Ep. 301: Losing the First Five Pounds

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Weight loss is driven by 1.) believing that you can, and 2.) eating in a slight caloric deficit over time. This means that the real key to losing your first five pounds is working on your belief, and this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast will show you how.

When you first get started and you’re working on losing your first five pounds, you probably think the secret lies in somehow making yourself eat and drink and journal and sleep and exercise.

But the actual secret sauce of weight loss is building belief. So, how do you do that, exactly?

In this week’s episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, I’ll show you a simple formula and share personal insights about building belief while losing your first five pounds.

What You’ll Learn: 

  • Why belief work is so important
  • What belief work actually looks like in real life


Hello, hello GOALfriend and welcome to episode number 301 where we are chatting about losing the first five pounds. A couple of weeks ago and I did not even remotely look this up, a couple of weeks ago we talked about how I am kind of restructuring my thought process about losing weight and really breaking it into, I called it the three stages of weight loss. I'm reiterating that one or not reiterating, I'm taking it back. What am I trying to say here? I don't know what the word is, but I am taking back the three stages of weight loss. 'Cause of course, it's actually four stages of weight loss. The first five pounds, all the five pounds in the middle, the last five pounds, and then maintenance because maintenance is a part of weight loss and it's the parts you're looking forward to the most, right? So my four-stage model is how I'm going to move forward from here. I wanted to like kind of show you behind the scenes how I'm conceptualizing this so that no matter where you are, you can get the most out of these podcasts because I, I can feel that moving forward it would make a lot of sense to kind of help you see which stage I'm talking to most. The stage that I'm really explicitly talking about today is losing the first five pounds. And I wanna be really clear that that doesn't necessarily mean that you've just started. In fact, throughout the episode today, I'm gonna share the story with you of me losing weight the last time that it took me a long time, it actually took me a really long time and I wanna really normalize for you that losing weight in a very sustainable way. I don't wanna say that it takes longer because I don't wanna put that thought in your head like, oh this is gonna take so long. But it can. And that doesn't mean that anything has gone wrong. Here's the thing about losing the first five pounds. I know that when you like to download the five oh method, you know you're like, okay, I'm gonna do these five things. I'm gonna journal, I'm gonna eat my calories, I'm gonna drink my water, I'm gonna sleep, I'm gonna exercise, I'm gonna do the things and those things are gonna make me lose weight. And you are not wrong, but also you are not, right? And I wanna really, really, really clarify for you something that you might have heard me talk about in the shorts that I put on YouTube. If you watch those, I say it very frequently. In fact, weight loss is driven by two things. Number one, believing that you can. And number two, eating a slight caloric deficit over time. And the thing that you need to know about this is that that does not mean that you, you know, shouldn't eat this like Clark deficit or shouldn't do the other things. But your number one task, the key thing, the secret sauce, the bread to your butter, whatever it is that you'd like to think about this. And the thing that I think is most important and that will behoove you to really intentionally work on is number one, believing that you can. Right now, I love you and you are probably full of doubt. It's why you're listening to this podcast. If this was easy for you, and here's the thing, it is easy for some people and it's not easy for some people because they like their bodies or their metabolism or they are naturally skinny or, or any of the things, any of the reasons we all attribute easy weight loss to. It's not that at all. It's that they believed it's that they read the five oh method and they were like, oh yeah, I could totally do that. Oh this number of calories, that sounds fine. Oh I already journal or journaling sounds easy. Or I believe in journaling for one reason or another and oh yeah, that water, I'm already really good at water and I already have sleep or I'm gonna be fine with putting on a sleep schedule. The people who make it look easy just have that key ingredient of belief. That's the only difference. There is nothing like physiologically, biologically different about you other than your neural pathways. You have the same body as a person who can lose weight easily. You have different thoughts and here's why your thoughts are important. I mean we've talked about this. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and refer you to the bonus episode, the wheel where I actually even have visuals and explain how you create what you believe, what you think. There's a thought that you have that creates a feeling in your body, that feeling in your body drives actions and those actions create a result that's a direct reflection of your original thought. And I know that lots of times people hear this and they're like, okay, I'm just gonna think positively. I believe I can lose weight. like trying to force yourself to believe something is kind of like trying to force yourself to do the other five things or the, I guess four things. 'cause journaling, journaling really is belief work, but it's like trying to force yourself to do anything. The things that you do from willpower alone are not sustainable. Don't force yourself to believe. And in fact, that really is like the crux of what we're talking about today. I know that lots of us, and I'm including myself, I'm gonna tell you my story, lots of us come to weight loss not really believing either in ourselves or in one of the five tasks or two of the five tasks or all five of the five tasks. And it's really important to just know where you are. When I created the five oh method, like before I created the five oh method, I created the five oh method because of my experience with weight loss. That was so difficult in my fifties. I mean at the time I was like, oh, this isn't really that bad. I know this is, this is fine, this is gonna work. I knew I could lose weight. Like I actually didn't have any disbelief or self-doubt in myself. Being a fitness trainer for all those years and just understanding the human body, like the biology of human bodies, I don't have any doubt ever about anybody being capable of losing weight. Like biologically speaking you can. I just, I have zero doubts about that. I had double zeroes on that one. If you're just listening to the podcast, I was trying to make one zero, but I did it with both hands. I have zeros of doubt that you as a human being are capable of losing weight. You are, the human body actually wants to be a healthy weight. It really does. So, knowing that I didn't really have any doubts about that. I had some doubts about how menopause was affecting me or perimenopause was affecting me. So I was kind of uncertain about that. I have, I mean I've gained and lost weight so many times in my life. I really knew that I could, I was willing to buckle down and not eat anything. Although at the time what I actually had to do was eat more than I had been. So that was a little bit weird, but I didn't really have any doubts about that. I know that weight loss is driven by eating in that slight caloric deficit over time. So I was really on board with that. I was starting to, because this was 2019, I was starting to come to the understanding of how your mindset really affects everything. I had done some money work and because it was 2019, I had just started listening to the Life Coach School podcast. I was not a life coach yet. I was moving into the arena of understanding how important mindset work was. In fact, if you have the very, very, very first version of the five oh method before it was even called the five oh Method in January of 2020, I put out what I called my free weight loss resource for women over 50. And it just, on the title page it just said weight loss for women over 50. Like I didn't even have a name for it yet. Mindset was number five. Some of you who have been with me a long time know that I used to have a mindset like down there at the bottom like I mean it's fine. Calories was really number one and I don't even remember for sure if I had the first four in the same order that they are in. I feel like I did. I mean weight loss is driven by calories, but it's also really driven by belief, which is the thing. I've always understood the calories part, but I've never understood why the belief is so important for being able to eat the calories. Or if you are like me and this is why I'm telling you this story, maybe the calories don't feel like a big deal for you. Like maybe that is not the problem. Maybe it is like it was for me, the exercise thing, I could not wrap my brain around exercising less. I couldn't because I mean, hello. I was on YouTube as a fitness coach for years. I literally exercised for a living. I love to exercise. It just didn't occur to me that I could exercise less. I didn't want to, I didn't wanna have anything to do with it. I fought that tooth and nail and it wasn't that I didn't believe that we needed moderate exercise. That's the thing. I had done the scientific research, like I was already telling you guys in the audience like, oh this is how this works. I hadn't created the resource for it yet, but I had been talking about it for a while. I had videos out like I understood. I went to the actual scientific paper, like I Google scholar things. I went to the actual science research paper and read the evidence for myself and understood about 80% of it. Some of it was beyond me, but like I had ample scientific evidence that this was gonna work. I just didn't believe I could. I really truly didn't think I could exercise less. I didn't think I would like it. I didn't think it would feel right in my body. I, I think, I'm trying to remember again, I understood the research, I understood what it was telling me, but I kind of maybe thought that I was an anomaly. I kind of thought like, don't you think that too when I tell you and maybe it's exercise, maybe it's calories, whichever one it is, like don't you kind of think that you are the special snowflake that science doesn't apply to? I know that's how I felt. I was like I'm willing to kind of try this but also in a very real sense, I don't think it's gonna work. I really don't. And the reason, I mean the reason I'm bringing all of this up, I really wanna normalize this for you. I know that intellectually you read the five oh method. You hear me talk about sciences and sustainability and you hear me talk about belief work. Like you hear me say all this stuff and intellectually obviously you understand it. Obviously you know that I know what I'm talking about. I've helped thousands of women lose weight. I've worked through this myself. But also it just kind of feels like you're out there alone and I want you to know that you're not alone. I mean this is why we have to get your goal group so that we can really normalize that everybody struggles with. But it's why I talk about it here on the podcast too and it's why I really wanna share my story with you. I've told you bits and bs of it, but I really wanna frame it from this first five pounds perspective because A, it took me a long time to wrap my brain around doing the things and therefore B, it took me a while to lose the weight that I wanted to lose. I mean, when I lost weight in 2019, I only really wanted to lose a couple pounds. It was like seven pounds. It wasn't a lot. That wasn't dramatic, it wasn't this big thing. But also that seven pounds took me nine months because the first seven months I couldn't wrap my brain to run what I was supposed to be doing. When I first started off, I understood and I was like, okay, I'm gonna lose some weight. I just wanna get back to feeling like myself again. I know what all of you tell me too. And that's part of why, this is part of why I have my strong, strong opinion about there is no going back. We're always moving forward because in order to lose the weight I had to move forward. Like I had to not go back to things I had been doing before. I had to look forward to doing something new. Not that I was looking forward to it 'cause I wasn't, I fought it tooth and nail. But when I first started, I mean I went in 2019, gosh, in 2019 I had just run an ultra marathon, 110 K in 2018 and then the start of 2019 I was, I was running ultra marathons. Like that's who I was. That's what I was doing. So for me, I was like, oh, I'll do moderate exercise. Those of you listening to the podcast, that was really a sarcastic face with an eye roll and air quotes and the whole thing. Like I, I was thought moderate meant like you know, running five miles a day most days and like 10 to 16 on the weekends, right? I mean like that's moderate, that's nothing. And to be fair, physically I was absolutely capable of doing that. Like physically my body could exercise that much. Technically speaking, I exercised at that level every single day. Well, I didn't actually feel good. And that is the thing that I talked to you about with moderation is that you need to be able to be doing something that you can sustain every single day and feel both mentally and physically good. I felt mentally okay, like I wanted to keep exercising so I kept like a kind of white knuckle on my way through. I feel good but like physically, I mean I was burnt out. I did not feel good physically at all anymore and that is maybe the best place to like come into this conversation. When you get really, really honest with yourself that you can really see that the thing that you believe doesn't feel amazing right now let me tell you what belief work looks like in real life. Like what it looked like for me, what it might look like for you. What I did was, in fact, let me give you the four steps right now just so that you can hear the four steps and then I'll tell you examples and tell you my story more. So step number one is to start by identifying what you currently believe. Like just get really honest with yourself. In my mind I was like, I believe that moderation is running five miles a day. I believe that I can basically continue what I've been doing and just call it moderate. It's so funny to me now. I was so stubborn. I was so stubborn and I know you are too. Step two is to collect data by being 100% consistent with your current belief just so that you can see what it's actually like bringing to you in your life. Step number three is to make slight changes to your habits based on the slight changes in your belief after having collected the data of what's really going on in your life. And then you just keep repeating those steps until you actually feel good both physically and emotionally. So let's say for example that your calorie target with the 5-0 method is something like 1,850 pounds or 50 pounds, no 1,850 calories, which would put you near about 185 pounds because the calorie calculation method in the 5-0 method is to put a zero on the end of your weight. So it means that you more or less weigh 185 pounds. There are some caveats like your height and your activity level and your age and things like that that could make adjustments there. But this is, this is approximately what it means and I know that if you are really brand new to me, you hear that number 1,850 calories and you're just like absolutely no way. I will tell you again after having worked with thousands of women, the number is honestly a little bit low. Like a lot of the women that I work with are eating either a little bit more or even rather significantly more than that. 1,850 is a pretty average number. It's why I chose it for this example. It's not outside what I would consider the norm, but your brain probably has a really different opinion about that. You've been socialized your, basically your whole entire life. That 1200 calories is like this standard like, oh if you're gonna lose weight you should eat 1200 calories. I don't know where this came from. In fact, one of these days I'm probably gonna do some research on this 'cause I am really curious, why do we all think that 1200 calories is okay? I'm gonna assume without having done any research on it whatsoever, I'm gonna assume that this is a number that became popular like back in the forties or the fifties or something. Women in general used to be shorter and smaller, so maybe that number was appropriate. I was gonna use air quotes again, but I feel like I overused them so I'm gonna put my hands down. Maybe that number was appropriate, maybe that was a thing. I don't know. Nowadays it's so wildly inappropriate for almost everybody to lose weight and it's really almost always inappropriate for women. Over 50, very specifically a woman who is much younger can really undereat in a way that a woman our age can't anymore. This is the topic of another episode. What episode was that? The one where I talked about caloric deficits and how the point that we have to do now, like the way that we lose weight now is to be in a smaller window. It's not that weight loss is slower, it's not that weight loss is harder. It's not that your metabolism has slowed down so you have to eat less. It's that you have to eat in a narrower window. You used to be able to eat really low or even somewhat high and still lose weight and your window got narrower. I'm drawing a complete blank. If I come up with it, I'll have the episode number for you in the show notes. I got nothing on that one right now. I think it wasn't the point of the podcast though, it was me going on a tangent kind of like this. In any event, in any event, 1200 calories is probably not appropriate for you, but you probably think it is. This is where your belief is right now. You really truly believe that 1200 calories is the only way you can lose weight or if it's not that specific number that some like a ridiculously known low number, something that you have to just like slash your calories, whatever it is that you currently believe, just be okay with this. Like really get honest with yourself. This is really what I think when I think about doing anything other than whatever this thing is, I feel like it's not gonna work when you just let that be what it is. Like really recognize, yes, there's a gap here. The science supports this other number but also my brain just only supports this. That's where you start love. It's where you start. It's completely okay with it, I have no judgment for you for this and I, that's really why I wanted to make this podcast. I want you to know that I don't judge you at all when you just can't, even though technically speaking, you can eat the right number of calories when you just can't, when it just feels like it's never gonna work in a million years, then don't. Don't try to eat that number of calories right now. Really be on board with this is what I believe so therefore I'm gonna collect data at this 100% belief with 100% consistency and quite frankly what you're going to prove to yourself is that A, it doesn't work and B, it's miserable. This is exactly what I proved to myself. I was like, I'm running five miles a day, I'm running five miles a day and I'm gonna run 10 miles on the weekends because that's my moderation. And then I was in pain, my joints ached. I had to take naps every day. I was, I mean I rarely cleaned my house anyways, but I was like really not doing my chores around the house. I was really, really struggling to run my business. I was struggling, I was struggling and some of that was grief, let's be fair. But when I got very honest with myself, my 100% consistency, I looked at my numbers at the one-month mark as I encourage you to do and I was like, wow, okay. First of all, I lost absolutely no weight even though I was eating the allegedly correct number of calories, the allegedly correct number of calories because I was still over-exercising so much I was hungry and I was not happy. So really rough around the edges at the end of that first month, like not happy, not losing weight, not feeling good at all. So I was like, okay, what's my next layer of belief? This is step number three is to make slight changes based on the slight changes to your belief. Looking at the evidence from my data you know, collecting for a month feeling miserable. I'm like, there must be a better way. So what do I believe now? Like what is it that I think I can do now that still feels good but that I believe will help me lose weight? I cut down my exercise a little bit more. I was like, okay, I'm gonna run like three miles a day and like seven miles on the weekend. That really feels moderate. It feels moderate. I was so used to doing so much more like this that it has gotta be moderate, collected data for another month. Actually, you know what that one, that three miles a day thing, I stubbornly stuck to that. I did not feel good. I was not losing weight, I was still taking naps. I felt slightly better but not, not a lot. I think I collected data on that one. I wanna say that it was at least two and probably three months that I was still really stubbornly clinging to the three miles-a-day thing. I don't remember how long it was. This was years ago, it was four years ago. I know that it was longer than perhaps it needed to be if I was a different person. I'm stubborn, I'm stubborn. This took me a while and this is again what I wanna normalize for you. If you can incrementally move up to 1250 or 1300, you're still not gonna lose weight, you're still gonna be miserable, you're gonna wanna eat your arm, you're gonna be so hungry, but you have to make changes based on what you actually believe can work what you actually believe you can do. You have to make changes based on where your brain is right now. This is baby steps y'all. This is why I talk about baby steps. You can't force yourself to do something else because you won't believe that. You just won't. Belief is something that is a feeling inside of you that you have to work through. So simultaneous to about this point in time was where I was really starting to journal more and it is the thing that I will offer you. I mean it is one of the things that I offer you to do in the 5.0 method is to ask yourself, what do I think about today's numbers? Meaning what do I think about today's calories? You might be able to move through this so much faster than me because of that journaling work for me on my journey. It took several months before I was even willing to like to look at what I was doing. I mean I was looking at it but I wasn't examining my thoughts around it. I was not doing the kind of mindset work that I do now. So my story hopefully is a tale of caution as opposed to a tale of this is how it will go for you. After those couple of months of having cut back again and I was like, okay, this is definitely gonna work, but it still didn't work. I was still exhausted, I was still miserable, and I still did not feel good. So I cut down my exercise a little bit more. I was like, okay, what if some of the days are walking, none of the days are over three miles? That was where I actually started to get a little bit of traction with actually losing weight. Like I was so much closer to what ended up being moderate for me that I started getting some traction. This is what could possibly happen to you. As you get closer to what I consider, you know, the scientifically proven number, you might start to lose some weight and you might start to feel a little bit better and you also, especially if your thing is calories, you also might start to notice how very, very hungry you actually are as your metabolism wakes up. As you start to actually notice your hunger signals, as you start to feed your hunger a little bit more, you might notice how very, very hungry you've probably been this whole time and just not acknowledge this is what happened to me and this is the part of the story that I'm gonna tell you. That I had been collecting data, I had been making notes that I was tired and sore and I had been completely writing that off. I had been completely ignoring it. I wanted to run so I was willfully ignoring how lousy I felt. Right about the time that I started cutting back to a point that was closer to actually moderate, all of a sudden I started actually feeling all the aches and pains in my body. I started feeling and noticing how very tired I was and I was like, oh, I've been ignoring this for a while, haven't I? This is probably what will happen to you. Completely normal, completely, okay, this is the way this goes you guys. This is okay. If you were capable of believing right from the outset, this whole thing would've been easy, but because you weren't, you didn't, you haven't, you don't believe. It just means you have something to learn. It's okay if it takes you a while, it's okay if you're as stubborn as I was. It's okay if this learning process takes as long as it takes keep coming back month after month, collecting the data and really paying attention By the time I was actually capable of losing weight, like by the time I brought myself down to an actual moderate, which is to say like gentle walking some, I'm gonna call it gentle strengths training. I mean strength training is always strength training, but by the time I was able to figure out what was actually moderate, which by the way was somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes a day of exercise. So weird. This is why I give you this advice. This is what ended up being moderate for me. Will that be moderate for you? You get to do all the experimentation. This is, I did the science research, and I also did the work myself. The number that I came up with for my age, my activity level, and my calories is the number that I give you. It was my weight with a zero on the end plus a modifier for general activity. Do you see how fidgety I am? I'm always moving. That's why I put that modifier on there because I'm a person who is always moving. If you are too, you need a few more calories. The height, the age, the modifiers that I put on there, all from experience, y'all, there's a reason why I give you the advice that I do and it's science and experience combined. The science and experience combined for me was 23 minutes of exercise a day and ended up being moderate for me. Now having said that it might not be moderate for you. You do get to do these kinds of experiments yourself. Here's where I really wanna go with this. Like the thing that I've, I've mentioned several times, but I wanna say out loud that this is what I'm offering you. Losing the first five pounds might take a while and I don't say that to discourage you. I say that because I don't want you to quit. So many women start and they're like, I'm gonna lose five pounds, and they white knuckle their way through trying to eat the right number of calories or trying to stick with what they've been doing or trying, trying, trying, trying, trying. And what I wanna offer you is that being really intentional with your trying, working intentionally on the belief aspect of it is the thing that will not move the needle faster, but will move the needle. The way you lose five pounds is to figure out what you believe and move towards believing something that actually feels good mentally, emotionally, and physically. What you currently believe. If it's off from the recommendations in the five O method like mine was what you currently believe. You think it feels good and it really doesn't. And when you actually baby step your way to the thing, which is probably the standard that I offered in the 5-0 method. It feels amazing. By the time I got to moderate exercise, I was really, really, really emotionally on board with it, like really emotionally on board with it because I had started really paying attention to what I was doing to myself physically, the way it felt, didn't feel as good as I thought. The way that it was such a kindness to myself to go out for a walk, to do something gentle, to just really love and revel in my body instead of trying to push it harder and harder and harder felt amazing. It felt so good to come into the alignment of belief and action. This is how you lose weight, y'all. That alignment of I am actually doing the thing that I know is best for my body and it feels like it's the best for my body. It's a relief. That's how you'll know when you are actually going to lose weight. When you're not white-knuckling your way through anymore when none of it feels hard. Ironically, it'll feel easy like that girl that you've been jealous of the whole time. That's why it was so easy for her 'cause she believed my friend. I think that was everything I was gonna say, and, and I really hope that this was helpful for you. I mean, if nothing else, if not like the process-oriented part, like I'm giving you the four steps of this is how you figure out what you believe now. This is how you start collecting data with what you believe now being a hundred percent consistent. This is how you make those slight changes and this is what you do. You just keep repeating this until it feels good. I hope that that process was really helpful, but I hope that my story was helpful. I hope that this just really normalized for you that losing the first five pounds might take a while because not that you're doing the wrong thing, but just that you're working on your belief. When you get to that place where you believe all the five pounds are, I'm not gonna tell you that they're gonna be easy. They're gonna be easy. You're gonna have different bumps along the way. Believing that you can lose weight and aligning yourself with the five tasks is the work of the first five pounds. All the five pounds in the middle has its own fun, fun, fun struggles and that's for another podcast my friends, thank you so much for being here today. I really hope that this was helpful and I will see you next week.

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

Originally aired August 20, 2023
Weight loss is driven by 1.) believing that you can, and 2.) eating in a slight caloric deficit over time. This means that the real key to losing your first five pounds is working on your belief, and this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast will show you how.
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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.