As we move into the holiday season, are you feeling anxious about the expectation from others to eat or drink at parties or get-togethers? Or maybe you really want to visit a close friend or family member, but you struggle with how to set boundaries around food without potentially offending anyone. If any of this sounds familiar, make sure you tune in today!

In this episode, I’m joined by Sonia Meneses, a wonderful human being and one of our coaches in the Weight Loss For Doctors Only program. Listen in as we discuss how you can handle food and alcohol when confronted with culturally-specific expectations or traditions, how to work through these expectations, and the actionable things that you can apply to make this upcoming holiday season as stress-free as possible.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Some of the common expectations in the Latin community.
  • When it is acceptable to decline an offering of food.
  • The actionable solutions to handling food and alcohol expectations.
  • How to flip the script on feeling disrespectful toward hosts.

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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 254.

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 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.

Well, hello there, my friend. Do I ever have a treat for you. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad you’re here today. There’s just perfect timing today for this episode, if you are in the United States, then you know that two days from when this episode airs is when American Thanksgiving is, our big eating holiday.

I mean, we have lots of holidays where we to eat, but Thanksgiving is really the big one that’s so focused around food and I have a great episode that’s going to help you so much as you are heading into your Thanksgiving holidays, if you are celebrating. And if you’re not, we also have so many holidays coming up, or events, or parties, or get togethers where eating is expected or often happens, particularly overeating, sometimes drinking more than we want and things that. And we’re going to address all those things today.

But before I head into that, I wanted to let you know that I’m offering a really awesome free training program called how losing weight is different for doctors and what to do about it. This is going to be on Thursday, December 9th at 8:30 PM, Eastern time, 5:30 PM Pacific. And it is exactly what it sounds like. You need to understand as a doctor, why losing weight is different. We often are like, “No, I know what to do, and I’m not doing it.” It’s because you don’t understand what’s different. You don’t understand what is missing and why you can’t get yourself doing those things that you know you should be doing. So what we want to do is understand why we struggle the way we do and what to do about it. So we can get going losing weight, and then hopefully doing the work to keep it off permanently as well.

Which as you may know, but if you don’t, if you’re new to my work, what we’re really talking about is permanent weight loss, which comes from managing your mind. So looking at what your thoughts and beliefs are, as well as learning to process your emotions so that you’re not asking food and possibly alcohol to come in and solve the challenges in your life for you, you instead know how to handle all those. And then you eat because your body needs some fuel and some occasional pleasure too, right? So, that’s really what we’re talking about. The way to register for this free training is to go to, D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T. So again, So if you are interested in finding out how losing weight is different for doctors and what to do about it, you are going to want to join me.

Okay. So today I am putting the spotlight on one of the amazing coaches who teaches and coaches within the Weight Loss for Doctors Only Program. Her name is Sonia Meneses, and she is a wonderful human being in lots of different ways. But I in particular asked her to come to talk to us about cultural food expectations. She identifies as coming from the Latin community, but this really, I think, applies to so many different cultures and really, anybody who experiences that culture of being expected to eat or drink and doesn’t know how to work through it.

So what we’re talking about today on this episode is how do you live your life when it is expected of you to eat or to drink, how do you go visit somebody or go to a party or go to a picnic or celebrate a holiday, particularly with family, but maybe even those friends that are family, people that you really have a strong connection with when you are expected to eat and you don’t necessarily want to eat either what they’re exactly serving or eating the way that they want you to eat, which is probably more than you would to have.

How do you get through this? There’s so many actionable things that you can apply and choose from. What I want to suggest that you do is you identify which upcoming event that you have or holiday are you concerned about? What are the issues you think might come up and then be listening for some potential solutions in our conversation that you can try as you are going through the rest of your holidays. So Sonia is a lot of fun as you’ll be able to tell on our interview.

And yeah, she’s just one of our great coaches in the program who just is a delight. And I know you’ll love her as well. So please enjoy my conversation with Sonia Meneses. And if you would to learn more about Weight Loss for Doctors Only, and how losing weight is different for doctors and what to do about it, then go to And I’ll be talking to you in a couple of weeks. All right. I will give you my interview with Sonia and I’ll be back next week with another episode. Sonia, I’m so happy you’re here. Thanks for joining me today.

Sonia Meneses:  Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Katrina Ubell:      So excited that you’re here. Okay. This is going to be super fun. So can you just start off by telling everybody a little bit about you just help our listeners, just get to know you a little bit.

Sonia Meneses:  Okay. So my name is Sonia Meneses. I’ve been working with you since March of this year, and it’s been a really great experience so far. I have two children. I have two grown children. The oldest is 26, he just got married this year and my youngest is 21. And she lives here with me. She’s in cosmetology school, very excited about that.

My husband we’ve been married for 26 years. He is a retired fire captain in the department here where we live. So I’m really familiar with shift work and all of the emergency work and everything that that entails and how that affects everyone, affects you and affects your family all of that. So, yeah, that’s my home life. And my parents are from Colombia, from South America. And my husband is actually from Nicaragua and I’ve practically lived more years with his family than my own family because we got married so young. Yeah. So I definitely have experienced life living within the Latin culture in a Latin home and all of the expectations about food and things that. So, it’s been a really interesting experience.

Katrina Ubell:      Well, I’m just so grateful that you would be willing to come on to talk about this because I think there really are nuances with each culture that make food and expectations and just everything around food a little bit different. But I think what is a common thread is that pretty much everybody, no matter what culture you identify with you’ve spend time in. Everybody’s got some sort of food hangups and food expectations and areas where they struggle and they feel they don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to get through it. And so I invited you to come on because first of all, you’re awesome but also I want everyone to get to know you. But also I thought it was such a great opportunity for us to talk about how you handle food when there’s culturally specific, like I said, expectations or traditions or things that. And how can you work through something like that when you’re trying to do something different, whatever that may be. And maybe it’s the plan that we help people with, although all of our clients have their own plan anyway.

It’s all individualized to them. But how do you really make this part of… Integrate this work into your regular life. So it’s not like, “Well I’m following my plan most of the time. But when we have those special meals together, or some sort of picnic or family reunion or whatever, that’s when it all goes out the window and there’s nothing I can do about it.” And so a friend of mine who was actually Latina, she had said, she’s like, “Sometimes the aunties, there’s no saying no. The food is good you have to eat it.” And I just thought it was such a nice opportunity for us to have that conversation about what do you really do?

So we’re going to talk about it through the lens of Latin culture and your background, anybody listening, who has maybe got a different background or something, I want to just encourage them to be thinking about what are the through lines? What are the commonalities that are also going to be tools that will really help you, even if some of the specific things you’re talking about, aren’t exactly what applies to them. And I do just want to say that I think some things are different, but I think that there, I was saying it before, I’m like, all of us struggle in some ways so I think everybody’s going to get a lot out of this.

Sonia Meneses:  Yeah. It definitely happens in the Latin culture, but in all the other cultures and even in the American culture, there’s still moments that are so centered around food. And if you don’t partake, there are a lot of feelings and a lot of thoughts involved there.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally, absolutely. So, let’s start talking about Latin culture. What are certain kinds of times when eating can be more of a challenge?

Sonia Meneses:  Well, the way that I grew up, so my parents are from Columbia and there was a lot of visiting family even unannounced, you would just visit people and then plus holidays and parties and invitations and things that. And to start off it’s almost something about being well-mannered, about being polite and being respectful that if you go to someone’s home and they offer you something, then you have to accept the offer. And generally that’s like some sort of food, some sort of drink.

And then what comes up for a lot of people is this obligation that now I need to eat this food. I need to consume this because it was given to me. And if I say no, this is going to be disrespectful. And so that’s the basis of this idea is that you want to be polite you want to show respect and you want to accept the offer that’s being given to you. And that the only way to show your appreciation is to eat this thing or to drink whatever it is that they’re giving you. And so that’s how I grew up is being taught that is you definitely want to go to someone’s house and show them that you have manners and be polite and say yes, and thank you, and take the thing that they’re giving you.

Katrina Ubell:      And you’re representing the family too, as a child your parents are like, “Listen, you better behave and act in this way.” Which is really just another way that we’re taught when we’re young to ignore our body signals. You need to eat this whether you’re hungry or not. Whether your body needs food right now isn’t relevant and PS ignore it and chew this up as well irregardless. So are there circumstances where it’s considered acceptable to not drink it or eat it? Well, obviously if you’re allergic, they’d be okay with it, right? If you can’t.

Sonia Meneses:  I think if it was some dramatic thing that you could say that like, “No I’m allergic to this food.” And people will probably be like, “Okay, no, let’s find something else for you to eat.” Yeah. And so what happens though, is that we get into this mode in our minds where we think that there is no other way. I’d literally have to lie my way out of eating this food at this party or this event. But there are so many other ways that you can handle the situation that it doesn’t have to be disrespectful. It all depends on how you think about it and how you approach it.

Katrina Ubell:      So the people who tend to struggle more, how do you think they’re thinking about it? What are common thoughts that get people into trouble? And by trouble, I mean, eating food that they don’t really want to eat, or maybe they want to eat it, but they know it doesn’t serve their body very well.

Sonia Meneses:  Exactly. A lot of the thoughts come from this… Well, it creates a sense of obligation really. So the thoughts are they’re going to feel bad and I don’t want them to feel bad or I don’t want to seem disrespectful or I don’t want them to think I’m rude. It usually, it’s all the same vein of wanting to be polite, not be disrespectful. The other thing that tends to come up is you’re thinking about them and how much time they spent preparing the food like, “But they cook this meal for me.”

If it’s a family member and you’re going over to their house, you haven’t seen them in a while. And maybe they cooked something special that they don’t cook all the time. And so it was like, “Every time I go there, she likes to make this particular meal and she spent time doing it.” And you want to show appreciation that they spent this time doing it. And essentially, all of these stories that we’re creating in our mind. And what the thoughts do is that they feel this sense of obligation like now I need to eat this food.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Totally. And then you feel like you have no other choice. That’s what I’ve heard a lot of. And I’ve had this experience too, where it’s easy to just believe, well, I have to eat it. There’s literally no other option. And that’s a very disempowering place to be. Then you’re just are like well… And especially, you do something that and then it can be hard to get right back on plan again, even if you do eat it, it can be hard to get back on plan again.

It can be the beginning of the unraveling of any kind of progress or results that you’ve created for yourself.

Sonia Meneses:  Yeah. If there’s a bunch of events stringed along long, like then it’s my aunt’s birthday and then it’s my cousin’s birthday. And then you’re like, “Forget it.”

Katrina Ubell:      This is never going to work. This isn’t possible for someone me. Exactly. So, it’s interesting we think about that because so much of it is thinking that the actions we take determine how other people feel. I have to eat this food I have to say certain things or act a certain way so that someone else can feel something. And what we know is that that’s not actually how it works.

Our actions don’t determine other people’s feelings, their own thoughts, create their feelings. I think it’s just important to recognize that. I think sometimes people hear that and they think, so what, you just do whatever you want. And it’s just some other person’s problem whatever they feel. You just don’t care how other people feel. And that’s of course not what we’re saying.

We’re just recognizing that you’re not actually in charge of that. So what you’re basically doing is you’re trying to manipulate a situation to try to encourage someone to think or feel a certain way, which you really have no control over anyway, which we know of. We have evidence that a lot of the time when we people please people it works, but not always. We know that sometimes we did our best to make them happy and it’s just not possible. They just, for whatever reason, aren’t-

Sonia Meneses:  It works against us. Because we are people pleasing so much and it’s almost like we’re training them to act a certain way around us. So if you go over to your family’s house and you’re like, “Yes, give me all this food.” You just keep saying yes. Well, now they say like, “Every time she comes here, she eats this thing. She loves blah, blah, blah, whatever thing I made let’s make sure we have that for her.”

Exactly. Because really what’s happening when they’re offering you food, is that they’re also trying to fulfill something for themselves. They want to be polite. They want to show you that you’re welcomed in their home. And so they’re going to find all the ways to do that for you. And along with that, we have to remember that it’s possible that they might not even care if you actually eat it. For them, it might just be the act of making the food of serving something for you of having something for you, whatever it is. And then they feel good already just doing that, that’s possible. But when we’re going in there with our blinders on thinking no, I have to say yes, there’s no other way then we’re not even open to the possibility that you can just say no, thank you.

And that might be okay, but we’re so caught up in this fear of that the relationship something’s going to happen, they’re not going to be okay with you turning down the food or they’re going to be upset with you. Like you’re compromising their relationship somehow, or you’re so worried that they’re going to think a certain way about you when you say no. So you’re manipulating the situation you mentioned. So, yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s a really good point. Because also they might be just as happy with you oohing and aahing over the food and tell me all about it. And this looks amazing. Oh my gosh, hours you spend on this you spoil us. All of the verbal attention and love, it might not even have to go to the point of actually eating it. But so here’s what I’m thinking though, I could hear someone’s objection right now. And they’re like, “No, but you don’t understand my sister or my cousin or whatever, tried to say no and then it was world war three. And so I’m pretty confident that that’s not the case here and that they really want me to eat this food.” And so I’m just curious what your thoughts are and how you offer ideas. Because of course we talked so much about thoughts and helping our clients to come up with the best solution for them. But I think sometimes we just need some ideas of like, but what could I actually try? We just haven’t really thought about it. I was telling you before I like to think of it as there’s infinite solutions.

There’s no limit to the number of solutions. Not even ways to try, but actual solutions, things that would work. And so that’s the case. All we have to do is find one or two and it might take a little experimentation to figure out what’s most in alignment with us and just what’s going on around us. I like to think of it though, as that saying no, is only one of your options, you can still take food, but you don’t have to eat it. If you think about the whole process, someone prepares the food, then they serve the food, then you receive the food and then what you do with the food is usually up to you at that point. So, anyway, I’ll just say a few things of ideas that I have and then I’ll let you fill in the rest.

So, I was telling you before, one of the times that I felt I got really skilled at this idea of tricking people into think that I was consuming things was when I was pregnant and I was tricking friends who are big into wine into thinking that I was drinking the wine. It was a fun little game that my husband and I played together where I’m like, “Okay, this is how we’re going to do it-”

Sonia Meneses:  Oh my gosh, you made a game out of it.

Katrina Ubell:      We made it a game like how long can we keep them in the dark? Can I really convince people that I’m drinking when I’m not drinking. And so being pregnant is a great reason, but sometimes we also just don’t want to drink for any number of reasons. And sometimes to go through the whole thing of explaining why you’re not drinking, it might just be more than you want to share, or it’s just feels too sensitive or you don’t really want to crowdsource everyone’s opinion about whether you’re drinking or not right in that moment or whatever.

And so this may or may not… If you’re someone that if the wine’s in front of you, you’re going to drink it regardless maybe this isn’t a great option. But we came up with this whole way of we kept our glasses near one another and then he would grab mine and I moved over here and overall he was drinking two glasses of wine. And then you can usually leave a half glass and people won’t even really say anything or whatever so my point-

Sonia Meneses:  That’s true, or at some point in the night no one’s paying attention.

Katrina Ubell:      No ones paying attention anymore, exactly. Everyone’s already onto the next thing or had enough wine that they’re really onto the next thing. So, that’s just one example, but with food can be very similar, where people are like, “Hey, you know what…” Or think of it’s grandma, who’s like, “Here are this big piece of cake.” And you’re like, “Thank you so much.” And then you just put it down for a second. You know what? I’m just going to run to the bathroom quickly. You put it down, you can create a little separation, you go to the bathroom, then you’re talking to so-and-so you come back and get your plate, maybe use your fork and you break it up a little, move things around a little. Our kids are masters at trying to make their plates look they’ve eaten something.

We can do the same thing. And then you just move it around like, “What do you think? Isn’t it amazing?” You’re like, “Oh my God. So good. She did it again. This cake, I just can’t even with this cake.” And you didn’t actually eat it. So you might be like, “But I’m lying.” Well, are you lying though? You know what’s also lying is lying to yourself about yeah, I want to eat this when you don’t really. I just think it’s like a fun thing of like, “Have you tried the food yet?” “No. I’m about to, I’m going to in a minute.” And then later they’re like, “Did you have the food?”

“I did. It was so good.” And you never ate it. And to me, myself, I don’t find this to be out of integrity at all because other people are trying to impose their desires on my body and I’m just choosing not to go along with those. If they’re not in alignment with what my body is signaling to me that it wants or what I know best serves it. So I think that that can be a way if you really are saying no is not an acceptable option. I think there are other ways that things can be… You are surreptitious and how you can make it all work. And then if someone’s focusing on you and how much food you’re eating or whether you had enough, or you should have more, you change the subject, ask them about themselves and what’s going on with that. And I know you had that job interview, how did it go? The minute the attention is on you and the food you change the subject and talk about something else. And that’s a fun little game. Like let me see.

Sonia Meneses:  I like the idea of making it a game. Yeah. How else can I do this? But you know what, it’s funny if you think of it that way, how can I make this as a game? It really sets your mind on the hunt for these other possibilities of how can I get through this evening and not eat the things that I don’t have planned, it is possible. And if saying no really freaks you out, or if you’re just like, “Absolutely not, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to take the food, I’m going to accept it.” You don’t have to eat it all.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Exactly.

Sonia Meneses:  Or at all.

Katrina Ubell:      At all, right. So here’s another thing that I think can be really useful because there’s someone that I coached not that long ago, was one of our clients, so where she was from Indian descent. And she was like, “I’m going to be going home, seeing my parents for the first time in over a year with COVID and everything. And every time I go there, my mom makes these special biscuits and chai, tea. And it’s just such a thing. And normally I’d go and I’d completely have a ton of it, it’d be way too much.” And she knew that the saying no, wasn’t going to work for her. Maybe her parents would be okay about it, but she was just like, “I want to actually have it.” I think a big thing to work on too is can you go and enjoy the heck out of that one biscuit and that one cup of chai and let that be enough.

Instead of it being like, “I have to have all of it until I’m stuffed, this is my chance.” And same with family members making special things or holidays or things that. Sometimes I think our work is going, “You know what? I’m not going to just inhale this because it’s my opportunity to have it’s instead, my job is to really savor it, get all the pleasure I can out of an amount that is in alignment with my goals. And that might take some practice. Do you find that too? Everybody wants to be like, “I want the right answer and I want it to work the first time and every time.”

Sonia Meneses:  Yeah. You could definitely decide ahead of time how you’re going to handle it, basically overall decide ahead of time how you’re going to handle it. And that could mean that you do eat some of it, but they’re saying, “I’m just going to have this one and I’m going to enjoy it.” I am going to sit like if it’s chai with your mom, I’m going to sit and enjoy this moment with my mom and share a cup of chai with her. Yes. Or for me it would probably be coffee in the morning with my mom when I go visit her yes, we’re going to sit down and have breakfast together. But does that mean that I need to continue eating every single thing that she offers me? No, I can say, no.

Katrina Ubell:      You don’t have to overeat it.

Sonia Meneses:  You don’t have to overeat it. Exactly. You can just say like, “Yes, I’ll have this one thing.” And that’s okay. You can definitely do that. So the other thing that I was thinking of is when you were talking about the game was sometimes we’re invited to family events where there’s almost a buffet situation where we still feel we’re obligated to eat because we were invited, but no one’s paying attention, at all. So notice when your brain is fixated on this idea that just because you were invited you need to partake. No, you actually don’t and you can pick and choose what works for you or not eat at all. It’s up to you. You can totally do that.

Katrina Ubell:      I wonder if sometimes when people struggle with that, it’s, again, coming from childhood, just like this is what we’ve always done. So this is just what we do. Or it might not even be a conscious thought about thinking, like well I was invited, so I should eat this food. Or they went to the trouble to have all this for us this is what they expect of me. Actually recognizing, interesting that’s what I actually believe when maybe on a more conscious level, we don’t believe it. We’re like, “Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense.” But if we still find ourselves magnetised to the buffet and we can’t walk away or we feel we’re plan not to eat, but then we’re still eating. Maybe it’s worth it to look at some of those beliefs about what does it mean to be a guest who doesn’t eat the food at the party? What do I think that means about me or my family or anything that?

Sonia Meneses:  Yeah. And is it truly being disrespectful? What would it look if I was actually going to be disrespectful in someone’s home? Is it just not eating this food? And we could just question that, what if that’s not true? What if I can be appreciative for the time that they spent cooking or the thing that they made and just really honestly, look at them and say like, “Thank you so much. This looks so delicious.” And that’s it.

Katrina Ubell:      And that’s it. Totally. And I think you’re right though, because who decides what’s disrespectful? We even know culturally, in traditional American culture what’s considered rude is not considered rude in other cultures and vice versa. And so it really is just a concept that culturally there’s this generalized acceptance of what’s considered disrespectful or not. But then even within that, you still get to pick, there’s always a range. And people take it to more conservative or maybe more liberal with it, back and forth with that.

I think actually, was such a good point to just think of like, “What would I have to do for me to really know that I was being disrespectful?” And if that’s it, and I’m not doing those things, then it could be that I’m actually being respectful even if I’m not chewing up food and swallowing it. And then yeah, working through that, it’s so easy to be like, “Well, what am I supposed to do? Never go see my family?” We want to change the surroundings, I just can’t be around this food instead of recognizing no, all you really need to do is just evaluate what your thinking is around it and your belief system around it.

Yeah. What do you think about the idea this works particularly well with desserts, but you could just say no, and there’s other things you could do too they are both right. So one other thing that I think can be helpful, especially when you really, again, feel saying no is going to create a thing, you know what I mean? Amongst whoever the family members or whatever is saying, “You know what? I’m actually, I’m just stuffed.” Whether you are or not. I’m totally stuffed. I can’t right now, sometimes I would think of it as like, if I ate that I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy it and you put so much work into it that it deserves to be enjoyed. So what I would love to do is wrap that up and take it home with me and have it later.

And I mean, you can do that with regular food too, but it’s just thinking about theoretically you’ve already eaten regular food and then now there’s even more. And I’ve tested this a few different times where people are like, “Did you get food?” Or it’s obvious that I’m not having the thing that everyone else is having. And I have sometimes just said things like, “I had a late lunch or I’m just really not hungry right now.” And people are fine with that. People don’t want you to be sick or ill or actively uncomfortable.

And so if it comes down to if the food pusher is so strong and it’s your grandma and she’s going to start sobbing if you don’t take… It something that’s just like, “Okay, you can just bring your own container or just say, ‘I would love to wrap this up.'” And then whether you eat it later or not is up to you maybe you plan for it of it, or maybe you give it to someone else or maybe throw it out. But sometimes I think it’s just the sheer acceptance of the food and the taking it with you, that those people are wanting.

Sonia Meneses:  I’m so glad you brought up the container and taking home food. Because if anything we love sending food home with people. So that is absolutely another possibility is just to be like, “Actually not right now.” That’s one they say, “Hey the food is ready. Go ahead, go serve yourself.” You can just say like, “Not right now, and then in a little bit.” And then in a little bit, in a little bit, to the point where no one’s paying attention anymore and then—

Katrina Ubell:      They assume you’ve eaten by that time. Yeah.

Sonia Meneses:  Exactly. Or like you said, I’m actually a little bit full right now or I’m not that hungry, but can I take some home? And then, oh my gosh, what about the containers how much do you want? And they’ll probably serve you. And so they’d be happy to send you home with food. And then it’s up to you what you do with the food when you take it home. That is definitely another option that you can just, you’re showing appreciation still. And you’re saying, “Yes, I’ll take some home, but not right now.”

Katrina Ubell:      I’m not going to eat it right now. Yeah. And I think these are the ideas that come to you when you’re like there’s so many different ways to work through this. If there’s infinite ways then there’s no way I’ve thought of them. All right. Because I know what’s easy like the way I used to think was, well, I thought of two things and neither is going to work. So I guess I just have to eat it. You know what I mean? Very poor me, very sad story and also putting blame on others. Because they are the way they are I have to eat this food when a 100% not true at all.

Sonia Meneses:  Yeah. We tend to think like that with the people who push the food with sarcasm like, “You’re not going to eat?” I was just thinking of in my family, one family member it’s like, “But I made this thing, you’re not going to have that?” And you say, “No, thank you.” And they’re like, “What about this?” “No, thank you.” “Okay. So you’re not going to eat that.” And then you might say no a couple of times but again, this is how they started to understand who you are and what you value. And at some point they keep trying to push food on you. It’s possible. Because we also tend to think this is it like what you said. They’re just really pushy and I’ll never be able to go there or forget it. I’ll just have to eat because that one particular family member likes to make commentary. But if you are able to employ some of these different strategies, at some point they may just stop trying. It’s possible.

Katrina Ubell:      You’re right. Yeah, exactly.

Sonia Meneses:  It may take a little bit more effort with these particular family members, but it really is more about them. It’s what they’re thinking in their mind. It’s really on them.

Katrina Ubell:      When we take responsibility for what their thoughts and feelings are it starts really… Well basically, when their thoughts and feelings their experience becomes more important than ours then of course it makes sense that we’re self-sabotaging, we’re going against what we promised ourselves. When we talk about that relationship with ourselves and strengthening that when we’re prioritizing somebody else’s emotions and believing that we think that we actually have control over them we by default are just saying, “What I think doesn’t matter. How I feel and my experience here doesn’t matter. I’m going to sacrifice myself for the sake of the other person.”

And we might be like, “Well, you know what? Sometimes I’m willing to do that.” I just think it’s good to question all of it. What if everybody could win, you get to follow your plan, do what’s best in your own body and mind’s best interest. And you get to be an amazing guest. You get to be around these people that you love, or at least tolerate, depending on your relationship with their family.

Sonia Meneses:  Depending on who’s house you’re going to.

Katrina Ubell:      Exactly. And so you get to enjoy being there. You get to be respectful and all of that. And everybody ends up winning those are the solutions we want to look for now. Of course, there are certain people that we know, if I say those things, it’s really likely that she’s going to be upset or something that. So then we start getting creative. Well, let’s just try some other things or hear what you were saying like, “So you’re not going to eat?” It could just be like, “Well, not right now. I think I’m going to circle back later.” Or just differing. I think this is actually alcoholics anonymous.

I think that part of their deal is that same thing where you get to a party in the first thing they want to do is offer you a drink. And you’re just like, “You know what, I’m going to get one, but just in a little bit not quite now, thanks so much. I’ll get one in a little bit.” And then circling back around like, “Do you want to drink?” “I just had one I’m good right now.” It’s all these deferral tactics. I mean, we can argue as to why we believe that overeating food is so much more socially acceptable alcohol.

Sonia Meneses:  Should question all of that.

Katrina Ubell:      Question all of it. But it’s a personal journey. And just you may not want to be like, “You know what? Because I’m an alcoholic is why I’m not drinking. That’s why.” You may not want to really get into why you’re drinking what you’re drinking or not drinking. I think we can feel sometimes pretty vulnerable or sensitive about food as well. And that’s why I think it’s good to have your mind open to other options besides just the simple no, I can’t have it. I’m on a diet. I’m not eating that right now. You’re always welcome to say those things. I personally have found that when I’m like, “I’m not eating that.” All that tends to do is draw even more attention and more attention-

Sonia Meneses:  And you’re not ready to explain—

Katrina Ubell:      You’re not ready, you might have really regretted saying that.

Sonia Meneses:  Because then comes more questions. Yeah. Because you’re like, “Because of this.” What are you doing? And then they start to question what you are doing—

Katrina Ubell:      And then they go, “I can never—whatever it is.”

Sonia Meneses:  And then I like what you had said earlier about giving them more value to their feelings and then we’re not paying attention to what we need. And so the one thing that I to think of is I don’t want to give into someone else. And in the meantime I’m giving up on myself, that’s the one thing that I don’t want to do. And if I think of it that way, then whatever reason that I have for not eating is valid, and that’s it.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. We don’t want it to be where the other person wins and we lose. We want to figure out a way so that everybody’s winning. We’re getting to show up how we want to, we are able to give to the other people in the best way that we can given the circumstances. And also we’re in alignment with what is in our own best interest. I think that really ultimately is the key thing. Because I think everybody’s going to have their like, “Yeah, but you don’t understand what my grandma’s or things that.” And I think that the way to look at this as no matter what, there’s a solution, there’s actually infinite solutions.

There are so many solutions, try some different things and see, see how other people respond, see how you feel when you go through that experience. What’s your experience of it? And then tweaking and changing. We definitely don’t want it to be like, “Well, while I’m losing weight, I can’t see any family.” That’s never going to work. Certainly not if you want to keep that weight off.

Sonia Meneses:  Exactly. And looking at it like taking every opportunity of every invitation or event for holiday or whatever with family to try something new, like you said, maybe today I’ll go in there and I’ll accept the food. And then I’ll put it down somewhere. Or if that didn’t work I’ll try something else next time. I’ll try something else next time. Just keep trying different ways till you find the way that it feels good for you. And that works.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally. Yeah. The more parties the better, right? Because you need reps. You need to experiment and well, this works when I go to this person’s house, but now let me try it out at this different kind of event and see what happens there. And then the reason why this is so important then is because this is real life, events and family and parties and all this stuff this is real life. And so if you want to solve your overeating problem for good, you have to find solutions to all these things. There’s the regular day to day. And of course that’s very important. And then there’s all the other little things, just you have to figure out how to do vacation and how to make that work. This is the exact same thing and the best way to do it is to practice and just experiment. So good. Well Sonia, thank you so much. Thanks for joining me and thanks for sharing all your wisdom.

Sonia Meneses:  Thank you. This was fun, I enjoyed it.

Katrina Ubell:      Good. And if somebody is interested in coaching with you, they should come on into the Weight Loss for Doctors Only Program that’s where they can find you a professional coach for doctors. That’s what you are.

Sonia Meneses:  That’s me.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s you. All right. Thanks so much, Sonia.

Sonia Meneses:  All right. Thank you.

Katrina Ubell:      Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals for lots of free health, go to and click on free resources.