There is a saying that the U.S. Navy Seals use: “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” While weight loss and the military are vastly different topics, in this episode I share how this saying actually applies really well to losing weight permanently and sustainably.

Listen in as I explore what this military saying really means, how it relates to weight loss, and how slowing down and building a strong foundation is the key to a much easier weight loss journey. I also explain how slowing down is where the magic happens because it allows you to get the results that you want—and then maintain those results long-term and with much more ease than trying to rush through the process.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How this military saying relates to weight loss
  • The importance of the fundamentals
  • How taking your time helps you get results faster
  • Why slowing down helps to build healthy habits and a strong foundation

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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 289.

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, I’m so glad you’re here today. I’m having a great, great day. I’ve got my little dog buddy right next to me. If you’ve been a long-time listener, you know that my little dog Augie – yes, Augie the doggy, he’s my little West Highland Terrier who I adore. He just turned four-years-old. Can you believe that?

If you’ve been listening a while, you remember when I got him as a puppy and his sister. Ooh, that was a time. Anyway, the point is that he used to be my total buddy. He was with me all the time when I had my closet office, my tiny, tiny office.

And then when I moved up here to the attic a little over a year ago, he kind of sometimes would spend some time with me up here, but he just like wasn’t really into it too much. And the door here is at the bottom of the stairs since it’s an attic. So, I have to go all the way down the stairs and open the door to let him out.

I kind of would joke that I was going to put a doggy door in there and then a lock on the door. So, the kids couldn’t come in, but the dog could move about freely. I did not do that. And we just kind of agreed it’s probably better if he just is not up here all the time with me.

Well, for whatever reason, yesterday, he decided that he really wanted to come up with me when I came up to work at about 8:30 in the morning. And then he settled in and slept all day until I went downstairs to refresh water and go to the bathroom at two in the afternoon. He just had an epic nap up here and was super into it and loving it.

I just went down again before I started recording this and he was waiting at the door for me and wanted to come up. And now, he’s just laying right next to me. So, I don’t know, maybe he’s just missing his mama. He’s just here with me.

So, the point of that is I can’t guarantee that he’ll have good behavior, but that’s what you get with a Westy, and probably terriers in general. But the thing with terriers is obedience is not their strongest suit and that’s why we kind of love them. They have a lot of personality, they definitely do. But they’re not the most obedient of dogs.

Anyway, I feel like I have so many things to update you on. So, let me tell you some fun things about the book that’s coming out. So, if you’re new to the podcast, I have a book called How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-Based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss that is going to be published on September 20th, which is actually coming up here real quick. It may not seem quick you, but it certainly feels quick to me.

So, my team and I have been just busy bunnies on the on the back end here, doing all kinds of things to get the book ready for you, and some just amazingly awesome things. I am going to pretty soon, probably the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be sharing a really fun and awesome way for you to be involved with helping get the word out about the book, if that’s something that you might be interested in.

And it won’t matter if you’re a doctor or not. Like if you’re just a fan, you just stand behind this work, you feel like people need to know about this stuff the way I do, we are going to have just a really fun opportunity for you to be a part of that. So, stay tuned, make sure you’re coming back and listening every week so that I can let you know more about that.

We also have our live event that we’re going to have in November. Now, this is not for everybody. This is for anybody who’s been in my program in the past. So, I’ve been coaching now for six years, six and a half, something like that. It’s been a while now.

And so, I’ve worked with over 1,300 doctors and so, we are having one of our regular masters’ live events, but we’re actually expanding it out to have a really fun party the night before and some fun stuff on Sunday morning as well.

So, we’re going to have a whole weekend event in Houston, November 4th through the 6th just to celebrate with all of my amazing clients and program members who really helped to make that book possible and have really just an appreciation event, and a really fun connecting event, good time to have a good time.

And so, for people who are active in the program, of course, we usually don’t let our Weight Loss for Doctors Only members come until they’re part of our continuation program in masters, but this is the first time and probably only time, we’re going to invite our WLDO (Weight Loss for Doctors Only) members to come to this event. So, that’s going to be super fun to have them there.

And then also, anybody who’s inactive, anybody who was in the program in the past gets to come back as well. All they have to do is purchase a ticket. So, if you are actually someone who is inactive, so has gone through one of my programs or maybe several of them and you’re just cooking along and doing great on your own, but you are interested in maybe just catching up and reconnecting, and celebrating with us and having a good time, make sure that you have been checking your emails.

Actually, just talked to someone recently, and she was like, “I keep hearing other people talking about it and I didn’t get an email.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, no, that’s no. Okay, let us know.” So, one reason I’m mentioning it here, just in case you haven’t gotten those emails, you should have gotten to save the date.

And depending on right around the time of this episode going live, we’re going to be sending out ticket purchasing information as well. So, it’s going to be so fun. I’m getting really jazzed about it. It’s going to be really, really, really good. It’s just, yeah, the people I work with are just really the best, it’s all I have to say. I just love them so much. And they’re just such lovely and amazing human beings, and I can’t wait to gather us all in one space. It’s going to be so good.

Another very important update about the book; so many people have been asking, can they buy the audio book? And am I going to be the one reading the audio book? The one narrating it. And I have to tell you for a long time there, I didn’t really know. It was written into my contract with the publisher that I was going to have to audition to read it.

And I think that makes complete sense. They’re not just going to just give it to you if you’re a very maybe boring reader or something like that. But I was pretty much like, yeah, I would be shocked if I end up I’m not being the one doing this.

Anyway, it was a bit of a long process, but I auditioned and I was accepted to do it. So, I actually start in less than a week. I’m going to start recording it. It’s going to be five full days of my life in a recording studio, which I’m actually pretty excited about, like in the sense that it’s going to be a totally different experience and something just different and fun.

And I like variety, spice of life. So, I’m sure there’ll be parts that’ll be challenging, but I actually set up … I probably mentioned this on the podcast years ago, but several years ago, I actually took a year of voice lessons. My son takes lessons from the same teacher as well. And I mean, honestly, singing in front of someone else really pretty much terrified me. So, I was like, I think I should probably do this.

And even like just getting up in front of a group of people has never been my favorite thing. So, I really did a lot of great work with her, particularly on how to take care of my voice and like vocal warmups and things like that.

Back in the day when I was a pediatrician, particularly when I had more acid reflux symptoms, I struggled with losing my voice actually quite a bit, and had to even see like a laryngologist and have a strobe and like speech therapy, like the whole thing, because it was really becoming a problem.

So, I set up a little one-off appointment with her as well to just kind of review the vocal warmups, how to take good care of my voice, because I want to sound smooth as silk for you on that audio book. So, that’s going to be really fun, cool, exciting thing coming up.

I did also want to tell you that I don’t have details about it yet, but the publisher, which the name of the publisher is called Hachette. You might have seen the name before and thought it was “hatchet,” but I think it’s a French company, it’s pronounced Hachette. Actually, if it’s French, it’ll probably be “Ha-chette,” but anyway, I’m not French, so I’m just going to say Hachette.

They’re going to be offering a new way to purchase audio books. I’ll have more information for you on coming up soon. But what’s cool about it is, I mean most people I think are purchasing their audiobooks just from Audible and listen from within the Audible app.

But what you’re going to be able to do is be able to purchase the exact same audiobook at a discount, a discounted price. And then you’re going to be able to listen to it right from within your podcast app. So, then you just have like the one app where you can have your books and you can have your podcast all in one place, which is pretty fun.

So, Audible’s fine too, if that’s what you prefer, but I will be letting you know a little bit more about your other opportunity as that comes too. So, I’m going to do my very best to make it an amazing audiobook listening experience for you. And also, if you like actual books, then you know, the paper books, which I have to say, I still am drawn to more than an audiobook, that’s great as well.

I’m just not a great auditory learner is really what it comes down to is what I’ve realized. Like for entertainment, I can listen, but anything that I want to retain, audiobook is not going to be the way to go. I’m going to still have to read it in real life. Like I need my eyeballs to help me with that.

One more thing before we get into the topic of our day, which I’m actually really excited to tell you about — I want to invite you to come to one of my free trainings called The Missing Piece to Permanent Weight Loss. It’s going to be on Thursday, August 4th, and it’s going to be at 8:30 PM Eastern time, 5:30 PM Pacific. And of course, you will get the recording if you can’t attend live during that time.

To register, you can just go to Now, I could imagine that you’re like, it’s summer, I don’t want to get on a training. I mean, listen, you can just like be outside sitting in your comfy clothes on a comfy chair outside while you’re doing it, and that would be totally fine as well. But I do just want to let you know that the information that I share there is not information that I really share on this podcast.

It’s really, really, really important information if you want to lose weight and have it be permanent, like keep it off forever. So, I really want to encourage you to come so that you can learn these key important essentially like strategies. Like it just like I’m going to just lift the veil on the confusion around weight loss. Like it’s just like what the heck needs to happen? There is a missing piece.

I remember struggling with my weight and just being like it’s not logical that it has to be this hard. Like I think there was just that like very logical part of me. I think I have an engineering degree. My bachelor’s degree is in engineering. That part of me, that’s just like, “This does not logically make sense. There has to be something else” and it turns out I was right, there was something else. And that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you on this free training.

So, I’ll also tell you more about your next opportunity to work with me and my team. We have a Weight Loss for Doctors Only Program opening in … well, we’re going to be enrolling it in August, end of August. And then we will be starting the program up in September. And if you sign up for that, you’ll be able to come to our book event, which is so good. You definitely want to come and join us.

And I think September really is like kind of the secondary new year in the sense that it’s like, okay, we’ve gotten through summer, like the school year’s starting, like let’s refresh, get going, let’s do this. And it’s a great time also because you also get to be coached all through the holidays. So, if holidays have been typically difficult for you, this will definitely be a group that you’re going to want to consider coming and join us for.

So, I’ll tell you more about that on the call. So, like I said, it’s on Thursday, August 4th, and you can register by going to Lots of updates.

I want to tell you today about a saying that the Navy seals have. So, sometimes I feel like it feels very American to just assume that everybody in the world knows what Navy seals are, but then sometimes like I’ve talked to my Canadian friends and I’m like, “Hey, I mean, if I say Navy seals, do you know what I’m talking about?” They’re like, “Of course, we know what you’re talking about.” I’m like, “Okay, well I just don’t want to be this like rude American who just assumes that you know everything about my country.”

So, anyways, it was kind of funny. So, I don’t want to make any assumptions, but the Navy seals are basically the highest trained people in the military, in our Navy. And they are known for going in and doing the things that need to be done that no one else can do. They’re extremely, extremely, highly-trained. It’s really just like a super honor to even be able to get through the training. It’s so, so hard to be able to become a Navy seal.

And they just do essentially like the most badass of military things. It’s like you can count on the Navy seals to do it. So, their training is really top level and part of what makes them so successful is they have a real special culture amongst them. And within that culture, there’s certain sayings and these kind of sayings that they repeat again and again, and they all know help them to remember the things that make them successful.

And so, there’s one saying that they have that it just really resonated with me and I immediately thought like, oh my gosh, this is totally something for the podcast. This is totally about weight loss as well. And really, anything that we’re trying to accomplish in our lives, but in particular, with weight loss, just considering the things that so many people struggle with.

So, the saying is this; it’s “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” So, again, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

So, so good to just sit there and think about that for a second. Some people also have said it like slow is steady and steady is fast. When I looked it up though, because I wanted to make sure that I had the attribution correct, that it wasn’t actually from some other military group or something, it really all came up as “Slow as smooth and smooth is fast.” But you can put steady in there too. I think we’re allowed to since we’re not Navy seals, it’s probably okay.

So, what they are referring to with “Slow as smooth and smooth is fast” in the Navy with the seals, is they’re talking about how certain movements and behaviors can become muscle memory. So, when there’s certain actions that they should be taking, certain behaviors, certain ways of approaching things that they want to teach them, they do it really, really slowly, and they do it in a really smooth fashion. And when they do that, it actually goes quickly.

And what they’re really saying there is when you just try to go fast, especially early on, you end up skipping over some important fundamentals. You end up essentially building like a house of cards, like you’re skipping over those fundamentals, and then all of a sudden, you realize, “Wait a minute, I don’t have the foundation to actually support this.”

And this is actually something that reminds me of John Wooden, who was a really, really famous college basketball coach. I think he was at UCLA for many years and he really, really, really pushed the fundamentals, like the basic, basic things.

Like he would literally teach his college athletes how to put their socks and shoes on. And not just like, “Okay, let’s just talk about it one day.” Like they would literally practice putting their socks and shoes on because he was like, “We are not losing a game because someone’s laces aren’t tied right or because someone got a blister because their sock wasn’t on properly” and it seems kind of silly.

Like these boys, these young men have had a very long time, lots of experience wearing their shoes and socks on, but he just believes so deeply in the fundamentals. And he created, I think arguably like the most winning team ever, or at least one of the top like three or something like that.

So, talking about those fundamentals, what do we think though about fundamentals? Like what do you think those young men were thinking when John Wooden was like, “Okay, now it’s time for me to teach you how to put your socks and shoes on?” Do you think they were like “Awesome, amazing. Like I can’t wait for you to share all your wisdom?”

No, they were probably rolling their eyes. Maybe not outwardly, but like inside themselves, they’re like, “Oh God, here we go.” And he probably did it every single year. So, you’re like a fifth-year senior, you’re like “Uh-huh, here we go. I think I know how to put my socks and shoes on,” but they still did it anyway. And he still went through that process.

So, often, when we think about fundamentals, we’re like, “Yeah, yeah. I already know that. I already know all of those things and I want to skip ahead. I want to make it fast. I want to go and get those results right away.” And I’ve been actually doing some podcast interviews — I’m not going to be doing like an actual in person book tour. I think these days it’s a little precarious to plan for that kind of stuff just not knowing what’s happening in the world.

But I am doing a podcast tour, so I’m going to be on lots of different podcasts. And we were talking about just like if you’re overwhelmed and you feel like you can barely do one thing, like what’s one thing that you could do though?

And so, often we think that that’s not enough. We think that we need to be doing all of the things, all perfectly, all at once. And if we’re not doing it all, really, really, exactly the way we think it should be done, then what’s the point and we might as well just quit. And then we make it mean something negative about us because once again, we’ve failed. Like that’s the way that our minds end up going with us.

And what I want to offer to you with this “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” quote is that this should be what’s governing you in your weight loss journey rather than trying to rush through everything. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re just like, “Oh yeah, especially for people in my program, like it’s month five, and I’m still working on getting through month one.”

I mean, probably we can get through month one a little faster than that. Like we could probably set some goals and move through it, just knowing how I’ve set that up to be very, very effective with time. So, it’s not so much like an excuse or justification, but it’s going, you know what, I’m going to just take my time and actually internalize this.

I’m not going to just like rush through the information, thinking that like, yeah, I just have to get through filling out this worksheet or watching this video or listening to this coaching call or listening to this podcast. Like I just have to get through it. So, let me listen to it at 2x speed so I can just get through it. That’s not going to get you the results that you want.

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” means take your time and it doesn’t have to be like crazy slow, but take the time that’s required that you need to be able to really take in the information, the guidance, the support, the inspiration, and allow that to settle in so that the process can be smooth. Take your time so that it just becomes the way you operate. It just becomes the new way that you live your life.

And then, once it becomes a new way you live your life where it is smooth, guess what happens? You get results really fast. So, that’s slow is smooth and smooth is fast. When you take your time to build that foundation and make sure you have those fundamentals really set, meaning like, “Am I hungry or not? Is this physical hunger or is this emotional hunger? What is my body asking for? What does my body need? How do I feel when I actually eat this food? Does this actually make me feel good in my body? Like what am I doing to process my emotions and to support myself emotionally, especially when I have a hard day?”

like making sure that you get those fundamentals in place and getting them set up so that it’s just the automatic way that you function gets you the weight loss results much faster than when you’re trying to rush.

But here’s the best part; when you’ve really incorporated it into just the way you live life, just like how you do you, how you do life, that is a much easier way of maintaining and keeping that weight loss off because it’s just what you do. It’s not like you have to do some big transition.

I have mentioned this here before, but I’ll just mention it again, you know, I’m a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, meaning I gained and lost weight again and again and again, and never was able to keep it off. And one of the big reasons why was, I just did what they told me to do and counted points and all the things so that I could get the weight off.

And when I did that and suffered through and got the weight off … I mean, I did lose weight. And then I would always think, “Yeah, but I know I’m never going to count points the rest of my life.” I remember having these conversations with myself in my head about like, “Well, would you consider even doing like a modified point counting kind of a thing?”

Not even knowing what that would be, but like maybe we don’t have to say count points and follow the plan exactly as it is forever, but maybe we could incorporate some of it just because so many times I gained the weight back. And even that, I was like, I don’t know that I’m really willing to commit to that, don’t really want to do that.

So, I would lose the weight, but then I had zero foundation from which to maintain that weight loss. I had no fundamentals in place because what I had practiced, what I had really gotten down pat was a plan and a way of doing things that I wasn’t willing to do for the rest of my life. I basically just wanted to completely leave that behind as I move forward.

So, you can see how that really messes you up, especially because I just was like hoping that I’d gotten a brain transplant and suddenly, was a different human being who didn’t struggle with overeating anymore. In hindsight, it sounds so ridiculous. But at the time, I literally really believed myself. I’m like, “No, no. Like I didn’t even want to eat that stuff anymore.” And then several weeks later, I’m like, “Oh, here I am back at it” especially if something particularly difficult or stressful had happened, which happens in life. This is just how life is particularly for doctors.

So, I really want you to think about slow is smooth and smooth is fast. How can you slow yourself down and just make sure that you’ve really understand it. Like a great example of this is understanding the hunger scale, and really understanding what those numbers mean in your body. Nobody can tell you that, only you can figure that out.

And I’m telling you when you figure it out, it is just like gold. It’s like magic. You know exactly when to eat, you know exactly when you’re done eating, it’s amazing. But people like to gloss over that so quickly. They’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Like let’s get to the part that’s going to change my life.” And I’m like “This is part of the part that’s going to change your life.”

Like why are we trying to rush past that? Can you take some time to really incorporate that? And you know, whether you lose weight or not, knowing that this is going to be something you’re going to want to access and rely on to give you the results that you want long-term really for the rest of your life. So, what is the rush?

I’m always so surprised when people are like, “Yeah, I haven’t really done that yet.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” Maybe that’s just because for me, it was such a fundamental shift and it was really one of the very first things that I applied and it got me losing weight in such an easy way.

I was like, I literally haven’t even changed … hey, I hadn’t changed what I was eating, I just stopped eating when I wasn’t hungry and stopped when I’d had enough. Like I figured out how much enough was because I’d been overeating for so long. I didn’t really know that anymore. I thought that distended and overly full was normal. I mean, those are some things that anybody can do. You don’t need extra tools. You can start doing that.

Now, I will tell you though that what I’ve been noticing is people coming into my program going, “Yeah, I’ve applied all these things, I’ve been doing this kind of like DIY approach.” And I’m going to do another episode addressing this further pretty soon.

But kind of doing it themselves, thinking I shouldn’t need help, I should be able to do this myself. And then they end up still coming into the program because they’re like, “You know what? I don’t think I still really fully got it. Or I didn’t get any personal assistance on this. And more likely, I still don’t have peace and freedom around food because I haven’t been able to do the mind set approach on my own.”

I think people get really confused in thinking that my program is the same thing as the podcast, and it’s totally not at all. I give you so many amazing things and teach you all this great stuff, plus actual personal coaching on what you struggle with. You know, I mean, it’s a no-brainer in my opinion. I’m like, “Listen, if you qualify, you should get yourself in there because it’s some good stuff.” Like why lose all the weight on your own only to end up coming into the program and needing that help. Like let’s just do it all at the same time.

Anyway, my point is that I think this is your reminder here to slow things down, figure out what are the fundamentals, and make sure you have them really well laid out for yourself, that you understand them well, and that you’re practicing them on a regular basis.

My son, my oldest son was telling me some things like … he’s a big history buff and he had found something in a library where there were advertisements from, I don’t know, maybe like the 1920s around then, where these ads were teaching people like what to do with bananas because bananas were a new thing. I think the vast majority of bananas are produced in Ecuador, I think, and in that part of the world.

So, they start bringing all these bananas into the U.S. and people are like, “What is this fruit? I don’t know what to do with it?” And so, they literally were like teaching people like what to do with bananas, which kind of is laughable now considering I think it’s the most bought fruit in all of the U.S. But he also said that he found something where it was like an ad teaching people how to brush their teeth.

And if you think about it, it wasn’t that long ago that people really started pushing oral hygiene in the way that we do it now, where you have a brush and some paste. Back then it was like a powder that you I think either mixed with your sliver, a little water to make a bit of a paste. And like you had to learn how to do that.

Well, even today, we still have to teach our children how to brush their teeth. Like it really becomes part of the fundamentals. My daughter, my nine-year-old right now, has this like all kinds of like expanding equipment inside her mouth, the poor thing. I mean, it is working so that’s good, but man alive, it’s not something I would want to sign up for, that’s for sure.

And so, because her teeth were just really, really crowded, and even with this though, like some of the teeth that are really pushed back, like she can’t get those clean by brushing in the normal manner. And she even has a Sonic care toothbrush. She’s got electro toothbrush that does a great job, but it can only clean your teeth if it actually touches your teeth.

And so, I’ve sometimes had to tell her normally, we hold the toothbrush in this horizontal way. With that one tooth, you need to hold it vertical because the bristles can’t even get in there to clean it, otherwise. So, she’s still at nine-years-old learning the fundamentals; how do I get my teeth clean? How do I know if they are clean?

Like we take a long time with other things to develop those fundamentals, even in our medical training. How many times we just like … it’s literally just like running reps, doing the same thing again and again. I mean, how many HMPs did you do before you’re like, “I could do these in my sleep?” When you first started, they weren’t that easy at all. And they were incomplete and they were like awkward and all over the place.

Like there’s so many things that become really just like basically something we do in our sleep, but we had to practice and we had to get those fundamentals down so we could do it.

This process with weight loss is no different. When you slow yourself down and you repeat these things again and again and make it so that it’s smooth — you’re like, “Yep, I’m doing this and I know what I’m doing, and I’m journaling on a regular basis and it’s helping me and I’m doing all this stuff,” like that’s when you get the results that you want and you continue doing that and you’re able to maintain the results that you want. That is what is so, so good.

So, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Really let that sink in and think about how you can slow yourself down and make sure you get those fundamentals, and not just try to rush ahead. When you try to rush ahead, you end up skipping over important parts and you end up needing to repeat the whole thing again. And so, I just of course recommend that you do this all at once because why make it harder on yourself if it doesn’t have to be.

So, I’ll tell you more about an opportunity to come and join us in the Weight Loss for Doctors Only Program on the free training, The Missing Piece to Permanent Weight Loss. And of course, we’re going to be opening that up later in August for general enrollment as well.

So, start thinking about it because seriously, it is not only just an amazing group of women and, oh my God I’m just going to hold myself back from gushing because I just love them so much, and they’re so great.

But besides that, you get so much personal help to just move you forward. Like we take the time that we need to get you to a place where things are solid, those fundamentals are set, the foundation is set, and then off we go, and then off we go. And we just get to work and allow the results to come to us. And that’s the part that really is fast.

I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your week. I know you’re just as amazing as all my members are. And so, I just want to send you love. You are an important, valuable, amazing human being. So, I just want you to know that. And somebody out there needed to hear that today.

So, I’m feeling called to share that with you, and if that’s you, sending you tons of love. And even if it’s not you, I’m sending you tons of love.

I will talk to you next time. 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 and click on free resources.