Ep #67: How the Thought Model is Playing Out in Your Life

The thought model is a core concept that I often reference and talk about, and I’m diving into it again to highlight some important aspects for you. The model may seem like something that is new or revolutionary, but you’ll soon realize that it has been around long before you were aware of it. The model was always there and we used it even before knowing it existed or how to use it. In this episode, I get into how to wrap your head around how you’ve used it in the past and how to process your history with it.

I emphasize the importance of recognizing the role of the model in your life before you knew about it and now. I also discuss why there really are no exceptions for the model and why you need to realize that it is a neutral tool that you can use in all situations. If you haven’t done the thought download yet, this is the perfect time to get your thoughts understood and under better management.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • The TIVO journey and breakthrough.
  • The benefits of creating a support group and not feeling like you’re in this alone.
  • A review of the thought model and how thoughts, feelings and actions are so intertwined.
  • Why the thought model is nothing new and what that means for us.
  • The different direction we can take with the model and why it can work.
  • Why you need to focus on working on yourself first and having 100% acceptance for others.
  • Why the model always applies to every situation.

Featured In This Episode:

Get The Full Episode Transcript

Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians Podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 67.

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, friend. How are you? Welcome back to the podcast. So excited to talk to you today. Listen, I always like to tell you about something that I’m excited about, that I think is awesome, that I think you might also think is awesome, and so I wanted to tell you about this full circle kind of moment that we’ve had in our household. It’s not gonna be what you expect. It is with TiVo. If you don’t know TiVo, you might wanna get to know TiVo. We got TiVo way back in the day before you could even get a DVR from cable, like from cable company, because we liked watching certain shows and, of course, we were busy residents, whatever, and it was the best thing ever.

It was the best way to watch TV. It was a stretch financially at the time, but we just love that thing to death. We used it like crazy every night until we switched to an HDTV. That one didn’t support that. It just, whatever. I don’t understand the details but it couldn’t support that, and if we went and bought an HD TiVo, it basically didn’t work with our cable company. At the time our cable company, love those cable companies, they were like, “Yeah, no, you just can’t use it. You have to use one of our DVRs.” So we did, and we have had, I swear, the worst luck with those DVR machines. We get a new one, and within three months it’s not working anymore. We always were … It’s like pagers. You’re like, “Can I just get a brand new one? I don’t want a refurbished one that’s going to break again. I just want one that’s going to work.”

We’ve just dealt with it on and off. It’s such a pain, always. For some reason, not that long ago, I thought to myself, you know what? I wonder what the deal is with TiVo these days? Is that … I actually thought to myself, I wonder if they’re still in business.

I went on their website, and it’s amazing now. It’s totally different in terms of how you can connect it to your cable company, but then it’s totally super streamlined in with your Netflix, anything else, and it basically, if you’re anything like me, you’re like, “Where was that one show? Was that on Amazon TV? Was that on Netflix? Was that on cable? If it was on cable, which channel was it, and did we tape it or did we not? Is it on HBO? But is it on HBO through Amazon or do we have HBO through cable?” It was so confusing.

Now, I don’t want a lot of TV. It’s mostly my husband’s thing, but I do like to watch something every now and then, especially documentaries, and especially just a couple few choice reality TV shows that I like. We all have to have our thing, right? It gets so confusing that half the time, I’m like, “Forget it. I don’t even want to watch anything right now because I can’t even find it.” That’s how complicated our lives have become. Whatever happened to having three channels? It was so easy back in the day.

In any case, if this sounds like something that happens in your family, you might want to check out TiVo. We literally press one button to turn everything on now. TV turns on, everything turns on, and you can tape anything off of regular TV that you want to. Then it totally connects to all your other ways of watching TV as well and has them all in one place. That’s what’s so amazing.

I can just get on there and very easily watch the Kardashians. I actually hadn’t watched in quite some time, like many months, and I decided to watch one. I was like, “What the heck? Chloe’s pregnant? What is going on? I am so behind.” I didn’t know what was going on. I was like, “Okay, I’ve gotta give myself some time to do this.” What I tend to do is when I’m folding laundry is when I let myself watch it. It’s kind of like just that little indulgent little thing. If I have to sit here and fold laundry, then at least I can watch some trash TV.

My other ones that I like are A Million Dollar Listing, New York and LA, on Bravo. Those are so fun. Absolutely love those. They’re interesting TV but trashy but barely. You get to know these people, these characters. You start to really like them. Anyway, maybe check out TiVo. It’s spelled T-I-V-O. See what you think.

You guys know, iTunes reviews. I literally, literally didn’t just chuckle out loud. I belly-laughed out loud when I read this review, and so I just had to share it with you. The title B-minus review for an A-plus podcast. It’s by, I don’t know how you even say this. It’s E-N-H-C.

It just says, “Ha-ha. Just kidding. This podcast is amazing. The minute that I read about the podcast and concept of weight loss for physicians, I felt like Katrina Ubell was speaking to me. Up and down the same weight since college, tired of losing and gaining, you had me at permanent weight loss, and this is real, and it works. Coming from someone who has also gained and lost the same 10 to 20 pounds since college, I am so happy to report that I lost 20 pounds faster than I ever have in the past and have maintained it for eight months so far for the first time in my life. I love this way of eating, and even more, the work she has helped me with to manage my mind. I look forward to the podcast every Tuesday, and without sounding weird, feel like she’s my BFF who I’ve never met.”

Yeah, I know. I feel that way about you too. “I have recommended this podcast to many friends, not physicians and several physicians. We even started a mini group at the office to work on issues and share successes and setbacks. This work has helped me move forward in my career as I was a perfectionist and would get stuck not completing tasks as I was fearful that they would not be perfect. I took a huge leap and gave grand rounds and a lecture at a conference recently, which I had never had the courage to do before. Thank you so, so, so much for this podcast and all that you do. I love this way of eating. It feels so much more in control than ever before.”

I mean, that’s so amazing, you guys. I love that. I love that you’re putting yourself out there and you’re doing grand rounds and lecturing and getting together with your other friends and like-minded people and talking about this. Creating your own little support group, I think, is amazing. I’ve actually had other people tell me they do that too where they a couple different people and they all get together for lunch once or two a month, and they talk about the podcast, and they talk about what they’re doing, and they try to help coach each other and things like that. I think that’s so great. Goes back to that sense of camaraderie and not feeling lonely, feeling like you’re really in this with other people. I think that’s fantastic. Thank you so much for your review.

If you have not left me a review yet, I would so appreciate it if you could do that. I actually just went and checked to see how many downloads of this podcast I had last month, and it was getting close to 50,000. If there’s that many people listening, certainly, I can get to 500 reviews, you guys. Please. If you could please go into iTunes and leave me a review, I would so appreciate it.

Reviews on other podcast-listening formats is great too. I totally appreciate those as well, but iTunes is the place that people search, and that is how your reviews really help this podcast. They help the podcast to get noticed by other people so when people search for weight loss, they’re able to see this come up so it can reach more people and help them to get the same results because we know that doctors out there need this work. We know how much we needed it, and so we want to be able to get it out there. Leaving a review is the best way you can help me to do that. If you could please do that, I would so appreciate it.

Today, I want to talk to you about how the model is always working and playing out in your life. Let me just briefly review the model. Those of you who’ve been listening from the beginning or have gone all the way through totally know the model, but some of you might’ve been just picking and choosing and hopping in and out, and you might be like, “What is it? What is that model again that she’s talking about?”

The thought model that I use when I do coaching consists of five components. The first is the circumstance, and that is the neutral facts of any sort of situation that you have going on. We then have thoughts about those neutral facts, that circumstance, and those thoughts then create our feelings or our emotions. Our feelings drive our actions, and our actions create our results. It’s our results for us. It can be results for somebody else.

This totally makes sense when you think about it. You think about something, and it makes you feel a certain way, and your feelings drive you to do things. Why do we say, “I don’t feel like it.” What we’re then doing is inaction because I don’t have a feeling that is driving me to do that action. “I just don’t feel like it.” That is what the thought model is.

When we first learned the model, for the majority of us, we think it’s something that’s totally new. It seems like this revelation. I know it did for me. I was like, “My mind is blown. What the heck? How come I haven’t known this my whole life? How come nobody taught me this? Come on, people.” What we don’t really realize though is that the model’s been there the entire time our whole lives working behind the scenes. We just didn’t know it yet.

I was doing a call once, and someone wrote in on the chat area, “Now that we have the model, we can apply it to our lives and change our lives before I wasn’t using the model.” That’s actually not true. You’ve always been using the model. From the time you could think a thought, it has been there because every thought that we have creates a feeling that then drives an action and then creates a result.

If you have a thought when you’re a little kid, like a baby, like, “I’m hungry,” and then you feel sorry for yourself, so then your action is you cry, and then the result is you get some milk to drink. That perpetuates that thought of “this is what I do.” We know that. When kids get what they want, and it works out well for them, however they think and then feel and how they act, if that gives them the results they want, even if it’s not the results we want, if we give them what they want or it works for them, then they’ll perpetuate that. It totally makes sense. They’re like, “Well, this model turned out great for me. The result was perfect for me. Let’s keep doing that.”

What happened then, since it’s been there the whole, is that we just didn’t connect our thoughts to the results that we got in our lives, wanted and unwanted. First, I was thinking good and bad results, but are there really good and bad results? It’s really more wanted results and unwanted results, or results that have an upside for us or results that don’t have an upside for us.

Really, what it boils down to is we just did not know that we have as much control as we really do over our lives. That’s why we learn to people-please and to try to manipulate other people because if we knew that we had all the control to determine how we feel, then it wouldn’t really matter what other people think about us. We would try to get other people to act a certain way or behave a certain way or say certain things so that we could feel better. We would just feel better by changing our thinking.

Since we didn’t know this information, we developed all these workarounds. That’s really what people-pleasing and manipulation, having a manual for somebody else, it’s what all of that stuff is, is just these workarounds. The absolute direct course is straight through the model, but if we don’t know about the model or we are choosing not to use it for some reason, then what we’re doing is trying to go around the other way and going, “Well, I still want to feel better, but how about I just try to do these things I don’t really want to do for you so that you will hopefully have a good opinion of me, and then I can feel good.”

A lot of times, that works. We know lots of people who people-please, and the reason they do it is because a lot of the time they’re able to get the response that they want so they can feel good, but anybody’s who’s people-pleased knows that it doesn’t always work out for you. Either you can’t convince that person to like you … Think of a patient who’s just determined to not like you. It doesn’t matter what you do. I don’t care how great you are, how accommodating you are. You call in the middle of dinnertime, whatever, it doesn’t even matter. They just have just set up their mind they don’t like you, and they’re not happy.

You can go crazy trying to do all these things that you don’t even want to do in order to get them to think a certain way about you so you can feel better, and it feels terrible for us. It feels terrible because we’re acting out of integrity with ourselves in doing so, and then when it doesn’t give us the result that we want, then we’re even more disappointed. We’re feeling even worse about ourselves because we’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, if I can’t even get this person to like me, then something certainly must be wrong with me,” and then we go into that.

It’s so interesting to see how that plays out. We think, “I want to feel great about my husband, so he needs to be different,” “I want to feel really loving and connected with my mom so she needs to be different.” What’s so interesting is I have so many people say to me, “Well, I understand the model now. What is the best resource for me to give to my husband or to my mother or my mother-in-law,” because they’re thinking, “Then they’ll start acting the way I want them to act. They’ll start taking responsibility for their own emotions, and then I can feel better.”

What I always tell my clients is, you need to work on yourself first, 100% acceptance of that person exactly as they are. What you’re going to find is that all those things that you don’t like about them magically kind of disappear, or they’re still there but you don’t even care because your thinking about it is different.

You can still have your mom who is just super mean and rude to the waitstaff at a restaurant, and instead of making that mean all kinds of things about her and how embarrassing it is for you and what kind of example she’s setting for your children who are observing this and all this other drama, you’re just like, “That’s my mom. She likes to be rude to people from time to time.” That doesn’t mean you need to be that way. That doesn’t mean you’re condoning how she’s behaving or you think it’s the right way, but you’re not thinking she should be any different. What we know is when we feel like we’re being controlled, it feels horrible, or when we feel like other people are judging us for who we really are, it feels terrible.

When you just start to let people be themselves and just accept like, some people aren’t going to like me, it doesn’t matter what I do. I could be the best doctor in the world, and they’re still going to find something wrong with me. Okay, I find things wrong with me all the time, they’re probably right, instead of resisting that and thinking, “No, everybody should have this super positive opinion of me. Everybody should be acting the way I think they should be acting because that’s the way that’s right.” It’s really kind of arrogant to think that we know so much better than other people, how they should be living their lives. We really, really don’t, and once we release that, we can come from such of a more loving, open-hearted place. It feels so good for us, and it feels great for the other person because they aren’t being constantly reminded of how they don’t act the way you want them to act. Your relationships completely transform.

When we don’t understand the model, we focus all of our effort and attention on the wrong things, trying to control other people and other things, and then we expect a good outcome for us, but then when it doesn’t turn out that way, we go into emotional childhood, and we blame other people, and we go into victim mode. That feels terrible. That’s the most disempowering place to be.

All of this, though, is okay. That’s what I want you to know because many people will find out about the model, and then they’ll immediately start feeling bad. “Well, gosh. If I’d known this before, then maybe I wouldn’t have gotten divorced, maybe I would have professorship by now, maybe I would have a better relationship with my adult children,” whatever it is, but what I want you to know is that it’s all working out exactly as it’s supposed to.

Earlier in your life, you probably weren’t ready to learn this stuff. You wouldn’t have been in a place to even be able to accept it and apply it. You’re learning at the exact right time because, you know why, because now is when you’re learning it. It’s all happening exactly as it should. You literally did not know any better or any different back then, and that was exactly the way it was supposed to be, but now that you do know about the model, you can start to see how it’s been playing out in your life in the past.

It really is normal to resist this as well, to go, “No, no, no, no, no. I can see, well, yeah, maybe for certain things, but this one thing the model doesn’t really apply to. It doesn’t apply to that really intolerable person in my life.” “The model does not understand my job.” “It doesn’t understand my husband, my mother-in-law.” It’s like, ah. “It sure, it applies to those things that Katrina talks about, but there is these certain sticking points in my life that definitely doesn’t.”

I mean, literally, I used to have thoughts of that too. I just want you to know. I’m not making fun. I’m laughing together with you because it’s so funny. I mean, the model itself really always applies because it’s totally neutral. It is just a way of describing what your experience is of your life. Then it gives you the option to be able to change that experience of your life if you want to. You don’t want to. Some people really do want to hate somebody. The more they get coached, the more they start realizing that it only makes them feel bad, and a lot of times, they do end up deciding to change their thinking about that person, but ultimately, it’s always your choice. You can own all of the misery you want in your life. You just have to recognize and own and accept that you’re the one creating it for you, not anybody else.

What’s so important is that you recognize that the model is exactly how you’ve created the results that you have up until this point, which might be an overweight body, estranged marriage, other estranged relationships, difficulty creating what you want to create, perfectionistic mindset and things like that, and it’s exactly what you use to create something new for yourself.

I literally did not figure this out until I went to coach training. I thought I had a million exceptions to the model because I had learned about it years’ prior, and I thought it was great in certain areas, but then I never really got the coaching that I needed to help me apply it to other areas where I was struggling. Those were the ones where I would just think, “Well, this is just an exception. I mean, there literally is no other way to think about this,” or whatever it is.

Then when I became a coach, I really started to realize, “Oh, okay. It really is playing out everywhere,” and that’s how coaching can be so helpful, having somebody actually coach you through these things. It’s so easy to see it in other people, and then when it’s your own stuff, sometimes you need some assistance with that.

When you recognize that there’s never an exception, that is really great news because what that means is that all you ever need is the model. It’s just showing you what you’re creating right now, how you got the results that you have right now, and it’s the only tool you need to change that if you decide you want to.

I just love things that are simple, kind of like the TiVo. You press one button, the TV turns on. You don’t have to press like 25 different things and adjust this and that. I like things that are just boiled down to only what you need, and that is the model. There’s no extra fluff. It’s just the neutrality of what you’re thinking and how that impacts the results that you have in your life.

Give a thought download and a model a try. Many of you have probably been listening to this and going, “Oh, yeah. I should do that,” “Oh, yeah. I always mean to do that,” and never actually doing it. This is a great podcast to push you in that general direction to get a thought download on to paper, on to a screen, and then pull thought out and run it through a model and see what result that thought creates for you. Guarantee you, this will start to totally change your life. I’ve seen it with myself. I’ve seen it with so many of my clients. This is really the ticket. Remember, the model has always been working. It’s just a question of do you want to be in control of what the results are that you’re creating, or do you want them to just be ruled by your primitive brain and your random unobserved, unmanaged thinking about the situations that you experience in your life? I know what I’m picking.

All right, have a wonderful week. I can’t wait to talk to you next week. Please do leave me an iTunes review if you would be so kind. Thanks so much. Take care. Bye-bye.

Thanks for joining me today. If you like what you heard here, be sure to hit subscribe in your podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can also get my Busy Doctor’s Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss for free by visiting me over at katrinaubellmd.com.


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  • Laura gruskin

    Hi Katrina. Love every bit about you and this podcast. I have changed my lifestyle over the last year and am almost at my goal weight and equally important very happy in my life. Unfortunately our family had a big stress event as my seeet mom was hit by a car and suffered massive injuries needing lots of surgery. My dad died a few years ago so myself and my sisters are rallying to help as best as we can. Strange thing with me has happened that seems to be related at least time wise . I’m on program all day but seem to wake up 1-2 hours after going to sleep, not hungry, but in search of food. I’m trying to not sabatoge myself but rather roll over and go back to bed but it’s not always working. I find myself eating nuts or even worse in the middle of the night. I’m trying to use my fasting app to do 16:8. My dinner hour hasn’t been that peaceful between rushing to the hospital for mom and doing stuff for my 16 year old. Nighttime eating amhas always been my arch nemesis but I seem to have that bit figrlured out. This is almost sleep eating as I don’t even feel fully awake. Any thoughts or advise so welcome. Thanks for all you do.

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