I’ve had a good number of clients ask me if they can stop trying to lose weight a few pounds shy of reaching their BMI range goal. Some worry they’ll be too thin, while others say they’re okay with the progress they’ve made up to that point. But here’s the thing: this journey isn’t just about losing “enough” weight; it’s about getting to the right place health-wise and making sure you’ve done the thought work required to keep the weight off long-term.
So today, I will explain what reaching your BMI range goal (whether you are close or far from it) means to your weight loss process. You’ll learn when the true breakthrough happens in your journey, as well as the importance of the work required throughout this whole experience. I’ll also share some of the important things I have observed from many of my successful weight loss clients and how to know when it’s really the right time to stop.
Katrina Ubell: You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD. Episode number 136.
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.
Hello there, my friends. How’s it going? Welcome back to the podcast. I am coming to you from a hotel room in Las Vegas. I told you last time that I had such terrible laryngitis and my voice wasn’t good, and I just could not get my episodes recorded. So I brought my microphone with me and I’m just hunkered down here in the MGM Grand. I’m here for a conference, and we’re on a little bit of a break. So I thought it would be a good idea for me to go ahead and get this done before all the party people are coming back to the rooms and making a lot of noise. Although I do have to tell you that it’s kind of a squeaky, loud hotel room. There’s all kinds of noises that are happening. So you may hear them, you may not, but you know what? It’s more important that I get this done for you.
So for those of you who are living in Vegas, it’s interesting here. I have not been here since I was a kid. There used to be a casino, I think it was called Circus Circus. I don’t think it still exists, but they had a whole bunch of kid games and stuff, and I think my family were like driving through here on the way from somewhere to somewhere, I don’t know, stopped for the night and I remember it being fun. But I am not a gambler. Gambling really does basically absolutely nothing for me. If anything, I don’t really have a lot of scarcity issues around money. But there’s nothing like gambling to bring what little I do have right up for me. I mean, if we’re talking like charity event where it’s all for fun and it’s basically like play money, I am all in. I think it’s Super Fun.
But when we’re talking like real cash money, no thanks. It’s not my thing at all. Someone that I know who is here, he was telling me that what he likes to do in casinos is he goes to the high-ticket slots. So he goes to the slot machines where you bet like the minimum bet. Or, I don’t know. I don’t even gamble. So I guess it’s just whatever the bet is for that machine is $100. So every time you pulled a lever it’s $100. He said he’s done this, he’s experimented in different casinos. He’s done this five times, and four out of the five times he does one pole and he wins $500 and then he cashes out. He said the time that it wasn’t immediate, it was the third pull. So he spent $300 to make $500, and we were just talking about how funny it is because obviously the house always wins, how they take advantage of the dopamine hit to the brain. When you are basically making $400 on your $100, they’re assuming that if they let you win right away then you’re going to keep going. Right?
So anyway, that is not what I’m interested in. It’s totally smokey in there. I’m still getting over my cough. The air quality’s awful. It’s just such an interesting, interesting environment. But the conference is good and that’s the point, and that’s why I’m here. Okay, so just to remind you, my Next Weight Loss for Doctors Only coaching group is opening up in just a couple of weeks. Because listen, you guys, September… I always say September is like a mother’s New Year’s resolution time, right? It’s like January 1st for moms because school is going back into session, maybe even August for you if your kids go back before then, before September. We are just looking at the whole school year ahead and thinking, “Okay, how am I going to really nail it this year?”
I’ve been on both sides of it where I’ve gone in and I’ve said, “You know what? This is what I’m going to do, and it’s going to be so much better.” Like, the classic New Year’s resolution type of thing, and then totally didn’t keep it up. Then, I remember a couple of years ago I decided, “You know what? I am going to really work hard to manage my time and get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour.” Because I just would constantly mismanage my time, start too late, and then everything was too late. We were eating too late, the kids were tired, going to bed too late. It was just not how I wanted it to be, and I really worked hard on it and I was able to change that. So I guess maybe it was just enough of a pain point that I was able to change it.
But my point is that as you’re going through that time of thinking ahead to the school year and thinking about how you want to be approaching everything in your family’s life, it’s such a great opportunity to start losing weight yourself as well. Plus, when we work together starting in September, then we work together through the holidays, which for so many people, tons of people, that’s the hardest time of the year. So it’s I think a great opportunity to really work on that weight loss issue that you’ve had, the weight that you gained over the summer, that weight that you thought you were gonna get out there and walk it all off and exercise and be really active and it is not going away.
So I’m only going to be open for enrollment for 48 hours. Okay? So it’s really, really important that you make sure you’re on my email list so you can get all the information and be able to consume that so that you can make a good decision for you for when I decided to open it, for when the opening opens up on September, 4th. So when you’re on the email list, you’re able to find out all the details leading up to it and make that best decision for yourself about whether enrolling in the program is the right next step for you.
So the best way to get on my email list is to get my Busy Doctors Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss, which if you haven’t gotten it already, then you definitely need that regardless. So you’re going to want to go to katrinaubellmd.com/resources and opt in there. Or, you can just text your best email address to the number 414-877-6220. Then, when you get the message asking for the code word, just respond with the code word, guide, G-U-I-D-E at that prompt, and then you’ll find that right in your email inbox.
Now, if you were on the email list before and then unsubscribed to kind of like declutter your inbox, absolutely no problem. I totally get it. I do this all the time where I’m like, “I need to clear everything out. I’m overloaded.” Not a problem at all. To get back on the email list to find out this information, even if you just want to be on for a couple of weeks, just go ahead opt back in for the guide and you’ll get those emails about the coaching program. So again, you can go to katrinaubellmd.com/resources or text your best email address to 414-877-6220. Then, when you get the texts back asking for the code word, respond with guide and you will get all that information.
Okay. So I know that many of you have taken what I’ve offered you for free here on this podcast and started applying it to your life. You email me all the time about how much weight you’ve lost and how doing this work is changing everything for you. Honestly, that just makes my heart sing. I am so, so, so, so, so happy for you. Because here’s the deal, all the information in the world isn’t going to do anything for you if you don’t actually take action and apply it to your life. So I’m so, so happy that you’ve done that.
What I then hear from many of you is that all you wanted really when you started on this weight loss journey, was to get into the normal BMI range and now you’ve achieved that and you just could not be happier. You feel great, everything is going along swimmingly, but you’re kind of wondering if this weight you’re at right now might be allowed to be good enough. Like, do you really need to go after reaching that weight that puts you in the mid normal BMI range like I recommend? Isn’t that kind of excessive?
Everyone’s already telling you how great you look and that you don’t need to lose any more weight, but then the question comes up is stopping it good enough? Kind of like quitting on yourself, right? So I get that question a lot. Like, “I’m just not sure at this point what to do.” This is such a great question because, of course, I have thoughts on this. I’m going to share them with you today. But I want to make sure that you know that even if you are very far away from even just your normal BMI range, that this is going to apply to you as well.
Okay. I want to make sure that you still listen closely. You might be thinking, “Oh, this is for people who don’t have 50, 75, 100 plus pounds to lose,” but it absolutely applies to you. So make sure you’re listing. Here’s what I want to make sure you know and really understand. So I want to be clear on this. I don’t care at all how much you weigh, okay? I don’t care what size your clothes are. It honestly means nothing to me. It’s not like something amazing happens once you reach a size two, or four, or six, or eight, or whatever that magic number is for you, like you’ve suddenly hit the jackpot on life, okay? All that happens is that you have the same brain but housed in a smaller body. Okay? So weight loss isn’t about your size. It’s about how you approach your life. As you work to improve your approach to your whole life, the weight comes off. Then you settle out at a certain size that makes sense for your body.
When you’ve changed that whole approach to your life and lost the weight, your weight loss is permanent. Okay? You don’t want to go back to your old ways. Going back and gaining all the weight back is like being offered the choice between peace and freedom, and pain and misery and choosing pain and misery. It just doesn’t make sense. What I’ve noticed with many of my weight-loss clients is that they can get to that good enough weight and stay there pretty well while not following their plan 100%. They’re not regularly doing the thought work that they know helps them so much. They are still cheating a little bit here and there, and they feel like they’re getting away with it. Right? They know they aren’t fully in integrity with themselves.
But then the question comes up, should they really care if they’re at their good enough weight? And by good enough, there’s air quotes on that. You know it’s good enough. My argument is that, “Yes, you should care.” It’s the same reason why you should care about losing the last five to 10 pounds. Many people will say to me that it doesn’t make sense to join my weight loss program if you only have five pounds to lose. I completely disagree. The number of pounds that you want to exit your body isn’t what’s relevant. What’s relevant is wanting to create freedom around food and leveraging your magnificent, brilliant brain to create the relationships and life experiences that you want. As you create that, the weight will come off no matter how much it is. So I want you to hear me on that. Okay?
Most definitely, the last pounds are where the most growth happens. It’s where the real breakthroughs are required for you. It’s too easy to skip this part earlier in the process and still see results on the scale. But as you’re working to lose those final pounds, that is when the rubber meets the road. That’s when you have to buckle down to face all the issues that you’ve pretty easily been able to avoid. There’s no way around it. This is the real work that’s waiting for you. I see this with my clients where they say, “You know, I lost all the weight or most of the weight, but there’s still this huge thing in my life that I’ve just been kind of hoping would solve itself and get better. And it turns out it’s not. It’s still there, it’s still lingering. It’s still looming large. I think I might actually have to dive in and do this.” Then then that’s exactly what we work on.
Now, many people tell me that they don’t like having that mid-normal BMI range number to focus on. They worry that it’s too thin for them. They worry that they’ll look skeletal. They’ll worry that people think they have cancer. What I tell them is to just do the work to get there and then if you don’t like how you look, then just gain some of the weight back on purpose. But you’ll still have done the work required to get you to where you mentally need to be to keep the weight off long-term. Okay? It’s not about the number, it’s about the work required. When clients ask me if they can stop a few pounds shy of their mid-range BMI number because they really don’t want to lose more weight, what I do is I ask them if they are still buffering with food. Are they still using food to neutralize their emotions? Almost always, the answer is, “Yes.”.
It might not be much. It might really just be tiny little bits here and there, but it’s still using food to feel better instead of for fuel or for preplanned pleasure. So stopping at this point to me is like stopping your antibiotics for pneumonia at seven days in when you feel better, instead of finishing the 10 days. Will you be fine? Maybe. Maybe even probably. But is there a greater chance that the pneumonia will come back, now possibly resistant to the antibiotic that you took, if you stop at day seven instead of day 10? Absolutely. This is why we want to clean up all the food and alcohol buffering. I want you to prove to yourself that you are capable of not only doing it but living that way forever. I want you to experience the freedom and the peace that it creates. I want you to see how the rest of your life opens up to meet you because you’ve done that work.
You’re denying yourself that experience when you stop at that “good enough place.” You’re taking the easy way out. You’re taking the shortcut and then deciding that it won’t make a difference in the long run. Well, looking at the success rates of most weight-loss diets, it actually makes a huge difference in the long run. Weight loss success rates are at about 0.5 to 1% of people who are able to keep the weight they lost off for a few years. That’s just a few years.
So what’s different? What happens for them? Well, that little bit of leftover buffering goes unchecked, right? This is for the rest, the 99% who gain it back. So they’re buffering just a little bit here and there. They’re still using food to feel better a little bit here and there, and then it just grows, and it grows, and it grows. It’s like a cancer, sometimes it grows slowly, sometimes more quickly, and over time, they go back to their old ways. They gain all the way back and usually some more. Then they tell themselves that that diet didn’t work for them, and that’s not what happened. What didn’t work for them with stopping at good enough. They did not do the mental work required.
So what I suggest for anyone who feels like they’re at their good enough spot and aren’t sure if they should stop or try to keep going is to focus on the buffering rather than the weight they end up at. Because so many of us are in such a rush to get to that goal weight. I find many clients wanting to start doing some diet mentality, crazy stuff to get those last few pounds off. I’m sure you’ve done this too, right? They want to do some extra long fasts. They want to try going keto for a bit. They want to intentionally eat less food for a little bit. They want to ramp up the exercise until the weight comes off. This is all diet mentality, and it’s the absolutely wrong way to approach it.
Because again, you aren’t willing to continue to do the things that are required to get you to that goal weight, right? You don’t want to do extra long fasts forever. You don’t want to eat less food and trash your metabolism forever. You don’t want to be over-exercising forever. You don’t necessarily want to eat keto forever, right? And what happens for these clients is that once they get to goal, they can stay there for a short time. Usually, it’s like a hot second, sometimes a little longer. But they’re still buffering a little bit because they never took care of the buffering. Then, of course, those last pounds that they had fought so hard with their diet mentality actions to get off, they come right back again.
It’s the rush that creates the whole problem. It’s being in a rush to cross lose weight off the to do list and move on. It’s believing that there is better than here. It’s believing that once you get to that goal weight, you’ll finally think of your body and yourself as acceptable. Instead, all of that has to come first. You have to be willing to work on losing the weight for as long as it takes to get this work done. It’s finally understanding and believing deep down in your bones that there is not better than here. When that’s the case, you don’t have to rush to get somewhere better. It’s doing the work to believe that you and your body are acceptable right now. But also, 10 pounds heavier, 50 pounds heavier, a 100 pounds heavier, and 10 pounds lighter as well. Your value and your acceptibility has nothing to do with the body fat on your body.
When you build that kind of relationship with yourself, you don’t need to buffer away your emotions with extra food and alcohol. You love yourself so much that you would rather stay with yourself and those emotions and process them, rather than postponing them for a later time by buffering them in the moment with food and alcohol. You don’t want to hurt yourself and have to deal with the pain of overeating and an overweight body in the long run.
So as you can see, the mid-normal range BMI number is just a suggestion. It’s a region that you’re aiming for, not an X that marks the spot of eternal bliss. Then, once you get into that region, you can figure out the best weight for your body by cleaning up all the eating that isn’t on-plan. Focus on how to stop buffering with food and alcohol instead of how you can get those final pounds off quickly. When you stop buffering, the final pounds take care of themselves.
If you’ve lost most of your weight by listening to the podcast or doing it on your own, but you haven’t done this part of the work, this part of the process, this thought work and relationship with yourself work is exactly what I will help you with in my Weight Loss for Doctors Only coaching group. This is exactly what I take my clients through no matter how many more pounds they want to lose. In fact, I’ve even had clients who don’t want to lose any more weight, but they still need to do this mental work and we dive right in just like with anyone else. So to find out more information about my next coaching group that opens up in just a couple of weeks, make sure you are on that email list. So again, go to katrinaubellmd.com/resources and grabbed my quick start guide or just text your email address to 414-877-6220 replied with the code word guide.
Either way, you’ll get exactly what you need straightaway in your inbox. Then keep an eye on that inbox because, in just a couple of weeks, you’re going to be getting more information, all the details about the coaching program when they are released very soon. So make sure you’re on that list so you can get all that info. I can’t wait to share it with you. I can’t wait to start this coaching group. We have the best time. It is such a phenomenal experience. I’m so excited for you that that experience is going to be your favorite thing coming up here, that that gets to be something that you get to include in your life because it’s really, truly that amazing.
So really think about this, especially if you think you’re at goal or you’re kind of at that good enough place. Really, really spend some time thinking about this and how this applies to your life. Have a wonderful week, and I will talk to you very soon. Have a good one. Bye-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.