There are several coaches who help me in Weight Loss For Doctors Only who all walk the talk and apply the things we teach and coach on, and I’m going to be shining a spotlight on each of them through a new series. We’re kicking it off today with Zoe Perez, who has been working with me for two years and has a ton of real-life experience with doctors as the daughter and wife of a doctor.
In this episode, we’re diving into what initially brought Zoe to coaching and what she absolutely loves about the community in Weight Loss For Doctors Only. We also discuss her own personal experience with weight loss and how she transformed her life for the better by completely changing her relationship with clothes, shopping, and herself.
Katrina Ubell: You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 245.
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.
Well, hi there my friend, I am so glad you’re here. Thank you for coming back to listen, or if you’re new, this will be a fun episode for you to start with. So glad that you’re with me today. I am starting another series. It won’t be happening super often, but every now and then periodically, I’m going to have a special coach spotlight episode. And what that means is that I’m going to shine a spotlight on one of the coaches on our coach team. There are several coaches who helped me with the Weight Loss for Doctors Only Program, and they’re all awesome, so great and I know that you would love to get to know them better. So all of them have had their own story with weight and applying coaching tools to helping them to lose weight, helping them to not drink maybe as much as they used to, really walk the talk. Like they really apply everything that we all teach and everything that they coach on.
And so we’re going to kick it off today with Zoe Perez, and I’m so excited for you to get to know her. Before I jump into that, though, I do want to remind you that if you are looking for some assistance as to how to navigate all of these episodes and where to start first, if you’re new to the podcast or just coming back and wanting to refresh your memory, which are the episodes that you should start with, I have a special free podcast roadmap that I want to offer to you that will give you the first 30 episodes that you should start listening to in order. The idea is that you can listen to one a day, start applying what I teach you and by the end of those 30 days, you’re for sure going to have some significant changes in your life and your body and your eating habits. It’s going to make a really big difference. So lot of bang for your buck, so to speak. I guess there’s no buck because it’s free, but regardless the time and effort that you put into it, it’s totally going to be worthwhile and it’ll give you an idea of where to start with this podcast.
So in order to download that for free, just go to katrinaubellmd.com/start, S-T-A-R-T, and you’ll be able to download it and get yourself going, rocking it out, listening to these episodes and getting yourself going with some weight loss. So again, podcast roadmap is available for free at katrinaubellmd.com/start.
All right, so Zoe Perez has been with for almost two years, working in the business for just as a coach. She’s amazing. I’ve loved getting to know her. She’s the reason that I have Invisalign. We did not talk about that. But anyway, she is a lot of fun. She’s going to tell you all about her backstory. She has a lot of experience with doctors. And as you know, is the daughter of a doctor as you’ll hear. She is married to a doctor, so she has been really her entire life entrenched in the medical world.
And what we’re going to talk about today is not so much how she applied all of the tools that I teach to her weight and to drinking, so overeating and overdrinking, but then how after she worked through those things, she found herself into this accumulation mode of spending too much and not really being deliberate and how she’s dressing herself and taking care of herself. And so I think it is always fun to hear about people’s personal work. I know every time I share what I’m working on, we get such great feedback and comments, and I know you’re going to love what Zoe shares today as well.
So she’s also just a delightful, lovely human being. For about 30 minutes before we even recorded this, she was helping me with my own mind around just children. And she’s a little bit ahead of me with her kids in terms of age and experience. And I’m telling you, what she said to me was… Well, you told me this one thing and it’s may, I just remind myself that all the time and I’m like, “What was it? Oh, that’s good. Okay. Yeah. I need to remind myself of that too. I need to hear it too.” So anyway, please enjoy my conversation with Zoe Perez.
Hi, Zoe. I am so glad you’re here with me today. Thank you for coming on.
Zoe Perez: Hi. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here too.
Katrina Ubell: I am totally excited to talk about what we’re going to talk about today. But before we launch into everything, I would love it if you could just introduce yourself. Just give us a little background about who you are and maybe a little bit about what brought you to coaching, whatever you think is interesting.
Zoe Perez: Well, I’m Zoe Perez and I’ve been working with you on your team now for, it’ll be almost two years coming up in October. So it’s been amazing working with everybody on the team and everybody in your program. I am not a doctor, but I am married to a doctor and I am the daughter of a doctor and so I’ve been part of a medical family for my whole life. I have a very special place in my heart for doctors and their families for all of the work that doctors do.
I discovered coaching. I think it’s probably been about five years ago. I had a coach for about two years and was able to make a lot of positive changes in my life. And because of that, I decided that I wanted to become a coach and help other women create change in their life too. Whatever it is that they wanted to do, sky is the limit.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. And so you have three kids, your husband is a doctor, but also a busy surgeon, extremely busy surgeon. So you know what that’s like?
Zoe Perez: Yes, I do. And I started dating my husband in college, and so we dated throughout medical school and we got married during residency. So I’ve been through that and fellowship and then starting his career. We’ve had student loans and we’ve paid those off. I mean, we’ve done it all. Yeah, and I think it’s a challenge just seeing the amount of work that goes into becoming a physician, even in college. Your relationship with education is very different than almost every other major, because your grade point matters. The classes matter. You’re studying for the MCAT. And then you’re spending four years in medical school where your friends have gotten jobs and they’re traveling and they’re doing things and you’re in class 24/7. And then you’re in residency and it’s a lot of responsibility and back to fellowship again, if that’s the path that you want to go. And so, I’ve been through it all with him.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. So you have a very deep understanding of what’s going on. But I love that you get that other perspective. I think that it’s really useful. I think sometimes we can be in this echo chamber of doctors talking to doctors about doctoring and it can be so helpful to get that outside perspective of what is it like to be along for the ride even for this whole life? I think that can be so useful. And just being the child of a doctor, that’s also a whole other thing. So you always have some great insights and perspective.
Zoe Perez: I always said I would never marry a doctor. And then when I met my husband and his personality is very different than my dad’s. My mom was a nurse and she would always tell me, she could tell the specialty of the physician by their personality. So my dad was in internal medicine and my husband is a surgeon. And when I started dating my husband, I was like, “Yeah, you’re not going to be a doctor. You’re too much fun. You like to have a good time to still.” And I was like, “Oh, so you’re actually a doctor.”
Katrina Ubell: “Actually you are.”
Zoe Perez: Yeah.
Katrina Ubell: Many years later, here we are. That’s so good. So when you were learning all the coaching tools, I know, and we were going to gloss over this a little bit, but you really worked on overeating that you were doing, worked on drinking that wasn’t excessive, but more than you wanted it to be, kind of like you recognize that you were using it in an attempt to suppress emotions and not really deal with what was going on in your life and so you decided to change your relationship with both food and alcohol. So that you already did, which is amazing. And so you lost weight and you’re feeling great.
And so what we’re going to talk about today is the relationship with stuff and shopping and how you used coaching that… how that was like the next layer of work. I think we often think I’m going to coach on this one thing and then I’ll be done. And it’s so interesting, our brains still follow us, sadly, or maybe that’s a great thing, I don’t know. But I would love it if you would tell us a little bit more about how you got into your year of no shopping, which we’re not saying everybody needs to do, but it’s just interesting to hear why you made that decision and what that all involved.
Zoe Perez: So by the end of 2017, that’s when I had changed my relationship with food and changed my relationship with alcohol. And I made both of those decisions really from wanting to do it from a place of self care. And just seeing that I was in my 40s and I was more looking towards… I was seeing my kids growing up, leaving the house and then now what, kind of like what do I want for myself?
And I realized that one of the things that I wanted to do was travel, because that’s something that my husband and I didn’t get to do a lot of because of the route that he took.
Katrina Ubell: Medical path. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Correct. And so we were always like, well, when the kids leave and we’re going to be able to do all these fun things. And I thought, well, if I don’t get my body in shape in order to do that, by the time they’re all gone and I’m in my mid 50s, it’s going to be too late for me to start getting ready. I want to hike and I want to travel and I want to see places and I want to have fun.
Katrina Ubell: From a fitness perspective of you want to feel like you can physically do the things you want to do.
Zoe Perez: Yes. I want to see all the things that I’ve always wanted to see and I want to enjoy them and actively, I like to be outside the way that I want. So anyway, that’s why I decided to lose the weight. And I started working out in different way. I added weightlifting to the running regimen that I already had for myself, which I love to exercise. So I did that really, again from total self care and future focus.
And then I realized by the end of 2017, I had done that, I had reduced my drinking and that was really so that I could sleep better, just be more clear, again, help my body help me create more of what I wanted. I noticed that I was actually spending more time online, shopping, buying clothes and accessories and shoes and things like that.
At first, I started doing that because I needed to revamp my wardrobe because my body shape had changed and so I was out buying everything to fit me or to wear because I had clothes that didn’t fit me. But then what happened is it became almost like a hobby or another buffer, like in the evening when the kids weren’t needing me, but I had to be around, I would notice I’d get on Instagram or follow fashion blogs. I think this was real… I was thinking about it today, I think it’s really before Instagram became a place to monetize, before there were really influencers per se. It was just people sharing pictures of themselves. So I started buying what these women that I would look at were wearing and telling me that I have to buy.
Katrina Ubell: Right. They’re like, “I look cute, and this is how you can too.”
Zoe Perez: Of course they were all like 5’10. I’ve always wanted to be tall. I’m 5’3. And so I was buying these clothes, I’m like, this does not work. And then I had a closet full of nothing to wear, really, it didn’t. And so I just decided that I was going to pull back because I realized that I didn’t really have a plan. I didn’t really know why I was doing what I was doing and I was getting lost in the activity of it, as opposed to really understanding what it was that I was trying to create. So I decided that I was going to stop buying clothes for myself. No clothes, no shoes, except for running shoes, because it’s very important to keep those.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. And when those are worn out, you need the—
Zoe Perez: Right. That’s right. No accessories, and the other thing that I decided to pull back was not buying any toiletries. So I couldn’t buy new shampoos or new makeup or new perfume. And I noticed that I-
Katrina Ubell: I mean, until you needed it. It’s not like never again.
Zoe Perez: Correct, correct. I’m never going to—
Katrina Ubell: You have to go through your stash, the whole backlog that you have waiting in the wings. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. The back stock and everything, because I noticed what I was doing was I actually think, I thought, oh, when I buy this mascara, then my eyes are going to look better.
Katrina Ubell: So good that you mentioned that, because a 100%, I’ve gone down that makeup rabbit hole of like, “Oh, I watched this tutorial and now I need to go buy every product that they recommend.” And I’m like, “This doesn’t even fit anymore where I keep this stuff.” Because I think it’s kind of the same thing. The personal care products, it could also be all of a sudden you want your skin to look good. And you’re like, it’s not makeup. It’s like skin and going to be like these serums and whatever and you have like all these products and masks and things you don’t even know what to do. And I think it’s the same thing as buying clothes. It’s a spectrum.
Zoe Perez: Yes. Yes. I realized that I was thinking that all of those things were going to make me feel better about myself. And then I was going to look in the mirror and I was going to think, “Dang, you look good.” But because I have—
Katrina Ubell: It didn’t happen, Zoe? It didn’t happen? Aw.
Zoe Perez: It didn’t happen. So that’s why I decided to cut that out. Just really to use some of the coaching tools that I had already used for stopping, changing my relationship with food and alcohol, just to see what was really going on with me, to get my current location, like where am I now and then where I want to go.
Katrina Ubell: Figure out what you want to do. Well, what I think is so good about that is anytime you’re hovering anything, is a great time to do this. And maybe someone’s like, “Oh my gosh, I could not buy anything.” Well, we’re not saying need to not buy anything. That was what worked best for you. But what we want to do is just like, why do we stop overeating? So we can find out why we’re overeating. So why do we stop shopping? To find out why we’re shopping. What is the problem that shopping is solving? And like I love what you’re saying, you’re expecting to feel a certain way about yourself and think a certain way about yourself once you had all these clothes and then that didn’t happen and it’s like, oh, I wonder why, because products don’t determine what we think and feel.
Zoe Perez: Great. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
Katrina Ubell: Yes, totally. And I think that anytime your body changes for any reason, I think this is a thing that can come up because there are people who are like super consistent and they can still fit into all their clothes from however many decades ago and that’s totally fine. But whether it’s a weight thing or it’s a body composition thing, you’re just exercising more or less, you just have more or less muscle mass. And then certainly people who have a baby too often will be like, well that changed a lot of things. Just in terms of literally like, not even weight, but just the shape of your body. So sometimes you do need to get new clothes, but when we just go into it, sort of willy nilly way, or we think we’re being thoughtful, because we’re like, “Oh, I’m just trying to gather some ideas,” but there’s no intention behind it, there’s no real plan behind it, it can start to go a little willy nilly.
Would you feel comfortable speaking to any thoughts that you had about the financial component? Because I think for some people, this is an issue and for some people it isn’t. Sometimes we have plenty of money to buy whatever clothes we want and it’s not too big of a deal, but sometimes we’re like, “Okay, I just spent a decent amount of money. Whether I have it or not, I still spent it and I still don’t like what I have.” Did that come up for you at all? Realizing like, what am I doing with this?
Zoe Perez: I’m not sure that it came up for me while I was doing the shopping. I think what ended up happening though, was that once I owned it, then I felt I had a responsibility to it because I had spent the money on it. So even if I didn’t like it, or even if it didn’t fit, I couldn’t not wear it or if I wasn’t wearing it, I couldn’t give it away because I had spent money on it.
Katrina Ubell: Right. And you didn’t really get any use out of it yet.
Zoe Perez: Right. And I had a lot of judgements around that because for sure, I had some money issues that I had to work through as well around that. But I don’t think I was necessarily overspending and that like this spending was becoming so much of a problem. I think it was because I was also very cognizant of sales.I would see something on sale and I’d be like, “Ooh, I should those.”
Katrina Ubell: Shop right into your cart? Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. “Really? They are 80% off.” Like, okay. And I grew up, in the summer I used to work at, which is now I worked at a Macy’s and the housewares department and I remember marking things up to put them on sale. So even though I knew that’s how it works, I would still get, they say like, “Hurry. It’s a sale. You got to get it now.” I’d be like, “Oh my God, I got to go to go and get that. That’s a very important sweater for this fall. I have to have it.” So yeah, I noticed it was more of an issue on the backend. So it affected what I was buying because I would buy because of the price point sometimes but then I wouldn’t know what to do with it once it was there and then I wouldn’t want to look at it either, have some shame around that.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. Overwhelming amounts of stuff, and yet you still feel you have nothing to wear.
Zoe Perez: Right. Overwhelming for me. I’m more of a minimalist. I like the idea of simplicity and minimalism. So some people would say I don’t have a lot, but for me it was a lot. And when I would walk in and I would look at my clothes and I was like, I didn’t even really know what I had. I didn’t know how to put anything together. My friend in grade school used to tell me I could only shop Garanimals because if somebody had to tell me, and I was like, “Well, I actually think that’s true.” And it was very—it took a lot of energy to figure out what to wear, because it was too much noise. It was just too much noise.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. Yeah. Totally, totally. Okay. So you made this decision and then what happen?
Zoe Perez: Okay. So it’s January and I just know that I can’t shop for you, no—
Katrina Ubell: Oh, so a new year’s resolution type of thing? It was like star of the air event? Oh, sure. Okay.
Zoe Perez: I started in January. Yeah. So I started in January and it was for the calendar year of 2018, is way that I thought about it. And the first thing that I noticed, and this is like, this is what I love about the tools that you learn through weight loss is that you can actually apply them to anything that you want to create in your life.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. And the future. It’s not like, oh, it’s only useful for weight loss, it comes back again and again. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Yeah. And it starts to get really exciting and you’re like, “Ooh, what else can I do with these tools?” Like, “Oh, can I do that? Yes. Let’s see how that works.” So I decided that I had made the decision I wasn’t going to shop and I noticed that I created a lot of desire for clothes when I looked at fashion blogs for Instagram posts or Red magazines that the job was to create desire. And so I stopped looking at them. I just decided that I wasn’t going to be looking at those anymore because if I didn’t see it, then I wouldn’t want it.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. Because the overdesire comes from your thoughts by looking at the thing, similarly to your thoughts about looking at food that creates overdesire. It’s literally the exact same thing. Yes.
Zoe Perez: It’s literally the same thing. It was a little easier for me to do with clothes than food or alcohol. And I don’t know if that’s because, it’s actually interesting to think about now, I don’t know if that’s because I had already done the work with food and alcohol and so understood what the process was and I was familiar with allowing urges or working on reducing overdesire, or if it’s because my desire for clothes just in and of itself was never the same as-
Katrina Ubell: Quite as strong. Sure. Either way.
Zoe Perez: Either way, it doesn’t matter. It’s just interesting to notice. And so I decided that… So I stopped looking at fashion blogs, Instagram, looking at magazines and was able to reduce my desire for clothes that way. I also went into my closet and decided to see what I had, like what is it that I’m wearing? Because they say you wear 20% of what you have. And so I went into my closet and I went through and I took out all of the clothes that I knew I wasn’t going to keep because they didn’t fit me or that I wouldn’t wear because they were beyond repair. They either were stained and I just didn’t want to show up that way or ripped or something like that and it wasn’t worth repairing.
And I also tried to find clothes that… Well, what I did find was closed that still had price tags on it, but I had never worn. That I actually really, really liked, but I noticed I was saving them for a special occasion, because they were special clothes. So I realized, I was like, I think I’ve got some scarcity around clothing. Because in a way I was hoarding. I was buying things that were on sale because they were a good price point, even if I didn’t really need it, or I didn’t understand what my use was. I was certain, I just needed another tank top because it’s a foundational piece or you can never have too much of that.
And then, so I noticed that I had a little bit of hoarding going on in that way and I also noticed that I was saving things for someday when. And so I thought that was interesting because I didn’t really know that. So I organized my closet, got rid of things that I wasn’t using, ordered it put like with like so I could have a better picture of what was going on in my closet when I would walk in and from. That’s how I started the year. And from there I just had to wear what was-
Katrina Ubell: That was it. Yeah, it’s like a capsule wardrobe, this is what you’ve got. Now, were you able to do a little deeper work on the special occasion thing? Because I feel like when we were younger, it’s like you knew what those special occasions were, but as an adult, what qualifies as a special occasion? The queen, what has to happen for you to get to wear that?
Zoe Perez: Well, that’s actually really interesting because the other thing that I realized is that I thought I was dressing for other people and not for myself. And now I dress for myself.
Katrina Ubell: It’s the dressing for other people, meaning they’ll think a certain way of you if you look?
Zoe Perez: No, I think more like, oh, I’m going somewhere, say church, I need to wear something special. Or so, as opposed to, I feel amazing today, I actually just want to get dressed. Even if I’m just in my house and no one’s going to see me, I now dress myself for the way that I want to feel that reflects the thinking and feeling that I want to have for me today, regardless of whether or not people see me. I used to think, no one’s seeing me, so why should I put something nice on. Like as though I’m not worthy myself of wearing nice clothes. I see me, I feel what I have on. I know if I’ve taken care of me and thoughtful.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. I think that’s a big change, I think. A big shift into I’m doing this for me. Not like I can’t go out that way because what would people think? Or I need to be different. It’s just like, you got to just be who you are for you. However, you want to look, that’s in alignment with how you want show up for yourself.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. Exactly. And I think I got messages when I was growing up. I think I internalize this idea. I have three sisters and my mom had… We’re all within three and a half years of each other. And so we would go out in the fall and get our special Christmas outfit or winter outfit, which would be church. It was the shoes and the one outfit and we would wear it for Thanksgiving, we would wear it for Christmas and we would wear it to church and we would wear it to anything special that came up on the calendar because all the other clothes where the clothes that you wore-
Katrina Ubell: School clothes, play clothes, like dingy stuff. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. And then we did the same thing in the spring and it started out as Easter and then it moved into summer. So I had this belief that we had to take certain clothes and shoes, had to be taken care of separately and differently and had this higher value, I guess, than others. And so I just thought that was super interesting, but I was still carrying that around subconsciously. And so I did the work to unwind that. And to your point, like what does make a circumstance or any events special? The way I think about it.
Katrina Ubell: Right. Exactly.
Zoe Perez: It turns out nobody can tell me that, it’s just, I get to decide.
Katrina Ubell: Totally, totally. So the year passes and you’re able to do this and what are some of your key takeaways?
Zoe Perez: So one of the things that happened for me was that I was able to create more time for myself. And I created more time because I reduced the amount of time that I was spending on social media, which was huge. I also noticed that I reduced the way that I… I changed the way that I thought about myself in relationship to other people and how we looked. I used to look at other women and think they look so much better than I do, or I wish I looked like that. Be jealous of the way that I thought they were put together. And I shifted it to like looking at them for inspiration. And then trying to think like, what am I drawn to? What is the feeling that I’m getting when I look at them, because it’s actually not the pants or the shirts, its-
Katrina Ubell: It’s not?
Zoe Perez: It’s like, “Oh, this is the sense that I’m getting or she’s carrying herself a certain way.” And I could be inspired by that. And so I shifted the way that I thought about myself in the way that I looked, I noticed that I could choose to think those thoughts about myself too. I was also—I found that it was actually a creative outlet to get dressed as opposed to like something stressful and pressure film for me. So, because I was limited, I couldn’t add anything to my wardrobe. So I was like, “Ooh, could I wear this with that? Does this work with each other? Or what shoes might I wear? Or…”
Katrina Ubell: It’s like a form of self-expression when you allow it to be.
Zoe Perez: It totally is.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Totally is. And what I think is interesting and that I don’t know anything about and I am looking into learning more about is how color and scale and proportion of fit, not only with clothing, but also when you’re thinking about your home or your yard or whatever. Like how you just create a visually appealing look. For me, it’s what’s visually appealing to me. It has nothing to do with anybody else, because when I feel good in it, then I carry myself differently and I can actually bring a different energy because of the way that I’m thinking about me and the way that I am.
Katrina Ubell: It’s really like a maturing, if you think about it. Because dressing for other people and wanting… The comparison stuff, that’s reminds me of high school. You’re a middle school even. Like how we get into that habit and then we just continue on with that without really allowing ourselves to mature and evolve.
Zoe Perez: Well, and I realized too that I wasn’t really being intentional. I wouldn’t buy things that did not even fit the way I lived my life.
Katrina Ubell: You’re like this would be great for that version of me that I might become some day, but it’s not me today. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: All that 5’10 version, who’s a runway model and wears heels like this—
Katrina Ubell: Wears heels to work every day.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. Yeah. I like flat shoes. And so how do I embrace that? You know what I mean? How do I just love that? What’s interesting is I actually gave away a lot of my clothes.
Katrina Ubell: Even the ones that didn’t fit?
Zoe Perez: Yes.
Katrina Ubell: Oh, interesting.
Zoe Perez: During the year. Yeah.
Katrina Ubell: Oh.
Zoe Perez: Yeah. Because I just noticed that again, you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Ald so, and this goes back to buying things that I liked, but then looking at them and realizing that I never wore them. Of course, I read Marie Kondo’s book and one of the things that she recommended was that we say thank you to our things. And I was like, “Oh, okay. That’s-”
Katrina Ubell: It’s all over the top for you.
Zoe Perez: Guess what I do now.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. It’s like energetically sort of. It’s just like this gratitude for that thing. I feel like you can give the gratitude and then you can just say goodbye to it.
Zoe Perez: Exactly.
Katrina Ubell: You can cut ties.
Zoe Perez: It’s liberating. All of a sudden, it served a purpose and I can be grateful for that. And then I can move it on. It’s almost like I owed it. I don’t know-
Katrina Ubell: Well, it’s like we think that if we bought it, that that was like, there has to be more joy to come from wearing it. But you got a lot of pleasure out of just buying the thing and having it for a while and can that be enough? You can just decide it as enough and say, you know what? Okay, thanks for being in my life for a little while and now it’s time for you to find another home.
Zoe Perez: Yeah. And at the same time, I can go to a store now or look online and see something and I can appreciate it for what it is and I can think it’s beautiful and I can envision wouldn’t it be amazing if I had somewhere to wear this, but the truth is I don’t. And I can just appreciate the beauty of it as it is and not purchase it.
Katrina Ubell: You don’t have to own it. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Correct.
Katrina Ubell: Similarly, to looking at a food that could be delicious and saying, you know what, I don’t have to chew that up and swallow it in order appreciate how beautiful it is or how much work and care went into the preparation of it. You don’t have to actually consume it to still get a lot of pleasure out of it.
Zoe Perez: That’s right. And that actually, that comes up a lot, especially when people receive food as gifts.
Katrina Ubell: Yes, totally. Right.
Zoe Perez: And even just appreciating that someone gave you something or made you something and be appreciative of the time and the love that went into it, that’s really what you’re appreciating it. It actually—
Katrina Ubell: The intention behind it. Yes.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. There’s nothing to do with the actual food. And I would say the last thing that I was able to do for myself was I… And I had to work really hard on this because I have a scarcity mindset in a lot of different places that I’m still unraveling in different areas. Sometimes we think, wait a minute, I thought I dealt with scarcity here, why is that coming back up again? And it does, it keeps coming back up. It gets more fun and it gets more enjoyable to work on the more you do it. But I just decided that I was only going to dress myself, purchase clothes and dress myself from a place of abundance and fun. Knowing I’m enough, and I can think amazing thoughts about myself, no matter what is on my body, that actually has nothing to do with it. But isn’t it really fun to love myself and think I’m amazing and put on something that I think is really cute or put on something that I think is fun to wear or put on something that the material feels good on my body. That I don’t like feeling constricted. I actually like things that are looser fitting. And just honoring what I like not feeling like I have to fit into somebody else’s idea of what is stylish or in right now.
And I don’t buy things anymore in the moment. So if I see something that I like, and it’s not on a plan or something that I’m trying to build. I still do think like, okay, what shoes do I want or… I recently got a dog and now I take her for walks. Whether it’s raining or not, we have to go outside. So I now have a need for a pair of shoes that will help me do that, but I want them to be fun and cute. Do you know what I mean? So I’m willing to spend the time looking for something that I think is cute and that would look cute with what I have or that I want to wear.
Katrina Ubell: And you get that little bit of pleasure every time you put them on when it’s raining outside and you’d really rather not go walk the dog.
Zoe Perez: I know that we are waterproof, but it is my preference not to be walking and running in the rain. So if I see something that I like, and this goes also true for shampoos or make up or-
Katrina Ubell: Yeah, all the personal care products. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: Yes. I tell myself, I have to wait for at least a day before I make the decision to make sure that it’s actually coming from a place of not thinking that my life is going to be better or my day is going to be better or that I’m neutralizing an emotion, but really coming from a place of, yes, that’s actually something that will fit, that’s actually something that I want. Nothing is selling out tomorrow. Turns out everybody has sales every week, which I noticed. Now, when I didn’t shop, I’m like, “Oh wait, with sales like this that I can’t miss once a month. Looks like nothing is really urgent anymore. Okay. I got it. It actually always goes on sale.” Which was actually another great revelation. Which you always know, but when I took the time and I didn’t buy, and I saw that I was fine at the end of the year, without adding to my wardrobe, it actually made nothing that I wanted to do super, super important. You know what I mean? I was fine at the end of 2018 with what my closet looked like.
Katrina Ubell: So what happened after that? So then that ended. You’re like, I did it. All this progress total, moving forward personally, and then January 1st, 2019, you didn’t go on a shopping spree?
Zoe Perez: I did. Yeah, I’m just kidding, I didn’t. Here’s the thing, I just want to say here’s the thing, even if I did, it would’ve been okay because I could’ve decided that even if that’s how I consciously decided I wanted to live my life, was okay. At least I was doing it from a place of what I wanted. Do you know what I’m saying? Which is what we tell people all the time with weight loss too. It’s really not about whether or not you get to your goal weight. It’s about where do you want to be living and why and do you like your reasons for it? You can always gain the weight back. I can always refill my closet. None of it’s forever, it’s just a fun experiment to learn more about yourself and bring more awareness to what’s going on in your mind.
Katrina Ubell: It’s like using weight loss as a path to figure that out using stopping shopping as another method of figuring that out. It’s like we’re all leading to the same path with these different things.
Zoe Perez: So now I’m much better at keeping my closet to a minimal space.
Katrina Ubell: Which for you is the perfect amount. That’s like the minimal stuff is always so hard because the right amount for people is going to be totally different.
Zoe Perez: There are people that would look at my closet and they’d be like, “You think you had a lot of clothes? You actually have an empty drawer.” But for me, that’s how I thought about it. So anyway, I’ve decided… And the other thing too is when I put things on now, I actually really ask myself, do I like this and why? You know what I mean? And if I decide that I’ve moved on from something, or it doesn’t fit me anymore, or I don’t like the way that it feels on my body, I am happy to move it on. Because I’ve decided that I want to be in this relationship with my body where I’m so grateful to my body for everything it allows me to do, how it allows me to experience this material world, that I want to take care of it in a way. I want us to be working together. So if it’s like, look, I just, I really don’t like that material against me, I’m going to listen to it. It’d be like, “You take care of me, I’m going to take care of you.”
Katrina Ubell: That’s like many years ago when I finally decided that I just don’t wear almost any wool anymore because I am allergic to it and it makes me itchy, even most cashmere. And I just was so tired of being, having this low level discomfort of itchiness and sometimes more than the low level, but I would make myself wear it because it looked good. And then getting home at night, changing out of it and feeling this immediate sense of like, ah, so good to get that off my body. And I was like, “This is wrong. Maybe just not really wear wool anymore.”
Zoe Perez: And so what are you wearing? You’re in Wisconsin where it’s freezing, so how do you stay warm? What materials do you wear?
Katrina Ubell: Well, what I do though, is I have some underlayers that sometimes really cover basically all the itchy parts. It’s particularly my chest and my neck and my abdomen that would get the most itchy. So I’ll usually wear just a thin under layer. I mean, I don’t wear anything like that, on bare skin. I just can’t. I just can’t. But interestingly, a stylist one time told me the different qualities of the wools are different and different cashmere can feel like whatever. And I do have some things that I can tolerate. Sometimes it’s like, if I’ve had it on really long time, like a whole day, a long day, it starts to bother me. It’s really interesting. It’s like a real careful kind of a situation to be in.
Zoe Perez: Its like a lab experiment.
Katrina Ubell: It is lab experiment. I know, I know. People are like, “Oh, you should do alpaca.” I’m like, “No, it makes me a—I don’t know.” My mother is the same way and I think it’s like just how we are. So poor thing, she had to wear wool socks to school, growing up with her school uniform and she was so itchy all the time that she would take handkerchiefs and line her legs and try to pull the socks up over like because they were so itchy. Anyway had to wear them up, pulled up. So anyway, yeah.
So it sounds like this has really made a big difference, like a lasting effect. Just like losing weight, you can gain it all back again, you didn’t just go and go back to your old shopping habits again. You were like, okay, going to be thoughtful about this.
Zoe Perez: Yes. But what I do want to say too is that does not mean that since that time, I have never had an impulse buy before.
Katrina Ubell: I think it’s easy for us to think that because it’s like, you’re… It’s like as though it’s something to be cured and then it’s never an issue again.
Zoe Perez: Right. Right. So like you said before, there are certain circumstances that’s easier to have thoughts and feelings that we like then it’s always possible, but there are some circumstances that are easier than others. And so when I notice, if I do make an impulse buy or I do find I just buy some random… I don’t even wear eye shadow, but I actually went out and bought eyeshadow last year. I’m like, “What? Why did I do that?” And I’m like, “Something’s going on?”
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. It’s like the Canary in the coal mine. You’re like interesting that I bought that. What’s happening for me, instead of apparently I’m into makeup now.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. I got to buy it all. And so I have learned to drop judgment of myself when I do that and then just to be curious. Like what was going on? What did I think it was going to solve? What was I asking it to do for me in the moment? And sometimes it’s just the dopamine hit of buying something. Really it is of like… And sometimes it is the belief that I’m going to be 5’8 in the morning with these really big—I run to the mirror and I’m like—
Katrina Ubell: You’ll be 22 again.
Zoe Perez: And I’m like, “Okay, I’ve got some thought work to do here. Just some more to explore. There’s something happening. It’s totally fine. None of it’s a problem anymore which-”
Katrina Ubell: Some sort of resistance to who you are or look like, or what’s the reality.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. Exactly. Like did something just happen? Did I just run into someone who brought up some old thoughts and feelings about me and what were they or… So it still happens and it’s fine.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. Right. Well, I think that’s so important because you could be like, “Oh my gosh, I thought I’d done all this work. Turns out I’m not cured. Ah.” And then you go hit up the outlets or whatever right away. And so just being like, “Okay. Yeah, let me just see.” And I think it’s a similar thing. People think when you’re maintaining your weight, that you’ll never overeat ever again, or you’ll never have some sort of urge to whatever and it’s just like, oh, okay, that happened. What am I going to make that mean? What am I going to do moving forward? But most importantly, what is going on for me that this is happening again, that this seemed like the right thing? Because that’s where you need to focus your attention. If you don’t focus your attention there, then you just keep repeating that habit and then before you know it, you’re right back to the old habits again.
Zoe Perez: Exactly. Exactly. And I think when we take the time to look at it, if we do eat off plan, or buy off plan or do anything off what our authentic self wants or what we want to create for our future self, we’re all human living human lives and this is going to happen.
Katrina Ubell: We’re not robots. It’s not like a computer program running us anymore. Like suddenly. Doesn’t have an error ever.
Zoe Perez: That’s right. That’s right. And recognizing that it usually does come from wanting to feel better about ourselves or about what’s going on. And of course we do, but the real gift we give ourselves is when we’re willing to feel bad when it comes up, which can be really hard sometimes, but that’s the real work because then you know you can do anything.
Katrina Ubell: Right. Right. Exactly. Whatever it is, you’ve got it. Oh my gosh. I love it. So I thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. I think it’s such an interesting story. I love that you did this. You’re just like dug in and handled all of this. So thank you for sharing that with us.
Zoe Perez: Oh, thank you for inviting me to come on and talk to you.
Katrina Ubell: The last thing I wanted to ask you is if you could just share what you love about coaching female doctors.
Zoe Perez: I love that question. So I initially started out thinking I wanted to coach somewhere in a medical family. And I feel really lucky that I get to coach doctors. I thought for a while, I wanted to coach women married to physicians because that’s who I was. But I actually really love coaching female doctors because my thought about doctors is it’s a profession that I think is not as appreciated for the amount of contribution and sacrifice and love and work that doctors give to their patients. When growing up, watching my dad come home and mulling over some something, I always knew, you could always sense when there was something going on, and the amount of call that he took and the amount that he was available and that he wasn’t home for holidays and things like that. And my husband too, or when I hear him talking to his partners about things that are going on. I mean, it’s a calling and it isn’t always… We aren’t always grateful for it. I think it’s easy to take for granted what healthcare providers offer us and they just need our love too.
And so I love that I get to work with women who spend their lives serving others so selflessly that I get to give them a little something maybe to help elevate their lives in the way that they want. They deserve to create something amazing for themselves too. I think I really think that’s such a gift.
And the other thing that I really like, especially about the Weight Loss for Doctors only Program is that it’s really a community of support for these women. And it’s so fun to get to be part of it. Because I think it’s hard for, well, this is a thought I know, but I think it can be hard for doctors out in the real world to really be able to express how they think and feel about what their days are like.
Katrina Ubell: There’s rally to very few people that you can really be open and honest about what really is… What’s really going on in your head.
Zoe Perez: That’s right. And I think one of the things that’s so amazing is not only are you a safe space, but the coach team is a safe space, but also all of the women who are part of the community are a safe space. And everybody rallies around each other and supports each other and it really is… I mean, it’s an unbelievable community of love and support and honesty. And just doctors deserve it. You can’t show up that way in the hospital. You can’t show up that way with your nurses. You can’t show up that way with your patients. You have to walk in, you have to present yourself a certain way and have the answers and know it and be on top of it.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. There’s this version of you, that can very much be like that facade. And when the person behind that is not being well, cared for, something ends up happening. We gain a bunch of weight, we drink more than we should, we totally burn out. In worst case scenario there’s severe mental health issues. This is the place…I’ve always said we want this program to be the soft place to land. You know that you’re accepted unconditionally, no matter what’s been happening. If you’re in the program, then you leave and then everything falls apart and you’ve gained all your weight back, you come right back to us because we are here for you. We understand you and your life and all this means is we have more to—we’re never giving up on you like you’re hopeless or it’s not possible for you or something like that. And I think we need that level of acceptance and that place where we really can fall apart in BMS or share that thought that we would never utter to anybody else. That coaching environment is sacred in that way. It’s really special.
Zoe Perez: It really is. And I actually think that my husband and I had to go drive and pick up our son who he broke his leg when he was at camp. And my husband said to me, “I’ll go with you to go pick him up.” And I was like, “This is what I’ve been waiting for 20 years as a stay at home mom. I’ve got it. I’m on call, finally.” And he’s like, “No, no, I’m going.” So I was like, “Okay.” So he… And I didn’t notice this until I looked back. So much awareness comes from reflection. So we drive, it took 12 hours to get to camp. So it was a long drive. He knew he had a better understanding of what had occurred. And I of course was just like, “Oh, he broke his leg.” I had no idea. And my husband was… I am so glad that he was with us. I would not have known that he needed a triangle pillow that we needed to be careful about which way we loaded him in the car about how we had to think about what roads we were going to take, because they were going to be bumpy. About what medications he could use. Where were we going to stay? How were we going to get home? What did we have to worry about?
And it wasn’t until after all of this had passed and I reflected and I reflected on my husband’s demeanor and he’s does not worry. He totally he’s like, everything’s always fine. And when I look back and I saw reflecting on the way that he was, I was like, “He was scared.” And he wasn’t telling me what he was thinking, what the possibilities were right down that decision tree. What could this mean? What could this mean for him? What are we going to have to do? I was just like, “Oh, he broke a leg. We’ll take him to someone and they’ll fix it. And they’ll be done.” Like literally.
Katrina Ubell: And so he wasn’t going to share with you what all his fears were because that would make everything worse.
Zoe Perez: Right. And then I was like, “Oh, wait a minute. This is what you do all day, every day. You’re the one that understands these things that might be going on.” And he just says to me, “Okay, well he broke his leg. We’ll take him to someone and we’ll get…” But meanwhile, and you have to unpack and that as a doctor. If you don’t let it out, if you don’t express it, if you don’t find a safe place for that, then it’s like a dam, it’s like a backlog. And like you said it, then comes out in what if are you overeating? Are you over drinking? Are you over Netflixing? Are you over shopping? Where are you—
Katrina Ubell: What are you doing? Yeah. It’s so funny that you bring that up because people would ask me all the time like, “It must be so nice to be a pediatrician and you don’t have to worry about things.” And I was like, “Well, I don’t worry about the things you worry about, but you’ve never even heard of what I worry about, okay.” So there’s two sides to that coin.
Zoe Perez: So that to me, really that’s the best thing is that offering that’s space to women who really… And as women too, we tend to serve others, whether it’s within your practice or at home, whether you have a family or not, you have friends or you have your family of origin that you’re taking… You tend to always take care of other people, especially if you’re a caregiver and nobody’s taking care of you. And you all deserved… the doctor deserved to be taken care of in a really special, thoughtful way. The way you all extend that to our physical bodies, we can help you that with your emotional space. Yeah.
Katrina Ubell: Well, they often help us with our emotionalized too. I’m telling you I did more therapy as a pediatrician than I probably took care of actual medical problems. It’s just giving, giving.
Zoe Perez: It is. And the women that are in your program are so inspiring.
Katrina Ubell: They’re amazing.
Zoe Perez: They’re amazing.
Katrina Ubell: And I don’t want anyone listening to be like, “Oh, but I’m not amazing, so I wouldn’t fit in.” Do you ever have that thought that means you just don’t see the true amazingness that you possess?
Zoe Perez: Well, here’s the thing, I think my guess is so many of the women that we coach don’t see how amazing they are.
Katrina Ubell: Well, I think that’s a common issue. It’s so hard for us to see it in ourselves. Yeah.
Zoe Perez: We know they are and it’s a blessing and a gift to get to be around—
Katrina Ubell: Yeah, yeah. Well, Zoe, thank you so much for your time and your story and for just being on our coach team and helping us take amazing care of all the amazing doctors that we work with.
Zoe Perez: Thank you.
Katrina Ubell: Ready to start making on your weight loss goals for lots of free help, go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.