Ep #44: The Struggle of Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, it seems like there is always a point where it becomes a struggle and you just don’t feel like doing it anymore. It could be a couple months in or many months after you start, when you hit a plateau, or while you’re still losing weight. The timing doesn’t matter; what matters is that you have to push through it.

In this episode, I talk about how to shift your mindset in order to keep going even when it’s so tempting to quit. The struggle is actually an important part of the journey—all it takes is looking at it the right way.


Listen To The Episode Here:


In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Why the struggle is actually a positive part of the journey.
  • The four “Cs” required to get anything you want.
  • What it takes to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Why people quit.
  • Two types of mindsets—and which one consistently leads to success.

Featured In This Episode:


Get The Full Episode Transcript


Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss For Busy Physicians Podcast with Katrina Ubell, M.D., Episode number 44.

Speaker 1:          This is 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 and feel better so that you can have the life you want. This is the resource you’ve been looking for to guide you on the journey to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and lose into freedom around food. Here’s your host, Doctor Katrina Ubell.

Katrina Ubell:      Hey my friend, how are you? Welcome back to the podcast. So excited to have you back. It’s almost Halloween time here. I think by the time you’re listening to this, it’s going to be almost Thanksgiving time, but, we’re getting excited. We’re getting all the costumes ready. My daughter, who said all year she was going to be a Super Girl, is now going to be a princess. She could not resist the princess costume from Costco.

My six-year-old is going to be an astronaut. And then my almost 12-year-old found this costume that my mother hand-made for me when I was about his age. It’s a bag of peanut M&Ms. It’s so cute. It’s made out of felt. It’s an orange kind of sack that says M&M on it. And then the hat opens up and has all these different colored stuffed felt M&Ms coming out the top. It’s super cute. We’re super excited about that.

Our neighborhood goes all out for Halloween. They literally close down three streets and the streets rotate every year, so you only pass out candy once every four years. Super fun, everybody together can go, your whole family can go to those streets and this year, they’re blocking all the streets off and one block is the haunted block, and they go even extra all out with all the decorations.

It’s seriously, so many kids, there’s over 1,000 kids usually that come. You don’t even go ring a doorbell, pretty much. People just sit outside, they build a nice fire, and the kids just go up the sidewalk, get the candy, keep on moving. It’s really, really fun. We do it at night. It’s kinda weird. We trick or treat the Saturday before Halloween. I never done that or seen that anywhere but here, but it just makes it fun because the kids can stay up late. You don’t have to worry about school the next day or homework, or any of that stuff. We got that coming up, that’s super fun.

You know what? I want to tell you about something that I did yesterday that I just have to share with you because it was so cool and interesting, and kind of weird, but pretty much amazing. I think I might be obsessed. What I did was, I did a float. Have you heard of this? This is where you go to a place and they have these pods, which are basically like a small pool that’s shallow. I mean, maybe, I don’t know, a foot of water.

It’s body temperature water and it’s got tons and tons of Epsom salt dissolved in it. It makes you super buoyant. The one I went in is like a pod, so you have a lid that you literally can pull down over yourself. There’s a light in there and you can have music on if you want, or you can shut that all off. You go in naked because you don’t want even the clothes touching you, although you can do a swimsuit if you want to.

They filter all the water and clean everything before you ever go in there. You take a shower. You have to full on shower, shampoo, everything before you go in. You go and you lay in there and it’s sort of like a sensory deprivation thing. It was seriously, like after I got out of it, this is how I described it to my husband, I said, “I was sitting there and I felt the feeling that you have after having a really good massage, but like times 10.” Like, amp that up.

It was so incredibly relaxing. You can totally sleep because you can’t drown and you’re so buoyant. Like you’re just laying on top of the water. You don’t have any pressure points. Nothing’s hurting. All your muscles can relax. I had gone in there planning to meditate, but I swear, I think I got into some sort of super deep state of meditation because I know I didn’t sleep. It was like my brain shut off in the best possible way.

I just want to offer that to you, that if that is something you have a hard time doing, or maybe you’re not really a massage person, or you just want to try something different. I did it for an hour. That is, I think, the shortest that they offer. You can get out any time though. I mean, you literally can do whatever you want. They do 90 minute floats and even longer. I mean, some people will book overnight floats and they’ll sleep in there overnight.

There’s all kinds of research about how it’s super helpful for anxiety and depression, and muscle aches and pains. Everyone’s known that Epsom salt soaks is good for sore muscles for a long time. Anyway, it was really amazing and I want to encourage you to give it a try. You might not like it. Maybe it’s not your thing, but I thought it was super fantastic.

The only thing I’m dealing with today is that I feel like maybe I didn’t get the earplugs in totally right in one of my ears, and so I feel like I have a little water, maybe some residual salt or something on my eardrum. Every time I try to pop my eardrum, I hear this little scratchy thing. I had my husband, the EMT, look in there this morning. He’s like, “It’s fine.” I’m like, “All right. Fine.” I’m sure my body can process this extra salt and get rid of it. Anyway, I wanted you to know about floating. You must give it a try.

Okay. What I want to offer to you now, is just a couple of iTunes reviews because you guys know I’ve been asking for you to please leave me some reviews. I have a goal for myself because as you know, goals are very important, right? I have a goal to get 500 reviews from my podcasts. I’m not even quite at 150 of actual reviews. I have more ratings than that, where people have given me the stars, but I want to get 500 reviews.

As soon as I get 500 reviews, guess what? I’m going to stop asking you for reviews. Get your sister, your mom, your dad, your husband, anybody who might possibly have heard of my podcast or just likes you and wants to do you a favor. Please ask them to leave me a review because I would really, really appreciate it, and it really does help this podcast to get noticed by other people who it can help.

There are a couple on here that I just wanted to read off. One is by Solar Powered One, which I just love that name. He or she titled it, Important Niche. “Nice to hear a coach that understands the specific challenges of healthcare providers.” Exactly. That’s exactly what I’m going for. Thanks Solar Powered.

This is from MCF Dan, who writes, “Really gets the challenges of weight loss for busy people.” Which is what I’m going for. I think it might be he, since it says MCF Dan. He writes, “Recommended to me by a psychiatrist colleague. Although, not a physician, I am a very busy mental health worker. This podcast gets to the heart of the challenges I have faced. I have lost 60 lbs. since beginning this journey, thanks at least in part to the thought model and Doctor Ubell’s encouragement.” So good, so happy for you.

This last one is from Yuma Huma 10, and she writes, “So good. This podcast is everything I needed. I wish my premed college self would have had this resource 10 years ago. More than help and tips for weight loss is help for life in general. I am learning a lot. Now that I caught up on all the episodes, I look forward to every new one. Thank you again, Doctor Ubell.” By the way, you can call me Katrina, okay? You don’t have to call me Doctor Ubell. You are so welcome. Yeah, I agree with all of it. I wish I knew it all back then too.

Every now and then, I’ll get a message from somebody going, “You know, all this stuff is great, but can you get back to the weight loss?” My answer is always, if you don’t think that all this other stuff is exactly what you need to lose the weight and keep it off, you’re missing the important points here. Yeah, the weight loss is, there’s certain things that we can do, but it’s managing all of the other stuff that keeps you from emotional eating, which is why I cover it.

In the in the rest of this podcast, I want to talk to you about this struggle of weight loss. I see this so often with my clients. There’s always a point with my clients, where it’s like the newness wears off, and losing weight really starts to feel like a struggle. Sometimes it’s while they are not losing weight, and they’re at a plateau. Sometimes, it’s when they are still losing weight and they’re just over it, and they’re just done. They just don’t feel like doing it anymore. I really have to sell them on the struggle.

A lot of times it’s not easy. It’s so interesting because for some of them, it’s a couple months in and some of them, it’s many months in, depending on the results, and so many different factors for them. I pretty much see this with everybody. That there comes a point where there’s just a struggle. They aren’t following their plan anymore. They’re kinda messing around, and they’re gaining a few pounds and then they’re losing it again. They just are spinning out with all of it.

What I have to sell them on, is why it’s worth it to continue. How basically, there’s this huge mountain range in front of them and their destination is on the other side, in the general direction that they’re moving, but they can’t see it yet. They have to keep climbing to get there. I’ve often told physicians who’ve wanted to work with me, that they have to become them, at their goal weight now, in order to get to their goal weight and stay there. I think I’ve mentioned that on the podcast before.

You have to become the version of you, who stays at your goal weight and maintains that, now. That has to happen now and then the weight just comes off. Because, if you have to not emotionally overeat in order to keep the weight off, then if you stop emotionally eating now, then the weight will come off, right? But for so many people, it’s not that simple. If it were that simple and that easy, then none of us would yo-yo.

It’s so cute. In my big group right now that I have, they were like, “I’m not going to yo-yo anymore, I’m just going to yo.” They’re like, “I’m going to yo one time to my goal weight and then I’m going to stay there.” I love that.

We have to change who we are. How we cope with our lives. How we cerebrate. How we have fun. How we deal with hard days, and exhaustion, and frustration, and disappointment, and sadness, and weight loss plateaus. This is the thing, when we’re doing that, we are growing because we are changing. We’re becoming emotional adults. We’re taking a 100% ownership of our experience as humans in this world. We stop blaming, and we stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and we start showing up as the person we want to be in the future, but we do that now.

Many of my clients will think that’s something’s going wrong when they feel like they’re struggling. What I want them to learn and I want to share it with you too, is that the struggle is a necessary, important, and positive part of the journey. Nothing is going wrong when you feel like you’re struggling. It’s when you believe that you shouldn’t be struggling and that it shouldn’t be hard, that you think about quitting, right?

Most people just go, “Like, this is dumb. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m just going to quit.” They think it’s too hard, and there has to be an easier way, so they basically quit mid-race. If you think about a running race, some people quit five steps after the starting line. They take five steps, they go, “This is dumb, I don’t want to do this.” Some people are halfway there, and some people are just a few steps from the finish line before they just decide the struggle’s too much and they want to quit.

But then, they want to start another race. And then they quit that race. And then they start another race, and they’re never letting themselves get to the finish line because they keep believing that there shouldn’t be a struggle. I guarantee you, if you ask any professional athlete, there is a struggle. Think about that 100-yard dash. How hard they are working at the very, very end. They can barely breathe. It takes them five minutes to catch their breath, they’re pushing so hard. It would be so easy to go, ah, that’s too hard, and everyone else just blasts right past you.

What I want you to do, is to finish the race, even when it’s painful, and it’s such a struggle. In the military, they have a phrase, they say, “Embrace the suck,” because complaining does not fly in the military. That is just not something they do. It is just not part of the culture. They just say, “Embrace the suck.” Of course it sucks, your body hurts, you’re exhausted, your brain wants to give up, embrace the suck. This is what we’re doing.

This is the privilege … The suck is the privilege you get to have for having such a noble job. For you, the noble job is wanting to live an authentic life and not emotionally overeat anymore. To not buffer your emotions and try to make your life better with food and alcohol.

When you except the struggle, you are drawing courage from deep within you, to continue on that path. Every step is a choice to keep continuing on the difficult path to what you want or to let yourself be distracted by some other new and shiny path, and start all over again. I believe I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, I want to review it again.

My teacher, Dan Sullivan, talks about the 4 Cs. To get anything that you want, the first thing you need is to commit. It’s the first C, you commit to the process. Then we think, oh, we need to feel confident and capable of getting to our goal. We think that’s what we need. Confidence and capability. What he teaches is, that’s not at all how you get confidence and capability. You don’t get confidence and capability until you have actually reached your goal.

It’s when you’re at the finish line that you’re confident that you could reach the goal because you just did. You know that you’re capable of achieving that goal because you just did. You have evidence for that. Between the commitment and feeling confident and capable, you are in courage and that’s when it’s a struggle. It feels terrible a lot of the time and nothing’s going wrong.

The mindset that you have when you’re taking on this struggle is so important too. I want to share with you a book that I read, a little over a year ago, that literally changed my life. It is by a psychologist who has spent her entire research career, researching mindset. Her name’s Carol Dweck. She has been referenced all over the place. She’s amazing. The name of the book is called, Mindset, The New Phycology of Success, How We Can Learn How To Fill Our Potential. I highly recommend it.

She talks about so many areas where your mindset is so important. Like parenting, our relationships, learning in school, business, all of it. Like our careers, it’s such a good book. You can definitely go to the show notes, which you can find at katrinaubellmd/44 to find that, it’s so good.

She talks about two kinds of mindsets. There’s the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. People with the growth mindset believe they can improve. They love a challenge. They engage with difficulty instead of running away from it. They aren’t as afraid of failing as other people because they know they can learn and through training and hard work, they can get better. This makes them more motivated, it makes them more resilient, more persistent in their pursuits, and overall, more successful over the long-term, in just about every area of their lives. There’s so much research behind this.

People with a fixed mindset believe and act in the opposite way. They think their abilities, their intelligence, and their traits are set, fixed, and limited. They don’t think they can change and that creates fear every time they’re faced with a challenge that requires more than what they view as their quote, unquote, “Natural strengths and abilities.”

They dread failing like crazy because failure is a reflection on them and their worth as a human. I talked about that last week with, How do you decide something’s a setback or a failure? Someone with a growth mindset would think about it as a setback. Someone with a fixed mindset, would think about it as a failure. If they make a mistake or an error, they think that it makes them look incompetent. If something isn’t easy, then they just give up.

We sometimes have a growth mindset in one area of our lives and a fixed mindset in others. I see that fixed mindset with so many of my clients. They have a growth mindset in their careers and so many other areas. I don’t know how you can get through med school with a fixed mindset, or you would just quit, right? When it comes to weight loss, they just think, this is all I can do. I’m going to fail. If it gets hard, if any mistake or error, they screw up and eat something off plan, and they just think like, “That’s it. It’s over. I’m going to fail just like every other time.” It’s so interesting.

Research has shown that people with a fixed mindset are five times more likely to avoid challenges than those with a growth mindset. This correlates with research on high and low performers in all areas of life. The growth mindset correlates with high performers and the fixed mindset correlates with low performers. If you are low performing in the area of weight loss in your life, it very well could be because of the fixed mindset that you have.

This applies in so many other ways. I have this amazing client who I’ve been coaching for a long time, and she has a huge background in child development and has four amazing kids. What she was sharing with me, that she was really struggling with one of her children, her youngest, and how he is just totally different than any of her other kids. She was really, really struggling and just having such a hard time with figuring out what to do with him.

I was coaching her and helping her to see how her thinking was blocking her entirely from coming up with solutions. One thought that I offered her was, I am still learning how to best parent this child, I won’t say his name. She said to me, “Oh my gosh, that’s so growth mindset.” I love that. It’s so fixed mindset to be thinking, I can’t figure out this out. I don’t know how to parent him. He’s not like my other ones, as though there’s only one way that she knows to parent, and that’s it. There’s no other solutions here. She doesn’t know what else to do.

Once I saw … I helped her to see how she was making it so much more difficult for herself and making the struggle so much worse by constantly telling herself that she didn’t know what to do, when it just wasn’t true at all. I reminded her, you know, if one of the people that you work with came into your office with the exact same situation, you could probably come up with 10 solutions on the spot, because it’s somebody else, and because you’re operating from that growth mindset. She was like, “You’re totally right. I have to just start thinking outside of the box.”

Sure, maybe there’s 50 things that I haven’t ever had to implement in my own home, but they’re out there as solutions and this child is the one that requires me to access that. Ultimately, the struggle is what leads to progress. This is seriously in all struggles of human existence. You cannot have progress without the struggle. This is for really big things and this is for really little things.

I mean, humans wanted to cook their food right? We didn’t want to get sick from rotten meat. I guarantee you that humans struggled for a long time to figure out how to consistently create fire. It changed human existence completely. That’s kinda like a silly example, but it really is true. That’s a major progress for humans. Major, major progress. Just think about all the progress that we have had as human beings. Big progress and little progress, there has to be struggle to have that progress that you want.

The ups and downs are what make us humans, living a human experience. Without the lows, we wouldn’t even know what the highs are or that there’re highs. We know this intellectually, but it’s really easy to forget it when things get harder. I want to bring you back to that reminder with this podcast, that there’s nothing going wrong when it feels like a struggle. You keep going for it and you keep going forward. Think about third year in med school, when you were exhausted, you has a resident who was not fun, or not nice, or was mean, or just didn’t like you, and you just kept plodding along. The struggle was what gave you the progress to be able to graduate and become the doctor that you are now.

The struggle with your weight loss plan and figuring out what your next steps are, is exactly the same. One of my teachers is Brendan Burchard, and he says, “The struggle I’m now facing is necessary and it’s summoning me to show up, be strong, and use it to forage a better future for myself and my loved ones.” I love how general that is because that literally applies to any struggle that you may be having in your life right now, whether it’s weight related or not.

Just know that the struggle is where you need to be because you want progress. You are having that future focus and you want to create something new for yourself and it’s okay when struggle is part of that. Adopt that growth mindset. You can learn. You can change. If things are hard, it’s because you just haven’t quite figured out the best way to do it. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it means you haven’t found it yet.

All right, my friends. Have a wonderful, wonderful week. Please leave me an iTunes review. If you have not yet done that, I would really appreciate that. If you have, please tell all your friends. If you’ve told friends about the podcast and they have subscribed and are listening, or maybe just listened a couple of times, haven’t gotten into it, tell them, “Look, I want her to stop talking about iTunes reviews. Will you please leave her a review.”

Oh man, I can’t wait. It’s going to be so fun to see how long it takes for me to get 500 reviews. I’m wondering if maybe now it’s going to go faster. I really, really hope so because I would love to talk to you about other things. Well, my kids are home, they must have figured out that I am recording a podcast. I hear them yelling, and screaming, and playing outside. Maybe you hear that, maybe you don’t, but it’s time for me to go.

Have a great Thanksgiving because I think is around when this is going to be coming out and I hope you had a great Halloween that was filled with lots of joy, and love, and spookiness, and little to no, Halloween candy. I mean, seriously. If you’re going to eat candy, don’t eat Halloween candy. It’s gross. All right, you guys. Have a great week. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye, bye.

Outro:                 Thanks for joining us on Weight Loss for Busy Physicians. Now take the next step and go to katrinaubellmd.com to download just what you need, the Busy Doctors Quick Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss. Join us again next week for more support to keep you in control and own the path to freedom around food.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Dorota
    Reply

    I can’t believe the timing of this topic! This is exactly what I have been experiencing the last month or so. I have been struggling to continue forward on my weight loss goals. I completely agree with needing the flexible/growth mindset to help get through. Thanks to your coaching through this podcast, I haven’t given up! I’ve said to myself, there has to be a way to get back on track, by finding the thought that is leading to this state and changing it! Through thought downloads, bridging thoughts, inspiration searching and striving to get back to massive action, these last few days I’ve gained back my commitment and courage. Onward to the results I want!

  • Christina Wagner
    Reply

    I am not a MD but I am professional working in the pharmaceutical industry responsible for managing oncology clinical trials. I have been listening for about 4 months. I found this episode very helpful. I am a classic yo yo. Would love to just yo. I exercise regularly but the struggle with food at times seems impossible. I am about 30 lbs over weight and would love to see more yo. I have written on a post it, that sits on my desk, your great advice about becoming the version of me at my goal weight NOW. Thanks and keep up this great work.

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