Have you been struggling to lose weight, and wanna know how long this is going to take? I’ve got the timeline for you, and some helpful advice to get you where you want to go!
On today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re chatting about how long it took ME to lose 30 pounds, and what that means for YOU.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
👉 How FAST (or slow) you can expect to lose weight over 50
👉 Why you DON’T need to feel patient on your journey
👉 The UNEXPECTED thing that’s holding you back
👉 What to DO NOW to get unstuck
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO LOSE 30 POUNDS (full transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 259, “How long it Takes to Lose 30 Pounds”. 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 my friends. That was a really specific title and we’re jumping right in. We’re here we go. We’re jumping right in today. I debated and debated and debated about the title of this episode and I’m still kind of wondering if I made the best choice for it. I know apropos last week, but I was wondering how exactly to convey to you what we’re going to talk about today, and it might not go where you think it does. Sometimes these conversations seem like they’re going to be incredibly straightforward. This is practical advice. Here’s how long it takes to lose 30 pounds, and yet if you ever tried to lose 30 pounds, that there is no such thing as a really straightforward answer here.
And that’s where we’re going to start again, jumping right in, I’m going to tell you the answer. Here’s how long it takes to lose 30 pounds. It takes your body as long to lose 30 pounds as it takes your mind. Yes, you guys, this is a mindset podcast just in case this is the very first episode you’ve ever listened to. I, here on the Fitness Matters podcast, talk to you about your mindset. I talk to you about the things that you are thinking that are helping you on your journey to lose weight and far, far, far more important. I tell you about the things you are thinking that are not helping you lose weight, your unhelpful thoughts.
First of all, there’s more of them. Second of all, they’re more important to listen to than your helpful thoughts, especially when you first get going. Let me paint you a little picture here about what your mindset journey might look like when you very first get started, very, very, very first. You think that there is a thing in your life that you just can’t have and you’re not entirely sure why. You feel like you’re doing all the things and you feel like this should be easier. You see that it is easier for other people, and yet you don’t have this result in your own life, and you think to yourself, “Well, but there’s nothing wrong with my mindset. I’m fine here. This is all good here. I just can’t have the thing. I just can’t make that thing happen for myself,” and I’m going to argue, not even argue, I’m going to tell you that I think all of us start here.
I’m trying to picture if I’ve ever met anybody at the very, very start of their journey who realized right away that they had mindset work to do, and I don’t think I ever have. I have met people who understood the importance of mindset work because they had done it somewhere else in their lives and therefore kind of came to weight loss like, “Okay, I know that I really needed to work on this somewhere else,” but when you got to work on that other thing in your life that you had never done mindset work on before, whichever was your first thing. For me, it was money. That was the first place I ever did any kind of mindset work, and I had no idea that there was mindset work to be done, rather until I realized that there was mindset work to be done.
So we all start off thinking, “I don’t have any mindset work to do. I don’t have any negative thoughts about this. I just can’t get the thing.” Then we start doing mindset work and then it’s like, “Oh, oh dear. There’s a lot of unhelpful thoughts. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of unhelpful thoughts. That’s where a lot of us shut down and we’re like, “Nope, I’m just going to go back to doing things the way I used to be doing things and I’m just going to keep putting my nose to the grindstone and make this happen.” I see this happen a lot. However, for those of us who persevere, we get over the overwhelm of, “Okay, I have 60,000 thoughts a day and it appears as though 59,000 of them are negative and getting in my way and not helping me get where I want to go, but okay, let’s see what we can do here.”
That is the point at which it’s super, super, super important to really pay attention to the, I’m going to call them negative thoughts. It’s not that they’re negative or positive, they’re just thoughts. They are thoughts that your brain offers you and they’re not helping you move forward. In another situation that exact thought might actually be helpful. It’s not the thought itself that is either helpful or unhelpful. It is the application of that thought to this particular situation that makes it helpful or unhelpful. So anyways, you get going and it’s really important to dig into the unhelpful thoughts because they’re the ones that are holding you back. They’re the ones that you’ve been trying to ignore. They’re the ones that you’ve been stuffing down either with food or with time on your phone or with other things. You have been stuffing down those thoughts and those feelings that the thoughts create for so long that that’s when it’s really, really, really important to pay attention to the unhelpful thoughts.
Concurrently, this is the exact point when most people feel like it is most important to pay attention to the positive thoughts. This is why there are millions of people in the world who will tell you that, “Affirmations will work, that you should tell yourself affirmations. It’ll help you feel good, it’ll raise your vibe,” all those things. I am not telling you that. I am telling you put your affirmations aside and dig into the muck. I’m a mucky girl. I’m the girl who wants you to dig through the junk and hear all the terrible thoughts and do not worry about any positive thoughts right now. There will be some of them in there. Every now and again you’ll bump up against one like, “Oh, what a pleasant surprise. I didn’t think I’d run into you here.” Yeah, let it just be its own pleasant surprise and you don’t need to dwell on or work on or think extra time with those positive or helpful thoughts.
They’ll do their own thing. Your helpful thoughts, especially if they have any kind of automaticity to them whatsoever, they’re running in the background too, just like your negative thoughts, they’re already doing their job. Rather than spending time on creating positive thoughts for yourself, the first, I’m going to say two-thirds of your journey and it’s not necessarily time wise, it’s just before you really start seeing a lot of results, your journey goes through a lot of junk. Pay attention to the negative thoughts, feel the negative feelings, let it all come up. Here’s why. When it all comes up, it’ll all flow on out of you. As you dig up negative thoughts, recognize them for what they are: negative thoughts. Feel the negative feelings or unhelpful feelings that they create for you. They will dissipate on their own and they won’t be taking up so much space in your brain. After you’ve started paying attention to your negative thoughts and really recognizing, “Hey, this isn’t helping me get where I want to go,” and not judging yourself for having them, allowing the thoughts, allowing the feelings, just allowing this whole process to be what it is.
Your brain will very naturally free up space to offer you more positive and helpful thoughts on its own. You do not need to go looking for these thoughts. You do not need to conjure them out of nowhere. You do not need to go download my 90 minutes of free affirmations. I don’t actually have a 90 minutes of free affirmations. I don’t believe in affirmations. I’m talking about everybody on YouTube who tries to tell you to listen to these affirmations for 30 days and it’ll change your life. You don’t need any of that. Your brain already has all of the helpful thoughts it needs. It’s just that all of the unhelpful thoughts have been crowding them out. As you dig up the unhelpful thoughts and feel the unhelpful feelings you are making space to hear the helpful thoughts that were already in there. Okay, I feel like that was really a left turn because that really wasn’t where I was going to go with today’s podcast at all.
I wanted to talk to you about how long it takes to lose the 30 pounds and my solution here is that it takes your body as long as it takes your mind. You have unhelpful thoughts that are slowing you down. I’m going to say faster you get through them, but honestly it’s not even a race, but the more willing you are to dig them up and deal with them and feel the feelings, the relatively speaking, to how long it could take you faster, you will lose weight. Now let me tell you really quickly that there is biology and chemistry and science involved in all of this. I know, I don’t know, I’m going to just assume that you have watched The Biggest Loser just like I have, because I loved that show.
Gosh, before I understood that reality TV was all completely scripted and completely produced from stem to stern, when I really used to believe in that show and honestly before I was a weight loss coach, back when I was just a fitness coach and didn’t know as much about weight loss as I know now, I loved that show, just the human drama of it all, watching people overcome their obstacles and really feeling like you could have a happy ending and you could get your results and stuff like that and then come to find out that they were all kinds of shenanigans behind the scenes and how most people actually never kept it off because they didn’t do any of the mindset work that they needed to do and that sometimes the numbers were really manipulated because it was actually longer in between than a week between weigh-ins and the caffeine pills and all the things. All the things you guys, there’s nothing about The Biggest Loser that was actually real. Kind of sad.
Anyways, let’s talk about the chemistry and the science. Your menopausal body is not likely to lose weight as fast as it lost weight when you were younger. If you have any experience of going up and down in weight the way I do, I have gained and lost 30 pounds, including pregnancies 5 times in my life. In fact, more than 30 pounds if we’re including pregnancies. Because I gained 50 pounds with both of my kids and it took me a while to lose both of them. I finally lost the baby weight from my last baby. I only have two, but from my last baby seven years after he’d been born. So how long does it take to lose 30 pounds? It takes as long as it takes. It takes your body, as long as it takes your mind and it takes your body as long as it takes your body.
Physically speaking, there is an outlying chance, meaning like statistically speaking, there is an outlying chance that you could lose several pounds a week. That number is not statistically significant though, truly. For everybody who is capable of doing that one week I’m going to say virtually nobody is capable of sustaining that over the course of their entire weight loss for a number of reasons.
One of them is physical, one of them is mental. There will always be a mindset aspect to weight loss. No matter how easy it feels, there will be a point when you run up against some kind of mindset issue. For some people it’s before they even get started. For some people it’s getting started. For some people it’s somewhere around the middle. For me personally, I sailed through weight loss all five times and then came to a grinding halt when it came time to maintain. I didn’t know what to do. That’s why I gained it back again.
This is why for me personally, I think it actually took me… Physically, it took me 9 months to lose 30 pounds the last time I lost 30 pounds. Mentally, I’m going to say it took me about a year and a half that there were still mind mindset issues that I was working on. Even though the scale was more or less staying the same. I mean there’s going to be fluctuations. Again, coming back to the physical aspect of this, when you maintain your weight, please offer yourself a five-pound window and I mean five pounds up and five pounds down, so therefore actually a 10-pound window to consider yourself maintaining. Your body will fluctuate for a variety of reasons, very few of which are the ones that we think they are.
It’s not always salt is what I want to tell you. You guys, your body is doing billions of processes every minute of every day. You don’t know what most of them are and they’re all producing waste. This is the life cycle of every single thing, every single process, everything. It takes energy in, it does what it has to do and it produces waste while it is doing the thing that it’s supposed to do. Your body is constantly, and I mean this in a big picture and small picture, your body is constantly producing waste, constantly. And it’s also constantly taking in energy to produce the thing that it’s supposed to produce. Sometimes what it’s producing is something that shows up on the scale, also, like inflammation in the case of a hard workout. Your body weight will never be unchanging and it doesn’t need to be both physically and emotionally. When you allow your body to do what it does and be a biological specimen and recognize that, that means that your weight will go up and down. It makes everything easier.
Just getting your head straight around the science of it makes lots of things feel easier because you have helpful thoughts about them such as this is how my body is supposed to behave. For me personally, I lost one pound a week never. I feel like I can say that this was quite some time ago, but I feel like I can say with some certainty that I never lost more than one pound a week and I weigh myself every day, so I wasn’t really keeping track of weekly weigh-ins. I know that my weight stayed the same for long periods of time or what felt like long periods of time at the time that I didn’t… I mean, this was some years ago, smartphones didn’t exist, so I don’t have any of the data on an app that can tell me what my numbers were and I don’t write down my weight. I get on, I look at it, I know what it is, I pay attention to whether or not it’s more or less, what I think it was supposed to be and we’re good.
So in my mind, my weight loss was relatively steady, relatively even at about one pound a week, and by relatively steady, I don’t mean that it only went down, I mean that it fluctuated up and down on its way down and that I never experienced some big drop in my weight. I do know that I experienced some rather large differences in the way that I looked. I vividly remember I’d been losing weight for about six weeks and I think I’d probably only lost about five pounds, but really rather dramatically overnight, none of my clothes fit. They’d been fine, they’d been fine, they’d been fine. It had been a month and a half. I was starting to feel like, “Okay, maybe I’m losing some weight.” I had gotten to this point where it was like I was pretty much in the groove. It felt pretty good, and then all of us sudden, none of my clothes fit.
My pants were falling off of me, my shirts were coming off of me. Everything just didn’t fit, which is pretty funny because I mean at what, five pounds into my weight loss journey. I don’t think pants should have been falling off of me. It sounds hilarious to me now that this was how my body behaved, but this was how my body behaved for whatever reason, must have lost that five pounds from whatever was holding my pants up. I have no idea, but I vividly remember that there appeared to be dramatic changes in the way my body looked and/or behaved in ways that were inexplicable according to the scale. Super interesting to me, but I know that I never experienced a… I would stand on the scale and one day I had lost three pounds or anything as dramatic as that. I do remember that I stayed more or less the same for what felt like kind of a long time.
Again, my opinion of this, about two-thirds of the way through that, there was probably a couple of weeks where it all just felt a little bit difficult and I wasn’t sure, “Am I still losing weight? I feel like I’m so close, I don’t want to stop now,” and I don’t remember how I worked through it because again, I have no records of any of this. This is just me remembering things from, God, almost 20 years ago, 15 years ago, not quite 20.
But when I was physically done losing the weight, that’s where the hardest part came in for me personally. I was plagued with self-doubt. I had all kinds of very, very, very unhelpful thoughts about my ability to keep it off, my ability to have what I wanted, my ability to be the kind of person who could sustain this. I had lots of… God, I can’t even enumerate all of the different thoughts that I had about being able to maintain my weight and working through all of those, which I did, but not in a mindset way, it came to me organically because I had another goal that I was working on. And the other goal that I was working on required mindset work also, and so I was able to wrap the two of them together because when I was done losing weight, I had started running and by trying to figure out how to reach my running goals, it became very clear to me how many self-doubts I had just about myself as a human being honestly.
It became so clear that I had just… I’m going to say no self-confidence. That’s not entirely true, but I’m going to let it stand because it’s how I felt. That was for me, the point in my self-development journey when I recognized, “Oh my gosh, I do think a lot of negative things about myself,” and I had never thought that I said anything bad to myself. I did not recognize that I had negative self-talk until I did. And then I was overwhelmed by how many negative thoughts that I had. Here’s what I want you to know, here’s where I’m going with this podcast kind of at all, is that you have unhelpful thoughts. There is a journey to go through with those unhelpful thoughts and one of the unhelpful thoughts that you might have is something along the lines of, “This is taking a long time, this is taking longer than it should. I should be there; it should be faster. Everybody else is losing faster than I am.” I mean, the length of time is a big area of… It’s a big fertile field of unhelpful thoughts for so many of us.
This is perhaps one of the things that I hear. I’m not going to say most often, I’m going to put it in the top 10, but it’s not like the top 3 of, I don’t even really want to use the word complaints, but issues that people bring up when they say that they’re struggling with their weight loss. One of the things that I get privy to hear pretty frequently is, “I wish this wasn’t taking so long.” And we very often write this off like, “Oh, well, I’m just an impatient person,” and I want you to know that that doesn’t exist. Have you ever thought about that? That there’s truly no such thing. You are a person who can feel the feeling of impatience, but that doesn’t actually make you as a human being an impatient person.
You have patience, you are capable of feeling patient and maybe it is one of the things you feel less often, that’s completely fair, but that doesn’t mean that you are incapable of feeling patient. And frankly, patient isn’t necessarily the thing that you need to feel in order to move forward with your weight loss. Rather than thinking that you need to be patient what you probably need to feel is something along the lines of disappointment, worthy, proud, successful, determined, brave. I think I’m going to leave it at that for right now. I could probably think of others, but here’s what I’m telling you. The whirlwind of unhelpful thoughts that you have that are holding you back have nothing to do with feeling patient and everything to do with feeling all the other feelings that you’ve been avoiding feeling along your way. For example, when you think, “It’s taking a long time or I should have lost more weight by now, or it should be faster than this.” What do you feel?
So for example, it should be faster than this. The feeling that comes up for me with that sentence is anger. I don’t know if that’s that lands for you like that. This is not an angry thought. This is a thought that will create a feeling for you. For me personally, when I think it should be faster, I feel angry.
Now, here’s why I brought up this example really specifically, if you have listened to any of my other podcasts, you might have heard me talk about how anger historically was not my favorite feeling. And it’s so funny how automatic that wants to come out of my mouth as I don’t like to be angry. I feel like Bruce Banner every time I say it, and that is not true. I do… Well, maybe I don’t like being angry, but I’m capable of being angry. I’m capable of feeling the feeling of anger. I have allowed the feeling of anger in my body numerous times at this point, I have become more adept at feeling angry, but I still have that automatic thought of, “I don’t like to feel anger. I don’t want to feel angry.” So for me personally, when I think something like it should be faster than this and anger is the feeling that’s created from that sentence, and then I have this other automatic thought that’s like, “No, I don’t want to feel angry,” and I try and shove it down, my friends, that’s really slowing me down.
I don’t need to feel patient about it should be taking or it should be going faster than this. What I need to feel is angry. When I feel angry and recognize that I don’t feel angry because of the weight loss, I don’t feel angry because of the number on this scale. I feel angry because I’m having a thought that, “It should be faster than this.” Feeling angry, letting that feeling come up, feeling it all the way through, letting it dissipate on its own because feelings, my friends, are just chemicals in your bloodstream. It’s just your hormones making your heart beat faster. It’s adrenaline making your body sweat more. It’s making your breathing rate faster. Your hormones are doing things in your body that create feelings, sensations, vibrations, physiological reactions that dissipates on its own. This is chemistry. This is how your body is supposed to work.
Hormones get flooded through your bloodstream and then other hormones actually tell them to knock it off. It dissipates on its own. When you allow that entire cycle of this process, thinking the thought, feeling the feeling, letting the feeling dissipate on its own, and recognizing that the reason you feel that feeling is because of your thought and that that thought is optional. Recognizing that letting this life cycle of your thought, feeling and body do its thing will open up the space for you to have a thought that feels patient. Now, is this going to happen automatically? No. Is it going to happen fast? Not necessarily. This is where we come back to the overall life cycle of you doing mindset work. There could be, I’m going to say a lot, even though that’s not a good number a lot for you is not necessarily a lot for me, a little for you is not necessarily a little for me.
Whatever, however, you want to take this sentence, there could be a lot of thoughts and feelings that you need to work through. For me personally, I had another nine months of thoughts and feelings to work through before I actually fully stepped into being a person who had lost the weight and who was going to keep it off, who had truly changed myself fundamentally, changed myself concept from being a person who was overweight to being a person who weighs a healthy weight and can be this healthy weight for the rest of my life. So it took me nine months to physically lose the weight because that’s about a pound a week, which I don’t know if I ever finished that part of the conversation, but that’s approximately, approximately a healthy weight loss for a woman over 50. There are plenty of people who are going to lose more. There are plenty of people who are going to lose less. It’s an average, which means that it could be a nonsensical number for you.
In addition to the physical reality of weight loss, there is the mental and emotional reality of you figuring out the mindset work. For me, it took about another nine months. How long will it take for you? It’ll take as long as it takes. When you recognize that this whole thing is just a process, doesn’t mean you’re going to feel patient. None of this has anything to do with patience.
Everything has to do with being willing to feel whatever you feel, recognizing that when you first get started, you’re probably going to think you don’t have a problem. Then when you realize that you have, I’m going to call it a problem, even though it’s not a problem, then when you realize that you have a lot of unhelpful thoughts, you could get overwhelmed by how many unhelpful thoughts there are. Do not get sucked into trying to find helpful thoughts right from the get-go. They won’t do you as much good as you want them to do. Work through those unhelpful thoughts.
As you work through the unhelpful thoughts, helpful thoughts will pop up for you more and more often. By the time you start to notice that you are having helpful automatic thoughts, that’s when you can start to do some of the work of thinking of helpful thoughts on purpose, like intentionally crafting for yourself a helpful thought that actually feels helpful, that you’d like to practice, that you’d like to think intentionally when you notice that you don’t feel amazing. I still encourage you actually, even when you don’t feel amazing, to recognize that you don’t feel amazing and feel the un-amazing feeling, whatever it is, and then you can offer yourself your helpful thought.
It’s funny when I’m telling you this, how I’m thinking about how helpful thoughts aren’t really all that helpful, that truly the most helpful thing you can do is to not really worry about the helpful thoughts at all is to allow them to be there, allow them to do their job, but really focusing on the unhelpful thoughts and unhelpful feelings and letting yourself process through those. It’s funny that they actually are the thing that’s going to help you in the long run. All right. My mind just got twisted back and forth on that one y’all. It’s going to take as long as it takes. It’s going to take your body as long as it takes your mind. You probably don’t need to feel patient, but you do need to feel all the other stuff that your brain has for you. I hope this was helpful for you today. Thank you so, so much for listening like always. I’ll see 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 to 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.