Not sure if you’re making PROGRESS toward your weight loss goal? This episode of the Fitness Matters podcast is here to help!
First, let me assure you that you are definitely making progress. That’s a given. But sometimes it’s hard to see, because of all the thoughts rattling around in your brain that are telling you otherwise!
This is why the 5-0 Method – my FREE weight loss program, designed especially for women over 50 – has daily, weekly and monthly check-in worksheets (along with all the facts about how menopause has changed the weight loss game, links to two months’ worth of workouts, and guided journaling pages). Focusing on the PROGRESS you’re making will keep you on the road to success!
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
👉 Why it’s SO IMPORTANT to look at your data and see where you are
👉 The FIVE STEPS to take when you check your progress
👉 What you’ll REALLY GET from checking in (it’s not what you think!)
It’s simple, it’s free, and I’m here to walk you through the whole process! Ready for your Monthly Progress Check In? Let’s GO!
Go to chirpbooks.com/pahla to follow my Wellness Over 50 Book Club and get the latest pick at a steep discount. By following my club, you’ll get exclusive access to join my LIVE book club discussions, you’ll see what other members think about the book, and you can share your thoughts, too!
Was this episode helpful for you? SHARE it with your friends! 💛
Monthly Progress Check In (Full Transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters podcast, and this is episode number 249, “Monthly Progress Check-In.”
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.
Ready to read and better yet, talk, about another great self-help book? Join the Pahla B Wellness Over 50 Book Club in partnership with Chirp Audiobooks. Our July, August pick is “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. And you can grab it at a great discount with no monthly subscription fees at chirpbooks.com/Pahla. That’s P-A-H-L-A. And while you’re there, be sure to click the follow button to get exclusive access, updates, and information about our live event. See you there. http://chirpbooks.com/pahla
Well, hello, hello, my friends. How are you today? I am so excited, as always, to be here talking to you about literally the most practical podcast episode I have ever made. I’m actually thinking that through now that I’ve said it out loud. I feel like there have been maybe a handful of episodes where I just really lay something out for you like, “Here’s step one, here’s step two, here’s step three,” and give you something so concrete, super, “I can just hang my head on this and this is what I can do.” And I’m really excited about that. Because of course, of course there’s going to be mindset work too, even though I give you something super duper practical, we’re going to talk about why it works.
So this week we are talking about the monthly progress check-in. And I have never talked about this with you before, which is also why I’m super amped up because I love having a brand new topic to talk about. Even though this is honestly something that I have had included in the 5-0 Method, which by the way, in case you don’t have that already, is my completely free, literally everything you could possibly need to know about weight loss for women over 50 program that you can download at pahlabfitness.com. It’s right there on the front page of my website. Above the fold, as they say. It’s the first thing you see when you come to my website. https://pahlabfitness.com/
It’s completely free. It has everything. It’s got two months worth of workouts linked in the actual PDF for you. It’s got all kinds of information about how to figure out what you are eating, what you’re drinking, how you’re sleeping, how you’re exercising, how you’re managing your mindset. It’s got journaling pages. And dun, dun, dun, here on page 26 of the 5-0 Method, we have the monthly progress check-in.
Now here’s the thing, this is really specifically for weight loss, but I want you to know that no matter what goal you are working on, truly, no matter what, if you are following . . . Gosh, have I even really talked about that? I’ve talked a few times about the process for getting a goal. I actually have another podcast lined up for you in the very near future that’s another very practical one like this – with the five steps because there are always five – for how to get any goal. But one of the things that we do is we check in with our progress because we know where we started and we know where we want to go. So therefore, it’s really important to see where we are right now on our way.
So let me give you a quick overview of the five things that we look at during the monthly progress check-in. Number one, we look at consistency with our tasks. Number two, we look at results. Number three, we congratulate ourselves. Number four, and I will tell you just really quickly for those of you who are in the Get Your Goal group versus those of you who have the free 5-0 Method, this is slightly different. They’re just backwards. It’s not that big of a deal. They’re both the same thing. But number four is to give your month a rating between one and 10. And then number five is to move forward into your next month with confidence.
When you’re in the Get Your Goal group, for whatever reason, I couldn’t tell you why, but I swapped number four and number five where you look forward to the next month with curiosity. “Curiosity” is actually the word that I use even more than “confidence.” And number five is to give your month a rating. It doesn’t really matter what order you . . . Well, it kind of matters. Let’s actually go over that. It doesn’t matter what order you do the last two in, but it absolutely matters what order you do the first two in. Here’s why.
Number one is to check on your consistency. You guys, I don’t care who you are, how long you’ve been doing this, how good you are at your tasks, what’s going on in your life – your human brain has a very different interpretation of your consistency than the numbers do sometimes. Unless you’re literally 100% for every task every time. I do know a few people who are like that. I’m not one of them. But for the rest of us, for us regular humans, us humans with foibles, we all come to our consistency thinking one of two things. We either think, “Oh my gosh. Yeah, I’ve been super consistent.” And then the numbers tell us otherwise. Or we come to our consistency thinking, “Oh my gosh. I’ve been absolutely terrible. I’ve been all over the map this month. I don’t think I’ve gotten anything done. I don’t even want to do these numbers.” And then we add it up and it’s, “Oh, I was actually doing a whole lot better than I thought.”
We have been telling ourselves a story. Depending on where you are in the process and how much mindset work you’ve been able to do on getting your tasks accomplished, you probably have a, well no, you definitely have a story, because that’s the way your human brain works. We don’t think in facts. We always think in interpretations. We always think in stories. So you have a story about your consistency, and this is why we’ve been keeping track every day of your tasks so that you actually have numbers also.
There are a couple of different ways you can do this. You can do a total percentage of consistency for all of your tasks. In the 5-0 Method, I really specifically have you do only calories. Calories are the one that is going to make the most difference. That and mindset, honestly. If you are not doing any kind of mindset work, that is the thing that is holding you back. Just, hands down, I’m going to tell you that as a blanket statement. If you are not journaling, if you are not examining your thoughts, if you are not deciding if your thoughts are helpful or unhelpful, that is the thing that is slowing you down. Now, here’s the deal.
What I’m going to tell you is that if you’re not doing mindset work, it doesn’t mean you’re not losing weight. You might absolutely be losing weight. I lost weight without doing any mindset work at all. It was later that I needed the mindset work, when I was trying to keep it off. That’s when I totally needed the mindset work. So doing the mindset work may or may not be slowing you down right now, and either way on that, the thing, like the physical thing that will make the most difference, is the calories.
In the 5-0 Method, I really only have you check on your consistency for calories first, but I will also tell you that you can do all five things, which is calories, water, sleep, exercise, and mindset. Or you can do each of them individually, which is what I actually really suggest that you do. I suggest calculating consistency for each of them individually and then you can calculate consistency for all of them together and kind of see where you stand. The more numbers you have, and dare I say it, the more math you do, the better of an idea you can have of what’s going on with you right now.
So after you’ve calculated your consistency, that’s when you can look at your results. My friend, do not look at your results until you’ve calculated your consistency. Because lots of us – again, because we’re telling ourselves stories – think to ourselves, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t lost any weight at all this month.” And then come to find out, well, it’s because you weren’t being very consistent. And that’s not blaming you. Truly. Depending on where you are in this process, my friend, there’s really a learning curve for doing the five parts of the 5-0 Method. There’s really a learning curve for any one of them individually. There’s really an amount of time it’s going to take you, and it’s different for everybody, but there’s an amount of time that it’s going to take you before you can even be consistent. And then there’s an amount of time, even after you are consistent, before you’re actually getting results.
For some people, and I don’t have a rule of thumb on this, but for some people that amount of time is really fast. Results right away, doing fantastic. But I will tell you just as an aside, the people who get results really fast right away tend to have trouble somewhere else. I do have a rule of thumb on this one. No matter how this process goes for you, there will be some point at which it grinds to a halt and you do have to do the mindset work because you’re going to have to. If you were 100% capable, boom, done, able to get to your goal weight, you would already be at your goal weight and you’d be working on some other goal. And you’d be having trouble with that. That’s just how this works. For me personally, I got started really easily. I lost weight really easily. I plateaued but didn’t get bothered by it. I got to my goal weight really easily. And then, oh my gosh, the drama of keeping it off. Every single time.
This is why I lost the weight and gained it back five times in my lifetime. I just did not have my brain in the right place to see myself as a person who could keep the weight off. That was my huge downfall, and that was where I absolutely had to do the mindset work. Your mindset work might come before you even get started at all. It might even be the, “I don’t even know how to get started. I can’t even get moving on this. I can’t even get any traction on this.” But then, once you figure out what’s going on with your thoughts, you’ll probably sail through the rest of it. Or you might have trouble later. You never know. You never know where this is going to be.
But anyway, here’s the deal. You do not look at your results until you look at your consistency. Without consistency, well, I will tell you, some people can be wildly inconsistent and still get amazing results. I don’t know how. I don’t. Some of us, and I’m raising my hand here, have to be so consistent. Like hit my calories on the money. Hit my water on the money. Hit my sleep on the money. Hit my exercise on the money and not one minute more, because as soon as I over exercise it totally shows up on the scale. Hit my everything, my mindset, everything on the money.
I am a person who needs 95 to 100% consistency to see results. You, lucky girl, might not need that close of consistency. But it’s why I have you look at your consistency first, so that when you look at your results you have some frame of reference. “Here’s how close I’m going to need to be to 100% before I can actually get results.” If you are at 85% or below, and I realize that’s a B, I mean that’s actually a really good grade. But if you are at 85% or below and you are not seeing the results that you want, that’s why. It’s your consistency. So hop on board the consistency train and then you can see some results.
Number three is congratulate yourself. My friend, congratulate yourself no matter what. And I’m going to tell you why a little bit later, but here’s why. It’s going to feel uncomfortable if you’re not getting the results that you want, and that’s on purpose. Let me actually just dive into this now. I was going to save this for later, but let me go ahead and dive into this now. The reason I have you congratulate yourself no matter what is twofold.
Number one, is that you don’t do it very often. I don’t care who you are or where you live or what you’re doing, I know for a fact that you do not congratulate yourself very often because none of us do. None of us do. It’s part of the reason why we have these unfulfilled goals that feel so difficult. It’s because we’re not congratulating ourselves for every single win. It feels uncomfortable because you haven’t practiced it. Not because you didn’t earn it. Not because you don’t deserve it. You do. You deserve congratulations because you’re here.
Not like here on earth, but congratulations for that too. But because you’re here even looking at your consistency, even looking at your results. You’re doing something that’s uncomfortable. You’re doing lots of things that are uncomfortable. You’re watching your calories, you’re thinking about your sleep and your water and your exercise, you’re at least attempting this mindset work. And I know that because you’re listening to my podcast. You are here putting yourself out there, aiming for a goal that maybe you don’t even know if you can get. It feels hard. It feels uncomfortable and difficult and weird and outside your comfort zone and all those things. You totally deserve congratulations for that. You are doing something that not everybody will do. There are, dare I say it, millions of people in the world who will never attempt to get a goal because they feel like it’s too hard. But you are doing it. You deserve congratulations for that.
The other reason that I suggest that you congratulate yourself is so that you can actually listen in on why you think it’s uncomfortable. This is hidden mindset work, my friends. This is a journaling opportunity. And in fact, let me go ahead and tell you, the monthly check-in is journaling. It is doing something to find your thoughts. Looking at those consistency numbers you had thoughts, didn’t you? Yeah. Write them down. Looking at those results numbers you had thoughts, didn’t you? Write them down. This congratulations thing, you have thoughts. “I don’t deserve it. I can’t congratulate myself. This feels too uncomfortable. Only people who brag about themselves get to congratulate themselves.” You have thoughts about this process. This is an opportunity to write them down.
Number four, depending on which way you’re doing it, I’m going to go ahead and give number four as the rating. If you are in the Get Your Goal group, you can go ahead and skip to number five and come back to number four or whatever works for you. My friends, giving yourself a rating is the same thing as congratulating yourself. Except that it gives you a different opportunity to hear why you think you deserve one number over another. This is actually a really important function for those of us who have a lot of rules for ourselves. I have a lot of rules for myself. Like, “I can do this if I do that. I can offer myself a 10 out of 10 because I like a 10 out of 10, or I have to give myself such and such a grade based on my consistency or my results or some other factor.”
You have a hidden rule about how you can grade yourself, and it’s really important that you find it because you’re operating under a set of rules and maybe you don’t know what those rules are. This is an opportunity to hear what your rules are and why it feels so difficult when I’m saying, “Oh, give yourself a 10. Of course you deserve a 10, because you’re here.” Same thing with the congratulations. And you’re like, “No, I really can’t do that.” Find out why. And then, even more important than finding out why, decide if you actually agree with that.
The fact is we all have rules for ourselves. Every single one of us, we have rules that we live by and lots of them feel really good. It feels good to me, personally, to eat the same thing for breakfast every morning. I really enjoy that. It feels very comfortable, very happy. I know that it fits in with my day with how I want to nourish myself and how I’m fueling for my brain, for my body, for my activities. I love eating the same food every day. So this is a rule that I have for myself, eat the same breakfast every day. There are lots of people who have lots of rules that do not feel good.
If I were the kind of person who had the rule of, I have to eat, for example, something low calorie for breakfast. My breakfast is not low calorie. But if I had that rule for myself and I also wanted to eat this breakfast that I make for myself, then that would feel uncomfortable every single day. This “I have to eat low calorie” rule that you may or may not have for yourself, this is unrelated, but whatever rule you have for giving yourself a rating of 10 or nine or eight or whatever it is, listen to what it is and decide if you actually agree with this.
We have these unconscious/subconscious rules for ourselves based on things that people have been telling us our whole lives. You have rules that you don’t even acknowledge or hear or understand. And as soon as you actually find them, you get the opportunity to decide, “Is this actually how I want to live? Do I agree with this? Does this feel good? This is the two-step tool in process right here. Listen to the rule, decide how it makes you feel, and that’s how you know if it’s a helpful thought or an unhelpful thought. Your rules for yourself are thoughts.
So, my friend, if we’re doing this the 5-0 way, then we’re going to look forward to the next month with confidence. And I will tell you again that in the Get Your Goal group, I actually say look forward with curiosity. And I really like both of those. I think curious confidence is a really good emotion to feel. Looking forward to the next month with the curiosity of, “I wonder what I could get better at. I wonder what I could improve on.” And with the confidence of, “Of course I’m going to improve. Of course I’m going to continue to have another fabulous month. Of course, if there was something that felt like I was struggling with this month, I’m going to continue to work on that.” And let me tell you why I specifically use the words, either “confidence” or “curiosity,” and encourage you to actually use both of them.
Oftentimes, when we do a monthly check-in, we come at it as though what we are doing right now is a problem. My consistency is a problem. My results are a problem. It’s a problem that I can’t congratulate myself. It’s a problem that my month wasn’t a 10. We very, very often, because of the way our brains work . . . By the way, this isn’t just you being a problem, this is the way your brain works. You are supposed to, like you evolved to both look for and solve problems. We tend to think of everything as a problem. Like it’s a problem for me to get to the grocery store this morning, for example. That’s what I’m doing next as soon as I’m finished recording this podcast. I’m going to drive over to the grocery store because I’m out of milk.
It’s a problem that I’m out of milk. It’s a problem that I need to get to the grocery store. I have to solve the problem of when I’m going to go to the grocery store to get the milk so that I can make my breakfast that I make for myself every morning because I have this rule that I have to eat the same breakfast every morning. It’s not actually a problem. I’m going to tell you that nothing in your life is a problem. And I’m going to leave that there without any further explanation because it deserves a podcast of its own. So I’m going to just say that nothing in your life is a problem, but you think things in your life are problems and therefore you approach them with, “What do I need to do differently? How can I fix this? This is bad. And I need to do something else.”
In truth, when you can look at your numbers, your situation, where you are right now with compassion, curiosity, confidence, all those really good C feelings, then, my friend, your numbers are not a problem. Your weight is not a problem. How you move forward is not a problem. None of this is a problem, and you can be curious about it. Could I do this differently? Would I like to do this differently? What if I did this one thing differently? I wonder what that would change. Let me try doing this one thing differently and see what kind of results I get.
That taking a step back and looking at your numbers, your situation, your progress, your alleged lack of progress according to your brain; looking at it from the space of the compassionate observer, which also has its own episode (Ep. 211 The Compassionate Observer https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-211-the-compassionate-observer/), and I’m going to tell you yet again, that that one deserves a remake because it’s not a state of mind, it is a thing that you do from a feeling, your feeling is compassion, what you’re doing is observing. That’s what we’re doing with this monthly progress check-in. We are compassionately observing where we are right now. We are confidently moving forward, knowing, “Obviously I’m going to get to my goal weight. That’s a done deal. There’s no mystery about that. Goal weight is coming. Here’s where I am right now, here’s how I can think about this with curiosity to decide if I’d like to make a change.”
Now, let me be really clear. You don’t have to change anything. If your consistency is pretty good and you’re getting pretty good results, that’s all you need to be doing. As I often tell my beautiful Bs during the Q + A Friday, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you are getting any results, and I’m not talking about the results that your brain wants, I’m not talking about you losing 50 pounds this month. I’m talking about you losing a pound a month. Yes, it could be that slow. It doesn’t have to be that slow, but it could be. And “slow” is thinking that it’s a problem. Losing weight at all is losing weight. I know that you have thoughts about that. Again, this is an opportunity for you to explore what you’re thinking about this.
“I’m never going to get there. It’s going to take forever. This is taking too long.” By the way, those are all thoughts that are slowing you down. For reals. How do you feel when you say that it’s taking too long? You don’t feel good, do you? That means that it’s not a helpful thought. When you give yourself these opportunities, these five opportunities to really listen in to what’s rattling around in your brain, this monthly check-in might be the thing that rockets you forward. Truly. This is probably more journaling than you’ve done all month, right? Like really looking at your thoughts about the numbers, really looking at your thoughts about your consistency, about your results, about congratulating yourself, about what you deserve in life, about how you rate yourself, the rules you have for yourself, about whether or not you can even look at these numbers and these results with any kind of compassion or curiosity or confidence.
All of the things that you are doing with this monthly progress check-in are helpful for moving you forward with speed. This is how we dig up those thoughts that are slowing you down and then we can think helpful things. Not on purpose, well, sometimes on purpose. We’re not trying to eliminate the bad thoughts, my friends. We have talked about this before, and I’m just going to touch on it briefly here. You are not trying to replace your bad thoughts. You are acknowledging that they are in your head and you are acknowledging that they are thoughts, that you have options, and you are labeling them as unhelpful if they are, and of course helpful if they are helpful, so that your brain can do what your brain does best, open itself up to change.
You do not need to force yourself to think positively. In fact, I’m going to send you off to the episode, Stop Thinking Positively (Ep. 040 Stop Thinking Positively https://pahlabfitness.com/stop-thinking-positively/) because it’s really important. You do not need to find positive or helpful thoughts. You do, however, need to find these negative thoughts that are unhelpful. Finding your unhelpful thoughts is more helpful than forcing yourself to think helpful thoughts. How was that for a convoluted sentence, my friend? This, the monthly progress check-in, is the most helpful thing that you can do for yourself because you have five opportunities to find all kinds of unhelpful thoughts. So have fun with that. Enjoy, right? I mean, who doesn’t love finding unhelpful thoughts?
My friends, go enjoy doing your monthly progress check-in. If you don’t already have it, go download the 5-0 Method. Of course, there’s a link in the show notes or the description box, depending on where you’re watching or listening. Or just head over to pahlabfitness.com. I don’t even think you have to spell it correctly. Honestly, I think Google even knows me well enough now to know that if you have put in P-A-U-L-A like normal people spell the word Paula, that it will still find me. So come and find me, download the 5-0 Method, get to work, obviously, and then every month do this monthly progress check-in so that you have the opportunity to propel yourself forward to your goal. My friends, thank you so much for listening. This was a fun one, right? I’ll talk to you again soon.
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 pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal, and let’s get your goal.