Ep #287: How Feeling Your Emotions Creates Weight Loss

If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you have no doubt heard me say that the key to losing weight permanently is to manage emotions. But do you understand how emotions tie into weight loss? In this episode, I’m sharing how feeling your feelings will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

Listen in as I dive into the concept of how weight loss and emotions intersect so that you can understand the connection between the two and harness the power of emotional processing in your weight loss journey. I also share the details of a free resource that I put together to help you to walk through the process of dealing with your emotions so that you’ll no longer need food or drink to do that work for you!


Listen To The Episode Here:


In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How emotions and weight loss intersect
  • Why our emotions drive our actions
  • How the mainstream diet industry misses this key piece to the weight loss puzzle
  • How to process your emotions to aid in your weight loss

Featured In This Episode


Get The Full Episode Transcript


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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 287.

Welcome to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians Podcast. I’m your host, master certified, life and weight loss coach, Katrina Ubell, MD. This is the podcast where busy doctors like you come to learn how to lose weight for the last time by harnessing the power of your mind. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Well, hello, my friend. How are you today, so glad that you’re joining me. I am super excited for this episode. Are you ready? I have a free resource that I can’t wait to share with you. It’s been in the works for several months now. Completely free, I think it’s going to be a game changer for so many people. I’ll explain it all here in just a few moments.

So, you picked a good episode to listen to, this is going to be a really good one. But before we get started on that, I do want to just invite you really quickly to come and join me tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th, to my free training called The Missing Piece to Permanent Weight Loss. This information is so important. This is truly what makes the biggest difference.

It actually kind of really perfectly dovetails to what I’m talking about today. Kind of different angle of it that makes it just so imperative for permanent weight loss. Like pretty much anybody who loses weight and keeps it off permanently is applying what I teach here.

And these are things that you haven’t heard before. This isn’t just like a repeat of what’s on the podcast. You’re going to want to come and really understand deeply, no matter how you decide to lose weight, this information.

So, to register for it, you could just go to katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight. It’s at 8:30 PM Eastern, 5:30 PM Pacific time, again, tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th.

So, if you are listening to this in real time, make sure you register. If you can’t make it live, we will send out a replay. But of course, coming live is the best. You can ask me questions, I can answer them. And of course, we’re so much more likely to really engage when we’re doing it in real life. So, would love to have you come and join me.

So, several months ago, I got this question from somebody and it was a written question. It said, “How will feeling my feelings make me lose weight?” And I thought, oh my gosh, such a good question. Obviously, I haven’t completely explained this connection.

And I’m just so grateful to whoever that person was. I don’t believe that they had signed their names. So, otherwise, I would name them and thank them specifically, but whoever it was — and honestly, many of you have probably been thinking this. So, I’m so glad to be answering this question for you today.

I do want to let you know, though, that I created this free toolkit that I’m going to tell you all about, that really helps you to get that connection from how feeling your feelings will help you to lose weight. So, you’re going to definitely want to download this for sure. So, I’m going to tell you about it in just a moment.

So, such a good question though: how will feeling my feelings make me lose weight? It’s like I understand the concept, processing emotions, okay, and then there’s weight loss. And how do the two intersect?

Now, when you think about this from your traditional diet, typical weight loss industry way of thinking, you’re not going to see that connection at all. And the main reason you’re not going to even remotely understand the connection is because of what the weight loss industry focuses on.

So, they focus on your actions, they focus on what you do and don’t do, what you should eat, what you shouldn’t eat, how you should eat, when you should eat, grocery lists, how you should be working out, all of those things.

That is what they’re focusing on, lots and lots of actions. And if you are able to take all of the actions that they recommend consistently, you probably will lose weight. Like not everybody will, but most of those plans, if you do them, they will work.

So, the problem though, is that we aren’t able to or aren’t willing to do those actions, to take those actions again and again, and again, for the rest of our lives.

I was literally just coaching my Weight Loss for Doctors Only group, and I was sharing with them that, I’m a Lifetime Weight Watchers member. I was a few years into Weight Watchers with many more years still to come of me going back. But I knew full well, very clearly, very consciously, that I had no intention of counting points for the rest of my life.

And that’s what they said. If you want to maintain, you got to keep working the plan, keep following the plan. And I was like “Yeah, no, I’m not going to do that.” I always thought there’s going to be some way I’ll figure it out or there’ll be some sort of exception where I’ll be able to stop the point counting.

Like these other people (poor them) they have to count the points. I just won’t count the points and I’ll just have it all figured out. Which of course, I never ever did. And it never worked at all.

So, it’s not so much the actions that they’re offering to us that are the problem, it’s the fact that we aren’t able to or willing to do them ongoing. And there’s nothing wrong if you aren’t willing to do it. If you don’t want to do it … I don’t want to live a life where I’m — back in the day, I had like a whole cardboard slider to figure out how many points something was, I was like pulling out in the grocery store.

And then of course, now, they have an app. Like I just didn’t want to be tied to that and I still don’t. That’s not the definition of peace and freedom around food for me personally. For other people, if it works for them, amazing, I’m all in. But for me, and for most people who are into what I teach, that’s not what they want to do either.

So, that is what they’re focusing on. And what they don’t recognize is the rest of the thinking cycle. And the thinking cycle was created by Aaron Beck, who’s a psychiatrist, he’s the originator Founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. But this has been described for thousands of years.

The concept that our thoughts — we have thoughts about what’s happening in the world; our thoughts create our feelings or our emotions, and our emotions drive our actions. And then whatever we do or don’t do creates the results that we get.

So, when we’re just focusing on these actions and what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing so we can get some results, we don’t understand what’s even driving us to be taking those actions in the first place.

So, often, we’re like “I don’t know, in the beginning, I was so motivated, now I’m not motivated anymore, I wonder what happened.” Because no one has taught us that our emotions are created by our thoughts. So, what happened was your thoughts changed.

You had thoughts that made you feel motivated, and then that was really driving you to take the actions that you should be taking. And then you had different thoughts further down the road. Nothing wrong with that, but those thoughts didn’t create motivation anymore. And then maybe it was a little bit more challenging to keep taking those actions that give you those results.

So, we have to understand the connection between losing weight and our emotions. And of course, that it’s our thoughts, our thinking, the way that we think, how we interpret the world, what our beliefs are, that are creating our feelings. And then our feelings determine whether we lose weight or not, because they’re what is driving our actions.

Now, let’s actually get into the details of this. So, say you have a thought about something that happened at work and your feeling is really like infuriated. I was going to go with frustrated, but my experience was that I actually felt it more intensely than frustration most of the time. It was more like rage, infuriation, I would just get really, really angry. And I didn’t know how to feel angry, I didn’t want to feel angry, I didn’t know what to do with that anger. On a certain level, I thought that being angry was bad. And so, I wanted to stop feeling anger.

So, I’d go into the lunch room and see if any drug rep brought us anything. Or if there were any leftovers from lunch the day before, or if anybody had brought in some treat or something, go try to find something to eat to distract me from that feeling.

I don’t want to feel how I’m feeling, so I know food can help me to feel differently. It can essentially make me feel better. It can kind of numb out whatever it is that I’m feeling that I don’t want to be feeling.

And we do this all of the time. Like whatever our emotional experience is, which is created by the way that we think, if we don’t like it, many of us have created this habit (many of us from early on in life even, possibly) where we know how to make ourselves feel better, we know how to deal with this emotion that we don’t like having, we eat or possibly drink alcohol depending on the situation and the person.

So, now, we’re eating extra food. Because we’re not physically hungry, our body doesn’t need food, we’re eating for emotional reasons. There’s an emotion we don’t want to feel, so we eat food so it will distract us from that emotion. So, it’ll keep us from having to feel that.

A lot of people think of it as, first of all, you’re changing your thoughts because you’re thinking about what you’re eating. But also, if you think about a wine glass, a crystal wine glass, how when it just has a little bit of wine or water in the bottom of it and you wet your finger and you rub your finger around the outside, how it vibrates, it makes that pitch. And as you add more liquid into it, it changes the pitch. And then that vibration is different. And then eventually, when the liquid level is at the very top of the glass, it no longer vibrates and it’s because it’s totally full.

So, if you think of an emotion as sort of a vibration in your body … I’d have to say that term didn’t usually resonate with me for a really long time. But in this example of the crystal wine glass, you can kind of understand it. When you’re empty, physically when your body is kind of empty or more hollow, meaning it’s not filled with food, you can feel like those emotions are just more intense, more at the forefront, more present.

And as you fill your body with food, it numbs and dulls that feeling similar to the wine glass. So, whether you want to think about it in that way — I like thinking about emotions as chemical cascades. We have a thought, it triggers a chemical cascade that creates an experience in our bodies. What it feels like to be in our bodies, but this vibration dulling can make a lot of sense too.

So, we’re eating to try to make that vibration dull, to try to make that feeling not be there anymore. And honestly, if you think about it from a chemical standpoint, like a biological standpoint, you’re eating food, so now, all of your physiology is changing. Because now, your body’s going into digestion mode. So, now, your insulin levels are going up and other things are changing in your body, which can also change the way your body feels.

So, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to stop eating the extra food that our bodies don’t need. That’s overeating, that’s emotional eating. What we want to be doing is eating for nutrition, eating because our bodies actually need food, giving them nutrients, giving the body nutrients, stopping when the body has had enough and listening to that signal, and then moving on to something else.

Well, when we have this habit, this connection that we’ve had for arguably a long time, for some of us, for many of us; we are also using food for another purpose. And that is to change our emotional state to no longer feel the way we’re feeling. So, you have a thought, it creates a feeling in your body, and then we don’t want to feel that, we want to feel something different. So, we eat extra food.

So, in order for us to lose weight and keep it off permanently, we have to stop with the eating the extra food part. And that for many of us, can be the absolute hardest part. We’re like “How am I supposed to live life if I don’t have this to make me feel better?”

It can truly be like a crutch in the sense of like how little kids will have like their little blanky, like their little lovey. You’re like don’t take that away, like this is how I’m safe and okay in the world, I really need this. And I’m really not even joking when I say that. For a lot of people, it really is like that security blanket.

So, how does feeling our feelings make us lose weight then? Well, what it does is it interrupts this cycle, this thought feeling eating cycle. And what it does is it creates space between the feeling and the action. It creates space between that emotion and the actual eating.

And so, what it does by processing those emotions, it provides you with another opportunity, another way to change your emotional state that doesn’t involve asking food to help.

Right now, many of us, no one ever taught us this. Certainly, nobody taught me this. So, we don’t know any other way. And maybe eating was modeled to us or maybe it’s just something we figured out when we were younger or even older. Sometimes we figure it out later, but we don’t know what else to do. If we had some other skill or tool that we knew we could rely on to process those emotions, then of course, we would use it. But we don’t know what else to do. And so, we turn to food and maybe alcohol.

And I think this is really important because so often I see people getting really frustrated with themselves or wishing they knew this earlier and being so upset that they didn’t know it earlier. And I’m like listen, it’s all okay. Now, you’re learning something different. Once we know something different, we can do better, we can try something else. You were just doing what you needed to do to keep yourself safe, to meet your own needs, to make life as you knew it being you okay and tolerable.

And that’s actually smart, that actually makes sense to do that. But what also makes sense is to try something different once you become aware that something different is available. And so, that’s what we’re talking about today.

So, what we need to do is figure out a different way of processing that emotion so we’re not stuffing it down with food, so that’s waiting for us for later. So that we actually move the feeling, the emotion through us so that it’s gone.

I like to think about emotions as just energy, like energy in the body, and we can stuff it all down and then it’s just like stuck in there, stuck in our bodies waiting, or we can allow that energy to move through us.

So, this is where this new free tool that I have for you is going to be so, so, so good. It’s called the Overeating First Aid Kit. It’s completely free. I’m going to tell you how to get it here in just a moment. And what it is a set of three audios.

It’s basically a private podcast, will give you all the instructions on how to set it up so that the podcast will drop right into whatever podcast app you listen to, whatever you’re listening to this on. You’re going to be able to listen to it, no problem, straight through there. It’ll just be in a separate podcast and you’ll be able to go back and listen to them again and again and again. And it’s going to be so easy for you. You’re going to love it.

So, there are three audios. The first is for stress eating. When you’re stressed and you want to eat and you’re just like give me all the food. The second one is for nighttime eating. So, for those of you who like me, really struggled. I used to struggle so much with nighttime eating. This is going to be the one for you.

And then there’s a third that helps you to process the desire to eat or drink. So, this is going to be great. Anytime you notice you’re like “I just want it.” You may not even know why, you may have no idea what you’re feeling, all you know is you just have this intense desire or strong desire to eat or drink.

And so, what you’re going to do is you’re just going to listen to me walk you through the process of dealing with the stress, the desire, whatever it is that’s going on for you, so that you actually can process the emotion, and then no longer need the food.

Now, I kept them very short because I’m always just a student of my own brain and other people’s brains and how we respond to things. And I know for myself, if there’s an audio that’s over 10 minutes, I’m just like “Ugh, I don’t have time for that,” like always. I’ll be like “Oh, not right now.” But if it’s less than 10 minutes, then it feels like oh, I can totally do that.

So, the first two; the stop stress eating and the stop nighttime eating, I believe they’re between six and seven minutes. They’re really, really short so that you can just listen, you can be like “You know what, I’ve got six minutes, I can listen to this. I can listen and work through this.”

Now with that said, depending on what’s going on for you, you may need a little bit more than six minutes. But I didn’t want to make it longer and then you never do it. I’d rather make it shorter so that you do it. And you’ll see, I’ll walk you through the whole process of identifying — the whole process is so great, but part of it is identifying how intense the desire is or how intense the emotion is that you’re trying not to feel.

And so, then you’ll see at the end, how much that reduces. And if you want it to reduce more, you can just listen again. So, repeating it may be actually very useful for you in the beginning. Because then, it’s still only like 12 minutes long. It’s not still that much out of your day, but I think if I made it 12 minutes, you’d be much less likely to listen at all ever.

So, they’re quite short. And the last one, the processing the desire to eat or drink, we try to keep that just below 10 minutes. So, that one also, is quite short as well. So, what you’re going to do is you are going to listen to this and just let me guide you through the process by hearing my voice in your head as you notice that you’re needing this help.

And you’re going to start seeing how, when you actually process the emotion, when you actually work through what is going on for you, processing that desire, that your tendency to then take the action of eating the food is going to be less often or maybe even non-existent. Or maybe you’re going to notice, you know what, I don’t feel such a pressure or strong, strong, strong drive to eat that. I still want it, but I’m okay with not having it versus I can’t be okay unless I have this.

So, I can’t wait for you to try this out. The way that you can get the overeating first aid kit for free is to go to katrinaubellmd.com/kit. So, you’re going to be able to download that. You’ll just get the instructions. And then like I said, you’ll set it up in your podcast app. We’ll give you all the instructions on how to do that. And then it’ll just live on forever in your podcast app. So good. My gosh, I’m so, so excited for you to have this because I think it’s going to make a really, really big difference.

So, it’s going to help you to see how feeling your feelings will make you lose weight because the way that you lose weight is you only eat as much food as your body needs and no more. And so, when you can process your emotions and not eat in response to them, you are then actually fueling your body with as much fuel as it needs and no more.

So, what you’re doing in this process is you are no longer needing to ask food to take care of you emotionally. You’re no longer asking food to make you feel better because you know how to do that on your own. You know how to process the emotion through you to move that energy through you so that you can feel something different. You know how to take care of yourself emotionally so you no longer need food or alcohol to do that for you.

So, I cannot wait for you to get this. So, my suggestion is that you go and download this immediately. Like go to katrinaubellmd.com/kit and then also, go to katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight, and get yourself registered for The Missing Piece to Permanent Weight Loss, which is going live tomorrow. Remember, Wednesday, July 13th, 8:30 PM Eastern.

So, you’re going to register for that. If you can attend live, absolutely the best. For sure, come live. Otherwise, you’ll get the replay. So, you’ll learn what’s in The Missing Piece to Permanent Weight Loss training, and you’ll also get the Overeating First Aid Kit so you can start really putting it into action. You’re going to have my voice right in your ears, walking you through the whole process. I cannot wait. It’s going to be so, so, so good.

And also, any of my members, any of my clients, you need to download this too and start using it. This is for you as well. This is for everybody, so, so good. I’m so glad to have it for all of you.

So, I can’t wait for you to try this. And when I say try it, don’t just do it once, kind of when you were distracted or your kids were bugging you. Like actually give this a good go. It may take a few times of walking yourself through this to start seeing it come together, start seeing some sort of change.

So, don’t just try one once and go, “Eh, I don’t know.” Like actually start putting this into action, start doing it on a regular basis, start with whichever one you feel like you need in the moment. You can use them all, you can use mostly one, whichever one you like the best, use that one. Just the point is use it.

So, that is how feeling your emotions creates weight loss. Can’t wait for you to try it and start seeing some results. Have a wonderful rest of your week and I’ll talk to you next time. Take care. Bye-Bye.

Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals? For lots of free help, go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Melissa

    Hi Katrina,
    I have been following your protocol for about 2 months and have already had tremendous success in reducing the food chatter in my brain! So THANK YOU!!!! I am currently listening to Episode # 147 with Dr. Neethi Patel. I have two questions:
    1) I still get excited about eating my meals, which are on plan, with no flour or sugar. I know you only eat delicious food so I am curious if you feel this is a normal response or something that I need to work on?
    2) Dr. Patel describes loving herself, even if she gained all the weight back. I feel a lot of resistance to this. If I gained all the weight back that I worked so hard to lose, then that would have meant I stopped maintaining integrity with myself (meaning breaking my own promises), stopped loving myself and honoring my body in a way that would actually keep me healthy. Can you elaborate on this further?

    Thank you SO much.

    • Team Katrina

      Hi Melissa!

      We’re so happy to hear that you’re having tremendous success in reducing your food chatter! ❤️

      Looking forward to things is part of the fun in life, isn’t it? We’re curious…. What’s the problem with getting excited about eating delicious food that is on your plan?

      Loving yourself even if you gained all the weight back can be a tough concept for many to wrap their brains around. We get it. But essentially it’s keeping another promise to yourself – the promise of unconditional love. If you have a belief that there is something fundamentally wrong with who you are at your core, then extending self-love or compassion to yourself is going to be difficult.

      The good news is that a belief is just a thought you have thought over and over again that you believe to be true. It is always an option to believe differently. To do that though, you need to dig into the story you’re telling yourself about what it would mean to gain all the weight back that you worked so hard to lose.

      We help our doctors with issues like this every day in our program Weight Loss for Doctors Only. If you’re a female or female-identifying MD/DO physician in clinical practice, please reach out to us here (https://katrinaubellmd.com/contact) – we’ll be happy to help you dig deep into this too.

  • Constance

    Hi Katrina,

    Unfortunately, I’m not able to see the overeating first aid kit on your link katrinaubellmd.com/kit. :((

    Constance, Montréal Canada

    • Team Katrina

      Hi Constance!

      Click HERE for the link! From there, you will be prompted to enter your email and phone number to receive instructions on how to access the kit in your email!

      If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! 💕

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