Ep #214: Weight Loss Success Story: Dr. Louise Allan MBBS MRCGP

One of the most fun things for me is to see my work project out into other corners of the world. Today I have the honor of having Dr. Louise Allan on the show to talk about how she struggled with her weight and eventually got down to her goal weight. You’ll hear her interesting story about persistence and finding what works for her when it comes to weight loss.

Dr. Louise is a mother of two teenagers and practicing in family medicine in the UK. Listen in as she discusses her weight loss struggles that started from the age of 6, even leading to her going to Weight Watchers at just 10 years old. You’ll learn how she broke her dysfunctional relationship with food and found a way to heal her mind and body.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How Dr. Louise’s weight affected her from a young age.
  • The ups and down of her weight loss journey.
  • How she decided to go into medicine.
  • The struggle of conflicting messages with food.
  • Discovering the psychology of weight loss.
  • What actually worked to help Dr. Louise lose weight.

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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 214.

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, welcome back, my friend, and if you’re new, welcome to this episode. I’m so glad that you’re here today. I have a really great weight loss success story for you that I can’t wait to share. It’s going to be so fun to share one of our doctors in the UK, who has had immense success in our program. So great.

But before we move on to that, I just want to let you know that if you happen to be listening to this episode the day that it airs on February 16th, 2021, I want to let you know that tonight I’m hosting a free training titled How to Lose Weight for the Last Time, where I’m going to teach you the specific things that need to happen, what you need to do in order to lose weight and keep it off permanently because that’s really what we are all going for here, right? We want to get the weight off, and we want to keep it off forever.

So I want to invite you to come join me tonight. It’s at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 7:30 p.m. Central, 6:30 p.m. Mountain, and 5:30 p.m. Pacific. And if you are somewhere else in the world, please extrapolate from there. Use your timezone adjuster if you need to so that you can join me live. The way to register for it so you can get the link to join me is to go to katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight, L-O-S-E, W-E-I-G-H-T. Again, katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight, and that will get you the link so that you can come join me live. If, for some reason, you know that tonight isn’t going to work for you and you’d just like the recording, register anyway. I will email out the recording the next day, which is tomorrow.

I also want to let you know, if you’re listening to this in a day or two or a week later, and you’re like, “Oh, shoot, darn it. I missed that,” I do have another one coming up in a couple of weeks. So what I want to encourage you to do is just to go to that link, anyway, and see if I have one of these trainings coming up for you that you can register for because chances are I probably do. Again, it’s katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight, L-O-S-E, W-E-I-G-H-T.

Okay. So I want to tell you about Louise Allan. She is an amazing general practitioner in England. She is such a lovely, lovely person. I have to tell you one of the most fun things for me has been seeing my work just project out into various corners of the world. It’s already amazing to feel like you’re making a difference in your own personal country and in North America. But then to start seeing people in other areas of the world also resonating is amazing.

What I’ve learned is that some of the terminology in the UK for doctors is different. We talk about being residents and things like that. Attending physician, they don’t use that. They don’t call themselves physicians, even. They call themselves doctors. There’s definitely some differences. But Lou has told me that it’s really not a big deal, and she was able to figure it out pretty quickly. So that is one of those things that you just don’t even think about, that not everybody uses the same language.

Anyway, Lou is amazing. She is just such a lovely, lovely person, has a great, interesting story about how she struggled with her weight. And she has been someone who has just continued to persist and keep moving, and she has gotten to her goal weight. And she is learning maintenance now, which is, of course, the next step. Losing the weight is the super fun part, and then we learn how to maintain it, which in a lot of ways is different, but in a lot of ways is also the same.

Anyway, I want you to enjoy my conversation with Lou. She is just such a delightful, lovely human being. I can’t wait to share her with you. Please enjoy, and hopefully you can join me tonight on that free training. And if not, then hopefully I’ll see you on one soon. Have a great rest of your week, and I’ll catch you next week. Take care. Bye-bye.

Lou Allan, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Welcome.

Louise Allan:       So good to be here. Really excited.

Katrina Ubell:      I am super excited to talk to you because I think that it’s easy for us to think that it’s different being a doctor somewhere else in the world. And then we come to find out that we’re all struggling with the same things, right?

Louise Allan:       Absolutely, and that’s been amazing, actually, because same thing from UK, you hear the perspective of what the American doctors are like, and they must all have their act together. And then having met all these women, you’re just like, “Oh, they’re the same.” They have the same issues…

Katrina Ubell:      The same issues, exactly.

Louise Allan:       … the same ups and downs and worries and—

Katrina Ubell:      And our Canadian friends, as well, and we have some doctors from other places in the world, too, and we’re all dealing with the same things. It’s been so great. So let’s start by having you just introduce yourself a little bit, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Louise Allan:       I’m Lou. I’m a GP in the UK. I’m 44. I have two children, George and Katie, 15 and nearly 14. I trained in London, and I’ve been a GP now for about 17 years. I guess, a GP in the UK is similar to a family physician, I guess, in-

Katrina Ubell:      Family medicine, I think, is probably what we would say, yeah.

Louise Allan:       Yeah. So to have the same juggles and struggles and career and marriage and kids and ups and downs as everybody, and trying to work it all out, same as we all are.

Katrina Ubell:      Same as we all are. I love it. I love it. So you started off your life with weight struggles early, early on, it sounds like.

Louise Allan:       Yeah. I can remember being back at school and being in class, and I must have been about six or seven, and just being conscious that I was bigger and heavier than other people, and doing the class thing where we all had to line up. And you all got your height measured and your weight measured and just the utter shame and mortification that, “Oh, you’re the heaviest in the class.” And I was one of the taller ones, too, but that didn’t seem to matter, and just always being a bit conscious of that, but loving food. And it was always… I never had a problem clearing my plate. I used to go to friends’ houses, and they would say, “Why can’t you be like Louise and finish everything on the plate?” And I used to look at my friends and think, “Why would you not want to finish everything on your plate?” It was a total mystery to me how anybody would not want to just eat everything.

And, yeah, it sort of carried on like that. I think I was 10 when my mom actually took me to Weight Watchers, because I think she was a bit concerned about the weight. That’s where, I guess, it all started because I did really well. The first week, I went back and all the ladies said, “Well, you’ve lost five pounds. Aren’t you amazing?” And that was such a nice feeling, and you got that sort of buzz from that. But-

Katrina Ubell:      Well, I wonder if it also solidified for you so early on being smaller is good.

Louise Allan:       Good, yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Being heavy is bad. Right?

Louise Allan:       Yes, right.

Katrina Ubell:      And so you get all this praise when you’re smaller. And then, of course, when you gain the weight back, then you get to think terrible thoughts about yourself.

Louise Allan:       Yeah. It definitely sort of carried on like that. And I did like that feeling but really didn’t address any of the underlying why it happened. As a teenager, my favorite pastime was getting my pocket money, buying a book, taking it up to my room with a bag of sweets, and just being left to my own devices, peace and quiet, munching my sweets and reading my book. That was bliss as a teenager. Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      So you really were associating food with all of the best things, right?

Louise Allan:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Sugar is part of that, yeah. And you also had mentioned that you had conflicting messages growing up about your weight and about eating. I know I did, and I know so many people also have, just with this idea of, “You should be thinner, but also let me reward you or treat you with a…

Louise Allan:       Yeah. It was the usual, “Don’t be greedy. Don’t ask for seconds. Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” versus if you did do something really good, it was rewarded with, “Shall we get a takeaway?” or, “Come to the shops with me,” because with my mom, she was like, “Well, we’ll have a chocolate bar at the end to make it nice.” Or treat day was always about having a coffee and cake or a drink and a cake and lunch out and things like that. And it was also that they were from the generation where it was, “Don’t waste food. You eat everything that’s on your plate, and if you don’t eat it all, there is no pudding.”

But then there’s that conflict of, “Well, but if you’re full, why would you want pudding?” Or, “If I’m going to have pudding, maybe I shouldn’t eat everything on the… But no, it was very much, “Don’t waste,” and, “You can’t have that if you haven’t eaten all of this,” sort of things, as well.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, right. And pudding in the UK is what we call dessert, is that correct?

Louise Allan:       Dessert, yes.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay. Okay, just in case. Because we also have pudding, so just… But our pudding is different than what you call pudding, so yes. Yeah, I can identify with that, too, with this idea of, “Well, I want to have a treat at the end, or I want some sort of dessert. So I’ll stuff myself in overeating what the main meal is so that I can have that,” rather than learning to stop at a normal amount of food. Totally. Totally. And then your parents divorced, also, when you were a teen, right?

Louise Allan:       Yeah, yeah. I had that going on, which when they did actually do it, it was quite a relief. But there was a lot of stuff going on around at that time. My dad had become a Jehovah’s Witness and my mom was like, “I don’t really want to choose to be married to him now,” because the beliefs were so different. So I had a lot of that going on. It wasn’t particularly amicable a lot of the time. So there was a lot of stress, which is probably why I liked disappearing up to my room with my bag of sweets and my book because it was my… That was just pleasurable and  could forget about everything else, and it was just good. Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      One thing that I think is so interesting is how you decided early on that you wanted to be a doctor with nobody in the family even going off to university or anything. You just got this in your head and your never wavered from it. This was just the power of belief. Let’s speak about this just for a moment.

Louise Allan:       Right. Absolutely. So I’m the first person in my family to have gone to university. Neither parent had. I always liked school. I was quite good at school. And I can remember watching a program with my mom, it was a medical program, and saying that I thought I wanted to be a nurse, and my mom sort of looking at me just going, “Well, why a nurse? Why not a doctor?” And I was like, “Oh, maybe. Do you think I could do that?” And my mom, she was my champion and she was like, “Absolutely. If you want to do that, you could do that.”

I must have been eight or nine, and something just… That was it. I was going to do that, and I never changed my mind. It never wavered. I can remember being in a class assembly at school and the head teacher saying, “Anybody here want to be a doctor?” and I can remember putting my hand up. I must have been about 10 then.

I mean, it was just amazing. I had no doubt that I wasn’t ever going to get there or I wasn’t going to do it. I worked hard. I wasn’t naturally… I mean, I enjoyed school, but apparently, my mom went to parents evening and my chemistry teacher told her, “Don’t tell Louise this, but I don’t think she’s going to get the grades. I don’t think she’s going to do it, but don’t tell her that. We’ll do what we can. We’ll encourage her and everything.”

And my mom came home from this parents evening saying, “Oh, yeah, you can do it. It’s going to take a lot of work, but your teacher’s … Yeah, of course I’m going to do it. Of course I’m going to do it. It wasn’t until I actually got my grades and got my place at medical school that my mom said, “Actually, it was the worst night of my life. They just said they don’t think you’re going to do it.”

Katrina Ubell:      In the UK, that’s determined at the end of high school, that you’re going off to… When is that determined?

Louise Allan:       Yeah, 18.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, 18, yeah. Okay, okay. Yeah.

Louise Allan:       That, and even at medical school, it was hard. I failed anatomy at the end of the first year, which in many ways is the best thing that ever happened because I never failed a test after that. I was so, “Oh, my goodness. This is not how it’s supposed to go.”

Katrina Ubell:      Because you still had that belief. You’re like, “Wait, I’m not the person who fails out of medical school. I’m the one who gets through it.” Yeah.

Louise Allan:       Absolutely, yeah. So-

Katrina Ubell:      I love that. That’s just the power of belief, right? You just decided, “This is what I’m going to do.” I just think it’s important because when we recognize that we’ve unwaveringly believed something and then created it, we can realize there’s other big goals that can seem really impossible that we can also decide to believe and accomplish, i.e. weight loss permanently, right? Yeah, so good.

Louise Allan:       Yeah. It just didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t going to happen. I used to imagine what it was going to be like when I got my white coat and my bleep and what it was all going to be like.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Oh, my gosh. Is a bleep what you guys call a pager?

Louise Allan:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Bleep. Oh, that’s so cute. I love that. Okay. So you were gaining and losing, it sounds like, then, right? You’d gain some weight and then lose it again?

Louise Allan:       I can remember buying a skirt because it was a bit of a trauma getting uniforms that fit. I know it was a size 18 UK. I think that’s a 14 U.S.?

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, somewhere around there. Yeah.

Louise Allan:       Maybe, but sadly big for a 13-year-old girl. Then, I think various things… I always remember the whole Weight Watchers thing where, “Well, if I eat certain foods and if I count this out and if I do this, then I know I might lose weight.” So I went through phases where I’d diet quite restrictively. I don’t know. Do you have Ryvita? It’s a brand, biscuits.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, yes. It’s kind of like eating cardboard?

Louise Allan:       Yeah, exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, okay. Yes.

Louise Allan:       I’d have that for my lunch and the Diet Coke. I did lose quite a bit. And I think hormones kicked in a bit, as well, and I grew a bit. Then I lost a load of weight. And that was really good, loads of kudos and praise and could go and shop in normal shops. That was great. Then exam stress, parents splitting up, life happens, and it’s not sustainable. You go back to the old habits and the bags of sweets. By the time I’d finished school to go to uni, it crept back on again.

I definitely get my energy from being on my own sometimes. I need my own space. So, going off to uni, never having had anybody in the family do it, so I’ve got nobody saying, “This is how it goes,” I did find it quite difficult to begin with, meeting people. And everything’s about food and drink when you start, as well. “Let’s go out for dinner,” “Let’s go for drinks,” this very social thing. So that was part of it.

But I do remember my first year at uni, one of my classmates saying to me, “Well, it would be a lot easier to learn surface anatomy if you could actually see your bony landmarks,” and just being absolutely mortified that, “Oh, god, I’m so fat that I can’t even find my clavicles and things.” So the same thing happened through uni. Second year uni, decided I was going to do something about it. Went to the gym loads, lost loads of weight, did Weight Watchers again. It’s been that yo-yo up and down.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. So you met your husband then, too, right?

Louise Allan:       Yes. Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Then did you guys eat together?

Louise Allan:       Our first proper date, he took me out for quite an expensive meal. I was trying to be ever so ladylike and polite and eat like a mouse. “Really, I’m not a greedy… And he looked at me when I declined dessert and said, “What do you mean? Doesn’t everybody got a second pudding stomach?” And I think, at that point, it’s like, “Oh, well, I’m going to marry you.” Yeah, so a lot of our life was about eating and drinking and socializing. That’s totally what we did for a long time. He gained a load of weight, as well.

Then we got married. So you have that whole, “I’m not going to be the fat bride. I’m going to lose weight.” That was my compelling reason. I did lose a load of weight for my wedding. And almost a year to the day after getting married, I gave birth to George, my son. I ate for three or four during the pregnancy rather than one or two that I should’ve been. And 18 months later, Katie arrived. Then you’ve got two children, and trying to work, juggle it all. So it was unsurprising that I had no other way of dealing with it. The weight went up again.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah, the old way that it always was. Did you say your husband lost 100 pounds?

Louise Allan:       Yeah. He had got really, really overweight, and it came up with the insurance, that he was really worried that he was going to fail this insurance medical because he had high blood pressure. And he actually did scare himself because he developed sleep apnea, as well, and got given this CPAP machine. I think that was it. He was just like, “This is not happening.”

He ended up doing a very low-calorie diet. It was four food packs a day, 600 calories. I ended up doing that with him, sort of a light version where I had a small meal. He lost seven stone, so about 100 pounds. I lost nearly three stone, which is about, I suppose, 42 pounds. It was great while we did it, and I did learn a lot through it because I learned that I can certainly not eat between meals, and I can not snack.

So it did teach me a lot. I can cook something for the kids without having to … so I did learn a lot through that. But once you came off the food packs, it was just… There was no… didn’t really understand why or how to change that. You know what you need to eat healthy, but just that whole comfort eating or managing it and everything just didn’t happen.

He’s managed really well in the sense that he’s not put all the weight back on. He’s one of those percentage that haven’t, but he still goes back to that. That’s his way of managing it. And I just got to a point where I’m like, “I just want to eat real food. For me, this isn’t a sustainable way of managing my weight for the next 20, 30, 40 years.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, the rest of your life. Right, yeah.

Louise Allan:       Yeah. I just got to a place where I needed to do something different. I think I’d had a period at work where I’d got very anxious and very stressed and ended up taking nearly six months out of the practice before working back in full-time again with burnout, I guess is what you’d call it. That combined… I did have some help during that time from a psychologist who was very much, “You have a choice. Your thoughts, you don’t have to believe them. You can think anxious thoughts, but you don’t have to fuse with them. You don’t have to believe it.” I think that was the beginning, as well, of thinking, “Well, okay, there’s a different way.”

Then, during that period, I’d started fiddling a bit with intermittent fasting. When I went back to work, one of my colleagues was like, “Wow, what have you been doing?” Because I had lost quite a bit of weight because I’d made this decision, “While I’m off, I’m going to try and… because I’d put loads of weight on again during that time because of comfort eating. And she started with a bit of fasting, as well. She set up a Facebook group for doctor moms for fasting.

That’s been great. They’re a great community in the UK. And it was through that Facebook group that I heard about your podcast. We were listening to different things and recommending. And somebody said, “Oh, have you heard of Katrina Ubell. I listened to it, and it was like the whole, “Oh, yeah, this is exactly what… The psychology of thoughts control your feelings.” It’s not a fact. And it just all, “This makes sense. This woman has something to say that I need to listen to.” Yeah, it really resonated.

Katrina Ubell:      Awesome. Awesome. Then, how long was it that you listened to the podcast before you signed up for the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program?

Louise Allan:       Actually, it was quite a while. I hovered over the button to join the group on more than one occasion. I think it was about two years before I actually did the group because I kept thinking, “I can do this without the class. I can do this without being part of the program.” I’m a great consumer. I love listening to podcasts, but I don’t think I ever actually did a proper thought download before joining the program. It was like, “Oh, I’m doing it in my head. It’s fine. I know about fasting, and I can do that. Honestly, really, do I need to do no sugar, no flour? Because as long as I’m just really careful in my eating window and I have a clean fast, it’ll be fine.”

The great thing with that for me was it works really well while I’m doing it. But as soon as anything comes up or you go on holiday or life’s a bit stressy, it just goes off the boil. It just felt so hard, then, getting back into it because I was doing 20-hour fasts mostly with one meal a day and then just going mad in that meal because I had to get it all in.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s basically like a planned binge, right? It’s like you allow yourself to binge, essentially. That’s what a lot of people do with that kind of plan, yeah.

Louise Allan:       Because it wasn’t about what I was eating in the window. It was just about the timing of the window. And it was just a way of controlling it, I guess. I just-

Katrina Ubell:      What took you over the edge then? Yeah, two years, what finally was the final push?

Louise Allan:       Having listened to your podcast, I decided that… Once I’d gone back to work, I thought, “I don’t want to be in this practice,” not because they weren’t lovely. Just, “I can’t see me doing this for the next 20 years.” And I listened to your podcast, and it’s saying, “Make sure you love your job before you leave it.” So I was like, “Right, I’m going to give myself a year, and I’m going to give it everything. I’m going to work, try different things and see how it goes. And if at the end of the year, I still feel that I want to leave, then that’s okay. I can leave.”

And I did. So I decided to do that for a bit. I have family in Australia. I was like, “Well, this is great because I’m going to take the summer off with the kids, and I’m going to go to Australia.” I went to Australia, and I had a fabulous time, a fabulous time, but came back somewhat heavier than I left the UK, so a bit of extra baggage. Then it was just on this upward trajectory, which I’ve noticed, looking back, that I tend to… Summer holidays were really bad, and then it was a real struggle to figure out what to do before Christmas. Then it used to just be, “Oh, well, stuff it. I’ll sort it out in January. Let’s just get it in January.”

I could just see this happening again last year. This is going mad. I was like, “It’s time to do something different.” So I signed up in October for the January course because I was just like, “What have I got to lose? This has got to be worth it.”

Katrina Ubell:      When you start noticing patterns for yourself, right? You’re like, “I’ve done this, and I’ve done this. Then I’m still dealing with my stress or the holidays, exactly, things like that, and I’m still overeating when it comes to that.” Yeah, yeah.

Louise Allan:       And totally coincidentally, one of the other admins for the Facebook group, Claudia, signed up on the same day. But we didn’t know, too, that-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, that’s so fun. Yes.

Louise Allan:       I was like, “I’ve done it. I’ve done it.” And she was like, “So have I.”

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, yay. So you came in, and it wasn’t like… I think this is really good because I think some people think that the people who have success come into the program and immediately like, “Great. I love every part of this. All of it’s amazing. I’m going to do all of it fully.” And that wasn’t totally your experience. Yet you still got great results, and it’s totally changed your life. Let’s talk about that.

Louise Allan:       For me, the no sugar, no flour, I really didn’t want to do. But I was a bit, “Okay, I’m going to give this a go. I paid this money to do it. I might as well actually do it.” So, having done some fasting before, that wasn’t so bad. But other bits of the program are just… like thought downloads. I still was like, “What is a thought download? Why do I have to do it? Is it really going to… It’s in my head. I don’t need to write this down.”

I’ve been in WLDO for six months, and I’m in Masters now. Being in Masters and having the accountability grid, we set ourselves a chAllange of doing one every day, even if it was just for three minutes, to do it. And, oh, my god, three months ago, I was like, “Why did I not do this before? This is just a game-changer.” And now, if I don’t do it, it’s, “Oh, I’ve not done it today.” It’s not right. And it’s really noticeable, or there’s usually… It’s an, “Hm, what’s going on?” Because you haven’t done it, something’s going on for you. Like, “What is that?” And it’s so interesting.

And sometimes it’s just utter nonsense, and there’s nothing terribly interesting in there. And other times, it’s really juicy, and you’re like, “Oh.”

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Well, I love it when I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. I had no idea that was in there.” It’s so fun to find out: what do I really think, get to know yourself on that deeper level. Then you also, in coming up with your own eating protocol… because in the program, you don’t get handed just like, “Eat this way.” You create it yourself, obviously with our assistance. But you create it yourself, and there’s a reason for that because when you create it yourself, you can change it in the future. And you’re not rebelling against somebody else. But you didn’t like that, right?

Louise Allan:       No. I was just like, “I paid this money. Just tell me what to do, and I will do it.” So I think that’s probably why I like the no sugar, no flour because it’s like that’s a simple instruction, and I can follow that. I can do that. Then, when you’re just like, “Well, what do you think? Do you want that on your protocol? As long as you like your reasons.” And I’m like, “What do you mean?”

I suppose the other thing that was a little bit off to me was, having done the one meal a day for a while, I was really scared about doing two meals. Naturally, as a teenager, I never was a breakfast person. It was sold as the important meal of the day, but I used like I was shoveling it down. I felt a bit sick. So not having breakfast is no biggie for me. I’m much happier to do that. But introducing back in a lunchtime meal, I was really like, “I’m not sure about this. How is that going to work and I’m not going to gain weight?” That has been really good because I have a salad/protein/fat lunch. Then I have a hot meal. That stopped me. I’m much better at not overeating now because of that.

But the other thing that I was really not happy about was: what is this planning in advance? How do I know what I’m going to want to eat on any set day? And your bell in my ear is this saying, “Well, you’re not going to want to eat it all the time, but you’re going to eat it anyway because that’s what you said you’re going to eat.” I can remember thinking, “Oh. No, I don’t want it.” And I was like, “Actually, that was quite nice. I didn’t really fancy it, but it was good.”

COVID has actually, in many ways, been really helpful because I used to do all the food shopping. And I never used to write a list because it’s all in my head, and I don’t need to write it down, a bit like thought downloading. My husband’s been working from home since March, and particularly when we have very tight lockdown. He was like, “Please, can I go and do the grocery shop? Because that means I get to leave the house.”

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, right.

Louise Allan:       I was going out to work every day. And he’s like, “But I need a list.” I was like, “Oh, my crikey. You need a list.” It made me sit down and actually plan what we were all having for the week and how many bags of veg we’re going to need and how much of this, that, and the other. I was like, “Well, I’ve written the list now. That’s what’s we’re going to have.” Because we were really only allowed to have once a week for the food shop during lockdown. So that was that. And I was like, “I’m never going back.” It just so much easier.

It’s so weird when you say that constraint is freeing. It really is because I don’t have all that food chatter. I don’t have that time wasted. It’s just that’s what’s on the menu plan. That’s what we’re having. Yes, occasionally, you need a plan B or a plan C when one of the teenagers with hollow legs has eaten what you had planned, but that’s fine. You’ve got the tools now to know what to do about that. It’s not drama, and it’s not like a panic, panic. It’s just so easy.

Katrina Ubell:      Just figure it out. Let me ask you this, though. I’m just curious. I think there are people who come into the program, and they have the same thoughts as you. They have resistance, which is totally normal. Of course our brains are going to resist this. They’re like, “Listen. What we’ve got is a good thing. Sure, you think you’re too heavy, but forget that part. How else are we going to cope with life if you aren’t overeating?” So of course we’re going to have resistance.

But there are people who then believe all their stories about, “This is nonsense. This doesn’t make sense. I’m not going to do this.” Of course, then they don’t get results. I’m curious why you, even though you had those thoughts of resistance, decided to keep going and to try things.

Louise Allan:       I think a lot of it is because of the coaching that you get in the program, as well. It’s like, “Well, let’s see.” There’s an experiment. I’d got so fed up with how things were before, and it had to be worth a try doing something different. I’m thinking, “Well, okay, let’s give this a go and see if it works because, really, what’s the alternative? And maybe it will work.”

Then you start seeing results, and that belief becomes a bit stronger. I think, as well, it’s not a linear… You have bits where the weight loss is slower, and you think, “Why is this happening?” And trying to get your head to a place where the scale is neutral is interesting. I would say it’s not a bright color anymore, but it’s more pastel. It’s definitely not quite neutral. But I think, as well, thinking purposefully, I was having real trouble with the scale and then was like, “Well, decide how you’re going to feel before you get on the scale.” I was like, “You what? What are you talking about?”

You think, “Right, well, if it’s gone up, that’s useful data. And if it’s gone down, then that’s fine, too. And if it’s stayed the same, that’s fine too.” And then when you get on the scale and you see the number, it is just a number, and that’s data. And weighing every day is so important because you do realize that, actually, there’s so much fluctuation. If I only did it once a week, I’d probably be really panicking about things because sometimes a week apart, it can’t look very different. But you see that, in the middle, there’s been a bit of a dip, and it’s come back up a bit.

People laugh at me now with taking my travel scales. I mean, the people I go with now, they just know, although I did have a bit of an interesting time last weekend. I went away, and the travel scale… The battery had run out. It said I was 30 pounds lighter. Well, that…

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, it’s funny. Well, I love what you’re saying, though, because I’ll be honest, I’ve had the exact same experience, where my brain is like, “This isn’t going to work. This is stupid,” all doubts like, “This doesn’t make any sense.” But I think the reason that I get the results that I get personally is because I’m willing to at least try it. I’m like, “Well, I’m willing to be wrong. I mean, I think I’m right, but maybe I’m wrong. So I guess I’ll try it and see.” Then it’s so pleasantly surprising when you try it and you end up actually loving it and it ends up totally changing your life. Sometimes I just think, “Well, if I’m the expert, I’m going to think so fondly about the way I think I should do it. Yet I don’t do that. Then that’s still not working. I still have to find something that actually is going to work and is actually going to create those results that I want.” So I love that. Okay. Oh, go ahead.

Louise Allan:       But I also found that there is not one size that fits all. I think what works for me and what I eat works for me at the moment. But it probably wouldn’t work for everybody. I genuinely think having read The Obesity Code and then started reading more widely around it, that there isn’t… Some people will do better with more carbs, and some people will do better with less. My lifestyle is like this. It works at the moment with the hours that I’m doing. But it’s took me a long time to get rid of that, “Why can’t you just tell me what to do?”

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Right, right. I think it’s so good when you can finally get to that place of recognizing, “The reason I love eating this way so much is because I created it.” In the beginning, when we’re like, “Just tell me what to do,” it’s just because we’re in emotional childhood. We’re like, “I don’t want to have to put the hard work in. Someone else do it for me. Someone push me around in the stroller.” That’s what I think of for myself, like, “I don’t want to walk. Someone push me.”

But then you realize it’s so much better to do it yourself. Then, if your schedule changes or whatever changes, you’re like, “Great. I don’t need someone to tell me what to do. I can do that on my own.”

Louise Allan:       And not to be in a hurry.

Katrina Ubell:      Not to be in a hurry, I know, right? That is sometimes the hardest part. So you have lost 32 pounds?

Louise Allan:       Yeah, it’s up a bit now, 34 now. I’m getting there. I’m inching there.

Katrina Ubell:      So good. So good. How many more pounds do you want to lose?

Louise Allan:       I think I’ve got five left to go to get to that mid-

Katrina Ubell:      To go, okay. Yeah, to that goal.

Louise Allan:       It’s taking its time, but that’s fine. I’m-

Katrina Ubell:      That’s exactly the way it should be because think of all that work that you’re doing mentally and emotionally to get yourself there.

Louise Allan:       Every other time I’ve tried anything, it’s always been with the aim of getting to a BMI of 24.9. That’s it. I can stop now. And I think that was my initial goal when I started this, is like, “That’s where I want to be.” Then you think, “Well, actually, maybe a mid-BMI would be a good place to be for so many reasons, health reasons. And just let’s see if you can get there.” And I really, absolutely believe I will, but it might take some time.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, and that’s okay. That’s totally okay. So, as far as the work that you’ve done in the program, so Weight Loss for Doctors Only and for Masters, you’ve worked on all kinds of different things: relationships, confidence at work, people pleasing less, your relationship with yourself, loving yourself, words around your thoughts, things like that. Any big takeaways from that that you could share?

Louise Allan:       When you start the program, it’s all about the weight loss. I can’t remember. I think I might’ve asked something recently, just a bit about the hunger scale because I think that’s what I really need to tune into properly to get the last few pounds off. But actually, the rest of the coaching has been nothing to do with the weight loss at all. It’s just the stuff at work, stuff, relationships with my husband, my kids, my in-laws. This has happened, or this is my relationship with alcohol. And it’s nothing that… I would say the amount of questions, for the coaching, about the weight loss is… After the first month, it’s negligible. It’s just so much more than that. And it’s why-

Katrina Ubell:      And it’s not because we don’t want to talk about food anymore. It’s because we realize when you stop overeating, you’re like, “Oh, these are my real problems. This is what I actually need help with. I just didn’t realize. I thought I just liked food. I thought I just liked sweets or potato chips or whatever it was.” Then you realize it’s not that at all.

Louise Allan:       No, and there is so much stuff still to work through and still to do, and that’s fine. I’m learning these skills, and I’ll be able to do it for life. It’s just so much more than just a weight loss program.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Right, right, right. Yeah. I love that. I love that. Then, as far as being in the UK and being in the program, that hasn’t really been a problem, right?

Louise Allan:       Not at all. It felt like a little bit of a gamble at the start because you’re kind of like, “Culturally, is it going to be a good fit? And time-wise, will it work?” There’s such a variation in call times. I think those are the only things that I struggled to get to because they were about 2:00 in the morning UK time. But everything’s recorded. So you can go back and watch it, anyway. So it’s never, ever really felt like it’s been a problem. You get one-to-one coaching, and they’re all at times of weekends, evening UK time. The written coaching is fantastic. Again, I found that a little bit tricky to start with. I was thinking, “Well, what if I ask the wrong thing?” And then you soon realized that there was no such thing as the wrong class. And the written coaching is brilliant. There’s so many resources.

Then, with Masters, the community side of it is really good, as well, and getting to know some of the amazing women that have their own struggles and things and really encouraging each other in keeping it going’s been fab. But I would say no issue at all. So, if anybody in other time zones is thinking about doing it, it’s not an issue.

Katrina Ubell:      Well, I’m glad to hear that from you because, if I were living in a different continent, I would have those thoughts, for sure. I would totally be like, “Wait, is this going to work? Am I going to be able to do this?” We really do think about… I would say that we have between 5 and 10 clients at any time that are outside of… out of North America. But we think about all of you so much, making sure, and what can we do? Does that work for them? And trying to make it work for everybody, so, yes, we love that. That’s so good. And, like you said, you realize, culturally, everybody’s struggling with the same thing. It really is okay. Yes, absolutely. Oh, my gosh. Okay. Any final thoughts that you would offer to somebody who’s struggling like you?

Louise Allan:       If you’re struggling, listen to the podcast. Do the work because listening on its own isn’t enough. But I’ve got absolutely no regrets about doing the program. It’s been amazing. So definitely think about it. I’ve enjoyed it so much. I’ve actually signed with a life coach school to do certification. The skills and the coaching, I think is something that I can apply to work with patients. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it at the end of it. But it’s just trying to help other people see that it’s their thoughts that are creating the feelings and such. It’s just been really game-changing to do it, as well.

Katrina Ubell:      When I first signed up, I’m like, “I just want to be able to teach my children. I don’t want them to have to wait until they’re 40 to find out their thoughts create their feelings.” That’s what I had thought back in that time. Oh, I love it. That’s so great. Honestly, I think of that as the biggest compliment, that you got such great results in the program that you thought, “You know what? I want to do that, too, and I don’t even know how. But I’m going to do it at some point, somehow.”

Oh, my gosh. I don’t know if you can hear my dog complaining in the background, but I think he’s telling us that we’re finished. So, Lou, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story with us.

Louise Allan:       It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.

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.


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