You’re trying to lose weight.
You’re doing all the things:
- Working out,
- Tracking your food,
- Trying to eat right,
- Trying to eat less,
- Trying to be more mindful,
You’re doing all the things and then you get on the scale……….it didn’t go down.
Your beautiful brain offers you these three words, it’s not working.
Immediately we become angry, frustrated, disappointed.
One of two things normally happens at this point:
We either say, f*ck it. It’s not working. I’m not going to do it anymore. I give up.
I need to eat less. I need to work out more. I’m gonna double down on all the things I’m going to push harder.
Ultimately, both of these two roads lead to the same place, which is feeling bad about yourself.
Eventually you end up right back in the same place, trying to get back on track. Trying to lose weight again and feeling not so great about myself.
I truly believe self sabotage is just self protection.
“It’s not working” is a way that we allow ourselves to quit or stop. Our brain, in all of its primitive wisdom, wants to help us avoid feeling bad. It wants us to avoid pain and being frustrated. Our brain thinks the easiest way to do that is to quit.
The irony is that when I quit on my goals or my dreams, I feel even more disappointed.
That’s why I say our brains “try” to help us avoid this. Really, we just compound all those feelings when we quit.
I’m gonna give you an example. Imagine that you’re renovating a room in your house. Maybe you’re renovating your kitchen. You got the wrong cabinets. You have the wrong screwdriver. You have the wrong paint color and your brain says this renovation is just not working. It’s not coming together.
Would you stop the renovation and quit? Would you burn it all down? Would you throw it all away? Or would you try to figure it out?
- Look at the blueprints.
- Look at the diagram.
- Read the directions.
- Call the manufacturer.
- Ask the contractor.
That’s not what we do when it comes to our weight loss. Instead we tell ourselves, this isn’t going to work, you failed again. Then we walk away until we get upset that our pants don’t fit or we’ve got a big vacation coming up or an anniversary or graduation. Then we start to hustle back to whatever meal plan or macros or get back on the peloton.
It’s this constant merry go round of on a diet and off a diet and losing weight and gaining weight. I’m working on myself or I’m not working on myself. I bet you want to quit that shit, right?
“It’s not working” are just words in a sentence that your brain might offer you.
It’s not a big deal. If you have a human brain, chances are the thought “it’s not working” has come to you. We get to decide what that means to us. It’s not working could simply mean, I gotta go back to the drawing board.
My clients fill out a weekly accountability while they’re trying to lose weight. Maybe the scale didn’t go down or something happened and they want to say “It’s not working.”
I say, let’s look at the data. What are the facts here? Tell me exactly what’s happening. You can’t just say it’s not working, throw up your hands and walk away.
Imagine you’re going into a court. You have to be in front of the judge and the jury with all of your proof about how it’s not working. The judge or the jury say, hey, you know what? I don’t think you have a case here. You’re not going to win this case.
These are just some thoughts and feelings that you have. They’re probably based on the past.
Maybe some frustrations you’ve had with losing weight.
- Things didn’t work out.
- It’s not going fast enough for you.
- The scale didn’t go down fast enough.
- People didn’t notice that you lost weight.
- Your clothes aren’t falling off of you.
- You looked in the mirror and thought, “I have all these things that don’t look good.”
We think that just because I’m doing all the things that I should have this instant gratification from the external validation. It’s okay to think that it’s not working.
I just want to tell you, that maybe it is working.
When you think it’s not working, you can ask yourself,
- Is that really true?
- How is it true?
- Tell me all the ways that it’s true.
- What else could be true?
- Who would I be if I didn’t have that thought?
- What else could I think?
- Is this thought helpful for me?
Those are the kinds of things I ask myself, when I’m having a thought like it’s not working. Or it’s never going to work. Or I’m doing it wrong, I need a different diet. This is the wrong workout. These are the wrong macros. All of that stuff.
How do I know that’s true? You want to go through all of that, just to make sure that there are no other possibilities.
The reason that I wanted to address this is I want to save you the time,energy, and aggravation of starting and stopping repeatedly along your journey. Just because your brain offers you “it’s not working” doesn’t mean that it’s true. The scale doesn’t always go down just because you are trying to lose weight.
Maybe you’ve lost 5, 10, or even 20 pounds. You’ve lost weight, but you’re not exactly where you want to be. Now is a good time to actually start working on self talk. Just because we lose weight doesn’t mean other people are going to ever comment on it. We’re not necessarily going to love ourselves in the mirror. A number on the scale does not change our thoughts about what we see in the mirror. We have to work on changing that.
If you and I were sitting down on Zoom, in person, or on the phone, I’m going to ask you about your weight loss so that we can figure out what you know.
- What are you really eating?
- Is it accurate?
- If you are using a macro tracker, are you recording accurately?
- If you’re using a food journal, are you actually recording everything that you eat?
- If you’re planning your food in advance, are you following your plan?
- If you waver, that’s not a problem, but are you going back and writing down the things you did or did not eat so that we actually can look at what you’re really eating?
Many times our brains will offer us “it’s not working.” We think, I am doing the things, I am eating the right amount of calories. Then it turns out, maybe we’re not. Maybe we are overeating, maybe we are under-eating. Maybe we’re you know trying to stick to an eating window that just doesn’t work.
We really want to have the data.
If you don’t have data, now is a great time to start writing down what you eat during the course of the day. It takes two minutes. It really does. Start right now!
Having this kind of data helps you make better decisions. Then “it’s not working” and crumble that piece of paper and throw it away.
Do you get enough sleep?
Our brain wants to say that it’s not important, but it really is. When we are chronically sleep deprived, we’re going to have some hormones that are going to be off balance. The hormones that really regulate our appetite are going to be off. Our cortisol could be off. Our insulin could be off. We really want to get a hold of our sleep.
How can you improve your sleep right now?
You could write it down. If you’re going to record what you eat in a food journal then record how many hours of sleep you got too. When I went to bed and when I woke up. Then we have that data and we can always say, “I have food. I have sleep.”
What about water?
Do you track water? Do you know how much water you drink?
Back in the bodybuilding days we would carry around those big gallon jugs of water. That way I knew. Did I drink a third of a gallon, a half a gallon? Did I drink the gallon? Those days are gone. I don’t really go anywhere that I would need that big jug and you’re not you’re not permitted to have a big gallon jug of water at a Planet Fitness.
- Are you walking?
- Are you running?
- Are on your Peloton?
- What are we doing for movement?
- Are you doing strength training?
- Do you have records of this?
- Can we really say how many minutes of cardio?
- How much are you running?
- What does strength training look like for you?
I would get in the habit of recording your workouts. Even if you’re not going to record the workouts, at least put it in your calendar so we could see that last week you were in the gym three days and this is what you did.
I’m a minimum effective dose kind of gal. I do not believe that more is better. Some of this is a product of already trying “more is better” for many years. More strength training, heavier weights, more reps, more time in the gym, more cardio, etc.
You know what happens?
It’s more stressful on your body. It’s more wear and tear on your body. It can backfire on you.
We want to have data. We want the facts about your exercise. What are you actually doing?
I’m not hugely into telling you all the supplements you should be taking. I’m not a doctor. I’m not your doctor. But I know from working with 1000s of women, often we’re not taking supplements because we forget to take them. Then we don’t want to buy things that are just going to be a waste of money.
There are supplements that can be very helpful.
A multivitamin that has a lot of minerals and vitamins that we may not be getting from our food. things like iodine, selenium, B vitamins, things.
These are not weight loss, but they are for our overall health and can be contributing to our overall metabolism.
Do you take any type of prescription medications that could be interfering with your weight loss? Could be jacking up your appetite or suppressing your appetite or down regulating your metabolism?
You don’t have to report them to me, but you want to be tracking all of these things so that you know what is going on. It’s very easy for your brain to say, based on what’s on the scale, that “it’s not working,” but we have a lot of different things to look at for data and we could troubleshoot all of them.
That’s why people get coaches.
So that they have that outsider who is going to help you analyze and to show you where your blind spots are.
Often we can’t see because we’re too close to the project. We get tunnel vision when we’re trying to get to our goals. There’s a lot of things that we did not consider.
We want to stop working on something when we don’t feel like we’re getting instant gratification, the reward. I want to offer the scale is not the reward. There are other rewards that you get when you eat for your health and your fitness. You take a little time to prioritize your exercise and getting to bed and all of those things. This is all for you. To throw it all away for a number on the scale or just that passing thought about “it’s not working.”
- What if it is working?
- What if it just takes a little bit longer?
- What if it’s all coming together?
- What if we’re just literally one day away from the scale going down?
You don’t want to quit prematurely.
Another way of looking at this, if you have kids, if you’re a kid said to you,”this school thing, it’s not working. I go to school. I really don’t want to. I don’t really like the teacher. It’s boring. I’m not learning anything.”
Would you say?
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s definitely not working. You can just stay home. You’re gonna quit school. That’s fine. We’ll just go to a different school and keep going to a different school and a different school and a different school.”
That’s what we do.
- We go to the next workout.
- We go to the next gym.
- We get the different coach.
- We get the different macros.
- We get the different meal plan.
- We sign up for a different diet or whatever.
Because “it’s not working” and it seems like that’s what we should do.
If you really play it out, that’s not what you should do. All that does is restart you thinking that you’ve been doing it wrong, You’re not doing it wrong, especially if you don’t have any factual data or proof.
If you have the thought, “it’s not working”, welcome to being human!
I just want to offer you, maybe you’re wrong, maybe it is working. We can work on recording our food and recording the workouts and being more detail oriented. Some of us with ADHD don’t love all those details, but we can also manage our minds more around the thoughts we have.
Not every thought is an actual fact, it’s not all true.
Know that your brain is just trying to do you a solid. It’s just trying to do you a favor, trying to help you avoid uncomfortable feelings. Being human, we don’t get to avoid uncomfortable feelings. That’s just part of the package.
It’s okay to be disappointed.
It’s okay to feel frustrated.
It’s okay to wonder about anything.
I think it’s great to spend a little time looking at the overall situation, but don’t throw it away.
NOTES IN ANCHOR
“It’s Not Working!” The three little words our brains like to give us when we don’t see the results we want. When the scale doesn’t go down or the clothes don’t fit just right, it is easy to fall into the “It’s not working” mindset. We get angry, frustrated, and disappointed. When this happens we tend to go to one extreme or the other. We either give up or go harder. Unfortunately, both lead to the same place…feeling bad about yourself. But I want to challenge your thinking a little bit. What if it is working? What if the scale goes down tomorrow or the next day? What if you were just days away from fitting into your favorite old jeans? You wouldn’t know because you gave up too soon. Then what happens is we end up repeating the cycle again in 6 months or a year when we want to lose weight again. You might be wondering, “Bonnie, what the h*ll does this have to do with anything?”
Well…I’m glad you asked. This mindset is exactly why you need to track weight loss data BEYOND what the scale tells you. This is why you need to keep a food journal, write down your workouts, and even a urges and cravings journal. You need data to see where you can improve on your current plan. Without tracking multiple inputs when it comes to weight loss, you can’t see the whole picture. Let’s dive right into this, and more, on episode 33 of Unf*ck Your Weight Loss right now!
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience.
Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.
By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.
Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you unf*ck your diet brain.
She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.
Connect with Bonnie-
Facebook Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/707942356603835