Ep #8: Making Decisions Ahead of Time

Today we’re talking about how you can make decisions ahead of time to set yourself up for success. Yep, it sounds easy – but it can be much more challenging than you think. I’m going to pull back the curtain on the decision making process and talk about how your food journal will help make healthy choices ahead of time.

Our brains make decisions differently when we’re calmly planning ahead (using our prefrontal cortex) versus making impulse judgments (sprinting to the office because we’re on-call). Deciding what to eat ahead of time will reduce brain chatter and decision fatigue, and keep you on track with your weight loss goals.

While it’s important to make these commitments to yourself, the most critical piece of the puzzle is honoring them. If you’re used to breaking promises to yourself, whether they be about food, exercise, or self-care, this will be hard at first. But you can re-condition your brain to rebuild trust with yourself about your decisions and commitments.


Listen To The Episode Here:


In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Why it’s critical for us to food journal and gather concrete data about our eating habits.
  • How making food-related decisions ahead of time allows us to leverage our rational brain rather than our primitive one.
  • What writing out your meals the day before might look like, and the impact you’ll feel right away.
  • Why it’s perfectly normal for you to get mad at your yesterday-self for telling you what to eat – and why you’ll thank her (or him) later.
  • How becoming fat-adapted can help you if you’re in a pinch and need to skip a meal.
  • The importance of making and respecting commitments to yourself.

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Showing 15 comments
  • Marie

    This concept makes so much sense to me! I’m a total snacker with a major sweet tooth. Over the last week or two, I’ve been able to stop and think twice before I grab a handfull of nuts, or chocolate chips, or whatever in between meals. I’m interested about how this works with breastfeeding. I’m currently breastfeeding baby #4. I used to be really good about going to bed when I got hungry at night, or making a plan for what I would eat during the day and sticking to it even if I felt hungry. But whenever I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding my thought process is typically “my stomach is growling, I need to eat so I can feed the baby…” What are you thoughts? Is it OK to go 10-12 hours at night without food, as long as it doesn’t affect my milk supply?

    • Katrina

      Hi Marie! Yes, you definitely can go 10-12 hours at night without food, as long as you are not currently underweight. For breastfeeding, it’s WAY more important to focus on hydration than eating (or overeating!) enough calories. 😉 Basically, what happens for you when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding is that you change your thoughts and beliefs about how you should eat. You interpret physical hunger as something that must always be acted upon. When you’re not pregnant, you go to bed when you’re hungry and stick to your eating plan all day. Here you interpret physical hunger as normal and not something that always requires eating. Can you see that difference? My recommendation to you would be to stop snacking and replace that with lots of fluids. Of course, if you do this and you notice your supply decreasing, then you can thoughtfully add in more food (i.e. not chocolate chips, haha). Hope this helps!

  • Lauren

    Hi Katrina! I’ve been enjoying your podcasts. I am also a vegetarian pediatrician! I was wondering how you follow a lower carb meal plan and stay vegetarian. I’m a “rice and beans” kind of vegetarian, I don’t tend to do a lot of fake meats. Any good books or resources that you can recommend?
    thanks!

    • Katrina

      Hey Lauren! I actually don’t follow a low-carb diet and I didn’t throughout my entire weight loss. I too am a “rice and beans” kind of vegetarian and we don’t really do any fake meats either. The great news is that you don’t really need any new books or resources because your diet is already quite good, I’d imagine. I eat plenty of carbs in the form of beans, lentils, starchy veggies, and some whole grains (but not in flour form). So what I avoid is flour and sugar, meaning the more concentrated and refined carbohydrates. I also eat plenty of fat with all of these. When you eat more fat, you will get fuller faster, meaning you will overall eat fewer carbs because you won’t need to eat so much rice and beans to fill up. I also try to get in 20 oz of vegetables a day which helps to offset the starchy carb intake. As far as what I’d suggest for you, just look at the recipes you already make that you love that are vegetarian and naturally devoid of flour and sugar and keep making those over and over. Today I made an amazing chickpea and rice soup that we love and I cooked the onions in plenty of olive oil, instead of water like the recipe suggests. If you need more guidance, please let me know! 🙂

  • Idaly Hidalgo

    Hi Katrina,
    I am truly loving your podcasts. It’s like you were in my head and in my house! I’m an ED doc. Shift work that changes and I often use this as an excuse to derail from a plan I’ve set out to start. But as you said, I know my schedule ahead of time therefore I can plan my meals. I’m also heading into my 40th this year. HgA1C is 6.1 and I need to make lasting changes. Also just sticking to 3 meals a day makes it so much simpler. I’ve created so much confusion with all the different plans and ways of eating out there that I can’t commit to any of them long enough. I would love to connect with you. I tried making the initial 20 min appt but you seemed booked. Please let me know if this is the case.

    • Katrina

      Hey Idaly! I’m so glad the podcast has been helping you! Feel free to get on my list for doctors who are interested in working with me. To do that, go to katrinaubellmd.com/group and enter your name and email. Then be sure to check your email to confirm that you want to opt in to the list. I’ll be in touch through that list very soon!

  • Gretchen Morrow

    I’m loving your pod cast! Listening a re-listening! I’m a PA-C mom of 3 in family practice. I’m great during the week. I stick to the plan. I go to bed. I don’t waiver. I am off Friday’s. And it starts. The fight in my brain “I deserve a treat”, I can’t stand the same salad for lunch again. I’m out with the kids for lunch and don’t plan ahead but I deserve it. I ran a race Saturday and had doughnuts after. How can I snap out of this mind set?!

    • Katrina

      Hi Gretchen! Glad you’re enjoying the podcast! For sure, listen to Episode 11 on Justifying Going Off Your Eating Plan. That should help a lot with your weekend indulgences!

  • Kristal Melbye

    These last three episodes were incredibly helpful!!

    • Katrina

      <3

  • Shelly Holmstrom

    Katrina- I have a question regarding keeping a food journal. Do you recommend keeping a food journal even after losing weight or do just write out your plan for the next day and stick to it? Do you ever plan your meals for the entire week and write them all down? Do you have any dinner planning websites that you recommend? What is the name of the artisanal bean company you use? Thanks! I love the podcast!!!

  • Shelly Holmstrom

    Katrina- I have a question regarding keeping a food journal. Do you recommend keeping a food journal even after losing weight or do just write out your plan for the next day and stick to it? Do you ever plan your meals for the entire week and write them all down? Do you have any dinner planning websites that you recommend? What is the name of the artisanal bean company you use? Thanks! I love the podcast!!!

  • Sravy

    Dear Katrina,
    I ama neonatologist and I work full time and a part time with a toddler who doesn’t sleep and a “on the rocks” phase of marriage. I intend to loose none of the above except. my last 10lbs. I exercise regularly (3-4 times a week) and have not been successful inspire of curbing stuff. Am stuck at 140-141 lb. I love your podcast. I love the insulin fast concept and I am going to try it -get fat adapted . I went through IVF for my son and cried a lot for your episode #8 I think . And yes!- I will see Hamilton . Lots of love to you and your family – Sravy.

    • Katrina

      Loads of love to you as well Sravy!!

  • Lindsay Cox

    Hi Katrina!!
    I am not a doctor (but my sister and many family members are!). However, I am a mom of 2 and a business owner, so my doctor directed me to this podcast. I absolutely love it and can relate to so so much to so much of what you talk about. Starting yesterday I finally found myself in a mindset to get serious about my health. I went grocery shopping today and had a little bit of a hard time. What I wanted to ask was…..is like…rice flour, coconut flour, etc. the same thing? Or can we have it? In addition, when you say no snacks, do you mean….no veggies?!?! I find that I get soooooo hungry that I loose all concepts of being healthy and just have to get something in my stomach. I am hoping with this plan I will no longer have those days!
    Thank you for this!

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