Ep #241: Owning vs. Abdicating Your Weight Loss

So many people think that they are owning their weight loss journey, when really they are abdicating it. So how do you know which camp you fall into? Listen in to find out!

I’m sharing how to know whether you are abdicating your responsibility or owning it, what the difference is between the two, and the most common manifestation of abdicating your weight loss journey. I also talk about my own personal experience with this, and give you the questions to ask yourself to determine your level of personal responsibility.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How to know whether you are abdicating your weight loss journey.
  • The most common manifestation of this issue.
  • Why abdicating will hold your weight loss back.
  • The difference between owning and abdicating your responsibility.

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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 241.

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.

Hello there, my friend. I’m so glad you’re here today. Thank you for joining me. How are you doing? I am feeling good. I have had a good day and you know what, we just take it when we’ve had a good day and now I get to talk to you like it’s so good. It’s so good to have a good day. And I hope that you are experiencing the same thing. I know August is coming to an end now, so I hope you’ve had a great summer. I hope you have been able to enjoy the outdoors. I know not everybody who listens here as it is in the Northern hemisphere. So, if you’re in this other hemisphere, then I hope you’ve had a wonderful winter and that you’re coming out of that very, very nicely. So, welcome to you too if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, so glad you’re here.

Well, I do want to just let you know and also invite you to come and join me on Thursday, August 26th. So that is two days after this podcast airs live. I’m going to be hosting a free training call called How to Know if You’re Ready to Lose Weight? It’s at 8:30 PM Eastern Time, 5:30 PM Pacific and you can register by going to katrinaubellmd.com/ready, R-E-A-D-Y. What you’ll learn on this call is exactly what it says. You’re going to know if you’re ready to lose weight or not. And I think that just speaking to the year we have last year or the year that we’ve had this year, it’s really easy to kind of just second-guess things and, “Should I do it?” And, “What if things don’t turn out the way I think they’re going to, and what if things change?” And really what it comes down to is like, if there’s anything we’ve learned is that regardless of what happens, we can figure it out, right?

And so hopefully kids are in school and hopefully things are moving forward in the way we want them to. And you’re totally ready and you can do it. I’ve always have said that the fall is like a mother’s New Year’s, right? You’ve had this like fun, but maybe crazy and disorganized summer. And you’re kind of coming back to things going, “You know what? I got to get my life together. I’ve got to get organized. I got to make sure that these kids have everything they need. We need to stop staying up so late and all these things.” And it’s such a good time to get everything kind of organized in your life, including working on your overeating and possibly any overdrinking that you might be doing. So, I think that that is a great way to approach that time of year. But sometimes there’s other things that are going on in our lives that makes it so that we’re not ready. And it doesn’t have to be like, oh, you’re too busy or you have too many other things going on. Sometimes it’s just not the right time for you.

And so what I’m going to help you to understand on that call is whether it’s the right time for you or not. Because so often we have these failed weight loss attempts, and it could have been averted if we had had a little bit more insight into what we were trying to accomplish, like why we were even trying to lose weight in the first place during that time and whether we were really truly setting ourselves up for success or not, right? When we don’t set ourselves up for success and then we end up not having and the results that we want, it’s easy to start believing that something is wrong with us. We’re never going to be able to have the results that we want, but ultimately that’s not true. It’s just that we weren’t ready. It wasn’t the right time. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to let you know about and teach you all about.

And then at the end of that call, I’m also going to let you know more about the upcoming Weight Loss for Doctors Only program that’s going to be starting in September. You don’t have to stay on for that if you’re not interested in learning more, but if you are, I’m going to give you all of those details and then we’re going to be opening up for enrollment that night. We’re only open for a week and we won’t be doing the program again until the new year.

So, this would be a great opportunity for you to get your questions answered about the program, find out more. It’s actually super exciting because me and my team have spent the last year-plus actually redoing our entire Weight Loss for Doctors Only program, updating it, making it better than ever. I went into it thinking like, “How can I make this program better by removing things that they don’t need and then adding things that I’ve learned since that time that are so powerful and are amazing?” And I literally haven’t taught to anybody, even my current clients. So very, very exciting with all of that, plus we have 50 Continuing Medical Education credits that you get for completing the program, which is also super awesome.

So, if you’d like more information about that, definitely come and join me. It’s in two days from when this airs live. So it’s on Thursday, August 26th at 8:30 PM Eastern, 5:30 PM Pacific. And you can register by going to katrinaubellmd.com/ready, R-E-A-D-Y.

Okay. Today, I want to talk to you about owning your weight loss journey versus abdicating it. So, owning versus abdicating. I find that a lot of us think we’re owning it when we’re actually abdicating it. I hear this again and again, and again, I just heard it again recently. That is why I’m bringing it up here. What we think is that if somebody else could do things for us, then we wouldn’t have a problem anymore. So, the most common manifestation of this that I see is people saying, “Well, listen, if I had a personal chef who cooked everything for me, always had healthy food prepared, if I had like veggies cleaned and already cut up and prepared for me in the refrigerator at all times, then I would eat that kind of stuff.”

Same for fruit, “If somebody grocery-shop for me, I would be able to have results. If I had a trainer who would come over every day, then I’d have the results that I want.” And what I want to say about that is that yes, I understand that that sounds like it would be really helpful. And to be quite honest, probably parts of it really would be helpful, but here’s really the truth. We like to think that if somebody else were in charge of say, our food and how we move our bodies, that we would no longer have the problem. It’s kind of like we are cutting ourselves and our personalities and the way we operate out of the equation in hopes that someone else can just kind of take over and make it work and happen a certain way for us, except that’s not how it works.

We can’t cut ourselves out of the equation. By definition, we have to be in the equation because it’s about us. So, when we are doing that, when we’re saying… We might think, “Oh, we’re just outsourcing it.” But what we’re really doing is we’re abdicating responsibility. So, owning your experience is saying, “You know what? I can do it myself. I would just prefer not to.” Whereas abdicating is saying, “I can’t do it myself, so I need someone to do it for me.” And that is what we so often see with weight loss. We’re like, “You know what? I can’t do this clearly because I haven’t had success yet, so I need someone else to come in and handle it for me.” Here’s the deal though, if you really think about it, right? You’re like, “Yeah, if I only had healthy food in the house, then I wouldn’t eat junk.”

Okay. That’s maybe a logical association that you can create or put together right at the get-go, like surface level, but that personal chef or that person who’s preparing all that food for you is not going to be following you around. Like if you want to go into the gas station and get a Snickers bar, get a candy bar to eat, there’s not going to be anyone stopping you. If you’re at work and someone brings in some food to eat, having a personal chef at home isn’t going to prevent you from eating that. It’s like we like to think like, “If I had a personal chef, then I become a different person and I no longer think the way I think, and I no longer feel the way I feel and I would no longer take the actions that I currently you take which is eating food when I don’t need that food for fuel.”

And so, when you think about it that way, you realize like, “Oh, well, yeah, some things might be better, some things might literally be more convenient because rather than having to prepare a bunch of food for myself, I can just go and grab what’s already prepared. I am not going to be spending so much time doing that myself.” I don’t want you to get me wrong. I am a huge fan of delegation. I think it’s amazing. But abdicating will not give you the results that you want. So, I’m going to give you a kind of a tale of two stories so you can compare, and these are personal stories for me. Here’s the thing with the personal chef thing, you might be like, “Oh yeah, well, she says so, but I really think having a personal chef would be better.” Well, let me tell you, I hired one once. Okay?

So, this was many years ago when people started doing the whole macro counting, which probably people have been doing a really long time, but when it became more popular, like more mainstream to do that, I thought, “Okay, I’m going to try this because it seems like all the fitness competitors and stuff, this is how they do it and it seems like a lot of work to me, but people seem to think that this is something you can do.” So, I tried to start doing it myself.

So, I had all the information about all the different amounts of macronutrients and I had the app to help me in whatever. And so I started trying to do it and really this is what ended up happening. I should preface this by saying that I have always been a proponent of cooking one meal for a family. I’m not a short-order chef. I don’t cook different things for different people in the family. Occasionally we have a meal where one person we just know it’s not their thing and then we give them some leftovers or something, but not like I’m cooking something from scratch different for anybody else in the family. That’s just not how I roll. And I just think for sanity’s sake, it doesn’t work for me.

So, I was thinking like, as I very often do, like, “What could go wrong? This won’t be hard. I’ll figure out what I need to eat and then we’ll make it work for the family too.” Well, for me, at least it was not that simple at all. In fact, what ended up happening is that the whole situation devolved into me making regular dinner for the family, the four of them sitting down to eat while I would then went back into the kitchen and prepared the kind of weird cobbled together meal that fit the macro count that I was supposed to have. And so, I’d sit down with them late, they’d be finishing up. I’m just sitting down to eat. The whole experience was not the way I wanted it to be. I was cooking more, making more dishes, more to clean up. It was just more of everything and I was not getting results.

Also, I just found, I was like, “This doesn’t even taste good.” And if you followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m like, “Listen, eat food that you like. Don’t make yourself eat things that you don’t like for the sake of weight loss or your supposed health.” I spent literally, I’m not exaggerating, decades of my life eating things, drinking shakes, having all kinds of food that does not taste good to me because someone out there, some “experts” said that was the way to do it.

So, I was already kind of like, “This just doesn’t make sense. I’m eating food that doesn’t taste good,” and whatever. So I thought, “You know what I need to do? I’m just going to find some personal chef who can come in and do all the counting for me. So they’ll make a meal for everybody. And then they can preportion out how much I get.” Boom, problem solved. Right? And thinking this’ll be so easy. So, I give this guy the macro count stuff and tell him like, “Okay, can’t wait to see what you put together.” And he gave me, I think sort of like a menu to prove to make sure there wasn’t anything on there that we had major objections to. I’m like, “Yep, totally good.” And he delivered all the food and it was just not very good. Did not taste very good. It was definitely not better than what I had been putting together. And I thought, “Well, you know what? It might take a little time to get this together.”

Well, after a couple of weeks of this, with me not really giving any feedback, I just want to tell you, I was just being like, “Whatever, he’ll figure it out.” The kids were literally begging me to go back to cooking. They’re like, “This isn’t good. We don’t like this. Could you please cook again?” I was like, “I will take the compliment. Thank you very much. And also you’re right. This isn’t working.” And so, what I didn’t realize at the time, but what I was doing is I was completely abdicating responsibility. I was saying, “I can’t do this myself. I need someone to do it for me.” It was like I was playing hot potato. Do you remember that game? Hot potato? You just keep tossing, tossing, tossing, because you don’t want the music to stop and you’ve got the hot potato in your lap. I was just like, “Ooh, let me just pass this off, pass this off,” and not actually giving any feedback.

So, I was dismissing myself from having responsibility for the result in hoping that somebody else was going to do a really good job with it. So, I was basically ignoring him, not giving him good feedback, not doing what needed to be done to help him to do the best job he can do because here’s the deal. I’m not saying that he couldn’t have done a good job. I just didn’t do a good job of managing him. I didn’t do what I needed to do to make it so that he could succeed. And so then I still wasn’t getting results. So, that’s an example of me abdicating. Here’s an example of me owning the situation.

So, I am somebody who enjoys a beautiful yard, like a garden, like the lawn and everything. I really do appreciate and enjoy a beautiful yard, but I do not like to garden. I do not like to do yard work, really at all. I have tried for years to become someone who likes that kind of work. And I just don’t like it too. I love being outside in nature, but not gardening. Gardening is not my thing. So, a few years back, I started thinking about this going, “You know what? I really like a nice yard, but I don’t want to put in the effort to create it. I wonder who I could get to do this?” Now, there are plenty of lawn care companies who will kind of come in and weed, mostly it was the weeding. I needed someone to come in every couple of weeks and just pull out all the weeds and then do the fall cleanup, trimming everything and all that stuff.

And I thought, “Oh gosh, if someone would help me plant my annuals, that would be amazing because I love how they look. I just don’t want to take the time to put them in.” So, I thought, “Well, I could hire a lawn company,” but the sticking point there is that my kids mow the grass. And I think that it’s important for children to have some responsibilities around the house and contribute to just the whole family. And that’s one thing that they can do. And I don’t want to take that away from them. And honestly, I was just going to say, although they probably would be happy if I took it away from them, but honestly, I don’t even know that that’s true. I think they like doing it just fine. We don’t have a large yard. It’s easy enough for them to do. My oldest son, I think he was eight when he started doing it and my next son he’s been doing it too.

So, this is totally something that I want to have them continue to do and I don’t want to take that away, but these yard care companies, the main part of what they do is your lawn. So I had to get creative, right? It had to think, “Okay, so I don’t want them to do the lawn, but I want them to do this other work. So how am I going to find this person?” Well, I had several years prior been referred by someone I knew to a guy who would come and do like fall cleanup stuff. We didn’t have them do our grass, but have him do just kind of, get rid of some of the leaves and cut down all the perennials and do all that cleanup stuff.

So, I called him up. I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll just hire him to come up. And he was like, “Look, I’m really just not in your area enough to make this worth it. I’ve gotten busier and I’ve got all these other yards that I cut.” Because he was doing a lot of lawn cutting. He’s like, “I really can’t take this.” And I was like, “Oh, bummer, that had been my plan.” So, I said to him like, “Hey, do you know anyone else? Anyone who is more in this area?” He’s like, “I really don’t, but if I come across anyone I’ll ask around, I’ll let you know.” And I’m like, “Awesome. Okay.” So, a couple of weeks later, he gives me a call. He’s like, “Hey, listen, I was at the nursery,” or wherever he was getting or whatever he was doing. And he’s like, “I ran into this guy who is pretty new to the business and he’s looking for work to do. And I asked him if he’d be interested in doing the project that you proposed to me and he said he totally would. So I have his info for you.”

I was like, “Oh my gosh, amazing. I love it. Give it to me.” So, he gives me this information and he introduced me to Juan and Juan is my favorite person. Juan was actually here today. Juan is amazing. I love one. Even our first call that we had, he was just like such a great, awesome person. Just, ugh, I could just go on and on. I know you don’t want to hear about how great Juan is, but anyway, the point is that he came over, had to look at everything. I told him exactly what I wanted. Exactly how often I wanted him to come and what I wanted him to do. And he was like, “Great, done. I’ve got it.” And that is exactly what he has done now for several years for us to the point where I have him doing other projects for me too, from time to time. I’ll be like, “Hey, I need this teak yard furniture refinished. Here’s all the supplies. Could you do that for me?” “Absolutely.”

We are going to be taking down our play set here very soon that we’ve had for, I think 12 years we’ve had it and it’s really starting to rot. And like literally some of the roof wood pieces have fallen down and of course my kids are bigger and heavier when they’re on it. I’m like, “Oh, this thing’s going to fall down, I think.” Literally, I’m not sure it’s safe. And so I’m like, “Hey, Juan, would you and your guys be able to come and take the thing down for us?” He’s like, “Absolutely.” He’s just like, “Yes.” The answer’s always, yes. I love that. But here’s the difference. I own the results that Juan creates for me. So, I have delegated the task of keeping up the yard to Juan, but then I direct him and I manage him. If I notice that he hasn’t been around in a while, or I’m kind of just wondering what’s going on, things are kind of looking weedy or whatever needs to happen, just give him a call, “Hey, can you stop by soon?” “Absolutely.”

I don’t get upset about it. I’m not like, “Why can’t he read my mind? What’s going on? Why isn’t he here?” I’m like, “Oh no, I just need to manage him a little bit and have him come.” So, when you’re owning your experience and delegating to somebody else, you’re still directing them, you’re still managing them and therefore you are still involved. Okay? And then you get the results that you want. I have the yard that I want and it’s amazing. Right? I get the results I want, but I still do have to be involved in the way I want to be involved. When we abdicate, we dismiss ourselves from the responsibility. We ignore what’s going on. And here’s the thing. Because you don’t get results, you still end up involved, right? I remember saying like, “I don’t even want to be involved with this food prep.” I could give you other examples where I’ve done the same thing too. Like, “I don’t even want to be involved. I just want you to handle it. And I literally don’t even want to think about it,” right?

That doesn’t work. Not if you have any opinions as to what the result ends up being, right? So you still end up getting involved, but the reason you’re involved is because you’re not getting the results that you want. When you own the journey, you get the results that you want due to your involvement. When you’re abdicating, you end up having to be involved and you don’t get the results that you want. Do you see that? So, you’re going to have to be involved either way. There’s no way for you to get the results that you want without you being involved. Okay? It’s like if you hire someone say to clean or take care of your children or anything like that, you still have to manage them. You still have to direct them. You still have to let them know how you want it done.

So, the same thing goes with weight loss. When you own your journey, you still may delegate some of the work out to others, whether it’s people in your family or hiring somebody. I have no problem with you hiring a chef or bringing in a trainer or doing any of that stuff, but you still have to direct and manage them. Even if you are signing up for a program like Weight Loss for Doctors Only, you still have to direct and manage yourself, right? There is no problem in hiring an expert to help you, hiring a guide, that’s amazing, but you still have to be involved in the process. You can’t just be like, “I’m going to hire you and then you’re going to lose weight for me.” I wish it worked. Trust me, if it did and I knew the secret to that working, I’d be all in, I’m telling you, immediately, okay? It just doesn’t work that way.

So, you have to direct and manage the people that you’re working with and also direct and manage yourself. And that is a skill that some of us do not have, or it’s not very well-developed. We have to learn how to have a relationship with ourselves where we actually do what we say we’re going to do, which is exactly what I teach you to do in my program. So, so, so important, especially if you want to lose weight and keep it off forever. And I’m assuming that that’s you because I have never really met people who want to lose weight only temporarily. So, you have to own your weight loss experience. Delegate as much as you want to. If you want to delegate things to other people, be my guest, I’m all in. I think it’s amazing. Then you need to direct and manage those people and direct and manage yourself. Okay? Everybody needs to be showing up at a high level to get the results that you want. And that is how you then lose weight and keep it off.

The alternative, the abdicating version of that story is you give everybody else responsibility for getting you results while you think you don’t need to do anything, or you hope that you shouldn’t be doing anything, or you decide that you don’t even want to be involved, then you don’t get results and you just get to be mad. And what most of us do is we end up getting real blamey, we can go into victim mode and we start thinking, “You know what, it’s these people’s fault for my lack of results.” Or sometimes we get real mean with ourselves and we start blaming ourselves and thinking something’s really wrong with us, or that we’re really, really broken and that’s why we can’t get the results that we want.

So, what I want to offer to you is the option to make sure that you’re owning your weight loss experience, making sure that you understand you’re in charge here. And so anybody you bring into your world to help you with weight loss, you cannot just abdicate the responsibility to them, even for any part of it, you still need to direct and manage those people. You still will be involved. The difference is that you will get the results that you want instead of being involved and not getting the results that you want. That’s it. That’s really it. So, when you’re thinking like, “Oh, I wish I could just hire someone to do this.” Are you saying, “I can do it myself, I just prefer not to,” which is owning it or, “I can’t do it myself. I need someone to do it for me,” which is abdicating.

One quick, little minor note here. You might be thinking, “Well, I can’t do my taxes by myself because I’m not a CPA. I need someone to do them for me.” That may be true on some level, but you still have to delegate, direct and manage a CPA and accountant who’s doing that work for you. Ultimately, the government holds you responsible for whether you pay your taxes or not, not the accountant. Okay? So, any objections that you have coming up really think it through because ultimately it comes down to you. And as soon as you take that personal responsibility for getting the results that you want, it’s just like adding rocket fuel to your progress. So, so, so great.

Okay. So, if you’re interested in hearing more about the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program, including how it can help you, and also to know if you’re ready to lose weight if now’s a good time for you, then I really want to encourage you to come join me live on this Thursday, August 26th at 8:30 PM Eastern, 5:30 PM Pacific and you can register for that by going to katrinaubellmd.com/ready. And if you can’t attend live, which I highly recommend you do because it’s so great to come live. But if you can’t, you already know it’s not possible for you, we will send out the replay the next day. All right, my friend, love it. Go out there and own it, own it. Okay. Have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day and your week. And hopefully I’ll see you in a couple of days on Thursday. Have a good one. 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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Showing 2 comments
  • Deborah L.

    Fantastic episode. I’d love to hear an episode on the idea of directing and managing oneself. Thank you!

    • Team Katrina

      Hi Deborah, Happy to hear you enjoyed this episode! If you’re looking for help directing and managing yourself, you might get a lot out of episode #124: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Progress – https://katrinaubellmd.com/124

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