Many of my clients struggle with self-sabotage, typically in the form of going against their eating plans or failing to plan at all. So today, I’m going to dig into the various reasons we don’t lose weight despite our intentions to do so and the reasoning we use to keep ourselves stuck.
Listen in as I explain why part of you might be resisting weight loss, as well as how to move past this brain block. You’ll learn how self-sabotage ties into what you believe about yourself and what’s really holding you back from losing the weight.
Katrina Ubell: You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 148.
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.
Well, hey there, my friend. Welcome back to the podcast. How are you today? It’s a couple weeks now after Halloween, what has the damage been is what I want to know. How much of it did you eat? Did you tell yourself you weren’t going to eat all the candy and then you did? Did you make it through the trick or treating night okay, but then you ended up eating a bunch of it at work and all the candy that people brought in from work, did you end up eating all that? Did you end up eating the stash before the trick or treaters even came? Did you avoid all of it? How did it go?
Halloween used to be something I really, really struggled with, and over the course of time, with having enough Halloweens under my belt now, my Halloween was easy. It was legit, like not a problem. I was able to enjoy myself even though we had ice cold rain coming down as we went out and we had a good time. The kids did their usual and they enjoyed their candy and I legit did not even want any. I’m telling you what, that is some serious freedom around food, right? You’re not afraid, you’re not thinking, “Oh, should I have it, shouldn’t I?” I mean, did it cross my mind like, “Oh that might taste good,” it did, but then I reminded myself that it actually doesn’t taste that good. It’s actually one of my kids.
The kids did not get many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups this year for some reason. It’s always interesting to see what they get. I think two kids each got one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup I think is what happened. One ate it quickly and then the other one was eating it. Then they were all talking about how the dark chocolate peanut butter cups that trader Joe’s sells are way better than those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It did remind me, that’s right, those do really taste so much better. If I really want a peanut butter cup, I’m not going to eat a Reese’s one. I’m totally going to go get one that tastes really, really good. But what it comes down to is, I don’t really want that, and that is such, ah gosh, it’s just the best feeling. It’s so freeing, and I want that for all of you who listen because it’s something that I never even could have dreamed of happening for myself a couple of years ago, three, four years ago before I found all this life coaching work.
I do just want to let you know that if that sounds good to you and if you’re thinking, “Hey, I’d love to have that freedom to or I’d like to at least learn more about it,” I want to invite you to join me for a free training that I’m offering in two nights, so it’s going to be on November 14th, which is a Thursday evening. It’s at 8:30 PM Eastern, 7:30 Central, 6:30 Mountain, I had to think there for a minute, 5:30 Pacific. It is something that is going to be really helpful for you because what I’m going to help you to understand is whether you are ready to lose weight right now or not.
That’s something that I hear so much where so many of my podcast listeners or people who are interested in possibly working with me are like, “Yeah, I think it’s going to be a good idea. I think I should probably do it. I just don’t know if I’m ready. I just don’t know if now is the time.” As we are about to approach Thanksgiving and then the holidays, my next coaching group is going to be in January. This is a perfect time to start really thinking to yourself like, “Is this something that is actually going to be something that is going to be helpful for me? Should I lose weight?” Whether you do it with me, with somebody else, is it a good idea to do it now? And how do I know if I’m ready?
I would love to help you to know that information, to know if you’re ready or not. You can sign up for that, register for that by going to katrinaubellmd.com/ready, so the word R-E-A-D-Y, ready. Again, katrinaubellmd.com/ready, and you can get yourself registered for that and join me for that free training where I will tell you all of the things about how you will know if you’re ready to do this work or not. I’ll also tell you a little bit more about working with me if that’s something you’re interested in.
I do want to let you know that as I’m recording this, our program, the weight loss for doctors only coaching program that I’ll be enrolling or opening up in January, is already over a quarter filled. I have mentioned before that the last time I opened, we literally had just a handful of spots left before we even got to opening because so many people deposited, and I anticipate that that’s going to happen again this time. It would be great if you came to that call, so that you could figure out what you want to do. Here’s the other thing is once you already know what you’re going to be doing for your weight loss, you don’t have to feel like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to go through the holidays and what am I going to do? Then I’m going to have to figure it out and what am I going to sign up for and how am I going to lose this weight?”
I also want you to know that depositing now doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to eat perfectly over the holidays. I think sometimes we think, “Well, wait, if I deposit then will I be able to have the seven pieces of pie that I like having at Thanksgiving? Then I probably shouldn’t have that and I want to have that. So no, I can’t make a decision right now.” I want you to know that that’s not at all how this has to go. It doesn’t mean you can’t have pie or shouldn’t have pie or any of that. It just means that you’ve got your own back. It means that you know what you’re going to be doing to take care of this weight problem, this overeating problem, once and for all. We’re going to be starting in January and you can live your life however you would like in-between now and then. But I do give you some recommendations of what to do between when you place your deposit and when you start with the program, so that if you do want to do some things, then you can do that. Either way is totally fine.
Okay, let’s talk today about not losing weight. A little bit strange for a weight loss podcast, but I think that this is something that so many people struggle with and I really want to talk about it. It’s kind of like, it’s like a self-sabotage slash fear of losing weight kind of a thing. What it all comes down to is ultimately self-worth. I’ve done another podcast about self-worth in the past that resonated with so many of you, I know, but I want to talk about it on a little bit of a deeper different level.
What I find is that for a lot of the clients that I work with and honestly, the way that I even approached things was that I wanted to lose the weight so that I could feel worthy, right? I didn’t feel, I never honestly had the conscious thought of I am not a worthy human being. That’s not something that was in my inner dialogue, but deeper down, I really felt like I would be valuable, I could accept myself, and that I would ultimately be okay if I lost the weight. Once I lost the weight, then everything would be better. For a lot of people, this is how we approach weight loss. I tell you all the time that, turns out, you lose the weight and your brain’s the same unfortunately, so if you haven’t done the work on your brain, you’ll just find other excuses, other evidence that you are doing a bad job. You might even create some self-sabotage to regain the weight in order to prove that if you don’t change your thinking, you don’t investigate that. For those of you who have yo-yo’d a lot and you don’t know what your deal is, why you can’t get your weight stabilized, it has a lot to do with that.
But then there’s another subset of people who are overweight and they know what to do and they can do it maybe a little bit, but they are constantly, constantly resisting the whole process of losing weight. It’s like part of them wants to lose weight desperately and part of them really doesn’t want to lose weight. It’s more the big picture prefrontal cortex part of them that’s like, “Yes, I want to lose weight. This is better for me, it’s healthier for me.” Then there’s that more primitive brain part of them that’s like, “Absolutely not. Nope, nope, nope.” There’s a lot of self-sabotage in the form of little bites, looks, and tastes, deciding not to eat flour and sugar, but then having it at the meal, even when you’ve planned out your food in advance, just constantly going against your plan or resisting planning at all, just going against what you know will really help you.
I was recently coaching one of my clients who’s been with me for a while about this, and we really identified something that I think is going on for so many of you as well who struggle with this. Really what it comes down to in this scenario is believing that you are so not valuable, that you don’t even deserve to lose weight. If you lose weight, then you would be a valuable person and you’re not a valuable person, so you can’t lose weight. Your brain will actually sabotage you, right?
In this case, this client was telling me, she’s like, “I plan everything out. I’ve gotten all my food, I eat my lunch, and then all of a sudden I just think, oh, a little candy corn won’t make a big difference. It’s not going to make a big deal. I’m already eating, it’s not going to be a big issue, and then all of a sudden I’m eating bread with my dinner or things like that,” things that just are what she knows are not going to give her the results that she wants, but basically will confirm that bias that her brain has that she is someone who is overweight and basically doesn’t deserve to lose weight. If she lost weight, she would be someone who she isn’t.
Really what that comes down to is completely shaking your identity. It’s like she doesn’t even know who that person would be, who would she be? If she lost the weight then she’d be valuable, but she doesn’t even know who that person is. She doesn’t even know how to be that person, how to live her life as that person. I see this often with people who have a significant amount of weight to lose. There’s something about the 200 pound mark that can really spend people out. Above 200 pounds, they are someone who is overweight and they might feel justified in overeating because they’re already overweight. Maybe they have friends who are also overweight and they overeat together. They spend a lot of time overeating, thinking about food, but also sometimes dieting together. Sometimes there’s a lot of connection that we can have with other people surrounding our weight and our over-desire for food. Then they start thinking about losing the weight and they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m going to do it.”
There’s something about becoming less than 200 pounds, even if there’s still a considerable amount of weight still left to lose, something under 200 pounds can really shake people where they start thinking, “You know what? I am no longer that overweight person. I don’t know how to be a thin person. I don’t know who that person is.” Now those thoughts tend to not be right top of mind, but when we dig deeper, that’s what it tends to be about. It tends to be like there’s this safety in having the extra weight on my body and it feels very unsafe, it feels very frightening to be someone who is thinner. We don’t know, it’s like changing your whole life around. That can be really, really scary.
I want to shed first just some light on that because what we tend to do when we make plans to eat a certain way and we don’t follow it, is we make that mean something even more negative about ourselves. We like to sit there and tell ourselves that we are just lacking discipline, that we’re weak, that something is wrong with us because we can’t follow our plan. We then start to believe, “Well it’s just not possible for me to lose weight. I just am not someone who can do it.” Then we take that into our identity, right? “I’m someone who lacks value, lacks self-worth, and I don’t deserve to lose weight.” Then my brain will reinforce that with all these other supporting beliefs that there’s all these flaws, these character flaws or personality flaws, that I have that ensures that I’ll never lose this weight. When we focus on, “How do I just not eat the candy corn? Could I maybe just have like some fruit so I could have some sweet then?” we’re completely missing the point, right? When we’re like, “What is that thing, could I have something with some Stevia in it? Because I just kind of want some sweetness after my meal,” no. That is not what this is about, right? You will not need the sweetness when you are no longer trying to get away from something that you believe.
That’s really what this is. It’s like I’m doing something that goes against my belief. My belief is I am not valuable and I am not someone who can be thin because if I were thin, I’d be valuable and I’d be lovable and I’d be whole and complete and I’m not that person. That’s what I believe, so of course I’m going to sabotage myself unknowingly, right? It’s going to be something that I’m not even consciously aware of because that primitive brain will do what it takes to keep confirming those beliefs that you have. Changing beliefs, of course, is a huge, huge, huge part of this.
But another part of it is starting to become familiar with that new identity. With that identity as someone who is thin and also still may be very flawed, right? Understanding that value and you being a valuable person, you being a lovable person, you being a person who is worthwhile to take up space and breathe air on this planet, has nothing to do with your size. But thinking about someone who thinks in that way, who thinks that they are valuable, now maybe this is someone that you know, maybe it’s someone that you just envision, but this person who is thinner, who believes that she’s valuable, and then just exploring what it might be like to understand her better. You’re not asking yourself to become her yet, you’re just taking away the fear of the unknown, which is a huge part of this.
It’s like, “I don’t know who that person is. That person lives some other life and I don’t know who she is.” It’s funny, sometimes we think like, “That person who weighs 10 pounds less, than me weighs 50 pounds less than me, weighs 100 pounds less than me, not only is she thinner and valuable and has good self-worth and self-confidence, but she always plans her food, never has a negative emotion, plans her time, and follows her schedule all the time. Has the most hotel-ready house that you’ve ever seen, she could host people in an Airbnb at any time.” We start to think that that person has literally everything put together. They have it all together all the time. It seems so unattainable and so out of reach that we immediately just reject her. We decide, “I can’t ever possibly be her,” which is true because no human being is like that, right? “Then forget it. I’m just going to self-sabotage and stay here in the relative comfort of not losing the weight.” I say relative comfort because there is still the discomfort in being overweight, right? It’s just less uncomfortable than doing the work to lose the weight and to change the way you think about yourself.
But when you think about that person, so okay, so she has this opinion of herself where she believes that she’s a valuable human being and she’s valuable when she does great things, she’s also valuable when she screws things up royally. When she is an awesome mother and when she totally screams at her kids, when she eats in a way that serves her body and when sometimes she goes off the rails a little bit. She thinks she’s valuable and lovable no matter what she does, that her lovability and value and worth is inherent and not something that is able to be shifted or changed, no matter what she does or doesn’t do. Then you start thinking about that person and you start exploring what their brain is like, how they feel, and what their actions are as though you were an anthropologist discovering a new civilization of people that had never been discovered before, had never been understood or seen by the outside world.
You have to think about that. Think about maybe going into the Amazon Rainforest and finding some new civilization that had never seen Western people and going in there and just being fascinated by everything, like how do they do that? Just being totally curious. Interesting, they do that, I wonder why. Not judging any of it, not doing it the way that explorers hundreds of years ago who found those civilizations judged them thinking like, “These are heathens and they need to be modernized for sure.” Instead, just being really open and interested in what that person’s life is like, just get to know it so it becomes more familiar so your brain can even start to entertain the idea that that might even be possible for you, right? Recognizing that you have maybe these ridiculous expectations of what might be required of you or what you would have to be doing to be thin and have a positive self-opinion and all these other things, none of that is relevant at all. Your opinion of yourself and your value and how lovable you are, how much you deserve love, all of that is inherent right now. You’re 100% valuable right now, you’re 100% worthy right now, you’re 100% lovable right now.
What’s always so interesting is, you’re 100% lovable, but when someone doesn’t love you, that’s on them, right? That’s a reflection of their ability to love. But when you are 100% lovable and you don’t love yourself, that’s just a reflection of your ability or your capability of offering love to yourself. It doesn’t mean that you’re not lovable. It just means that you have not increased that capability to be able to offer yourself that love. Think about that, let that settle in for a moment. You can become that person who’s valuable now no matter what weight you are, no matter how you’re eating, no matter how many drinks you’re having at night, no matter how you treat your family, your spouse, your children, no matter what the horrible thoughts are you have about your patients and your work and your coworkers, that’s all inherent.
Once you really have that feeling of compassion for yourself and being a whole human who just struggles the way humans do and that doesn’t, that struggle doesn’t take away any of your value as a human being, then from that place, you can start entertaining maybe following your plan sometimes and even when you want something a little sweet going like, “it’s okay. I don’t really need it because I know I’m valuable. I value myself enough to not go against what I know will help me,” right? Then you just lose weight because you want to lose weight, not because you have to, not because it’s something that you should do, right? It’s that idea that you should be losing weight that ends up making so many of us not lose the weight.
This is really something that goes down to the deeper core of why we struggled with our weight. If this is something that you struggle with as well and you’ve wondered so long why you can’t get over this hump, let me help you with this. Please come to the call that I have on Thursday night where I will tell you more about how to know if you’re ready to lose weight, if you’re ready to do this work, if you’re really ready to dig in. We often think it’s like, “Well, but I’m trying to get pregnant or I just had a baby or this is going on, I’ve taken on this new project at work or we have a new home renovation or home build that we have going on right now, this isn’t a good time,” there’s a bad time to work on your brain, okay?
We often think, “Well, it’s just not a good time for me to have to focus on my food,” but 100%, when your brain is dialed in, eating properly, eating in a way that serves your body, is the easiest thing, way easier than what you’re doing right now, for sure. When you take all that drama out of it, it is the simplest, simplest thing that you can do.
There is never a time when it’s not a good time for you to work on your brain, but if you think that there’s some things that are going on where you think like, “I just don’t know, I just don’t know if I’m ready. I just don’t know if this is a good time for me or not or if I should wait,” would love, love, love to teach you more about that and to help you with that.
To sign up for that call, which is just on Thursday, November 14th, just coming up here in a couple days, just go to katrinaubellmd.com/ready, R-E-A-D-Y, and sign up for that. I am going to hit you up with all of the help. This is really good stuff. Really think about this, especially if you’ve been that person who maybe loses five or 10 pounds or maybe even more than that and then promptly gains it back again and you just can’t figure it out, you don’t know what your deal is, why you can’t just follow a plan. This is one to listen to again and again because I mean it, this is the root core of the stuff.
Cannot wait to talk to you in a couple of nights. I will talk to you on the next podcast as well. Have a great, great rest of your week. I love you so much. Thank you for being here with me. I just want you to know you’re doing a really good job, so keep it up, okay? I’ll talk to you very soon. Bye bye.
Did you know that you can find a lot more help for me on my website? Go to katrinaubellmd.com, and click on free resources.