovingly supporting your metabolism while you do numbers one and two. The four questions I’ve shared with you today – instead of asking yourself if you should change your calories – will ask you to change your mindset and start believing that you can lose weight. Because of course you can. Possibly without changing your calories at all. Let me recap the questions for you again, in order: Number one, “Am I willing to take responsibility for my calories?” Number two, “Am I hitting my current calorie target with 100% consistency?” Number three, “Have I lost weight with these calories in the last six months?” And number four, “What number of calories do I want to eat?” My friend, thank you so much for joining me today. I’ll talk to you again soon.

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

Originally aired May 23, 2024
Hands down, the most common question I get from women who are struggling to lose weight after menopause is, “Should I change my calories?” And the short answer is “Probably not.” But if you want to learn all about it, let’s dive in!

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.