Andrea Mazurat is a nephrologist from Winnipeg, Canada, and she is another Weight Loss For Doctors Only (WLDO) success story that I can’t wait to share with you! After starting off by losing weight using some of the tips and strategies I talk about on this podcast, Andrea ultimately decided to join WLDO to get more support around her mindset. She has a really interesting perspective on losing weight on your own versus having the dedicated support found in the program, and there are so many gems from our conversation that I know you’re going to get so much from this episode—and from Andrea herself!
Take a listen as we dive into the importance of taking things one step at a time in your weight loss plan, the difference that mindset can make to permanent weight loss, and how planning for self-care really helped Andrea to lose weight and maintain that loss. We also talk about how to meal plan successfully, what to do when you go off plan (it happens to everyone!), and how Andrea learned to celebrate and relax without using food for comfort.
Katrina Ubell: You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 272.
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, how are you today? I’m so glad to be talking to you today and actually talking to you, after 272 episodes, I still go through the process every single time I record of doing a little test recording to make sure that everything sounds good before I do the whole thing. And of course, this is just a little introduction before we get into our interview, Client Success Story today, but I was doing my little recording and I went back and there was nothing and I was like, “What was it?” And microphone is off. So there you go, thanking myself, big pat on the back to myself for not recording this whole entire thing and then realizing that it wasn’t working.
I’ve actually heard of other podcasters I met where they record maybe a whole 20 or 30-minute episode, and then go back to find out that the mic wasn’t working, or wasn’t plugged in, or was off, or whatever. And we can work through that and it’s okay, but it’s still not what you want to hear or see ever. So anyway, I am super excited for today’s episode, it’s so good, so inspirational. I had the best time talking to my guest. So before we get into all of that, I do want to invite you to a free training that I’m hosting a week from this Thursday. So that would be April 7th, 2022 at 8:30 PM Eastern Time, 5:30 PM Pacific. If you need to extrapolate before or after, depending on where you are in the world, that’s great as well.
The title is How Losing Weight Is Different for Doctors and What to Do About It. I think a lot of us are like, “Yeah, it’s so different.” I know for sure, I felt so frustrated that nobody understood what my life was like as a doctor and it was like none of these weight loss techniques are going to work for me because they do not understand what my life is like. And it really is different. I’ve told this story before, when I was losing weight with my first coach, she was like, “Well, emergencies don’t really come up for people. We always talk about in case of emergency, but emergencies don’t really happen.” I just like looked at her blankly and it was just like, “For doctors, they really do.”
And so that was one of the main reasons I really thought, “You know what, someone needs to help the doctors,” because I had been trying to find someone who was helping the doctors and couldn’t find anybody, and so I thought, “You know what, I think there might be other doctors out there who want this help.” Anyway, I’m going to be teaching you on this free training about how weight loss is different for doctors, but then even more importantly, what to do about it. You have to really understand what the problem is so that you can find real solutions that will make a difference. And today you’ll hear on this interview that I have about how my guest also tried Weight Watchers, tried other things and it just wasn’t working. And that was my experience as well, experience of literally thousands of my other physician clients.
And so I just want to invite you to find out more about this, whether you want to lose weight with me or not, if you want to do it on your own, whatever you want to do, it’s important that you understand what is different for doctors and what the solutions are to those differences. So to register for that free training, go to katrinaubellmd.com/different, D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T. Katrinaubellmd.com/different, you’ll get some great information there about how to really actually take care of the weight problem that you’re having, overeating. And it doesn’t matter whether you have five or 10 pounds you want to lose or 50, or 75, or 100. It’s not the same no matter how much weight you have to lose, but the core issues are the same. So that’s what we will be addressing.
So I would love for you to come and join me. You’ll actually hear Andrea Mazurat, my guest on this episode today, talking about how she actually lost a ton of weight just listening to the podcast and applying what I have taught here for free, and then came to a training knowing, “You know what, there’s still this missing piece.” And so she was able to lose most of her weight listening to the podcast on her own and then came to work with us in Weight Loss for Doctors-Only for the final pounds and the actual mind work that she had been having trouble doing on her own. And she actually at the end has a really great metaphor for the difference between losing weight on her own, listening to the podcast and applying everything versus getting some help in the program.
So of course, you can have success either way, but it’s was really interesting to hear her perspective on that. So I can’t wait for you to hear my interview with Andrea. She is a nephrologist, she’s up in Canada in Winnipeg. She’ll tell you more about that. And she’s mom to little kids and is just really so inspirational. I know our team of coaches were all so excited for her when she got to her goal weight and she’s just incredible. She has a great story. And I learned a ton from her as well. She had some really great tips and thoughts and ideas that I’m always open to learning more or in hearing from other people’s experiences. And I know that you’ll get so much out of this as well.
So if you are thinking about losing weight or you’re like, “Yeah, these things in this podcast are resonating,” or maybe this is just your first episode that you’re even listening to, just think about how what she talks about might apply to you as well and how you might be able to borrow from her success because success leaves clues. Borrow from her success and apply something to your life. There’s just so many gems in here, I won’t even get into them all right now, because you’ll hear those at the episode, but they’re really, really awesome and I know that you’re going to get so much out of this episode. So please enjoy Andrea Mazurat.
Andrea, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I’m so glad that you’re here.
Andrea Mazurat: I’m so excited to be here today.
Katrina Ubell: Awesome. I always like to start off with asking you if you could just introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do and that kind of thing.
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. My name’s Andrea Mazurat, I’m a nephrologist working in Winnipeg, Canada. I’m an assistant professor. I’m the medical director of our in center dialysis program. I have two amazing children that are three and a half and seven months old, and a wonderful husband. And that’s me.
Katrina Ubell: Awesome. So fun. We love our Canadians. So good. Give me a little bit of the synopsis of your history with food and weight loss, just what brought you to the point where you decided to explore life coaching as an option for weight loss?
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. I think that being conscious of my weight since I was quite young, I was always tall for my age and I was a swimmer. So I had broad shoulders, very muscular or very muscular. And I was always bigger than the other kids. And so very early on, I knew or felt different, but not until about high school when I stopped swimming that I started put on weight and it bothered me. And then when I went to university, I was over 200 pounds and that was the first time I decided to actually do something about it. I joined Weight Watchers as a lot of people do.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. Me too.
Andrea Mazurat: And I was successful in that I lost weight, but it was not an easy process, I did not enjoy it. And although I followed the letter of the program, I didn’t follow the spirit. So I would be hungry all day, saving up my points, save it up for dinner, eat a huge dinner, even to the point of being I was full and then still having points that I saved for a chocolate or dessert after, because I still wanted to emotionally eat.
Katrina Ubell: 100%. I cannot even tell you like yes, yes, exactly that, years of my life, exactly like that. You know what’s so good about that is we realize we’re like, “I’m not the only one who didn’t really follow the spirit like you said.”
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. And you know that it’s not right, but you don’t want to actually give that part up. So I would do that, I’d get to whatever goal weight I set, which usually was 10 pounds below my normal weight. As soon as I hit that, I’d stop, gain it back. And that was a cycle that repeated over the years. I’d lose weight for my wedding, gain it back and repeat. And I also had a belief that the only way I would ever be thin was if I worked out intensely, like exercise intensely like CrossFit or something that I would do daily. And since I didn’t have time to do that in my life and residency and attending life, I was like, “I’m just never going to be thin or a normal weight even.”
Katrina Ubell: I think that’s actually pretty common though, don’t you think for people who have an athletic background because you were like, “Well, when I swam a lot, I didn’t have a weight problem. So seems to me like the way that I can compensate for my overeating, the only way to compensate is to exercise a lot.” And that’s such a common story. Maybe even in early on in your education, you can keep up that intensity, and then there just comes a point where for any number of reasons, it’s just not possible anymore. And then it’s like rather than going like, “Oh, well, what else could I try,” we just go like, “Oh, I guess it’s just not possible for me to not be overweight.”
Andrea Mazurat: Totally. And it gives you an excuse or an out, because you know that you don’t have the time to devote stuff, so you don’t even really try other things.
Katrina Ubell: Exactly. You probably could find time to do some exercise, I know I could have, but it’s so much easier to just believe your story that you’re like you’re too tired and working too much. And what you really should be doing is reading textbooks and studying on your patients instead of whatever, going to the gym.
Andrea Mazurat: Or even sleeping or relaxing or whatever else. I don’t like intense exercise, why would I want to do that? So it continued in that pattern until I got pregnant with my daughter and I went from 285 pounds and I gained 50 plus pounds. I stopped measuring at the end and I thought it looked pretty good and I thought things were okay until after she was born, there was actually a picture, couple of days postpartum with me and my family. And that picture was the moment because I looked at it and I was like, “That person is not who I want to be. That does not reflect what I feel on the inside, I have to do something about this.” And within like 24, 48 hours, I actually saw a recommendation for your podcast on a Physician Moms Group. And I was like, “I can do a podcast. No problem.”
And so I started listening to you. So this was April 2018. And the first couple of podcasts where you talked about, you’d always had broad shoulders, you’d always been larger, that totally resonated with me because I really had a belief that 180 was that weight. I would never be able to get to normal BMI. And then when you talked about goal weight like mid-BMI, I was like, “That is impossible. That’s impossible. But why not try all the other things?” And so I started incorporating that, and probably the biggest was just no snacking. I tried to food journal, I wasn’t successful, but just by following a lot of your recommendations, I lost 75 pounds in a year.
Katrina Ubell: Amazing. So I just want to say, you didn’t join the program, you were just listening to the podcast and applying what you heard and you lost 75 pounds in a year. That’s incredible. I just want to say that is amazing. People will often say like, “Do you think I could really lose weight listening to some of the podcasts?” I’m like, “Yes. Yes, you can.” We have a lot of people who tell us what they do. And 75 pounds, no matter what you do in a year is a lot of weight. That’s incredible.
Andrea Mazurat: And all I did, and I didn’t do the exercise, that was the most liberating thing when you were like, “You don’t have to exercise. I won’t.” But I would go and walk with my infant daughter and the stroller and just listen to the podcasts and figure out what I could incorporate. And I did things in steps. I did things in baby steps and was able to make those changes. And I maintained that weight plus or minus, well, mostly plus, but probably about 10, 15 pounds until I got pregnant with my son in 2020.
Katrina Ubell: Okay. Can I just pause for one second really quick too, because I just want to mention one other thing you said, you took it in steps and added things one at a time. I just want to just mention how important that is because when we sign up for a big program, they’re like, “You have to do all these things.” Weight Watchers is like, “These are all the points.” And there’s all these rules and you’re trying to figure it out and it really is all encompassing. And by taking it step by step like that, what you did was you really just met yourself where you were like, “What step can I take today that I can actually commit to doing and then do it consistently?” And so then you do that until that’s just this thing that you do, maybe not snacking and then, what’s the next that I can add on?
And so that isn’t going to be probably the fastest way to lose weight, although you still lost weight, a lot of weight so pretty fast. But for a lot of people they’re like, “Oh, but I just want it gone.” Well, okay, but if you’re going to gain it all back again, you’re at a net positive or at least at a net neutral zero rather than like, “Okay, I took my two time and then it was actually permanent and actually stayed off.” Anyway, I just want to point out that I think that’s such a great way of looking at it. It’s like, “What can I actually agree to do with myself?” Not trying to please some Weight Watchers leader or the doctor who’s going to be weighing me or whoever it is that you feel accountable to, but actually doing it for yourself. And I just think that’s so great.
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. And I think it also allows you to engage small steps to experiment with yourself because I noticed if I don’t snack, that was a huge difference for me. And some things I could incorporate and some things I didn’t so much. And what actually made a difference, one, how I felt, but two, what my weight was. So it gives you that experiment that you know what works for you.
Katrina Ubell: Yes. I agree with that. If you do 10 things and you lose weight, you’re like, “Do I have to keep doing all the 10 things?” If you had you been exercising really intensely too, you’d be like, “See, if I can’t keep up this exercise, it’s all going to go to hell,” which is not necessarily true. It doesn’t have to be that way. So got pregnant then in 2020?
Andrea Mazurat: Yep. And I gained weight quite rapidly with him, which now in retrospect is just what I do when I’m pregnant.
Katrina Ubell: Can I just ask, is that because you’re overeating because you’re pregnant?
Andrea Mazurat: No.
Katrina Ubell: No, it’s just that’s what your body likes to do.
Andrea Mazurat: That was just my body. My body is like, “It doesn’t matter what you’re eating, you’re just going to gain weight.” I had made a deal with myself that after I was done having children, then at that point, if I wanted to, I would join your program because I was going to lose the weight for the last time, and that was going to be it. It was probably a year ago now that I had gained 30 pounds with him, ended up gaining 40 to 50 with him as well and I was freaking out. And so I was like, “You know what, I don’t know if I can do it again.” Even though I’ve done all these habits, I’ve done it before, it wasn’t easy, there was a lot of effort there.
So I went to one of your training calls with no intent of joining actually, I had planned for August 2021, but I listened and I was like, “You know what, I think I’m going to do May” And I actually remember asking you the question, “Do you think I’m crazy to do this with a newborn?” And you were like, “No, it’s totally what you think.” And I was like, “Okay, I think I can do it.” I told my husband, “This is what I’m doing.” And I signed up the next day.” And it was just so nice to have that plan in place like, “This is what I’m going to do.”
Katrina Ubell: Sometimes it’s nice to have that support of a program, but a program that meets you where you’re at. I was just saying, some programs have you do a million things at once. I always feel like we don’t really ask you to do very much. And if you can’t even do what we ask you to do, then pick one of those things and start doing it, and then we’ll just keep working with you on that. What was it that really put you over the edge though? Was it knowing that there was still more work to do on your brain?
Andrea Mazurat: It was a combination of things. So one, I was worried that I’d put all this effort in and all this work into losing weight before and I was worried, what if I can’t? Like, “What if I can’t do it again?”
Katrina Ubell: Do it again, lose it again after the second.
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. So there was fear that I wouldn’t do it again. I think the bigger thing though is hadn’t been necessarily easy in terms of the thought work, so I still felt like if I was going to celebrate, I wanted to celebrate with food, if I was going to reward, I wanted to reward with food and I still had so much food chatter and I wanted that to improve. So those were my goals for the program.
Katrina Ubell: Okay. Amazing. And just for anybody who might be new, they’re like, “What is food chatter? What that means is just the constant commentary in your brain about what are you going to eat next? Your thoughts are about what you just ate, where you’re going to eat this weekend. You’re at a meeting, there’s whatever, some snacks on the table, like, “Is anyone going to eat one? Is it weird to find the first one to take one? Maybe I can just grab one on the way out if no one takes any.” Just constant thinking chatter, truly just your brain on overdrive, really, over emphasizing the importance of food. To me, brain chatter is around food is over desire and something that we work on all the time.
Brilliant. So you come into the program and I know one part of the program that really helped you was planning your food. And I would love to hear more about that because a lot of people are resistant to that, including me. So I’d love to hear your experience of that.
Andrea Mazurat: Well, and including me, honestly, because in the three years that I’ve been listening to your podcast, I had tried it on and off many times and I’d stick with it for like two days and that was it. And this time I was like, “You know what, I’m going to do it and I’m going to commit to it.” And it was actually an identity change because I am a person who plan my food the night before and who sticks to it. And so doing that and really thinking what the next day would be, what I would want to eat, how busy, how tired I would be, and following it. And I remember waking up because I had a new baby during the program, being tired and being like, “You know what, I could really reward myself because of how tired I am. And Nope, that’s not what my food journal said. I’m just going to eat what I planned.”
And that got to be a habit and a backup. And I think that that’s really what made things so much easier for me.
Katrina Ubell: Totally, totally. And it really, I think, it’s just going to the gym for the first time when you haven’t been there for two years or something where you’re dreading it and you’re like, “Ugh?” And you’re like, “I don’t really want to follow it.” But then you do follow it, at the end of the day, you feel so good. You don’t feel heavy, your body feels good, you’re probably sleeping better at night. It’s like you’re always happy that you did it when you’ve done it. And you do that enough times, then what a lot of people find is if they do eat off plan, they’re like, “I just literally do not feel good. My life is better, my experience of living in my body is better when I follow my plan.”
And so that helps to build up that belief that this is worthwhile process, which I would love for you to just talk about how long it takes you to plan your food because I think sometimes we think that it’s going to be 45 minutes or something.
Andrea Mazurat: It probably takes me 30 seconds because I’m also one of those people, I can eat the same breakfast and lunch every day pretty much, so it is a very quick like, “I’m going to eat this, this, lunch is a salad with whatever.” And if I don’t know, if I truly do not know I’m going to have per supper because I’m going to someone’s house or something, then I’m like, “I’m going to have what they serve. That’s on my plan.” And I’ll decide ahead if I’m going to have dessert amount. I actually make all that plan. And the other thing for food journaling that it does is it breaks the habit of emotionally eating because it doesn’t matter what emotions I’m going to have that day, I plan my food. And so it gets you into habit of not linking the two
Katrina Ubell: 100%. Yeah. That’s exactly what it does. So then you if you’re like, “I don’t know why I’m eating all this stuff,” We’ll make a plan where you’re not eating those things and then see what actually comes up and then you realize, “Oh, you know what, I’m eating because this is actually going on for me.” And I do just want to mention that for some people they’re like, “But I don’t know what to do with that once I know.” Okay, so that I’m having whatever emotions, I don’t know what to do with that, I think that’s something that can be so beneficial about being in a coaching program is, that is exactly what we do is help you to work through those emotions, come up with tools, practice it, help you to work through that so that you do know what to do and you don’t need to use food anymore, but it’s breaking that connection totally.
So another thing that I know that you did was creating what you call A Me Plan and I would love for you to tell us more about that, I think it’s so fun.
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. That was an extension of the food plan. So I would take into consideration of my day and things, like if I knew it was going to be a particularly least stressful day, how could I incorporate something that I wanted to do, like go for a walk? And so I would make sure that I did that. I would plan any exercise because I did start exercising towards the end. And if I wanted to do that, if I am going to be out and about and I don’t think I can have a regular sit down month, how can I plan to incorporate all of that so that I’m taking my whole day so I don’t have any excuses not to follow my plan or to be really stressed out.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. I love that and it’s one of those things where I’m like, “Maybe that’s not the right thing for everybody.” But what I love about it is so often we end up… I know for myself, I tend to be this eternal optimist in the sense that I’m like, “That won’t be a problem. What could go wrong? It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.” And then the day how happens and everything if it falls apart, back in the day, I’d make that mean something is wrong with me versus, “Oh, I just didn’t create a support system like a safety net for myself.” And just thinking ahead can make it so that you’re like, “You know what it really helps me is if I get outside, get some fresh air and go take a walk.” So even if I’m tired, even if I don’t feel it, I’m going to do that because I know that’s going to help me.”
Again, making those decisions in advance rather than making decisions from the moment based on what your primitive brain is telling you, which is always like, go hide in the hole, climb in bed, throw the cover over your head and eat something, right?
Andrea Mazurat: Well, and I plan things that I enjoy. So I enjoy going for a walk and listening to whatever podcast, so that it’s some enjoyment in my day and something to look forward to.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. I love that. Love that. So, so good. So what happened? I’m pretty sure that you didn’t follow your plan perfectly every single day. So how did you approach that?
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah, and I still don’t. So that’s one thing that I think is important for people to know, just because you lose your weight or in maintenance does not mean that everything’s fixed. So they’re still often that I don’t follow my plan. I think the big thing that shifted is instead of trying to have that negative self-talk to get the food off that you’re like you’ll only be acceptable once you lose the weight or this whole process is a punishment, I realized that one of the things I would do is when I would go off plan, I’d have the same about going off plan and then I’d overeat to deal with the same. And that’s why then, one, overeat at a night out or something would be to days or weeks off plan before, because it was just that same cycle.
So now if I overeat at a dinner or something off plan, I just note it, okay, whatever. And then next meal, I start over. And so I don’t have that same spiral, I don’t make it mean anything about me, I’m not broken, it’s okay. It’s just food in my mouth, it’s fine. And it also from having so much data, weighing myself every day, I can see that overeating one meal doesn’t really matter, it doesn’t, so it’s okay, just keep going.
Katrina Ubell: Right. And overeating for two weeks straight does though because of the shame spiral. And what you’re really describing is what I feel I talk about ad nauseam, which is you cannot hate yourself thin. Even if you treated yourself very nice, negatively and had very negative self-talk maybe throughout your training and you really believe that the reason you have the success that you have is because of that negative self-talk, what you have to remember is that you still always had food and maybe alcohol to help you through that when you’re treating yourself so poorly. So what we’re asking you to now do is figure out a different way to motivate yourself where you don’t do that.
So then you don’t need the food and it can just feel different, but once you realize how much better it feels, first of all, it feels better, and realizing that when you feel better, you don’t feel driven to go eat everything in the pantry. You start to see, “Oh, there is another way. And this is that piece that I want.” Like, “Yeah, I ate that thing, who cares? Chewed it up and swallowed it. What’s the next thing going to be moving on?” Maybe learning from it, especially in the beginning, if it’s like, “Oh, okay, that was interesting. I wonder why that happened.” Rather than being perfectionistic about it like, “I have to do it perfectly or I won’t be able to have success.” Realizing you can still have success.
So just like you said, even at maintenance, you may still over eat at times, it’s just a question of, does that turn into a spiral or do you get yourself right back on track again? And I always think of it as like, “Okay, well that was interesting, what was the emotion that was going on? What was I unwilling to feel?” And not them beating yourself up because you weren’t willing to feel it, but just recognizing like, “Okay, X, Y, Z was going on for me. That’s good to know. Maybe I’m going to work through that. Maybe I’ll just be on the alert for that the next time something this happens. Maybe I’ll just try a different technique or a different strategy for myself next time.” Amazing. That is still moving you forward instead of like, “See, I knew it wasn’t going to work?”
Andrea Mazurat: Totally. And I gave myself plenty of opportunities to practice. We were in COVID time, so it was harder, but I would book, I’d throw a dinner party weekly for a month so that I could practice every week. For example, I realized that I can’t have food on the table sitting out after we’re done eating, it needs to be cleared because otherwise I’ll keep picking at it. And so things like that so that I can develop a plan and an approach each time.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah, totally. I love it. I think you have to figure out your way of doing it where you can have people in your home and not feel like you’re a crazy person or obsessed with the food. You can actually enjoy the people who are there. And honestly, the other people who are there are probably happy that you’re taking the food away when everyone’s done, because everybody’s got that, before you know it, you’re having force and you know you don’t need force. So how do you handle when you have urges? Are there certain emotions that you find that brain is still offering food as a solution?
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. My brain still tends to offer as a reward. So whenever I’ve accomplished something or if I’ve been really stressed for a while, then that task is finished, almost immediately my brain offers food. And so I’m not always able to avoid that, but I notice it. So one, I know that it’s probably going to come, acknowledging that that’s normal, that’s what my brain’s always done. There’s nothing wrong with me that that’s what it still offers and it probably will continue to offer that for many more years, that’s okay. So preparing for it. And then if I do head to the pantry or something, start to eat, one phrases that I really like is you can stop at any time. So if I take a couple of sips, it doesn’t mean that I have to eat the whole day. It just means like, “Okay, I eat that much, I can stop now. That’s okay.”
And that’s what I do. And then I try and think of what’s driving it, what is the emotion? And I do that, I feel my emotions. So I name it, I feel it, I let it be there. The first time experiencing emotional hunger was quite life changing for me to realize what that felt in my body and how it felt different from hunger so that I could also acknowledge that and I can decide if I really need to eat or not.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. I just want to make sure we don’t gloss over that. The difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger, it can be hard at face value if you’re still new to this process, you’re just like, “I don’t know, I just feel hungry.” But when you start to really pay attention, they are different. And once you understand how they feel different, you can then check in with yourself, which hunger is this? Easily identify which one it is and then recognize like, “oh, okay, this is the kind where food actually solves it, or this is the kind where there’s something else that’s going on.” I absolutely love what you’re saying, you can always stop. 100%.
That was something that made a big difference for me as well because it used to just be well, once I got rolling, either till the thing was gone or whatever, I felt certain level of over fullness, sickness, grossness, whatever, I was like, that was a stopping point just like, “Okay. Yeah, that just happened and I can just put it down now.” And I think when you also are on any restrictive diet and you start eating that, you also have this scarcity of like, “This is my chance to eat these things.” So you are much more likely to eat all the things versus like, “I get to decide what I eat. It is my plan and I can plan for this every day if I want it. So I don’t need to feel like this is my chance, this is the last time I can have this.”
And I think that that also really prevents that yo-yoing, it’s just food and there’s going to be more tomorrow. And I think for those of us who have been on… I think when I was on Weight Watchers, I don’t know that I ever would’ve said that I felt restricted, but I was. You know what I mean? I do think I felt that way. It felt very controlled and there were rules and I had to follow them, and it just did not feel like any kind of freedom. And so then we start bringing that kind of control into our regular eating even when we’re not following the plan, we’re like, “But this is my chance to have all these amazing things.” And we wonder why we gained the weight back and then some.
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. And I remember panicking, if I had to go somewhere like to a restaurant that didn’t have points values, or sign, I flipped out, I could not.
Katrina Ubell: It was so hard. I know.
Andrea Mazurat: It was so hard because then I would eat offline and that would be it. It took so little to just set me off course.
Katrina Ubell: Right, exactly. It’s 100%, yes, yes, yes. Another thing that you mentioned that I love this because I never thought about this way and I was like, “Yes, exactly.” You see, “My brain also tells me that I want to sleep in every morning when my alarm goes off and I have no drama around that thought.” And I was like, “That is so true. I never, ever want to get up in the morning, but I still do.” So when our brains offer us food, why do we have to be like, “Shoot, Why is it still saying that food is the right thing?” It doesn’t matter, it’s okay.
Andrea Mazurat: I totally thought I was broken, I’m like, “I have come this far for this long, why is it still doing this?” And then when I put the connection there, I’m like, “I never want to get up,” I never want to get blown my alarm goes off unless it’s a vacation day, but I never make that mean anything about that myself. I don’t make it mean that I’m lazy or whatever. So I applied that to my thoughts about food, whenever it offers food, I’m like, “Yeah, but we’re not doing that. That’s okay.”
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. I love that. Yeah. Sometimes we just need that little perspective shift because I think it is, oh, and food and weight and everything. It’s even just societal pressures and there’s just from an early age of making mean something’s wrong with us and are we a good person and valuable, and it all depends on how thin we are versus how we feel when we wake up, we probably have less intense self-loathing around that. Although I think some people probably can where they’re like, “Oh, I need to go to bed earlier,” or whatever. But at the same time, when we wake up and we’re still tired, we’re just like, “Yeah, that’s what happens a lot of the time and that’s okay, I can still just get up.”
I love that. So how did you figure out how to celebrate and relax without food because that is a big challenge for a lot of people?
Andrea Mazurat: Still working on it, to be honest, but I just really de-emphasize the food. So I tried to think about what else I liked about, for example, the holidays. So is it being with people? Is it the decorations? What do I enjoy that is not the food? And so I try and emphasize that and de-emphasize the food. In terms of rewarding myself like if I you accomplish something or whatever, I try to think of other things that I enjoy in my life and doing them. So again, do I go for a walk? Do I get to watch a crappy series, a book, whatever I enjoy and trying to swap it out. And it’s hard when you have like I definitely growing up, if you got A or you did well, you got a treat like a food treat. And so it’s trying to de-emphasize that and replace it.
Katrina Ubell: Right. And I think also a part of it is there’s that little girl within us, that little child within us who wants to be recognized for the good things she did, whether it was just getting through a hard day or saving someone’s life sometimes. There’s been times, I don’t know how often I really saved someone’s life, but there’s times my husband has come home as an ear, nose and throat doctor and he’s just like, “Well, I just saved someone’s life.” And it’s just, we should never be downplaying that and then go grabbing the chocolate. That’s amazing and it’s okay to let yourself practice feeling that emotion of joy, excitement, pride, just knowing that you did a really good thing or you did a really hard thing and you got through and just letting yourself be with that and offering yourself those words that you want to hear so that you’re not asking food then to be rewarding you or patting you on the back.
And that’s building up that relationship with yourself. I think sometimes we want to think that we can rise above that, or that’s just not really that important to us, but all of us like to be acknowledged for what we do and we can offer that to ourselves. And it can be while you’re on a walk or can literally just be like, “I’m just going to sit here for a minute and just let myself bask in my greatness and how good I am.” And I know some people are probably laughing out loud as I say that, but seriously, you can do that. And you get that same feeling or maybe even a better feeling than if you’re eating food.
Andrea Mazurat: Right. Because there’s no downside to it after.
Katrina Ubell: Exactly. Exactly. And the only thing it does is it builds up your relationship with yourself. And that’s really what we as adults get to do is we get to offer ourselves what we always wanted to hear as children. What we often do as children, we may or may not get the responses the way we want them, and then what we often do then as adults is we just carry on the same patterning or we’re still looking for outside approval and we want other people to acknowledge. We coach on this all the time in the program, like, “I did this thing, or had this great accomplishment, why is nobody really noticing it? Or at least not noticing it in the way that I would them to.”
And that’s again, and no judgment at all, but that’s just more of that child part of us that wants that nurturing, wants to be given a huge hug and told that she’s important, and she’s amazing, and that someone’s proud of her, and we can offer that to ourselves. It’s actually very healing so that we aren’t in such a codependent, trying to people please type of a situation. That’s a way that we can start to release that dependence that so many of us have on others.
Andrea Mazurat: Somewhere where that comes up is when you hit your goal weight because the one who really cares about it is you. And I know that it’s it doesn’t really matter, a pound of difference doesn’t matter, but I still secretly had this width that all of a sudden confetti would come down from the sea laying and balloons, it felt one, I’d hit that and it doesn’t. So I’m super happy, but the world goes on and I think that’s why maintenance is so hard because if you hit it, it’s this huge goal that you set for yourself and the world keeps going.
Katrina Ubell: Exactly. And it’s just years later, no one ever says anything about your weight. You have to be offering it to yourself because you will not get it from someone else. So I know that hobbies were important for you in terms of just having some other ways to get some enjoyment and pleasure out of your life. I think this is a huge issue for so many doctors in particular because we basically give up everything that we like to do for fun over the course of our training. And then especially if you throw some kids into the mix or if somebody has a lot of other obligations or care taking or things like that, it’s easy to basically have food be your hobby because you have to eat anyway.
So it’s easy for that to happen. And sometimes we have to reconnect with like, “what do we actually to do? So I’d love to hear more about your process of exploring that.
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah. I think of all of the things in the program, that was actually the hardest for me. And I was telling my husband, when I came out, I was super resistant to it. I’m like, “I don’t have hobbies, I don’t have interest. What’s my hobby? I don’t like anything.” I went through the list and I was like, “No, I don’t like that. Don’t like that, don’t like that.” But I was like, “you know what, I’m going to figure this out because it’s in there for a reason, I would to have a hobby.” So I put out like, “What do I enjoy doing? What things do I enjoy doing? Do I want to do something physical? Do I not? How much time is it going to take? How much money do I want to put into it?”
So I put a list of things that I would enjoy and put a list of things that I already enjoy doing. And I decided, “You know what, I want to do something physical because I haven’t been exercising, I’d like to try to do that, I’m competitive.” And so I bought a Peloton. And I’m not buy the Peloton cult, I’m not endorsing or I’m not paid by Peloton, but I really enjoy it. My husband got into it, so now we have a hobby that the two of us talk about, some of those weird Peloton people, it gives badges and you can argue whether or not that’s good, but it said everything that I enjoy in it, including the music and that I can do as hard or as much, or as little exercise as I want to.
Katrina Ubell: Awesome. I think that’s been a huge part of the draw of the Peloton for me as well, has been great music. I’ve always loved music. It has never become more obvious to me than over the last several years how much moving my body improves my mental outlook. I am just a happier, more grounded person when I have moved my body. I know this to be a fact. So not even with any necessarily health goals in the sense of being stronger or affecting my weight at all, or even better cardiovascular fitness or anything like that. Just literally because my body does better and my brain does better when I move. And all the instructors are fun and they’re inspiring and some of them are funny.
And so there’s different, you find your people that you really enjoy and you get to challenge yourself in a way that you want to, if you want to, when you want to, I think they really hit that sweet spot for people who are who are busy and you can do it anytime you want to. So certainly not a Peloton ad here, but I am a fan as well.
Andrea Mazurat: I didn’t really try it before I got it. So I made a decision, I was going to love it no matter what.
Katrina Ubell: Yeah. It’s so good.
Andrea Mazurat: Even when I couldn’t even clip in the first time, clip in or clip out and I was like, “What have I done?” I was like, “I’m going to love this. I’m going to become this.”
Katrina Ubell: Right. I think that is so good, and of course, the health benefits for you over the long run. We know that exercise is so good for the body for so many reasons, weight loss just does happen to be one of them, but it does actually help with weight maintenance. So even an extra benefit. But I don’t think about any of that when I’m deciding to exercise though, I’m just like, “What is my body feeling like today? Do I want to do extra stretching? Do I really feel like I have energy to push myself or not?” I feel like you get all of those added benefits just for showing up yourself. That’s just a really fun, extra that isn’t even factoring into whether I’m doing it or not.
And that’s just what seems to work well for me, because I feel like at least for me, I spent so many years doing things because they were supposedly healthy, like I was vegan for five years, all the things that are like, “You should eat this and don’t eat that and this is healthy and that’s not healthy.” And it doesn’t play well with my brains. I don’t like to think about things in that framework because it starts feeling weirdly pressury and then what’s the latest research? And now this one’s saying that’s maybe not as healthy. So I’m like, “You know what, what feels good to me?” And that’s what’s going to be best for me and my body and I just can leave the rest.
All right. I always to ask just in case anybody is listening to this and going like, “I don’t know, maybe that sounds really great,” because actually, how much weight have you lost total?
Andrea Mazurat: I lost 90 pounds.
Katrina Ubell: 90 pounds. 90?
Andrea Mazurat: Yeah.
Katrina Ubell: That’s incredible. That is so good. Congratulations. That’s amazing. Not because thinner is better, but because you were wanting to be in a different body and having freedom run fit. And that’s the result.
Andrea Mazurat: My why when I started was I wanted my inside match my outside. I wanted to see what I thought I looked like inside. And so I reached my midpoint BMI goal and I’m actually a little bit thinner because that’s where my body just settled out, which I thought was impossible at the beginning.
Katrina Ubell: That’s so great though. I love it when we think the truth is just a fact and it really is just our belief that limits us. And I had that too. I literally thought there was no possible way that I could ever, ever weigh less than what my Weight Watchers goal weight was like. I just was like, “No, I’d be emaciated or whatever.” I thought I’d be sack of bones or whatever ridiculous thing. So anyway though, for someone who’s listening who’s just like, “I don’t know, maybe I’m interested, I’m curious,” what would you tell them about the Weight Loss for Doctors-Only Program?
Andrea Mazurat: I think the best way to describe it is I was able to do on my own, but what it felt like was a hike on fairly steep incline, a narrow path with the sharp cliff beside it, where I had to spend all of my mental energy just going forward and making sure I didn’t fall, and there was always fear involved. So I could do it, but it was difficult. After going through the Weight Loss for Doctors-Only, it feels like I’m walking on a path in a park, a nice manicured path and there’s still effort. I still actually have to walk and do it, but now I don’t have that fear, I’m not wasting all my mental energy on where my feet are going, I can enjoy the surroundings around me. And if I trip on a pebble or root or something, it’s really easy to get back up. And so that’s the difference that WLDO really gave me.
Katrina Ubell: I love that metaphor. I love that. It’s like, you’re still doing the same thing really overall, but it’s just the experience of it can be so much better. People ask all the time, like, “Can you do it by yourself?” I’m like, “Yeah, you can.” But there’s also a reason why five years into this, I still hire coaches to help me because it’s also really helpful to have someone else on your brain. You know what I mean? Or you’re just like, “I’m a mess today.” And have someone help you to work through that. Can you read medical textbooks and be your own doctor? I guess theoretically yeah, you can or we’re like “Stop doing that. Don’t read WebMD anymore.” But you can do a lot on your own, but then if you can get some expertise from someone who has guided tons and tons of people through this, it just makes it so much easier.
And I think it just takes the pressure off of ourselves to have to always know the answer. Sometimes it’s nice to just be like, “I’m just here to do what I’m essentially told to do.” Obviously you’re still working with someone and it’s still personalized and everything, but it’s not just like… Sometimes I feel like when you’re on your own, you start feeling very isolated and alone. And when you’re not sure what to do, you don’t know how to ask and it starts getting confusing. So it’s just nice to develop those skills.
Andrea Mazurat: And the group aspect of it, you realize that so many other people think exactly the same way you do. And then having other people say what worked for them or thoughts that helped them really pulls you through and you can borrow that from them.
Katrina Ubell: Totally. And I agree with that. There’s times when you’re just maybe having a lull or your motivation isn’t quite there and then you see someone else who’s doing super well and you’re just like, “Okay, I can do this.” Rather than if you’re on your own, it’s so easy to just be like, “I don’t have time for this right now.” Or, “I have a newborn.” You would’ve had very good reasons to say, “I’m taking a break, I’ll wait till the baby’s one,” or whatever it is, and then it’s like, “Hold your baby. Oh, like eight? Oh, okay.”
Well, Andrea, thank you so much for coming on, I appreciate so much you sharing your experience and I just want to congratulate you for all the hard work you’ve done. It’s amazing. And I’m just so excited for you.
Andrea Mazurat: Well, thanks again for having me.
Katrina Ubell: Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals? For lots of free help, go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.