The Five Things You Need for Permanent Weight Loss

by | Feb 20, 2024

We’re talking about the five F’s of weight loss. 

The five F’s are not f*ck it, f*ck this, f*ck that, f*ck off, f*ck me, although sometimes those words have crossed my lips. If you are a woman 39 and above, you are struggling with weight loss, and many times you feel like saying, f*ck this, this is for you. 

I created a program called Self Made. When I created the program, it was from

the place of how I can help women the most. I know that I can help women lose weight, tell them what to eat, tell them how much to eat, tell them in any way shape and form. Whether it is through macros, a meal plan, workouts, or advice. I can yell, I can count reps, I can do all of these things. And I have done all of the things. I did all the things to help people lose weight. 

What I noticed, and this is not because people aren’t smart, or don’t care, or this is really on me. When I really think about it, it all comes down to me. I noticed that women would lose weight in programs I had, and then go off on their merry way. Even though I will say that it takes time to change your habits, to change who you are, with food, your weight, your body, your fitness and with your health. It’s not going to be a two month adventure, or a three month adventure, or probably a six or twelve month adventure.

I have used the phrase, you’re not going to undo 40 years of dieting in 12 weeks. This is true, it does take time. Around 2020, during the pandemic, when I had a lot of time to think and I was writing a lot of workouts because my gym locations were closed. I found myself falling back into, what can I do? One of the things that I wanted to do was not just create another weight loss program, another way to lose weight, another level of transformation. I wanted to solve a problem, which was regaining lost weight. That’s the problem to solve when it comes to the diet industry. 

The diet industry obviously has lots of different solutions. 

None of them seem to be very effective at long term weight loss, so I created Self Made. I really thought we are all going to agree if you want to lose weight, I don’t care if you want to keep it off for a month or a million months, you’re going to be focused on food, and you’re going to be focused on fitness. But to be honest, there is a lot more to it, especially for women, and especially as women start to age. Even if you’re 25 years old, you’re still going to age. You will be older tomorrow than you are today. That is the actual facts. 

As women, if we are not strength training, and we’re not taking care of ourselves, it can feel like it happens overnight. It feels like it happens rapidly, you could in effect weigh the same as you did 10 years ago. But if you have not been strength training, your body composition is going to be much more weighted towards body fat versus lean muscle. 

By the age of 25 or so, our hormones have pretty much hit a peak. Again, this is not all women after the age of 25. It could happen at 22. It could happen at 26. It just depends on the person but our hormones peak in our 20s and then start to decline. This makes sense, if you think about it from a reproductive standpoint. That’s why most women way back when had babies in their 20s. My mom was 24 when she had me. I kind of have to laugh to be like, if I had kids at 24, I can’t even imagine. But that was what was happening in the 50s, 60s, 70s when women had babies, that was when they had babies. That’s when people are actually most fertile. 

For those of you who are in your 30s and 40s, maybe you waited till you were 30, 35, 40, 45, however old you were to have kids. 35 and over is considered a high risk for pregnancy. You’re not as fertile as you were 5 years ago, or 10 years ago. It just makes sense that all of our hormones are starting to decline. 

I not only wanted to solve a problem around weight loss, and around regaining lost weight, but also really help women who are going to have a different hormonal status as they age. Someone who’s 45 is very different from 25. If you’re here, you’re nodding your head, and you realize, yeah, when I was 26, or 32, I could lose weight very easily. I could drink shakes for a week. I could do any kind of diet, the weight would come off, and it would be fine. Then if I gained it back, I could just do that again. 

What happens every time we lose weight, and then we gain weight back, we’ve lost some muscle, and we’re gaining back all body fat. Even if it’s just the same 10 pounds over and over and over, we’re picking up more body fat. It does make it harder to lose weight, the less muscle I have, and the more body fat I have, my hormones actually will reflect that. Body fat is not just this innocuous thing, I’m not just carrying around extra weight, it’s hormonal. 

Our body fat actually has estrogen receptors in it, and it becomes harder and harder to lose weight, the more body fat I have because I become more estrogenic. It becomes very much like this hamster wheel effect. I’m trying to lose body fat, but I’ve collected more and more and more and more and more. I can’t seem to break the cycle. I can lose a couple pounds, but it’s a huge struggle. I’m not any leaner. I don’t feel any better. I’m not making any progress. If any of this is of interest or rings true for you, obviously you’re in the right place.

The Five F’s

I want to tell you about the Five F’s and how I built those out as pillars in my program Self Made. I also want to tell you how it can help you right now to think about your weight loss journey. What you would need to consider in order to lose the weight and keep it off, it’s not just the food, it’s not just the workout, it’s not eat less and move more. Otherwise, we’d already be where we wanted to be. So I have broken it out into the five apps that you need for permanent weight loss and more. 

I’m always going to be talking about female fat loss. Is there a difference between fat loss and weight loss? Absolutely, I can make the scale go down in lots of different ways. I could get the stomach bug, I could fast for two days. I could do hot yoga, and sweat it all out or go in the sauna. I could take diuretics, I could do a lot of things to make my weight go down. 

By the way, I’ve done them all, just to play a game on the scale. Those are called scale games at the end of the day, is that what matters to me most or does it matter that my body has less body fat, more muscle, which by the way would translate to a smaller body? 

Everybody says muscle weighs more than fat. No, everything weighs what it weighs. It’s just that muscle mass takes up less space than body fat. That’s where that Oh muscle weighs more than fat comes from. It doesn’t. If this scale is going up and down on your journey, that’s normal. Even if you are actually doing a good job of losing body fat and or building muscle or better yet preserving muscle. 

What I like to do with clients is figure out what is the most I could eat and lose body fat and keep muscle after a certain amount of time, if you are in your 50s, or 60s, your ability to build muscle as if you were in your 20s is not going to be there unless you’re on hormone replacement therapy. No matter where you are in your journey, you really want to think how important muscle mass is to you. 

Let’s get into it. I’ve broken down the five pillars, just like I would roll this out in my program. I think it’s going to be very helpful for you to think beyond, what do I need to eat? Or what do I need to restrict? Or how many calories do I need to burn? A lot of that is a slippery slope. So the big F, of course, for all of us is food. 


1) There is not one size fits all.

I really truly believe this, and I think it’s very important for me to state this, there are lots of different ways to approach your eating. There is never a one size fits all, even if I gave 100 clients a meal plan and it was a plug and play. You pick the protein, you pick the vegetables, you pick the fats, the carbs, etc. It’s going to come out to be 100 different plans, and it should be. Ultimately you, yes you I’m talking to you, need to find what works for you. 

How do you do that? Well, I’ll get there. 

2) Record what you eat, and keep going.

I think the biggest issue is that we think we’re supposed to eat a certain way. The only way to lose weight is to be low carb, be keto, be plant based, be under 1000 calories, only eat chicken, blah, blah, blah, all this stuff, which is just not true. Yes, calories matter. You can’t eat 5000 calories a day, unless you’re Michael Phelps, and you’re a world class swimmer. Actually, I think he ate something like 12,000 calories a day. You just can’t get away with that. I think that happens too sometimes. 

I have clients who will tell me, I eat clean, I eat so healthy, I eat all the right things. But maybe you’re just eating them in quantities that don’t work for you. There are a lot of healthy things you could overeat. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, because their pet peeves. Things like olive oil, coconut oil, like these very calorie dense types of things that are easy to over consume if you freely pour them. You’re going to roast vegetables or you’re going to cook a chicken breast, you’re getting in hundreds of additional calories. That happens a lot. You want to eat in a way that is doable for you.

What does it mean when there’s a lot of different ways to approach your eating? You have to listen to your body. What Foods feel good for you? What Foods give you energy? Does eating certain things create bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation? You have to be able to tune into that and realize, my body’s trying to tell me something. Are there certain things that you prefer? There is no right or wrong food. There is no there isn’t. I wish there was a surefire way. 

Ultimately what you’re going to need to do is be consistent. Just like a detective or a scientist, you’re going to have to take the experiment further than Monday through Friday. We can’t say, oh, I had a salad today, why aren’t I skinny? I get it, it feels like that. You’ll need probably 8 to 12 weeks minimum of consistent eating and recording to have some basic understanding of what is happening. 

Just record it in a notebook. I think it’s great that there’s so many different apps out there. There’s My Fitness Pal and Lose It and low carb this and low carb bad and bla bla bla my plate. It’s all good. All fine, except,  I’m not trying to accuse you but most women don’t really record everything accurately. Then all those types of metrics in an app are useless. This is just part of playing a game that I’m under recording. I said I had a glass of wine, it was half the bottle. 

Use a notebook. At the end of the day, you just write down what is today, Monday, January 22 2024. I can just write meal one, meal two, meal three, meal four, or however you want to call it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, whatever it is, and just write what it was. If you’re not weighing and measuring, that’s totally fine. Ballpark it. Write it down. If you took a handful of popcorn, if you put a Hershey’s Kiss in your mouth, write it down. Just commit to writing and not judging. It is going to give you so much more information. It might also help you pause before you just put things in your mouth, because you’re gonna go write it down. 

3) Keep things simple.

This is not about what do I do when I go to a restaurant or I go on vacation or it is a holiday? Those are actually few and far between. I should say I probably eat out at least once every weekend. But by and large, I make sure my plate, my meal has protein. I think about protein. What is the protein? I put the protein in my mouth first whenever possible. I also think about fiber because you know what? Fiber is very good for your digestive system. That is what your good bacteria want to eat.  I think about, is there vegetables here? You could add seeds. You could add fibrous fruit. 

  • What kind of fiber can I add to my meals? 
  • Do I have a potato? 
  • Do I have broccoli? 
  • Do I have sunflower seeds? 
  • Do they have fiber? 

I really think about those types of things first, and vegetables especially add not just fiber, but also volume. I like to feel somewhat full. I’m not going to lie. I think a lot of us especially at dinner, when I have more time, I’m sitting down and this is the last meal of the day, I like to feel more full. Fiber does a great job of that. 

I want to also make sure when it comes to food, that this is all pretty easy, simple, convenient, and fairly automated. The reality is no matter what we’re eating, whether we’re thinking about fat loss or not, we tend to eat the same things over and over and over. We think, Oh, I need variety. I need to be able to do what I want. I just want to be spontaneous. But we like what we like. 

One thing that might help you is to think about what are the three breakfasts I am most likely to have this week? I would write that down just to remind yourself, oh, yeah, I rotate between egg whites on toast, a protein shake, or a protein bar on the go. Great. Same thing for lunch and dinner. I’m not advocating any of that. I’m just saying those could be possibilities. I think you will start to see some patterns when you keep your food journal. 

Ultimately, your food, what you eat, what you choose to eat, and the foods that are going to help you with your fat loss are the ones that are doable for your life. We’d all love to think, Okay, for the next 12 weeks, for the next 16 weeks, for the next six months, I’m going to have the perfect conditions. I’m going to lock myself in my house, I will have no emergencies, no work, no holidays, no special occasions, nothing that gets in the way of me eating salad and chicken three times a day. That sounds pretty terrible. 


The second half of your female fat loss equation here, and the second pillar of Self Made, is fitness. Fitness comes in a lot of shapes and forms. You will see a lot of things around Fitness on Instagram especially or Facebook and reels. It can get very overwhelming and you can feel like I’m behind the times. Look at all these people, all these influencers and they’re all working out.

I’ve spoken about what is wrong with the fitness industry and I think there’s a lot of trainers, influencers, gym goers, everyday average people, anybody can make a Tik Tok video and put it out there and be like, this is how you workout or this is how you deadlift or this is the best bicep exercise ever. Who’s to say. You can go down a lot of different rabbit holes with fitness. By and large, just like I view food, let’s just dial out all of the distractions. Let’s turn off the distraction. 

The main thing is keep it very simple, very doable for where you are now if you don’t work out at all right now, good news. Seriously, I mean that good news, because you’re going to notice the benefits of working out. Someone who’s been working out for years, they’re probably thinking geez, I have worked out for years and I don’t even look like it. That happens a lot. 

A lot of people are very committed, they wake up at 4:30 in the morning. They go to the gym and they work out. They probably scratch their head going, why don’t I look like I workout? What that brings us back to is really more about the food and really more about lifestyle factors. 

When it comes to fitness, two things I really harp on all the time, strength training, and walking. You could probably do one or the other no matter who you are. Obviously, if you just had knee replacement surgery, probably not going to walk. However, can you sit down on a bench and do some overhead presses? You could do some bicep curls or some tricep extensions. You can still do things, even if you are injured. If you need help with that, there are lots of YouTube tutorials. There’s lots of gyms, there’s lots of personal trainers, there’s lots of physical therapists who can help get you started, you just have to ask for the help. 

I want to say, fitness in many ways is a commodity, meaning it’s everywhere. I mean, you can go right now and Google bicep curls or stiff legged deadlift, or what’s the best exercise regime for a woman over 40? There’s a million things out there. I think part of our problem is that we spend too much time researching and not enough time just doing. Your workouts don’t have to be sexy, they don’t have to be Instagram, they just have to be the medium effect of the minimum effective dose, which is just enough.

If you do zero, it’s pretty easy to add strength training. I would probably start with two or three times a week for 10 or 15 minutes. Try to do something that’s a compound movement, perhaps maybe a squat, with or without any kind of weight. You could do a lot of things in your own home with limited equipment. If you have a local gym, whether it’s a budget brand, like Planet Fitness or a Crunch Fitness, or it’s a more high end type of boutique studio, there’s going to be someone who could do an intro with you or show you how to use machines, it is well worth it. 

Part of my identity is definitely as a personal trainer. I was a group exercise trainer from the early 90s. I became a personal trainer in 1998. I’ve personally trained a lot of clients, I’ve done lots of classes, I have worked with 1000s of women. I have a very special place in my heart for the personal training industry. But there is something that is a little bit awry with personal trainers if their specialty is not necessarily women over 40, I would just be careful not to take their advice about how much you should eat or what you should eat, or how to get to that next level. Personal trainers sometimes step out of their scope. 

The reason I say this is I have lots of current clients who had a personal trainer who gave them a diet with a lot of extra calories and they gained weight. Because that personal trainer did not understand the hormonal situation that the person was in. A lot of women go many years being underfed. We go from diet to diet to diet. We’re very used to 1000 calories, 1100 calories a day. That is not right, obviously, and I get it. I don’t think anybody does this out of malice. A personal trainer, someone younger, maybe male is suggesting you should eat 2500 calories, 2900 calories, you should eat a lot more. What happens is our metabolism cannot handle that, even with the amount of strength training that we do. Then we try to use fitness to outrun our fork. 

1) Working out is actually not for weight loss. 

It is very helpful for fat loss and it can really help with your metabolic health. The more muscle you have, the more food you can probably actually handle. There’s not a one size fits all formula that is a definite, which is why it’s very good to keep a food journal. Even if I use all of those online calculators and I have someone’s lab work and I have a lot of information about a woman, we’re only getting close to a guess as to how many calories a day can you handle. It is a little bit of an experiment. 

I would rather go slowly and up those calories rather than be like, Hey, I know you’ve been living on 1000 calories, here’s 2500. That is going to lead to fat gain and that is going to be sad. 

2) The things I tell my clients to do are strength training and walking. 

I do have a backup. You’ve probably heard me talk a lot about my Bellicon Rebounder. It’s been a godsend with all of the ice and the snow and the cold winter weather. There’s a lot of treadmills in some of these gyms. Walk.

3) Record your workout. 

Just like recording your food, I would record your workout. Write down what exercise you do. How many sets? How many reps? What was the amount of weight? This is going to be a goldmine for you because the next time I go to do this workout, I can say, oh, I did that chest press with 20 pounds. Maybe I could try 22 and a half. I could try 25. I’m going to try to increase my weight or I could just increase the amount of reps or sets. I don’t have to do all three of those things. I don’t have to change my workouts all the time. I think that is a huge fitness mistake. 

4) You don’t need a ton of volume.

Meaning you don’t have to be there for hours. More is not always better. You don’t need to change your workout all the time. You just do not. You’re going to actually get more success and be able to measure success, if you keep that same workout. It could be Monday legs, Tuesday, chest and back superset and Wednesday or the third day, it could be just arms and shoulders and ABS or something like that. You could do it a lot of different ways. You can do a total body workout two or three days a week. The same workout and run that workout for 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 4 months, but you would probably be able to lift more weights. That’s ultimately what you want to do. A big mistake people make with their fitness is just trying to make the workouts too complex, too complicated. 

5) You don’t need to make everything beast mode. 

You don’t need to work out so hard. In fact, you’ll probably get better results if you know when you can push it and you know when to rest. Sometimes beast mode is fun. Other times being in least mode is necessary. Okay. And so listening to your body don’t try to work through injuries. You don’t have to work out super hard in order to get the benefits of strength training. 


You probably figured, okay, this Bonnie chick probably knows all about food and fitness, but what else is there. What would make Self Made, or anything that Bonnie offers, different from what’s already out there? Food and fitness is everywhere. My friends, Google, tik tok, Instagram, every 25 year old trainer. It doesn’t matter. It’s everywhere but there is a lot more if you want to lose weight and keep it off. 

These next three pillars are the linchpin. These are the things that are harder. I think the food and fitness part’s pretty easy, especially if you’ve ever lost weight before you’ve done these things. The third F, and I think this is the biggest F of all, this is the F even though we want to think it’s my hormones, it’s my age, it’s my injury, it’s my food sensitivity. It’s this, it’s that. All the reasons why I can’t lose weight. I understand. We all have obstacles, we all have challenges.

I think this is the most interesting one of all and this third F is feelings. There is a saying you’ve heard before, it’s not what you’re eating, it’s what it’s what is eating you. Meaning, you can lose weight in a lot of different ways. 

You could do;

  • SlimFast, 
  • Weight Watchers, 
  • Nutrisystem, 
  • Jenny Craig, 
  • Count calories, 
  • Use a macro tracker, 
  • Keto, 
  • All the ways. 

You could combine all of them into one big fun fancy festival. 

Ultimately, when someone is not at the weight that they want, or they’re gaining and losing and gaining and losing or mostly just gaining or unable to lose, a lot of what is happening is the;

  • Bites, 
  • Licks, 
  • Tastes,
  • Snacks, 
  • Emotional eating, 
  • Stress eating, 
  • Habitual eating, 
  • Mindless eating, 
  • Eating to create joy, 
  • Eating to avoid pain, 
  • Eating because I’m procrastinating, 
  • Eating because I’m watching TV, 
  • Eating because I need to relax, 
  • Eating because I had a bad day, 
  • All of that stuff. 

That’s what it is.

I know that nobody wants to deal with it because it feels scary. If I feel my feelings, it’s a problem. Then they’re just feelings. Feelings do not stay with us. Sometimes you could have a bad day, you could have a bad week, you could be in a funk 100%. I’m not talking about feelings like grief, like somebody you love passes away, or something really tragic happens and you are feeling that grief, that sense of heaviness. That’s not necessarily the feelings I’m talking about. 

I’m talking about feeling aggravated, feeling disappointed, defeated, unmotivated, stuck, that kind of stuff, it’s going to come and go the same way. Feeling light hearted, feeling fun, joyful, happy, easy, carefree. That kind of stuff, it all comes and goes. I’m not always motivated. I’m not always in the mood to go to the gym, but I can still do it anyway. 

Here’s the interesting thing about feelings and diets, something I’ve found where this work becomes hard for people and they would much rather just diet. People will use diets and exercise to avoid feelings. I get it. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with going to the gym and blowing off steam. You will feel better after a walk, you will feel better after working up a little sweat, you’ll feel better after you workout 100%. We can’t not have feelings, that’s just part of the human experience. They’re still there. If you are really aggravated, angry, upset, worried, overwhelmed, anxious, if you have stuff going on, it’s still there. We can’t work out 92 times a day just to keep running from our feelings, or keep dieting our faces off to avoid feeling. 

Eventually what happens with dieting, the stricter I become, the more restrictions I put on, the more I try to tighten things up, I’m going to binge on the weekend, I’m going to binge at night, I’m going to eventually explode. It’s like the game you play with the beach ball. The little game, you might play with your friends in the pool. It’s like I can put the ball under the water for a little while and it’s going to pop up, it’s going to keep popping up. That is what it’s like when we try to deny our feelings versus just allow them to be there. 

You do get to feel your feelings however you want. There are lots of different ways to walk through feeling your feelings. Sometimes it’s just easy to be able to name them. Do you even know what is happening or why it is happening? Maybe except that you will not feel happy at least half of the time. If life is relatively 50/50, then 50% of the time I won’t be motivated. 50% of the time I’ll be disappointed. 50% of the time I will be in doubt or I will have fear. 

I think that’s what keeps a lot of women from moving forward on their weight loss. We’re just so damn afraid of failing, feeling stuck, or I’m not going to make this progress. I don’t want to face it. Instead, I won’t work on it or I’ll pick a more restrictive diet. I will buy a Louis Vuitton bag instead. I’ve seen and heard it all and I get it. 

Feelings are part of being human. You’re going to have feelings. You do not have to act on them. I think that’s what scares a lot of us. Like if I’m really aggravated at work, I allow myself to be aggravated, I talk about it, and I face it. Almost like Pandora’s box. If I open the lid, then something bad will happen. I will quit my job or I’ll tell my boss off. We feel afraid of what would happen. Instead, what if it’s not Pandora’s box? What if the real Pandora’s box is trying to keep all the feelings inside of us? That’s what happens when we overeat. When we feel so conflicted and stressed out and we’re just trying to stuff down the feelings with food. It doesn’t work. You can substitute the food with drinking. Both have empty calories. Sometimes when you’re not eating for physical hunger. I think that’s a big takeaway too. 

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, one of the things that we are always talking about in Self Made is really learning how to trust your own body. How to listen to your body. How to figure out this physical hunger versus emotional hunger. What kind of hunger is this? This is the feelings part. What kind of hunger is this? 

A lot of this is emotional hunger. An emptiness that cannot be filled with food. There’s no amount of peanut M&M’s, that will be satisfying. That’s one thing I know for sure. I like them. But once the bag is empty, then what? Now the bag is gone. I don’t have any more. Yet, I still feel how I feel. Either tired, or resentful, or worried, or what have you. Being able to talk about that is one step further than you probably were. 

I know the feeling of this idea of feelings. I get it. Self Made is not about therapy or counseling or looking into past traumas in your life. It really is just about identifying what you are feeling, figuring out what it is. We have a lot of different frameworks, different models, and tools you can use to help you get through some of this faster. To figure out where it’s coming from. What was the thought, or what was the circumstance? What was the situation? What was the condition? What actually happened? Then you could put your brain to work rather than just feeling helpless with feelings or trying to numb them out with food. 

1) You can diet your feelings away, but I don’t advise it. 

2) Feeling your feelings is not as horrible and difficult as it sounds. 

3) You do not have to act on feelings. 

They can just be there, I can feel disappointed, impatient, aggravated, and yet still show up for myself. Still go to the gym. Still prep my steak for dinner. I could still do the things that move me forward and still have those feelings there. I know they won’t be there forever. They will come and go. Learning to understand emotional and physical hunger is going to be a game changer for you. 

The last two F’s. If you’re like, what more could there be? Well, you knew the fourth F was going to be f*cking hormones. Hormones is an H and I wanted F, so it’s effing hormones. 

F*cking Hormones

1) There’s no such thing as hormone balance.

Our hormones are constantly moving and responding. It’s like a scale. I could get on the scale, right now, if I had one, and it’s going to be different in an hour. It’s going to be different in three hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, it’s going to be all over the place up and down.

Hormones are constantly communicating and responding to our food, our sleep, and stress. It takes time to achieve optimized hormones. I’m not saying hormone balance doesn’t exist. I think most of us live somewhere between balance and imbalance. We’re trying to optimize our hormones. Optimization is what you’re looking for. Whether that is done through lifestyle changes, supplements, medications, or all of the above, we’re always looking to be and feel optimal. 

There are some things that you can do to help your hormones right now without going to an expert and having labs done. Although I do think that is something to consider. I do work with my clients and help them attain those labs, go through the labs, decipher what the doctor may or may not have said. If you do suspect that you have a hormone issue within, what are you waiting for? I know sometimes we talk to our doctors, and we’re dismissed. I should say a lot of times we are dismissed. It’s not because your primary care or your OBGYN or the endocrinologist they sent to you does not care or they’re not smart or whatever. They aren’t necessarily the experts in bioidentical hormones or hormones for women over 40. There’s not one path there as well. 

A lot of women I talked to do have suboptimal thyroid and they’ve had it for a long time. Even if they’re taking a T4 only medication. There’s also things you could be doing with supplementation that could actually help. Things like Berberine could actually help your A1C so there are a lot of ways for you to control how optimized your hormones are. 

The number one thing you can do, if you feel like your hormones are responsible for your lack of weight loss, or your metabolism has come to a screeching halt, is to really look at sleep. Are you sleeping? You need to put that in focus. You need to set a bedtime. You need to have a sleep routine. You need to do the things and know that sometimes, even if you do all the things right,  you won’t have great sleep.

It does take time and practice to do, just like a kid. If you have a child or you had a child, you just weren’t like yeah, do whatever you want. 

  • Stay up as late as you want. 
  • Why don’t you have an iced coffee? 
  • Why don’t you have a glass of wine? 
  • Why don’t you have some more food? 
  • Why don’t we just stay up and watch TV? 
  • Why don’t we clean the house? 
  • Why don’t we answer stressful emails? 
  • Why don’t we put all the lights on in the house and just stay awake?
  • Then let’s get up at 4:30 in the morning and go for a run and workout and drink some more coffee. 

You probably wouldn’t suggest that for your child, why are you doing it to yourself? 

Sleep is the great hormone equalizer and that is 100% in your power. Some of you probably work overnights. That is an entirely different conversation. Sleep is a huge predictor of your longevity. They do all of these sleep studies for people. People who do not sleep, who wake up multiple times, they discover that they stopped breathing, they need to be put on a CPAP machine, guess what? That shaves years off your life. 

Figure out the sleep portion. Do what you can do to affect your sleep. However, you have to do it, you need to be very strict. You need to understand your overall stress levels. Are you running on caffeine all day? Are you just grabbing fast food or not eating all day? That creates stress and that is not going to work for hormone balance. How could it? 

If you have injuries, if you have health things you have not taken care of. If you have inflammation inside or a knee that is bothering you. 

  • Do you need to go to a physical therapist? 
  • Do you need acupuncture? 
  • Do you need an X-ray? 
  • Do you need to take care of some of these things? 

Trying to work out harder on an injury is going to be a problem. You are going to screw up your hormones.

There is something that I have referred to before, and it is not medically accepted. So because I am not a doctor, I don’t care. I’m just going to talk about it as adrenal fatigue. You might have heard this, it’s simple. There’s other explanations for it. It is something that happens when we are living on stress. We’re just living a very stressful life. Not enough sleep, too much exercise, not enough food, lots of caffeine, it puts us in a situation where our cortisol is high all the time, until it drops to be low all the time. Then we’re constantly exhausted, have brain fog, have no sex drive, brittle nails, etc. It will mimic, in many cases, a thyroid issue. 

In any case, there’s a lot you can do with your hormones. What you cannot do if you want to lose body fat and keep it off, is to continue to restrict, and then overeat. Binge eat, and then try to exercise it off. That does not work. 

What happens when we can work on all of the pillars? Finding the foods that work for you. Finding a reasonable fitness routine that works for you. Getting in touch with that emotional hunger versus physical hunger. 

We can start to figure out what else we could work on when we really do feed ourselves better. We’re not going to be hungry all day or living on caffeine all day. We can start to prioritize making time to sit down and eat food because it’s going to help us feel better. It’s going to keep us from staying up all night eating because we didn’t eat all day. 

I could talk a lot about the effing hormones one. Working out too much or zero working out. Too much restriction on food or overeating on food. Those extremes are going to be part of the problem. 

I had one more thing to add about the hormones. Part of this is also being really honest with yourself, so here is the question you have to answer. How can you have balanced hormones with unbalanced or inconsistent behaviors? How could we expect our bodies right? How could my hormones be balanced? If I am imbalanced? If I do things that are either diet my face off and then binge eat or binge drink? Over exercise, have injuries, do things that are just not in the best interest of optimized hormones? That’s the question you have to ask yourself. 

Part of being in Self Made is also being willing to say, Yeah, I can do better. Or I do have more power and more control than I am exercising for myself. It’s very easy to say, well, I’m really busy with my job and my kids and my family. I get it, I get it. You might very well be, but if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? 

Future Self

Speaking of you, and Self Made, the last F is one that I think is the most interesting of all, it is your future self. This is why I think diets fail. Period. We think I’ll be happy when I lose weight. I will feel confident when I lose weight, my whole life will change. When I lose weight, I’ll get the man of my dreams or the job of my dreams or the financial freedom or like all of the things that will happen when I’m in a smaller, lighter body. That is simply not true.We probably deep inside know this. 

If you’ve ever lost weight before, did your whole life magically change? If it did, then why did we end up gaining the weight back? 

Changing a number on the scale is not the same as changing who you are at an identity level. That’s really what this whole future self thing is. You have to be a person who gives a f*ck about themselves. The feed yourself like you give a f*ck but that you prioritize yourself that you do recognize that you have some amount of control over your life. You create certainty in your life by the choices you make about what to put in your mouth. 

For example, this is the big girl talk. Put on the big girl panties here because it’s hard to change at an identity level. If I’ve lived my whole life as the chubby girl, I have to be funny. I have a different identity. What if I don’t? What if I’m not that person? Who do I want to be? 

I really do think for the future self portion of this, you have to have a really strong reason why you want to lose weight to begin with. Not just to be healthier, please God, stop, I get it. You will be healthier when you lose weight, for sure. But why else? Tap into that and go as far into the why as you can. Some of it probably is because you want to feel hot, sexy, attractive. you want to like what you see in the mirror, you want to wear a size two, you want to whatever. Get really honest with yourself about that because that’s the identity you’re looking to attain. 

If you don’t, if you’re not clear about what it is that you want, you’re not going to get it and I completely understand. If you’ve struggled with your weight, a lot of your adult life or your whole life, it’s wild to think I could be somebody else. But you can. You can be whoever you want. You can step into whatever identity you want but you will have to do the behaviors of that person. 

  • What does your future self do? 
  • How does she look? 
  • How does she show up? 
  • How does she eat? 
  • How does she shop? 
  • How does she prepare meals? 
  • How does she pack meals? 
  • How does she handle holidays, vacations, other people? 

There is no one right way.

It is a different identity. Sometimes that is weird and scary. We go back to the feelings of will other people like me? Will this jeopardize my relationships? What will my family think? What will I think? Well, I like her. 

It’s a lot easier to stay exactly where we are to not change. 100% it is. That’s why I think a lot of us kind of tiptoe in and out of weight loss. We lose weight and then we gain it back and then we lose it and then we gain it back because we’re afraid. If I got to hang out in this body that’s smaller and leaner, maybe people would look at it or they asked about it or they want to touch it. It’s exciting, and it’s scary. 

Sometimes I think we get confused about feelings, things that feel bad. When people say they’re really nervous, could it also be that you’re really excited? It’s two sides of the same coin. I think in order to lose weight and keep it off. You have to be willing to change, and willing to really fully live your life, in all of the feelings and all of the facets. Be willing to make the mistakes that you will make. 

You will fail, you’ll have bad days, you’ll have good days, you’ll have a week where you can’t go to the gym because you got sick. That’s just all part of it. There is nobody I’ve ever met, who has lost weight and kept it off, that didn’t have a lot of setbacks. They had surgery, they had COVID, again, they had a parent get sick, they had a job change, a relationship change, they had a financial change. They had things happen. It’s going to happen, that is just part of life. We can’t make our weight loss conditional on the fact that we’re going to wait for a better time to change major things about ourselves.

Here’s the good news. It’s not like we’re just flipping the light switch, and all of a sudden, I switch on the new identity. We get to go about it and take our time. I’m just leaning into who I want to be with food. I am learning how to heal my relationship with food. I’m learning how to have a better relationship with food. I’m learning not to be so all or nothing. I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect in order to be successful. That takes time. That’s just being willing to take the ride. 

I want to get on the ride. I’m going to shoot my shot. I’m going to run my race. Whatever happens, happens. All of the greatest athletes and success stories in the world had plenty of failures. I just want to normalize that you will too, and so did I. 

I hope that there is something that you heard today that is actionable for you. Maybe it is just looking at one of the F’s and focusing there. 

  • Do you need to focus more on the food and be more intentional? 
  • Do you need to really look at your fitness and be more consistent? 
  • What about those feelings? 
  • Are you eating them? 
  • Are you drinking them? 
  • Do you know the difference between physical hunger or emotional hunger? 
  • What about those hormones? 
  • Have you done anything? 
  • Have you talked to your doctor? 
  • Have you gotten any testing? 
  • How is your sleep?

There are some things you can do even without speaking to a medical professional. 

Then when it comes to your future self; 

  • Why not dream big? 
  • Do you have a vision in your mind of who you’d like to be? 
  • What does she look like? 
  • How does she wear her hair? 
  • What kind of clothes does she wear? 
  • How does she feel when she shows up to an event? 
  • Who are her friends? 
  • What does she like to do? 
  • All of that stuff.

It’s super exciting.

It’s still you, you can change and still be you. We’re not changing because you suck. We’re not changing because we hate ourselves. We’re not changing because we’re not good enough. We’re just going to the next level. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, that’s how you level up. 

Thank you so much for being here. If you have not already subscribed to this podcast, please do so you get the automatic updates. If you would like to consider Self Made and working more closely with a coach, Hello me, and doing more accountability, working on these five pillars and figuring out what they mean for you personally, I would love to work with you. Set up a call. The link is in the show notes. Make it a great week.


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 u****k 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.

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