Dr. Sarah Stombaugh:
This is Dr. Sarah Stombaugh, and you are listening to the Conquer Your Weight Podcast, episode number 32.
Welcome to the Conquer Your Weight podcast, where you will learn to understand your mind and body so you can achieve long-term weight loss. Here's your host, obesity medicine physician and life coach, Dr. Sarah Stombaugh.
Dr. Sarah Stombaugh:
Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you listen to my podcast live, you will know I've taken a bit of a step back from releasing new episodes recently. Life has just been really full, and I'll be honest, it hasn't been my top priority right now. And so I've been reflecting on what makes the most sense for me and my family, my business, my podcast listeners, and what is a solution that fits right now. I'm always encouraging my patients to do this, to brainstorm when they're in a different situation, what are all of the possible solutions to this problem. So often we take an all or nothing approach or we get really caught up in what we think we should be doing, but if we instead take a step back and review the situation with curiosity, it's amazing. We're often able to come up with many different solutions that actually make sense for us.
And that brings me to my podcast. I'm going to come back to releasing weekly episodes, and some of those will be traditional, you know, 20 something minute episodes like you've come to expect, but other ones will be briefer. Maybe just a few minutes talking about a helpful thought you can use in your weight loss journey, which brings us to today we're going to do one of those brief, helpful thoughts, which is this concept I've been using a lot in my own life and I've been sharing it with my patients and they're loving it, which is the concept of now me versus later. Me, and you can use this in so many different ways. The most readily apparent in a weight loss journey is using this in the context of making a food choice. But you can imagine that now me versus later me might apply in a lot of different situations.
For example, if there is a brownie sitting in front of you, you can stop and ask yourself, does now me want this brownie? Or does later me want this brownie? And my guess is that most people find that it's now you, that ones that brownie. But the later version of you might actually regret having that brownie because it doesn't align with your weight loss goals for yourself. And when you ask yourself, does this choice serve me now or does it serve me later? It gives you the opportunity to stop and reflect. So often we make these choices almost reflexively. We see that delicious brownie. We think, wow, that looks good. We desire it, and we eat it almost automatically without really being intentional about it. And hours later, you're reflecting back and thinking, gosh, why did I eat that brownie when I'm trying to lose weight?
And you might get frustrated or beat yourself up about it. But when we ask ourselves, does this choice serve me now or does it serve me later? It allows you to pause. The now me is driven by our primitive brain. We have urges upon which we act without really thinking. And later me is developed or driven rather by our developed brain, our prefrontal cortex. This is our thinking brain, which is allows us to stop and think and make a logical decision. Our weight loss journey is usually and should be driven by our developed brain, that prefrontal cortex. But a lot of times our primitive brain gets in the way with all of its urges and cravings. When we pause, it allows us to check in, does this choice allow, align with me now? Does it align with later me and the goals I have for myself?
And if now me and later me are not the same thing as one another, then you know that's where you really need to pay attention. And you get to make that decision intentionally. And here's the fun thing. Even though the choices you make for later, you are likely the choices most in line with your goals for yourself. You don't always have to choose later you, you can 100% choose. Now you, the key though, is that when you choose now, you, you're doing it from a completely intentional and conscious place. So later on that evening or the next day when you're reflecting back on the brownie, you chose to eat or whatever it was, you don't have to beat yourself up about it. You just say, that's the decision I chose to make at that time. And if you wanna do it differently next time, you can absolutely remind yourself of how you felt later when you were reflecting back.
But you don't have to beat yourself up about it. And so you can imagine it may apply in your weight loss journey, but it can apply in many different areas of our lives. And I'll share this example with you recently, because I've been practicing my later me, but I've also sometimes been choosing. Now me, I have been dealing with this with our little baby girl. She is four months old and I am breastfeeding her. And she's still at an age where she wakes up in the middle of the night to eat, and right now she's going to bed at six or seven o'clock at night. And then I go to bed between nine and 10 o'clock at night. And if you're not familiar with the concept of dream feeding, it's this idea that you can go and pick up your totally asleep baby and then breastfeed them while they are still asleep.
And because infants have such a strong sucking reflux, they can actually eat basically a full meal of milk while they're sleeping, which is cool. And so what that means for me is that I can dream feed her when I'm getting ready to go to bed. So she goes to bed six or seven, as I'm getting ready for bed, I go and feed her. And when I do that, she sleeps this long chunk of time from, you know, 6 - 7:00 PM She has a sleeping snack from 9 to 10:00 PM and then she ends up sleeping until about 4:00 AM. She wakes up briefly, has another feed then, and then sleeps until the morning. But if I don't dream feed her, she gets hungry and she'll wake up on her own, usually around midnight, plus or minus, which means, let's say I go to bed at 10:00 PM I'm being awoken maybe two hours later, maybe a little more or less.
And somehow when I am woken up after such a short period of time, it's so disorienting and it feels terrible. I totally hate it. So the obvious solution here is to just dream feed her every night. So that means she is getting that good stretch of sleep, which means I am getting that good stretch of sleep. But some nights I am so tired and it's nine or 10 o'clock at night and I just wanna go to bed right now. I don't wanna go feed her because feeding her doesn't happen instantaneously, right? It means I'm gonna go be awake for another 30, maybe even 45 minutes. And sometimes I just don't feel like it. So I'm faced with this decision, do I choose now me meaning that I go straight to bed, skipping that dream feed, knowing I'll be woken up at midnight to feed her, or do I instead choose later me, meaning that I go and dream feed her at my bedtime, knowing that bedtime for me is going to be a little bit later, but I'm nearly guaranteed to get that beautiful chunk of sleep, at least four until 4:00 AM And that feels really good at the time, right?
And so to someone without children or maybe your many removed, many years removed from having this type of situation, you might have all sorts of thoughts about this. Like, we'll just go to bed earlier, Dr. Stombaugh, you should sleep, train your baby, whatever. I honestly don't care because those thoughts are not relevant to the point I'm making, which is that every night I'm faced with this decision, do I choose now me or later me? And I will tell you that about six nights a week, I choose later me. I choose to go and dream feed our little girl before I go to bed, because that means I get a good chunk of sleep and I feel so much better when I've gotten that six or so consecutive hours of sleep. But about once a week, I choose now me, I go to bed without dream feeding our little girl.
And each time I'm woken up like one or two hours later to breastfeed her. And I look at the clock and I grumble. But what I don't do is I don't beat myself up about it. I remind myself that I intentionally made this decision and it feels physically pretty terrible. I'm exhausted, but it was a choice that I made. And I remind myself next time, I really ought to choose later me. And so because of that, I usually do choose later me, and it comes with reflection and learning and growing. But most important, being intentional. And I challenge you to do the same. Whether you're thinking about a food choice or snoozing your alarm clock in the morning or going to the gym or starting a work project or watching TV or meal prepping or breastfeeding your baby or whatever it is, stop and ask yourself, does this choice serve now me or later me? Let me know If you enjoyed hearing about this topic. If you're looking for help in your weight loss journey and you live in Illinois or Virginia where I'm licensed to practice medicine, I would love to see you as a patient in my telemedicine based weight loss clinic. You can visit my website at www.sarahstombaughmd.com. That's www S-A-R-A-H-S-T-O-M-B-A-U-G-H-M-D dot com to get in touch with me. Thank you for joining me today. I'll see you all next week. Bye-bye.