It’s SO difficult to lose weight during a holiday season, right? Thoughts of restriction🙁, willpower😧, deprivation😱 — they seem to be everywhere! But what if I told you that you can absolutely stay on course with LOSING WEIGHT during this season — or ANY season🥰?
In today’s informative and empowering episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re talking about the monkey chatter🐒 in our brain during times of celebration and I’m sharing three different approaches that will change everything about how you view WEIGHT LOSS⚖️ during the holidays.
Ready to learn more? I was born ready✌️! Tune in now, and let’s GO!
REMINDER: December’s Pahla B Book Club pick is “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. First-time Chirp Audiobooks users in the US can get $5 off by using the code PAHLA5, and non-first time users can pick it up for the lovely low price of just $6.99!
Register to join the LIVE book club conversation on Sunday, December 26th at 7 am PST here: https://bit.ly/DECBookClubReg
Did you find this holiday weight loss podcast helpful? SHARE it with your family and friends! 💛
LOSING WEIGHT During the Holidays (full transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 214, “Losing Weight During the Holidays.” Welcome to the Fitness Matters Podcast, where every week, we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I’m Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon-to-be author, and your best middle-aged fitness friend. Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let’s go.
Well, hello, hello, hello, my friends [singing]. I’m going to start singing before we even really get going. How about that? You guys, really quickly, before we even really get going, I’m going to remind you that this month (the month of December) the Pahla B Book Club, in partnership with Chirp Audiobooks, is reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. And I am so excited about this one, so make sure that no matter where you’re watching or listening, that you open up the description box, or come to my website, or read the show notes, or literally send me smoke signals, and be part of this. There are links of all sorts for you in the description box and show notes for you to join the actual book club conversation because it’s going to be live this month, and if you’re brand new to Chirp Audiobooks, you can get $5 off of, (if not this book, any book) your first purchase at Chirp Audiobooks with the code PAHLA5, P-A-H-L-A, and the number five with no spaces.
You guys, there’s literally no way to seg from that into this topic, so here we go. I’m just jumping in. It’s happening. Not related in the teeniest, tiniest way, but I’m binge-listening to this podcast right now that I am madly in love with. It will not resonate with most of you, but I’m still going to tell you about it anyway. It is a podcast called “The (something that I’m going to edit out) That No One Tells You About Writing.” It is a writing podcast and it’s really specifically for fiction writers, and I’m not a fiction writer.
I’m a non-fiction writer, but it’s hosted by a fiction writer named Bianca Marais. This is why I’m telling you this, every single segment, she always says, “All right, let’s jump right in,” and I’m really butchering her accent. She’s from South Africa, and that was allegedly British. It was none of the above. It was just me talking in my weird Mary Poppins voice.
Every time now when I say “jump right in,” I think of this podcast, and I absolutely love it. If you have any designs on writing, being a writer, any sort of writing, anything, I highly recommend the podcast. Very helpful, very interesting, very entertaining. There is some swearing, as you might have noticed from the title of the podcast. Jumping really, really, truly into my podcast (now that we have spent almost three minutes talking about other things!), let’s talk about losing weight during the holidays because you are, and that’s where I’m going to start with this conversation, my friends. I mean, unless you’re actually not trying to lose weight at all right now, in which case, I’m super impressed that you clicked on this podcast.
I love that you guys do this. It’s so fun to me to read your comments and find out later that some of the topics that don’t apply to you at all are the ones that you are listening to and that you find nuggets that are helpful to you. So you know what? I know for a fact that this is going to be helpful to one person really specifically, who might also appreciate that podcast reference, that no matter what you are currently doing, as long as you have a goal for yourself, you are aiming for that goal. And that’s where I wanted to start our conversation today – no matter how the holidays shake down for you, and no matter what holidays you celebrate, and no matter if this is not a time of year where you personally have a holiday, maybe your holidays are already passed, maybe you celebrate something else, maybe you don’t celebrate, I never want to assume what you celebrate, what you don’t celebrate. Here’s what I know.
During this time of year, a lot of people do celebrate different holidays, and that can make losing weight feel more difficult. And here I am, even adding to that conversation as though I’m assuming, “Oh, it’s going to be so hard to lose weight during the holidays.” That’s actually another great place to really kind of jump into this conversation. When you have that very unintentional bias behind all of your thoughts like, “Okay, it’s going to be hard to lose weight, but I still want to,” “It’s going to be hard to lose weight, but I can,” “It’s going to be hard to lose weight, but . . . ,” whatever. No matter how you are thinking about your weight loss, what I would love for you to do is kind of examine some of those background biases. Like, “What are you thinking?,” and this is a great journal prompt for you. “What do I think about moving towards my goal this month?” – no matter what your goal is. That’s a great journal prompt.
For lots of reasons, lots of us think that this is a difficult time of year, and I will tell you, I mean, it is. I found myself thinking this today, as a matter of fact. I’m thinking that December is a difficult time of year not because of the holidays, but because it is the anniversary of my sister’s death. I think of the time between Thanksgiving and December 15th, which is the anniversary, as a difficult time of year. I found my brain offering that to me numerous times today, really specifically. It has probably offered it to me, I’m going to say thousands of times between December 15th, 2017, and now. My brain has offered me this thought so many times that now that I’ve actually noticed it, I’m questioning this thought. “Does it have to be difficult, and difficult how? What do I mean by difficult?”
“What do I feel when I think this is a difficult time of year?” It’s worthy of questioning your, I’m going to call them inherent biases, even though they’re not actually inherent. They’re just biases. They’re things that you don’t even necessarily recognize that you are thinking that then color other thoughts you have. If you have the bias of, “It’s going to be difficult to lose weight this month,” then everything else you are thinking is going to reflect that. When in doubt, it’s a really good idea to find, I call it the root thought, meaning the thought behind all the other thoughts. And honestly, I don’t mean this to be pressure, like, “You better get to that root thought.”
That’s not where I’m going with this at all. Whatever thought you find, it’s helpful for you to find it, and one of the things that can be helpful when you are examining that thought is asking yourself more questions. “What’s behind this? Why do I believe that? What makes me think that?”
Those can be helpful lines of questioning. Here’s the thing about this topic today. I actually have – speaking to some of our podcast episodes – some rather practical advice for you. Because the way I see it, you have basically three different options for how you can lose weight during the holidays, or during this month, or honestly, during any month. Let’s be honest here. Yeah, this is like seasonal and topical for the month of December for a lot of people, but if you’re not listening to this until February or later or whenever, this is still helpful to you because no matter what is going on, your brain will offer you that there is some reason why losing weight is going to be difficult right now. “Losing weight is going to be difficult this month.”
“Well, I’m going on vacation.” “Well, it’s the start of school.” “Well, it’s the end of school.” “Well, it’s my birthday.” “Well, it’s my kids’ birthdays.” “Well, it’s our anniversary.” All kinds of events transpire throughout the year. Truly, every single month of the year, you could offer yourself a reason why it’s going to be difficult to lose weight this month, and that’s what I want to get at here. If you have this inherent bias that is not inherent – that this month is going to be difficult for you to lose weight – here’s what you can do. Number one, you can eat anything you want, don’t track it, and don’t worry about it.
Here’s why I offer this as an option: because it is. All options are available to you at any time, and you can lose weight while you are pursuing this option. I strongly suggest that you listen to episode 79, “I’m Not Losing Weight,” for a really in-depth conversation of what I’m talking about (Ep. 089 “I’m Not Losing Weight” (https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-079-im-not-losing-weight/). Where I’m going with this is that no matter what is currently going on with the scale, you are losing weight if weight loss is your goal and you have not quit. Losing weight is full of zigs and zags, and ups and downs, and backs and forths, and fluctuations, and frustrations, and highs and lows, and all kinds of things. It is not a linear process at all. As long as you are still in the game, you are losing weight. And everything that you do has consequences. And that’s really what I want to kind of get at with you today. When you make a choice about how you’d like to approach weight loss, think about the consequences.
I don’t mean just the consequences of you might gain weight, like that’s the worst thing in the world. It’s not. It’s not even close to the worst thing in the world. But think about the consequences of what you will think about your choice after you’ve made it. I want you to consider all of these thoughts as part of your decision-making process. Knowing what will come next after you make the decision is part of making the decision. Let’s say, for example, that you decide you’re going to eat what you want, you’re not going to track, you’re not going to think about losing weight right now. Some of the unintended consequences of that decision could be that you are beating yourself up about it afterwards, that you kind of enjoy what you’re doing, and also that you’re kind of dread getting on the scale, you kind of dread getting back to it.
You tell yourself things like, “Oh, once I fall off the wagon, I’ll never get back on,” or if you do decide to “get back on the wagon,” then you have lots of thoughts about what it means to “get back on track,” which is also in heavy air quotes. Those kinds of thoughts are worthy of exploring right now – before you decide that you are not going to track and that you are not going to restrict yourself for what you eat, how much you eat, et cetera. I really want to clarify super quickly – I heard the word “restrict” and I was like, “I got to cover that one right now” – I don’t advocate restricting yourself kind of ever, truly. My 5-0 plan, honestly, is not about restriction.
It is about making room for the things you want to eat in portions that make sense. And I also understand that portions that make sense for weight loss sometimes mean a smaller portion than you would have if you were not thinking about weight loss. Thinking about and considering as part of your decision-making process, the other thoughts that you will have from this course of action, is important to know now. If you already know, “Hey, you know what? I am definitely not going to beat myself up about this later. I am not going to feel anything other than this was perfect for me, this was great for me, this was part of my journey.” If you can look at eating whatever you want and not tracking and not being “aiming for weight loss,” and feel like that is a part of your weight loss journey and look at all of those actions and behaviors without judgment – which I wholeheartedly encourage you to do anyways – then, my friends, this is a great decision.
This is a great plan for you, and this will work out for you. The other thing that you might do is do exactly what you’ve been doing. This is number two. Do exactly what you’ve been doing, meaning that you are tracking your calories, you are eating in ways that make sense, you are hopefully making room for the foods that you love, which might enjoy things like Christmas cookies or eggnog or latkes or whatever seems like a very indulgent kind of a food, make room for that. I wholeheartedly encourage you to do that anyway.
Okay, but here are the consequences. The possibly unintended consequences of that method are that you might feel restricted. You might feel like you are running solely on willpower because there are more temptations, more people who are pushing food on you (which is what we talked about last week), more food available to you in quantities or of types that maybe you don’t have any other time of the year. You might find yourself really struggling with thoughts of restriction, thoughts of willpower, and feeling like you need to muscle through it. You can look ahead and recognize that this is likely to happen, that this is something that you might struggle with, recognizing that there are ways that you can handle those thoughts, ways that you can work on your mindset around those thoughts. I mean, just like the other thoughts about getting back on track that we were talking about earlier in option number one, there are ways to discover for yourself whether or not the thoughts that you might have – after choosing a course of action – are helpful for you or not. My goal for you is for you to look at all of the thoughts that you have about making this decision, and then look at all the thoughts that you might have after you’ve made the decision, and do the mindset work on all of them.
I mean, even on the ones for the option that you don’t choose, it’s just good practice to recognize that you have thoughts about everything that you do or don’t do, and some of those thoughts are helpful; some of those thoughts are not. It can be easier, honestly, to do this as like an intellectual, like a puzzle almost, like just something that you do for the sake of curiosity. Like, “If I had that thought, what would I do with that thought? Does that thought seem helpful? Does that thought seem like it would get me where I want to go?”
I find that to be super interesting and fun. But I mean, I think we all know that I find this mindset work to be super interesting and fun all the time, so there you go. This is me on a Friday night, woo. You guys, option number three, and technically speaking, this is the one that I suggest for you because I find it to be helpful for me. Option number three is a hybrid approach, and this is what I mean: you allow yourself to eat foods that feel decadent or feel exciting because it’s something that you only have once a year, or once a season, or whatever. You allow yourself to have those foods and you don’t necessarily fret about the quantities. You don’t necessarily spend time weighing and measuring and tracking in a manner that feels restrictive, and the reason something would feel restrictive is because of your thought. The reason I prefer the hybrid approach is because it requires you to do the mindset work.
It requires you to think about everything that you are doing ahead of time, and during, and after the fact. This is the approach that I suggest you take for everything. Think about your thoughts, decide if they’re helpful, behave in certain ways, then pay attention to the thoughts that you have about the behavior that you’ve already done. Decide if those thoughts are helpful in moving you forward. Decide if those thoughts are unhelpful and not moving you forward. And then plan for the future by thinking about your thoughts and deciding if they’re helpful or unhelpful.
My friends, my real advice here – and truly, these are options, you could choose any of them – but my real advice is that you just think about your thoughts, really take some time to choose with intention. What so, so, so often happens this time of year or any time of year is that we find ourselves kind of already doing something, and then make this weird little ad hoc decision that, “Yep, this is what I’m doing. This is the way it’s going. I’m going to go with this.” And then we don’t feel great about that decision because it was kind of an unexamined decision. And then we find ourselves kind of beating ourselves up about it or being judgy towards ourselves about it, and then not feeling amazing and not necessarily examining that not-amazing feeling that we have. I mean, I feel like maybe you can resonate with this.
This is something that I used to do all the time. I would find myself in the middle of a decision that I didn’t love, and then I would judge myself for it, and then I would try and pretend like it didn’t happen and just kind of shove it down and try and move forward without examining it. I have noticed in my lifetime that that was not effective for getting where I wanted to go. I noticed that I did not get my goals when I was making decisions like that, and behaving like that, and not examining myself like that. My friends, I truly, truly feel that you can – meaning, that you are capable and meaning that it will work out for you – you can do anything this month, every month, all the months.
You can do anything. It will work out in your favor when you examine your thoughts. Examining your thoughts is the answer. Deciding if they are helpful is the answer. Knowing that you have the power to choose anything, to move forward from anything, to not judge yourself and look at your thoughts, your behaviors, your feelings with compassion, that is always the path to your goal, always. My friends, my friends, no matter when you’re listening, what you celebrate, what you don’t celebrate, what month it is, I hope that you have a really good one.
Thank you for listening. I’ll talk to you again soon. If you’re getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters Podcast and you’re ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love the Get Your GOAL Coaching + Accountability Group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast, and actually apply it in real-life on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It’s hands on, it’s fun, and it works. Find out more at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal, and let’s get your goal.