Ep #263: Opting In to Your Current Life

So often we look to therapy or self-help books to give us the solutions to things that we’re dissatisfied with in our lives—but what if instead of trying to change what we don’t like, we work with what we’ve got? In this episode, I’m diving into the topic of how to opt in to the life that you have, rather than trying to run from it.

Listen in as I share what it means to opt in to your life, as well as how doing so can make your life so much easier (especially when it comes to weight loss). You’ll learn how opting out of your life actually creates more resistance and friction, and inadvertently sets you up for failure by creating more of the emotions that you don’t want to feel.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What it means to opt in to your life.
  • Why chasing the emotions we want to feel can actually set us back.
  • Why it pays to opt in to your current life.
  • How to create change in your life without adding resistance.

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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 263.

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 friends. Welcome to this very special episode of the podcast. You might be thinking 263 episodes, what’s special about that? Well, not that I expect you to be keeping track, but in case you’ve been keeping track, which I’m sure you haven’t, this episode marks five years of this podcast. Five years. That’s a long time, right? I think it’s a long time. And if you do the math, the division, you might be, how does that work out to five years?

When I first released this podcast, I actually started with three episodes. I dropped the first three episodes to start at the end of January, and then we went from there. So it’s always subtract three episodes and kind of go from there. So we are at our fifth anniversary. It’s very, very exciting to me. I mean, when I first started, if you told me I was going to do it for five years, I would’ve felt so overwhelmed. And I’m sure I would think that I would run out of things to talk about, but apparently I haven’t.

So that’s really fun. And I have, still have ideas for days and days and weeks and months and years. So much still to talk about. So very, very excited to share that all with you today. But anyway, you can celebrate with me in five years of consistent every single week publishing an episode. I have not missed a single week. And if I had missed one, that would’ve been okay too, but I haven’t. So I’m just going to celebrate myself and that. Very, very awesome. I hope that you are doing okay wherever you are in the world. I know it’s been a time that’s been pretty challenging for a lot of doctors, especially.

I know a lot more people have been getting sick with COVID and hopefully they haven’t been, especially doctors, haven’t been feeling as sick as some people did when they got sick with it earlier in the pandemic. But I know it’s still never fun to be sick and it’s still just a lot of shortages and it’s just a stressful time. And so I just want to send out my love and support to you and just also my gratitude for being out there and doing it.

And it’s something we’ve been coaching on a lot in our programs and weight loss for doctors only, and in our continuation programs as well. And it’s just something that is really… is something that really mindset shifts make a big difference for. It doesn’t mean that you’re walking in there going, “This doesn’t bother me at all, and I don’t care at all that half of my co-workers are home on quarantine.” But it’s learning how to process the difficulty of it and then not resisting it and making it worse and more uncomfortable than it really has to be.

And it’s been just truly my privilege to be able to guide and lead and coach so many doctors through this. So I just want to thank you for showing up here, especially thank all of my clients who just keep showing up and asking for help and never thinking they shouldn’t need help anymore. We all have a human brain and guess what? Human brains do what human brains do. And that’s why I still get coached, and we just need help to get through this. We need each other. And so there’s lots of ways that we do that. One way is through this podcast, and so I’m glad you’re here and glad that you’re listening.

On a lighter note, I feel like I haven’t shared with you anything fun or interesting recently, but something that I got for Christmas, that of course I bought myself for Christmas, but I did open it as a gift that I’m super duper loving that I thought about for a while then finally just bit the bullet and did it that I’m loving are certain kind of slipper slash sandals. So I would not wear these outside of the home because that’s just my personal preference. Not saying that you can’t wear these outside of the home, but Birkenstock makes some sandals now that have a shearling lining.

So it’s fleecy. And I’ve sometimes struggled. I find Birkenstock sandals to be very, very comfortable, and I like how my feet feel when I’m wearing them around the house. We definitely are a shoes off family, but we like wearing sort of slippers or inside shoes in our home. Just keeping things a little cleaner. And we have hard floors, so it’s just a little bit more comfortable on our feet. And what I’ve noticed over the years is that I, if I wear my regular, I Birk’s with socks, sometimes I don’t like how that feels or the straps don’t feel quite right or it’s kind of stretched them out.

So then when I try to wear them barefoot, that doesn’t work anymore. And then I have some great actual warm slippers as well, but sometimes my feet get hot and then they’re real sweaty and that’s not so nice either. And I thought, I wonder if this is a nice little combo deal because you’ve got the snuggles, but there’s still some open air. So it’s nice and warm, but also your feet are getting a little air and they are great. And I super love them so much that I actually took them even on vacation with me for a week.

I was, I’m not leaving these at home. They’re amazing. So I just have the, I don’t know if they have them in any other style besides the Arizona style, which is just the traditional two strap kind of style, but I just found them super comfy. I’m wearing them right now. And my feet are very toasty and happy. I also just want to say one other thing because we’re friends and we talk about things, right? Just in case you feel like it’s only you.

So the deal with Birkenstocks is that they have kind of a… And I think they actually call it narrow, a narrow fit and a regular. But the narrow, they say fits almost all women’s feet in terms of width. And I have tried on several occasions to try those ones that are more narrow and it just never works out for me. I think just the width of my foot is just slightly too wide. And over the course of time, I was thinking, I’ll break them in, it’ll be fine. I’m just going to work through it this time. And eventually, it just makes my foot sore.

And that totally goes against the whole purpose of wearing these shoes in the first place. Actually, just recently sold online another pair that I had tried that I thought was so cute. So part of the problem, my complaint with Birkenstock is that many of the really cute styles that they make, they only make in the narrow width. And the regular width is what they have a lot of, like the men’s styles in. And they have some that they kind of gear more towards women, but not even remotely as close as many. And so anyway I, as much as I was these ones are cute, those ones are cute, I just know now, if they’re in the narrow width, it just isn’t going to work.

So oftentimes, regular stores do not carry the wider ones. So the way that I found the ones that I have in the color of this strap that I wanted, and also the fleecey shearling was to go to Birkenstock’s website directly. And so if you struggle with this at all as well, then I suggest you give it a try, shopping that way because the regular retailers just often don’t carry all those different options and then you can get the ones or at least you can see what’s available that will work for you.

So a little tip on a Tuesday. Why not? All right. One more thing that I want to tell you before I get into the real meat of this episode, and that is that I’m going to be hosting a new free training on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022, which is kind of fun, right? Because it’s 2, 2, 22. It’s at 8:30 PM, Eastern, 5:30 PM Pacific. And the title of it is fun. It’s called Get Off The Weight Loss Hamster Wheel. So if you have any idea of what a hamster wheel is, and I think you do, right? It’s just a race to know where you’re just sprinting, sprinting, sprinting, and nothing is happening.

You’re working very, very hard and not getting the results that you want. And really, I just think, and I know from my own personal experience in talking with so many, so many other people is that most weight loss plans are just simply unsustainable. And they’re really exhausting. Think about running on a hamster wheel forever, it’s just exhausting. So what I’m going to teach you is how to stop obsessing about food and how to lose weight permanently.

Basically, getting off that weight loss hamster wheel so that the weight is lost and you are now done. So what that means then is you no longer are eating your feelings, you’re no longer thinking about food constantly and you actually have that peace and freedom around food that you want. So I’m going to talk to you about how to stop obsessing over food. We’re going to talk about feeling excessive amounts of hunger and how to get how to get your body dialed in on that.

So that’s appropriate. How you can peacefully coexist with all the foods that you have trouble with overeating. If the last several months you’ve struggled or even just at all, there’s just foods that you struggle with. We’re going to talk about that. We’re going to just talk about all the things, how you’ve been conditioned to emotionally eat, how to overcome that. And you’re going to really, even in the first seven minutes, learn the crucial missing piece that is totally required for keeping weight off forever.

And the vast majority of weight loss programs do not address this. So you’re really going to want to come and catch. Even if you just have a few moments to catch this very, very important information. It is really fun to put something new together for you. So like I said, it’s called Get Off The Weight Loss Hamster Wheel. I’m going to tell you how. The way to register is to go to KatrinaUbellmd.com/loseweight. L-O-S-E-W-E-I-G-H-T. Again, KatrinaUbellmd.com/loseweight.

You’re going to get all the information, the calendar invitation, you’ll get the Zoom link, you’ll get all that info. And you can also opt in to get text reminders. So make sure you go and register for that. Okay. Today, we’re going to talk about opting to your current life. This is something that has actually been on my list to do an episode about for quite a long time. And I’m excited to do it today. I think it actually kind of dovetails really nicely with this episode coming out at the beginning of the year as well.

I feel like over the years I’ve gotten maybe, I felt personally, somewhat conflicted sometimes with the whole resolution type, new year’s resolution thing. I mean, I love me some goals, don’t get me wrong. I do think that there often is a lot of energy with the new year and it’s just exciting. It kind of feels like a clean slate and that kind of thing. But I think at the same time, if we approach the new year always the way we’ve done it for the last several years or many, maybe possibly even decades and we never end up really getting the results that we want for the most part, then probably doing it that way isn’t working.

And so then we need to possibly consider something different and, or just reconsider it. Maybe there’s a different way, maybe the way to create what we want is not to resolve to be different, but to first accept ourselves fully for who we are. And part of doing that means not trying to opt out of what you currently have, but instead opting in for what you currently have. So let me explain a little bit more about what I mean by this. So very often when we find a coach to work with, or possibly a therapist, or even just a self-help book, we do this when we’re unhappy or when we’re feeling dissatisfied with our current life.

Whether it’s relationships, our current job, what your body looks like, any habits that you have, just things like that, right? That’s when we’re, okay, I need some help. I don’t like the way this is and I want to change it. And listen, if there’s easy things to change, we just change them, right? If there’s low hanging fruit and it’s, you know what? I just make this change and this makes my life so much better, absolutely. A hundred percent, we’re going to do that. We don’t have to accept every single difficult thing.

It’s kind of like if you had a tack in your foot, you wouldn’t just be, “Well, at first I need to accept the fact this tack is in the bottom of my foot before I pull the tack out.” No, you’re going to pull the tack out. It’s, that’s the solution there, right? But what we often find is we do the low hanging fruit first and that’s great. And it does provide a lot of relief and it really does help things. But then we find that we still don’t really feel the way we want to or the way we think that we should feel. And when I say feel, I mean emotions, right?

The emotions that we’re experiencing are not the ones that we want to have. So we thought, Hey, my life is the problem. Whatever it is in my life is the problem. If I can change that, then I will get to feel the way I want to feel or the way I think I should feel. Well, what ends up happening? We make those changes. Maybe we do feel some relief for a short time. And then we’re kind of going back to the old way, or it’s just not as good as we thought it should be, or we hoped that it would be.

And so then it’s really easy to start getting onto this path where we just keep trying to change, “Well, I changed that one thing and that help and, but still not enough. So maybe I need to change this other thing. Maybe I need to work on this other relationship. Maybe I need to just constantly improve myself.” And what we are thinking in this situation is that change will at the feelings that we want, right? Sometimes we change our relationships. Sometimes we decide to start a family and we think that’s going to do it. Sometimes we get a new job. Sometimes we move, we get a different house, or renovate, or there’s so many different things that we can change thinking that’s the thing that creates the feelings that we want.

And we may not be actually thinking it’s the feelings that we want, but it is the feelings that we want. The way we feel creates our experience of our lives. If you want to have a happy, good life, it’s because you want to feel happy and good, right? How do you know if you have a happy life? Because you feel happy. That’s how you know. So when we’re doing this, right? We’re, okay, I need to change this thing then I’m going to feel the way I want. Then I’ll have the life that I want. What we end up doing accidentally, right?

Our intentions are so good, but accidentally what we do is we actually create the feeling of resistance. And so the more we chase these emotions that we want, the more resistance we create. So first we resist one thing. Then we try to change that and try to make that better. And then we’re just resisting the next thing and resisting the next thing. And how do we know what to change? Is because it’s the thing that we’re resisting. And resistance is an actual feeling. What we inadvertently are doing is actually creating more of the feelings we don’t want by thinking that changing our lives will create the emotions we do want.

Okay? So we’re on accident, by mistake, creating more emotions that we don’t want to be feeling in the chase to create the emotions that we do want to be feeling. So examples of this. I mean, I’ll just give you one from my own life. So in our backyard, we, gosh, when we redid our house and did an addition, that was probably about eight, seven, eight years ago. And we did our backyard the same time, because the whole thing was torn up. It had to be redone. And we had a play set in there for the kids.

And so really over the course of the years, because actually now that I think about it, that place that was there even before we did it, we actually kept it. So I think it was about 15 years old, made out of wood, good quality, but still just started rotting and really was literally falling apart. Pieces of the roof would were falling down. We’re, okay, this is obviously a safety hazard. This thing has to come down. And so we were thinking, well, what do we want to do in that place?

I mean, we literally could just put more grass down and just let it be grass under there. Or we could change that little corner of our yard that we don’t really do much with and try to utilize it for something else. So we decided, okay, we’re going to go ahead and actually put a patio there and we’re going to get a hot tub and put that in and that’ll be fun. And the whole while thinking how will we feel, right? The only reason I want to change that is because I’m thinking, well, how am I going to feel when I have a different setup there and have awesome lounging furniture, and I have this fun hot tub that the whole family can fit in and we can all chill in there together and with the night sky and the snow falling down or whatever.

Right? The only reason I wanted that is because of how I thought it would make me feel. Now that we have it, I love it. It’s amazing. I absolutely love that hot tub. It’s super fun. Like anything, it’s got its downsides too. I still don’t know how to do the chemicals. Not that I can’t learn or check the pH or whatever. I just haven’t taken the time to actually learn yet how to do all of it. So sometimes that creates a little bit of a limiting step in waiting for the person who doesn’t know how to do it.

But as soon as it’s there, right? We think, oh my gosh, we’re going to be so happy. It’s going to be so great. I’m just going to be enamored with my backyard. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s not as great as my brain thought it was going to be when I was designing it. And of course, managing all the people and everything that went into designing the whole thing. I mean, it was basically a nine month long project, it ended up being. So it’s easy for me to then say, well, oh bummer. That backyard project didn’t do it. What else can we change?

You know what? I need new furniture. You know what? I need to, whatever, change something else in the house. Very often I’m, I need to get rid of some things, thinking that’s going to be the thing. And all it is, is just me resisting. Right? Resist the furniture that I have thinking, oh, this now was the problem. I thought it was the backyard that was the problem. Now, it’s the furniture that’s the problem. And just creates this never ending stream of resistance to my current life because I think something’s wrong with it, which is explains why I don’t feel the way I want to be feeling.

So why is this kind of confusing and mixed up? Because it’s not our external environment or even our relationships or the job that we have or the people we surround ourselves with that determines how we feel. Our feelings are created by our thinking, not by whether I have a hot tub in my backyard or not or anything, right? The way we feel, our emotions are always created by our thoughts. So you can see how, when you don’t really fully get that deeply, you’ll put yourself on this never ending cycle that can really ultimately end up leading you to feeling exhausted and burned out.

And especially when you’ve been working on yourself, you might start feeling burned out on self-improvement or even wellness. Thinking, oh my gosh, I’ve done so much work and I still don’t have that experience that I thought I was going to have, or don’t have that result that I thought was going to be the thing that was going to really make me feel the way I wanted to feel in my life. So I could feel like I made it, like I finally had what I wanted. And you can start to feel like, what was the point of all of this?

Yeah. Some things have improved, but all in all, it’s really not that much but better. And I mean, I have so much compassion for this because I think it’s easy to get into this cycle of, well, you know what? Maybe I just need a new therapist. Maybe I need to try a different coaching program. Maybe I need to buy these books or go to this retreat or go to this conference and find some new person to follow or whatever it is. And all of that can be fun, but it’s just another distraction, right?

It’s just another way of not really fully deeply owning that the way you feel about your life, your experience of your life is created by your thoughts, your beliefs, the way you decide to perceive what’s going on around you. So what that is when you are resisting that is opting out. Saying the current life that you have is not acceptable. You want to opt out and create something new, which is totally fine. But first I suggest that you opt into what you currently have. And by opting into what you currently have, even if it’s not your first choice, what you’re doing is dropping the resistance that you have to it.

Okay? So there is the whatever it is, the job, the relationship, the actual physical surroundings that you have, there’s a resistance to it and there’s what it actually is. You can have thoughts, like I don’t prefer this. This isn’t my first choice. But then you can have also resistance thoughts, which are it shouldn’t be this way. I don’t deserve this. Something better is out there for me. And that may all be true, but if it’s creating resistance for you and making you feel more dissatisfied with your current experience, it will just keep fueling the dissatisfaction.

It’s like the filter your brain will create in terms of how it’s perceiving your whole life. Because your brain cannot focus on every single piece of input that’s coming in through all of your senses. It will just be, how is this not okay? How am I dissatisfied with what is happening to me right now? And so by opting into your current life, what you’re essentially doing is showing appreciation and gratitude for what you have. You’re finding the good things that already exist and you’re enjoying them.

And by doing that, you’re creating thoughts that generate the feelings you want to feel, those ones that you always wanted. Feeling content, feeling happy, feeling joyful, feeling playful, all of those things come from your thoughts. And that is available to you now with your current life, with your current job, with your current relationships and with your current body. Okay? So even if you’re, “No, Katrina. Listen, I have all this weight lose or listen, I drink way too much alcohol and I know it.” Or whatever it is that may be, and all of that can change.

But first, we need to love our lives enough to find the positivity that’s in there. Because well, let me back up. One of the reasons we’re resistant to doing that is we think then we’ll ever change anything. And that is not how it actually works. When you’re grateful for what you have and you see what’s so amazing about your current life, it actually becomes so much more clear what you really do want to change and why, right? Then you just change it because you want to.

You’re not going, “You know what? I’m going to change this because then I’m going to feel so great.” You’re going, “No I’m going to change it just because I want to,” which is honestly really what I did with my backyard. I was just, well, it would be fun to have a area back there and it’d be fun to have a hot tub. And also, we’re going to have to be really careful that it’s locked and no neighbor kids fall in and we’re going to have to manage the chemicals and all the things with it. But it’ll be really fun.

And sometimes it’ll be paying the rear. And overall, it’s just going to be this other thing that we have, which is awesome. But it’s not like my life will finally be there or be better or be how I always wanted it to be once I have this thing. And the same goes with your body. If you think that by getting to your goal weight or a certain body composition or whatever it is that that’s be the thing that’s finally going to make you feel the way you want to feel, you will very likely be disappointed when you get there.

Because you will still be you, your brain will be the same just in a smaller package. And you will still think the same way, your brain will still be filtering things through that lens of dissatisfaction. And then you just won’t like something else about you, right? Then your skin will be all wrong or you’ll need whatever tuck here and there, the other thing. Or now it’ll be your face or your neck or your hair won’t be right or whatever it is. Something, it’ll just transition the dissatisfaction, the opting out to some other part, either of your body or of your life or relationships or whatever.

So what I want to encourage you to do is think about what areas of your life you feel like you’re just constantly opting out of. And I do think that the current state of medicine is one of those, right? We think we don’t like it, it’s a so awful and it’s so hard and all the things, but when we think we’re stuck, we’re actually not telling ourselves the truth, which is that every time you walk in the door to go to work, you’re opting in to that current life.

So if you’re going to decide to show up there anyway, then maybe it could be worthwhile to stop telling yourself that don’t want to be there or that it’s so awful, right? And I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy or even desirable for you to be just loving every minute of it. And it’s so great, but you can be with yourself and the emotions that you’re having and not think that it should be different. If you’re taking care of patients in a completely overwhelmed hospital, that’s short staffed during the middle of a pandemic, do you think it would be normal to feel overwhelmed or to feel angry or to feel sad sometimes?

I think that’s normal. I think you’re doing it right, if that’s your experience of it. But when you’re then having that experience and then resisting it going, “It shouldn’t be this way,” that’s when you’re trying to opt out of your current life. And that’s what makes it feel so much worse. Or if you’re judging yourself for feeling the way that you do, that’s the same thing. So what I want to encourage you to do and invite you to do is to drop that resistance, to recognize that you are here in your current life. There are things to be grateful for. There are things to appreciate and move toward it, move toward feeling the whole array of emotions.

It’s a great opportunity for you to practice feeling emotions that you might typically eat to make them go away or avoid in some other way, zone out on your phone, whatever it may be. And instead go, “Yeah. This is what anger feels like. This is what it’s like to feel anger.” And that doesn’t mean you’re reacting and jumping down people’s throats or anything like that, it just means that you are getting to know that feeling. I always say, it’s like you want to become best friends with it, right? Go into your body. Understand how do you even know you’re angry?

What physiologically happening? What are you sensing in your body that makes you think that you’re angry? Just get to know it and be with it. It’s a normal human emotion and you’re getting really good at feeling it and being with yourself while you’re feeling it right now. That’s opting into your current life. When you can stay with yourself and experience it, then what you can do at some point, if you decide, “You know what? I’m tired of being angry about this.” And you can start understanding, okay, what are my thoughts about this that are making me feel so angry?

And maybe there’s a different way. Maybe I’d like to just put down the anger. I’m not ready to say goodbye to it forever. But for today I would just like to have an anger free day. I’m just going to put it down for a little while. All that becomes available to you when you opt into your current experience in your current life. And with that, my friend, I’m going to close down this five year anniversary episode. Can’t believe it, five years. Should we do another five? Let’s do it. Let’s plan for it.

All right. Very good. Well, I’m sending you all of my love. You’re doing a really excellent job and we just all appreciate you. Okay. Thank you so much for doing what you do. And if you are interested in joining me for that new free training called Get Off The Weight Loss Hamster Wheel, go to KatrinaUbellmd.com/loseweight. L-O-S-E-W-E-I-G-H-T. And get yourself registered. And we’ll talk about exactly what you need to do so that you can get off the hamster wheel. Okay. Everyone wants off of that. It’s the best. All right. I love you, my friend. 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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