Ep #45: The Truth About Internet Addiction

Have you ever stopped to think about much time you spend using the internet each day? Between emails, social media, online shopping, etc., it’s easy to clock a staggering amount of hours browsing the web. But how do you know when it has become an addiction?

Tune into today’s podcast to find out. Not only will you learn the symptoms of internet addiction, but you’ll also find out how excessive time online can negatively impact your life and relationships, as well as what to do if you think you are struggling from this type of compulsion.


Listen To The Episode Here:


In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How internet addiction affects your life.
  • The warning signs of internet addiction.
  • Why scrolling through a social media feed takes away your ability to live a life of intention.
  • Withdrawal symptoms that accompany reducing or eliminating time on the internet.
  • What protocol to follow if you have an internet (or any other type of) addiction.

Featured In This Episode:

  • Interested in working with me? If you’re a practicing MD/DO physician, click here to sign up.
  • Sign up for my email list!

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, MD, episode number 45.

Outro:                 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 move into freedom around food.

Here’s your host, Doctor Katrina Ubell.

Katrina Ubell:      Hey my friend. Thank you for joining me on the podcast today. How are you? I am great.

I’m seriously so happy to be recording this podcast for you. I just finished doing a live coaching call with my coaching group that I have right now of these 60 amazing women physicians, and they are so much fun. We just had the best time. And we are making serious changes in life, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re laughing, we’re having a great time, we’re celebrating each other’s successes, and we’re helping each other and supporting each other in our learning moments. They’re not failures. They are experiences that help us to understand where we still have more work to do.

That’s what I always try to get them to understand, is that they’re not failing. It doesn’t mean that because you had a setback that it’s over and this is going to happen just like every other time where you’re going to go back to eating everything and not paying any attention and getting all the weight back. It just means that when you have a setback you’re more able to see where you still have more work to do, which is so good, right? Then you can really focus your efforts, and your attention, and your energy, which is so good. Super fun.

I have to tell you guys, last week my husband, he listened to my podcast I think probably in the car, and he told me, he goes, “Listen. You really talk about iTunes reviews way too much.” And I was like, “Great. Did you leave me one?” And he’s like, “Yes. In fact, I did.” And I said, “Yeah, good.” Because this is the thing. There are thousands of people listening and I have not even 200 reviews yet. So let’s go people. I said, “Well, just tell all your friends, tell everybody you know, and as soon as I get my 500 reviews, then I’ll stop talking about it.”

So if you could please, please do that if you hadn’t already. It’s super easy. Even if you’re an Android or PC user, you just need to find iTunes on your computer. Download it if you don’t have it, which doesn’t take long. We’re on episode 45, so I’ve given you 45 episodes of tons of great info, and lots of great help, so if you could just download that and go into iTunes, find Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, and then do the writing a review. That would be great.

But if you’re an Apple user and you have iPhone, it’s so super-duper easy. So easy. I’ve mentioned it before, but in case this is your first time listening, all you have to do, open up your podcast app and find the picture of my face on it, which you should hopefully have subscribed already. And then, you are going to scroll to the bottom. Just click on my name, scroll all the way to the bottom, and then you’ll see an area where you can leave reviews. And there’s one little purple area that says Write a Review. Just tap on that. You can enter in all the information.

Doesn’t have to be long, you don’t have to write me a novel, or even a five paragraph essay. You don’t have to do that. All I’m looking for is just your opinion on this podcast. I would really love that. So if you could do that, I would really, really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

All right. Guess what we’re talking about today? This is going to be a good one. I’ve had a couple of people reach out and ask me to talk about internet addiction, which I think is so good.

I got a comment to one of my prior podcast episodes, episode number 16, from a gal named Hannah, and she writes, “I’ve always heard you using the phrase, ‘Going down the social media rabbit hole.’ In this day and age, our phones are never far away from us. It’s always so easy for me to plop on the couch after I’ve put my kids to bed and start browsing the internet, or looking at social media.

The voice in my head keeps telling me that it will just be for a few minutes while I take a quick break before finishing up the rest of the household chores. AND I FALL FOR IT.” She put that in Caps, I love that. “Of course it never happens, and the minutes keep dragging on, and as you can imagine I don’t rest, and I don’t make any progress in finishing my chores. What tips do you have, or use, to limit internet use? I would like to be able to make time for my evening to do list, and also have some time to do something entertaining. Thank you so much.” This is so, so good, because I have actually just recently done a bunch of work on this myself, so I’ll share some of that with you.

Then also, one of my current physician clients, just independently, also reached out and asked me to cover this topic. And when I asked her for a little bit more details about what she’s struggling with, she told me, “I’m always looking for something more. Lots of checking. I don’t actually read that much. And lots of texting with friends, etc. I’ve been trying to turn it off at night when I’m not on call, but I always have these thoughts, just one thing, just one thing.” Haven’t you have those thought? I have too. Let me just check this one. I just need to figure out that one thing. Let me see if that one person posted.

She writes, “I find myself distracted at work and checking email, even though I basically never get anything interesting. Now, checking in with our group is a new distraction. I know I need to plan my screen time, but I haven’t done it yet. It’s weird, because I don’t even watch TV anymore. I just play on the phone, and then read at night.”

I think all of us can really relate to this. I mean, there were times where I’d have the show on, and I’d be kind of bored with that, and then I’d still be on my phone, or trying to do both at the same time, looking at this and that. I mean, it’s really just nothing that results in anything really very good.

I have had issues with this. I was even reluctant to sign up for Facebook way back in the day. I think it was in ’09 or something when one of my friends from college finally convinced me. He was like, “Look. You need to get on this.” And I was like, oh my god. It’s so amazing. Reconnect with all these long lost friends, and that’s been super fun, seeing people’s lives and kids and everything they’re going through.

But if you’ve been on Facebook for a while, you know that it’s really changed, for better, for worse. I mean, some good things, some things that maybe aren’t so great. When you are kind of incorporating Facebook into your life, then you just kind of keep going with it, and it’s just a regular part of your life.

I don’t know that I’d say that I was particularly internet addicted, but I deffinitely had tendencies. So I thought to myself though first, what is actually internet addiction? How do you know you’re addicted versus you just like spending some time on social media? I looked this up, and according to the Illinois Institute for Addiction and Recovery, internet addiction is, “An impulse control disorder, which does not involve the use of an intoxicating drug and is very similar to pathological gambling.”

I found that very interesting, that is similar to pathological gambling, because I have zero interest in gambling, at all. I’ve mentioned that before, but I deffinitely had some interest in the internet. But apparently, you don’t have to have both, but you can just have one. Okay.

They say, “Some internet users may develop an emotional attachment to online friends and activities they create on their computer screens.” I mean, seriously, right? We have these people that we feel like we know online in some of these Facebook groups, but we don’t really know them at all. We don’t even really know their real name, or their last name, or where they live, or anything like that. So fascinating.

“Internet users may enjoy aspects of the internet that alow them to meet, socialize, and exchange ideas through the use of chat rooms, social networking websites, or virtual communities. Other internet users spend endless hours researching topics of interest online, or blogging. Similar to other addictions, those suffering from internet addiction use the virtual fantasy world to connect with real people through the internet as a substitution for real life human connection, which they are unable to achieve normally.”

I thought, now that I really interesting, right? Because the first parts are like, yeah, okay, yeah, I have an emotional attachment to these people in the Facebook groups. And a lot of you are in one big Facebook group for physician moms on Facebook, and for better or for worse, with that. So we do really like having that socialization, and that sense of community, that virtual community, being able to reach out to a large number of people who are like us when we may possibly know very few people who are like us, or none in our immediate community. You can see how you’re like, okay, but really that means I’m addicted?

But I think it’s the last part that really brings it up. I mean, I usually think of an addiction as something where it is actually starting to impact your ability to function normally in life. We’ll get into that a little deeper here in a minute. But if you’re like, no, I think everything is going fine for me, then maybe it’s not as big of a deal, maybe you wouldn’t identify with the actual label of being an addict. But I think, especially for internet addiction, there’s a bit of a spectrum, and some of us may be further, over to one side than the others.

But I thought it was so impactful to think about this idea that you live in this virtual fantasy world where you’re connecting with real people through the internet, but you’re substituting real life human connection, or you’re unable to achieve it normally. I think there are a lot, a lot, a lot of women, especially women professionals, high achievers, who feel like they don’t have a good friend support network. Now, not everybody. Plenty of people have lots of friends, but a lot of people feel like they don’t, whether it’s because they don’t have much time, or a lot of their friends have moved away. I know a lot of my best residency friends all left town, and I’m one of the last ones here. So they’re all over the country, and it’s just not the same. You can’t get together with them for dinner, or things like that.

So maybe they’re feeling like they do have some friends, but they don’t put any effort or time into those friendships, because they’re so busy, so exhausted, have the kids, or are already away from the kids so much that they feel like they shouldn’t even go out and do a girls’ night, or a girls’ weekend away, or just even have a friend over. Or they feel like there’s all these other things that they’re failing at, they’re not keeping up with the house, they’re not doing the kind of job they want to be doing as a mom and as a wife, so where do friends even fall into that? And then it’s so easy to just lurk or pop your head into these Facebook groups and feel like you’re having some kind of real connection with other human beings. But ultimately, that’s not the same as having a real in-town friend.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to have a gazillion friends by any stretch. I mean, I honestly think for the average busy professional woman, one to two good friends who you can count on, who you can call when you really need help, if you’re going to the ER you can ask them, “Hey, can you please come watch my kids?” or something like that, I think you’re doing great.

I think many of us have this idea that other people have 50 friends and they’re all so great, and they all get together all the time, it’s so amazing. And I think there are some people who have that kind of life, but for a lot of us, especially those of us who are introverts, that’s too much for us. It’s really too much effort and attention, and we need more time alone than we’re able to give to that. But knowing that it’s still important to cultivate real life relationships is important as well. That was a little side note. There are lots of things to unpack here.

So then, how do you know if you’re internet addicted? What are the warning signs of internet addiction?

A pre-occupation with the internet, meaning thoughts about previous online activity or the anticipation of the next online session.

Use of the internet in increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction. That’s like eating more and more sugar, drinking more and more alcohol, doing more and more heroin.

Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop internet use.

Feelings of restlessness, moodiness, depression, or irritability when attempting to cut down on use of the internet.

Being online longer than originally intended. Who hasn’t done that? Me for sure.

Jeopardized or risked loss of a significant relationship, job, and/or educational or career opportunities because of internet use.

Lying to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extend of involvement with the internet.

And/or using the internet as a way to escape from problems, or to relieve a dysphoric mood, like feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression.

That last one, it’s the same thing as what we do with food. It’s so interesting. It’s like I, for sure, found that when I got my eating under control, my Facebook habits went up. I was spending more time on Facebook because I was no longer buffering, using food to neutralize the negative emotions in my life and to get that dopamine hit to feel better. Instead, I was going on to Facebook. So interesting. We just swap one thing for the next.

What are the effects? Impairments in real life relationships. And I think that when you have this false sense of having this connection with these internet people, there’s a distinct lack of looking for real life relationships. We tell ourselves a story that we don’t have time for real friends, or any real life people, and we don’t have time to develop these relationships, but that’s actually not really true. We could create that time and we’re also spending a lot of time on the internet. We could be swapping that out if we wanted to.

Another effect. You spend more time in solitary seclusion, less time with real people in your life. People who are internet addicted are often viewed as socially awkward, which I find really interesting, because I think that I can deffinitely come across that way. Believe it or not. I think I warm up to people pretty quickly, but I deffinitely sometimes will have an interaction with somebody for the first time, and then afterward I’m like, yeah, I totally came across as weird. I don’t know what my deal was there. I don’t know if that’s the introvert in me or what, but sometimes it doesn’t go well. I think people who are more socially confident feel more comfortable being in those actual real life social situations.

Another effect. Arguments may ensue about time spent online and the user might try to conceal how much time they spend online, which can result in distrust and the breakdown of previously stable relationships. And I think that’s when it’s starting to get really more intense.

Some people go as far as creating online profiles, or personas, where they’re able to alter their identities, and then pretend to be someone other than who they are. So if you’re doing that, and you have low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and fear of disapproval, then you’re at higher risk for creating a secret life. And all of this can lead to clinical depression and anxiety.

I think that is something that is deffinitely more of the extreme, where somebody’s creating a secret life online, but I could see how for a certain person, who’s kind of a setup for this and at risk for this, it could develop into that unintentionally.

Many people who attempt to quit their internet use experience withdrawal symptoms. So actual withdrawal symptoms, including anger, depression, relief, mood swings, anxiety, fear, irritability, sadness, loneliness, boredom, restlessness, and procrastination.

For sure I found myself wanting to go on my phone more when I was bored, or a little lonely, or irritable, restless. Like, I don’t really know what to do, maybe I’ll check Facebook. It’s just this automatic connection. Let me just go on there and take a look, rather than thinking, well, I do have this list of all these other things that I could be doing. Maybe I should do that instead.

It’s like the path of lease resistance. It’s like, well, let me just check in really quick on Facebook. Let me just see if anybody posted anything. Just like the listeners were saying. And then before you know it, you just spent an hour and a half doing that, or you’re kids are sitting there eating and you’re on your phone. I’ve often thought to myself when I’ve done that, if the roles were reversed and they were sitting there on their phone, when they’re older and have phones, and I’m sitting there eating, I’d be like, “Get off your phone and talk to me. What’s wrong with you?”

It’s so interesting how we just don’t even realize what we’re doing. All of a sudden, you’re done. Okay. It’s kind of a way of passing the time. Now, not that you have to sit there and stare at them eating, but what I know that I used to do before I had a smartphone, before I was on social media, I had a magazine and I flipped through that, or a book or something. And you can easily do that. That’s … somehow doesn’t suck you in in the same way that internet searches, or Facebook can do.

You can even develop medical issues from this, like carpal tunnel, dry eyes, back aches, headaches, eating irregularities and failing to attend to your personal hygiene. And also sleep disturbances.

Totally sleep disturbances. Who hasn’t gotten into bed and thought, let me just check Facebook one more time. And then, an hour and a half later you’re like, why did I stay up so late? I wanted to go to bed early. What’s wrong with me? Totally such a big issue. And you guys know how much sleep and fatigue is impacting you and your ability to lose weight based on the podcast a couple of weeks ago that I did on fatigue. So important that you don’t have your phone on, that you’re not doing internet searches and you’re not on social media the hour or so before bed.

According to a survey done by Deloitte, Americans on average check their phones 46 times per day. Isn’t that crazy? Most respondents said they look at their phones within five minutes of waking up. I am actually guilty of that, because you know what I do? I get up and I pee, and then I go meditate. And my meditation happens on my phone, so I do do that. But then you know what I find myself doing? Is I finish doing that, and then I go right into email. So fascinating how it’s like, let me just go check, check in with the world, see what’s happening. And there’s seriously literally almost never anything that I need to look at right at that moment. So interesting.

With all that said, you may not identify with being an internet addict. I think sometimes we use that term lightly, or ingest, not really mean that we’re truly addicted, but we know it’s a problem, it’s something that we want to reduce. You may not be a food addict, but at the same time you might emotionally overeat and you would like to stop doing that. It’s kind of a similar thing.

I think a lot of us can identify with different bits and pieces of what I listed there. There’s so many similarities here to overeating. You’re getting on to social media, and you’re checking out of your current life. You’re going in eating through a bag of Halloween candy, or Girl Scout Cookies, or all those delicious pumpkin treats that are all over the place, especially Trader Joe’s. You’re checking out of your current life. You’re wanting to just feel better, maybe sit down with a snack and watch TV and you just want to escape that current experience of your life.

And when you go on to the internet, you’re also wanting to escape, you’re wanting to go to a place that seems more interesting, more fun, more engaging, more dramatic sometimes, and exciting, or more interesting than the life that you’re currently experiencing. And that’s a thing with the drama and the excitement. Who hasn’t followed this huge Facebook argument amongst some people? You just get sucked in and you can’t help it. Then, oh my god, can you believe that … Right?

And then there’s all this drama that you’re bringing into your life that doesn’t even involve you, or maybe it challenges some of your beliefs or opinions, but who cares? Who cares if somebody else disagrees with you? It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to change their opinion on something through Facebook, or for sure.

When you’re doing this, you’re neutralizing your feelings about your current life, and then you’re buffering them away with something that oftentimes starts off as seeming like a good idea. And that’s what’s tricky about it. It’s kind of this idea of, well, I just want to wish somebody happy birthday. I just want to see if my sister posted any pictures of her new baby, because I love that baby and I just want to see pictures everyday. Or I just want to look something up. Or I just want to check in for the gals in the style group to see who wore the cutest outfit today. It really could be anything. You just want to check really quick, and then you’re sucked in, and you know how that goes.

That Google feed, that social media feed, it never ends. There’s never a point where you’re “All caught up.” With email, you might have opened everything. There’s actually a time where you’re all caught up, either going to deal with more emails, or you’re going to stop. But with internet searching, and that social media feed, it could go on forever. We just keep scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling, thinking that we’re going to find something else that’s amazing.

And what I know was a problem for me is that I would I would be scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, thinking that whatever I’ve seen was really boring and not that interesting. It’s like you could tell the things when you’re like, I’m seeing these things from this group, I must really be through a lot of my feed. But then, every now and then, there’d be some interesting ad that would pop up. Some of you might have found me through a Facebook ad, like, let me look at that now. See what’s going on with that. Or you learned some new little tidbit that you’re so glad you learned. It was something new, or something exciting for you. And that reinforces that idea that you should keep doing it. Gives you that little dopamine hit, that little pleasure response that encourages you to keep checking Facebook, or checking social media, or researching things on the internet, and making that be very important to your brain, more important than other things that are technically more important when you really are looking at your priorities.

There’s other effects of this too. Being less efficient at work. I have heard from so many of my clients how they procrastinate closing their charts, or doing their dictations, or doing their documentation, because they’re checking email, or they’re getting on social media. And they think, “I’ll just get on for five minutes. Just want a break for five minutes,” and then before you know it, you haven’t gotten it done, you got to get home and then now you’re doing all your charting at night, or you’re way behind.

Don’t underestimate how much this could really be slowing you down at work, and making it so that you think you had this job where you have to work so many hours, but if you actually cut out all superfluous internet usage when you’re at work, and really focused, you would get done on time so much more often.

The other thing that comes up is that when you’re doing this, you’re not interacting with your kids or your spouse, the actual real life people who are near you. So if you’re feeling like you’re disconnected from your spouse, maybe it’s because you’re always on your phone, you guys aren’t really talking. Maybe he or she is on their phone or device, maybe one’s watching TV.

I know there was a period of time where I think my husband was catching up on Game of Thrones, and that’s just really not my thing. I just really don’t like to watch things on TV that are violent. I just feel like there’s enough terrible things in this world, that I don’t need to see more of them that are made-up and fake and make believe.

He was watching them I think on his computer, on the iPad or something, with headphones in, and then he could watch it and I was just sitting there doing whatever I was doing, probably something on the internet. Probably on Facebook to be honest. But then I’d want to talk to him and it would be kind of hard to get his attention. And I get his attention, he have to pause it and take off the headphones, and like, “What?” And like, “Let me talk.” And then it just wasn’t really like being together. And finally, I said to him, “I don’t really like this. Can you maybe watch this when I go to bed earlier than you?” Or something like, “I don’t like this way that we’re actually interacting.”

And the same thing can happen to your kids, if your kids are on devices too. Oftentimes it seems so easy, like, they just behave so much better at dinner if they can just sit there and look at the iPad, and then we can actually talk to one another. Sure, but you’re also not interacting with your child. They are an active member of the family. And what if you’d really focused on having a family meal, where you guys are actually hanging out together and all talking together? What if they learned to not just be distracted by their device to not interrupt you, but they learn to not interrupt because you had the opportunity to teach them that skill.

And same thing with teenagers too. They are totally absorbed in texting and doing all the things that they’re doing, and if you are too, then nobody’s really interacting, and then you don’t know what’s going on for them, which is deffinitely not a good idea when you have teens.

I have had an ongoing discussion basically with myself about Facebook for a long time. When Pinterest was new, I spent some time on there. Quickly realized that that was not making me feel good at all and I needed to get off of there, unless I was specifically searching for a certain thing.

And I never really gotten into Instagram too much. I don’t really take a lot of pictures, so it seemed just not something that I really wanted to do. And the Snapchat and stuff, I never really got into those. So Facebook was really my main thing.

And if we would go away camping for the weekend, that would be when I would really notice it’s really nice to not be on social media, and not be on email and being able to search for things on the internet all the time.

I would think, I really should do that longer. And of course I wouldn’t do it, because I had this whole story that I would tell myself that Facebook was good for me, because of a number of reasons. Most of the people I know and care about aren’t local, so Facebook is how I keep in touch with them, which is true. I mean, that is actually true. I would tell myself that I can control it. It’s not a big deal. I don’t need to delete the Facebook app off my phone so I have to get on it from a browser window. I can just not click on it. That’s what I tell myself.

I tell myself that I didn’t need to do anything extreme like get off completely, completely ditch it. And occasionally I had friends who did that. They would decide they didn’t want to be on Facebook anymore, and I really miss them. And sometimes we even fell out of touch, so I didn’t want to miss out on those relationships, or “Relationships,” because are they really relationships when you’re just liking each other’s posts? Something to think about. And then I also, because I’m such a learner, I tell myself that I’d miss out on so many great nuggets of information and things to learn, and different opportunities if I’m not on there.

I would ebb and flow with how much I would use it, and then I would cut back and then it wasn’t a big deal. But I had shared with you guys last time that when I was having my comparison issues, I noticed that I was struggling more, because I wasn’t using Facebook. So it was almost like this way of me being able to tell how I was doing with my food. If I wasn’t overeating my food, but I found myself spending too much time on Facebook, I knew there is something going on with my thinking. I needed to do more self-coaching.

If there was something going on with my food, and I wasn’t on Facebook, same thing. So then, when I wasn’t messing around with my food, and not doing Facebook, it was like, what do I do now? So that’s why it’s so important to know how to self-coach yourself and know, okay, look at this, I’m having a lot more food chatter. There’s probably something going on for me, especially if you aren’t using social media or some other internet source, or something else that you like to do to make yourself feel better.

For a variety of reasons in the summer I decided to spot Facebook completely. My mentor and coach has never been on it, and she is a big advocate for not doing it and convinced me. She had a good argument. Part of why I decided I wanted to stop was that I felt like I wasn’t really able to keep it in check. I told myself I could control it, but there were plenty of times where I didn’t.

And another big thing that I think gets overlooked, or people don’t really talk about, is that when you’re at the mercy of your Facebook feed to determine what you’re learning about and what you’re exposing yourself to, then you are out of control. You are not in full control of what information you’re bringing into your brain, like the news and other people’s drama, and then you’re not living a life of intention. You’re not living this deliberate life where you’ve decided that there are certain things you want to learn about, and then going and specifically learning about them, or certain topics you want to learn more about and then you, in a very strictured way learn about them. You’re just kind of waiting to see what happens to float into the feed and what kind of knacks your brain, and gives you that little hit of pleasure, and what that may be.

When I told myself that I was missing out on those things, I mean, not really though, right? Because if you don’t even know what you’re missing, then you’re not missing it. And do I really need to have that exposure, see those things, or read those articles, or feel like I have to defend myself because somebody else has a different opinion than me? Things like that.

So what do we do? How do we deal with this? Because that’s what the people who reached out to me were asking for. They were wanting to know what to do. And there’s so many similarities to your food, I can’t even believe it. If you don’t have an internet addiction problem, or an internet usage problem, but you made it this far in the podcast, you can just sub your food for all the things I’m about to tell you.

You have to create an internet protocol for yourself. That means that you’re deciding ahead of time what you’re going to get on, when, and for how long. And you decide all of this ahead of time. And maybe you don’t even go on everyday. Maybe you decide that you can go on Friday and Saturday and that’s it, and the rest of the time you don’t.

You might decide that when you get on you set the timer on your phone before you even open up the apps or the browser, and then you have to stop when the times goes off no matter what. You’re going to want to do more, and you have yourself stop, because it’s what you said you were going to do.

You might want to use social media time as your reward for after you’ve gotten everything else done. I used to do this with People magazine actually. When I had my first child and I had to do a considerable amount of pumping, and I would even pump at night one more time, once he started sleeping through the night, just to keep my supply up, I got a subscription to People magazine. This is total trash, but it’s such a guilty pleasure. And I would only let myself read that magazine when I was pumping.

So at night, before bed, pumping as you can imagine was the absolute last thing I felt like doing, but then I tell myself, okay but then you can read People for 20 minutes, 15 minutes. Then I’d be like, okay, I can get through a couple articles if I do that. So maybe it’s a similar thing. You get all your other things done, and then you can get on social media for 20 minutes or 30 minutes, and then see if that works for you.

If you are more the kind of person who’s not on social media but you like to research things and you fall down those rabbit holes of internet searching, then you could keep a running list of topics that you want to research, and look up, in the notes app on your phone. So when you get that idea, I should look that up, you don’t have to do it immediately. You put it on your list, and then when you have time, you deliberately set aside time to look those things up you want to look up, then you sit down and do it, and you set a timer. You give yourself a limit to how long you have to research it.

What I want you to know is the same with deciding your food ahead of time. You are not going to want to follow this plan, because your brain has decided that the internet is way more important than it really is. So it’s going to prioritize that, it’s going to offer to you that you should get on there frequently, that this is a really important thing. And if you’re finding that you create a protocol for yourself and you really have a hard time sticking with it, then I would deffinitely recommend seeing if you want to take a full break for a while. Completely get off. And I mean for more than a weekend.

I would suggest a hundred day challenge of being social media free. Now, you may not be able to be off of the internet completely, just because there are things you might need to look up, but you might have to come up with a plan for yourself on what kinds of topics are okay. For instance, if you need to get on up to date to look something up about a patient, that would be okay, but not researching some sleeping bag that you might want to use next year for camping, or some handbag that you’re obsessed with, or something like that.

And then, after that, you can decide if you want to go back. You don’t have to decide for sure that you deffinitely don’t ever want to get on there again, but you caould try it for 100 days and really see how your life changes.

When I decided to quit, I was a little bit worried about it, and a good friend of mine who had basically for almost a year been mostly off … I mean, very, very rarely did she come on and post something. Only when she needed to. And she messaged me and said, “I think you’re really going to like this. My life is so much better without having this in my head, and every time I go back on again I regret it.”

So I thought, okay, well, I trust her. She’s very insightful, so I will do it. I’m telling you, it has been a complete game-changer. My thinking is so much better, I have so much less self-coaching that I have to do because I’m so much more in control of what I’m deciding to bring into my life and bring into my mind. And I can then be so much more deliberate about what I’m thinking about.

If you do decide to go back to social media, then first, I want you to get really clear on why you’re going back. Why are you getting on? What is your intention in bringing this information into your life? Maybe your intention is only to keep up with some very close friends or family, then maybe that means that you hide everything else so you don’t see any of that anymore, but you can go find it if you decide you want to.

So you have to ask yourself, what are you wanting from it? And will you get that? Because you might be wanting to feel better, and you will maybe get better, but at what expense? Can you get that in a different way? Is there another way that’s maybe a little bit more positive or has more of an upside for you that you would rather use to entertain yourself or to feel better?

You can ask yourself those questions. Why are you getting on? What is your intention in bringing this information into your life? And what are you expecting it to do for you? What are you wanting form it? Will you get that? And can you get it in a different way instead?

With that, I will let you go. And one more plug, please, to leave me an iTunes review. If you’d be so kind, I would really, really appreciate it. And I will talk to you next week. And happy Thanksgiving, because this is coming out just a couple of days before.

All right. Take care. Make sure you plan your food before Thanksgiving. And if you’re going to have pumpkin pie, then plan it as a joy.

All right. Take care. 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 Doctor’s Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss.

Join us again next week for more support to keep you in control and on the path to freedom around food.

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