What if it were possible to lose weight in a way that didn’t make you feel miserable? As we’re heading into summer, you’re probably thinking that now is the worst time to start a weight loss program, but it doesn't have to be an awful experience—and in this episode, I’m going to tell you why.

Tune in as I share the five reasons why weight loss is generally considered a miserable experience, including feeling like you’re being deprived and trying to fit meal planning into your already hectic schedule as a busy doctor. You’ll learn how you can turn all the negative into a positive and approach your weight loss journey from a place of excitement.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • The five reasons why weight loss is considered a miserable experience
  • How to control your weight loss experience so it’s actually enjoyable
  • How to make your weight loss program work for you
  • Why you ultimately control how you experience your weight loss experience

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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 274.

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 there, my friend. Welcome to the podcast. I'm so glad you're here today. I am very excited to bring you today's topic, but first I wanted to just ask you, when was the last time you did something really just fun for yourself? A few days ago, my husband and I treated ourselves to going to a concert. We went and saw Journey, live and the opening act was Toto, so much fun. I love me some classic rock and we just had the best time. It was just so exciting and fun.

I think it's so important to have fun things to look forward to that are not related to food, especially if you're someone who struggles with that. We were there, Toto opened, they played for almost an hour. They were so good. I couldn't believe it. I was like, “If they were just over there, I'd be satisfied,” but then no, then Journey came on and they played and it was so good and so fun. And to just feel alive, it was just so fun.

So maybe concerts are not your thing. Maybe music is not your thing, but maybe there's some other thing. And now that things really seem to be opening up a lot more and we're just getting more comfortable being around people again, if you have been just waiting, waiting to either get back to things that you were doing before or waiting to figure something out until things opened up, consider this your invitation. It can really make a difference to have other forms of pleasure in your life, something that you can really, really enjoy and look forward to. So that's my little public service announcement for you.

My second public service announcement for you is that I want to let you know that for just a couple more days we are enrolling the May, Weight Loss for Doctors Only group. If you somehow missed it or are new and trying to figure things out or are thinking, “Hey, yeah, I think I am interested in actually getting some coaching help in losing weight permanently, truly creating peace and freedom around food.” Then you're going to want to go and check out information about the group right away. It's closing this Thursday, April 15th. And the way to get information, all the information you need about the program is to go to katrinaubellmd.com/info. I-N-F-O. katrinaubellmd.com/info.

The group starts on May 9th. So by the time you sign up, you have a couple of weeks to get yourself ready to go. And we right away give you access to our membership site where you get some access to some prep materials. You can just get yourself ready to go. I promise you, this is my sixth year doing this. I know exactly what you need. I know exactly how to help you. It's one of those things where it's like, “I've rolled out the red carpet, all you have to do is step on it. Just come on down onto this little moving walkway because I know how to make this so much easier and faster for you and truly improve your life while you're at it.”

That's always the feedback that we get from our clients is like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I lost weight. And that was great. But now all my relationships are better. I love being a doctor again. My whole outlook is better. I just am a generally happier person,” whatever it is, feel like they're pulled out of the funk that they've been in for a while, like all of those things. And it's because all the work that we do not only helps you to lose weight and not overeat and maintain that weight loss forever, but it helps all the aspects of your life.

So if you are a doctor in clinical practice and you're interested in possibly coming and joining us for our May group, go to katrinaubellmd.com/info. This will be the last group that we have until fall. So you're going to want to check this out. I actually think that losing weight in the summer is an excellent time to do it when my very first life coaching experience when I lost weight, I started in May. I thought that was such a great time to do it. Honestly, I always found the summers to be challenging. And you just want to just live carefree and just not worry about it so much.

And it was so great to learn how to lose weight while not worrying about it so much. And that actually ties into what we're going to be talking about today which is, why has losing weight always been so miserable and is there a different way? Of course, the title here is, Losing Weight Doesn't Have to Be Miserable. So I'm going to teach you and talk to you today about how to make weight loss not miserable. It's actually a pleasant and good experience for you.

Of course, when you're like, “Well, I don't want to ruin my summer by trying to lose weight.” Then you're going to be thinking, “No, now isn't a good time.” But then really if you're thinking about weight loss ruining a time of your life, when is a good time? Never. You never are excited to ruin six months of your life. So I want to talk to you today about five reasons that weight loss has been so miserable, either for you in the past or for other people that you know, and what to do about it. Okay.

So the first reason weight loss has been so miserable is because everyone says it's miserable. When you talk to people about weight loss, this is just what people think and say, “That it's so hard, that you have to work so hard. It's exhausting. It's time consuming. It's uncomfortable. It's no fun. It's just the worst.” Think of anything that's bad, and that's weight loss, right? And that's what people think.

So what is important about what people think is that they are offering us their thoughts every time we hear about it. Every time they talk about it, or we talk to them about weight loss, of course we are looking to our own experiences as well. But I definitely work with people who are like, “Look, I never really had a weight issue until six months ago or a year ago or two years ago.” And so they don't really know what it's like to lose weight, but they're just assuming it's going to be awful because of what everybody around them says.

So the solution here is to just become aware that when people are talking about weight loss and talk about it being a miserable experience, that is just them sharing their thoughts about it. This is not the facts. This is not the truth about the experience or how it has to be for everybody. This is simply them sharing what they think. When you understand and recognize this is somebody else's way of thinking, this is their mindset, they are sharing their beliefs with me, then it puts up a little bit of a screen or a bit of a barrier so that you then can decide, “Hey, do I want to think about it that way? Maybe I could think about it differently. What if it were possible to lose weight in a way that didn't make me miserable? I think I'm going to go figure out how to do that.”

It allows you the opportunity to not just immediately take on their way of thinking that creates truly misery and decide for yourself what kind of experience you want to have. Okay. So just because everyone else says so, doesn't mean that has to be your experience. It's like, if everybody else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, is that what you would do? If everybody else jumped off a cliff, that's what my mom used to say, is that what you would do? Just because they all think that, does not mean that you have to think that too.

Our second reason, why losing weight has been so miserable? Well it's because we ignore our body signals instead of tuning in and listening to our body signals. What I mean by this is that you sign up with some way, you read a book, you sign up with some coach or program or plan or like whatever it is, online program and trainer, whatever. You hire them to be the coach, to be the expert. So often we're like, “Listen, just tell me what to do because honestly what I'm doing isn't working? You just tell me what to do. And I'm just going to do that so I can get some results.”

Except that doesn't work for almost anybody because they are then taking on ownership for your body when they don't own your body. They are not in your body. You live in your body, you are therefore the expert in your body, as soon as you decide to take on that expert role. What we have done for so long is look at what our body looks like, or look at what our eating is like and go, “Well, obviously I suck at this. Obviously I don't know what I am doing. Therefore, I need someone else who knows better than me to tell me what to do.”

When you do this, they are the expert and you are like the peon. You're the person who doesn't know anything. You're obviously awful at this. And if what they recommend doesn't work, then we make it mean that there's something wrong with us, that we have a personality defect or flaw or something certainly must be wrong with us. We never look at it like, “Well, maybe that person just really doesn't understand me or my life or what works for me.”

Now, in hindsight, I can think of so many times I worked with someone to lose weight and I'm like, “Well, no wonder. No, duh of course it wasn't going to work. It was never going to work,” because I was giving up all of my authority, being the person living in this actual body in favor of just following someone else's assumptions or their prior experience or what they just thought was going to work. It usually didn't, or at least parts of it didn't. And then of course I wasn't able to do… I gave it all up.

When we do this, we end up very often feeling very hungry. We feel very tired and truly it's like an experience of suffering. I know so many people recognize this, to lose weight, it's truly an act of suffering. It's so uncomfortable physically, it's so uncomfortable mentally. So of course we're like, “Oh my God, weight loss is so miserable.”

The solution here is to recognize that your body is extremely intelligent and really knows what you should be doing and eating and when. And all of that, you have to learn how to reconnect to it because we were all born with this connection. For some of us somewhere along the line, we lost it. So we have to redevelop this connection and of course you can still work with other people who are guides who can help facilitate this process. But you are thinking about it as a collaboration.

You're not thinking about it as, “That's the expert and I don't know anything and I'm just going to do what they say.” Instead, you go, “Okay, I'm bringing my experience of being in this body, of tasting this food, of feeling what it's like to be in my body.” And then you're collaborating with a guide who has some experience, and some knowledge, and figuring out something that's going to work for you. This is what I pride myself in offering the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program. We don't know what you should do.

We can really, really help you to figure it out, but I'm not going to be like, “Look, this is exactly what you should do,” because I can't possibly know that. But you do. So what you need to learn to do is to move into that expert status, then you actually meet your body's needs so that you're eating foods that promote weight loss, but also satisfy you. So you are satiated. You're not so ravenously hungry all the time and where you feel energetic and fueled rather than completely depleted and exhausted so that losing weight is not a suffer fest.

It really is something that feels great and it feels great in the sense that you feel good in your body and you're supporting yourself. Of course there's other skills that you have to learn and that can sometimes be more difficult, but all in all, it's not just, “I feel literally physically awful, basically the majority of the time until I get to my goal weight.” And then we wonder why we gain our weight back because we don't want to feel terrible all the time.

Next reason why weight loss has been so miserable is because we feel so restricted and deprived. We have some plans, something we're supposed to be doing, stuff we're supposed to be counting, measuring, whatever it is, eating this many times, not eating this many times, whatever it is. And so when we are thinking about eating in that way, we have feelings. And very often those thoughts create the feelings of restriction, feeling restricted and feeling deprived. And really restriction means we are not getting all the things that we need. A restricted diet is like you can't have certain things.

Well, when you think about a way of eating that eliminates major food groups, I think it's actually pretty easy to start feeling restricted. Not to say that eating that way isn't the right thing for some people but you really have to be aware of what you're thinking is, if that's something that you really want to pursue such as eating keto or something like that. You have to change your mindset. You have to change your beliefs about it so that you do not create the feeling of restriction.

And with deprivation, we feel we're literally not getting our needs met. There's certain things that we need and we're not getting them therefore we feel deprived. Now it's easy to feel deprived when you're super hungry all the time. When you're just famished, when your energy is low. I remember sometimes eating something and like 45 minutes later I was already hungry again. It's so much easier to feel deprived when that's going on. So of course is again, going back to meeting your body where it's at and fueling it in ways that make it feel good and actually give it the quality energy that it needs, that makes it a lot easier.

But also understanding that if you are thinking about what you're eating in terms of what you're allowed to have and what you're not allowed to have or what you can have and what you can't have, that is first of all, that is a complete lie that you tell yourself, I've done it too. As you're an adult and you get to eat whatever you want, you're allowed to eat whatever you want. You can eat whatever you want. So if you're not eating something, it's because you're making a choice to not eat it. So you should like your reasons for making that choice.

We have to also look at our brains. What are we thinking about this? Sometimes we're totally satiated, our body is happy as a clam. We're losing weight, but we still feel deprived because of the way that we're thinking about other foods that maybe don't serve us. We have to learn how to manage our minds. We don't really realize that we have control over feeling restricted and deprived. So we think, “Well, losing weight's just miserable.” You feel so restricted and deprived, false. This is not true.

That is the way that most people will experience it because they are not aware of their thoughts and feelings. They are not aware that they are actually in control of this experience. Now you do though. So now no excuses. Work through whatever thoughts and beliefs create that feeling of restriction and deprivation for you.

The next reason losing weight is often so miserable is because it feels like so much work. Have you ever done this where you're spending so much time at night prepping food and making sure you have like this and that and measuring and that and doing complex math equations and like all these things to get your food all dialed in. It's a lot of work, making sure you have the right foods in the house. And it's just so many limits to what you're supposed to be doing for all this plan. It's just not something that you're really able or willing to continue on long-term.

So of course, maybe it does create weight loss for you, but if you're not willing to do it long-term, then it's not a good solution for you. That doesn't create permanent weight loss. So in this case where we get tripped up is that what we don't realize is that simpler and easier equals better. When you keep your eating and your food really simple and really easy, it is the best of all the worlds. We do not need complicated recipes. You probably don't even need new recipes. You don't even need to be able to cook. You can literally make this so simple so that your food that you're eating tastes delicious, your body feels amazing and it does not take very much time at all. That is what I recommend.

It is literally the biggest gift you can give yourself to make it, so that actually the easiest thing to do is to eat on plan and follow your plan versus following your plan is a lot of work. So you know what? We're having a day where we're wasting effort and we're just going to do whatever because ordering a pizza is easier. In this case, ordering the pizza is actually not easier. The easier and simpler you create your food plan, the more likely you are to follow it, the better results you're going to get. This is why I have every single one of my clients create their own personalized eating plan, of course, with assistance, lots of assistance.

But again, like I can't possibly know what's going to be easy for you to make or what you're always going to like eating. It's like people have been like, “Can you help me figure out how to like eggs? Because eggs seem like they'd be so easy.” And I'm like, “Yeah, eggs are easy. But if you don't like eggs and you don't like eggs.” And you know me, one of my biggest rules for myself and what I encourage everyone else to follow too, is I don't eat food that doesn't taste good to me. So eggs don't taste good to you, so don't eat eggs. There are millions of other easy, simple foods that you can find.

You just have to be solutions focused enough and open-minded enough to find them. When you have already decided that losing weight is so much work, then of course your experience of losing weight will be that it takes a whole lot of work. Because you believe it to be that way, you will actually create the conditions subconsciously of complication, and difficulty, and food going bad and whatever, being very confused, not knowing what to do. It will be a difficult experience. It will feel like so much work because of that.

So just recognize that it does not have to be so much work. If you think that's true I want you to just question it. What if you were wrong? What if this whole time you've just been wrong? And it really isn't that much work. Maybe it really could be easy.

And our final reason why losing weight's been so miserable is because we don't realize that we're actually in charge of our experience. So what creates our experience of losing weight? Well, it's our thoughts and our feelings. When we are not aware of our thoughts and our feelings, then they're just happening in the background and we just think that's the way it is. And so we think that whatever experience is, is just that and there's no changing it. So if the experience of weight loss has been miserable, then there's no changing it. There's no way to make it better, when this is just blatantly false, just not true.

When you become aware of your thoughts and the feelings that those thoughts create, you now have the opportunity to manage your mind. And what I mean by that is looking at the thoughts that you think, the thoughts that you think that seem true and believable to you and you understand what feeling they generate for you. And then what that feeling creates. What action do you take when you feel that way? If it's not an action that is supportive to you or one that you want to be taking, then that thought is one that we want to reconsider. We want to have a look at, maybe there's a different way of thinking about this that still feels true and believable.

So not just positive thinking, just pick some new thing. It doesn't matter if you believe it or not. It matters a lot if you believe it, but we find that next thing. And that's actually in the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program, one of the big component is teaching you how to think something new, how to believe something new. This is a skill that you need to be taught, that you need to learn and then put it into practice. This is one of another of the benefits of being in the coaching group is that, I teach you a lot of concepts here, but learning it isn't enough.

You have to actually apply it to your life, integrate it into yourself and your way of thinking and the way you approach your life and live your life. And one of the best ways to do that is with assistance. So that as you struggle, as you find areas where it's difficult, you get coaching help so you can make that go so much more smoothly and just get yourself really in the right direction right away. We learn to manage our minds.

But then the other thing is those feelings, because guess what, we are not always going to be able to, or want to think differently. Sometimes we are going to experience negative emotions. In fact, a lot of the time we will and we'll feel very justified in it and righteous. And it's just the way it is and that's how we want to feel. And so then what do we do? The answer can't be, “Oh, I'm not willing to feel this horrible feeling that I actually am determined to feel. So what I'm going to do is eat or drink some alcohol instead so I can avoid feeling it.”

No, what we have to do is we have to learn to actually process our emotions. That means feel them from start to finish so that they move through you. I like to think of emotions as just energy in your body. Energy can be very stuck or energy can flow through and out of you. Stuck energy is what we have when we are constantly avoiding how we're feeling, trying to pretend like it doesn't exist, stuffing food, over drink, over food on top of it to try to smother it and hope that it just goes away.

When you are allowing yourself to experience those emotions and process them, you realize, “I can feel this, I can do this and the more willing I am to feel whatever it is, the quicker it flows out of me so that I'm back to the place that I like to be. Whether that's content or peaceful or whatever it is.” You allow that to move through you so that you just essentially automatically start to feel better. So of course, one way of feeling better is to think different thoughts. Another way is to allow those emotions to flow through which I call processing them.

I teach you in the program, multiple, multiple different ways to process your emotions. You have access to this from day one. And it's really honest to goodness. If there's one thing you get out of the program out of Weight Loss for Doctors Only, it should be how to process emotions. It's so, so, so, so, so important. Even if you did not change your eating at all, if you just learned how to process your emotions, I promise you would lose weight because you would not need food to make yourself feel better anymore.

You would find yourself going, “You know what? I actually feel better. I don't need the snack to reward myself. I don't need that extra glass of wine to help me forget about the day.” You've just worked yourself through it. Ultimately remember you are in charge of your experience in whatever you do, in this case we're talking about weight loss. This applies to every other case, every other thing, every other challenge you have in your life.

So when you learn how to do this, in terms of weight loss, this becomes a skill that you can then extrapolate to every other area of your life. We see this all the time with our clients. They're like, “Yeah, okay. I've handled my eating now. Now I am going to work on what's going on at my job, or I'm going to work on this difficult relationship that I have, or I'm going to create this new goal or go get that promotion that I have always wanted, but wasn't willing to actually speak up for, or admit that I wanted.”

Whatever it is, they're creating a bigger and more positive future for themselves because of learning how to do this work. So we just use weight loss as the tool to learn and then you keep repeating those same habits to create other things in your life. And it's a lot easier to create other things in your life when you're no longer trying to lose weight or thinking that like, “Oh, I'll do that. But first, I got to lose weight or who am I to do that because look at me, I need to lose weight. I'm not a good example or whatever it is.”

This is how you don't make weight loss a miserable experience. You don't take on other people's thoughts. You decide for yourself what you're going to think. You learn to reconnect to your body's signals and listen to them. Work with your body instead of against it so that you're meeting your body's needs and taking excellent care of yourself, not just asking somebody else to be the expert on something they can't possibly be the expert on. You work on any thoughts or beliefs that you have that create the feelings of restriction and deprivation. You do have control over this.

Then you make it so that losing weight isn't so much work. You can strain, you simplify. You make it as easy as possible. You just make it go on repeat. So it's literally running in the background you being able to stay on your plan. The easier and simpler, the better.

And then finally we take back ownership of creating our experience of losing weight. And the way we do this is by looking at our thoughts, changing the ones that we decide we want to change, or that would benefit us to change and learning how to process our emotions. This is how we get the result that we want, which is permanent weight loss, without it being a complete torture fest.

And I would be more than happy to take you through this entire process start to finish, to help you to create the same experience for yourself. I'm telling you, you will not regret it. You won't.

So for more information about the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program go to katrinaubellmd.com/info. Again, we are closing enrollment for the May group this Thursday, April 14th. So you're really going to want to check that out right away. If you are interested in joining us, it would be amazing. We'd love to work with you.

All right, have a wonderful rest of your week. I hope to see you in our next Weight Loss for Doctors Only group and we'll get started losing weight for the last time getting that weight off permanently. Have a great rest of your week. 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.