Have you ever said something like this to yourself? “I’m not reaching my weight loss goal. I know it’s my MINDSET, but I don’t know what to do about that🤷.”
In today’s BEGINNER-FRIENDLY episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re getting down and dirty (so to speak!) about the power💪 of your mindset and how you can use your brain🧠 to help you step into your future with more intention. Here’s what’s in store:
- Real-life examples
- How-to tips for becoming a detective🔍 in your own life, and
- Practical steps👣 that you can take right now toward reaching your goal – weight loss or anything else!
Ready to get to work🏗️ on your mindset? Let’s GO!
(Don’t wanna listen? Download the transcript here)
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/wsG7LTTDrU8
Ep. 009: Facts vs. Opinions
Ep. 085: BLAME
Join the Get Your GOAL Coaching + Accountability Facebook group:
Got friends who’d like to work on their mindset too? SHARE the podcast! 💛
WEIGHT LOSS Mindset (Full Transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 93, “Weight Loss Mindset.”
Well, hello, hello again my friends. It is so nice to have you here on the Fitness Matters Podcast, where every single week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. And how do I know that this one matters to you? Because you tell me so. Guys, this is one of those episodes, and in case it’s your first one, hi, welcome, let me just digress right here at the beginning. This is everything you could possibly need to know about me. I’m Pahla B. I digress. I tell stories. I laugh a lot. Sometimes the episodes are a little bit rambling and a little bit cerebral. And sometimes, like today, they’re practical. You guys, today I have an incredibly practical episode for you.
This is a question that I get asked really frequently, and it’s why I’m addressing it here. Well, it’s not even a question. It’s a statement that I hear really frequently. “I’m working on my weight loss, I’m having trouble with it, I know it’s my mindset, but I don’t know what to do about that.” And I want you to know a couple of things. First of all, first of all, your mindset is not simply one thing, and it’s not a fixed thing. I have been working on my mindset about lots of different topics for several years now and my thoughts and my feelings and my opinions and how I deal with them. They’re still ever-changing. You don’t actually have a bad mindset or a good mindset because what you have are thoughts and lots of them.
Each and every one of us has about 60,000 thoughts a day. It’s a lot. There are a lot of them. Some of them are helpful. Some of them are not. Most of them are simply really, really efficient. They are thoughts that your brain has been thinking over and over again, kind of unsupervised. The thought came to you at some point in time in your life, and then you didn’t challenge it in the moment, or maybe you did, but then consequently didn’t continue to challenge it. And so your brain just got efficient at thinking it.
And sometimes we take that to mean that something is true or that it is believable or that we have to believe it. And yet almost nothing that we think is an actual fact. I’m going to refer you to the episode “Facts vs Opinions” for a little bit more background here ( Ep. 009 Facts Vs. Opinions https://pahlabfitness.com/facts-vs-opinions/), but I promise that you can understand everything that we’re talking about today and you can do the practical steps of what we’re talking about today even if this is the very first thing that you are doing on your mindset journey.
I am intentionally wanting this to be very beginner-friendly for you because sometimes even when we jump in and we kind of understand the concepts (and I know that all of you understand the concepts that I’m talking about at the very least, on some level), putting it into practice is a practice. Maybe I didn’t mention that yet, but yes, when you are developing your mindset, working on your mindset, you are practicing a set of skills. You are practicing recognizing your thoughts and deciding if they’re helpful. Literally everything that I do in my mindset journey comes down to those two steps: recognizing my thoughts and deciding if they’re helpful. And today, even more practically than that, because that’s still kind of just an overview, like, “Okay, I get it. I hear that you want me to recognize my thoughts, but how? And I hear that you want me to decide whether or not they’re helpful, but how?”
So today I have actual practical steps for you to find your thoughts and decide if they’re helpful and I’m going to tell you right now – spoiler alert – you have to be asking yourself a lot of questions. Now I happen to love questions. I’m a big, big, big fan of asking questions for several reasons, and here’s where I’m going to digress and tell you a couple of personal stories.
Number one, I’ve always been a curious person. I remember being very young and just really feeling like I needed to know something, like knowing deep in my bones that listening to somebody else talk about something wasn’t enough for me, that I wanted to experience it and know more about it for myself. My earliest recollection of this is going to sound like the strangest example and it is, but here’s why I remember this. I sat next to this boy that I had a huge crush on in reading class in sixth grade, and I just thought that he hung the moon. I thought he was the cutest boy in the whole entire world, and I was enamored of him.
And I remember him talking about two really specific things that I had no prior knowledge of and did not understand. And I remember being so insanely curious about it to the point where I thought about it so much and really needed to understand it for myself that even now – I’m almost 52 – I still remember turning around and asking me, “Can you tell that I’m high?” In sixth grade, in sixth grade, you guys. I look back now and I’m like, “Oh my gosh. This boy was smoking pot at 12 years old.” I had never even heard of it. I had no idea what that was. And I remember being like, “No,” but thinking to myself, “What is that? What is that like? What is he talking about? I need to know everything.” Very, very strange thing to be super, super curious about, but it was so outside my realm of anything that I had seen or done or known anything about.
And I’m not going to delve into just how curious I got later in life about all of that, but I was curious about it. But the other thing that I remember him talking about was how he had this friend, and she had figured out this great way to never gain weight. What she would do is that she would eat the food and let the nutrients get in her body, and then she would make herself throw up so that none of the calories stayed in. You guys, okay. So here’s little me, 12-year-old Pahla, who has no idea what he’s talking about and thinking that this is somehow actual science, thinks that this is a good idea.
In case you don’t know, this is a terrible idea. This is not how your body works. That’s disordered thinking. It is not safe or healthy for you at all. But I remember at 12 being so curious about how that could work and what that would be like and how you could make yourself throw up, which by the way, I’ve never, ever successfully been able to do. I have a pretty decent gag reflex, but not one that I can actually trigger on purpose. And I apologize if you have one that is so sensitive that me even talking about it has just brought on yours. Totally apologize for that. But these are the things that my 12-year-old brain just absolutely needed to know about. I was so insanely curious, and I apparently passed on that trait to my child.
I remember when my oldest son was three, four, five years old, really I think it was all three of those. I think it was three solid years where we joke now, but at the time I swear he never ever spoke a declarative sentence. Every single thing out of his mouth was a question. And at the time, because I had another small child, it was a lot for me to try and deal with. And I remember not always being incredibly patient with it. But now, and even mostly at the time, I remember thinking how wonderful it was that he was so curious about everything going on around him. I still value curiosity so much, so much. In fact, I don’t know if you know that I have a degree in criminology. What I wanted to do with my life was ask questions. I totally wanted to be a detective, a crime scene detective.
And I can tell you now with a little bit of experience of myself in my life that I probably would have been terrible at that, so it’s probably a really good thing that I’ve never been a detective, but I’m still very curious. And here’s why I don’t think I would have been a good detective. I’m actually not very good at visual clues. I don’t see things much. I probably could have trained my brain, don’t get me wrong. I’m not being rude to myself here, but for things that I’m not actively engaged in, like asking me what kind of a car my neighbor drives, I have no idea. I see my neighbor driving this car every single day, and I like cars. I know a thing or two about cars, but I don’t pay enough attention to know what kind of car my neighbor drives.
So I don’t think I would have been great at being a detective. However, I love, love, love, love, love, love to listen and read what you guys write and what you say to me about why you’re having problems with losing weight. And I can see it every time. I know exactly what it is about your mindset that you might want to work on. So I am still a detective. I love to be curious. That was a whole spoiler alert. Let me tell you the practical steps.
Here is what you are going to do. Step number one, you are going to ask yourself a question. My favorite question in the entire world is, “What do I think about . . . ?” And then you get to fill in the blank. Now I’ll suggest, from a really practical point of view, that you ask yourself something very specific. “What do I think about eating X number of calories every day?” for example. “What do I think about drinking such and such amount of water every day?” “What do I think about being able to sustain doing the same thing every day for as long as it takes to lose weight?” “What do I think about my ability to lose weight?” “What do I think about my ability to sleep every night?” “What do I think about my ability to work on my mindset?” That one’s one of my favorites. I love that, when you’re thinking about your thinking. It’s so fun.
When you ask yourself this question, here’s why it works. Here’s why this is the most helpful thing that you can possibly do. Your brain and mine – all of our brains – are compelled to answer questions. And I love knowing this because I notice it everywhere in the world. I notice when, for example, somebody who is trying to draw me in to watching a YouTube video or getting engagement with their Instagram posts or places out in the world. I notice it in advertising. Just lots of places in the world where you will see people intentionally asking a question because you cannot help but respond.
You cannot help but engage with a question. And I know there’s some of you – and I love you – who are really skeptical about this. I love my skeptical Bs because I’m one of them. I mean, I’ve become a skeptical person because I used to be very gullible. That example that I told you about sixth grade – my little boyfriend who was talking about the girl who would binge and purge – I remember utterly believing what he said as though it was the 100% truth. I carried that “knowledge” for years, years before I understood how dangerous it was, how terrible that thinking was. I truly thought that this 12-year-old boy who was no smarter than me had the answer. I thought that he knew something about science that I didn’t know.
And I think that that is what has informed me of being skeptical of everybody and everything at this point in my life, because by the time I did figure it out, I remember feeling very embarrassed that I had believed what he had said, which is a whole other topic. Anyway, let’s come back to this. Ask yourself a question. Ask yourself a really direct, pointed question and then, step number two, you’re going to write down all of the answers. Now here’s why this is important. I know some of you would love to do this in your head, and I agree. I like to do it in my head too because then I don’t have to face what it is that I’m thinking. There is something that changes on a cellular level between thinking something in your head and writing it down on paper.
And it changes in a couple of different ways. Number one, it actually takes a lot of the sting out of it. Something that sounds really big and important in your head just looks like words on paper when you write it down. It takes it out of your head in a way that allows you to be an observer of the thought rather than thinking the thought. And here’s why this is super important. Your brain actually operates on two levels. I refer to it as being in the upper deck versus being on the playing field.
When you’re in the middle of thinking your thoughts and they’re in your head and they’re just rattling around and maybe you’re paying attention to them but mostly you’re just kind of ruminating and they’re just bouncing around in there, that’s you on the playing field. That’s you in the middle of the rugby scrum. That is you not being able to see what’s going on. But as a spectator, an observer, somebody who is in the upper deck, you have a whole different view of what’s going on. And that is the difference between thinking your thoughts and writing your thoughts down.
So please, do this even though you don’t want to. I know how much I resisted this. Let me just talk to myself here. “Pahla, when you don’t feel like writing your thoughts down, write them down anyway because being able to observe your thoughts on paper is very different from hearing your thoughts in your head.” Having them on paper will actually really help you with step number three, which is to come on back around and ask yourself some more questions. This is the thing that I think lots of us don’t do when we are working on our mindset or journaling. I avoided using that word because I know how much I resisted that word when I first started working on my mindset. I didn’t want to journal because I had journaled before. I had journaled when I was younger, and it basically just felt like me complaining to a piece of paper, and it still does.
But here’s the difference. Step three, when you ask yourself questions about what you have written down, it makes all the difference in the world because it actually helps you do both parts of the mindset work. It helps you recognize that what you are thinking is a thought because literally every single thing on that piece of paper has just come spewing out of your pen. Every single one of them is a thought. They’re not facts. They’re not true. You can absolutely find evidence for them. You believe them. You are ready to arm wrestle me that these things are true, but they’re not. They’re thoughts. They’re thoughts. And when you ask yourself questions about them, it’ll help you do that step two part of deciding whether or not they’re helpful.
So when we ask ourselves questions, we’re just getting really curious about our thoughts. Now, here’s what happened to me the first couple of times I tried getting curious about my thoughts. I noticed that I was asking myself an unhelpful question, truly. I was asking myself, “Why do I think this?” And my friend, I want you to know, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter if your father’s uncle’s neighbor said something to you one time when you were seven years old that you carried with you and made it mean that you were never going to be able to lose weight. It doesn’t matter where that thought entered your head. Being curious about why you think something can be incredibly interesting. Sometimes I still find myself wondering because I find it interesting. I’m curious about that. But that line of inquiry doesn’t really go anywhere. And in fact, very frequently, I mean especially if you are me, it just leads to blaming.
“Oh, if he’d never said that, I never would have spent 40 years of my life thinking this about myself.” And in case you didn’t just recognize it, that statement was a thought and it was unhelpful. Blaming other people or the media or society or even yourself for why you’re having a thought is not a productive use of your time. So let’s get curious about what that thought is bringing to you, whether or not it’s helpful. My friends, when you are asking yourself, “Is this true?” It’s not really a very helpful question either because your brain will automatically – the way that brains are compelled to answer questions – want to agree with itself. So if you’re asking yourself a question like, “Is this unhelpful thought true?” You can probably find all kinds of evidence in your life about your past, about why, “Oh, of course, I can never lose weight because all of these 12 other times that I have tried to lose weight. I’ve really had a hard time with it, and this, that, and the other thing happened.”
You can come up with evidence for why something is true or believable to you. It’s not really helpful to know whether or not something is true or believable because your brain is just going to offer you the evidence. When you ask your brain, “Is this helpful?” You will very likely get a different answer. Whether or not something is true or believable, you can definitely find evidence for it. But determining whether or not something is helpful is going to open a whole other avenue of inquiry for you. Helpful means that you feel pretty good about it and you think that you will very likely get some good results from this thought. When you start to recognize whether or not something is helpful, no matter where it came from, no matter whose fault it is, no matter if it’s true or believable to you, when you can decide whether or not a thought is helpful for getting you where you want to go, my friends, that is literally the point of what we’re doing.
And this is where we leave the work. You have all three of the practical steps. Ask yourself a question, write down every single thing that comes up for you, every single thought that you have about that question, and then ask yourself more questions about those thoughts to decide whether or not they’re helpful. And here’s why I’m leaving it with that, because I know some of you are like, “Okay, now that I have found that I have all these unhelpful thoughts, what do I do next? What’s the next step?” My friend, here’s my favorite thing about mindset work: you don’t actually have to do anything else. Your brain – your big, powerful, amazing brain – is actually going to take care of this for you.
Once you have found your thoughts and decided whether or not they are helpful, you have put your brain to a task that it can carry out without you doing anything else. I love brains. I have to be honest. And I don’t mean that in a zombie way. I mean that in an observer of the fascinating specimen and miracle that is the human body and the human brain. Your brain does not need you to direct any more practical steps. Once your brain has decided that a thought is helpful, it puts it in the helpful bucket, the helpful category. And once you have decided that a thought is unhelpful, your brain has categorized that.
Your brain has decided that this is a fact that a thought is helpful for you or that it is unhelpful for you. And then your brain is going to go about doing what your brain has already been doing. It’s going to get efficient at thinking that something is helpful, and then it’s going to find evidence for why that thought is helpful, and it’s going to promote that thought to you because it thinks it’s helpful. Your brain already has everything in place to do what you right now consider the missing steps. Right now, listening to me give you three things to do and leaving it with, “Well, decide whether or not it’s helpful,” feels unfinished to you, but your brain knows exactly what to do with this information.
Now here’s what I’m going to tell you. Your brain is actually still going to offer you some of these unhelpful thoughts because it has been efficient at thinking them. If you have some thought that really did come to you in childhood, that you have been thinking about unconsciously for the past 30, 40, 50, whatever years, your brain is still going to offer that up. But your brain, being your brain, and you not always being in the playing field, but being up here on the upper deck and being able to go back and forth between the two – your brain is going to recognize that it has just given you a completely automatic and unhelpful thought. Your brain knows what to do with that. It simply notices. It notices, “Oh, hey, there’s that unhelpful thought. Super interesting that my brain has offered that up to me again.”
And I know that I keep saying your brain, and then I also keep saying your brain in another way. Your brain, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. It’s phenomenal. It has many multitudes of layers that even scientists are still working to figure out. Your brain can understand what I’m saying and what it needs to do right now. The practical steps are for the part of your brain that you really want to follow some sort of path. You really want me to lay it out for you that there are three things that you do, but honestly, your brain already knows this stuff. Your brain kind of already has this kind of thing figured out. You doing the practical steps, going through the motion, asking yourself a question, writing down all of the answers, and then asking yourself more questions about whether or not what you have thought is helpful is going to be a helpful process while you are beginning this work. And honestly continuing while you do the work, which is as far as I’m concerned, the rest of your life.
But your brain already gets this. It already knows how to do all the things that you want to do. What you really want is to automatically and efficiently think thoughts that get you where you want to go, that get you all the way to your goal. Your brain is already really good at that. What you need to do is find the thoughts and decide if they’re helpful. Your brain will do the rest.
Okay. I said it was going to be completely practical and that it would still be kind of cerebral. It was, wasn’t it? I know. And did you hear how I just asked you a question and you felt kind of compelled to be like, “Yeah, Pahla, that totally was.” Exactly. Exactly, you guys. I always, always hope that this is helpful for you, but this one really specifically, because it was practical, because it had something that you could write down and look at and know what to do next. I hope that this one was particularly helpful for you. And if so, hey, thank you for leaving a review and a rating. I always appreciate that. It’s very kind of you. Thank you so much for listening, my friends. I will talk to you again soon.
So, are you totally loving this mindset work and you really want to do it every day in order to get your goal? Then my friend, you need to join the Get Your Goal group. It is my personal and private very interactive coaching and accountability group where every day we talk about your mindset and we get your goal. You can learn all about it at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal. I’ll see you in the Goal group.