Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms, Episode 39, Your Favorite You with Dr. Melissa Parsons. Happy holidays, my Unstoppable friends. I am thrilled to bring you this conversation with my good friend Melissa Parsons. She's a pediatrician turned coach, and she's a former Unstoppable client.
Melissa is truly an example of what it means to befriend yourself. Today we're talking about what it's like to discover Your Favorite You. She shares her experiences of being a physician and discovering her favorite self, and we talk about how this is work we just get to keep continue doing, and she's going to be sharing her experience from being inside the Unstoppable Group.
Melissa is warm, funny, and she's so incredibly insightful. I cannot wait for you to enjoy this conversation. Let's get into it. 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. Ready? Let's get to it.
Hello, everybody. Welcome back my friends. I am so, so, so thrilled and happy to bring you today's podcast guest. This is, I mean, not only is she my friend, but she is a pediatrician turned brilliant coach, and the host of Your Favorite You podcast. I am so thrilled to welcome her today, Melissa Parsons. Welcome, welcome.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Thank you, Priyanka. It is a joy to be here and I'm so happy that we're friends and I'm so happy that we're gonna have this conversation. I really think that other amazing women are going to benefit so much from hearing what we have to say, and I have no idea what we're gonna say.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So I mean, I just like, we're just gonna go where this goes.
Like before we hit record, for anyone that's listening right now, I'm like, we're just gonna go wherever the conversation goes. But I gave a little brief snippet at the start of today's podcast episode. But Melissa, tell us. All about you and how you went from being, I think of it as a kinda like a rockstar pediatrician, and I say this because I see your Facebook feed and your patients literally love you and they follow you to this day, even though you're not practicing as a pediatrician anymore.
So I'm calling you a rockstar pediatrician turned coach extraordinaire because that's also what you do. So tell us a little bit about you and how you went from being a pediatrician to a coach and then also a former client of mine. So we're gonna talk about that too. Let's go.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. Perfect. Okay. So I had wanted to be a pediatrician since I was nine years old.
I had this dream. I loved my pediatrician. His name was Dick Moore. He was amazing. He was a solo practitioner, took all his own call. Talk about a rockstar. Like I loved his office. Like he went to Yale, he had his diploma up on the wall and like I loved going to see him and I just loved everything about it.
So I knew that I wanted to be in science. I didn't know. And to be really honest, when I was in like, I wanna say it was fourth grade, so like nine years old. We had to do a project and I am a recovering Catholic and went to Catholic school for 12 years, and I said to the nun, my teacher at the time, you know, I'm trying to decide between being an astronaut and being a doctor. And she said, oh, Melissa, you're spacey enough. Why don't you stay here on Earth and help people? ?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh my God. First of all, at the age of nine, I mean...
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yes, oh yeah. Yeah. Trauma.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh my gosh.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Trauma. Trauma.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh my gosh. Yeah. So you decided to stay on Earth? Is that what it was?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: I decided to stay on earth. Yeah. So that's kind of the backstory on that. But anyway, I worked hard. I mean, I've always been smart. I will toot my own horn, like I've always been smart, but...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh, that's one thing you're all gonna get on this episode. We are going to be tooting our own horns a lot. And for those of you, I'm just giving a sneak peek towards the end of the episode that is what Melissa helps women do, and I think it's so important what you're doing in the world.
So anyways. Okay. Go toot your own horn. Tell us.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: So, yeah, I mean, I've always been smart, but I had to work. I wasn't a person who didn't have to study and that type of thing, so I did a lot of work to get into medical school. I cried when the postmaster came and gave me my acceptance to medical college and you know I went to med school, went to residency.
I finished in 2002 in Peds and I was in practice. I started out in urgent care. I learned so much and I had a lot of people asking me in urgent care, like, do you have your own practice? Do you have your own practice? And then when my kids were older and I actually wanted to be at home in the evenings, afternoons and on weekends and that type of thing, I joined my private practice, Emerald Pediatrics in 2008, and I practiced there and I had, I mean, a faithful fan base.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I mean, yeah, you do. I mean, even to this day, come on. Like they are following you. You're a fan base because there's something to fan over, which we're gonna talk about. So like, yeah. So you had a following as a pediatrician, I'm not even surprised.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: And honestly, the best thing about my job right now is the amount of moms from my practice who have come to be my clients, and they're like, basically move over kids. It's my turn now. Like they were sad that I was leaving because they wanted me to continue to be their pediatrician, but they were big cheerleaders of mine when I did leave and were, you know, inspired by me having a new dream at 47 years old and deciding to pursue that.
So yeah, I came to coaching in 2018. I joined Katrina Ubell's Weight Loss for Doctors Only, and worked with her for six months. And then at the end of that I realized that I needed to work on my marriage with my husband John, who is also a total rockstar pulmonary critical care doc. And I worked with Maggie Reyes for six months and Maggie was the one who said to me, you know, Melissa, your self coaching is so powerful.
And you know, she said something like better than coaching that I see of coaches that have been in the industry for years and years. And she pointed out that I had been coaching for 22 years as a pediatrician, but I just didn't call it that. And you know, didn't realize it. So she was the one who was like, you should consider becoming a coach.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I had no idea that she did that. Maggie is amazing and thank you Maggie, for bringing Melissa to the coaching industry, but like, I had no idea that that's how you became a coach.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Maggie was like, you should consider it. And I did for about six months and I was inspired by Katrina. Obviously she's a fellow pediatrician turned coach.
And you know, I would be lying to say that I didn't think, oh, like this could be possible for me. And I think that like the beauty of coaching is it takes those of us who have a negativity bias, which is spoiler alert every human who lives on the planet.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's right. That's right. I'm raising my hand right here. Like, yep. Hello.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Exactly. And it opens us up to possibility that we never saw for ourselves so, so beautiful to like live impossibility instead of living in fear and probability. And this might never happen for me. So I think that's one of the most powerful lessons that I learned really early with coaching was, oh, I have so much choice that I never really realized.
And then just opening up to all of that possibility that choice allows.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, like when you think about that time, cuz you were saying it, you were 47 when you made this decision, which is huge. And I see so many women be thinking that, you know, oh, like too much time has passed for them to make a change.
Like they kind of get stuck in that. And can you just speak a little bit about that moment. It might have been multiple moments. Maybe that culminated to you deciding, but we had this negativity bias and we're feeling the doubt and uncertainty and like I've worked so hard to create a practice and I have a fan base. Can you just me like a little bit about how did you bridge that gap for yourself where you had that, but yet you were like, there is possibility here?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. Okay. So it's all credit to coaching and to me being coachable, like I'm gonna take fucking credit for me being coachable because there are plenty of people who are not coachable and who could have gotten the same coaching and not taken it the way that I did.
So again, Maggie said like, let's write down all the beliefs that you have about yourself as a pediatrician, and you can also have all of those beliefs about yourself as a coach, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a human, like, you know, in the place where I had done a lot of work to establish myself and you know, it was a huge part of my identity.
She was like, we can just take that identity that you have as a pediatrician and put it on you as a coach, and any thought that you think about yourself as a pediatrician. You can also think about yourself as a coach. So...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, what do you think it was that made you coachable because I think you're right. You know, somebody can get the same information and we can take so many different approaches to it and get such different results.
I think that the troubles, we sometimes use that against us. Like, oh, look at that person succeeding and look at me not succeeding. I kind of see it being used as a weapon. You're talking about using it as a tool. How do you think, like if somebody's listening and they're like, you know what I really want to utilize, I have these resources in front of me and I want to use it. How does somebody be coachable in their own life?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: I think it has to do with knowing and figuring out, like, how can I be there for myself if it doesn't work out the way that I think it might. If I fail, If I at first don't succeed, like, do I try it again or do I say this wasn't actually for me.
So I think I have gotten very good at figuring out how to be with myself [00:11:00] and like, like myself and catch myself, like being judgmental, catch myself being negative. Like, oh wait, I forget. That's not necessary. Like that's the part I can skip.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. It just like it still comes up even as a coach who is like a seasoned and very well experienced coach.
Like we still have negativity biases even now. But what you're talking about is like what, there's a cost to keeping that. And I wonder whether being coachable is almost like, we don't want that anymore. It's like we have choice here.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. And it's a price that I'm not willing to pay anymore.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Right, so I think for me, what I recognized was that I had done so many things to, and I loved my job as a pediatrician, but I had done so many things to tolerate it. And I had done so many things to tolerate my relationships, and I was like, oh no. Like I don't wanna live a tolerable life anymore. Like I wanna live an amazing life and I wanna do everything that I can.
And I think the other thing that really helped me and that I had never done prior to coaching was using my future self to inform my present.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Can you tell us what that, because I think for, for those of us that are like audience that's listening, they don't understand what a future self is. So talk a little bit about what that is so that we can kind of get into it.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: So for me it is myself in 2017, if you would've told me in December of 2022 that I would be sitting here on a podcast with the former OBGYN turned life coach. We're both amazing coaches in our own right. You know, recording this podcast, I would've been like, I have no idea what you're talking about. Like, that is not available to me.
That does not exist. Right? So, When I think about myself four years from now, now that I know that I have this future self available to me, I ask her like, what would I do if I knew that everything was gonna turn out okay? And I get to define that, right? Like, what is the next step? Which feelings do I want to feel as I live the next four years?
Which ones am I willing to feel? As I go through the next four years because you know there's gonna be, I think for me, one of the feelings that I don't love feeling, and this is because I'm me, is uncertainty. Like I want to know all the steps that are laid out in front of me. And I think that that's one of the things that made being, becoming a doctor easy for me.
Once I got into med school and hugged the postmaster , like the steps were all kinda laid out and there was very little risk, right? In my job now, the steps are not all laid out. I get to pick and like the only risk in my estimation is how I'm gonna treat myself if something doesn't work out.
And I think knowing that is so fucking powerful because I know that my future self is even kinder to me than I am now. She's even less judgmental. She's learned so much. She's taken steps that worked fabulously and she's taken steps that didn't work at all. And like knowing like I'm gonna be talking in metaphor. Like knowing that I'm like going through the forest with this flashlight, I can only see a couple steps ahead of me and knowing, oh no.
Like I'm laying down the breadcrumbs as I go. So that if I get to a spot where I'm like, I don't like this. This isn't what I thought it was gonna be, I can go back to the point in the forest where the road forked and choose a different path like so. I don't know. I'm kind of talking in circles.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: No, but I think, I think what you're saying is so important because uncertainty has been a big one for me too.
It was uncertainty and I think a lot of what it was for me was inadequacy. That's another emotion that I used to feel a lot of, and I think being a physician, and again like just like you, I love, I mean, being an OBGYN, I didn't leave practicing being an OBGYN because I hated it or was burnt out, though I know a lot of physicians are leaving because of that reason.
I truly loved my practice and my patients. And it's easy when you're in a job that you love, like being a physician to cover over that you never, especially if you're good at what you do, let's talk about tooting our own horns. Like if you're good at doing, at being a physician or in your job, it's easy to mask uncertainty and inadequacy and doubt because you're like, look at you rocking out as this awesome pediatrician with this fan base, and all of a sudden when you decide to level up the goal.
You know, we don't wanna live a tolerable life. For me it was that moment. I think I've told you before, where I was driving to work 200 pounds and I have this good on life paper, like, you know, these kids and in a practice and I'm like, I who will, like, why am I so frustrated? But I also felt at that moment, like, I've worked too hard to live in your words, like just an okay life.
Like it's good, it's fine, but like it could be so much better. I believe that to be true. And there was uncertainty there cuz I didn't have any knowing what's on the other side, but that was where it all come up. But I think you and I would probably both say that coaching has allowed us to bridge that gap and knowing that even if it's uncertain, we are safe in that uncertainty.
I think your breadcrumbs kind of made me, when I was imagining [00:17:00] you, you like don't like where you are and now you can just come back and take a different part of the fork. You are safe the whole time, right? Uncertainty is only like, oh, there's something that's going to harm us.
That's the only reason. Uncertainty is really a problem, right? If like uncertainty and we're gonna get eaten alive at the end of that road.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. Or fall into some abyss like that we can't get out of. Right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And it's always how we talk to ourselves. I think what you're speaking to is so important because what is that bear at the end of the road?
It's always how we're gonna talk to ourself, which is so important. Right. Because that's the optional part.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Right, right, right. And I think I kind of wanna speak to. Like a lot of people when I was leaving pediatrics didn't understand because I did like my job. And here's the thing, like you don't have to hate something in order to want something else.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely. I'm so glad you said that.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. Yeah. That's kind of a mind drama that a lot of people get into like, [00:18:00] oh, I don't really hate it. I think I should stay. And it's like, no, no. If that's true and you love it and you wanna stay, my goodness, please do. We certainly need OBGYNs and pediatricians and every other, you know, facet of medicine and good people in those jobs.
Right. But you know, if it's something that you're like, this is another dream that I wanna have for myself, like knowing that it doesn't matter how much student loans you still have, like I still get a bill from Navian for my med school loans every month, and I'm still paying it off. And it's not a problem, like having that education, that being a pediatrician, you know, gave me, certainly has informed my ability to be a rockstar coach, like for sure.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely. And I also like another question that I ask myself when I'm trying to decide, am I letting doubt lead me in this decision making or am I letting kind of my inner knowing and my intuition. A question that I'd really like to ask myself is, what will I be most grateful for?
What decision right now? Like it's like talking about your future self. Like if I could just flash forward, what decision would I be so grateful to myself for having made, even if it's hard, like some of those uncertain moments when you're like picking the harder option. I'm so grateful. I say this all the time, I'm so grateful for that part.
Like that person in 2018, right? That chose to pick something that there was kind of some uncertainty. I'm so grateful to her because she changed, not just changed, like not that we're just changing our life now. We are changing our family, we're changing our communities, and it, like the impact of that to me, is just huge. Which is amazing.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. I came to the realization recently, I mean, luckily in pediatric. There weren't many, you know, actual, I can count probably on one hand the number of lives that I actually saved by being a pediatrician. I mean, you could argue that there were way more than that, but like the ones that I can very quickly recall, like it was a life or death situation.
And not to say that in coaching, like if you are thinking life and death, like coaching is not the solution, therapy is right. But when I think about the ripple effect of the work of working with a mom as her coach in comparison to fixing problems on a day-to-day basis as a pediatrician of her child, like the ripple effect of being a coach, I think is so much greater.
Than the ripples that I was creating as a pediatrician, and I mean, obviously like I wasn't a trauma surgeon. I wasn't an ICU physician, you know, that type of thing. I wasn't an OBGYN where I had two lives on my hands, you know, when I'm taking care of my patients. But [00:21:00] like, I just like to think of the ripple effect that I will never know.
And it's so beautiful to think and you know, obviously if my, um, parents whose kids I was, their pediatrician, they're gonna be pissed at me for saying this. Like, but because they're gonna be like, no, no, you don't understand like, you saved our family. Yes. Okay. I accept that I did.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I'm gonna say that I was about to interrupt you, but I was like, lemme just let you finish your sentence because I can tell you whenever I have been concerned about my child, like they're super sick.
Or there's a behavioral issue or anything like that, and I have gone to my pediatrician, just like as a patient, I'm just gonna tell you a patient's parent, I feel like there are certain pediatricians and you absolutely, I mean, you have that quality as we all know. Just hearing you, I felt so taken care of.
By the pediatrician, even though my, the pediatrician's caring for my child. But, you know, in some ways we know that our children, they're not extensions of us, but like, I mean, a little bit like, I just love them so much that when my child is being taken care of by my pediatrician, I really do feel taken care of too.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, that's true.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: You know?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Okay. I'll give it to you.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I mean, come on, let's toot your own horn, I mean, I'm like, I'm like tearing up because I'm, I'm literally thinking about those times where I was really concerned and I would go in and, you know, all I, I think all anyone wants, and this is true not just in medicine, but even in coaching, all anyone wants, is to know that their problem can be solved, right?
Like as a patient or as a client that comes to work with either of us, they want to know, can you help me solve my problem? And the moment that I find someone like a pediatrician or a coach that's like, listen, I've got you taken care of. You don't have to worry. I'm telling you, it's the warmest hug that I'm not able to give myself.
I mean, I've tried to give myself these warm hugs. It just doesn't happen as well as it does with someone that really does have you taken care of. So I have to give that to you, like you're not just taking care of just the kid. You never were.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Okay. Okay, I got you. Yeah, and I mean, honestly, that is, I mean, that was my favorite part of my job was to you know, be able to tell people like, this is gonna be okay. I know you're worried about it, but it's gonna be okay. And of course, like some of them I said that way and some of them I said, you can calm the fuck down about this.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Like, that's right.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Okay.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And it's interesting because we have to do that as coaches too, right?
Which, we'll, we'll talk about in just a second. But you know, there's, I think as a coach we want to empower our clients. And so that's why we wanna call the crap when we see the crap. You're gonna hear, you're gonna be called out on it. But from a place of such love. And like sometimes I think, and Melissa, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Sometimes I feel like the reason that I still work with a coach, and I think the reason that you still work with a coach is because sometimes our coaches see in us what we are not able to see. Like we might know, as you're saying, like you're tooting your own horn. We know we're awesome women. We know we're like ninjas.
And yet at the same time, I know for myself, I will sometimes think of myself with the lowest common denominator. Like, okay, awesome OBGYN, awesome mom, awesome coach. But like, you know, this one area of my life that I'm not so great at like I somehow my brain will trickle down to the lowest common denominator thoughts about myself.
And I'm like, oh, look at you. Like, you know, screwing it up in all these other areas. And I think that our coach calls us out on the crap when that's coming up. I'm curious what you think about that.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Oh gosh. Yeah. I will always, always have a coach because I think it's so easy to see when other people are getting coached, like, oh, like I don't believe this about this person at all.
Like when I hear other people trying to argue for their limitations, I'm like, don't even try that with me. Like, I already know that you're a badass. Like let's jump from that starting point, like you're a badass. Like let's go from there. But yes, of course for me, every Monday at 4:00 PM I'm like, You know, and not seeing it and just having my coach be able to call me out on it, like you said, with so much love and like, oh honey, like you're just doing that thing again.
Like, that's not necessary. Like remember we decided it's not necessary. You can stop now, you know? And yeah, just with so much love and of course, like we cannot know what we do not know. Right. Which I think is what a lot of coaching is about, like getting to what is not exactly conscious thought about ourselves.
And you know, it may just be a couple little words or a little facial grimace that you make, or a little eye roll or a little like slumping of the shoulders that your coach will see and be like, what's that about? You know that you don't even notice in yourself.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And you would never have thought to question.
I mean, the number of times, and we're gonna, we'll talk about this next, but the number of [00:26:00] times that like, like something small like that comes up. And the person on their own will have just brushed over it or not noticed it as something that is really a subconscious driver.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yes. Significant.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: How about like, but get it.
It's a significant driver pushing you down a fork in the road that's going to get you to a dead end. I think that having a coach notice and pick up on those small subtleties that we are brushing over cause I'm like, oh no, I'm just keeping it real. You know, every single time. You know, cuz we've talked about this offline with myself, like, I'm like, I'm just keeping it real.
I'm just being practical. I'm like, this is terrible and I'm just staring for everybody listening a little bit about me. I think I'm being very practical when I am believing my own limiting beliefs. I've told myself, oh, this is just like, I'm just keeping it real. I'm just looking at the data. I'm just being practical and I've not until I would say probably 2022 really realized how that was me arguing for my limiting beliefs, which is what you're talking about and discovering that's everything.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You think it's keeping you safe, but it's actually holding you back from your greatness.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh yeah. Which is so good. And I feel like that's where you and I kind of first met, so we didn't meet back in 2018. You and I met in a business mastermind, I think. What has it been two years? Two years ago?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I mean, ish. A year and a half, two years.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: This is where you started? Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. So we both started in this business mastermind and I basically fell in love with you. Right away. And I was like, every single physician that has become a coach, I just, I mean, there's a special kinship I think for that.
But just even apart from that, I just have always thought, you're so amazing. So I remember when we met, you said something along those lines. I must have been saying something about a limiting belief about myself. And you're like, what are you even doing? You just called me out. Like, what are you even saying?
Are you hearing yourself? And I was like, okay, I need to be her friend. We have to become besties right away. So tell us a little bit about how we met you and I, and then how you decided, because this was the time that I was transitioning from one-on-one coaching into a small, intimate group, The Unstoppable Group you decided to join.
So tell us a little bit about how we met, and then what was it that made you decide to join?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: So yeah, we met at the Business Mastermind and then we spent a lot of time together. I guess it was like a year ago, right? Almost.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: In Kentucky.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, in Kentucky. And I just, you are such a soft, loving, even the way you speak, your mannerisms, like it draws people in.
And I think I was drawn in by the Priyanka spell. And as I was hearing you talk about how much love and care and really just joy you had coaching your people, I was like, I want to be part of that group. Like I wanna feel that love of and be kind of enveloped by Priyanka. And I knew that the people in the group that you were going to attract, were gonna be amazing too. And of course they were, shout out to all of my Unstoppable folks, so I knew that that was available to me and I was like, I want it. So I think I kinda shocked you by signing up for a consult.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Well, yeah, cuz we, you know, for anyone listening, like you and I were friends first, right?
We were friends, we were pure coaches. You called me out on all my crap. Like, you know, and then I think at one point you were like, so I'm gonna be signing up for a consult and like how do I do that? And I think it's not that I was shocked. I think for me we were probably in the moment where I was really bringing my very first group together.
This was a year ago. And I remember thinking, and I was telling you about what I was bringing into the group and all of the elements that I wanted and the features that I wanted, and I was thinking about my amazing working moms and what I wanted for them, and I, I think that there might have been a moment for you where you might have felt like, I want that for me too.
Because you fit the bill. Right. That fit, that kind of fit what you wanted to.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Absolutely. Yeah. And you know what? Honestly, just seeing the passion that you were putting into it, I was like, this is gonna be amazing. Like all I need to do is show up and be open and be coachable. And you know, of course I did that for your group too.
And looking back, I was looking at it. I was like, I think I, over the time that we worked together, I released like 12 pounds from my body. Amazing. Like to do that as a 49 year old woman. You know, not everybody does that, right? So I'm gonna toot my own horn that I did that. But I think the bigger piece that I came to after working with you and the other Unstoppable moms in our group was just truly, truly for the first time in 49 years, like loving every part of my body no matter what the number was on the scale.
And kind of being able to hold that two thoughts can be true. Like I can love everything about my body and I can still want to release more weight. Like having the ability to hold that in a group container and have the other women in the group see me and be cheering for me and you know and me seeing their amazingness.
And to be frank, me not wanting to jump in and coach them with you and be like, Priyanka, you missed that one little shrug. Like, did you see that? So I had to lower my hand a bunch of times. Like, no, Melissa, this is not your group. Like you're part of the group, right?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, yeah. What we are talking about, and I think this is not just you, I think this is for so many women, it's like very, we're very either or. Like either I have to lose the weight or I can just love my body the way I am, and both are fine on their own. We can choose that. But I think what you're talking about is you were able to create a kind of an and situation. Like I can love my body now and also like I also want to lose weight because, and you just decide your reason.
What do you think it was about being in the group that helped you go from maybe either oring to having both be true for you.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: I mean, let's toot your horn for a bit. Like you provided such an awesome framework. You gave us so many tools to choose from, and I think some people would be intimidated by the amount of tools that are available to them, but for me, I was just like, no.
Like I can pick a couple of these and be successful. I don't have to, you know, be the valedictorian of the Unstoppable mom group. Like...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: You're not the only...
Dr. Melissa Parsons: ...do everything...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: ...you've not the only one who has said that I know. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Right. I can pick just a couple of these things and work on these things, and I think it was just like the evaluations that you had us do every month like that had me seeing over and over like, oh, I'm making so much progress.
Like it's not just about the weight. It's about the way that I'm talking to myself. It's the way that I'm treating myself. So I think that helped me see the possibility of holding both.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. Yeah. That's so good. And I remember Adrian, I think Adrian was the one that coined the word badassery for the group.
Right? So for the women in this group, Adrian, who was one of our clients, she's been on the podcast already, but she coined the word badassery and she was saying this, she said it in passing. I don't think she meant for it to stick, but it stuck in my mind. And I think it's stuck with the women in this group that the women in this group are bad asses.
Like truly, when you think about being a working mom, you're working. It's like you're working two very full jobs and I think that sometimes we don't see ourselves as that as working moms. I think what ends up happening as the lens before you come into this group is you kind of feel, okay, I'm working and I'm a mom, but I'm kind of feeling short on both ends.
And speaking of self-limiting beliefs instead of a scene that we are of these bad asses that are doing two full jobs, you're like, look at me lacking here and look at me lacking here, and I'm just lacking. I'm curious, when you think about even that lens that the women in this group are bad asses and you already know that you're a badass, what do you think it was when you think about being in a room like that, like especially being in an intimate room like that with other high achieving working moms, what do you think is the value of being in a room like that, especially for weight loss?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, I mean, I think seeing the power that each woman had individually and then seeing the power of the collective. Like one of my values and things that I really believe is that a rising tide lifts all boats. So, you know, we can see and celebrate another person's success without making it mean, oh, I should have, like, she's lost 15 pounds, like I've only lost 12.
Like, no, like, we're all bad asses. We're all releasing something. It may be weight, it may be old beliefs that we had about ourselves. It may be our need to like, you know, people please at work. Like we're all releasing something. And I think just having, like knowing that I had my own back and that you had my back, and that the other women in the group had my back and that I could be the powerful example of what's possible for them.
Like I can remember one of the women who we know and love just could not see a way out of working as many hours as she was. And I'm just like, look at me like I totally quit my job as a pediatrician. And I'm intentionally choosing like I'm working these days and not the others. Like we don't have to be in these, what I call like golden handcuffs where like we tell ourselves that we're stuck because we have to earn so much money or whatever it is.
But I think just like me being able to be an example for the other women and then seeing how they could also be an example for me. Like, oh, so badass. Like one of the women had almost lost all of her weight and was in the group just to lose the last few pounds and that type of thing. And I was like, man, she's a badass.
She's gotten rid of all the weight she wants to get rid of, and she's still here to lose those last few, like, ugh, such a badass. Like just so many examples of that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I think and tell me whether this feels true for you, but this is how I have felt, and this was one of the, like the pieces of love that I thought about when I was even considering creating the Unstoppable Group was kind of touching to what you said at the very beginning about living in probability versus possibility and having this intimate group where you start to see possibility because either someone has already achieved a goal and you're like, oh, that's possible for me. Or if they, somebody hasn't achieved a goal, and you see them getting coached and you see the possibility for them.
Do you know what I'm saying? Like those moments where you can see, and I think this happens when you are watching somebody else get coached, and we know this because we're coaches. There's something very powerful about you getting coached yourself and also when you see somebody else getting coached and like the gap between where they are and the possibility that they have, I think that that too speaks to what my goal was in creating this group. What do you, yeah, what would you say to that?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Oh yeah, for sure, because it's very hard to see and impossible to see our own subconscious thoughts, but we can very easily see them in other people. Like, oh, she's just thinking that in order to be a good blank, she has to blank.
Right? It's like, oh, what if that wasn't true? And then the other thing that I would say is, In a group coaching setting, like the one that you set up for sure. Like there was no place for comparison and despair. It was all, oh, if you see what she has and you want what she has, like you don't need to be jealous about it.
You can just be inspired by that person and be like, oh, if she can do it, I can do it too. Like there's nothing that's standing in the way except my own limiting beliefs, which here I am showing up every Wednesday for this call so that we can work on my limiting beliefs, like...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely. And do you know what, Melissa, I'm curious for you, because I have found, especially whenever I've coached a client on jealousy, it's not uncommon. I mean.
It's not uncommon, like can we just say and like let's not judge ourselves for it, like we compare and despair because that's what humans do and we feel jealous because that's what humans do. But also like what I am always more interested in when I notice that that is a limiting belief that's holding somebody back in their own weight loss work is how that thread is influencing other parts of their life.
Forget weight loss if we just coached on jealousy and compare and despair as a mom in your work life, with your husband or wife, with your boss. Like if you look at the thread and then you look at the impact of that, I love to coach on jealousy because it knocks all those dominoes down.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. It's so powerful.
Yeah, because really jealousy is just a wish in disguise. Like it's just a wish for what I want for myself. And then the thing that I love about coaching is kind of be careful what you wish for a scenario, right? Like, do you really want what that person has? Do you really want to do the work that he or she has done to get it?
And like, okay, like let's examine that and see, because sometimes, and I've found some of the things I'm like, oh, like I don't really want that for myself. It's not something that I'm gonna pine over and I can just like let that go with love. And like you said, not make myself feel bad for having had jealousy over it because it is a human emotion and we're supposed to feel all of them.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And like what if we got to become our own compass?
I think that women, especially, we are using external inputs like our friends and our family and our colleagues and fellow physicians are like in your workplace or other moms that are losing weight every time, remember I used to do this all the time. I'm like, look at that like she's just lost the weight so easily and like she gets to eat whatever she wants.
Like that comparing to like, I would have that rather than what we do in this group is how do you become your own compass, your own, like you are your own barometer. You get to decide and at the same time learn from the wisdom of the women in this room. And I'm just curious, like the last question that I have kind of on this topic is I also thought about creating this group as the best mix of being in an intimate room where you learn from other people and are inspired by other people and are supported by them, but at the same time where you can get really customized and personal support too, like in live coaching, but also in the 24 7 coaching cafe.
What would you say to that, like in terms of the balance between you know, supporting and being inspired by the group, but also getting customized attention.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, I mean, I would say there was never a time where I needed coaching that I did not get coaching. Like I raised my hand. You were so gracious and you, if you had extra time, you were always like, I have more time.
Like, who else needs help and who else wants to examine their thoughts and that type of thing. And then I think the ability to have the 24 7 written coaching, which I love, I think it's so powerful to participate in written coaching rather because it gives me a chance to, you know, cuz sometimes when you're in the hot seat to say, you know so to speak when you're getting coaching, it's sometimes hard to access some of your deeper thoughts and that type of thing. And I think with the written coaching, it gave me a chance to like see what I had written, see what you had responded, digest a bit, and then come up with a response instead of having to come up with it on the spot.
I also love live coaching. Like let's not, let's be honest, like so many huge breakthroughs, but I love the mix of both that you provide to the group. And I loved reading other people's written coaching because again, you can see their limiting beliefs so much easier and be like, oh yes, of course, like if I was in this situation, what would I do?
What would I be thinking and feeling and that type of thing.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. So, and I think it's so interesting because a few times I've noticed what's happened is when, especially when somebody participates in a written coaching and they get kind of, they get the hang of like, it's almost like a texting conversation right back and forth between you and me, but in a group, I think what has happened a few times is somebody will write out what they wanted coaching on, and then at the end they're like, I think kind of coached myself, because they start to see their thoughts, they as they write them down. And I totally am such a fan of the combination of like life coaching on Zoom, but then also having this, because I think it's so true, I sometimes don't see it myself cuz in the moment I'm like, I don't know what, what do I think about this?
But when I'm writing all of a sudden, like things start to come out that I didn't know were there. And that's so powerful. And I just wanna speak to your horn, which is, I think that you were such a powerful influence in this group and I wanted to speak to that because I think that sometimes we can show up and as a coach you could have come in this group and been like, I know all the coaching and I know, like my thoughts create my results.
I, you totally could have, and I wanna say, I wanna speak to your coachability and why I think you got what you got out of this room is because of that. And I think that, you know, just to pivot a little bit on how you, and I mean this speaks to you coaching women, like speak a little bit about how it felt for you being a coach, but also now what you do, which is coaching women with brains.
I love that by the way. Coaching women with brains and like how it felt for you to be the client. And then now like now we're here sitting two coaches talking, like, tell me a little bit about that for you.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, I mean I think that I definitely came into the group knowing that I didn't know everything or else why would I have ever paid to be in the group.
Like if I knew it all and I had been able to solve it all on my own, of course I would've done it already. Right. Which is why I think we invest in coaching, right? So that we can figure out what it is that we don't know, and just having somebody else like looking at our brain and you know, trying to pull out our limiting beliefs and see how they're holding us back.
So yeah, I think...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And even if you think, you know, I think that's another piece, like sometimes you think, you know, because you're like, I know the information. How common is that? Like I know the information and like I should be applying it, but like I am not.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Oh yeah. On an intellectual level, I know this, but like when it comes to Tuesday at 4:00 PM. I'm still headed to the pantry when I'm not hungry. Like what's happening . Right. So yeah, I mean I think that that really is the beauty of coaching. Like to know that you are a badass. Like let's start from the, that starting off point that we all have things that we still need to learn about ourselves. That none of us is going to like come out of some tunnel and be like, I'm done.
Like I'm finished. I'm enlightened. You know, everything's perfect. Like that's not the goal anymore. It's like being willing to be in the tunnel or be in the forest or whatever, and you know, feel all the feelings that are necessary to get the results that we actually want in our life. Right. So, I don't know if I answered your question, did I?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, well I think that kind of just, it kind of just transitions to like, I really want people that are listening to know what you're doing, which is, I think it is so important and I always feel so lit up sharing anyone that is coaching women, cuz I think women deserve to have coaches. I really think women just deserve to have coaches, and you're a powerful example of that.
So tell us about what you're doing. Tell us about your podcast, Your Favorite You, tell us everything about what you're doing and how people can find you.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yes, so I am coaching women one-on-one. We work together for six months at a time, and it really is just, I love everything about my job. Every day, I'm like, I get to coach so-and-so and I get to coach her.
It's Sarah Day like, yay, . Like I just love everything about it, and I think that that shines through in what I'm doing and the people that I am attracting to work with me. My goal is to help women become their favorite version of themselves. And the way that I try to do that is trying to teach them to treat themselves as their own best friend.
So like looking at life through that lens, like if I was talking to my best friend right now and she was saying these things that I'm saying to myself in this moment, like, what would I say to her? How is that different from what I'm actually saying to myself right now and what's in the way? Like what's getting in between, you know, me actually talking to myself as if I am my best friend and me like putting myself down or poo-pooing or you know, talking myself out of something that I'm dreaming of.
Right. So, yeah, I've been coaching now it's been two and a half years and I absolutely love it. I started the podcast on October 4th, which was my half birthday, so I was halfway between 49 and 50, and it has just been such a great joy. Like I had the story that I wasn't creative.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh, Melissa.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, I know, I know.
I got so much coaching on it, and if Maggie's listening to this, she's gonna be like, mm, yeah, girl. But, and I thought like I didn't have a lot enough to say in order to make a podcast, but it just goes to show what a story it is. Because now when I'm going to record my podcast, I'm like, I have so much to say.
Like I have to pare it down. Like, it's just like the total opposite story. Like how can both of those things be true? Like I have nothing to say and I have too much to say. Like no. Like what if I have just right...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: It's like Goldilocks.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Things to say. Exactly. ,
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I love Goldilocks and things, but you know, I think what you're saying, and even before we got on this call, I was even just thinking about how I go into, you know, the coaches that I follow or the podcast that I follow, like sometimes just hearing that person's perspective. Somebody who you trust and respect, and they could be saying something that was 60 seconds long, but when you trust and respect a specific human, and they're not better or worse than you, they're just another human, but you trust and respect them, anything and everything they say is valuable.
To me that has been so liberating just in me showing up as my best self, as my favorite version of me, and how I want to kind of look at all the humans that I'm interacting with. Like that's just the best filter.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah, absolutely. I think that one of the things I had to work on, and you know, I definitely have kind of blown past it, is like there is no hierarchy.
Like there's not one person better than the other, better than the other. What if we're all just humans on the planet? We're all traumatized. We're all just, you know, trying to be an example of what's possible to other people and knowing that my job is to say things in my own way with my own stories and jokes and silliness and swearing that I do a lot of, you know, and it's gonna be for some people, and they're gonna be my people and they're gonna listen and they're gonna maybe become clients and that type of thing.
And it's not gonna be for other people. And that's okay. Like I don't have to make myself beige in order to be palatable. You know, for other people.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Because, but then like the world that you decided, you know, like you decided to stay on earth and not go into space. And I think that earth gets to benefit from your unique flavor of you.
Right? And I think that. We all can have that. I just wanna let anyone listen to this, I want everyone listening to this to know that like we are one in billions, each of us, and I think we are so conditioned to try to fit into the norm and fit in with everyone. And this is what you're talking about is like Your Favorite You. Like discovering that and befriending that is like letting your unique self. Really be present. Like the earth wants it, the people want it. I just think it's, it's so good.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: And yeah, I mean when you become your favorite version of you, you start to attract the people that are meant for you. And it's like the people that aren't meant for you.
It's like it's okay to let them go. I have all these people that are actually meant for me. And I think the kind of mind fuck about it is like once you become your favorite, you, you aren't afraid of being alone because when you're alone, you're not lonely. You're in like solitude, which I love solitude. Like it's one of my favorite things. Right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: It's like you're not bored cuz you're with yourself.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Just so good.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. So good.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh my God. I feel like we could have part two and part three, which maybe we will. Melissa, I'd like to have you back on. We're gonna keep talking, but tell anyone listening. I just thank you so much for coming on and sharing your experience with the group and what you're doing.
How can somebody listening to this find you? What's the simplest way that they can get to you?
Dr. Melissa Parsons: Yeah. I mean, certainly on Facebook. Melissa Parson's coaching on Instagram. I'm @coachmelissaparsonsmd, the podcast you can get on any podcast platform, Your Favorite You, or search Melissa Parsons. It comes right up and I have a website, melissaparsoncoaching.com. So lots of different ways.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: You have to go find her, go find her because everything that it's like, this is such good work. I think anyone listening to this, go find Melissa. I hope you guys all enjoy this episode and thank you so much. This has been, I just love catching up with you so much.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: I love you too. Pri...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's been so good.
Dr. Melissa Parsons: You can't stop me.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Never. Okay guys. Bye. I think that some of the best work that we get to do in our life is to discover our favorite versions of ourself, and I think that sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it feels especially hard when we've had years and decades of thoughts and beliefs that we have grown up with that maybe feel like they get in the way.
Our lived experiences have informed how we think, but what we are getting to do on this podcast every single week is we get to just take a little closer look together. This podcast has personally been such an amazing journey for me to reflect on my personal work to share with you, and especially share some of the amazing transformations that my clients are having inside Unstoppable.
I hope that you've enjoyed the podcast and we have allowed little seeds of possibility to get planted in your brain. Those seeds, I promise, with a little bit of attention and water will grow and just like that, your lived experiences will get to be what you choose and want them to be.
If you've been enjoying this podcast and those little seeds of possibility we plant together are seeds you have been enjoying, I would love it if you left me a reading or review on the podcast. Tell me what's been your favorite moment or episode that has left a seed in your mind. You can go to your favorite podcast platform right now, and there's a link to leave, a comment and a review.
It will take about 20 seconds, but it will be the greatest holiday gift to me, and more importantly, it will help more women and working moms find this podcast, share this podcast with your friends or the people you love, and let's plant more seeds of possibility together. If you are here listening to this, I want to say that I love that I have gotten to be in your ear this year and that we have gotten to plant some seeds of possibility together.
Seriously anything is possible and it's what makes you Unstoppable. If you ever want to learn more about how to work with me, you can always head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com/group. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week, a very happy holiday, and a happy, happy New Year. So much love. Bye.
Thanks for listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more information or resources from the show, visit theunstoppablemombrain.com.