Ep #202: Handling the Holidays with Coach Lynn Grogan

Weight loss and the holidays do not have to be mutually exclusive! Lynn Grogan is the Lead Coach and Director of Programming in my Weight Loss For Doctors Only Program, and she joins me today to talk about how to get through the holidays in one piece – without gaining a bunch of weight.

We always see people struggling with the same weight loss challenges year after year around the holidays, and in this episode, we’re giving you our best tips to overcome those challenges and set yourself up for success in the new year. It’s time to stop fearing the holidays and instead make it enjoyable, meaningful, and full of connection – all of the things that we’ve been wanting all year, without food being the main event.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How you can support yourself before the holidays.
  • Why you should consider planning ahead, even if you are resistant to it.
  • How you can prepare yourself for success over the holidays.
  • Our tips for pacing yourself and avoiding the urge to overeat.
  • Tips to surround yourself with support and keep yourself accountable.
  • How Lynn lost weight herself before becoming a coach.
  • How to cultivate curiosity, compassion, and grace for yourself.
  • How to actively destress after the holidays.

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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 202.

Welcome to 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 so you can feel better and have the life you want. 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. Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so happy to have you here. I am hoping that you are not hearing what’s above me. It’s very, very loud in my house right now, but I really do need to get this recorded, so this is just what we’re going to do. Well, I hope that you are winding down your November in a way that you’re happy about and you’re proud of. Here in America, we’ve got Thanksgiving coming up in just two days from when this episode airs, and that is often a big binge fest for a lot of people. It’s where we end up eating a lot more food and possibly drinking way more alcohol than we would like, and then that just kind of sets us off into the next several weeks of spiraling into the new year, gaining five, 10 pounds or so. And so I wanted this episode to be about how to handle the holidays, how to make it so that you can get through this in one piece.

Now, this is something that we discuss and coach on all of the time in my Weight Loss for Doctors Only program, and that is why I brought on one of my coaches to talk with me today about this topic. Her name is Lynn Grogan. She’s amazing, and you’re going to hear more about her in just a minute. But first, before we really dig into all of that, I wanted to remind you that the opportunity to ask for the January 2021 Weight Loss for Doctors Only coaching program as a gift is still available to you. So if you would prefer to have someone who would be buying you a gift for the holidays or for your birthday or something around the end of the year as a gift for you, then you can send them to katrinaubellmd.com/gift and they can purchase the program for you and they can even print off a little gift certificate for you that they can gift to you in an envelope or wrap it up in a box or something like that to make it really extra special.

That’s super fun, right? Then you get to have something that you know is going to really help you, really is going to … I mean, I’m telling you, that program will be coming to a close in July of 2021. Imagine how much progress you’ll have made next summer in 2021 when you ask for a gift that really, truly will help you not only lose weight, but also change your life in all the amazing ways. You’ve been hearing all of these great success stories, and that’s all available to you as well. So like I said, katrinaubellmd.com/gift to be able to sign up for that.

Now, if you are someone who’s been through the program either recently or in the past and you’d like to come back into Masters or come into VIP, then you can ask for that as a gift as well. Just go to katrinaubellmd.com/mastersgift, all smooshed together, M-A-S-T-E-R-S-G-I-F-T, and then your gift giver can buy you membership into Masters or VIP also as a gift, which is super fun. So I just want to remind you, there’s no shame in buying your own gift, giving it to yourself, or buying your own gift and having someone else give it to you. I do that all of the time. It’s not a problem at all if that ends up just being the easiest route and the path of least resistance for everybody.

It’s extra fun when you get to come in as someone who’s gotten this as a gift. I do want to let you know that when you get the gift, you get all of the fast action bonuses that I offer, which I don’t offer them all that often. I offer pieces of them periodically, but you’re going to get all of them all together, which is amazing. You get the printed out success guide, you get the printed out inspiration book, inspiration from the podcast, you get my favorite things, you get the list of best thoughts to think for weight loss. It’s just a lot of good stuff. That’s four bonuses. That’s pretty amazing. So anyway, come join us and let the gift be your guide, if that’s what you’d like. So katrinaubellmd.com/gift or katribaubellmd.com/mastersgift.

Okay, so, Lynn Grogan. Lynn has been working with me for now … what did we say? Almost two years. Yeah, we’re pretty much at two yeas now. She is amazing. I actually met her well before we started working together and always enjoy being with her. Then it was when I was looking for someone to come and help me in the program and someone that we both know who we both really respect a lot, she said, “Oh hey, you know what? You know Lynn. Lynn’s available. You should reach out to her,” and I snapped that up right away. I was like, “Oh yes, not messing around,” and it really has been a dream come true, I think, really, for both of us. I think I can say that. She has been someone who came on really just as a pretty minimal role doing some coaching for me in the program and has taken on much more of a leadership role within the business over time and she does a great job at that.

All of our clients love her. She’s just a fantastic coach, and she also is responsible for so many of the things that make our program so special and so well run and so supportive. She really is so great at that. She’s the director of programming, and so she is just on top of all that stuff. There comes a point as a business owner where your brain can only hold so much or think about so much, so she’s like an extension, I feel like, of my brain. It’s amazing.

So anyway, she is just a delight, a great, great person, very insightful, and has so much experience as really, truly a professional coach. So I just thought it’d be so fun to have her come on and we could discuss together how to handle the holidays. So please enjoy these really great tips. This is all the stuff that we see people struggling with all the time, year after year. Then we have some thoughts about how this year might be a little bit different, unique, special in some ways, and how to handle that as well. So please enjoy my conversation with Lynn and I really hope that you’re able to apply at least one of the tips that we offer to you in this episode. Okay, enjoy.

Lynn Grogan. Yay! I’m so happy to have you on the podcast. Thank you for being here.

Lynn Grogan:      Yes. I’m excited to be here.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. This is a long overdue podcast episode and I’m super excited to do this. We were thinking, like, “Okay, what should we talk about?” Of course the holidays came up. So perfect for what we’re going to be heading into and just finishing up 2020, which has been the year. I don’t even know what to say about it, but I have a feeling that it’s just going to be a different and interesting holiday season for us. I think this is perfect timing. Now, before we get going, I would love it if you could just give us a little introduction. Just tell us about you and all the interesting things about you.

Lynn Grogan:      Sure. I have worked with you for, what, two years now as a coach on your team. Over time, I have … The word “graduated” came to mind. No, just like-

Katrina Ubell:      You’ve been promoted.

Lynn Grogan:      I got promoted, so now I’m lead coach running our coach team, director of programs, and I just love it. I love working with all the clients. I think one thing that usually surprises people about me and my lifestyle is that for the last several years, up until very recently, my husband and I traveled full time in our RV, our motor home. So there were many times where I was coaching clients from the middle of the woods and they had no idea, but it was just a fabulous way of making a life of my dreams on the road as a coach. Now we’re in a house, but I know that there’s going to be times where we travel and work and make that work.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. I think that is for sure one of the most interesting things about you, this nomadic lifestyle and this pull. Because over the years, you have sort of settled a bit, and then it’s like the itch comes back again. You’re like, “We got to get out of here,” and you’re back at it.

Lynn Grogan:      Oh, it’s here right now, but then isn’t it there for everyone?

Katrina Ubell:      That’s true. That’s actually a really good point, because I’ve had that as well, of like, “Where can we go? We need to go somewhere.”

Lynn Grogan:      Yeah. The going across town has lost its appeal at this point.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, exactly. Exactly. But you guys just bought your first house.

Lynn Grogan:      We did.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s super fun. You have bees.

Lynn Grogan:      Yes, there’s bees and a giant garden that we will be tending to in the spring. Hopefully we’ll be getting chickens.

Katrina Ubell:      Yay.

Lynn Grogan:      So it’s a different identify for me to be stationary, but I’m excited. We’re excited. Just trying to figure out what this all looks like moving forward. But it does make working a lot easier.

Katrina Ubell:      It does.

Lynn Grogan:      And I’m not trying to figure out where my next source of internet is coming from.

Katrina Ubell:      I always love your, like, “Let me try this hotspot. Let me try this hotspot. No, I’ve got one more. Let me try this hotspot and see if it works.”

Lynn Grogan:      I’m holding an antenna in my hand going, “Ah.” Oh gosh, I don’t miss it.

Katrina Ubell:      You always made it work, though.

Lynn Grogan:      I did.

Katrina Ubell:      I love that. You were just like, “Nope, nope.” You’re scrappy. You’re going to figure out a way.

Lynn Grogan:      I always did.

Katrina Ubell:      Which is great. Okay, so let’s talk about the holidays this year. How do you see the holidays being different for people this year?

Lynn Grogan:      Oh, in so many ways. Usually, it’d just be like, “Okay, are we going to your house?” You’re like, “Your family’s or mine?” No brainer, right? Usually people are doing the same thing. What I’m coaching on a lot right now is just that grand debate, like, “Are we meeting in person? Are we not meeting in person? Who are we meeting in person?” And suddenly, it’s all of this drama before the actual holidays happen, which also invokes a lot of drama when you actually show up. So that’s the biggest thing I’ve seen, is that grand debate.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. So it’s like layering of mind drama, right?

Lynn Grogan:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like already the difficulty of all the stressors, and then on top of it, who’s upset with you, who wants you to be doing something you don’t want to be doing, or who’s not willing to do what you want to do and making that all difficult. I think that as a physician entering into this holiday season, I think that you really have to, obviously, manage your thoughts around what you’re willing to do and what you’re not and your reasons for it, and then when you do whatever it is you do, if you decide to get together with people … family or friends or whoever … you really have to be willing to leave.

I think this is an important thing to say. I was telling you that … I don’t know, it was maybe a month ago or so … that I was invited with my son to a sort of party type of thing. It was at the end of a sports season that he had, and I initially thought, “Oh, no, we’re not doing things like that,” but the family said, “Well, it’s going to be outdoors, masks required.” All the food and beverages were all single serving. They were like, “No, this will totally be a socially distanced kind of thing. It’d just be so nice for the boys to get together.” And so I thought, “Okay.” This was, of course, my thought. “Well, I don’t want to be that mom who won’t let his son go.”

And then, of course, we go … and I know these parents, too, and so I trusted them to enforce the rules and got there, and that was not at all what was happening. There were tons of people with masks off. People were standing closely. It was very uncomfortable because it wasn’t as advertised. And so in hindsight, just thinking about it, I did not even realize … I just am so trusting/gullible. I just am like, “What could go wrong?” That could be the theme of my life. I’m like, “What could go wrong?” And then I go there and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, why are people not following the rules?” So then, in the moment, I’m feeling all uncomfortable and not sure what to do.

So what I wanted to suggest to everyone listening is that if you decide to go to something … Some people are like, “Everyone’s getting a COVID test and everyone’s going to isolate before they get together,” and things like that. If you get there and something isn’t right, whatever it is, you have to be willing to go, “Listen guys, I love you and we’re leaving. I’m not going to stay and be in this and expose myself or my family,” or whatever it is. And I think just as a physician, it’s even more important just because we are in closer contact with people in general.

So really what it is is being willing to change your circumstances if the other circumstances change. If the circumstance is you’re going to a party or going to some gathering or get together or a holiday with people and thee are the rules that they’ve outlined that people are going to follow, but when you get there, the circumstance is different, meaning they are not following those rules or that’s not being enforced, then prepare yourself in advance for what it would look like if you just were like, “You know what? I’m not into this. This isn’t good. I’m going to leave.”

Because, of course, when we force ourselves to stay and then it doesn’t work out the way it should … meaning someone gets sick or … well, not even the way it should, but just the way that we expected it to … then in hindsight, we’re beating ourselves up and going, “Oh, why didn’t I just leave?” So I think it’s also connecting to your intuition or your gut feeling. If you get there and your intuition’s telling you, “This is not good. You should not be here,” you should listen to that. You don’t need to get all cerebral about it and have your thoughts about excuses or explain it or whatever. You could just go, “You know what? My gut’s telling me I should leave and so we’re going to do that. I don’t even know why. I don’t have to understand it, but I’m going to leave.

And then the other thing that I think is really good is to just spend a little time envisioning what kind of experience you want to have. You got to think about if you’re going to get together with a bunch of people, or even just a small number of people, but it’s going to be really stressful and you’re going to be having to do Olympic-level mind management to get through it, is that really the best decision for you? And it’s okay to just say no. This is where we have to dig into our people-pleasing tendencies. It’s okay to not do what other people want you to do and let them own their emotions. Because what you do doesn’t determine how other people feel. That’s their thoughts about it. So when you are changing what you want to do or what’s best for you in order to try to manipulate how they feel, that feels terrible for you and makes you really a liar because you’re not even wanting to do the thing that you’re saying you want to do.

Okay, so let’s talk about before the holiday or the event, how you can support yourself. So yes.

Lynn Grogan:      Yeah. We determined from all that, there’s going to be emotions either way. If you go and be with the people, yay, you’re probably going to have a lot of emotions there. If you’re not, probably a lot of emotions there. I think the biggest thing that we talk to our clients about is having a plan that’s written out in advance, very specific, that includes what you want to do, what you don’t want to do, and all the challenges that are going to come up in there. So it’s rating on everything specifically from my mom might tell me, “Oh my gosh, is that all you’re eating?” How am I going to have my own back if she says that? I want to stick to my plan. It’s writing that out ahead of time and then also spending the time to rehearse, to just go, “Okay, these are the written words, but how does it look in my mind?” Almost like you’re an actor in a play. “Here are the lines that I want to have,” but then also practicing saying them to give yourself a chance to go through that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, exactly. Envisioning your future self. You, in however many days or a week or whatever, in that scenario having all the success. You want to envision exactly how it can go. Now, what you have to also do, though, is that doesn’t mean you having all the success means that everyone else acts the way that you think they should. It’s not like dream world where Uncle Bob behaves himself and isn’t making political comments that enrage you.

Lynn Grogan:      I’m laughing because I have an Uncle Bob. Yes. He’s more shoving shots at people, but that’s another story.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay. Oh yeah, a little different. But so you have to envision all the people being there, acting the way they always act, maybe even worse, incrementally worse than they usually do, let’s just say, and then how you’re going to have tons of success even in that environment. Really envision that.

If you’re having a hard time envisioning it, don’t then decide it’s impossible and, “Screw it all, might as well just eat and drink everything.” If you’re having a hard time, then just play with the idea. What would somebody else who didn’t struggle in this way, how would they act in this? So maybe you can’t envision yourself having success, but you can envision someone else having success. And then you can act as if. You can pretend to be that person like you were saying, like pretending to be an actor playing a role. What might that be? That’s so cool.

Let’s just talk about planning in general. Some people really don’t like to plan, do they? Some people, very resistant to planning. They don’t like to write things down. They say they have it all in their head, or they just think that that doesn’t allow them to be spontaneous the way they want to be or things like that. So I would like to suggest that if you don’t want to plan or you’re resistant to planning that you think about why that might be. Not because planning is the right way to do it, because you’re bad if you don’t plan, or things like that, but instead thinking about it like, “Okay, how might a plan support me? Why might this be a good idea?” And, “Why might I not want to?” Because when you find out why you’re resistant to doing it, I mean, you can find out some really good stuff.

It might be because deep down, you really want to overeat on all the desserts or you really want to get drunk with your family, or whatever it is. You’ve got to find out what that is because otherwise, this is what we see all the time, right? We see clients who put together the whole plan, do everything, check all the boxes of the things to do to prepare themselves, and then they just still go in and eat and drink all the things and they’re like, “When am I going to actually follow my plan?” And so this leads to the next one of our steps, which is asking yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how committed are you to following this plan? If you’re not an eight or higher, then we need to modify this plan because … You’ve done this. I’ve done this, too, where we’ve coached someone where this has happened and I’m like, “Okay, what was your plan?” They tell me. I’m like, “Okay, scale of 1 to 10, how likely were you to follow that?” They’re like, “A two.” So then it’s not surprising. Of course, they went off their plan then.

So what we want to do is we want to get your plan to the place where you’re an eight, nine, or ten in confidence level that you’re going to follow this plan. So if you’re not there, what you need to do is stop making it as restrictive or limiting as you have been making it be. You have to look at it like, “You know what? Maybe I’m going to totally just write down that I’m going to eat three pieces of pie. If I think I can for sure commit to eating one, two, or three pieces of pie, that gets me to an eight or greater. Maybe that’s what I should do.” But I would rather you plan to overeat and then overeat then plan to not overeat, go against your plan and your relationship with yourself, and still overeat.

I just want to say that again because this is important. I’d rather you plan to overeat and then overeat and have your back and not beat yourself up over it than to plan to not overeat, to not have the things that typically are enticing to you, and then still have them and then erode your relationship with yourself, make you feel like you need to beat yourself up like that’s somehow going to help you. And then, of course, several days after, you’re still feeling bad about yourself, you’re still feeling bad that you can’t do what you said you were going to do. So make sure that whatever you say you’re going to do, you’re very, very likely to follow it. That’s super important. So-

Lynn Grogan:      And I think that’s the … Oh, sorry.

Katrina Ubell:      No, go ahead. No, go ahead.

Lynn Grogan:      I think that’s the part that’s most surprising to our clients. They’re like, “Wait a minute, but shouldn’t it be this really strict plan?” But it’s like it is more about that relationship with yourself, and so that plan with yourself could be something as simple as, like, “I’m just not going to overeat. I can eat whatever I want, but I’m going to stop when I’m at a plus one on the hunger scale.” And so it doesn’t have to be this elaborate plan where you’re in minute details. It could be something as simple as that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. I love that because so often, especially with these holidays, we get into so much scarcity. It’s like we know this. The more we tell ourselves we can’t have something, the more we want it, right?

Lynn Grogan:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      We wonder why we have so much over desire for food, and it’s like because we’re telling ourselves, “No, you can’t have that,” but meanwhile, the other half of our brain is like, “That looks amazing. I want it so badly.” So yeah. So, so, so important.

So tell us about how our listeners can prepare themselves for really, truly having tons of success. Because we have a whole travel and special events bonus module in the program, and so I know you coach on this all of the time.

Lynn Grogan:      Yes. Well, I think one of the things is to remember that once you create the plan, it doesn’t just go like, fold your notebook, go back on the shelf. We need to revisit the plan. We need to review it. It could be once a day during the holiday event. It could be hourly. Going back to it and just remember what you are actually committing to, keeping it top of mind, and then just reviewing it like, “Okay, if day one of the plan didn’t go great, okay. What can I learn from that? How could I modify for tomorrow so that I am setting myself up for success?” Because that’s the biggest thing is, I’ll check in with somebody later like, “Oh, did you make a plan?” “Yes. I totally did, 100%.” “What happened then?” “Oh, I don’t know. I forgot what the plan was.” So it’s like, “Okay, you’ve got to remember it.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, totally. And really, you can just put it in a note on the notes app of your phone. Just have it available to you, maybe even … I mean, if it’s a longer thing, you might even want to set a little vibrating reminder on your phone every 30 minutes or every hour and you can go to the bathroom and just review it again. This isn’t something that’s weird diet mentality stuff. This is just how you rewire your brain to think the thoughts and feel the feelings that are required to take the actions that will support you to give you the result that you want at the end. That’s really all it is. It’s not anything weird. It’s just like, hey, if we don’t like the way that we’ve shown up in the past as situations like this, how can we change that? I mean, my brain just likes to forget. I don’t know about yours. My brain’s like, “What plan? I don’t remember doing that.”

Lynn Grogan:      Totally. Well, the more elaborate it is, the less likely I’m going to remember it, so when I talk about simplicity, that can be your friend.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Definitely.

Lynn Grogan:      And I think that sometimes we write this plan and it looks brilliant, but it’s always a great idea if you do have somebody to run it by, like a coach on a one-on-one session where you could just say, “I just want to talk this through.” It might just be like, “Yeah, that sounds amazing.” But even just saying it out loud can be helpful in terms of confirming that commitment to yourself.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally. And sometimes a coach can kind of say, “Oh, okay, over the course of the day, you’re going to allow yourself to have three alcoholic drinks. Let’s get a little bit clearer about that.” One thing I might suggest is like, “Hey, you might want to think about deciding how you’re going to pace yourself with those drinks, because if you down those back to back to back because you’re totally stressed out because of Uncle Bob …” Poor Uncle Bob. All the Uncle Bobs out there are getting a bad rap today. But then all of sudden you’re like, “Okay,” three sheets to the wind. You’re not going to be checked in at all and you’re going to just wonder what happened at the end of the day or the next day. You’re like, “How did this go?”

One thing I like to suggest is deciding to have a tall glass of water in between each drink, or possibly even two tall glasses of water between each alcoholic drink just to pace yourself, just to slow yourself down, to keep yourself in that place where you can obviously enjoy yourself, but you’re still able to stay focused enough to make the decisions that are going to serve you overall that you can be proud of after.

Another thing that we see so much before holidays or before events is scarcity around what’s going to be served there. Now, sometimes you know what’s going to be served and sometimes you don’t. As we’re recording this, we’re heading into Thanksgiving time and I know when this episode goes live, it’ll be right before Thanksgiving. So often, it’s like, “Oh, but Grandma makes this special whatever,” or, “This thing that we only have once a year,” and what I want to remind everybody is that for most foods, you can get the recipe and you can make it any day of the year. If you want amazing stuffing or mashed potatoes or whatever it is, the sweet potato casserole or whatever it is that you love, the pies, you can have that any time you want. So when we tell ourselves this is our only chance to have it for a year, it just, again, builds up that over desire. It puts so much pressure on that food to deliver for us.

Then what ends up usually happening is we’ve built it up so much in our heads that we eat it and the first couple bites are pretty good, but then that’s gone and we’re kind of disappointed because we built it up to be this amazing experience and how long does it take to eat a piece of pie? Five, 10 minutes? 10 if you’re really slow, pacing yourself? And then doesn’t take that long, and then before you know it, you’re like, “Ugh, well, I kind of wanted more,” and then we’re looking like, “Oh, maybe it wasn’t the apple pie that was going to do it. Maybe it’s the pecan pie and now I need to have a slice of that,” and we’re just grasping and looking for something else that’s going to give us that feeling that we thought we were going to have.

So when you take away the wind out of the sails of that over desire, you’re not putting so much importance onto the food and you’re realizing, “I can make this any time I want to,” or, “I can request someone makes this for me if I can’t make it myself. I can purchase something somewhere that’s equally as good if not better at any time, so okay, this can be a really nice pleasant meal,” but this doesn’t have to be the end-all be-all most important thing that your brain will try to make it mean if you have a lot of that scarcity wrapped up in that.

Lynn Grogan:      Yeah. Well, and I can see, too, this year, if you don’t get to see Grandma, not using the food as a proxy for Grandma, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.

Lynn Grogan:      Like going, “Okay, well, I need to have this good now because Grandma’s not here to fill in for the loneliness of not having her around.” So it’s like watching out for that side, too.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. And you know what? Wow, that is such a good point. It could be that Grandma passed away. It could be Grandma died from COVID this year, or some other family member. It could be that we’re getting together with family members and it’s actually really heavy with sadness over some tragic things that have happened this year, and I think that’s an important thing to take into consideration as well, that there might be this added layer of intensity and intense emotion that you want to just anticipate and think about and think through a little bit going into it. If Grandma’s not there, we can’t get together with Grandma, what are ways that we can make it special? Maybe we can tell stories about Grandma. Maybe we can go through her old recipes. Maybe we can look at pictures or things like that to really make the day meaningful without having to be just eating and eating and eating.

Lynn Grogan:      Yeah. Well, and I think, too, when you have a plan, you have this framework to go with so you, like, “I don’t have to think about what I’m going to have for lunch. Now I can notice these intense emotions that are coming up for me. When my brain isn’t occupied with what’s next, I can be in the moment,” which is really good.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Totally. Totally. So that’s the other side of this, is we’ve been all wanting to get together with people for so long, so if we do decide to give ourselves that privilege of getting together with a bunch of people, making sure that you’re really clear on what is meaningful to you about this interaction. Is it that you both get to chew and swallow next to one another? Is that the best part of it? Or is it the conversation? Is it the connection? Is it being able to catch up with each other? Is it being able to just be in that energy of having all those people together? Focusing on that, making sure that you’re letting your brain notice, “This is pleasurable. This is good. This is one of the best parts of this day,” rather than deluding your brain into thinking that the food is the best part of it. It really doesn’t have to be. It might be, but it doesn’t have to be. You can have better experiences from that.

Okay, so let’s talk about during. So now you get to your event, you get to your holiday, you all get together, so now what do we do? What do we suggest?

Lynn Grogan:      Well, like I said before, just reviewing that plan that you set up beforehand is awesome, just to keep it top of mind. I think there’s also going to be a part of this where during the event, is just keeping in touch with yourself. Just, “What’s going on for me right now?” If you’re noticing any emotions coming up for you, doing some sort of check in. I mean, we love to ask people, “What’s going on, love?” Instead of reaching for the food, just doing that quick check in just to see, “Okay, how am I doing? Okay, maybe I am a little bit stressed out. Do I need to take a minute? Do I need to go for a walk outside, check out for a second just so I can better support myself?” So I would say that would be one part of it is seeing if you can stay in that present moment and checking in.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, for sure. Especially for all the introverts out there, these big events can be really, really tiring and taxing and it’s totally okay to step outside for a minute. I honestly think going to the bathroom is one of our best bets. Or if you have little kids, they might need to go out or if you have baby that needs to nurse or something, those can be really good opportunities for you to get away, recharge your batteries a little bit, just work on supporting yourself and taking good care of yourself in that environment for sure. And so speaking of-

Lynn Grogan:      When I-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, go ahead.

Lynn Grogan:      I was just going to say, I mean, I identify as an extrovert, but with not having as much human contact lately, I find it personally a little bit overwhelming, so I could definitely see using that, anticipating that. “That could be one of my obstacles. Now there’s 12 people in the room. How do I support myself?” Anticipating that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Yeah, that’s actually a really good point. As an introvert myself, I’m like, “I don’t know how the extroverts live.” I just assume you all just are super into it …

Lynn Grogan:      Love it all the time?

Katrina Ubell:      … and love it all the time, right.

Lynn Grogan:      It’s a little shocking after not having it for a while. I’m like, “Who are these people?”

Katrina Ubell:      All right, so then another thing that is so helpful during an event is utilizing your support systems. That could be reaching out to a friend, it could be looking at a message that you’ve already created for yourself. In our program, in Masters and beyond, so that’s after people have done Weight Loss for Doctors Only and they’re continuing on, we have accountability groups and we just have … We really work to foster these relationships where you really end up with someone that you could reach out to, or maybe several people, where you can say, “Hey guys, I’m going to need extra support. Who’s going to be around during this time? I promise I’ll check in with you. I promise I’ll do whatever,” and that helps to keep you accountable during that.

So just remembering you don’t have to go through this alone and finding whoever that person is who’s not going to be like, “Screw it. You only live once. YOLO. Have it all.” Which also is an option. That could be okay. You just want to make sure that whatever the person is offering to you is what you want to be offered. You want to make sure it actually supports you and all of that.

One thing I just realized that we didn’t talk about is how you lost weight, too. You’re like, “Yeah, I’ve worked with you,” but you totally lost weight doing this work as well.

Lynn Grogan:      Oh yeah. Yep.

Katrina Ubell:      We didn’t talk about that. See, I sometimes forget to talk about it, too. So tell us really quick about that.

Lynn Grogan:      Oh yeah. Yeah. So back in, I think, I don’t know, 2017, I lost 35 or 40 pounds using the same method that you did, Katrina, and it’s the same stuff that we teach our clients in keeping it off. And so yeah, I’ve kept it off this whole time and, I mean, my brain still offers me that food is the solution sometimes, and so it’s like I use these mind management tools. It’s not like you get to the point where you’re like, “I’m 100% done.” It’s just that now you have a further developed relationship with the tools to be able to help yourself. So for sure I will be using all of these things I’m talking about today throughout the holidays, whatever they end up looking like for us.

Katrina Ubell:      Exactly. Exactly. I don’t think you have to have had a weight issue to be able to coach on weight, but I think it really helps to just really understand. Because I’ve been coached by coaches who have never had a weight issue, and it’s so interesting how they find overeating so … not bizarre, but so, “Why would you ever do that?”

Lynn Grogan:      Foreign.

Katrina Ubell:      Foreign, exactly. That’s a really good way to talk about it. I do think that it’s really helpful when you have somebody who’s like, “Oh, listen, I’ve been there. I know what you’re saying, and also, that’s not true. You don’t have to think about it that way.” Right?

Lynn Grogan:      Yeah, having that reference point. And that’s also this further point of fascination for me because my journey is similarities, but there’s also so many differences. I’m always so fascinated with people’s relationships with food.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, absolutely. I agree. I feel like everyone’s got their own unique version of that story, and so while we have so many things that are similar, it’s like hearing someone else’s different version of it, it’s always so fascinating and so fun to help them to create a solution. So great.

Okay, so then, the event is over. You made it through. So what do we do? What do we do after? We could go take a nap, sleep it off. Maybe we still do that. After that, what do we do, Lynn?

Lynn Grogan:      My first thought was you put the sweatpants on. 100%.

Katrina Ubell:      Crawl in bed.

Lynn Grogan:      Well, I think, too, part of this is creating this process that you can use over and over and over again. It’s not like you have to reinvent the wheel every single time you have a holiday or a special event coming up. It’s reviewing, “Hey, what worked for me here? What do I want to repeat next time? And what can I learn from?” Okay, rather than going into beating yourself up, that extra piece of pie that you ate, it’s just like, “Okay, well, that’s so interesting. Why did that happen? Oh, okay, yeah, I was feeling a little bit extra stressed because everything was on fire in the kitchen.” Totally understandable, right? “How could I support myself differently next time?” It’s asking those types of questions.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally, totally. And really coming at it from a place of curiosity and just being so interested but also having grace and compassion for yourself. This sounds great and maybe kind of easy, but for a lot of our clients is very challenging because they are so skilled in beating themselves up, which I was, too, and I think you were as well. Just so hard on ourselves, so critical, that we just want to go right into blaming ourselves and making up a story about how we failed and we’ll never be able to figure this out and we didn’t do it perfectly. What I want to suggest is that part of the process of sorting this out is making mistakes, messing up, and then figuring out what the next steps are.

And so it could be that maybe you got through almost the entire event and at the very end, you’re like, “I’m just going to have the pie,” or whatever it is. “I’m going to have the cookies,” or something like that. Rather than saying, “You know what? The whole event ended up being a failure because look what I ended up doing at the end,” it’s important to look at it like, “Okay, I had all this success for seven eights of the event,” or whatever. “What created that success? Was I just using willpower? Was I just white knuckling? What were my thoughts and what feelings were driving the action of not eating the food, and then how did it shift and change so that I ended up eating?” Just getting to that genuine place of curiosity as though you were maybe even seeing a patient and the patient was telling you this stuff and you’re like, “Okay, but tell me all the information. Tell me what’s actually going on. I want to figure that all out so I can help you.” You can do that for yourself as well. Just that whole layer of judgment you want to take away, for sure.

So that part, I think, is something to practice as well. The other thing I wanted to mention about afterward is … We see this all the time. We see this with holidays. We also see it when people host parties. We see it when people go on vacation. When it’s over, as much as we have fun … and we like it and sometimes we don’t have fun and we don’t like it, but oftentimes, at the end of it, we really are in this stressed sympathetic state and it’s important to get ourselves back into a parasympathetic response. So what does that look like? How can you actively destress yourself? That might look like exercising. It might look like doing a meditation or doing some tapping or taking a nap or going for a walk or whatever, listening to some music you love. Whatever works for you to get yourself back to a recentered place is going to be really, really important so that it doesn’t turn into this … Now it was like one event or one day or a couple days and now the whole week and now we really are undoing the progress that we’ve made.

I’ve seen this time and time again and I know you have as well where we can get ourselves through the event and we do follow the plan, but then it’s like that night or the day after where it all goes to you know what and we just end up totally going off plan or eating all the leftovers or things like that. So if that’s something that you’re concerned about, I suggest that not only do you plan for the day of the event or the holiday, but you plan for the day after and maybe even the day after that. Only because you’re just taking really, really good care of yourself. This isn’t punishment. This isn’t some sort of corrective procedure that you have to do for yourself or something. This is just how you really set yourself up to be cared for incredibly well so the next day you’re not going, “Maybe I should eat all of the leftovers.” You’re like, “No, I already decided this is what I’m going to do.”

Maybe you don’t have all of the exact details about what you’re going to eat, but you can decide in advance the guidelines of what each meal’s going to look like, when you’re going to eat, when you’re not going to eat, and that way you are really set up for success on the other end.

Lynn Grogan:      Well, and I think that’s … The day after the event or the night after the event, that’s when you have a first moment to take stock of, like, “Wow, I really am stressed or was stressed during that period of time,” whereas you might not have noticed it the day before. So I think for a lot of clients, they’re really surprised when they have that strong urge to eat after everybody’s gone, but it’s really just because you’ve had that moment to check in and go, “Oh wow, there’s some strong emotion here.” You just were able to ignore it before because of all the activity.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. And then a great way to process that is to do a thought download, to do some journaling, to just empty it all out. What we end up doing when we’re eating is we’re like, “Ew, I don’t want to have that all up in my brain. Let me just stuff it all down with some food.” But there’s other options. You can let it flow out through your pen or your fingers and just empty that all out and see if, from that place, you can take better care of yourself.

I would also say, too, if you’re really feeling a strong urge afterward to binge or to overeat, sometimes what we can do is we can just say, “Well, you know what?” You just need to journal for five minutes or 10 minutes and at the end of that, if you still feel like you want to eat, you can go ahead and eat. But first, I owe it to myself to check in and find out what’s really going on for me. What we find is so often our clients will say, “Well, by the end of those 10 minutes, the urge had passed. I had worked it out. I really didn’t even need to eat that food.” So you’re not even saying, “No, I won’t meet this urge.” You’re just saying, “Not yet.”

Lynn Grogan:      Not yet, yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      “Give me a second, urge. Let me work through this a little bit and if you’re still there, I’ll address it.” It takes away a lot of the resistance thinking like, “I can’t feel this urge,” and, “I have to have it now.” It just gives you some space, just puts some space in there.

Lynn Grogan:      Yeah. We also have a lot of our clients that like to schedule a one-on-one private coaching call for the next day or the evening after events just so that they know they have their support system in place almost immediately afterwards. So if that thought download isn’t available to them like you were just suggesting, Katrina, they’re like, “Okay, I know I’m just going to talk to somebody tomorrow, so I’m just going to wait and just process this with them.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up because that is so helpful, too. When you know, you’re like, “Well, I’ve got my coaching appointment in really a few hours. I think I can make it. I’m just going to go and sort myself out there.” It’s so helpful. It’s so great when you know you’re like, “I’m going to go have that coaching appointment and she’s going to help me straighten myself out. I’m going to need some help. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m sure going to need something.”

Lynn Grogan:      Exactly. Because, I mean, we’re not just sitting there going, “Oh my gosh, that must have been so hard.” We’re just like, “No, no, no, let’s process through this.”

Katrina Ubell:      Exactly. Exactly. Yes. So good. Okay, yeah. I mean, I think that the holidays … I’m just thinking final thoughts here. I just think that a lot of us really fear the holidays and events, and I just want to suggest that it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be really pleasant, really pleasurable, really enjoyable, really meaningful. There can be so much connection, all the things that we’ve been wanting all year that so often we feel like we’ve been denied. You can create all of that and food does not have to be involved, or it can be one of the least interesting parts of the things that were involved.

Lynn Grogan:      I would think my last thing is … as you were saying that, I was thinking about is … this plan that you create that we’re suggesting you create doesn’t have to be strict and very hard to do. You can have fun with it. I think it adds to the anticipation for a lot of people when they do think about, like, “Oh, I’m going to see my mom or I’m going to see this other family member,” so it’s like going into that planning process being like, “Well, how could this aid in me thinking about how much fun I’m going to have? How could this aid in feeling anticipation for it?” So it doesn’t have to be this very strict thing that you do with yourself. It can be a fun activity, too.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Totally. And to play off of that, for the people who are like, “I wish it was fun to go see my mom. Instead, I’m going to want to rip my hair out,” you bring the fun. So you can make it fun, even when historically it has not been super fun for you. One thing that you could do is decide, “You know what? I’m going to make this fun. Even if everyone’s acting the way they always act, I can have little jokes to myself in my head or I can find a little amusement in people acting the way they always act and how ridiculous that can be,” and stuff like that. It doesn’t mean I get upset, it doesn’t mean I’m rolling my eyes or having to talk back or anything, but just finding some fun. You can create that for yourself, so if you’ve never had experience doing that, then maybe this would be a good year to practice just going like, “I am having a whole conversation with myself over here privately and it’s very entertaining. No one else is privy to it, but …”

Lynn Grogan:      I’m cracking up because I’m like, “Yeah, I already do this.” I’m like, “Okay, she said that one time. Oh, she repeated herself again and again and again and again.” Yeah. Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Sometimes it’s like, “Oh, yep, there she brought that up again right on time.” It’s just like there really can be so much amusement in that, and it helps us, again, to drop the resistance, right? We’re like, “Oh, right. I knew that she was going to bring that up,” instead of going, “Oh my God, are you kidding me? She’s doing it again. What the heck?” Of course, she’s going to do it again. She always does it. Why would she not? It’s so predictable.

So I think that these are great tools and tips. I think it’s going to help a lot of people heading into these holidays. I think, actually, one more thing that I want to mention is we’re talking about people getting together and feeling the stress of being around people. Let’s just not forget about the people who this year will not be able to, for whatever reason, be around people, and so maybe they’re spending the holidays alone or they’re just really feeling very sad because they’re missing out on all of those social opportunities that they really look forward to and are really missing those. That feeling of loneliness and sadness can also drive you to overeat, and so the same stuff that we just talked about, it’s the same preparation work. Anticipating, “You know what? I’m really going to be bummed. This thing that we always go to, this tradition that we always have, this is the first year in 25 years we haven’t been able to do that.”

It’s okay to let yourself grieve that. Let yourself be sad about it, but then you can start thinking, “Okay, well, what are we going to do? How can we make this pleasant? How can I, even if I’m completely by myself, make this a really pleasant experience for myself? Even if it looks totally different than how I would prefer or how I would choose it,” it still can be something that you can create that’s positive for you.

Okay. Well, on that note, thank you so much, Lynn. Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Lynn Grogan:      Well, thank you for having me. Super fun.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. And if you want more of Lynn, she’s … Which of course you do. She’s amazing. You got to join Weight Loss for Doctors Only. You got to come on in so that you can get all the good Lynn coaching, and, of course, our other coaches as well who you get to know as well. And if anybody’s interested in who those coaches are, on Instagram recently we’ve been spotlighting all the different coaches, so super fun. Okay, Lynn. Thank you so much and happy Thanksgiving.

Lynn Grogan:      Thank you. Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      I think this is going live two days before Thanksgiving, so happy Thanksgiving.

Lynn Grogan:      Aw, thanks. Thanks.

Katrina Ubell:      Did you know that you can find a lot more help from me on my website? Go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on “free resources.”


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  • Shannon

    Thanks for this great episode. I implemented some of the suggestions here and had success with my holiday meal plan!

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