Ep #137: Hope Is Not A Weight Loss Strategy

I know having a hopeful attitude typically seems like a good thing, but today I’m going to explain why hope is not enough to attain lasting weight loss. Some of my clients have tried to approach losing weight with an air of passivity and uncertainty, and it just doesn’t work. While you may not know all the answers or have the exact outcome nailed down, part of weight loss does require certainty.

In this episode, I will share how to set yourself up to succeed with certainty and build a doubt-free mindset—in yourself and in the process. You’ll learn how passive hope really is and how to apply the thought model to it in order to achieve the weight loss results you want.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What’s required as you embark on and go about your weight loss journey.
  • The real issue with hope.
  • How to find certainty in your weight loss process.
  • My advice for clients on how to get their husband to agree to coaching.
  • How to find the emotion that drives massive action.
  • The decisions that determine your weight loss results.

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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 137.

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.

Hey there my friend. How are you doing? My voice is getting better and better. I tell you what, I had to start taking some Zithromax yesterday, the cough would not quit, and it was time. And even after one dose, I think things are starting to get better, so that is good. So luckily we can edit out any hacking I have to do, but I am glad to be just moving on the path to wellness.

I have to tell you, my family is out of town this week. They are up in Canada at my husband’s family’s lake cabin, and I wasn’t able to come along this time, but they’re having the time of their lives, sending me videos and pictures, and having a great time. They took the puppy up there, and it’s his first chance to go swimming, and having a good time. So they’re having a great, great time, and I’m not here alone though.

Many of you know that my friend is living with us right now, so she’s here, and her dog is here as well. She is a fabulous cook, and I cannot even tell you how good it smells in here right now. It’s kind of distracting. She is making a homemade pasta sauce that tastes so good. I will not be eating it on pasta, in case you were wondering. I’ll be having it on spinach and on spaghetti squash. If you do not have a Traeger smoker, I’m telling you what, this thing is amazing. This was actually one of her requirements, to come and live with us for while. She said, “If I’m going to do that, then you have to get a Traeger.” And we didn’t like our grill anyway, so we were like, “Sure.” We went to Costco and got one.

So you can cook a spaghetti squash on there, with the smoker, so it has so much flavor. It is so delicious. And then this spaghetti sauce on it. Oh my gosh. I’m telling you what, I know we don’t fawn over food here a lot, but my mouth is watering just telling you about it. It’s so good.

All right, well how about I finish this up, so I can have my dinner, coming up here sometime soon? Okay, so I want to just let you know that tomorrow is when I’m going to start releasing all the details about my upcoming weight loss coaching group. That’s exclusively for MD or DO women physicians in clinical practice. So if you are on my email list, you will not miss a thing. It’s all on the way to you. Just make sure you check your emails starting tomorrow. But in case you want to check things out on your own a little early, I want to give you, my beloved podcast listener, early access, so you get to have a look at everything a day before everyone else, if you’re listening to this, the day that it comes out.

So, to check it all out, and get all the information you need, just go to katrinaubellmd.com/info. I-N-F-O. Again, katrinaubellmd.com/info. Have a look around, there’s a few short videos that explain everything about the program. And then you can start thinking about it, talk it over with your spouse, or anyone else you want to discuss it with, or helps you make decisions like that. Because I’m only opening the group up for enrollment for 48 hours, starting on September 4th, you are going to want to have all your ducks in a row, so you can grab your seat right away. Okay? So I have a firm limit to the size of the group, and I won’t be making any exceptions. So once it’s full, it’s full and I’m not going to be starting another group again, until the new year.

So make sure you head over to katrinaubellmd.com/info to check it all out, and learn more about the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program, that’s so much more than just another weight loss program. I promise you, it’s going to be your favorite thing that you spend money on this year. It’s an investment unlike any other, because of the incredible return on investment that you get.

So today I want to talk to you about a way that I hear a lot of you approaching your weight loss journey. There’s this way that many of you talk, and think about losing weight, that is very passive, and it goes like this. I hope this is the solution to my weight problem. I’ll try this and see what happens. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow this plan and get some results. I hope I can find the time for this program. I thought I could just give this a shot, it might work. I’ve lost some weight so far, and I hope I can keep it up.

So at first glance, these seem like positive thoughts, right? They sound like they could be useful, they could lead to good things. But here’s where this breaks down. Hope is not a strategy, okay? Neither is wishing. These thoughts are all based in uncertainty, uncertainty in yourself. People like to argue with me that weight loss is an uncertain process, and they say, “Well, you don’t know what is going to work, and you don’t know how quickly you’re going to lose the weight. There’s so many factors that play into it. There’s just no way that you can be certain about it.” And I agree, you won’t know how the weight loss part goes in advance, but that part doesn’t require certainty.

The part that requires certainty is in yourself, and that doesn’t mean that you have all the answers, and you don’t need any help. It means that you set yourself up to succeed with certainty. Okay? Many of my clients are completely uncertain of themselves, but they are certain that I can help them. They believe that I can help them. They don’t need to know all the details of how we’re going to do things before they can believe this. All they need to rely on is me, and my ability to help them. Right?

They don’t need to know exactly how many pounds they’re going to lose every month, and what date exactly they’re going to reach their goal weight. When I signed up with the coach who helped me lose my weight, I had no idea what we were going to do, and I most definitely was not certain of myself. Signing up with her was like the hail Mary pass in football. It was just like, “I got to try something new and different. I guess I’ll just do this.” But I did believe that she could help me, and when I placed my certainty in her, I was able to trust the process, and keep showing up day after day.

And then after enough days of showing up and creating the results I wanted, I started to believe in myself in a whole new way, a way that I didn’t even know existed before. I started to feel certain of myself, certain that I’d keep going even when I made a mistake, or screwed something up. Certain that I could make progress, certain that I would figure this out, certain that I wouldn’t quit on myself this time. But, I couldn’t have gotten there without my certainty in my coach first.

When you’re hoping, there’s no certainty in anything. In this case, hope is just this nice sounding code word for doubt, right? Because ultimately you doubt that you’re someone who can create these weight loss results that you want. But you hope that maybe you’re wrong about that, and that you really can’t lose it. Then, when you don’t follow the plan, and don’t do the work, and don’t create the results, you’re less disappointed, because you never really believed that it was possible for you in the first place. You hoped it was possible, but you weren’t really willing to do what it takes, no matter what, to get the results that you want.

This is a way that we let ourselves down in advance. We’re like, let me just fail in advance, just a little bit, so that I can feel less disappointed when I don’t get the results that I want. It makes no sense, right? When it comes to weight loss, hoping is indulgent. It’s something that seems useful, but never creates anything that you really want. But it’s tricky, right? Because it’s hope, and hope sounds like it’s so good, like hope. It’s amazing, right?

But ultimately it’s very passive, and passivity is not what creates the body and the life that you want. So when you think about the thought model, and if you’re new here, and want to know what I’m talking about, make sure you check out the first few episodes of this podcast, where I teach you the thought model in great detail. But in case you don’t do that right now, the thought model has five components. The first is the circumstance. We call that the C, the circumstance. These are the neutral facts about what’s going on, about the situation. Then you have thoughts, and your thoughts are created when you think a thought about the circumstance.

Then your thoughts create your feelings, or your emotions. One word to describe that emotion in your body. Your feelings drive your actions. These are your actions, your inactions, the things you don’t do, but also how you react to things. And then your actions create your results, right? So your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings drive your actions, your actions create your results.

So when you think about that thought model, where would we put hopeful? We put hopeful on the F line, on the feeling line, because it’s a feeling. It’s an emotion. When you’re feeling hopeful, what do you do? What actions do you take? What do you not do? What inaction do you take? When you’re feeling hopeful about weight loss, you tend to be a consumer of information. You’re entertained by what you learn, but you’re a dabbler. You’re always reading posts on Facebook groups about weight loss, and thinking that’s interesting. And wondering if you should maybe try it.

You’re crowdsourcing the best ways to lose weight, and try different things. But you’re just dabbling, you’re not really doing it. You do it a little bit, but you’re not all in. You’re easily distracted, and you’re thrown off course. It doesn’t take much, and you’re right off track again. You lack focus, and you don’t prioritize doing what you need to do to create the results you want. You’re not taking the massive action that’s required to create the weight loss results that you desire.

So, all of this from feeling hopeful? Who knew that helpfulness could be such poison? That it could be such a dream stealer? But ultimately hope is not a weight loss strategy. It’s not an emotion that will drive the actions that you want to be taking. And this is really good to know. Shining the light on this, and creating some true awareness around this one emotion can change everything for you.

Once you recognize all the doubt and uncertainty you have around the weight loss process, you can start to understand why you haven’t solved this problem for yourself yet. Why this is still such an issue for you. You can move forward, and identify what you need to change to make sure that your weight loss is a given. It’s only a matter of time until you generate that result.

I’m often asked by women physicians who really want to enroll in my coaching group, how they can convince their husbands to agree to them signing up. They often have naturally thin husbands, who just tell them they need to eat less and move more. And here’s the thing, they’ve already tried that, only like 483 times. Right? And it didn’t work. And their husbands don’t understand that. For people who actually have an issue with food, it’s so much more than that, and requires a different level of help, and the development of a new skillset.

So, what I tell them is that the way they think and feel about participating in the coaching group will absolutely influence what their husband thinks about it. Now, of course we can’t make him think anything, but what you say and do becomes the circumstance line, in his model. So when you go to him and say something like, “Hey, I’m thinking I might want to join this weight loss coaching group. I mean, I figure I’ll give it a try, my friend did it and she can’t say enough great things about it, so I hoped I could do the same. What do you think?” There’s such a lack of energy and certainty in that, and most husbands or spouses, if you ask them what they think, they’re going to say that they don’t think that you need it, right?

They’re thinking that they’re just confirming what you already believed deep down, which is that you won’t really do it. They’re not seeing the value in the program, because you’re not conveying the value, and believing in the value. It’s possible that you don’t truly see the value of it yourself. But, when instead you go to him and say, “Hey, I found out about this weight loss program that I really want to do, the woman who runs it is also a physician. She only helps women physicians to lose weight. Her program is custom tailored to doctors, which is perfect for me, because it’s all the unique aspects of life as a physician that makes losing this weight so hard for me. I’ve listen to her podcast, and she is the real deal. She knows what she’s talking about. I’ve already started applying what she teaches and it’s working so well. Remember earlier when I would have totally flown off the handle of the kids, but instead I stayed calm? That was because of what I learned from her. So I want to sign up for this program, and I’m going to do everything she says to do. It’s an investment, but it’s an investment in our family, and in our marriage too. I promise not to blow it off, and to stay committed to it the whole way through. Sound good?”

You can tell the difference, right? In the second there’s certainty, there’s energy behind those words. It’s active, not passive. It’s focused and determined. It’s informing, and not asking for permission. His thoughts, or her thoughts, about whether you should enroll in the program or not will be very different depending on what circumstance you present him or her with. So with the first scenario, he’s much more likely to have thoughts like, she’s probably not going to do it. It’ll just be like those other times when she didn’t do what she signed up for. I’m not convinced this is something that’s really going to help her anyway. It kind of seems like a stretch. I mean, what’s a life coach anyway? Right?

But with the second scenario, he’s likely to have thoughts like, she seems pretty determined to do this. I’ve never seen her this excited about losing weight before. She does seem happier, and more in control of her emotions lately. I don’t totally understand it, but it sounds like this coach could really work with her, to solve whatever is going on for her with her weight. I know solving her weight issue is a big goal of hers, and I do want to be supportive of that. It does seem like a good investment in all of us. Right?

That’s totally different. Hope and passivity will just keep you stuck in the mire. They’ll just keep you recreating the same results you have right now. Trying new things, getting variable results, stopping following the plan, gaining back any weight you lost. Not to mention the unnecessary, and useless emotional pain that you experience every day that you don’t become more skilled at managing your mind.

Instead, I want to encourage you to choose a different emotion that drives massive action for you. What does massive action look like for you? If you were to do all of those things consistently, what results would you create? Now, think of a thought about you losing weight that makes you feel that emotion. So I’ll give you an example. So on the C line, the circumstance line, we could put losing weight. Then the thought, the T-Line, I’m worth the effort required to lose my excess weight. The feeling, focused. Action, stay on task, follow the program, don’t just consume, ask for help when I need it. Be open and coachable. And the result is, lose the weight.

Massive action is continuing to show up day after day, after day, after day. It’s doing B minus work, so that you get it done. Rather than constantly aiming for some sort of perfectionist ideal that doesn’t exist. It’s extrapolating the skill that you already have, of doing things that you don’t want to do, and doing them anyway. And then you’re taking that skill and applying it to how you eat, and how you manage your mind.

So instead of spitting out on what you should be eating, think about what emotions will create the weight loss results you want. I have a list of suggestions for you, but this is by no means a comprehensive list. Determined, driven, focused, unbeatable, unstoppable. Unstoppable is one of my favorites. Motivated, resolute, connected, certain, engaged, aware, open, resolved, savvy, disciplined, dependable, reliable. And the list goes on.

These decisions are what will determine your overall weight loss results. These decisions on how you’re going to feel, because you are creating your feelings every time you think a thought. And by the way, I want you to know that this applies to any challenge, trial or struggle that you’re going through in your life as well. There’s a result that you want. You know what actions you need to take. There is going to be a feeling driving that, and if you want to really create that result, you need to be deliberate and intentional in choosing that feeling.

Once you know how you want to feel, then you start coming up with thoughts that you can think, that will genuinely make you feel that way. And then you practice thinking those thoughts. For now, you’ve been practicing thinking thoughts that make you feel hopeful. This seems just very true, when you’re telling me that you just hope you can do it this time, it seems like you’re just letting me know the facts. But, when you understand that that is a thought, and not just a fact, and it’s not creating the results that you want, that’s when you have the opportunity to change that, and completely create a different life for yourself.

So if you know that this is the part of your weight loss journey that you’re missing, then I do want to invite you to let me help you with it. So go to katrinaubellmd.com/info to check out all of the details about the group, and to find out if you’re ready to lose weight. So I’ll be opening the group up for enrollment next week on September 4th. So check it out now, make sure you have enough time to think about it, and then you’re going to be ready to make your decision once the time comes. All right. Have a great week, and I will talk to you next time. Have a good one, buh bye.

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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  • Julie

    I loved this episode. Such a difference between the inaction of hope and the action needed to lose weight.

    THANK YOU for your list of words to be in the feeling line of the “lose weight” circumstance. I’ve thought about a feeling I needed to focus on, and thought of motivated, driven, dedicated Etc- but the minute you said “dependable” I knew that was my word.

    I need to depend on myself to make the right choices, and depend on myself to follow through with commitments I’ve made, and depend on myself to SHOW UP for me with what I do every day. So thank you .

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