Does permanent weight loss really exist? For many, they hold a belief that sustained weight loss is not possible, resulting in frustration and lots of time and money wasted trying all the new diet trends. In this episode, I’m breaking down this conviction so you can start to believe that permanent weight loss is possible for you, and get off the weight loss hamster wheel once and for all.

Listen in as I discuss why awareness is the first step to overcoming the belief that permanent weight loss is not possible, and share all the ways that this belief can actually keep you stuck. I also talk about the importance of learning how to emotionally and mentally support yourself so you can not only lose weight, but also live a happier and more fulfilled life.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Why you might not believe that weight loss is permanent
  • The ways in which this belief can keep you stuck
  • How to overcome your belief that weight loss is not permanent
  • The key to shifting your mindset to achieve permanent weight loss

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Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell: You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 285.

Welcome to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians Podcast. I'm your host, master certified, life and weight loss coach, Katrina Ubell, MD. This is the podcast where busy doctors like you come to learn how to lose weight for the last time by harnessing the power of your mind.

If you're looking to overcome your stress-eating and exhaustion, and move into freedom around food, you're in the right place.

Hello there, my friend, welcome back to the podcast. And if you're new, I'm so glad you're here today, what a great podcast to start with.

I am freezing cold right now. Before I picked up my microphone to start recording this, I just added another layer. I was so cold a little bit ago, so I put on like a thick, warm cardigan and socks, and I'm still freezing. And so, I'm literally wrapped up like a baby in a blanket. I'm a little burrito over here.

I don't know, it's just a really, really rainy day today. It's kind of gray, which I've mentioned several times on this podcast before that I do actually love a rainy day, but it's just kind of chilly. It's just like that cold, wet, in your bones kind of cold.

I was actually, when I was grabbing that sweater, I looked out the window and noticed that all my garbage cans have the lids open and are being filled with water because it's raining. And when I say all my garbage cans, let me just mention that I have one garbage can and two recycling bins, and they're actually provided by the city.

And so, they have like a hinged lid and we just put them out on garbage day out by the street. And then the truck comes by and it's like this … I don't know, I think the driver has some sort of like joystick or something to drive the — I don't know what those are; the claw. It reminds me of toy story — the claw.

The claw comes and grabs it, tips it up, dumps it out, puts it back down again. And more often than not as it does that, the lid stays open. And on a day like today, it's just collecting rain. It might as well just be also doubling up as a rain barrel for me.

So, now, I'm like, “Hmm, should I do something about that? Should I see if somebody else in the family notices?” Do you ever do that where you're like, “I'm just going to pretend like I didn't know that that happened, maybe somebody else can check.”

Anyway, I'm human too, I'm telling you. I don't want to go out there and deal with it. So, that's what I've got going on here today.

Now, listen, before we start talking about permanent weight loss and believing in that possibility, I wanted to just let you know that my book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-Based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss is available for pre-order right now.

So, the release date, the day it'll be published, the day that if you pre-order it, it should be showing up in your mailbox is September 20th, but that's actually really close. That's going to be here before you know it. And I just am super proud of this book. I think it is such a great culmination of what I stand for and what I recommend in order to lose weight for the last time. And I know you're not going to want to miss out on it, plus it's just pretty.

So, even if you just want to see what the cover looks like, head on over to You can see the cover and there's actually options of retailers to purchase from because some people are super into the typical Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and others like to support their local bookshops, and we have links for you for all of those.

So, have a look for sure. And of course, if you know anybody who you think could benefit from this book, then please go ahead and share it with them as well. We often know people who are struggling with their weight in their lives.

And I'm not going to just minimize the idea that you typically wouldn't want to just go up to somebody that you've never had a conversation regarding this subject with and be like, “Hey, I have a book for you. It's called How to Lose Weight for the Last Time.”

That might not be very well-accepted. So, maybe we don't do that. But if there's someone in your life where you know it's something that you've discussed with them or it's something that they're working on or that they've struggled with, then you might want to buy them a book or just let them know that it's available and see if they might be interested.

So, once again,

Alright, let's talk about believing in permanent weight loss.

So, this topic was inspired by another podcast, a different podcast that I very kind of randomly ended up finding this podcast. I was listening to another podcast, and then the host of that show was recommending this podcast. And so, I just thought, oh, interesting. Like I wonder what that's all about.

So, I started listening to a few of the episodes and I noticed something immediately that I thought was really, really interesting. And it definitely made me immediately inspired to do a podcast episode on it because I think this is something that's like a real issue. And if you're not aware of it, you could fall into doing the exact same thing as this person.

So, first of all, I'm just going to say everyone's on their own path or own journey. I'm not going to say that one way is better than another way. It's just something that I've really noticed and something that I think is important to be aware of. And it's something for each individual person to decide on their own, how they want to approach it. But I think that pointing it out, awareness is always going to be the best first thing.

So, I was listening to this podcast and the host was describing how he had basically always kind of struggled with his weight, even as a younger child and his whole story. It actually kind of broke my heart with how certain things were handled in terms of his doctors and things like that.

Sounds like he was really pretty much a healthy kid, but back in the day when he was growing up, children tended to be thinner than they are now. And so, he was immediately at a quite young age, put on a restrictive diet and that just led into him struggling with his weight his whole life. So, that, I have lots to say about, basically, all my other episodes about how we move through that.

But what he was describing was his whole story and I noticed like the throughline was that he basically, his whole life, just moved from diet to diet and fitness goal to fitness goal, and then had periods of gaining a bunch of the weight back. And then getting back on track again, losing the weight, diet to diet, trying all the different things, fitness goal to fitness goal, and then gaining the weight back again.

And it was just this pattern, this cycle that I think at least on some levels so many of us resonate with. I think the level of fluctuations that he dealt with are more so than what I personally have dealt with, but I still identified with that.

It was like, “Ah, I just want some relief, what's the latest thing? Someone must have figured out a better mouse trap. Like what is the way to hack the body so that I can get this weight off,” and trying all these different things because I used to do it all too.

And the fitness goals too, can be a way to kind of be like, “Well, okay, maybe I won't focus so much on the food anymore. Now, I'll focus on training for some sort of run or some sort of triathlon or some sort of other physical event.”

I've actually had several people either email me who are podcast listeners or people in real life tell me, “Hey, you know what, like my big goal is to be able to compete in a fitness competition.” So, like the bikini competition for women or some of the other, I don't even know what the terms are for all that stuff — but you know what I'm talking about.

And when I hear that, I kind of don't want to take the wind out of the sails, I'm like, “Okay, great. Yeah, go for it.” But what I know from talking to many people who've been in that world is that there are so many people in that community who have extremely disordered eating and have a real significant problem, let's just say with food and their weight and that's not necessarily always the best goal. That can really actually make things worse.

So, what I noticed though with the throughline was a need and a desire to find novelty. And I think so many of us can relate with this. Like what's the latest thing, what's the new way of doing things, what's the new thing to count, what's the new thing to remove from your diet? You know, what's the new percentages of how you should be eating things?

And it got me really thinking that I don't believe that this host actually believes himself that permanent weight loss is a possibility, that it really could exist. And in his defense, why would he, when his entire life, many, many decades have been just gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight.

But it's evident when you don't believe that permanent weight loss is possible because there's so much tied up in moving diet to diet, fitness goal to fitness goal. Just kind of almost like it's like a treading water kind of energy.

It's kind of like, “Well, I'm just going to try to maintain this as much as I can until that all falls apart. And then I'll pick up the next thing and then I'll try that until that falls apart. And then I'll start working out for this thing until I can't do that anymore or my body breaks down or I don't have time for it anymore” or whatever that is, and just moving from thing to thing to thing. Even the point of this podcast is to talk to experts, to try to find out new more things.

Now, I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, and that's very well, could be amazing and getting more information out there is always going to be great for people. But I think that the result of believing that weight loss could be permanent is different than when you're attempting weight loss without that belief. When you believe that weight loss could be permanent, the result of this belief — remember your beliefs are your thoughts, they create your feelings, which drive your actions, which create your results.

So, when you believe that weight loss could be permanent, the result of this belief is that you're much more likely to create permanent weight loss. If you don't believe that weight loss really could be permanent or it's not possible for you for it to be permanent, or you think that it's very unusual for it to be permanent, or only small percentage of people are able to create permanent weight loss — then the result of that belief is that it's going to be so much harder for you to create permanent weight loss.

So, when you don't believe, at least on some level that permanent weight loss is possible, then you get sucked into these fads. You get sucked into always trying something new. And I was thinking about it. It's like we talk about food as entertainment. You know, we think about food and it entertains us and we talk about food and we watch food-related shows, and we are listening to food-related podcasts and reading books about it and all of that.

So, it's like food entertainment when there are other ways to entertain yourself besides food. You don't need to ask food to do that. It's like weight loss entertainment or like fitness entertainment, where these people are like constantly watching videos and reading books about this and listening to podcasts about weight loss.

Not that some of it isn't supportive, but it's like they're almost entertaining themselves through weight loss rather than actually solving the problem that creates the extra weight in the first place. And thereby, finding some stability in your weight and your eating and maintaining that weight loss versus continuing the cycle right of food and weight and weight loss obsession.

So, if you think that weight loss, if you believe that weight loss can be permanent, you're much more likely to find that stability and to do the work to solve the actual core problem that created the weight in the first place.

When you don't believe that weight loss could be permanent, you're much more likely to be in that cycle of food — weight, weight loss obsession — gaining weight — losing weight — trying the latest thing — what's the new book, what's the new whatever … of course, my book is different. It actually is, but you could be like, “How is your book any different? It's just another one.”

Well, because we're opting out of all of that. That's how it's different. It's called How to Lose Weight for the Last Time. We want to actually solve the real problem.

So, the thing is that I think that most people just are not aware that you really could solve the problem, that there actually could be something deeper to work through that would solve the problem rather than just going like, “Well, I just need to really figure out the latest hack or the latest biohack on whatever. And like if I'm drinking exogenous ketones, like that's going to be the thing.”

And here's the thing, whoever wants to do that is welcomed to do that. If that's working for them and they love doing it for the rest of their lives, then amazing, go ahead and do that. I still think the emphasis is on the wrong thing.

Or maybe if it's like if you like the 80/20 rule, like maybe they're emphasizing 80% of their time on the food and weight loss and all the exercise and all that, and maybe only 20% on actually solving what the real problem is.

I suggest that you flip it the other way, where you only need to spend about 20% of the effort on getting your food straightened out and supporting your body, then you start losing weight. What you should be doing is spending the 80% on really figuring out what's going on for you. Like what is the problem that food is solving? Let's actually solve the problem for good so that we can move on.

So, when you're stuck in this cycle of food and weight and weight loss obsession, what this keeps you from doing is that real work that is necessary. And what that real work is, is reducing your desire for food so that the amount of desire you have, how much you want food is appropriate for how much food your body needs.

Excess desire, over desire means wanting food more than is appropriate for how much food your body needs. So, I don't care what hack or diet you're on, like it's not going to get solved by changing up what you eat or counting or measuring something. This is specific work that you have to do that's thought-based.

So, we need to reduce our desire to an appropriate level. We need to learn to listen to our body's signals. What I find with so many of these different fat diets and programs and this and that, it has nothing to do with what your body is actually telling you. It has everything to do with what the plan de jure is telling you to do.

I mean, sometimes it's a little personalized based on maybe your gender or your height or what weight you're starting out at, but then it's just like this is how much food you get and it should be in these proportions. And we recommend eating this and not eating that, and all these different things.

And I just argue that the first thing we need to do is reconnect to our actual bodies. I mean, literally just think about it from a logic standpoint. I think this is like the Midwesterner in me combined with having German parents. Like there's just this practicality to me that I just cannot escape from.

Like just think about humans being in existence in our current form for 200,000 years. The absolute vast majority of the time, the majority of people did not struggle with a weight issue. They listened to their body's signals at least to a certain extent.

Maybe we would argue that, okay, well, when food was really scarce, when food was around, maybe you did overeat and maybe that's why we do have the ability to overeat. So, you could pack on a little extra weight to make it through the winter. We could argue with that.

But once we really figured out basically, like agriculture, and we could consistently create our own food, for the most part, there was not really a benefit to overeating. If you ate more of the food stores now, you'd have less later. That was actually a bad thing. That would harm you or the people you love or cared about in the future.

So, listening to your body's signals, learning how to reconnect and possibly also eating in a way so that your brain isn't hijacked and your body isn't hijacked hormonally, so that you actually can get the message through loud and clear rather than totally like muddled and indecipherable, which is the way it is when we're eating certain foods — basically, if you're like, “Well, like what? Like flour and sugar?”

And I'm not saying you can't have those for the rest of your life, I'm just saying when you first are learning how to reconnect with your body's signals, really, really helps to take a break from that because it makes the signals so much clearer, so much more obvious.

Do you need to eat right now? Are you actually hungry? Like how do you know? What does physical hunger feel like? What does actual satiety feel like in your body? Not stopping eating because the food is gone or because your eyeballs tell you that that's the right amount or because you weighed and measured, and that person said it was the right amount.

Not stopping even though you aren't satisfied because this diet plan said you shouldn't get to eat more food, which only puts you into the thought process of like this is restrictive and only ends up driving overeating in the long run.

So, what is the real work? We need to reduce our desire to an appropriate. Number two, is we need to listen to our body's signals. Jumping from diet plan to diet plan and fitness goal to fitness goal is not going to teach you that.

And the third thing you have to learn how to do is process your actual emotions. And depending on your life story, there might be some actual trauma work that needs to be done as well. And that's something that I'm going to be discussing in a podcast in the future here, so I won't touch on it too much more.

But learning how to actually emotionally support yourself so that you are not requiring food to do that for you is so, so, so important. I mean, this is what I talk about all the time. This is what I teach my clients on Weight Loss for Doctors Only. This is what we do all the time. You have to learn how to do this, how to actually process what's going on for you in your life and not relying on food or alcohol to do it for you.

So, I think ultimately, what it comes down to with believing in permanent weight loss is if you believe in permanent weight loss, you go find what works for you, do that ongoing. Something that works for you, that you're willing to do and happy to do for the rest of your life. Do that ongoing, and then move on with your life onto other things.

When you don't believe in permanent weight loss, which is the commonly held belief, then you believe you have to keep trying new things. You have to have your finger on the pulse of the diet industry, and what's the latest thing, and what's the latest fitness trend, and I've got to try all those things out.

You absolutely can try all those things out, but not hopefully, from the place of, it's not possible to lose weight permanently, so I have to keep doing these things, or I'm going to end up gaining the weight back.

So, for sure, the latest, whatever, new fun thing happens, you want to try it out just because you want to try it out, amazing. But you think you have to do it or it's not going to be possible for you to keep the weight off, now, we have some problems.

So, how do you believe something new? Well, that is something that I'm going to teach you in the book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time. So, of course, in my program too, I teach you how to do that. But you definitely are going to want to pre-order How to Lose Weight for the Last Time because I teach you specifically how to change your beliefs.

If you don't think that permanent weight loss is possible, if you do not believe it's possible, we have to change that belief. And in the book, I'll teach you exactly how to do that.

So, to pre-order the book, go to and pick whichever retailer you like to support and grab your copy of that book. When it arrives on your doorstep on September 20th, you're going to be so excited. So fun, so fun to have that available to you.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. I am starting to warm up and it's making me very happy. So, I hope you have a great rest of your day. Thank you so much for being here. If you think that this episode could possibly help somebody that you know or love, feel free to share it with them. And I can't wait to talk to you next time. Take care and have a great day.

Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals? For lots of free help, go to and click on free resources.