Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to _Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms_, episode 35, Burnout with Dr. Amanda Miles. Today I'm bringing you a beautiful and badass OBGYN physician, doctor, and coach to talk to all of us about overworking and burnout. Dr. Amanda Miles is a physician, coach and she's the host of the Happy Gynecologist Podcast.
Her work with OBGYN physicians is deeply important, and I feel particularly touched by it. She's helping women docs who help women. I mean, come on, it's next level. So of course I wanted to bring Amanda onto the podcast so she could share some of her pearls and her experience with us so we can really start to identify when we are going from working to overworking to starting to burn out.
She's going to share her story of burnout and how she came out the other side. Before we get into today's conversation, I want to make sure that you know about a free training [00:01:00] that I have going on for you. I have seen the impact of doing a live masterclass and interacting with all of you live, and so I'm hosting the Antidote to Willpower and Weight Loss again.
I really want to encourage you to block the timeout and come live. You can get all of the details at theunstoppablemombrain.com/antidote. It is frankly just impossible to keep tapping into willpower, so we are going to solve that together. I cannot wait to see there. Now, let's get into today's episode.
If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weight loss coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans.
Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you. [00:02:00] Ready? Let's get to it.
Hello. Hello. Welcome back. My Unstoppable friends. I am so excited to bring you my amazing friend, peer and fellow coach, Dr. Amanda Miles. She is a Ninja OBGYN. She is the host of the Happy Gynecologist Podcast, and she helps OBGYNs that are just working really too hard, burning out to help them level up their lives.
So please help me in welcoming Dr. Amanda Miles. Welcome. Tell us all about you and how you became like to where you are right now.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Thank you. Thank you. I'm so glad to be here Priyanka, I really do appreciate it and I love, I love what you're doing here, especially for all those high achieving women, because that's who I am too, you know?
So I fit into that soul. Yeah. So I am an OBGYN and I found myself a few years ago being burnt out. I didn't understand at that time that that's what that was. [00:03:00] But I had three small children. I had a three year old and newborn twins, and I was working in a solo practice, which, you know, for the non-medical listeners out there, I was alone and trying to take care of a lot of people in a very small town.
And I found myself where I was doing work. And then I would come home and I would take care of my children, and then I'd be up all night, you know, nursing the babies and then I'd go back and do it again. And maybe in the middle of nursing the babies I'd get called out to do go deliver someone else's baby.
And I would have clinic during the day and I would operate, and then I would come home and I would essentially work my second job as a mom, all night long.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. And on its own, it is it own job. It's its own full-time job being a mom. And I think, I think this is why, well, we, I can't wait to talk to you about this, especially because being a working mom, I always think of as this, like just this unique [00:04:00] flavor where you're working hard on both ends. Where you're, especially you cuz we've talked about this offline, like we have both loved being physicians and being OBGYNs and serving women in that way.
And we love the work and so we want to do the work. It's why we ever became physicians to begin with. And we also wanna be good moms. We also want to like do all of that too, and yet somehow we end up overworking and burning out. So yeah, keep going.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Okay. Yeah, so essentially I had a few days of really long hours where I was without sleep either due to the babies or due to my job.
And I kind of hit this point where I was like, I gotta make a change. I gotta figure something out. And so I ended up quitting my job and starting a different job that was supposed to be like way better. It was supposed to have like all these perks and it was supposed to like fix my life. Right. And guess what? It didn't .
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Guess what? It didn't.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah, it didn't. So I [00:05:00] made a huge change and to make everything better and then I didn't feel better. I was still trying to struggle with like, I kept asking myself like, why can't I get my stuff together to put it nicely?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right?
Dr. Amanda Miles: And like, why can't I get my stuff together? Why is everybody else having an easier time than me? I just felt exhausted over all the time. Overwhelmed. I had anxiety. I thought like, maybe I'm depressed. Like I took all these online screenings. I talked to the primary care friend. I'm like, am I depressed? Like, what's wrong with me? And I wasn't. I tested negative on all of that.
And she's like, I don't think you are. And so during this time I also found myself gaining a lot of weight . And what I thought was, like a weight issue was kind of a symptom of all of this as well, was burnout. And so yeah, so that's how I, I kind of [00:06:00] started addressing my weight and I figured out, oh, this is all burnout.
And, you know, I was emotionally exhausted. I was kind of the point where I just like didn't care. I got to the point, I just like really hit a rock bottom place where I was just like, had crazy thoughts like of like, maybe I'll get Covid, and takes time off. You know, like stuff like that. Like where it's just like, I didn't wanna keep going, you know?
I didn't wanna harm myself, but it would be nice if I got in a wreck on the way home and broke my leg and I couldn't work. Like who has thoughts?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Almost like, no, but like, what's so interesting is, it's almost like you tell me if this feels true. It sounds almost like you wanted a real reason to slow down and stop working and you didn't realize that you had authority in making a change. I'm so curious cuz you said that there was a moment when you were at your first job and then you switched to the second job. You said, I have to change something. What was it that was making you be like, I have to change something? Like what were your symptoms? How did you know that you were like, this is not good.
Dr. Amanda Miles: I essentially hadn't slept in, [00:07:00] I think it was like three or four days, like hadn't slept at all. And I went in and I was supposed to be doing surgery on people that morning. And I walked in and I was a hot mess express at that point, of course. Right? And I made the realization that I needed to kill my surgeries cuz it wasn't safe.
It nobody wants a physician to operate on them if they've been awake for four days. Like it's not safe. I wasn't able to make the best decisions. I wasn't clear minded. And people got really mad at me for that. Like people got mad that I canceled them. I like blew up. I went home and I was just like, you know, kinda like F all of this.
Like, nobody cares about me. I've been up for days. Nobody's helping me, nobody understands. And so I, that was kind of a big moment of like, I felt mistreated. I felt, you know, all these things, which may or may not have been real at that point.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: But it's how you felt.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah, that's how I felt. Right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And it was [00:08:00] real that you felt that way? I think, you know, for anyone that's not a physician or a medical professional listening to this, I think this just goes to show, because I don't know that we always speak to the dichotomy, but there is being a physician and having the physician life, and then there's being a patient and we've been on both sides.
Even as physicians, we are patients, right? Like we show up and we want our physician to treat us with their skills and expertise, but at the same time, I think what you're talking about is physicians are humans and you know, I think we sometimes put physicians on these pedestals, like they should know more.
They should be somehow superhuman. And the trouble is physicians start believing that too.
Dr. Amanda Miles: We believe that a 100%.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Physicians start believing I should be superhuman. And the trouble is we've probably been programmed and indoctrinated to believe that from a very young age. And I think that that is where the trouble is.
We start to believe I should be superhuman and look at me not being superhuman. How dare I, how dare I not be super human?
Dr. Amanda Miles: That is a hundred percent correct. And so beliefs like that, that like, I shouldn't [00:09:00] need to sleep or I should be able to do this, or you know, I should be doing more or like I need to prove myself.
Like all of those beliefs that I had as a high achieving student, you know, than med student and then resident doctor. You know, throughout my life I was always the little kid that wanted the gold star. And that stuck with me.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: It was rewarded.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yes. You know, whenever I worked hard, I was rewarded. Exactly. And so I had always kind of this need to prove myself as well.
And I don't know, I think that was probably due to like an internal, like lack of enoughness and this striving and hustling and trying to achieve more. What I didn't realize is the external striving and achieving will never solve for that internal lack of enoughness. So trying to prove myself by doing things outwardly. I didn't need that. I needed [00:10:00] to find the enoughness inside me, really.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. Yeah. And I think that that's kind of what we talk about so much on this podcast and different flavors, but how is it possible? I think that you know anyone listening and if they know you, you are seriously and like so. You know, I, again, like working moms, physicians, we have worked so hard.
We are so brilliant and so smart, and we've gotten the A's and the gold stars, and we've done well in the tests. We're literally doing amazing things. How is it possible that we feel lack and not enoughness? Like how do you think that that even happens? Like someone that is so accomplished has all the things on paper.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah, I think it's really rooted, probably imperfections, which I know you guys have talked about here. This like thought that if, you know, Brene Brown, I think says like, if I, if I look perfect, act perfect, appear perfect to the world then I can avoid some negative feelings of, you know, like shame or judgment.
You know, if I do good enough, no one will think badly of me, [00:11:00] and it's kind of seated in the, we get our validation from other people versus give it ourselves. I think if we are doing those things.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. And so it's no wonder it's almost like, oh, so if you're not hitting the mark, if you're not able to see all of the patients and do all of the inbox and all of the emr, and also operate on, you know, two hours of sleep, because we've used that as our parameters, see, I'm not doing enough.
And I wonder for you, tell me if this feels true for you. Like would you see other physicians or other working moms doing it a certain way? And then compare yourself to them.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Oh gosh, every day. Every day. There was this kind of alone feeling that came with that as well, where I felt like I was the only one, and I, I would say this like to my husband, like, I'm the only one that can't figure this out.
Why am I the only one that can't get my stuff together, you know, and it was isolating. And that is also a part of burnout, is that you feel like no one [00:12:00] understands, or you feel like you're alone or you feel you have a, a loss of connection almost. Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. Do you think that like there was any colleagues or friends that would see that, that you could talk to about it? Like, why do you think you felt alone in it?
Dr. Amanda Miles: Part of it was, is I think that whenever I would try to talk to others, you know, I had OBGYN friends and I would kinda be like, oh, it, it just stinks. It sucks it, it's awful, you know? But like, that's kind of what a lot of people do. You know? We all complain, right?
Like we complain and have a little vent fest, you know? And it was just like, oh yeah, mine too. You know? And so
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: It wasn't right. It's almost like that's just how it is.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah, yeah. Totally. Totally. And so I just thought that like everybody else handled theirs better. And I'm the only one that you know, like we vent, but like, I don't know that they understand fully, you know, it was still like that thought the whole time of like, nobody understands. [00:13:00] Nobody gets it.
And I don't know, maybe they did get it. I just was like, oh, deep in the out that that was a constant thought I had.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, right. But I think back to a lot of the times I felt I never got to burnout the way that I think you did. But I remember thinking like for me also, there was some, there's an loneliness in thinking that I wanted more. I felt almost a little guilty or a little bit like how dare I want more than what I have because on paper I really, like a job I loved, colleagues that I respected, patients I adored, you know, two kids that are sweet, a partner that's like on paper. I talk about this a lot. Like, I'm like, who am I to complain about this? Like, I've worked very hard and I'm living this life, that if anybody was looking in, they'd be like, oh, look at her.
She has it all. I think that there was a part of me that felt guilty for wanting more, and I think that that added a layer that prevented me from taking action for a really long time. What [00:14:00] do you think about that for you?
Dr. Amanda Miles: I think that honestly, like not to get into feminism too much, but I think that as women we are socialized to say or think or believe, like you need to be happy with what you have.
You need to not complain. You need to just be thankful, be grateful, you know, look at all the nice things in your life. Why are you unhappy? You don't deserve to complain. And so it's deeply ingrained, I think, in us as women, honestly, to feel guilty or almost to like gaslight ourselves of like, no, that's crazy that I feel bad. Look at all the nice things I have, you know? Or look at all the great things in my life. It's you.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, and I like, it's so funny cuz I'm getting this memory of even in residency and even in attending life, like I had that same thought. It's so funny that you're mentioning that, but like I don't think anybody else feels the way I'm feeling or nobody else is complaining the way that I feel inside.
And so it must just be a me issue. And so not surprisingly, it's like, okay, like let me go figure this [00:15:00] out. Let me just work harder and let me just sleep less and let me try to make my life work and it would lead to overworking. So I'm just curious, like how do you, I feel like a lot of people listen to this might be like, you know what?
I don't know that I'm burnt out or overworking. Like, how does someone know if they just love their work, they love to work, versus when that becomes overworking and when overworking turns into crispy land burnout.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: How would how someone know?
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah. So I think that most people don't realize is that burnout is not just like, you feel miserable, like I just talked about.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Dr. Amanda Miles: It definitely comes like, you know, if you Google, you know, the three parts of burnout, it comes with, you know, three different parts of like feeling like, emotionally exhausted, where like maybe you are tired and you don't wanna get up outta bed every morning, which I feel like is a lot of people, a lot of us, right?
You know, even after a good night's sleep, you feel just kind of exhausted or emotionally [00:16:00] exhausted. There's also this sense that comes with burnout of where you don't feel like you're doing a good enough job or you don't take like pride in it anymore. It's like, oh, it's just never enough. Or you kind of poo poo on like the job you did.
Or you don't see the difference you're making anymore, it's just like, yeah, I went and delivered three babies. Like, so what? You know, like, and in reality it's like, well, that's like three new lives. We just helped into the world .
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I know, but you're still right. Yes. Okay. Yeah.
Dr. Amanda Miles: And then the other part is kind of this part where you disconnect, where you, they call it like depersonalization, where you maybe see things more cynically, more critically.
You feel more alone. You feel more kind of trapped in this kind of isolated realm almost, and don't see yourself as you know, community anymore. The part of the group or a part of the, the community of the people that are in your life even. So, yeah. And so that can come [00:17:00] with a lot of things though.
Procrastination, not wanting to get outta bed, like not wanting, I guess, but just not being able to get up and do the things you need to do, you know, I would...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And that probably creates a lot of overwhelm too. Like, so then you start putting things off and then now things start piling up. And then there's probably a whole story around, I can't believe I haven't done all the things that I should have been doing. Which probably adds to more overwhelming, more burnout.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Exactly. It's like a cycle you get stuck in and it's kind of this place that you're, you're living from that's like through a negative lens, like everything is a problem. Everybody that comes to you, like, why do all these people need me right now?
Like, why I just want everybody to not need me for a little bit, or you know, whether that's the kids or at work or whatever. It's like a defensive place so it can show up as being like really defensive in your conversations throughout the day of like, What do you mean? Like I'm just trying to work, you know, even though it's like someone...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I'm almost imagining like a short fuse I'm imagining. [00:18:00] Cause like I'm definitely like, I definitely teeter, especially with my husband, when I feel overwhelmed. I definitely get super irritable and I'm like, can't just, you just go handle it. Or like, I feel like I really short when it's not my typical way of being, but when I'm feeling overwhelmed or overworked, I definitely find myself being very tight, the snippy, and not just with my husband, like with myself in my own brain. I'm like, you know, kind of snapping at myself too.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah, a hundred percent. It's almost like you're just kind of, you know, stuck in that place almost. Whenever you're burn out, you know, you just feel. Like you just are over it, you know?
And that can come and go of course, but it, it's, it's just kind of this big continuum of, most of us don't really realize, we think, oh, I'm just, I'm stressed, you know, maybe I just have anxiety, something like that. But it's kind of all, all of those things. Or it can be.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So when you think about like all of those things that you were just describing and someone's listening to this and like, yeah, like I kind of am like that.
I'm a little short. I'm just like defensive. I just don't wanna like get to work. I wanna stay in bed. I wanna procrastinate. Like they're identifying with some of those symptoms. Before we get into like what to do, what do you think it is that led them to even get there? Like how does somebody get to burnout? Is it just because they're overworking or are there other things that they're doing that's creating that for them?
Dr. Amanda Miles: So there are a lot of things that can lead to burnout and kind of what I teach my clients. And so in the medical setting, and I think it translates elsewhere, we talk about there are kind of three main ways that we can experience or we do in our lives that lead to burnout or contribute to burnout.
And so those three things are kind of, you know, starting with number one, your beliefs. that lead you to overworking or lead you to doing more, striving for more, not recognizing that you're a human, like you said, you know, just things like, oh, I should be doing X, Y, and Z. I should be doing more, even though we're already doing a lot. We're already doing enough. There were a lot of things that I used to think or believe that would actually pressure me into taking on more, saying yes and doing more work, or going to work more that no one else was making me do. It wasn't my job making me do that. I was pressuring myself, right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And I almost wonder, like this first point, I just wanna reiterate for anyone that's like listening, so the very first point was you start to think I should be doing more.
You start to feel pressure. You start saying yes to things that maybe you don't wanna be saying yes to. I remember I would, not even just with my work life, but with my mom life, with my kids, especially with my son, I used to think like, oh, I should be, and then fill in the blank. I should be a better mom. I should be doing more. I should be doing more play dates.
I should be taking him to the park. More like all of the should thoughts that made me feel probably not enough was pressuring me to show up in a way [00:21:00] that didn't feel really very good.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah. You know, if you're high achieving women out there, you know it's the same. You know, whether it's those thoughts with your, your family, like I should be doing more at home or at work, and a lot of times there is kind of that kinda dichotomy of life.
Like if I was at work, I would think I'm not a good doctor because I would get called about a sick kid and I'm like not able to be a good doctor. And then I'd go home and I'd be like, I'm not able to be a good mom cause I'm getting called by the hospital and vice versa. It was very enmeshed of like, I could never win with those beliefs and I was never doing enough with those beliefs.
The second thing that leads to kind of burnout or the spectrum of overwhelm and burnout is being what I call, or what I tell my clients is being a feeling stuffer. A feeling stuffer is someone who stuffs their feelings way down inside, never to see the light of day. And those feelings build and they stay there.
They build and build. The more negative you have [00:22:00] inside, the harder it is to deal with your external circumstances and so this showed up for me. I would stuff my feelings down with food. Okay, so, I know that...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That not surprising. Yeah.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right, right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Because it works. It works in your mind, right? For those five minutes that you're eating the food, you do get a distraction from those really uncomfortable emotions.
Especially if you're already at burnout and it's intense. Like food, alcohol, the scroll, they work for the moment. It's why we do it.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Then whenever that wears off and those feeling start rising up again, okay, well maybe some more food. Okay. So that's exactly where I found myself was I was just gaining a lot of weight and I thought, I've gotta address this weight problem. You know, and then finding out, oh, this is also a symptom of burnout.
And kind of, you know, that led to figuring that out because, you know, I think that, whether you're, you know, [00:23:00] stuffing your feelings, like you said, with food or, or scrolling or alcohol or whatever. Like we, I think, in society are, you know, socialize to not feel, but then as high achieving women, we go into these places of where we work or are employed, that a lot of times our male dominated fields. You know, and there's definitely no emotions there, you know, not allowed.
Right. And so I think we can kind of get into a kind of a cycle of like, just not feeling, just locking ourselves away from our emotions. And so, you know, becoming someone who actually feels is a key here. And so like allowing your negative emotions. Allowing yourself to be a human and have emotions, you know?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. How did you just like kind of elaborating on this point, number two, especially because on this podcast we talk so much about living lighter and losing weight. I'm curious because there was a point that you said, okay, I wanna solve this problem. I'm gaining a lot of weight. Did you think that you were a feeling stuffer?
Like at what point did you [00:24:00] figure out, because I think a lot of times we think, okay, I wanna lose the weight. I'm clearly not eating well. I should like count the points on the calories and let me open up the spreadsheets and the, you know, the apps. What did it take for you to realize, okay, it's not that. That's not the permanent solution.
I have to actually understand my brain and really dive into this a little bit more.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right. Yeah, so there was a point where I had tried all kinds of things, just like probably many of your listeners out there. Basically, low carb was my usual go-to. I just need to eat low carb. But I got to the point that the burnout was so bad and my emotions, I had so many negative emotions that just built up, built up, built up that I could not make myself force myself, willpower, myself enough to continue no carb, no sugar, because sugar was actually like my drug of choice essentially. Okay. Okay. I'm just gonna say it like if there was like a candy dish at the front desk, I was like there [00:25:00] multiple times a day. And so I realized like, okay, well I need to try something. So I actually got coached by a coach that did weight loss. And so in this realm of essentially like you, but you weren't a coach then, so, and then I realized, oh, this isn't actually about the food at all. It's about, you know, my thoughts and my feelings. I quickly discovered burnout from there was like, you know, making those realizations. After that I just thought, oh, I'm just gonna like work on my weight and ...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Like we thought it was a whole separate thing and that it had nothing to do with, with burnout. And I think you're referring to Katrina, like this is how, you know, I totally forgot to even mention this, that you and I both met through Katrina because I think of Katrina as just like a mentor and a coach for us forever in, in a sense.
And I think that you know what was so fascinating is for you, you discovered burnout. I think when I started coaching, I thought again, like I wanna just get the weight thing under control. I was like 200 pounds and I was at this point pumping and breastfeeding exclusively, and it's just like, this is ridiculous.
Something is messed up here. And I remembered the very first few things that I got coached on was being a mom to my then three year old son who I had a lot of thoughts about. Like he was difficult and I had a lot of thoughts around myself as a mom and him as a kid, and I had no idea that so many of my thoughts about my experience as his mom was creating a lot of feelings that, not surprisingly, I was stuffing in your words like with food.
And there we go. 200 pounds happened just like that.
Dr. Amanda Miles: And that's kind of where I was. I mean, I was, I think 35 pounds up from where I like to be, you know, my healthy weight for me. It was just like stuff, those feeling like every time I would get coached the solution essentially, like we would just end up like no matter where I started, I could have been like, well, I don't know if I should eat this.
Or it always would like progress to, well you probably need to feel your feelings . [00:27:00] I was like, oh, I don't like that answer.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So how do you even do that? I think that that's probably the common answer, right? Like when we get to like, okay, hold on. There's absolutely no way to and we're gonna get to this in a second, like there's no way to actually get to the other side of burnout. There's no way to lose weight permanently. There's no way to go and create that life that you want without going through feeling uncomfortable. There's no way around it. And I think that so many of us, because we've been trained to not feel, not want to feel, we try to circumvent this step.
I think that there's a way that I can get around this one, and I promise you there's not Actually, the fastest way is to learn the skill of how do you allow yourself to feel uncomfortable? Like, and I think so many people wait, but how do you do that? It feels kind of out there. Cause you and I are like practically minded, we're physicians, right?
We want steps and strategies. Like how do you think you go through that process? How do you think you taught yourself to go through that process?
Dr. Amanda Miles: Oh yeah. So after being told like multiple times, like, okay, [00:28:00] you gotta, you feel your feelings.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Feel your feelings. Yeah.
Dr. Amanda Miles: I was like, okay, well, you know, it took me a minute to figure out like, what do I do?
How do I do that? I started, and this really worked for me, and I still do this occasionally. I started by, at the end of my day, I would have a really hard time transitioning from work to home. I would get so overwhelmed walking in the door at home, and that was supposed to be the easier part, right? That was supposed to be the restful part or the downtime part, but it was like more overwhelming.
Okay. And so I started doing this thing where I would pull the driveway and I would park my truck and I would sit in my truck for five minutes and I would either do a little, like writing down, like journaling and like thinking about my stress of the day. We sometimes deal with some negative stuff at work, you know, a lot of emotions and, you know, if, if something unfortunate would happen, you know, to a patient or a baby, it's heavy.
You know, you talk about creating lightness, you know, I, I needed to [00:29:00] lighten that part, you know, and so just writing it out or, you know, scribbling it down for five minutes. In the truck before I even went in the house. Sometimes I would do like a little meditation. You know, like on one of those apps in my truck before I went in a little, you know, five minute thing.
Sometimes I would put on angry music and just like let myself feel angry for a minute. You know? I started just with five minutes before I went in the house, honestly. And that probably was the turning point honestly, in learning how to allow myself to actually feel something rather than just stuffing it down.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. And you know, I think that I, I like to tell a lot of people because look, how do you feel? Your feelings? And it feels a little bit like eye rolly that that was me too. I was like, I feel like I'm like severed at the neck and I don't know what that even means. Cuz I want to be very logical about things.
And I always really like to tell people that it starts with just recognizing it. Like, oh, this is me feeling overwhelmed. Oh, this [00:30:00] is me feeling angry. Like, I, I think that we take that for granted, that step, like I used to just be like, oh, I'm angry. Like, I feel it. I'm angry. Like it's just, I just know it. But no, that's when you're in it.
There's a difference between being in your own crap versus stepping out for a second and observing, okay, you're in the crap because you're feeling overwhelmed. You're in the crap because you're feeling angry right now. You're in this because you're feeling stressed and they think something about naming it.
It just gave me almost like a moment to separate myself from being in. It didn't solve it. It didn't fix it, but I'm like, oh, this is just me feeling the terrible, crappy feeling. Okay.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Exactly. Probably, I don't know, maybe pretty quickly after I started doing this, like five minutes before I go in the house, I found myself saying that like throughout the day my nurse probably thought I was crazy at first. She was like, you know, cuz I would say I feel overwhelmed. You know, like I would just like turn to her and say that like out loud and she's like, okay, I'm sorry about that .
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right.
Dr. Amanda Miles: You know, she didn't know how to respond or anything, but just naming that, like you said, out loud, putting a name to it, it's like, ha.
That's a feeling and I'm experiencing that. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And validating it. And validating it. I think that this is the, the other piece of it, like we kind of have, the way that I used to finish the sentence, I'm stressed the way I would subconsciously finish it is, and that's a problem. I'm annoyed and that's a problem.
I'm overwhelmed and that's a problem. And so no wonder we have a very fight flight response with it. We try to overwork ourselves out as opposed to I'm overwhelmed and of course I am. And that's not a problem. Just validating our experience, I think is huge.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Mm-hmm. , I agree. And naming it, like you said, there's something about that.
That if you say it out loud or you know, acknowledge it, it just, it almost lessens it, which is not the goal, you know, but it's like...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I see you.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Acknowledging that that's there. Like, yeah, like...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I see you, I [00:32:00] see you're, you know, I always think of my daughter, she's, this is like a little tangent and I wanna go back to number three, but my daughter, she's four for the last year or so, we do this like thing we call Fam Jam.
We haven't done in a while, but we kind of go, go around the circle and we each kind of recognize, we wanna acknowledge ourselves. So we go around and be like, what do you acknowledge about yourself this week? It's kind of hard cuz I'm like, I don't know. We don't acknowledge ourselves. My daughter, when we get to her, she's so hilarious.
We get to her, she starts pumping her fist up, and as she's thinking about what she wants to acknowledge, she doesn't even know, but she pumps her fist up and, and I just, the lesson I learn from her is like, we just never do that. Acknowledging and recognizing how hard we are working because working moms are working really hard.
Really hard. We just never recognize it. It's kind of what you were saying at the beginning. You know, you deliver three babies and you don't even recognize yourself. So I think that just recognizing, I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm working really hard. Right. So that was a little tangent. Anyways, [00:33:00] let's come back.
Dr. Amanda Miles: No.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Okay. Come back.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Totally. Just, I love it. I love it. Yes, yes. All right, well, so then if we're talking about that, you know, so the beliefs that lead you to burnout, you know, of like needing to do more and then being a feeling stuffer, shoving all your feelings out. And then the third thing that definitely leads to burnout is kind of this mindset or this state that we can often get in where we feel like we're unable to make a change.
We feel helpless. We feel like we're trapped, or like it just is the way it is. You know? Like we just have this like sense of like, I don't have a choice here, or I'm stuck in this contract. I'm stuck in this job. Or this is how it is. You know? And it's kind of like, helpless mentality. This mindset keeps you kind of trapped as a victim almost to the life around you.
And being in that kind of like victim role, you don't have the power to see that like you actually, you have choices. You have a choice every day. You know, you have your own [00:34:00] authority. You have your own ability to say, no, I'm not doing that. I already have enough on my plate. You know? And so whenever we are trapped in well, I'm stuck here.
This is how it is. You know, my life is like beating me down almost. Like, I don't wanna say that everybody feels exactly like that, but it's like this like, I don't have another choice. We do have a choice, you know? We really do, actually.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. How do you tell your clients, because your clients are OBGYNs, right?
When they come to you and they're like, no, no, no, Amanda, listen. I don't, I really don't have a choice. I feel like I've seen this happen because it feels so, feels true. It feels like so true. This is my job. These are my hours. This is the call schedule. This is just what it is. I don't have a choice. What do you tell them?
Because it feels so true.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right. I start by saying, well, like why are you choosing to stay at this job? Then you're choosing to be there every day. You're choosing to [00:35:00] wake up and walk through that door to the clinic or you know, into your office building. You could choose to go live in a van down by the river, but you're choosing this.
What other reasons you know that, that you're choosing this, that are for you? You know, like what are the good reasons that you're choosing this job and this life? And if you don't find good reasons, well why are you continuing to choose it? Because there are other options. You don't have to be a doctor.
You don't have to keep doing what you wanna do. You can drop your kids off at the fire station. I mean, you don't have to be a mom. You know, like, it sounds really harsh whenever I say that, but like, you have a choice, you could run away and live in a different country. I mean, I don't know. And so it's just like trying to open that possibility, like it's possible that there may be another choice.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Actually, I think with the sense I'm getting when you're saying that, I think we haven't realized that.
Wait, those were choices. It's like, wait, no, there was no choice. It's like, no, no, no, but you could just never show up at work and never pay a bill and never take care of your children. These are [00:36:00] choices that we make. I think we assume that, wait, there was no choice, but in fact, wait a second. No, these have all been choices cuz we also get to reap the reward of showing up at work and getting a paycheck and having our children with us because we love them.
Like we also get to reap the rewards of that. So it's. We have been making choices.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right. We have, and I don't say that, you know, to disparage any parts of the population that are stuck in poverty or stuck in, you know, whatever. I really don't. But at the same time, like whenever we're stuck in kind of this victim mindset or this very set, like I don't have an option as the high achieving women, we are very privileged and we don't often realize that in that moment of listen, I could cut back, you know, or I could renegotiate my contract. We don't recognize the gray area. Okay. And you know, I don't wanna downplay any groups of our population that, you know, may not have the choices that we have as high achieving women. And so, not that we're gonna [00:37:00] compare anything, but we do have other choices that are this gray area.
And we also have the choice of like, okay, so you're showing up to a job that pays you money and you know, you don't necessarily agree with all the things that they do. You have a choice in how you respond to that, how you show up as you and how you doctor, or how you work that is despite all of that. And so if you're trapped in a negative situation, They can't take how you respond and how you feel away from you.
You have that choice of how you feel about it, how you think about it, and how you respond to that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. Can you think of like, you know when you were in your job and you've gotten coached, you can see now that the overeating and the waking was actually a response to the burnout. How did you start to implement some of what you're talking about in your work life to tangibly start to like solve and heal some of your burnout?
Cause you're thriving now. We were talking before this and you were like so much on the other side of it. How did you get yourself out?
Dr. Amanda Miles: So it really was number one, allowing myself to feel. That was probably the first step of like, okay, well I guess I'll set a timer for five minutes and journal about everything that makes me mad. You know. Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Do the feeling of the feelings
Dr. Amanda Miles: Sit with that. Right. That was probably the most begrudging part that I did. I was like so angry to have to feel them, but that was probably step one, but also just like being like, curious toddler, you know how like they, they just like question everything.
Well, why really? Why are you doing that? Who said that? You know, questioning everything like these beliefs that you know, well, I've gotta add that patient on. If I don't, who else is gonna do it? You know, or like thoughts that I had. That led me to work more. I need to do more because...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So you started questioning all of those beliefs basically.
So you noticed the belief and you look but says who says [00:39:00] who. That I have to, right? Yeah. Okay. So you started questioning some of those beliefs. Okay. Right.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah. So just really like being like that, that little toddler that's like, why? Why? Like, I should be doing more. Why really? Why? What is more? What is enough?
What does that mean? And really questioning that and realizing that I didn't have to continue to believe that, you know. I didn't have to, you know, continue to be the person that gets all the gold stars cuz there are no gold stars. Like what if I'm just already got my gold star and I'm good, like, you know.
And so really questioning, you know, who's making me work more? Cuz almost all the time it was me. Who's making me say yes to things I don't actually wanna do. Me. You know? And really just questioning and poking holes in that and like to do that, I would journal a lot. I really would write down the things that I thought, you know, were leading me to overwork. And then I would just like ask all these questions and write the answers, you know? And it was just like, oh, so I don't have to [00:40:00] actually think this, you know?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. It's, you actually with what you just said, I want everyone listening to know, you don't actually have to think this.
So when you catch a thought, when you become aware of the thought, like, I should be doing more, or I'm not doing, or I don't have enough. That's a thought that we have, and I think I used to be someone that believe thought just happened, like they just drop outta the universe into my brain, and that's just what they are.
But we don't have to think that anymore because it's creating what we're talking about here
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right, you're feeling like you're not enough or you're feeling lack and then you're driven to try and do more and more, more or whatever. Yeah, and to not believe my brain was a big part, like my brain would offer all kinds of things because that's just what it does or what it was used to thinking.
And you know, I don't have to believe everything it offers me. And then, you know, probably the last part was just like reminding myself like, I have the power here. Whenever I was in my new shiny [00:41:00] job that was supposed to fix my life, and it didn't, you know, I kind of started by saying like, you know, like how do I gain my power back was kind of something I was working on of like, but I have a choice.
I'm choosing this today. Here are the reasons I wanna pay my bills. I wanna take good care of my patients. You know, like reminding myself of like why I was choosing stuff. Eventually I was like, oh, well I have all of the power here. I can choose whatever I want. And eventually that actually turned out to be an amazing thing, is like, I wanna ask for what I want now, you know?
And. I started doing that at work, like telling people, this is what I want. This is the vision I have. You know, like using my imagination even to grow how my work was and make it better for me, better for, you know, maybe even the women of my community. And like if you ask for stuff, sometimes your work gives it to you and...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right.
Dr. Amanda Miles: I would've never done that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Or your family even like, imagine, like [00:42:00] even with your family. Thinking about like distribution of responsibilities at home with the children, with the tasks around the house. Like I think that what you're saying is almost like it's a skill and to practice a skill of speaking up and asking for what you want first requires that we unblock the feeling that's been holding us back.
So there was a feeling that was holding us back from asking for what you want. What you're describing, it's almost like you got to the point where you felt empowered enough to say and ask for what you actually wanted. And lo and behold, you got some of that.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right? Yeah. And if you don't ask, then you're guaranteed not to get it.
So I learned that . But yeah, I think, you know, probably for me it was like fear. Fear of someone judging me for asking for something or fear of someone judging me thinking I wasn't good enough or you know, I was flawed or weak or something. Like if I was asking for help and so after I got over that yeah.
Or like experienced that fear or was okay with that. Then it's like, yeah, like I can ask [00:43:00] for, you know, my partner to pick up the kids so that I can go and exercise or you know, whatever. Like recognizing that, that I can ask for things that I need. Mm-hmm.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. You know, I think that what's interesting is because, you know, high achieving working moms especially, I think we pride ourselves on being able to do it all.
Or on being able to like be, I remember I used to like have this kind of running joke with my husband that I'm such a good multitasker and he, this is so funny that so many years ago he was like, that's not a good thing. It's so funny. We used to have this fight. I was like, he can literally do one thing at a time.
He cannot talk on the phone and like, you know, respond to an email. Whereas I, again, especially in OBGYN residency, you learn how to multitask. I used to think of that as my superpower. So the idea of asking for help. The idea of saying no to something or you know, delegating responsibility to something else felt really uncomfortable.
And I wonder, for the listeners that are high achieving women that think of the [00:44:00] multitasking as one of their superpowers, what should they know about being able to delegate, say no, and actually ask for help? What do you think you would say to that?
Dr. Amanda Miles: I kinda like to think about, you know, we, we have needs as humans, right?
And so first accepting our humanness, right? We are humans. We are not super humans, even though we really try to be. I know that we're really close, but we are still human and as humans, we have basic human needs. Those needs do not make us needy. Okay. So having basic human needs doesn't mean we are a quote, you know, needy person.
And that's often, I think, part of what we judge ourselves as if we ask for something, as someone's gonna think I'm needy, or someone's gonna think, you know, I'm too needy. And it's such a negative thing in our culture to be needy. And so, well, I'll just do it all myself. Right? So recognizing that our human needs don't make us needy.
They're just what we require, [00:45:00] you know to survive. And so you know that that includes like time for rest and recovery. That includes time to move our bodies or to feed our bodies healthy things, to hydrate. Making time in our workday to go pee or drink water. Basic things, you know, it doesn't make us any less than.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Or weak. How many times have you heard, especially physicians in OBGYNs, but working moms in general? It's like this badge of honor. You know, when you're like holding your pee or overworking, it is a badge of honor and, and I think that that is the thing that also kind of fuels a lot of what we're talking about.
The idea that you're not weak for having needs. You're not weak for actually recognizing them and making changes in your life to accommodate for them.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right. Yeah. It like literally means nothing about you if you need to urinate. Like, I mean, but you're right. Like how many times I've told my husband, like whenever I got home, like I haven't peed all day.
You know, I didn't, I didn't even get a chance to stop and pee to describe how busy I was. But you're right, it was like this badge of honor of like, I was able to keep pushing through, you know, it doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be that way. It's really, I guess, realizing that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's so good. I think Amanda, like what you're sharing, and for anyone listening, this has just been such an eye opening conversation around what burnout even is. I think it's so much more of a broad definition than what we think. It's not someone that's non-functional. Burnout is someone that is high functioning, high achieving...
Dr. Amanda Miles: Very high functioning.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And just as having a certain experience of their life that what you're describing is optional.
That there is a way out. And it starts with, I think, identifying those three things, the beliefs that created you to overwork, to begin with. Identifying your feeling stuffers and practicing feeling your feelings. And then this third piece, I think that it's so important to know that ...
Dr. Amanda Miles: Powerlessness.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yes, [00:47:00] powerlessness. Like just identifying that and then knowing that you can actually walk your way out. Which is so helpful. Is there anything else that you wanna share about like what would you want a listener that's listening to this podcast to walk away from that maybe I haven't asked you that we haven't covered?
Dr. Amanda Miles: Right. Yeah, no, I mean I think that, you know, especially in the realm of what you talk about here with creating lightness and the burnout felt heavy. I would tell people that like, I just feel heavy, like I feel emotionally, he, I didn't know how to describe it at that point.
I would just say like, I didn't even wanna get up out of my computer chair to like go see the next patient because I was so overwhelmed and so just over it. And I just felt heavy. And so I think that, you know, your concept of like creating lightness and, and wanting to create lightness is the key of all of this because, you know, we are emotionally heavy or we're maybe even physically more heavy than what we would like to be because of the emotional heaviness, you know, so, [00:48:00] I think that creating lightness is like an overall goal almost of getting outta burnout, you know, is creating that lightness again. Creating that in all aspects of your life.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. That's so good. And you know, I think that's like the biggest message that I always want to share with my audience is that I used to think that when I lost the weight, then I would feel better when I lost the weight, then I would feel lighter. And I think a lot of what we're talking about is you have to learn how to feel better along the way.
So that it becomes sustainable. Otherwise, you're going to keep chasing the next thing, which is so good to know that it's possible.
Dr. Amanda Miles: Yeah, I agree a hundred percent.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's so good, Amanda. Okay, so can you tell everyone that's listening how they can learn more, find you, hear more about all the amazing things that you have to say?
Dr. Amanda Miles: Sure. Yeah. So you can always find me on social media. I'm Miles MD on Instagram, or if you search on Facebook, and then you can always find me via the podcast, which is the Happy Gynecologist. You've [00:49:00] always mentioned that. My website, of course, if you wanna learn more about that, is coach-miles.com.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I love it. Amanda, this has been such a good conversation and I hope that everybody enjoyed it. It's been so good. Bye.
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