Are you bouncing⚽ around a certain number on the scale, or not seeing a general downward trend📉, and it feels like you’re NOT LOSING WEIGHT? Rest assured, my friends, I’ve got your back🐫!
In today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re diving in and I’m sharing how you can identify the things in your WEIGHT LOSS journey that may be slightly off and can affect your overall results. And, oh yes, I’m sharing personal stories📖 along the way, too!
Ready to dig⛏️ in? Let’s GO!
Why You’re Not LOSING WEIGHT (FULL TRANSCRIPT)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 224, “Why You’re Not Losing Weight.”
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.
Hello, hello, hello, my friends [singing these words]. You guys, I’m just going to sing every time I’m at the introduction. That’s just what’s going to happen; I’m not going to resist it anymore. I’m not going to judge myself for it anymore, and that has so much to do with what we’re talking about today. But, before we dig into it, I’m going to tell you really quickly next week, if you are listening to this the day it comes out, next week, next Sunday, February 27th is the day that we have our book club live. All the details are either in the show notes or the description box, depending on where you watch or listen. We are reading this month “Live the Best Story of Your Life” by Bob Litwin.
I’m enjoying this book immensely and cannot wait to talk with you about it. So, come to the live book club and talk about it. Also, in case you don’t know it, the book club is in partnership with Chirp audiobooks. In the show notes or the description box, there’s actually a link that takes you directly to the book and applies a $5 off code, if you are a brand new chirp audiobook user. They do this thing where they have really steep discounts on all different kinds of books. If you are not a brand new Chirp user, this book is only $3.99 this month. So, it’s totally worth it, lots of fun. It’s really easy to use all the links in the show notes or the description box.
You guys, let’s dig in. Do you know why you’re not losing weight? And let me just ask you, really quickly, do you know whether or not you are losing weight? Because this is not really the point of the podcast at all, and I kind of apologize because this title is a teeny bit click-baity, but I know, because I hear y’all, that you frequently use this phrase, “I’m not losing weight.” In fact, we’ve got an entire podcast that’s called “I’m Not Losing Weight” or something very, very similar that I’m going to suggest to you. Head right on over there (Episode 79: “I’m Not Losing Weight” https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-079-im-not-losing-weight/) to listen to that one also because it’s related. But, here’s the thing. If you are legitimately not losing weight, really specifically, if your numbers are just bouncing around – you’re hovering around one number and you are not seeing a general downward trend over time, over a pretty long amount of time – my personal rule of thumb is that if you have not seen any decrease in six weeks, that’s when you get to call it a plateau and, really specifically, if you’re bouncing. That bouncing thing tends to be indicative of a plateau.
Now, bouncing in general, weight fluctuations, your weight is going to fluctuate frequently – daily, in fact, and it’s why I have you weigh yourself every day. By the way, we’re going to be talking about my method of weight loss today, the 5-0 Method (The 5-0 Method https://pahlabfitness.com/programs/the-5-0-method/). If you don’t know what that is, again, show notes, description box, so many links for you already. We’re like two minutes in, and I’ve already given you four links to go to. But we are going to be talking about the 5-0 Method, which means that you eat the right number of calories every single day, you drink the right amount of water every single day, you get the right amount of sleep every single day, you exercise moderately every single day, and you manage your mind every single day.
Yeah, I’m singing that one too. But, here’s the thing about not losing weight. There are times when – I’m not going to say that the formula doesn’t work because here’s the thing. That’s not even up for debate. The 5-0 Method, the formula, it 100% works. There’s literally no doubt in my mind. Sometimes there is tweaking that needs to be done, and today what we’re talking about isn’t necessarily like a, “Okay, what do I do with my calories?” or “What do I do with my water?” kind of conversation. I mean, here on the Fitness Matters Podcast, we talk about fitness mindset. We’re definitely going to be talking about what you’re thinking. And if you would like more practical advice for that, I have a video on my main Pahla B Fitness channel that talks about plateaus, and I will also have that link for you (Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? Start Losing Again! https://pahlabfitness.com/hit-a-weight-loss-plateau-start-losing-weight-again-easy-tips/) , in case you’d like some really physical things to do. But I’m going to tell you that the physical things you do, they’re not effective unless you understand what’s going on with your mindset. Mindset really is the thing here.
And the thing that is very likely missing is that there’s something that you are not doing. And I apologize for that being incredibly vague, but generally speaking . . . Here’s the thing. With five different parts to this method – and honestly, kind of some moving parts within them as far as how are you getting your calories, when are you drinking (even though that doesn’t have a lot to do with it), what is the quality of your sleep. Even though, again, that doesn’t have nearly as much to do with it as what you’re thinking about your sleep. Hey, would you like another link? I’ve got one for you. We had an entire podcast where we talked about trouble sleeping (Episode 86, Trouble Sleeping https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-086-trouble-sleeping/). That one can be very helpful for you also. The moving parts are important, really specifically moving parts about your exercise because lots and lots of us exercise too much.
So, there are moving parts to this. I don’t have the one specific thing that you are not doing, but here’s what I want you to know. There’s something about this method that you’re resisting, and I don’t know what it is. For me, I know what it is. Pretty obvious off the top of my head. I struggle to drink all my water; I historically have struggled to drink all my water. I’m actually doing really well with it right now because I did this mindset work on myself. But there is something that you feel a little bit of resistance for. If I had to guess, based on comments that I hear, I would guess that you resist something in the genre of counting your calories. It’s typically a trigger for lots of us, lots and lots of us. So that one’s really common.
Maybe you’re kind of resisting hitting the number right on the head. Maybe you’re resisting coming all the way up to that number because the number seems high to you. Maybe you’re resisting counting in general. Maybe you’re resisting counting accurately and you’re just trying to eyeball things. There’s something in that neighborhood, maybe. The other thing that I hear very, very, very commonly because, honestly, I don’t know who else is talking about this. I really don’t know of other fitness experts who are talking about how too much exercise is the problem. So, I would definitely look at that. Are you resisting bringing your workouts down to something moderate? It was the thing that I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around. So, I’m going to throw that out there that maybe that’s what you are resisting. And, the other thing that I think is pretty common, even though you’re listening to the podcast, so this might not be the thing that you are resisting, but I do know that lots of women in the general population do have some resistance to the journaling, the mindset management and doing it every day.
They’re not sure what to do or how to do it or what to get out of it or how to get something out of it. Sometimes, your brain is going to offer you what sounds like a really practical response to, “Oh, I don’t know what to do with journaling, therefore I’m not going to.” But, again, if you’re listening to the podcast, I have lots of resources for you. It’s not a practical answer; it’s your mindset that is resisting doing the thing that you need to be doing. So, here’s the thing. If you don’t know, if nothing popped into your mind right away, I’m going to have you do a little bit of exploration. And this does not necessarily have to be on paper. I find that on paper is more helpful for me so that I’m not just spinning around the same thought again and again. When I get it out on paper, I can move on to the next thought. But, I’m going to have you take a look at what you are not doing and the thing that’s going to happen. Almost immediately, especially if there’s something that you know for sure that you’re not doing, you are going to have a guilt response.
Because here’s the program, here’s what you’re following, and then you experience dissonance because you want to be doing something, but you are not doing it. And both of those things seem very real, but because they don’t agree with each other, your brain doesn’t like that. It feels very uncomfortable. And that uncomfortable feeling is guilt – when you want to be doing something, but you’re not, or you want to not be doing something but you are. The reason you feel that, it’s just because you’re trying to hold two beliefs simultaneously that don’t mesh together. So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to really gently put aside that guilty feeling to simply explore, “What is it that I’m not doing?” Look with compassionate curiosity. You can really take a look, “Okay, here’s what the 5-0 Method says, and here’s what I’m doing.”
If those two things don’t match up, then there’s something that I’m resisting here. And, to be fair, you might actually find that there are several pieces of this puzzle that you are resisting. I feel like I just told you there were a couple of things that I resisted too. It’s not just necessarily that there’s one thing that you are resisting; it could be that there are a couple of things. And you might not even be resisting them in some huge way, like “I’m going to eat whatever I want.” It could simply be that you are resisting some nuance of it, like “I’m counting my calories, but I don’t want to get within 25 above or below.” Or, “I’m exercising, but I don’t want to come all the way down to 23 minutes; I want to be at 30 minutes.” You’re pretty close, you’re in the ballpark, but there’s still just that little bit of resistance.
Having compassionate curiosity about what it is you are resisting is going to help you find those things that are just slightly off. Here’s what happened to me quite some time ago, when I was losing weight. I noticed that I was bouncing around, I was kind of maintaining at a number that was not my goal weight, and I sat there for a long time. I knew I was doing the things, I was counting my calories, I was a champion sleeper (that was not a problem), I was drinking my water. But I kind of knew that maybe something was going on and didn’t really want to explore it. So, when I took the time to simply look at it with compassionate curiosity, I noticed that I was doing all five things, but I was kind of barely doing them.
I would, once in a while, go a little bit over my calories. I would, once in a while, go a little bit over on my exercise. I would be going to bed at the same time, but maybe I’d be playing on my phone for 15 minutes. There was just that little bit where I was, technically speaking, letter of the law, I was doing the things. But the spirit of the law, kind of not. So, when I was able to just be like, “Hey Pahla, what’s going on, baby?” Just talking to myself really kindly, really gently. “What’s going on? What are you resisting here?” And I noticed that I was actually resisting all of it. And what happened?
Here’s the next step. So, step number one, gently put aside guilt to figure out what it is that you are resisting. And then, I know this is going to sound like the weirdest advice ever, because I’ve just told you not to listen to your judgy thoughts. However, when you are exploring why you are resisting, I want you to actually listen to all the judgy thoughts. Because, my friend, you have them. You have them in spades, and they are the reason why you are resisting the spirit of the law, even if you are following the letter of the law. Which, by the way, the 5-0 Method – not really law. But it is very prescriptive; it is very specific advice on how to do something that, when followed exactly, really truly does guarantee results. You, being an experiment of one, might not need to follow it exactly, exactly. But you’ll notice – this is where we started here – if you are not getting the weight loss results that you want, if you are bouncing around, if you are really, truly not losing weight with this program, there’s a reason.
And the reason is that you’re resisting something. And the reason you are resisting something is because you have thoughts. Those thoughts are not helpful. And, here’s the point in the podcast where I’m going to tell you about the two step tool, where we find our thoughts and decide if they’re helpful. And I want you to know that the thoughts you are going to hear, you are desperately going to want to brush aside because they are so judgy, and honestly, they’re so ridiculous. They’re mean and they don’t even make sense sometimes They’re not giving you factual information. Let me share with you really specifically. When I did the work here to figure out why I resist drinking water, you know what my brain offered me? If you are a long time listener, you know exactly what my brain offered me: “You’re stupid.” Because that’s my brain’s go-to. And “you’re lazy.” And “you’re an idiot,” which is my other favorite one. I thought this was quite hilarious because I’m like, “You already told me I’m stupid. Why are you telling me I’m an idiot, too?”
But, there you go, sometimes that’s what brains do. “You’re not good enough; you’re not worth it.” There is all kinds of junk in there, none of which I intellectually believed to be true. These are automatic thoughts that your brain is offering you again and again and again and again and again, so much so that, oftentimes, we don’t even hear it. Which is why I’m telling you to write these thoughts down. It’s going to feel very painful and difficult to write down something like “I’m an idiot” or “I’m not worth it.” Those are really painful thoughts, which is why you’re going to want to brush them aside instead of listening to them.
And here’s what I mean by listen. I mean listen so that you can write them down, but stay in that compassionate observer position, which by the way, I have an entire podcast about what the compassionate observer is and how to get there and why it’s so important, link is in the description box or the show notes (Episode 211, The Compassionate Observer https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-211-the-compassionate-observer/). When you can be compassionate and simply observe what your brain is offering you, it won’t have that sting; it won’t have that feel of it. And you’ll know if you’re in the compassionate observer mode if you’re able to just continue writing things down. If you notice that, rather than writing things down, that you desperately want to pick up your phone or go for a walk or go eat something or do anything else, that’s not the compassionate observer mode. That’s being in your thoughts. That’s feeling the resistance and the judgment of these judgy thoughts.
A really important skill to develop is to HEAR the judgy thoughts without being IN the judgy thoughts. The compassionate observer here is incredibly important so that you can simply notice, “This is what my brain is offering me 24/7. No wonder it’s so hard to eat my calories. No wonder it’s so hard to drink my water. No wonder I’m resisting doing these things because these thoughts are painful. These thoughts make me want to stand up and walk away. These thoughts make me want to do anything in the world except the thing that I think I want to do. No wonder this feels so difficult.” When you hear what your brain is offering you, it’s going to be really, really, really obvious why you are resisting doing the thing, whatever that thing is.
And here’s the second step to the two step tool, which I lovingly and jokingly call the two step stool because I often, if you don’t do my workouts – if you are brand new and happen to only be here on the podcast and don’t know anything about what I consider my main channel, just because it has more subscribers and I’ve been doing it longer – I offer free full length workouts and one of the little protocols that I use for workouts is something I call a step stool where we build on the exercises together. So, that two step tool is sometimes really hard for me to say. But, here’s the thing. You find your thoughts, which we’ve just done. We went into the compassion observer mode, we listened to all the judgy thoughts, we wrote them all down. And then, the second step is to decide if they’re helpful. Now, here’s the thing, you probably know rather immediately that all of these judgy thoughts are unhelpful.
You probably totally get that, but you might think to yourself, something along the lines of, “Well, of course these are all unhelpful, I know that, whatever.” That, in itself, is kind of an unhelpful thought. Stay in the compassionate observer, up here on the upper deck, in the compassionate observer mode, when you simply assign a value to each thought. Like “This is helpful; this is unhelpful,” rather than trying to dismiss it, trying to get away from it, trying to squirrel away from the discomfort of these thoughts.
When you’re up here in the compassionate observer mode and you’re like, “Okay, this thought is unhelpful.” What that does inside your brain is it moves it from one category – your brain is always categorizing everything, truly, it’s categorizing everything. It moves it from the category of “kind of believable,” “automatic”, “this is what we say to ourselves when we think about drinking water” – sort of a subconscious, unconscious thought. When you categorize it as unhelpful inside your brain – and I don’t know exactly how this works but I picture it very much like computer files. When you’re in File Explorer, if you have Windows (if you have a Mac, I honestly don’t know what it’s called. I should because I had a Mac for a while, but it’s been a really long time). In any event, wherever you sort all your files, you can simply picture, there’s a file for “helpful,” there’s a file for “unhelpful.” Your brain automatically categorizes everything, especially automatic thoughts, as helpful because it’s gotten you here. There’s been no resistance to it; there’s been no reason to think that it is anything other than, “Well, this is working perfectly fine.” When you grab that thought and move it down to the unhelpful file in your brain, your brain’s not going to grab it as often because you have changed.
First of all, you’ve changed the file path. You’ve changed where that thought goes, and you’ve told yourself, “This thought is unhelpful; it’s not getting me where I want to go.” That is kind of like what we were talking about with the cognitive dissonance. Your brain will understand that it is disagreeing with itself. Your brain desperately wants to agree with itself. As we discovered, cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable; your brain wants to be comfortable. Your brain wants to be sitting in a barcalounger eating Doritos all day long. “Here we go, man. There is no resistance to this; everything is easy; everything is flowing.” When you put a little bump in the road by putting that thought into the unhelpful category, your brain doesn’t want to disagree with itself, so it’s going to stop thinking that thought as often.
I will tell you, from experience, sometimes it takes a while before that thought is truly recategorized. So you might hear it again and be like, “Oh, there’s that thought. Remember? That thought is unhelpful. That thought of ‘I’m an idiot’ or ‘I’m stupid’ or ‘I don’t deserve this’ doesn’t get me where I want to go.” Once again, you’ll just kind of take that mental step of recategorizing this thought as unhelpful. Your brain will do so much work on this in the background. I know this sounds incredibly simple, like there should be a third step. It’s not called the three step tool; it’s called the two step tool. Your brain is going to do so much work on this in the background because of wanting to agree with itself that it’s not going to require you to replace it with a positive thought or eliminate it somehow with . . . I don’t even know what else you would do to eliminate it or eradicate it. When you simply recategorize, your brain takes care of this itself.
And then, with those unhelpful thoughts recategorized, you will notice over time, again, this is not like a “sit down, write it all down once and then magically you’re cured and then everything is going to be easy” situation, but you will notice over time that you are not resisting doing the thing that you were resisting before. You will notice that it’s easier to – I don’t know – go to bed on time or eat your calories or exercise moderately. Whatever it is. You’ll notice, over time, that it is easier, that you are not resisting. Because the only reason you were resisting was because of those judgy thoughts and when you found them and recategorized them, they’re not in your way anymore. You made room in your brain for actually helpful thoughts. “This is getting me where I want to go; this feels amazing. Of course I deserve this. Of course I’m losing weight.”
Those thoughts may or may not come naturally to you or automatically to you. I hope they do, they feel really nice, right? That’s how you know whether or not a thought is helpful or unhelpful, by the way. I didn’t explain that, because I think I sent you over to Episode 089, Mind Management (https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-089-mind-management/), where we talk really thoroughly about the two step tool. If not, I’m going to send you there now. And I’m going to tell you that the way you know whether or not a thought is helpful is by asking yourself, “How does this thought feel?” When a thought feels good, it’s helpful. When a thought feels bad, it’s unhelpful. It’s actually really simple. Any version of bad, guilty, uncomfortable, lousy, miserable, defeated, unhappy, any flavor of what we would call a bad feeling is unhelpful.
So, speaking of helpful, I hope this was really helpful for you today. You have your homework. Put aside judgment briefly while you’re deciding what you’re resisting and then listen to the judgment so that you can categorize those thoughts as helpful or unhelpful so that you can remove the resistance and be on your way to losing weight. My friends, thank you so much for listening. I’ll talk to you again next time.
If you are 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 and 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 paulabfitness.com/get-your-goal and let’s get your goal.