With this week’s theme of Mindset and Clarity, the goal is to unpack why some high-performing professionals are able to handle so much and stay on top of things, but cannot seem to get a handle on their wellness journey, especially their diet. My guest is Sonia Jhas, a well-known TV personality and mindset and wellness expert.
Here is Part Two of our conversation:
Raj Girn: So what do you say to people out there who are in that place right now, Sonia? Who are kind of faced with this fear of the failure part of the dieting versus if they are in a place where they’re kind of like, “If I start this diet, I’m afraid that I’m going to fail anyway. So maybe I shouldn’t start it.” There’s two school of thought there. What would you say to these people at this moment?
I think there’s a couple of things that really need to be addressed because what you said is actually loaded with so much. I mean, I feel like we can talk about both of those things for hours in and of themselves. When we look at the fear and the anxiety that we create for ourselves around, “Okay, I’m going to start the diet, but then what’s the point? I’m probably going to fail again. I can always make it to date three, but by day four, everything goes out the window. Even if I can make it to four weeks by the fifth week, I know that I’m going to throw in the towel like I always do.” We carry around these very powerful, limiting beliefs with us that really do, without us realizing it, put us in this predetermined reality that we’re fighting so hard against.
But what we don’t realize is that by not acknowledging and unpacking and layering those limiting beliefs and really facing them head-on. And I’m not saying it’s easy. It involves a tremendous amount of self-work, to really be honest enough, and to look at your internal narrative closely enough to be able to get a grasp on what’s really happening there. One, where is that noise coming from and what does it mean to you? Without doing that, we will continuously find ourselves falling off that way exactly at the same time, maybe with a little bit of variance here and there. But we will continue to have that pattern again and again and again because we are telling ourselves that that is the predetermined future that we always find ourselves in.
So for the person who is scared and for the person who thinks there may not be any point because they always find themselves in this position, it is that narrative that needs to be unpacked in order for them to actually be able to move forward. And for the other person who is ready to get back on the wagon, more hardcore than ever. My very, very sincere advice — and this is more challenging than you would believe. I get how hard it is because I have been there and once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist. You are a recovering perfectionist for life. And I would be lying if I said that some of that doesn’t creep its way back in. And it’s something that you constantly have to stay vigilant about and monitor because it’s very easy to get sucked back into that tailspin. But for those of you who are really committed to just getting back into it and being super hardcore, it cannot be the all-or-nothing approach.
“For the person who is scared and for the person who thinks there may not be any point because they always find themselves in this position, it is that narrative that needs to be unpacked in order for them to actually be able to move forward.” ~Sonia Jhas
It cannot be this big endeavor that you are going to set yourself up on where you’re going to work out seven days a and you are going to cut out all carbs and you are going to intermittent fast at the same time. And you are going to commit yourself to this lifestyle that, first of all, doesn’t feel that good. Second of all is unsustainable. And third of all, you don’t actually really want deep down inside that piece of it — that’s what sets us up for failure. And my recommendation would be to actually reverse engineer this in a very different way. I used to be like, “I’m going to do it all. I’m going to do it fast, and then I’m going to somehow figure out how to sustain that.” The sustaining wasn’t even a part of the equation for me. It was like the future Sonya will figure that out later.
And that’s the big thing, right, Sonya? I know from my experience and many other women will relate to this is, getting to kind of that goal weight isn’t the hardest part because, as an A-type, as a busy professional, we’re always kind of wired, our DNA is such that I need to get from A to Z. This is my roadmap. And once you get there, you move on to the next A to Z. The issue is and the one that I know that many people will be able to relate to that are listening, watching or reading, this is just this whole idea of how do we sustain this and create a lifestyle around this that doesn’t become based on getting to a goal.
Well, it’s exactly right. We are trying to break the pattern of running towards a body we love, but a life we hate. Because you can do that, you can get the body you love, through the life you hate. But can you sustain that? No, because you don’t hate yourself. Deep down in there, you don’t hate yourself. You don’t want a life you hate for the body that you love. And so the question is, how do we bring those two together where we end up with a body that we love, that we feel confident and aligned in. But the life that we have built around it is empowering. It’s sustainable. It gives us energy. It brings us happiness. It brings us joy. It is a part of the joy equation. And I think that for me that is the most important thing. And when we look at this, you know, let me lose the 10 pounds. Happiness is 10 pounds away. And then once I get there, I’ll figure out a way to sustain it. The actual approach is how do I start?
With the smallest changes possible. And then create a sense of momentum and positivity that I can build on week over a week over a week so that the heavy lifting doesn’t feel so unmanageable and so that we don’t go up and then crash right down. So I’ll give you an example. When I had to lose 60 pounds post-baby this second time around, and now I didn’t have to lose 60 pounds, of course my body had changed. Who knows where I was going to end up. But my goal was to feel as strong as I used to feel, pre-baby. And when I set off on that journey, it was COVID. And so I was stuck at home. I had these babies and there was a lot of noise around, well, how am I going to do this? How is this going to be something that becomes positive instead of soul sucking? For me, week number one, my goal was, can you drink two liters of water every day? It wasn’t can you drink two liters of water every day? Only eat salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, get four workouts done this week, lift as heavy as you used to, and then meditate all day on Sunday. No, no one will.
But this is what we do, Sonia.
This is what we do because we want it all and we want it now and we’re inpatient and we want to feel good. And we are looking at this as the ticket to happiness, even though we don’t want to admit it. And the thing is, when you set yourself up for success, you do so by setting such small, practically stupid goals that you cannot fail on so that you can create this positivity snowball the same way that we do for our children. You know you’re potty training a child, gold star because you went to the washroom. Gold star because you had some veggies. Gold star because you took a good shot. We are so willing to give our children gold stars, but when it comes to us as adults, we’re like, no, you didn’t do perfectly. So failed compliance. You’re a disaster and you’re destined to be large for life. I think the point is how do we create a road map that feels so easy and so subtle that it’s impossible for you to veer off track.
“When you set yourself up for success, you do so by setting such small, practically stupid goals, that you cannot fail on so that you can create this positivity snowball the same way that we do for our children.” ~Sonia Jhas
So week number one is are you drinking water? Week number two is what can you layer in from a nutrition standpoint without worrying about what you are taking out? How do we layer in the good without coming at this from a scarcity mindset? So often we’re like, let’s take out all the junk. Never do we think, why don’t I start by being like, what if this week I eat one really big salad every day? And then if I also want eat a box of cookies, I’ll eat the box of cookies. But let me just commit to eating one big salad every day. And what does that do seven days later? You’re like, oh, I did the salad every day. Turns out like I’m not as hungry as I used to be. I did have a cookie, but I didn’t have a box of cookies. And then you’re like two weeks down. I’m hydrating every day. I’m eating a salad every day. What else can I layer in? Let’s start to move our body this week. Let’s take three sessions at 20 minutes each and move our body in a way that we don’t hate.
The other thing we do is we’re like, we’re going to exercise, and let’s become runners. Most people don’t like running. If you set yourself up to become a runner, you probably won’t do it because you don’t actually like running. So maybe the idea is how do we start doing some version of the exercise, whether it’s yoga, whether it’s Pilates, whether it’s strength training, whether it’s some version of cardio. Why don’t you start with something that actually feels like, okay, I wouldn’t mind doing that, whether it’s with a friend or individually? And it’s that slow progression where, a month in, for example, you’ve made four pretty sizable changes. And of course, I’m not saying it’s linear. Of course, to make this exponential, it becomes exponential from a place of positivity and enthusiasm and excitement and a sense of pride, as opposed to constantly looking over your shoulder being like, “Oh, my God, it’s about to go away. I’m about to fall off the wagon.” That becomes that fear-based mentality based on our limiting beliefs that we end up sort of continuously trying to run away from.
And so for all of you who are struggling with the yo-yo dieting and you’re trying to find finally crack the code on this, what can you do now in this next iteration to make this so basic and so simple at the beginning that you can’t fail and that you’re motivated to then challenge yourself week over week? How do I kick this up a notch? How do I kick this up a notch? And you’ll be surprised. For a lot of people, they sit there going like, “How did you lose sixty pounds in six to nine months sort of thing?” And I’m like, “You know what, six to nine months is not a long time, but it’s also a long time when you continue to refine and refine day after day, week over week, and it is linear, and then it’s exponential.” But it wasn’t that I was like refining, failing, refining, failing, getting back up, getting back down. And when you look at progress, if you can find the way to make it this more harmonious, albeit slower route to success, what ends up happening, though, is that not only do you get the success that you want, it feels like, first of all, it wasn’t that much heavy lifting. And second of all, that it ain’t no thang to keep it. This is now a lifestyle that feels joyous and aligned as opposed to I’m one step away from falling off track all the time.
You said something so fundamental that I just want to make sure that people actually got what you were saying, that a lot of people don’t say. Most people who mentor dieting and trying to figure out how to lose weight. They oftentimes tell you all the things that you have to remove from what you’re doing. What you’ve said is before you can remove, you need to first add in the good stuff, whatever that may be.
“Most people who mentor dieting and trying to figure out how to lose weight, they oftentimes tell you all the things that you have to remove from what you’re doing. What you’ve said is before you can remove, you need to first add in the good stuff, whatever that may be.” ~Raj Girn
Add in the good stuff. When we think about it’s the law of attraction. And we think of manifestation, which we all know, you are great love, we always want to think about attracting more of what we want. We want to be bringing in more of the good stuff and we want to be keeping that vibe going so that we can have more of the good stuff. And yet when we look at health and wellness the same way that we do know, we look at careers separately, we look at the universe separately, and then we put health and wellness in a completely separate bucket like its own tangent. But if we apply the same principles in its most basic sense, what are we trying to do? We are trying to bring in more of the good stuff so that the bad stuff sort of goes out the window more seamlessly.
And I think the point is that when we focus on the good, we create an environment where we want more and more of the good and the stuff that brings us off track, that it’s pulling us back. I don’t want to seem like it seamlessly sort itself out. There’s a ton of work that goes into this for sure from an internal standpoint, but I haven’t done it the other way around. Time and time and time again, it’s cut out carbs, cut out sugar or cut out this. No more alcohol; all the things that I can do and that never work. But when you set yourself up for abundance through better nutrition, better movement, things that feel good and that you can really latch on to some of those other things that you may feel have a very strong hold on, you suddenly don’t feel as palpable and as sort of rigid as they used to.
So let me ask you this now. You work with people in two capacities. You work with people one-on-one and you work with them in a group setting. First of all, let me ask you this. Who is the perfect avatar for the one-on-one versus the group setting? So we can kind of understand anyone out there that is interested in working with you to kind of really understand how to do this for themselves. Because what you’re talking about is being able to cultivate the right way of doing this that fits within your belief system as a human being. And you help people do this. So who’s the right person to work with you one-on-one versus the group setting? Let’s talk a little bit about that.
That’s a great question. I would say there’s two main factors when it comes to the one-on-one that I think really make it a valuable journey for people. One is the very deep, introspective work that we do together. So those that come into the one-on-one program, the applications that we choose are the ones where we are very clear that this person is ready to dive deep into their own narratives and to be able to really look at why they are where they are at today, at this inflection point. And I think if you’re not ready to really go deep and go within with me — of course, it’s very hard to do the one-on-one program and feel like you’re really finally making this the last time you were ever on the wagon or off the wagon. So I think that is the biggest piece. It’s like if you feel like you’re ready to go deep and you need that to happen, that doesn’t happen in the group setting the same way.
There’s a lot of the same facilitation and a lot of those prompts and a lot of that communal and layering from a coaching standpoint. But we’re not spending session after session diving deep into what happened to you when you were nine and how that potentially had a major impact on how you framed your relationship with body and food, et cetera. And so I think that is a major component. The other major component, I’d say, from a one-on-one perspective is a lifestyle. And just the type of person that you are. Some people want to really go deep and go hard and commit and do that sort of heavy lifting, both from a price point standpoint, but also from a work effort standpoint. And it’s a different level of commitment and investment involved on that front. But of course, there is a tremendous amount of movement and shift that happens through a journey like that.
The group coaching, I think, is tremendous for everybody who still wants to get the goods. They want to get the knowledge, they want to get the fundamentals. They want to understand the mindset shifts that need to be made. They want to understand values, perfectionist tendencies, limiting beliefs, and get the exercises and tools that they can do on their own to be able to help move them through that. But in this community setting where they feel less alone, where they feel less damaged because they can see that everybody in the group has very similar underpinnings. Everybody has different versions of this, but we all really boil down to very similar narratives. And so I think for people who really want that group support, they want that community feeling and they also feel like they’ve got a pretty decent handle on it. They’re like, “You know, I’m working out already, but it’s not working so well. I’m eating. But I’m a bit confused.”
Also, I notice that these few things keep creeping back up. I just don’t know how to put the equation together properly. Can we do that together? That’s where it becomes really sort of impactful for people in the group program, because not only do they get all those fundamentals and all that learning, but then we troubleshoot as a group week over week. And one of the things they’ll say that’s so fascinating from a group standpoint is, we’re all so different, we’re all on different journeys, and yet there is always a consistency to people’s journeys, even week over week. Happens to be that four girls will have been like that was a bad week. I ate terribly. I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t mobilize myself from a workout perspective. I did it. I showed up, but here are my challenges. Three of the other girls are like me, too.
And, it’s again, sort of breaking down that fear around, like, am I damaged? Is this something I’m never going to be able to solve? It becomes this collective that I think really gives people added motivation, commitment, and sort of camaraderie in the whole thing that can be really beneficial. So they’re both similar and yet very different. And I’d say that the biggest thing to ask yourself is do you want to go individual and go deep and really make this a very personal transformation to yourself because you know that that’s what you need. Or are you looking to gain clarity on all the things that you sort of already know? You’re kind of already doing it, but we really need to figure out a way to bring it all together so that it’s a high-functioning formula for the rest of your life. But you want to do it in a more fun and more positive sort of group environment. And that would be the way to go.
“The biggest thing to ask yourself is do you want to go individual and go deep and really make this a very personal transformation to yourself because you know that that’s what you need. Or are you looking to gain clarity on all the things that you sort of already know?” ~Sonia Jhas
That’s wonderful. Guys, we have run out of time and I feel like our conversation has just begun, which means that, Sonia, you know, we’re got to have you back because I know that we’re going to be bombarded with questions about know personal experiences and trying to unpack some of this. So anyone out there that’s interested in finding out more of how they can work with you in either of the capacities, where do they need to go?
To my website, soniajhas.com, and my SJ Semester Program is on the website. And you can find out all the details there as well. I’m very active on Instagram and Facebook. And so, if you’re looking for less of a program and more just general sort of health and wellness mindset tips and just ongoing sort of motivation and positivity, I would say that is a place to head over to. So both options work really well, depending on what you’re looking for.
Wonderful. And are there any final words that you’d like to leave everyone with? Because I know that one question that I have for you is, do you ever fall off of the bandwagon? And if you do, how do you get right back up? Because it seems like you never do,
You know? Well . . .
You told me that you have obviously.
I’ll say that I think the shift for me is that there is no bandwagon anymore. It is all just more flexibility or less flexibility. It is all an ebb and flow. And I think when I shifted my mindset from this isn’t a wagon, this is just me as a person living a lifestyle that may evolve. And there may be seasons where it’s tighter in seasons, where it’s looser in seasons where I feel like I deserve more compassion and more play and more flexibility. And then seasons where I feel like I need to scale it back and focus again on nutrition and wellness, because that’s what’s going to make me feel good. I think for me that has been the most dynamic shift because there’s no guilt. There’s no judgment. I’m just living according to my values and I’m allowed to ebb and flow as opposed to it being one step away from falling off track at any point in time. So for any of you listening out there where you’re sort of struggling with how do you frame this for yourself, I think the biggest question to ask yourself going forward is why does there need to be a bandwagon? Why are you better when you’re on the wagon and worse when you’re off the wagon, when both versions of you or any version of you can harmoniously exist in the ebb and flow if you choose to make that how you want to live.
“For any of you listening out there where you’re sort of struggling with how do you frame this for yourself, I think the biggest question to ask yourself going forward is why does there need to be a bandwagon? Why are you better when you’re on the wagon and worse when you’re off the wagon, when both versions of you or any version of you can harmoniously exist in the ebb and flow if you choose to make that how you want to live.” ~Sonia Jhas
Right. Just amazing last words, Sonia. Thank you so much for hanging out with us. You have got to come back because I know that there’s so much more that we need to talk about. But folks, what you need to do is you need to go and check out Sonia. Just all the information is there. You even have recipes and nutrition and a whole bunch of other stuff there that people can tap into right?
Oh the interweb and its beautiful facets. Yes, there’s lots there. And we’re just actually currently revitalizing the whole thing. So it’s going to look even prettier, even sexier. And so jump online. There’s a wealth of information there.
I really hope that you got some real value from our discussion today, folks and that you understand the importance of being in charge of your personal wellness journey because that’s really what we’re talking about here. And everyone’s journey is different. And I think that’s the goal. And that’s the big takeaway here, is figuring out what that means to you. And if you can’t figure it out and you need an accountability partner, you need more knowledge on this. You want to figure out the step by steps of helping you get there and empower yourself to be able to not keep going on and off the bandwagon that Sony has been talking about that. You really should go check out soniajhas.com and just just go hang out there and see what it is that might resonate with you. And as mentioned, there are also recipes. And if any of that isn’t where you want to go right now, go hang out on her Instagram. Sonia, what’s your Instagram? Because there are so much great nuggets of wisdom and things that you share there that even that alone should be able to help people to really kind of identify and hone in on what it is that they want out of their life.
Absolutely. So the handle is @soniajhas and I look forward to meeting all these new folks. Anyone who pops over, be sure to say hi. Let me know that you sort of came from this avenue. Any friend of Raj is a friend of mine. And we’ll navigate the journey together. That’s what this is all about.
Thank you so much, Sonia. I absolutely adore you. Thank you so, so much for coming on.