Ep #147: Weight Loss Success Story with Neethi Patel, MD

Today I am so excited to share an amazing conversation with my client, Dr. Neethi Patel. Neethi developed eating problems as she was growing up, and after losing all the weight several years ago, she was hit by a car and forced to start all over again. In this episode, she shares her experience with weight gain, as well as what finally changed for her and made her decide to do something about the weight.

Neethi is incredibly relatable, and I know our conversation is something that will be really meaningful and impactful for you. Listen in as we discuss why she stopped making excuses, the importance of having a positive mindset, and more.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What pushed Neethi to do something about her weight.
  • How she changed her mindset and stopped making excuses.
  • Why your weight doesn’t determine your worth.
  • How Neethi’s relationships changed after her weight loss.
  • The importance of celebrating little wins.

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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 147.

Welcome to Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, the podcast where busy doctors like you get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight so you can feel better and have the life you want. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Hey there, my friend. Welcome back to the podcast. So happy to have you here. I have got another amazing, amazing conversation for you today with my client, Neethi Patel. She is the best. They’re all the best. I’m just going to refer to them all as the best, just so you know. She came on and just told her whole story. You are not going to want to miss this. She is so relatable. She’s just like all of us. Everything she was saying, I was like, “Yes, yes, yes. That was me, too. That was me, too.” So I know that this is going to be something that is really going to be meaningful and impactful for you, my listener, which is why I had her come on.

As you know, I asked some of my masters clients, the clients who have been with me for a while, to kind of pitch me why should they come on the podcast and why would you, my listener, want to listen, and she had such a good description of what she wanted to share with you. So she was someone who was more naturally thin growing up and then developed more eating problems during her training, like so many of us. And I know that you’re going to really be able to relate to her whole story, so you are not going to want to miss is.

Before we get started, though, I do want to just let you know that I am going to be hosting a free online training next week, November 14th. It’s a Thursday, in the evening, and I’m going to talk to you about whether or not you are ready to lose weight. And I think this is something that’s really important to think about as the holidays are approaching, as you’re starting to think about what you want to be doing moving forward. Are you going to lose weight now, finally? Are you not? Are you going to gain 10 to 15 pounds over the holidays coming up? Are you not? So I wanted to do this training so that you could get a little bit more focused as to whether losing weight is the right thing for you to be doing as your next step. Now, that might be with me. It might be with somebody else. But regardless, I think this is going to be really good information for you.

So the call will be live at 8:30 PM Eastern Time or 5:30 PM Pacific. Of course, if you can’t make it live, just make sure you sign up for the training anyway and then we’ll send you the recording when we’re done. But try your best to make it live because it’s always better when you’re on live, right? Then you just can ask questions and be really engaged. So the way to sign up for that is to go to KatrinaUbellMD.com/ready, R-E-A-D-Y. KatrinaUbellMD.com/ready. So just go there and you can get yourself registered for that training. We’ll have a great time. We always have so much fun together. And I will talk to you about that.

I will also let you know a little bit more about placing your deposit to hold your spot in my upcoming weight loss group that I’ll start in January. If that’s something you’re interested in, then great. You can stay on and I’ll tell you more about it. If it’s not something you’re interested in, that’s completely fine. You can just come on, get the great help that I’m going to be offering you anyway, and then when I start talking about the program, you can just hop off. So there is no pressure or anything like that. We just have a nice time and I get to teach you some things that I think will make a really big difference for you.

So, again, one more time, KatrinaUbellMD.com/ready. And with that, let’s get it on talking with Neethi. She is so great. I can’t wait for you to hear this. Have a great one, and I’ll talk to you next week.

Hey, Neethi. Welcome to the podcast.

Neethi Patel:       Hi. Thank you for having me, Katrina. I’m so excited.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m so happy to have you here. Thank you for volunteering. Everyone’s going to be really excited to hear about your story. I am excited to hear more about it. Let’s just start off with you telling us a little bit more about yourself, just your work, your life, your-

Neethi Patel:       Sure.

Katrina Ubell:      … personal stuff, all that.

Neethi Patel:       Awesome. So I am a pediatrician in the Detroit, Michigan area. And I have a husband and two lovely kids, 10 and 12, and I work with my dad, which is kind of a unique thing.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, fun.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. So my dad’s a pediatrician and I joined his practice about 12 years ago now, so. But in general, I would say that I would consider myself one of those people who thought that they had everything, other than the weight, right? So I was not overweight my whole life. I actually really didn’t struggle with my weight for real until I was a resident and during residency just really … At the time that I was a resident, I was single. I did not have children. I come from a culture where being married is a huge part of your identity and I wasn’t, and I was having trouble finding somebody. And I think at that time, I just really turned to food. Being up late in the middle of the night and living alone and didn’t have a lot of things that brought me joy. Food became the joy.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Free food in the cafeteria. Free ice cream. All that stuff, it became the highlight of my day. And it just really cemented it, and it just stayed. So when I did feel like I got all of the other things that I was dreaming up, my dream job, my dream husband, my children, two children, everything seemed so wonderful. But weight was my Achilles heel, and I couldn’t figure it out. And I tried lots of things. I even did lose the weight a few years ago, and then I got hit by a car.

Katrina Ubell:      Wow. God.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. So this just made my story that I was telling myself that like, “Nope. I’m not meant to lose this weight. This is who I’m supposed to be. This is my one flaw in life. If I solve this problem, everything’s going to blow up.” And-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, right. Right, like if you solve this problem, what else will become a problem?

Neethi Patel:       Yes, exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh. That’s an interesting belief. Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. This has to be the thing, if I’m going to choose a struggle for my life, this is the struggle I want. And I can handle this. So I started trying to work with self-love and accepting myself as I was, and I was exercising, I was eating healthy. It wasn’t like I was this person who wasn’t taking care of myself. I just was struggling to get the weight off.

Katrina Ubell:      How much excess weight do you think you had on?

Neethi Patel:       I was 200 pounds, and I’m 5’3, so I was obese.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay.

Neethi Patel:       I was obese for my frame. And I always told myself the story of like, “Oh, I’m so blessed because I carry the weight so well. No one would know that I’m 200 pounds.” And this is the story I told myself. I even convinced myself that because I took such good care of myself, I ate vegetables, I exercised five days a week, that even though my BMI was high, that I wasn’t going to be one of those people who was at-risk. Even though I had gestational diabetes with my pregnancies and had a 10-pound 12-ounce child due to my weight-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, wow.

Neethi Patel:       So I think I was in a little bit of denial. And about a year and a half ago or so, and I had been kind of had listened to your podcast and I remember there was this one episode where you say, “You can just love yourself and that’s just not the work that I’m talking about, but you could totally do that. Just love yourself as you are.” And I remember listening to that episode and being like, “That’s where I am right now. I’m not ready to make the commitment.” So I just listened and consumed but didn’t really feel ready to do the work.

And then in July of 2018, I went to my doctor’s appointment and my hemoglobin A1C was .1 below and my sugar was high, and I hit this moment of like, “What am I doing? I know better than this.” And after two weeks of being ashamed and feeling like I should know better and what kind of doctor am I that I can’t set a good example, and after beating myself for a long time, I said, “Okay. It’s time to do something about this.” And so I started listening to your podcast religiously with the intention of making the changes. I read the obesity code. And I implemented a lot of the food changes and the dietary changes that you suggested in the podcast, and had great luck. Within six weeks, I had lost 15 pounds. I felt fat-adapted at that time. I had not eliminated flour and sugar, but I had done the intermittent fasting and that kind of stuff. And I felt like this was great.

And it was around that time that you had a September group enrolling, and I hemmed and hawed and hemmed and hawed and just was like … Talked to my husband and he was like, “You’ve got this. You’re doing so well. You don’t need to join the program for real.” And so I was like, “Okay. I’m going to keep doing this on my own.” And I did have success, but just at the back of my head, I just kept thinking, “It can’t be as simple as what this podcast is. There’s got to be more in it for me.” And of course, I wasn’t doing any of the thought work. I was not doing any of those kinds of things. It was mostly all about the weight and the numbers for me.

Katrina Ubell:      Food-focused, right.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. It was all food-focused and just … And even though those things were going really well, there was so much other things I didn’t even know were a problem for me that I hadn’t identified yet. So I just kind of went into it like, “I want to do this for myself.” I didn’t really necessarily have a plan or a goal, other than I wanted to continue to lose the weight and get to a normal BMI. And so I decided I was going to do this for myself, and so I made it happen monetarily and I was like, “This is the gift to myself. I think the best thing that I can do for myself. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll know I tried.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. So even-

Neethi Patel:       If it doesn’t change anything-

Katrina Ubell:      Even after your husband said, “No, I don’t think you need to do it,” you were like, “Yeah, I’m going to do it anyway?” Or were you still like-

Neethi Patel:       Well, it took me … I had missed the deadline, so I just-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, okay.

Neethi Patel:       I was going to do it the next time that it came around, and then-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Okay.

Neethi Patel:       … the next time was January.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, okay. Got it.

Neethi Patel:       So I did still think about it a lot for three months.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       But I just kind of around Thanksgiving, I decided, “Nope. I’m doing this for myself.”

Katrina Ubell:      Okay.

Neethi Patel:       Because at that point, we had gone on vacations, and I could see it not being permanent, and I was like, “I will be so upset if I gain back the weight and didn’t do it.” And I was like, “You know what? It’s great that things are going well, but I should make this happen.” So I decided to do that. And I joined in January. And at the point that I was at I January, I had lost about 20 pounds already. And just didn’t really think that I would lose a lot more weight because I just … I don’t know, it didn’t seem possible. I had been so good-

Katrina Ubell:      No, isn’t it funny when you just think, you’re like, “That’s really-”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      “That’s for other people.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      “Not something my body can do.”

Neethi Patel:       Total special snowflake syndrome. I was like, “No, my body type, I’m curvy woman. My body’s probably not going to change. But at least I know I tried. If I try this and it doesn’t work, I know I’ve tried everything.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       That’s kind of my thinking process. Yeah. And then I eliminated the flour and sugar, and that obviously helped a ton.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       But the other thing … So since then, since January, I’ve lost 40 more pounds.

Katrina Ubell:      Wow.

Neethi Patel:       And I’m still trying to get to the normal BMI. And so I’m still working on that. But really, this last 10 months, my journey has been just about all of the other things, the mind drama that I had before, and just taking responsibility for my life. That’s really been the best feeling. Just how many things I felt like were happening to me, and how many situations I was feeling at the mercy of my crazy schedule, right? “My schedule’s too crazy. I have family and I have in-laws and I have this and that and our culture’s just all about not having routines.” And just the stories that I told myself, and just … Even now, when I tell myself a story, being able to recognize that, “Okay, you’re telling yourself this story. You can indulge in this for a little bit. And then you can just kind of like … Then when you’re ready, you can start to be responsible and become solutions-focused and fix the problem.” And how many of things that I’ve been able to apply that to in my life has just been completely life-changing.

Katrina Ubell:      Wow. So what did your husband think when you decided to sign up, even though he had been like, “You’re totally fine.” Was he okay with it?

Neethi Patel:       He was. I mean, I told him I was going to do this, and he was like, “Okay.” He was supportive. I mean, he definitely was supportive. I think he was probably thinking that the urge would go away and that I would not want to do it. But I think … He was like, “I’m going to do everything with you so we can get a two-for-one deal.”

Katrina Ubell:      You know what? That’s exactly what I told my husband when I signed up for my weight loss thing. I was like, “Listen, I’ll tell you all the stuff and then you can lose the weight, too.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. So he was like, “I’m going to do everything with you.” And he lasted about a couple months.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       He’s not overweight, so he really doesn’t have the same issues. And he does it sometimes, but there’s lots of problems I can solve for him if he’d let me, but-

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       … I’m not making him my job.

Katrina Ubell:      Your work is to remember that he gets to live his own life.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      Do whatever he wants to do.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. Yeah. So he was supportive. And really, I think, once I … I mean, within two weeks of me even joining the program, I think he’ll still say this is the best investment I’ve ever made in myself. Even when I decided to join masters, he was absolutely on-board, so.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally get it. Yeah. I find that that’s the case so often, is the husbands at first are like, “I don’t really know.” And then once they see the changes, they’re like, “Yes. Do it all. Do everything you can do.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s so great. And not the body changes, right?

Neethi Patel:       Correct. Oh yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Just because you’re so much happier, you’re not freaking out about stuff. All the things that just make it challenging on someone.

Neethi Patel:       I know. It’s so interesting. Because a few … We were just talking about this before I even came on the call, and I was asking him what were the changes, and just the biggest thing that I felt like he … I didn’t even know he noticed is just I was so mad at myself for not being able to lose the weight. Even though I was sitting there and telling myself, “No, I’m learning to love myself.” I had this inner angst and self-loathing and anger. And it caused me to be so irritable. Just about everything. And just being able to feel like I’m really learning to love myself, but also really feel like I have … I believe I can lose the weight now, and I believe that I can do it. And I feel like I’ve unlocked this secret key that … And it’s made me so much less angry, which has made a lot of the things that I would get mad at my husband and kids about so much less. Not that I don’t get mad at them still, and they still have …

Katrina Ubell:      Right, yeah.

Neethi Patel:       It’s subdued.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       I think he described it as, “You were a 10 before, and now at your highest, you get to a 5 or a 6.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And just so much more even-keeled, which I feel like is more of how I really am as a person. So that has been … And a lot of that has been not just through the mind work but just through letting go of the anger of even if I don’t lose one more pound from today, or even if I do gain back the weight, understanding that that doesn’t mean I’m a failure in life. And that has been a huge thing for me to have worked on is just defining myself as something I achieve or then lose.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Well, and it’s like stopping using the number on the scale as the barometer for-

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      … how good of a person you are or how-

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      … good of an adult you’re being. You know?

Neethi Patel:       Yeah, exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      And then like you were saying, too, there’s the added element of being a physician. Are you now not a good doctor because you’re struggling with your weight?

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      And it’s an inner personal struggle that everybody can see on the outside. Everybody can tell what your body looks like going up and down.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      So there’s that added kind of experience because they’re not only concerned about what they’re thinking about themselves because it’s so awful. They’re assuming everyone else is thinking.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. I would notice that the more I would judge myself for being overweight, the more I just felt like every person around me was judging me. Friends and family that I’m really close to, I would just feel not connected to because I would be like, “They’re thinking I’m such a lazy person because I’m overweight.” Or-

Katrina Ubell:      Well, it’s like you’re projecting yourself, so you’re thinking that they’re thinking it too. Right?

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      You create this scenario in your brain that-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … that’s what’s happening, and they’re like, “What are you talking about?”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. They probably never even thought that.

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       I would eat dessert in front of them and be like … That was a core part of my identity. I just made it that way. I would make a joke of it. Like, “No, I can’t live without dessert. You know me, I have to have my dessert.” And I would just make jokes about it to soften the judgment that I felt was coming from them. But really, it was probably just me judging myself.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. Definitely. Definitely. Yeah. I think that that’s so interesting. What I love is how patient you’re being with yourself on your weight loss. And, I mean, first of all, when you … I mean, you are someone who is predisposed to being insulin-resistant.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      For a lot of different reasons.

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      So it’s going to be slower for you. And what I love is I don’t sense any rush from you at all. Right?

Neethi Patel:       I mean, I think once I am at that point, then I can feel good. But as you know, that’s not what’s going to make you feel good.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      You just keep chipping away at it, chipping away at it, chipping away at it. Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. That’s exactly … I think that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I mean, there’s definitely been some moments where I’ve been like, “Oh my god, come on, this should be going faster.” But I think, especially at the point that I’m at now, so, within the last two months, my hemoglobin A1C has normalized and I was able to be off of my medication and I had a little bit of drama over whether or not I should stop medication because maybe that’s the reason I’m losing the weight, and maybe it really isn’t me at all.

Katrina Ubell:      Our brains, right?

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. Exactly. So I decided to go off the medication and I was a little nervous after that. But I think since then, I’ve just like, okay, now that my health is no longer a concern, I’ve really had to recommit. It was like, “Well, why do I want to keep doing this, and what are my reasons?” And I don’t know that I necessarily have a reason other than that I’m really working on I can do this and that this is a metaphor for other things in life that are hard, and I can do hard things, and that kind of thing, and less about how I look. And I’m trying to simultaneously do the learning to love myself as I am so that even if I don’t lose another pound, I still feel like I’m worthy of love. And also just that I can do this, and if I decide once I get to my goal that I don’t want to be that weight, then I can not … That I can change it, and that that’s okay.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Absolutely.

Neethi Patel:       So that’s been a lot of my more recent … That’s been pretty much my masters journey.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Yeah. And I think that that is … It’s such a powerful thing to talk about and to think about, because when you truly love and accept yourself as you are right now, then you start going, “Well, do I really want to be the person … Is it a loving thing for me to do to eat more food than my body needs?”

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      Right? If I really respect myself, why would a put a bunch of extra food in my body that I clearly don’t need and often makes me feel bad, and is clearly not good for my health? Right?

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      So it’s like you start to think about it in that way, and it’s from that love and acceptance of where you are right now that you’re able to actually lose the weight.

Neethi Patel:       That is totally true.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Then you start getting into the weird diet mentality things and start doing all kind of crazy things that you would have no intention of continuing doing the rest of your life at all because it’s-

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      This is just a means to an end. Except, like you were saying, and my exact experience, too, I could lose the weight, but then I couldn’t keep it off because I wasn’t going to do those things longterm.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      And then you’re just totally in the spiral thinking that it’s all about the food and the weight, and it just isn’t, at all.

Neethi Patel:       Right. Yeah. So for me, the amount of stress eating that I was doing before and the amount of treating myself with food. I can remember being like, “I have to work late on Thursdays,” and just feeling like, “Okay, I have to be here until 7:00.” And just being like as if I would die because I’m working two more hours than usual, so I have to pack on the food. I have to pack 10 snacks.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Neethi Patel:       Well, I’m going to get home so late, and so I should have candy and coffee and this is the only way I’m going to get through this day.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like so much scarcity, and then also believing like, “I need extra food to reward myself and to energize myself.”

Neethi Patel:       Yes. I deserve it. I am the person staying late when everyone else is leaving. And just the stories that I told myself. And just how life-changing it has been to, even though Thursdays are sometimes still hard, just dissociating it from the hunger. It felt like true hunger. I thought I would get hypoglycemic. I would feel shaky. And just being able to manage that and being in control of like, “Oh, I’m a little hungry so I should probably eat soon, but I can wait and decide that I can eat when I have time.”

Katrina Ubell:      That’s a good time to do it. Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. It’s just been … That has been very … I just feel like physicians need to know that that can actually be a thing.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. I know. Because it’s so freeing, right? Because even when you are like, “You know what? After that patient, I probably will be able to eat something.” But then whatever happens and that thing blows up and then now you’re three behind or whatever, it’s so great to not be like … I remember one time literally being on the verge of tears because I had five minutes for lunch and then of course I was so dramatic about it.

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      And it was so childish, the whole thing, now, in hindsight. But it is so great when your body cooperates, too, and you’re like, “Yes, okay, I’m a little hungry. It’s not a big deal. I’m going to have some water. I’m going to keep working. If some time opens up, a little space, I’ll eat, or I’ll not. It’s not a big deal either way.” It’s so nice to have a mindset but then have your body also not be rebelling against you.

Neethi Patel:       Right. Yeah. I just remember not believing you when you said that that was going to happen.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       I just didn’t … That was that special snowflake thing. Like, “That’s not going to happen for me.” But-

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       But it totally has. And even the having dinner, putting my kids to bed, the craziness of that. And then I remember the feeling of when they were asleep, even when I was laying with my daughter, thinking like, “Ooh, it’s time for my treat, and what am I going to have today?” And just the excitement of what I was going to treat myself with. Like, “Oh, you deserve this. You’ve had a really long day.” And then really believing that I was truly hungry and I needed to have the ice cream of cereal. For some reason, cereal was my thing.

Katrina Ubell:      I know. Cereal. Right?

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      I used to love cereal. I haven’t eaten cereal in years now.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. That was my thing.

Katrina Ubell:      I guess I just don’t even think about it. What I love is when there was that food that your brain thought was so important and you thought about it all the time and you ate all the time, and then you just don’t even remember it exists anymore after a while. You’re like, “Remember how important that was to me?”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      I literally … It’s not like I have to force myself to not think about it.

Neethi Patel:       No.

Katrina Ubell:      I just don’t think about it. It’s just not even important at all.

Neethi Patel:       Right. It’s like the onion.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Right. The onion. It’s just sitting there. It’s like, that’s how it is. Right.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like shredded wheat. No one … Well, most people are not like, “Ooh, I can’t wait to eat the shredded wheat cereal.”

Neethi Patel:       Yes. Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      You’re like, “Nah. I mean, if it has to come to that, I guess I could eat it.”

Neethi Patel:       Yes. Exactly. And just the freedom that the food in the office-

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Neethi Patel:       The drug reps, the donuts.

Katrina Ubell:      Bringing things in. Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Christmastime is coming. Just the amount of gifts and things. And how it doesn’t even … I used to be like, “Oh!” And then like, “Nope, you don’t want that today.” Now, I don’t even notice it. So-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       … just how freeing that is for me. Just to … It’s not that I never have anything that’s sugary or dessert-ish, but that it’s becoming okay. It’s becoming joyful. It’s becoming devoid of the guilt that would accompany that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. You can actually just enjoy it and let it be-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … a pleasurable-

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      … eating experience, and then leaving it at that and not having it turn into something else.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. That, the beating up over it and the amount of negativity that I never even realized was associated with it before, so.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. Right. Right, right.

Neethi Patel:       That has been very, very freeing.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Have you noticed since you … Because you’ve lost 60 pounds, right? So have you noticed-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … anybody in your life like family or friends or anybody, kind of have any of your relationships changed where they’re kind of not liking that you’ve lost the weight? That’s a big fear for a lot of people.

Neethi Patel:       I mean, it is. I mean, think that interestingly enough, some of the people that I thought were inadvertently judging me from a place of love were my parents, and I think they just really were worried about my struggle and they didn’t want me to have to deal with the diabetes. I know it was all out of a place of love. But it was interesting to me to the point where there was a point where I had lost some weight and they felt like, “Okay, this is enough now.”

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       “You can stop now.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. You don’t need to lose anymore. They so desperately want you to lose it, and then you lose some and they’re like, “Stop now.”

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. So that was interesting. There were a couple of people, just generally, who were like, “Well, you’ve lost … You don’t need to lose any more weight now.” And so I don’t think anybody was ever like, “Oh, you’re too thin or anything like that.” But it was more just like … Being overweight and liking food and liking dessert was such a core part of how I identified myself, and partly, I did it on purpose. But I think I’ve perceived maybe some people thinking, “Oh, well, that’s not you anymore.” And I don’t think they judge me for it, but I can feel a little bit of changing. And once again, this is probably me just worrying, but like, “Oh, well, when she stops doing this and she goes back to being who she was.” And so that’s been something I’ve had to kind of mentally grapple with.

But my patients, I think most people are proud of me, though. I would say most people are just proud of me, and they have told me they’re inspired by me. So that’s what I’m kind of hoping to do from this is just continue … That’s why I wanted to tell my story, too. It’s just like inspire people to say if you’re one of those people that says you can’t do this or that you don’t deserve to give yourself this gift or that it’s impossible for you to achieve these goals, that I was one of those people, too, and I’m achieving them. And it’s been completely mind-blowing for me, so.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Well, I was going to even ask you, what would you tell someone who’s listening, and you’re just-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. That’s exactly it. Because I think it is so easy to start thinking … It’s just like I was talking about on the special snowflake podcast is like, “Oh, Katrina could do it, but I am extra special broken or I have it extra hard.” Or like you were even saying, your identity as someone who loved dessert and that kind of thing. I mean, my identity was so wrapped up in food. I mean, it does change your relationships with other people when everything was related to what new restaurant you’re going to try and all the food you’re going to have, when you’re just … I mean, you can still go to the restaurant. But it’s just not the main thing anymore. It’s just a little different for them, and they have to adjust and that kind of thing. It’s really kind of getting to know yourself as a different person. If you’re not the person who loves dessert and identifies as being overweight, then who are you?

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Having to figure that out. And I think that’s one reason why it can feel really scary for a lot of people.

Neethi Patel:       Yes. For sure.

Katrina Ubell:      Because it’s just like, “Wait, this is all I really know.” I kind of would rather cling to this identity that creates pain for me than go out into the unknown and try to figure out-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. Absolutely.

Katrina Ubell:      … who else I could be and who I want to be.

Neethi Patel:       I think what’s been interesting for me is that I was not overweight when I was young. I still struggled with my weight, mentally, and thought about it and worried about my body and things like that, but I didn’t feel like food was a source of comfort for me when I was younger. And so I feel like I’ve been able to sort of connect with that. Like, “When you were younger, you did like to listen to music as a source of comfort.” Or, “You did sit and wallow in your emotions sometimes, and that was okay.” And you did enjoy playing tennis and playing the piano and all of these things that I’ve been kind of connecting with. So you talk a lot about connecting to your future self. I have found that connecting to my childhood, in a way, or things that I have found comfort in in the past before I struggled with my weight this degree, has been super helpful. Which is kind of weird, but I have found-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, I think that’s great. I mean, especially for someone who really didn’t have an overeating issue. That’s totally great to do that. I was stressing about eating dessert from as early as I can remember, but for someone who has that, it’s great to remember what created pleasure for me in my life before it was food? And it’s a classic example what you were saying, the classic story of, “I had all of these things. Then I went into my training. I didn’t have time anymore. I was exhausted, I was living by myself.” Just all of the things that kind of … When you’re in college and you’re living with your friends and you’re all going out and doing things it’s just different than when you’re living by yourself and slogging away and doing all this hard work.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      And like you said, then to try to make you feel at least a little bit appreciated, the hospital’s giving away free stuff.

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      Food, things that totally don’t serve you at all. And it just becomes this kind of new version of yourself, unintentionally. You don’t go into it thinking like, “Oh, I can’t wait to stop doing all the things that I love and eat.”

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      But it just happens, and then you have to kind of sort of tease that apart.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      But not beating yourself up over it, right? Not like, “Oh, I’m this awful person that I let this happen,” and instead just being like, “Of course this is what happened.” I mean, it’s what happens to a lot of people.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay. Great. How do we want to redo this? And your kids are also at an age now where you can do some of those things with them, which is-

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      … fun, too.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. And also the interesting, the whole losing weight with kids. Just the whole idea of I don’t think they made one mention of it until a lot of people started mentioning it. And now, my daughter’s my biggest fan. She’ll be like, “My mom is so amazing. She’s lost 50 pounds.” And just to see yourself … And, I mean, I don’t think she looks at it as like, “You needed to lose weight.” I remember one of the times in the car I was listening to the podcast early on and she came into the car as I was picking her up from dance and she was like, “Are you listening to a weight loss thing?” And she’s like, “But you don’t need to lose any weight.” And just the pure love that she saw me from. And that was one of those moments where I was like, “Wow, I really don’t see myself that way, but I should.”

Katrina Ubell:      Right. I mean it’s so great to see the way she sees you.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      That true, unconditional love.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. That was a moment for me, where I was like … That was the moment that I also realized the biggest struggle I’ve had is learning to love myself through this journey. I am a person who is very much goal-focused, right? So kind of tough love, right? Like, “Okay, great, you achieved that. Now let’s go to what’s next.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And so every time in the very beginning of this journey when I would lose some weight, I was so focused on like, “Okay, just keep going. Just keep going. Don’t celebrate. Don’t celebrate.”

Katrina Ubell:      Right. It’s like-

Neethi Patel:       “Not going to celebrate yet.”

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like you finally achieve it and then you can’t even let yourself-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … enjoy it at all. I completely identify with that, too. Yeah. Where it’s just like, “Yeah, well, that was great, but what now?”

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      Now you’ve really got to do something good.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. And I would notice that with the numbers on the scale, right? The number on the scale would get to this number and I’d be all happy for a day. And then the next day, I’d be like, “Why is the number still here?”

Katrina Ubell:      Right. When two weeks ago, you would have been elated to see that, right?

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. And that was that moment for me, I was like, “Oh, the number on the scale is neutral.”

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       Totally, that was that moment for me. And so since then, I’ve just really, really learned that I have to stop and celebrate what I have achieved. And that’s been kind of what this is a part is the weight is awesome and the change in my health is awesome, but just the amount of less mind drama that I … And how freeing that is. Even the finishing my charts at work. Just the B-minus work chart and just-

Katrina Ubell:      Amazing, right?

Neethi Patel:       … getting it done. Or deciding that this is something I need to get done and figuring out a way to get it done and making it happen. And just how much more efficient I feel. And free is the word that keeps coming to mind.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Just so free of … Life is happening and I’m making it happen, too. You know?

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Yeah. But what I find so interesting, too, is when we allow ourselves to do the B-minus work and we just get it all done, we feel so great. Right? We feel free.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      And when we are slogging away and making it a super painful experience for ourselves and it has to be so perfect, when we’re done, it’s been such an exhausting experience that we don’t feel that same freedom, right?

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      In fact, we’re like, “That was the worst thing. That was so awful. I don’t want to come back tomorrow.” All right, I guess, okay. But we’ve been judging ourselves so harshly throughout the whole thing that even when we’re done, we can’t even really celebrate.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And it’s like when it’s done and it took a lot less drama and it was just so much quicker, you’re like, “Oh, things can be that way? That’s amazing.”

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       And-

Katrina Ubell:      This was available to me? What?

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. So-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, great.

Neethi Patel:       … that has definitely been … Probably my favorite part of this journey is just to realize how, yes, my body is different. Yes, I feel different, and I’m getting used to becoming who I am. But just that part of me, I really feel like even if I do gain back the weight, I don’t feel like that part of me is going to change. The mind part.

Katrina Ubell:      And the thing is, like what your daughter was saying is like, “You don’t need to lose weight.” And it’s like, you didn’t. But you wanted to because the weight was a reflection of how poorly you were managing your brain.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      Right? So it’s like whatever your body ends up looking like is managing your brain, then great.

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      But when you really recognize that the weight is just a reflection of what’s going on in your brain, if you are committed to managing your brain, then you won’t gain the weight back.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. And that’s-

Katrina Ubell:      That’s when you don’t have to worry. You’re like, “I’m not going to go and eat all the ice cream and gain 50 pounds back and be back on medication and the whole thing, because I love myself too much to do that to myself.” Kind of thing.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. So that’s kind of been the part that I’m at now is just like, okay, letting go. Just really maybe doing the mind work part. Because-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       … in the beginning, I was so goal-focused and just kind of going through that part of it.

Katrina Ubell:      Like, “Check it off. Get the weight off.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Honestly, even for someone like you, sometimes what can be a really, really useful thing to do for a while is to take a break from losing weight and really work on just being 100% super okay with where you are right now. Just loving it, just being completely content with it. And then deciding, “Well, do I want to lose a little more weight? Okay. I’m going to do that, and this is why.”

Neethi Patel:       You know what’s so interesting? I did that. And then guess what? I lost weight. I wasn’t trying. So that was … It was one of those moments where … That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m like, “Okay. I am completely comfortable with …” I had a goal of a weight that I wanted to be at by my birthday. And my birthday is in a month. And I hit that goal before my birthday. And I wasn’t expecting that. And so what I realized is trusting the process of all of this other stuff is so important, that I resisted. I mean, I really did resist a lot of the mind work. I would consider myself somebody who is very self-aware and I feel like I have thought down low conversations in my head all the time.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And I’ve always been really aware of my feelings, and I just didn’t think I was one of those people who needed to write it down and needed to put it through the model exactly. And I started doing that I would say more since masters and since the live event. And it’s been completely different. And that’s where a lot of my focus has been.

I resisted planning, planning ahead. That’s still my struggle because I feel like, for me, a big part of the journey was having my back no matter what was thrown at me. And so for a lot of the time, I just made it happen. I woke up in the morning and I said, “I’m sticking to my plan today. I’m not going off-plan.” And I would make it happen. And for me, I think that was a huge part of the journey that has been really freeing for me. But now this next one is for me to plan ahead the night before or the day before and stick to that.

Katrina Ubell:      Even if it ends up being something that isn’t something you need to do long-term.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Just going through the process of doing it because you said you would and seeing what the value is, and then from that place deciding whether it’s something that you want to do or not is great, versus just … I totally know what you mean, where you’re just like, “I don’t think I need to that part.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. I’m like, “That doesn’t apply to me.”

Katrina Ubell:      “I don’t think it’s necessary for me.”

Neethi Patel:       And what’s interesting is I don’t feel like I need to do it for the food, but I do need to do it for the … For me, the task to-do list, like, “Oh, tomorrow, I’m going to get 75 things done because I have the day off.” And then the feeling of failure that I sometimes feel when I didn’t get that done at the end of the day. So that’s been why I’ve been doing that is like, “Nope. I’m going to plan my food. I’m going to plan a realistic list of things to do.” And just working on A, being okay when I don’t necessarily do that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Wow. Right.

Neethi Patel:       And not beating myself up over it.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. It’s a balance between the relationship with yourself that’s so strong that you know that when you say you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it. But then also knowing that things will happen where you’re not able to get it done and then how do you respond to that?

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       So that’s exactly … That’s where my current work is, is just trying to learn how to make a realistic list of things to do so that I can be accountable to myself and be somebody I trust. When I say I’m going to do something, it’s as good as done. But also recognize that I’m not … It’s okay if I’m not perfect at it yet.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, right.

Neethi Patel:       I can figure it out. And I can work through it.

Katrina Ubell:      Also recognizing that what your tendency is going to be is to overbook yourself, give yourself this massive long list that-

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      … you might not be able to get to all that stuff, and that’s totally okay. But these are the most important ones, and for sure these are going to get done.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s the part where you practice, “Okay, I said I would do these things. These five are going to get done. Everything else is gravy, and I’ll just get through as much as I can.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. And the amount of … So I have been planning my food now since the live event, because that was the thing I promised you I was going to do. And there is even less food chatter. I didn’t even think there was food chatter before.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       There is even less.

Katrina Ubell:      Great.

Neethi Patel:       It’s like, “All right. It’s time to eat.” I eat. I’m done. And-

Katrina Ubell:      Onward.

Neethi Patel:       … now it’s time to find something else, right?

Katrina Ubell:      The next thing. And it turns out when you’re not thinking about food all the time, you can get a lot more things on your to-do list checked off, right?

Neethi Patel:       Right. Or enjoy things. Just being present. Because that’s another thing that I’m kind of working on, too, is just … Nobody ever on their deathbed said, “I’m so glad I finished my entire to-do list for life.” So.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Exactly.

Neethi Patel:       I spent time with my kids. I enjoy things that come up.

Katrina Ubell:      Put my phone down.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      Actually look someone in the eye. Yeah. Totally.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. So it’s a work in progress, but I think it’s work that’s worth doing. And I may never complete this work, and that’s okay, too.

Katrina Ubell:      I know. And it’s-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. It’s-

Katrina Ubell:      And that’s what … The way I approach it for myself is that I really want to grow my whole entire life so if I want to continue to grow as a human being, there is going to be new things and new challenges that I’m going to be working on, and that thought, for me, gives me so much peace because I don’t have this deadline for you need to be all sorted out with all the different things by this time so you can move on to something that, of course, my brain wants to think is way better.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s not going to be, right? It’s going to be always-

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      … some work in progress kind of a thing. And so then, great, I love evolving. I love changing. I love the changes I’ve been able to make in my life. And I’m looking forward to the ones that I’ll continue to do. And then there’s a lot of peace for me around that. Just like, “Of course it’ll come up, and there’ll be something new and I’ll have to sort through that. And I’ll do that, and that will be so great.” And I’ll be able to take you all with me on the ride, and it’ll be awesome, right?

Neethi Patel:       Absolutely.

Katrina Ubell:      So I think that, for me, feels like so much more of a loving way to look at myself, versus like, “Oh my gosh, we’re still dealing with this? How long have we been at this?” Right? Which is-

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      … other way of, just like you were saying, where we talk to ourselves impatiently and just kind of with this harshness and this taskmaster kind of-

Neethi Patel:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      … drive. Like, “Come on. Get it done. Get it done.”

Neethi Patel:       Yep.

Katrina Ubell:      Because there’s some other utopia on the other side.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      There isn’t, though.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. Exactly. And all that does is just kind of … I think for me, that’s just kind of part of how I was raised, too. Like, “Okay. Achieve, achieve, achieve, achieve.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And there is … That’s good. I mean, it got me to where I am.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Totally.

Neethi Patel:       I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I definitely think that is what gave me the grit that I think I had to be where I am at professionally. But also just recognizing that it’s okay to just be, and you don’t have to … You can keep working on something but you don’t have to keep … You can do that simultaneously with being okay with who you are right now, too.

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       You can do both.

Katrina Ubell:      You do it from abundance and just love yourself.

Neethi Patel:                That’s a much more eloquent way to put that. That’s what I was trying to say.

Katrina Ubell:      I’ve been at this a little while.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. I’m like, “What am I trying to say?” But, yeah, I mean, for me, that’s been … I can keep working on myself while I love exactly who I am today, and so that I’m not looking to who I want to become but who I already am.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And just recognizing how much of my future self I already am, and that that can keep getting better, and that’s okay.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally.

Neethi Patel:       And that has been very peaceful for me to just achieve that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       More so than the weight loss.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Yeah. It’s like the weight loss, it’s like we really think, right?

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      Just the weight is just really … That’s the thing. When I get that done-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … it’s going to be all great.

Neethi Patel:       Everything’s going to be better.

Katrina Ubell:      It isn’t. It’s all this other stuff. And then the weight’s awesome, right?

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      And you’re so happy about it. But it’s everything else that’s really what’s important.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. Yeah, it’s so interesting, because I have this picture of myself at the weight that I’m at now, and I, in the past, have used that picture as like, “Oh, life was so …” That was where I should be, and that was before I started struggling with my weight. And when I really look at that exact picture, I can remember very clearly how unhappy I was at that moment in my life. There was a lot going on at that moment, and I look at that picture and I sort of identified it as this goal place of where I wanted to be in so many ways, but really, when I examined it, nope. I wasn’t happy then. And so-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       … that was also a big moment for me to realize my weight does not define my happiness, at all. It really doesn’t.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Neethi Patel:       I can be really, really happy and 50, 60 pounds overweight. Or I can be thin and happy. But I’m happy because of how I’m thinking about-

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Neethi Patel:       … myself, not-

Katrina Ubell:      There are a lot of miserable-

Neethi Patel:       … based on a number on the scale.

Katrina Ubell:      … thin people.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Lots and lots of miserable thin people.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s hard to believe that, though, when you’re overweight. You’re like, “No, I really do think-”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      “… that they’re on to something, though.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah. So-

Katrina Ubell:      We were just listening to Whitney Houston’s song last night. My friend was telling me, she’s like, “Did you ever listen to the last song she recorded?” She’s like, “Oh, it’s just kind of eerie or whatever.” And I hadn’t listened to it. So then on Spotify, it was just like Whitney’s greatest hits, those songs, and you just think about she was the thing, the bomb.com.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      She was skinny and beautiful and the most amazing voice, and just thinking how amazing it would be to be her. And-

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      … no. Not at all.

Neethi Patel:       Nope. She was miserable.

Katrina Ubell:      She was miserable.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      And drug-addicted. I mean, terrible relationships, right? So it’s just always that refresher, that reminder of like, “We’re all on the same path.”

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s all brain work. It’s all working with our minds, no matter what our bodies look like.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. So that has been hopefully something that I can convey that is way more worth the investment than-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Definitely. And then when you look at it that way, right, the investment is like pennies.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like, “Oh my gosh, this isn’t X amount of dollars per pound loss, right? This is my whole life.”

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      I would pay so much money for this result.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. And, I mean, I remember part of the struggle of thinking, “Why should I do this,” was, “I’m not that bad. I don’t have that many issues. I don’t have a lot of …” Yeah, I mean, for me, the biggest thing that I thought was going to be my issue was thinking that being hit by the car was to blame for a lot of my weight struggles, because that was God’s way of telling me that I didn’t deserve to lose weight. I needed to have this struggle forever. And I don’t really think about that that much, at all. And all of these other things are things I didn’t really know were there. And they’re not that bad, but they’re still worth working on.

Katrina Ubell:      Well, and what I find so interesting, even with my own personal work, is my work is sleuthing out the thoughts that sound like they’re not that bad. They sound like that’s fine. And then but really recognizing how that’s me being mean to myself.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      When it’s very, very obvious, when you’re like, “I’m a disgusting fat pig,” or something, every day, that’s like, “Okay, we need to work on that.” But I think a lot of us don’t think that way.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      So we’re like, “Oh, really, I’m okay.” And then you have to dig deeper to really figure out what that is.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      When I think that way, how do I feel? I don’t feel great. Okay, maybe that’s not a good one, even though it sounds like there’s nothing wrong with it.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      So, yeah. I think that’s common amongst kind of all the physicians that I work with is this kind of like, “Okay, what’s really going on?” Because there’s this façade that we’re really good at keeping up this just kind of put on this face of like, “Everything’s great.” I’ll always remember one of my older partners saying that it didn’t matter what was going on for you personally, when you are walking into that room, it was all about them. You put a smile on your face and off we go. And it gets easy to live out of your life in that place of just-

Neethi Patel:       Oh yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … denying what’s going on for you.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      And, of course, in that moment, that’s an appropriate thing to do. But because of that tendency to do that for so many hours every day, we do need to intentionally spend some time with yourself and figure out what’s going on.

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, absolutely. I agree with that wholeheartedly. And how much of a better doctor I feel like I am becoming because of the fact that I’m taking this time to take care of myself.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Not just because of the food and the weight loss and the health things, but just even knowing, “Okay, I know what’s going on for me.” Yes, there are moments where I have my less than awesome moments with my patients, if they frustrate me or whatever. But now taking that as a learning experience and like, “Oh, yeah, that wasn’t my finest moment.” And being able to figure out, “Okay, well next time, I’m going to make sure that that issue that I’m struggling with doesn’t come out towards that patient.” Or whatever.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Or blaming them. I mean, I used to blame them for how I felt.

Neethi Patel:       Oh yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Right? Like if they would just stop feeding their kids Oreos in the room, the disaster and then whatever, right? Then I’d be fine. Then I wouldn’t have to be so mad.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      Wait, but I’m the one making myself mad.

Neethi Patel:       Right. So, yeah, just even being on-call and as a pediatrician, you get calls about lots of things that are maybe not so important that might happen in the middle of the night. But recognizing even just changing my thought when I read that text message and being like, “Okay. They are scared right now. They are worried.” And even that, that’s just such a small thing. But even doing that has made me such a better doctor, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       Not being annoyed and irritated every time I’m bothered in my life.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. I would try to remember, and I wasn’t always good at it, but I would try to remember or tell myself, “I would rather they call me than go search the internet and do something crazy.”

Neethi Patel:       Right. Right.

Katrina Ubell:      I will actually help them to figure this out, what they need to do.

Neethi Patel:       I remember this moment one time when I was at a grocery store and I was checking out and there was this woman who was the checker at the grocery store, and she just seemed so irritated to be there, and just angry. And I remember thinking, “Hmm. I would never want my patient to perceive me that way if they called me.”

Katrina Ubell:      Oh. Yeah.

Neethi Patel:       And that was a moment for me where I was like, “Okay. This is my job. This is part of my job, and I chose to do this. And so there is absolutely no reason why I should come off as being totally irritated by not being exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.” And I remember that was a big moment for me, where I was like, “Okay. Nope. I’m never going to act like that on the phone when they …” Because-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. It’s emotional adulthood.

Neethi Patel:       … that-

Katrina Ubell:      Right? You’re like-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … no, okay, I mean, would you rather be something else than call? Of course.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      But it’s your job.

Neethi Patel:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s what you agreed to do. No one’s making you-

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      … do it. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Neethi Patel:       And when I realize that, just how much more loving I feel like, as a doctor, if that makes any sense. Just-

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Neethi Patel:       … like, “Okay, I want to pour out the love that I have.” Because I feel like that’s a gift of mine is to be able to love really, really big. And so-

Katrina Ubell:      And then you get to feel that rather than annoyance-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … irritation and frustration, right?

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      You get to be like, “I had the best day because I got to just love on everybody all day.”

Neethi Patel:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      I sometimes would think to myself like, “If I can’t have at least some fun as a pediatrician, I mean, I’m seriously doing it wrong.”

Neethi Patel:       Yes. Absolutely.

Katrina Ubell:      Really. Come on. If I’m not having fun it is really my own fault, not their fault.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly. Absolutely. That is totally true. Even when the two-year-olds are screaming and yelling.

Katrina Ubell:      Exactly.

Neethi Patel:       If you can’t have fun with that and laugh at that-

Katrina Ubell:      At least find the humor in it, right? About how ridiculous they are. Yeah. Exactly.

Neethi Patel:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      You know what is so funny, though, is I just realized this year in a couple months, I’ll have been out of practice for four years. And I … Because we would, as pediatricians, right, we see newborns, babies-

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … all the time. It was just … Babies, when I saw babies, it was just another baby. Because I saw babies all the time.

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like finally, almost four years later, I’m like, “Oh, look, a baby.”

Neethi Patel:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      And kind of like, “Oh, it’s special.” Right? To get to see a baby, because I just … Even with my own kids, I saw babies, babies, babies everywhere. All the time, right? Fun to notice that coming back.

Neethi Patel:       I know.

Katrina Ubell:      All right, Neethi, thank you so much. I feel like we could talk for another three hours.

Neethi Patel:       I know.

Katrina Ubell:      This is so fun. I really, really appreciate you coming on and just sharing your story, sharing everything with everybody and being so open and volunteering to put your hand up to come and tell everyone about your story. I appreciate it.

Neethi Patel:       Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Katrina Ubell:      Did you know that you can find a lot more help from me on my website? Go to KatrinaUbellMD.com and click on Free Resources.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Julia R.

    Dr. Ubell, I would love if you could talk more about psychology behind one of the issues I struggle with which was mentioned in this episode: “I feel like I’m not meant to lose this weight. This is who I’m supposed to be. This is my one flaw in life. If I solve this problem, everything’s going to blow up.”

    • Team Katrina

      Thanks for the idea, Julia. We’ll add it to our list of podcast ideas!

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