Episode #108: How to Have Fun While Losing Weight

Apr 30, 2024






Today I’m diving into the often tumultuous relationship many of us have with weight loss. I unpack why so many of us dread the journey to our dream bodies and give you actionable strategies to inject joy back into the process. Drawing from personal experience and my work as a life and weight loss coach, I’m addressing common pitfalls and misconceptions surrounding weight loss, empowering you to shift your mindset and approach the journey with enthusiasm. From redefining success to embracing hobbies and prioritizing self-care, this episode offers a roadmap to make weight loss not just achievable, but enjoyable.

If this podcast resonates with you, get my Free 5 Minutes Per Day Weight Loss Mini-Course over at: https://www.theunstoppablemombrain.com/email 



What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why so many people dread the weight loss journey despite their desire to reach their goals.
  • Five key reasons why weight loss may have felt burdensome in the past, including unrealistic expectations and societal pressures.
  • Actionable steps to make weight loss more enjoyable, from shifting focus to embracing hobbies and finding joy in the process.
  • The importance of surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals and seeking connection to navigate challenges and celebrate successes.
  • How to accept and overcome obstacles along the journey.


Listen to the Full Episode:



Enjoy the Show?

  • Follow: Get new episodes in your feed every single week on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle or search "The Unstoppable Mom Brain" on your favorite platform.

  • Rate & Review: Take a few seconds and leave your review in the stars and comments of this show.

  • Instagram: Come hang out with me on Instagram, you'll find me in your daily feed @theunstoppablemombrain


Download the full transcript here 


  • Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal and you're listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast. How to have fun while losing weight. If you heard the title of this episode and maybe had a visceral reaction of disbelief, of surprise, then this episode is just for you. I have experienced personally when I was on the roller coaster for so many years and what I see with clients when they come to work with me, how much so many of us hate weight loss. Here we are, wanting to lose weight, wanting to hit either a dream body goal, a number on the scale, maybe a size of clothing that you want to wear, and yet we are hating the work to get there. It is absolutely no surprise when you hate weight loss or have a feeling of ugh when you think about it, that you are finding yourself taking constant breaks in little and small ways.

    This episode is going to talk you through really quickly some of the biggest reasons I have seen that weight loss has not been fun for you up until this episode. And if that's been you, you are really not alone. You're in very good company. And also I'm going to walk you through five tips. specific strategies that I encourage you to start employing today. I invite you to try all five of these strategies in making weight loss not only fun, but really getting your brain on board with why you want weight loss to be fun. If you can really reflect back on all of the years that you have been trying to lose weight, maybe you've been on the roller coaster up and down, or you've lost weight and gained it back.

    You and I both know that part of the reason is because you had a feeling of UGH; as it came to your body goals. So the intention of this episode is to help us see the cost, how expensive it is to hate weight loss and our strategy if we want to lose weight, and really help you have a tangible step by step process on how to turn that around. I'm going to share the top five to six reasons that, in my personal experience, I have felt when it comes to weight loss or hate of the weight loss. Process. And what I see with my clients before they come to work with me, there's probably a laundry list, more of reasons for maybe why you have hated weight loss. And then when we talk about the strategies in today's episode, you have more space to start to incorporate them. If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weight loss coach for ambitious working moms.

    I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans. Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you. Ready? Let's get to it.

    Reason number one. It's is very simple. You have hated your weight loss strategy. You might have thought you are not allowed to eat carbs, you have to eat canned green beans and cottage cheese or eat lettuce at every single meal to lose the weight you want. Maybe you've thought that you need to exercise six days a week and log every single calorie that you consume. If you have hated your weight loss strategy, if you have not loved the way that you have been eating, if you have not been enjoying the foods, the. The textures and the tastes of the foods that you've been eating. It is no wonder that you associate weight loss with, uh, reason number two, that I think is a really common, particularly if you're someone that wanted to lose the weight and hit your goal yesterday, and you haven't yet is something about weight loss and not being at your dream body goal is preoccupying everything. You might be having thoughts about your body thoughts about weight loss, thoughts about your unmet goals, like a soundtrack that is just playing in the background. When we're not really aware of it, having this constant background hum, it's like a noise that creates a low buzzing stress for weight loss and you not being at your goal creates a feeling of ugh. It starts to take away from your simple joys when you are going out on a date night or maybe a girls weekend or you're just hanging out with your kids or trying to focus on work. When you find that weight loss And your unmet goals are occupying the background hum of your mind. It's taking you out of being present and really enjoying your life right now.

    The third reason, and this is a real one, is that the diet industry has maybe tainted your perception of your body. What you think is supposed to be quote unquote normal. And so maybe you've had to grapple with this idea where you know that you're not feeling at home and comfortable in your skin. That you're not where you want to be in terms of your body and your weight. And also you can see the toxic culture that the diet industry has been perpetuating. If that's you, you might really be having a lot of push pull with your desire to lose weight. Maybe you feel some embarrassment that you want to lose weight, or you think that there's something wrong or morally bad that you have this goal. Maybe you think it's indulgent or frivolous. And so having this type of back and forth, this grappling with the idea that there's toxicity with diet culture while you're uncomfortable in your body is going to create a lot of discomfort in your relationship with weight loss. Reason number four is because maybe it has just felt complicated.

    It feels like you have to do so many things perfectly to lose the weight you want. Maybe you think that if you don't execute and implement, Exactly the way you said you would, that you're never going to lose the weight. And that feels like a huge burden, particularly as a busy working mom. Reason number five, one pound up on the scale ruins your day or your week. Maybe you've been hitting your goals Monday through Friday. It's been particularly easier for you with your workday. You're busy with your work and so it's really easy to stay on plan. But then comes Friday night or Saturday afternoon and you just forget yourself. You gain a pound or two or three and you wake up on Monday morning and the scale is up.

    If you notice that a pound up or two or three is ruining your day or ruining your week, it makes perfect sense that weight loss and your weight loss process has felt like ugh. And I say this because, and I've shared this in numerous podcast episodes in the past, weight loss is not a linear process. So when we have a contentious relationship with the pound up on the scale, or with an off plan weekend, or an off plan vacation, or basically an imperfect moment in some form in our life, it is no wonder that we start to create a lot of fatigue because we hate those parts of the journey. And that's unfortunate because those parts are part of the journey, which we're going to get into later in this episode. The next reason is you feel confused. Maybe you feel some confusion around exactly how, what, when, and where you're supposed to be eating. You've heard and read so many different diet rules from intermittent fasting to keto, to paleo, to low carb to, you know, eat less, move more, count every single point in calorie. There's probably a million different strategies that you have read about on the internet. And because there is so much information now, so much information available, it's very easy to get confused and to get overloaded with information. You'll also know that this is you if you find yourself passively trying to consume and learn more information to decide on your best strategy, but the more that you try to learn or passively consume, the more confusion you create. When you feel confused in your weight loss strategy, you and I both know it leads to a lot of inaction. You're going to spend a lot of time in indecision, which is going to keep your status quo, making weight loss feel really hard. The last reason, and again, there's probably a laundry list more, but it is that you have turned weight loss into a mountain of work because you haven't lost the weight you wanted to lose yet. You wanted to lose it yesterday. Maybe you lost weight and gained it back your perfectionist brain, which is very normal believes since I haven't lost the weight yet, or because it's been hard for me up until this point, it must be really hard to do. It must take a lot of effort, a lot more work for me to solve this problem.


    And as a busy professional working mom, it makes a lot of sense that your brain is like, Ooh. I don't want to do that. Now, if weight loss ugh was not really a problem, I would not be recording this episode. But when you think of weight loss and you immediately feel dread or annoyance or irritation or frustration or overall ugh, I promise you in little and big moments, you are likely taking breaks from your weight loss strategy.

    And every time you take a break from your weight loss strategy and you notice yourself doing this again and again and again, you end up creating very inconsistent results, which perpetuates this belief that weight loss is hard. So let's just pretend like it's completely true that weight loss has been hard, right? Weight loss has been hard. There have been many moments of, uh, you haven't yet solved the problem. Maybe you've lost the weight, you gained it back. And I want you to just allow yourself to accept that. Yes, that has been the story up until now. Let's just put the story off to the side for a few moments as we explore some real tangible ways of what it would look like for you if you brought fun back to your weight loss strategy. If you learn that there were actually ways to make weight loss more fun, and I want you to sit with what the impact of that would be for you. If weight loss felt more fun, if your journey and the process and implementing and iterating on your weight loss journey felt like it was simpler and easier and fun, what would the impact be for you to keep it off for a lifetime?

    I'm going to get into the first five strategies that I recommend that you all start incorporating today to make weight loss more fun. And then I'm going to end with one caveat, which I think is also incredibly important. So number one is to stop just focusing on the reward and focus on the process. I cannot tell you how often this is the one of the biggest M. O. s of the busy professional, the high achiever, especially with perfectionist tendencies, is we have become very reward focused. We've become very focused on just the dopamine hit. This dopamine hits and reward looks like, you know, a cookie at the end of the week or at the end of a long day. The pound down on the scale, the words of affirmation from your partner, or the praise from a boss or colleague.

    Our brains have become so habituated to seeking reward that we forget about really protecting. Let me tell you what I mean by that. When you're always focused on reward and you're looking for dopamine hits to feel good or maybe just take a break from your life stresses, not only are you going to be perpetually chasing the dopamine hits and the dopamine peaks, which is a very dissatisfying chase, as you and I both know, but constant peaks like this, chemically, in your brain, chemically depletes dopamine and lowers your dopamine baseline. This is so important because dopamine is the source of our motivation and drive. Strategy number one, the strategy that I'm discussing is actually the work of Carol Dweck, who is someone that talks about the growth mindset and how we can start to activate intrinsic motivation by focusing on the inside effort more than the reward. What I mean by this is rather than just focusing on the reward as your main source of pleasure, right? The cupcake at the end of the day, or the pounds down on the scale as where you're getting your sense of happiness and joy and fun. Start to create fun on the journey by actually telling yourself why you're doing what you're doing. Telling yourself that, yes, sometimes it's hard, but I'm doing this because. Really recognizing yourself, for the efforts that you're putting in the process actually replenishes your dopamine and improves your dopamine baseline, which is going to improve motivation and drive. As busy professional working moms, we've gotten so used to squeezing ourselves into our own lives that it makes a lot of sense that food and snacks and alcohol have become habituated as the quickest source of fun.


    But this is a convenient lie that our brain is going to continue to tell us. Sure, food is fun, but it's not the only source of fun. Food is fun, but following through on what you said you were going to do is more fun. Sure, food is fun, but honoring your plan and how your gut feels and losing the weight you want to lose is actually more fun. This strategy, in my opinion, in my experience, is the cleanest form of pleasure because it's completely free of regret. And this one might take some practice. It's only because we've given food a role that it was never meant to have and we've just become practiced and habituated at chasing dopamine hits like food and snacks rather than focusing on how to sustain our fun and our joy at baseline.

    In the Unstoppable group, one of the things that I really love, one of the core tools that you learn on day one is yes, we have a strategy on how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, but this tool of finding the joy and the fun in the effort is what activates intrinsic motivation and it makes following through so much more simple and you better believe it makes weight loss so much more Strategy number two is to find more hobbies I was recently reading a post in a physician mom's group that I'm in and by the way, I've seen so many posts like this. So this is not just one that I've seen. I've seen like countless posts like this where someone was mentioning that they are leaving their current place of employment. They're leaving their current practice and they have a few months before they start at their next job. And because they have financial freedom and they could do anything they wanted during this time and their kids are in school, they were trying to figure out what they wanted to do with this time. And they felt a little bit lost around what they could do. They posted, I'm not good at having nothing to do now, but I want you to know, this is you, you're not alone because what I found with professional women, this is myself included as we've been trained and programmed to become addicted to productivity, which is the biggest catch 22 of all. We want more rest and we want more breaks, but when we actually get a break, we feel restless, right? You'll find yourself filling up time that you don't have to be working with productivity associated tasks, simply because you don't know how to rest. So this category, the strategy that I want to help all of you craft and cultivate is to get hobbies.

    Finding other activities that range from small activities that take very little time to maybe more extensive ones that require planning are going to give your brains better alternatives to just snack and nibble when your body's not hungry. When we don't have these alternatives in place, when we haven't made decisions in advance around what are other fun activities that we want to cultivate on purpose, our brains, our most primitive reflexes will always look for the simplest, lowest effort option. Enter food and alcohol. It's quick, it's easy, and it requires very little from you. But you and I are here because we know that you deserve more than this and your dream goal deserves more than this too. If overeating was actually fun, we wouldn't feel regret afterwards. I teach my clients this concept called the three bucket system where they learn exactly how to craft activities and hobbies that create more of the life they want.

    And the reason this is such an essential part of the Unstoppable process is because your brain needs alternatives. A few years ago, because I was in this category too, where I didn't have very many hobbies, I used to go to the hospital, or go to the office, be on call, and then I had my two young kids, and of course my family in my home, I felt like I didn't really have time for hobbies, and the time that I did have, But I felt like I needed all that time to be productive, right? To take care of my home, to take care of the kids, to take care of my life at work. And if I wasn't doing that, then I was sleeping. This was part of the reason that my evenings after the kids would go to bed and my work was wrapped up for the day and the kitchen was cleaned up, that because my brain wanted to break so bad that the cheese crackers glass of wine or the Cool Ranch Doritos were so so compelling.


    I had been working so hard all day that my brain just wanted a break. This was when I discovered sewing. So I cannot tell you for how long, years and years, I had been drawn to being crafty. And I'm not generally a crafty person, but there was something that felt and looked so fun about having a sewing machine and bringing some cloth together and having an interesting pattern and creating something. And for years and years, I told myself I don't have time for that. However, just this piece just the strategy of finding more hobbies, which is something I challenged myself to do back in 2019, 2020. I told myself I was going to make the time. So in the evenings, once the kids went to bed and the kitchen was cleaned up, rather than doing my evening plop down with Netflix, cheese and crackers, and a glass of wine, or a plate of Cool Ranch Doritos.

    I started looking up YouTube videos, like beginner YouTube videos, on how to sew. I got myself a small sewing machine, I got myself some material, and I made myself a little quilt. I'm actually going to post a picture of this on Instagram. If you are following me, I'm the unstoppable mom, right? I'm going to show you a picture of the quilts that I made. I was so incredibly proud of it too, because I had this amazing product at the end of my work. Something that I felt really good about it's lasted years now. And I felt no regret when I was working on my sewing project. The beauty of having other hobbies separate from food is we get to have breaks from our life.

    We get to take breaks from our life stresses. We get to cultivate something that brings us joy, that relaxes our mind and our nervous system. And we can do so without actually having any regret afterwards. So I encourage you if you have ever told yourself that you don't have time to pick up a new hobby, to challenge that thought. Because we're spending a lot of time eating when our body is not actually hungry. We're spending a lot of time thinking about these goals that we're not meeting. We're spending a lot of time thinking about how we have no fun and how we have no breaks. What if we took all of that time and we just invested it towards figuring out one hobby that brings us true joy?

    The next thing that I think is really important to make space for fun in your life, this one may or may not give you direct fun. It might is to actually get more high quality sleep and get science on your side I cannot tell you how many times I meet clients that come to work with me that are basically throwing the kitchen sink at the weight loss problem. They are eating little to no carbs They are counting every single point that they eat. They're, they're telling themselves that they're never allowed to, you know, have a piece of cheesecake that they have to hit the treadmill six days a week. And they're overworking at work and overworking in their minds. So they're not getting high quality sleep. When clients come to me from this lens, the thing that I want to show them, the thing that I teach them in the group is simply getting science on your side to understand how all of these strategies are not making you a fat burner will make. base for more fun. These are fads. And I think that when we can understand the difference between a fad and science, we can start to simplify our weight loss process. And the reason that I wanted to just throw this in as an important piece of having more fun with weight loss is when you get science on your side, you start to understand how weight loss can be simpler than you realized.

    And when you blow your mind with that, you make space for more fun. The next piece of how to have more fun with weight loss is to stop numbing your stress. You know, what makes life more fun than really anything else is to actually solve problems. We have these challenging moments in our life. We are busy professional moms, whether it's with your children, with your family, with aging parents, with something at work. And we think just throwing in a cookie every now and then is. It's us having fun is us taking a break, but eating to numb and distract ourselves from real life stresses is actually incredibly not fun. And we know this because throwing in the occasional cookie, the occasional glass of wine to take a break from your life stresses is not solving any problems. So this piece of the strategy on how to have more fun. Fun is an invitation to stop eating your way through stress and decide right now that you want to address stress at the root. One of the things that brings me an incredible amount of satisfaction and what creates an amazing results for my clients in the Unstoppable group is we get to coach on real life stresses that my clients have in their professional and personal life.

    I want you to imagine how much would shift for you in your personal life when you feel less stressed about your kids. about your aging parents, about your mile long task list. What would shift for you if you learned how to overcome your overwhelm with all the things in your work and be actually more productive? Keeping your stress is like keeping a 20 pound backpack on your weight loss journey. And in my experience, it is costing you an incredible amount of time and energy and absolutely costing you fun. One of my favorite parts about how we address stress at the root in the Unstoppable group is not just having our live weekly coaching calls where you get coached live on whatever is coming up for you that's creating your stress, but the 24 seven written coaching cafe, which is truly one of my favorite parts of the group.

    You get to pop in literally anytime into the written coaching cafe with what's coming up for you. And in real time in between our coaching calls, you get coached on what is happening. This leads me to the next part of the strategy on how to have more fun with weight loss. And that is social support and connection with other humans. When you surround yourself with people that have like mindedness, that care about the things that you care about, you are going to feel connection, you're going to stop feeling alone in the problem, and you will actually improve your ability to solve problems. Our brains, it's really fascinating, have mirror neurons.

    Have you ever seen it? It's like, for example, with your kids. When your kids start hanging out with maybe a certain group of friends, they start talking and acting like those friends. Have you ever noticed that happening? We all do this because we have mirror neurons. Which leads me to the question, who are you surrounding yourself with on purpose? Are you around people that are always complaining about their problems? Or are you around people who are prioritizing solutions? Complaining might sound temporarily fun, like commiserating, and I get into that pool all the time, but in the long run, when that's all we're doing, you and I both know, it's not actually fun. Complaining and commiserating in long periods of time or surrounding yourself with people that are constantly complaining really feels like a drag. After a while, it even becomes borderline annoying in my experience. What is a way more fun is when you find people who are solving problems or who are interested in hearing about the problem and then coming up with solutions.

    I can't tell you how often in the Unstoppable group I see this happening. Just recently, one of my clients was getting coached on her stress around aging parents. And as we did a deep dive on this and really got to the root of her stress and the real problem and coaching on the solution for it, we found out that So many others in the group were not just nodding along, emphatically nodding along. They were sharing in the chat that the coaching that this client was receiving resonated with them so much and that this coaching was for them too. We aren't commiserating about our problems, commiserating about our children or about our lifelong task list or our aging parents. We are coaching on understanding why we have the stress, the worry, the overwhelm, the frustration, the anger in the problem that we're dealing with and most importantly how to navigate solving those problems at the root. It is gratification at its core and in my experience when you get coached on these topics and when you experience the coaching of others that are like minded and you have the social support to connect with like minded individuals you get relief because you get seen and heard by others that are very similar to you. And it makes problem solving so much more fun. So I want to just overview before I go into the one caveat that is incredibly important, how to have more fun with weight loss. Number one, stop chasing just the rewards, stop chasing just the dopamine hits, and really focus on loving the effort and loving the process.

    Number two, make sure that you have other hobbies. Food is fun, but it's not the only fun, and we have to give our brain other alternatives. Number three, get sleep and science on your side. Having science on your side to become a fat burner, and this includes getting more sleep, is going to blow your mind with how much simpler weight loss can be. Reason number four, stop numbing stresses with food and actually get to the bottom of why you feel stressed. Reason number five, really think about what it would feel like for you to have social support and connection with like minded individuals. What would it be like to stop commiserating on the problem but instead focus on solutions?

    This leads me to the one caveat that I think is essential, because I'm not here to just paint rainbows and unicorns and daisies and give you a one sided picture of weight loss. That weight loss is fun all the time. It's not, which leads me to this caveat. Yes, it's really important to have fun on the journey, to create more fun in weight loss, which is the whole intention of this episode. However, it's also important to remember and recognize and accept that there will be hard moments with weight loss. There will be boring moments. with weight loss. There will be challenges that you have to learn how to navigate and that might not be so easy and fun all the time. And I wanted to mention this caveat because I know that high achievers especially with perfectionist tendencies sometimes have this very all or nothing approach and I wanted to put this in here, put this into this specific episode because there's a nuance to this.

    Yes, I want you to find fun on purpose. And to really bring fun and more joy and happiness on the journey to love weight loss because it is going to help you stop taking breaks from it and also to accept the reality that there will be challenging moments, which is why working with a coach is so essential in the Unstoppable group. I really guide my clients step by step to craft a process that's based in science. To make weight loss more fun, to feel satisfied on the journey. And also I coach them when it gets hard because that's a normal part of the process. I hope today's episode felt like a comprehensive dive into why weight loss hasn't been fun for you up until this point. And also know that not having fun infused into the process and into your journey does have a cost. The reality is no one else. Me included can make weight loss fun for you. No PDF, no magic pill, no mini course will make weight loss fun for you. Your kids, your partner, and your boss cannot do it for you. This is one of those things that is a decision that you have to make. That you've decided, I can see the value of making weight loss fun, and now you have to go make it happen. You keep hating weight loss. And keep thinking it's UGH. It'll be no surprise to me, and hopefully now you, that you'll keep needing breaks from it, making really inconsistent results for you on the scale.

    We're here because we want to learn sustainable science backed strategies that last a lifetime, and infusing joy and some fun along the way is a necessary piece. If you loved today's episode, I would love it, love it if you shared it with a friend and committed together that you are done commiserating and hating and coo pooing weight loss and instead decide starting today, moving forward, that you're on a new mission to make weight loss feel more fun. I cannot wait for you and your journey, and I'm so glad to be a part of the process. Thanks for listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more resources or information from the show, head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com.

Join The Magic

Value driven ooey-gooey goodness, strategies and skills delivered right to your inbox every week.