Ep #50: How to Learn From Failures and Break the Overeating Cycle

Now that it’s the day after Christmas, I have a question for you: How did the holidays go in terms of sticking to your weight loss goals? Really take some time to think about whether you stayed on track with your plan or deviated from it—or if you had a plan at all.

It’s so important to check in with yourself, especially during this time of year when it tends to be difficult for people to stay on plan. You want to go over what worked and what didn’t, not only so you can make sure to celebrate your wins, but also so you can become clear about times you struggled.

As tempting as it is to avoid thinking about times we overeat or eat things we shouldn’t, the only way to learn from those moments is to understand what happened so we don’t repeat the same failures over and over again. In this episode, I explain how to track any time you go off plan and use what happened to help you break the overeating cycle moving forward.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How to track your weight loss successes and failures.
  • Questions to ask yourself when you don’t stay on plan.
  • What you should write down in addition to the foods you eat.
  • Why it’s not enough to mentally scold yourself and promise to do better.
  • The steps a client took that led to her biggest weight loss journey win.

Featured In This Episode:


Get The Full Episode Transcript

Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians Podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD episode number 50.

This is Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, the podcast where busy doctors like you get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight and feel better so that you can have the life you want. This is the resource you’ve been looking for to guide you on the journey to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food. Here’s your host, Dr. Katrina Ubell.

Katrina Ubell:      Hey there, my friend. What’s up? How are you? The holidays are just over. How were they for you? Well, not all the holidays, right? We still have New Years coming up. This is airing the day after Christmas. I know not all of you celebrate that, but some of you do. Many of us still just get in the holiday spirit regardless of whether we have a religious holiday that we’re celebrating or not. It’s usually filled with a lot of food. We tend to find that our offices are filled with lots of food-related gifts. Whether it’s from patients or referring people or the drug reps or whoever, there’s a lot of stuff. Some of it, we’re like, “That’s not bad. It’s just nuts,” but too many nuts is still too many nuts, right?

Before we get started, hey, listen. I always want to tell you about things that I’m finding are super amazing. I want to tell you about what I’m wearing right now. Most of you are going to look at this thing and go, “That’s hideous. I will not be buying that,” but I want to share it with you. I want to just tell you the backstory. A while back, like a year ago, my husband and I both started working with a personal stylist at Nordstrom. If you don’t know about this service, they do it for free. They obviously get a commission off of what you buy, but you don’t pay any extra. You sit in a really nice dressing room and they just bring you clothes. You’re like, “Yes, I like it. No, I don’t. I want something different.” You need a different size? Great. They’ll go get it. They help you to figure out what’s going to really fit you well based on what your body shape is so you don’t need to try on 50 million pairs of jeans. They’re like, “Here’s three. I think you’ll love them all,” and you do. You’re like, “Oh my god. I want them all. They’re amazing.”

Anyway, my husband was working with this gal who’s been incredible for our family. He came home with this suit, basically, but more like a sweatsuit, not like a men’s fancy suit. He was so excited about it. He tends to not get that excited about clothing so I thought this must be pretty special. It’s pants and a zip-up hoodie. It looks like normal sweatsuit material on the outside, but really soft, but then on the inside, it’s lined with this incredibly soft, soft fleece. We live in Wisconsin. It gets cold here. We need things like this. He wears this in the winter pretty much every day, at least part of it. He comes home from work and he can’t wait to change into that thing because it’s so comfortable. Of course, then I was jealous and I wanted one and they don’t make them for women. I thought about maybe getting one just in like extra small or something, but I never did it.

Then, fast forward to this summer when Nordstrom had their anniversary sale and one of the things that they had on sale for women was this cape, also made by UGG. It’s basically the same material, super soft sweatsuit material on the outside, super soft fleece on the inside, but it’s a cape so it’s got like these sort of distal arm holes so you do have something that keeps it to your arms. It’s got a marsupial pouch. It doesn’t have a hood, but it’s got like a nicely positioned neck-warming, extra layer on the neck, so that helps. It is so wonderful. I’m wearing it today because I’m just a little bit chilled and I don’t have to do a lot of things.

It’s definitely not something you’re going to wear running errands or even leaving the house at all. I don’t think I’ve ever worn it out of the house, but also not even like doing the dishes, because you’ve got all this cape material. You’re loading the dishwasher, I’ve done this before, and I’m dipping the ends of my cape into the dirty dishes, which is not a good thing. Even, honestly, going to the bathroom is a little bit of a challenge sometimes, but it’s so warm and cozy. It’s just the best. You just feel like you’re enveloped in this really soft and cozy blanket. When you’re just hanging out or working, as I am right now, it’s the best. I just totally love it. You can check that out if you want to and laugh.

Listen, I have some really good news for those of you who are interested in coaching with me, joining one of my coaching groups, soon. I want to let you know that January first, I’m going to be telling you all about this next coaching group that I have planned. If you are a woman physician in clinical practice and you want to hear more about possibly joining this group and working with me, then I want to be sure that you’re on the email list for those who are interested. I do have a regular email list. If you’re getting my emails once a week with some good tips, then you are on my regular email list, but I may or may not, depending on the interest level, actually send out the information to this group, because I have a lot of people who are interested in my work and many of them will not qualify for this group because you have to be a woman physician in clinical practice.

If you fit that bill and are interested in hearing more, you can sign up for this special sub email group, this separate email group, by going to KatrinaUbellMD.com/group. Then, you’re going to enter your name and email and that’s it. You’re on the list. As a side note, if you’ve listened in the past, you used to have to then go to your email and open up an email that you got from me and confirm that you want to be added to the list, but we got rid of that and you don’t have to do that anymore. All you have to do is put in your email and your name and that’s it. If you’re not sure if you’re on the list or not, then, by all means, just go and sign up again. No big deal. Be sure to do that very soon because I’m going to be telling you in just a few short days all about what I have planned. It’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait.

Then, one more thing really quick. You know iTunes reviews. We are over halfway to my goal of 500 reviews. I have a lot of ratings, which I’m super grateful for. I thank you so much, but what I really want is 500 reviews, where people have actually written to me what they think. I like to just pull one out that kind of resonates with me and tell you about what people are writing. This is a really short one, just to give you an example. I mean, this one is literally one sentence. That’s all you have to do. It’s not a big deal. This is Suzy MD who writes and the title is Life-Changing. This is what she writes, “Since listening to Katrina, I have lost 35 pounds, but much more than, I’m learning to stop emotionally overeating to cope with anxiety and restlessness in my life and to manage my thinking to improve my life. I highly recommend this podcast.” Okay, that was two sentences. Sorry. I mean, seriously, right?

I love how when we really get into this work, how it’s so easy to be like, “Yeah, I’ve lost 35 pounds. That’s amazing, but let me just tell you this is what’s changing my life. I’m not emotionally overeating. I’m coping with anxiety and restlessness. I’m managing my thinking. I’m improving my life.” That’s what this work does for you. The weight is so fun, but it’s just a byproduct of all the other benefits that you’re getting. When your viewpoint on your life so much better, when you’re managing your thinking, then you don’t need to overeat and overdrink in order to cope with your life. Then, guess what, the weight falls off. It’s so nice. It’s amazing.

Today, since it is the day after Christmas, I have some really good information for you. I want to make sure that you listen all the way to the end of this podcast because I’ve got a really terrific freebie worksheet for you that I’m going to tell you all about at the end. Make sure you listen all the way through. It’s the day after Christmas so I want you to spend a moment here to just think how did the holidays go for you. I consider the holidays even all the way from Halloween through to now and even New Years, if you’re big New Years partier or planner and you do fun things with that. How did it go? Did you stay on plan? Did you even have a plan at all? Did you just kind of think you would just kind of wing it and hope for the best? Did you go in with a plan but you ended up deviating from it?

This is a really, really good time to review how the holidays went for you. This is usually the hardest time of the year for most people. Not everybody, but for a lot of people, this is the hardest time of the year. It’s really important to spend some time going over what worked and what didn’t work and you make sure you celebrate your wins, but then you also become clear about why certain things were a win for you and were not. If you had something that was a win, what did you do to prepare? What did you do when it got hard? How did you keep yourself on track? What thoughts created the result of staying on your plan? Once you know this information, you just rinse and repeat, right? With New Years coming up, if you have plans, you can do the same thing all over again.

Let me give you an example of something, some work I just did with a current client of mine. It’s an amazing client. She and her family going to Disney. They’re super, super into it and they go multiple times a year. In the past, she has gained, over that week in Disney, a good solid seven to 10 pounds. She was really, really fearful about doing that again. She just went recently, again, with her family. We did a bunch of work on how to get through Disney without overeating. What was so interesting is she said, “I know that place like the back of my hand. I already know where all the healthy food is. It’s not that I need to do research to figure out where I can eat. It’s that I have so much desire and this is just our time for our family where we really let loose and relax and enjoy each other and all the food is a part of that.”

I spent some time with her, coaching her on this, and she went to Disney and she totally stayed on plan and she did not gain any weight. She had a very discrete plan for what she was going to do and she stuck with it. You could just tell how excited and proud of herself she was because this felt like such an insurmountable problem for her. She was looking to the past for evidence she could create something new in her life and wasn’t finding it because she had always, always overeaten so dramatically when she went there. Of course, the answer is not to never to go to Disney. That’s just changing the circumstance. What we needed to do was come up with a way to have just as much fun or maybe even more fun at Disney but without overeating. That doesn’t mean that she never ate anything that was off her plan. She did, but she had a plan and that’s the key thing.

When she got back and reported back to me on how well it went, I immediately told her that I wanted her to spend some time doing a thought download on why it went well. What were all the things that worked? What were the foods that she ate that were totally worth it and she wants to make sure she eats those again and which were foods that, honestly, now that she’s so much more aware, they weren’t even that good and she definitely doesn’t need to even have those again? So that she can have her ongoing list of what the special foods are that she likes to have at Disney and cross those off that one. Shorten that list. Narrow it down to the ones that really are special, that really, really taste delicious and they’re amazing, and then only having those in a very specific way.

I wanted her to recall what her thoughts were that drove her to stay on plan. What did she do when she felt really tempted to eat the things that were not on her plan that she normally would? What would she do when the kids got difficult and cranky and whiny and, in the past, she would have overeaten but she didn’t this time? How did she handle that differently? How did she think? How did she feel? What did she do? Then, what were those results for her? So she can literally write out the models that created the result of having an amazing experience in Disney and not gaining any weight. She wrote back to me and said, “That’s amazing. I can’t wait. That’s exactly what I need to be doing,” because she felt so empowered by what she was able to create. This way, she doesn’t have to recreate the wheel in three or four months when she goes back. All she has to do is go back and reread everything she just wrote out and do that again. If you had a really, really good holiday season or even just one party that went great or one day that went great, spend some time really figuring it out. Why was that a success for you? How did you get yourself totally dialed in so that you got what you wanted? Then, you can use that in the future and reference that.

For some of you, you might have gone off plan and it’s equally important to spend time evaluating what happened if you went off your plan. The purpose of this exercise is not to beat yourself up. It’s not to have a whole bunch of self-loathing thoughts. It’s not the time to think that you can change your actions by giving yourself a very stern talking to. If those things worked, none of us would have weight problem. We often think, oh, we just need to get our act together. We just need to stop all this nonsense, all these shenanigans, except we don’t. Pretty much the evidence is there that that method of dealing with going off plan does not create the result of staying on plan in the future.

One of my teachers, Dan Sullivan, says that you’re always either winning or learning in everything that you do. You’re not losing, you’re learning from your failures. You’re either winning or you’re learning from your failures. That’s what we want to make sure that you’re doing here because if you’re not learning, then you are just setting yourself up for repeating the same failures over and over again, and then you beat yourself up and you feel guilty and ashamed and like a piece of trash. Then you end up repeating the same cycle over again. For so many of us, this cycle has been what we’ve been doing for years, right, maybe even decades, maybe even since we were teens or preteens. Even though going through that process is very uncomfortable, overeating, the beating yourself up, and thinking that you can whip yourself back into shape, it’s very uncomfortable, but it’s very familiar. We can practically do this in our sleep. It’s not something that requires much effort from us. Our neuronal connections that create the thoughts that beat ourselves up are a well-worn path so the brain’s like, “Oh, we did that? Okay. Now we beat ourselves.” You don’t even have to think. You’re not deciding to beat yourself up. It seems like the right thing to do and it just happens.

What I want to offer to you is a few questions to ask yourself. Don’t worry, especially if you’re driving right now or on a piece of workout equipment or something. You don’t have to remember these questions that I’m about to tell you or write them down while you’re driving because I’ve put them all together into a downloadable worksheet for you that you can find at KatrinaUbellMD.com/50download. Once you’re at a place where you can download something, head over to KatrinaUbellMD.com/50download. 5-0 download all mushed together. Then, you’ll get this worksheet. You’ll get this download and then you can use it over and over and over again. You can just print it off or, even once you have it, you can just write down the answers to your questions or type them in somewhere, wherever you want.

What we’re looking to accomplish with this worksheet is becoming aware of what we did when we didn’t stay on our plan. It’s so easy for us to just decide that we want to hide from it. “Yeah, I ate that. I’m feeling terrible about it, so I just want to push that into the recesses of my brain.” If you remember, in the early podcast, I talked about that one room you don’t want to go into in your house or the attic that’s super messy. You don’t even want to know. You just shove things in there. We want to make sure you’re not doing that, that you’re taking this experience and just shoving that into the attic like, “That was bad. I don’t want to think about it. Let me just move on.” Then we just try to forget it, but we never learn.

The first part of the worksheet is writing down exactly what you ate or drank that was not on your plan. I want you to write everything out, every little bite taste. You know, you were putting food away, leftovers, and grabbed a little something. Don’t want you to hide anything. I do want you to know that if you wait too long of a time to fill this worksheet out, then you’ll forget. You’re going to forget some of the things you ate and it’s possibly going to not be as complete or you won’t learn as much from it. You’re not going to be as in touch with what happened. My suggestion is when it’s still very fresh in your mind to grab this worksheet and fill it out every time.

Often times, also people think, “Oh, I filled it out once. I’ve done that worksheet.” This is a worksheet that you can use over and over and over and over again. If you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh. I went off my plan again. What’s going on with me?” Get out that worksheet. That’s the very first step in figuring out what is going on with you. That’s a great question. Let’s figure it out. You can use this worksheet to do that. Next, you’re going to write down why you overate it or overdrank it. Be very careful because your brain very quickly may offer up, “I don’t know.” Don’t settle for, “I don’t know,” or, “I just wanted it,” or, “I had to eat it or drink it.” I want you to be very, very specific and I want you to really think about what was going on for you that made you think it was a good idea to eat or drink that in the moment. Why did you want it? If you did know why you ate it or drank it, what might that reason be? You can ask yourself that when “I don’t know” keeps coming up. If you did know, what might it be?

Then, the next question is, “What did you notice?” This is a really, really good one because when you really spend the time thinking about this, you might notice, “I want feeling really stressed. The kids were not acting the way I wanted them to and I just felt so uncomfortable that I just reached for food. My aunt who always is criticizing me had just given me some comments that were little digs and I’m super sensitive to that.” You might say that you noticed that you were just feeling super joyful, that you were just feeling so happy to be with everyone, it was just habit to eat more food than you needed. Maybe you kind of checked out, you really didn’t want to stop at a +4 on the hunger scale because the food was tasting so good so you ended up just wanting to have a little bit more and you didn’t even really want to think about it. Maybe you felt like, “I’m just going to give myself a pass for these next couple of days or for this meal. I don’t really want to have to do the hard work for this meal. I want to be able to make this easier for myself.” You’re going to come up with some really good information for yourself about what was going on for you with this. That’s how you start to figure out why you did this.

Then we transition into problem-solving. Next question is, “What would have worked better?” For sure you can come up with some answers. What could you have done that probably would have worked better? Just some ideas. It doesn’t mean that for sure it would have worked, but what might have worked better. Just brainstorm. The next question is, “What did you learn?” This is so good because you’re asking your brain, “What can I learn from this?” You’re making sure you’re learning. Spend time. Don’t rush through this worksheet. Spend time really asking yourself, “What did I learn?” Then, the next question is, “How do you want to feel about this moving forward?” So often we feel guilt and shame and frustration and disappointment and we don’t want to feel that way so we can decide, “I want to feel, moving forward, that I learned from this, I can put it down now, I don’t need to carry it with me, and I’m going to feel motivated to get right back on my plan again,” or whatever it is that you want to feel moving forward.

Then, the final question is, “How will you handle this next time?” This is so good, right, because you have a plan then. Now you have a plan moving forward for the next time this may come up. You’re then brainstorming how you want to handle this the next time something like this comes up. It might be something you can plan for or it might not be. Either way, this is good, because every now and then, something unexpected happens. Well, if you know how you handle that thing, then when it comes up, you go, “Oh, yeah. I already know how to handle that. No big deal. I’ve been through this before. I’ve figured it out. I have a better idea of what I can do. That’s what I’m going to do this time.” Rather thinking that you can somehow do better next time without putting forth any or much effort or thought into it, you have all of this really discretely planned out for next time, which is such a gift to give yourself.

When you first start doing this, it might feel really uncomfortable because you have to own up to what you did. You can’t just shove it under the rug and think it won’t matter if you ate or drank whatever it was alone or in hiding. You might think, “Do I really have to fill this out? Did it even count?” It’s kind of that whole question, that old one, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s around, does it make a noise?” It’s like, “If I eat a bunch of food when nobody’s around, will I really gain weight?” Of course, the answer is yes. Does it really count? Of course, because you still were trying to escape the reality of what was going on for you in that moment. When we’re ashamed of eating in that way, we usually just want to forget about it and move on and we don’t want to make sure or we don’t make sure that we learn the lessons from the experience first. We just think that we can stop this habit of overeating with willpower, but clearly that hasn’t been working because you’ve tried using willpower. You’ve tried beating yourself up and the results are the same, an overweight body or someone who isn’t in control of their eating even if you don’t have a weight problem.

Please take the time to download this worksheet and print it out. You can use it again and again. It really is a game changer. I’m so excited to offer this to you. Just as a reminder to get it, go to KatrinaUbellMD.com/50download. Again, KatrinaUbellMD.com/50download. If you think you might want to work with me in my next coaching group starting in January and you’re a woman physician who’s in clinical practice, please be sure to get on my special email list just for those of you who are interested so that you can be the first to hear about this. It’s going to be a first come first serve situation this time. You’re going to really want to make sure that you are ready to go when I send out more information on January first. To sign up for that email listen, go to KatrinaUbellMD.com/group to sign up.

All right. Have a happy, happy New Year. I won’t talk to you again until it’s after New Year’s time. I am so excited to enter into 2018, working with those of you who want to work with me, and for those of you who either don’t qualify to work with me or just aren’t in that position right now but are getting such amazing results from this podcast, I can’t wait to offer you more amazing and super helpful content all year next year. All right, you guys. Take care. Have a wonderful week. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye bye.

Thanks for joining us on Weight Loss for Busy Physicians. Now, take the next step and go to KatrinaUbellMD.com to download just what you need, The Busy Doctor’s Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss. Join us again next week for more support to keep you in control and on the path to freedom around food.


Share The Love:

  • Never miss an episode by subscribing via iTunes, Stitcher or by RSS
  • Help improve the show by leaving a Rating & Review in iTunes (Here’s How)
  • Join the discussion for this episode in the comments section below
Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search