What does it mean when you say that you deserve to eat? We all have those days where we’re struggling to finish our patient notes, dealing with office staff that are getting on our last nerve, or being challenged by difficult patients. Then, after the day is done, you say to yourself: “I deserve to eat.”

In this episode, we’re diving into this thought pattern and looking at what it really means to feel like we deserve to eat, the underlying reason that leads us to feel like this, and how we can keep ourselves at the top of our priority lists. If you’re coming out of your day feeling trampled and like you need to eat to feel whole again, this is an episode you’ll want to check out!

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What it means to feel like we deserve to eat
  • What is beneath this thought pattern
  • How to keep yourself at the top of the priority list
  • What you can do instead of eating

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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 242.

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.

Hello there, my friend. How are you? I was literally just like laughing at myself. Several weeks ago, I shared with you that I started using Invisalign to straighten my teeth a little bit. I didn't actually have that much crookedness with my teeth, but I had an open bite and it's really honestly been annoying me for over a decade. And I thought, you know what? I'm going to get this fixed. I recorded one episode with the trays in and I listened back and I was like, this sounds terrible.

I have just been taking them out when I record these podcasts, because I'm just not going to do that to you. But the reason I was laughing is because I started to record and immediately my lips got tripped up on the little like grippy things that they put on your teeth. If you've ever had Invisalign or seen someone who has Invisalign, then you know what I'm talking about. I ended up like biting my cheek, and I couldn't talk like a normal human being. I was just like, oh man, this Invisalign thing. I have to tell you, I'm almost halfway through the initial set.

And I have to say, I'm a little bit concerned that maybe this wasn't the right choice for me. I think I have a follow-up appointment next week. I have some things to discuss. I don't think my gums are liking this very much. I'm a totally having like receding gums, like significantly. I'm like, what is happening? And just some other things that I just don't know that I was really fully aware of or maybe I would not have made this decision to do it now or maybe ever. I don't know, but I am excited to have my bite be normal.

I'm still not quite there yet, but I think we're moving in the right direction and that is great. And also, you're welcome for not making you listen to me on this podcast with the Invisalign trays. It's so hard. I had to record several videos for our program, because I've told you before that we've updated and refreshed everything. I totally didn't even take that into consideration. I'm like, oh my gosh, these videos are going to live on for the next many years with me and my Invisalign. I honestly don't think anybody else can probably notice.

It's just I noticed because talking somehow is a lot harder. I don't know. 242 episodes, you know that I don't have a problem talking and coming up with things to talk about. You're welcome for taking these out so I sound pretty normal. More normal. All right. I want to just let you know that if you had any interest in working with me in the Weight Loss for Doctors Only program in 2021, now would be the time to take action on that because we are currently open for the September 2021 group offering, and it is closing on Thursday, September 2nd.

That's two days from when this episode airs. I just want to let you know that if that's something you've been thinking about or wanting to know about, now would be the time. If you need some details about the program, you're just like, “Wait, what is that all about? I keep meaning to look that up. What is she actually talking about,” just go to katrinaubellmd.com/info, I-N-F-O. You'll get all the details, all the information you need, tons of frequently asked questions, and tons of stuff on there that will get you started.

If you have additional questions, you can let us know, but that will get you off to the races. We will not have another group until January. You know what I know about the holidays is that I don't care what's happening in the world. The holidays are a tough time for people, and it's a time when a lot of people end up overeating, relying on food and alcohol to feel better, and roll out of the end of the year not feeling great.

If you would like to have a different experience this year, then come and join us in the September group, because you have the whole program all through the holidays and even into the new year, which is really awesome, right? The holidays just fall kind of mid program, so you already have gotten off to a great start. Then you work through the holidays and can even coast into the new year. It's a really great time to come and join us. Like I said, this Thursday, September 2nd is when we're going to be closing.

You have all day on Thursday until midnight Pacific to sign up. And like I said, to get all the details and to sign up, you can go to katrinaubellmd.com/info. You should really consider joining us. The program, I'm so proud of it. It is just absolutely amazing. We've taken everything that was so good and worked so well in the program that we've been using for the last four plus years and made that even better, more concise. We take less of your time, and then added in additional things that are just going to really catapult you forward in getting the results that you want.

So, so, so, so, so good. So yay! Come and join us. Today, I want to talk to you about the thought “I deserve to eat.” This comes up a lot. We see this coming up in our clients. People tell me about this all the time. I'm always hearing from doctors, “By the time the end of the day rolls around, I just feel like I deserve to eat. After my whole day, I deserve to eat.” What is that whole day? What are we talking about?

We're talking about having to finish all the notes, having to deal with all the different phone calls, having to deal with office staff that are on your last nerve, having to deal with patients or families who are a struggle, just to having to deal with the day-to-day stuff. And by the time that's all done, you just feel like you deserve to eat. So I wanted to dig into that a little bit further, because what does it really mean when we say, “I deserve to eat?” I have several things to consider.

I think that ultimately what we mean when we say “I deserve to eat” is I deserve to put myself first or even to put myself on the list of priorities, right? I think that for most people who struggle with this, particularly doctors, we're spending our day in service of others and doing things for others, and we're not taking into account our experience of doing them. I'm not saying you wouldn't still do them.

I'm just saying that you're doing them in a way that you think other people want you to do it, what you think their expectations are. You do it in avoidance because you want to avoid what other people might think if you don't do it the way that you're doing it. An example of this is excessively editing your notes, editing any dictations that come through to try to make them totally perfect.

Because you're concerned that someone will read that, a consultant or some other person who's involved in the care of that patient, someone's going to read that, and then they're going to have a negative opinion about you, because they're going to see possibly some errors or maybe something that's not perfectly grammatically correct, or maybe a spacing issue, the formatting issue.

You think that they're going to think something negative about you, so you spend all this excess time formatting and editing and making sure it looks really good in order to avoid someone else possibly having a thought about you that you can't control anyway. Just as a side note in case you were wondering. We don't put ourselves at the top of that list. We don't think, you know what? How can I get the information that I need to get across, across as quickly and easily as possible so that my experience of it is really good?

I get it done fast. The people reading get what they need, and the end. Then it's done. We just put ourselves last or don't even think about ourselves. Do it in this way that we think it needs to be done. And then by the end of that, that little toddler in our head is like, “But what about me? I deserve to have nice things too. I deserve to be treated well. I deserve to be paid attention too. I deserve to be connected to. My say should matter.” And it's not mattering. We're not factoring that in.

And I'm not saying that you don't have rules and guidelines at your place of employment. I'm sure you do. There are certain things that are expected of you and you're supposed to do things in certain ways, and maybe you wouldn't do it that way if you were the one in charge and that's totally fine. But even within that framework, even within those rules, there's still a way for you to do all of those things while also keeping yourself at the forefront of your mind, keeping yourself at least on the priority list, if not at the top of the priority list.

How can I do this in the way that they expect that also works for me, so that I actually can enjoy myself, or maybe this drains me less? Maybe I don't resist against it so much and shoot everybody out in my head who's making me do this, which is very exhausting. I feel at the end of the day that I deserve something nice like food or maybe alcohol, right? So all day long we're doing things for other people, how we think that they want it.

Maybe it's not going over in your patient appointments because you think that if you spend excess time with patients, then they're going to really, really like you and give you good reviews. There will be good word of mouth, And now you're in this situation where you can't stop doing that. Ask me how I know about that kind of a situation. That was like the story of my life. I was always behind because I felt like, well, I just need to be here, and I need to be accessible to them, and they need me.

That probably did make me feel like I was contributing and valuable, and so I think there were some positives in doing that. But the net effect was I was behind. I was rushing. I was getting resentful and annoyed. Patients were expecting that of me. And why wouldn't they? Of course, they would. If this is the way they've always been treated by me, they would expect me to spend as much time as they needed with me. I mean, I'm not going to go into it, but some of the stories I have about questions I was asked that kept me over…

I mean, I brought that upon myself. I'll just say that. I will take ownership of the fact that I brought that upon myself, that I didn't have the respect for myself that I needed to shut that down so I could take a care of myself and all of the other patients who were waiting for me, right? That's so uncomfortable. Now we're in this pattern. We don't know how to get out of it, and then we think at the end of the day, “I deserve to eat after that kind of a day,” and we feel so powerless, right? So disempowered like, I have to do it this way.

There's no other way. I have to do it in this way that I don't like, that doesn't serve me, that doesn't work for me, so of course, I'm going to want to eat at the end of the day. Here's what you're not aware of that's underlying “I deserve to eat.” I deserve to eat” is the same thing as saying “I deserve not to feel.” I deserve not to feel my emotions, right? What are we doing when we eat? For emotional reasons, we are skipping over the emotions.

We're simply going to just hop over them so we can avoid feeling them and skip that part, except that's not what happens, right? Instead, they just get stuffed down and our body becomes a repository of unprocessed emotions that are waiting for us for later. When we think, “I deserve to eat,” we're really saying, “I don't want to feel anymore. I want to skip the part where I have to feel the way I'm currently feeling. I would like to hit the easy button so that I no longer have to feel this way.”

Totally makes sense, but that also stems from not knowing how to actually process the emotions. If you could just process them, you could work them through, allow them to come through you and a way rather than being trapped in. I just think of it as like our bodies are just this big vessel and we're stuffing these emotions down and down and down. It's getting really tight in there, but it doesn't matter. The lid is held on by a pile of food and drinks, right? Where you just like pile more on to keep those emotions from coming out.

And when we're doing that, what we're also saying is, “I deserve to feel bad in the future, right?” I deserve not to feel right now. I deserve to feel better right now, but I deserve to feel bad in the future, because that's what's going to happen when I choose not to feel my emotions and to eat them instead and to eat to feel better, to avoid, to numb, to neutralize. I don't think any of us would really think, well, I deserve to feel bad in the future, but we're just in that moment. We're in that present moment of I just need to feel better right now.

But really what we're saying is, “I deserve to feel bad in the future because of that's what I'm exchanging.” I'm exchanging this short-term emotional pain that I can process, or I can stuff away. I'm going to trade that for feeling bad in the future, because any number of reasons, right? You're feeling out of control with your food. Your brain is obsessed with food chatter, constantly thinking about food. Your weight is a problem. Possibly your health is a problem. Just overall you're not happy with your life. Maybe you feel out of control.

Maybe you're just beating yourself up. All those things are coming because of that decision, because of that thought “I deserve to eat right now.” So what's really going on though is just a cry for attention from yourself. Yourself, within you, is just saying, “Pay attention to me. What do I really need? I don't need to be people-pleasing all day, and I don't need to be eating to feel better. I need to be understood so that my needs can be met,” right?

We want to be treated with respect and kindness, and we look for that outside of ourselves by doing things that we may or may not want to do in hopes that other people will think respectful and kind thoughts about us and express them to us, when what we really need to be doing is offering ourselves respect and kindness, right? We want to be treated with respect and kindness.

We try to get other people to do it, but it's so much easier and faster and more direct to treat yourself with respect and kindness and let other people just think and feel whatever they do about you. We want to feel a loving connection. We want to feel connected. This is just a human desire, but what we really want it is to feel connected between ourselves and our bodies. When you bring food into the mix, you're connecting yourself to food at the expense of your body. You're sacrificing your body so you can have a connection with food and maybe alcohol, right?

The food is your friend and the wine is your friend. But you can create that loving connection with yourself when you treat yourself with kindness and respect and lovingly find out what it is that you need. What we really want is to be on our list of priorities. We want to feel like we matter to ourselves. And when we don't feel that way, we want to feel like we matter to other people. And then again, we do all these other things for other people at our own expense so that we can hopefully feel like we matter.

But you can just decide that you matter, that you're important, that you're worth prioritizing while still serving all the other people in your life, and then you don't have that need to get that so much from everybody else. You're able to put the time and energy and mental focus that you're spending on getting other people to think a certain way about you. You can just think that about yourself.

You can spend that time and energy mental focus on yourself, figuring out how to process your emotions, how to get to a place where you have freedom around food and the chatter is gone. Your brain isn't constantly talking to you about food, and you feel at peace with your body and you no longer struggle with your weight. One way of doing that is by coming to join us in the Weight Loss for Doctors Only Program, because this is exactly what we teach you.

If you're like, “Yeah, this all sounds great and I don't know how to do it,” well, the good news is, is I do and I can teach you. I'm going to help you how to do this. But I'm not the only person who can teach you. There's other people too if you have a different guide that you'd rather work with, but I'm just saying that you need to figure out how to do all of those things so that you can be on your list of priorities, so you can learn how to treat yourself in the way that you want to be treated. This is really the most important point here.

Nobody… I just want to back up and say I'm so sorry to notify you this information. Nobody is going to come around and do this for you. Okay? No one's going to come around and go, “You know what? It's time. It's time for you to figure out how to process those emotions. It's time for you to create that love and connection with yourself. It's time for you to change up that inner narrative, that inner dialogue that really isn't very kind and is putting you down on a regular basis and figuring out how to stop doing that.

Instead, swapping it out with a narrative that's respectful and kind.” It's not going to happen. It's not going to fall into your lap. No one's going to be like, “Here's your time to do that? I've figured it out for you. Here you go.” I'm so sorry to let you know that this is the case. Ultimately, you have to do it for you. Only you can do this. Only you can decide, you know what? I think there's something better for me out there, and I'm going to go and get it. I'm not going to wait until it falls in my lap or expect that it even will.

I'm going to go out there and create the life that I want, because no one's coming to rescue me. I'm the only one who can do that. And I'm telling you, I relearn this lesson again and again, like those reappear monies that I talked about several weeks ago, right? This is something that I come back to again and again. If this is something that I want, then it's on me to figure it out. And that doesn't mean I have to do it myself. It just means I need to figure out who's going to help me and set up a scenario where that will occur.

I have to show up so I can get what I want so I can live the life that I desire. And when you're doing all of that, deserving to eat, it's like it doesn't even make sense anymore. Like that thought, it's just like, I deserve to eat, what? That's what I was saying. Like deserving to eat doesn't mean you deserve to eat. It means so many other things underlying it.

We can get to a place where your work is the same, the obligations are the same, but you recognize what you're really responsible for and you figure out how to do that in a way that is not at your own expense, in a way that allows you to come out of your day not feeling like you were just trampled and you need food to bolster you back up again. This is exactly the work that we do in Weight Loss for Doctors Only. So if you're at all interested in getting guidance on this and help, I've been doing this for, gosh, since when? 2016.

I've been doing this a long time. I have a lot of experience. I've worked with over a thousand doctors in doing this. I mean, this is the thing, right? This is what I specialize in. This is my expertise, and I'd love to help you with it if that is the right next step for you. If you're interested in finding out more information about the program, go to katrinaubellmd.com/info. You'll get all the information you need there. And if it's the right step for you to come and join us in the September group, we start September 13th, that'd be great.

Just as a final note, in case you're thinking, “Well, I don't know if I should do it because COVID cases are getting bad again. I don't know, and I've got this thing in that thing coming up,” we go for six months for a reason and that's because life happens and stuff comes up. Sometimes you're working more, and sometimes you're traveling, and sometimes something really difficult or tragic happen and we have to work through that.

We cannot wait until six months clears up and there's just nothing on the horizon that might be difficult, and here's why, because that's not what life is like. You have to learn how to lose weight and stop overeating and get yourself all cleaned up in terms of your brain during normal life, because that is going to be your life ongoing. If we wait until we have this perfect flat, beautiful paved track for six months, yeah, maybe it's a little easier. But you know what? You didn't learn the skills that you needed.

Because as soon as life goes back into being lifey again, you don't know what to do. None of that, in my opinion, is relevant in terms of certain things coming up. I mean, we have occasionally had someone in the military who's like, “Listen, I'm being deployed, and I'm not going to be able to access the program,” and we say, “Okay, you know what? That's a good reason. That's a really good reason. We'll see you when you return.” But for most people, we're just putting up those roadblocks and basically just saying, “You know what?

I'm not even worth doing this until there's no longer these obstacles,” rather than looking at, you know what? I'm going to use this program to figure out how to overcome these obstacles and still get what I want, which is basically one of the first things we do inside the program is figure out those obstacles and start coming up with solutions. I want to also just mentioned quickly that this work that we do is just through the lens of weight loss. The skills and tools that you learn you will be able to extrapolate to any other goal or challenge in your life.

I've seen this again and again with my clients. I've seen it with myself. It is not something that's just like a one and done thing and you can't take that with you into any other part of your life. You absolutely can. It's life changing. I mean, in the sense that there's the time in your life before you knew all this stuff and had applied it and the time after. You're never, never the same person again, but in all the best possible ways. I think sometimes we're like, what do you mean I'm not the same person?

What that means is that you're you, but so much more the you that you want to be, rather than that you right now that you wish you could escape from. And that's why you think you deserve to eat, right? Okay, my friend. Thank you so much for your time and attention today. I would love to work with you if you are a female physician in clinical practice and come and join us, or at least check out more information about the program, katrinaubellmd.com/info. All right, I will talk to you next week. Have a great one. Take care.

Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals? For lots of free help, go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.