99: Diving Deeper into Optimal Health with Dr. Ali Novitsky (Part 2)

Last week, I was joined by Dr. Ali Novitsky for a new take on issues related to and the habits that contribute to optimal health. This week, she’s back for more and we’re diving deeper into the bigger picture around nutrition, fitness, and the multiple layers involved in the pursuit of optimal health.

Dr. Ali Novitsky is a neonatologist certified in obesity medicine, as well as a Master Certified Life Coach. She’s an expert in nutrition and fitness, a national speaker known for leading mind-body workouts that blend mindset coaching and emotional regulation work with CME and strength training.

Tune in this week to discover the biggest obstacles stopping people from creating optimal health, and what you can do about them. We’re discussing the benefits of focusing on preventive health measures, and the role of nutrition in optimal health. We’re also diving into grounding exercises and setting boundaries in support of your physical and mental health.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine | Diving Deeper into Optimal Health with Dr. Ali Novitsky (Part 2)

Last week, I was joined by Dr. Ali Novitsky for a new take on issues related to and the habits that contribute to optimal health. This week, she’s back for more and we’re diving deeper into the bigger picture around nutrition, fitness, and the multiple layers involved in the pursuit of optimal health.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine | Diving Deeper into Optimal Health with Dr. Ali Novitsky (Part 2)

Dr. Ali Novitsky is a neonatologist certified in obesity medicine, as well as a Master Certified Life Coach. She’s an expert in nutrition and fitness, a national speaker known for leading mind-body workouts that blend mindset coaching and emotional regulation work with CME and strength training.

Tune in this week to discover the biggest obstacles stopping people from creating optimal health, and what you can do about them. We’re discussing the benefits of focusing on preventive health measures, and the role of nutrition in optimal health. We’re also diving into grounding exercises and setting boundaries in support of your physical and mental health.


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What you'll learn from this episode:

  • How Dr. Ali Novitsky teaches preventive health in a different way than how we’re taught as physicians.
  • Why a preventive health approach will change your life, allowing you to own your future.
  • The 4 biggest obstacles to optimal health habits.
  • How to see where you’re in an all-or-nothing mindset regarding your health.
  • Why we should all eat intuitively, but we can’t ignore the nutrition science.
  • How to start using the Stress Scale to know when you need to ground yourself and meet yourself where you are.
  • Why boundaries are vital for creating optimal health and a happy life in general.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Powerful Takeaways:

03:56 “I became a doctor when I quit medicine.”

05:39 “Preventive health is the full picture. It’s everything that we can control.”

15:00 “We use mindful nutrition, but there’s also science behind it.”

17:59 “Can you give people an overview of what you mean by a stress scale?”

20:33 “Grounding gets you in the moment.”

25:03 “When we’re talking about grounding and emotions, what crosses my mind is the idea of boundaries.”

Featured on the Show:

Related Episodes:

Full Episode Transcript:

Enjoy the show:

Welcome to Episode #99. I’m your host, Kristi Angevine, and I'm here to help you understand why you do what you do, so you can live your life on purpose instead of on autopilot.

Last week, I spoke with physician, life coach, and obesity medicine expert, Dr. Ali Novitsky. We discussed issues related to achieving optimal health in a way that's very different from what we conventionally think of, when it comes to physical health and wellness.

The conversation left me wanting more so we recorded a Part 2, so that we could go deeper with everything we discussed. If you haven't heard our first conversation, please go back to Episode 98. Once you're done, come back to this episode for Part 2.

Dr. Novitsky is a neonatologist, she's certified in obesity medicine, she's a Master Certified Life Coach, and she's an expert in nutrition and fitness. She's a national speaker who's known for her superpower of leading mind/body workouts that blend mindset coaching, emotional regulation work with CME, and strength training. Here's Part 2, enjoy.

Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. And now, here's your host, Physician, and Master Certified Life Coach, Kristi Angevine.

Kristi Angevine: Dr. Ali Novitsky, welcome back to the podcast. We did an episode last week, Episode 98. We're going to take this to part two and do a little bit deeper dive on some of the really fascinating things you brought up when it relates to health.

So, for those of you who are listening right now who did not listen to last week's episode, please go back, and listen to it now. For those of you who are rebels and just want to keep listening, and you might not know who Dr. Ali Novitsky is, Ali, can you introduce yourself again to the people who don't know who you are?

Ali Novitsky: I'm Ali Novitsky, a neonatologist turned… Now I’m an obesity medicine specialist, and I use all the knowledge into my work now as a coach, and I offer optimal health programs for women physicians. We have a really cool community where we really focus on being the most optimal, healthy version of ourselves, in mind and body and emotions and energy. and all that good stuff.

Kristi: So good. Alright, so that we can ground this conversation and people can know you a little bit better, more than just this voice on their AirPods or whatever they're listening on, can you tell us what you can see out a window?

Ali: Oh, that's a really cool question. I can, actually. So, I'm sitting in my husband's office because he has better podcasting equipment, quite honestly. I'm looking out at… we have a pool area, which is really, really fun. And, we have a pool house.

Actually, the pool house came from an Amish shed. We live near Lancaster, PA, and we wanted a pool house, but it was so expensive that we were going to build another whole little mini house. And so, we found this amazing, huge shed type of situation, that we actually converted into this mini house.

We love our outdoor area. In fact, the only reason I would never sell this house is because of… I can't say never… but the only reason why I don’t think I'd want to sell this house is because of this Amish shed-turned-pool house. I kid you, not. It is amazing. It is so pimped out. And, that's what I'm looking at right now.

Kristi: Okay, so I must come visit, clearly.

Ali: Yes, you must.

Kristi: I want to get right into it. There's a quote from you that I adore, that I just came across recently, perhaps in a text thread. And you said, “I became a doctor when I quit medicine #preventivehealth.”

So, I know you have this goal to empower your clients, many of whom are women physicians, to not only understand their health in a very different way, but to actually learn the science and to understand preventive health in a way that may be different than what we were taught.

Particularly as it pertains to nutrition, exercise, as well as other things we're going to talk about. You are so good at looking at the big picture. And you're kind of well-known for saying, “I want to be able to carry my groceries when I'm 90.” So, can you just tell people what preventive health means to you?

Ali: Yeah, and when you're asking me the question, interestingly, my parents actually come to mind. Now, I will tell you that my mom is 79. My dad is 75. And my dad is still practicing as a physician. What I'll tell you, is that everybody's thinking, “Oh, my gosh.” He works one day a week and he has for years.

And so, one of the things I want to put out there, is that preventative health; yes, nutrition. Yes, exercise. It's also sleep. It's also reduction in your stress. It's also like having fun in your life. I think that my parents do really well with being in the moment, resting, and remaining stress free. They do a great job with those things.

I think it's really promoted a ton of health for them. I mean, quite honestly. And yes, you know, my mom is a very intuitive, nutritious eater. And yes, she feeds my dad well. However, they really enjoy themselves. They enjoy their extras.

And so, I just want to put it out there that preventative health is the full picture. It's really everything that we can control, that's going to allow our bodies to live at a lower inflammatory and also stress level.

So, if rest can kind of de-stress us, if adequate sleep can de-stress us, and then maybe limiting added sugar can decrease inflammation in our body, yeah, we're promoting, we're preventing, we're doing all the things, that if we keep doing those things, we're going to be more empowered to really kind of own our lives.

And we're not going to be so fearful of the ‘what ifs.’ Well, what if I get this or… Being in medicine, I mean, we could be worried about all the ‘what ifs,’ we see them all day long.

Kristi: So, this brings to mind for me, when I think about not just our health, but just our approach to life in general. I come at it from the perspective of, what are the habits that are getting us what we want? What are the habits that are not getting us what we want? I like to geek out on all these things.

I think of habits as… I teach people how to unlearn habits that are not getting them what they want. And a big part of creating habits that do sustain you and do nourish you is, number one, acknowledging that your habits make sense, right? Everything we do is for a reason.

Our habits were, at some point in time, really resourceful solutions. Then, also being really realistic about what the obstacles are. So, my question for you is, what do you see are some of the obstacles to optimal health habits?

Ali: Oh, it's so good. Okay. Well, I'm going to give you an example. Because when I first started my programs, I would pour so much content into them, to the point where it was overwhelming. I'll be honest, it was a lot of content.

Now, some people love consumption. People loved it, right? When we really started talking about changing things, though, I didn't know that it was the most effective approach. Yeah, everybody was learning a ton, sure. And, were we really making the changes that we wanted?

And so, what I did is, I went on this journey of really kind of being open minded on what could I be doing differently. How can I help people more? And what I found is that we used to start with an hour-long workout, a whole hour, and I didn't think that was a big deal. Commit to an hour, not a big deal. And then I realized that's really hard for us to commit to sometimes.

What if we can get better results in 30 minutes? I'm just going to be open minded about it. So, I trialed this whole thing, where I did all 30 minutes. And you know what? We started to get better results. Why were the 30 minutes more effective? Well, they were probably more quality, quality over quantity, but we were able to be more consistent, because 30 minutes is much less.

And then, I still saw that people were having trouble with it, right? Thirty minutes seems like a lot for some people. I said, “Hmm, what would happen if we did 10-minute workouts?” So, then I went ahead and I created a whole series of 10-minute workouts. And what I found is that the participation with the 10-minute workouts far surpasses anything I've ever created.

So, I would answer that the biggest obstacle is the all-or-none phenomenon. The idea that it has to be so much to get a certain result. The idea that in 10 minutes, there's no way you could actually get results with that. Getting rid of those old beliefs, the belief pattern of you need so much time, money, and resources to achieve something, I think is really going to be the biggest obstacle. That's the biggest one that I see.

Kristi: Oh, that's so good. In the last episode, you mentioned that there are some thought distortions, old beliefs, and this is one of them; one of the major ones, right? This all-or-nothing approach.

Are there other pretty common distortions that you see that shaped somebody's approach to doing things in a way that really is more of a hindrance than a help?

Ali: Oh, yes, definitely. I'll give you my top… Now I have a top four, but I used to do a top three. All or none is going to be the one that is going to pull everybody away from their health goals. And one of the things that I find so interesting now, is I used to be one of those people, when I was in my teens, where I jumped on the New Year's bandwagon. I thought the bandwagon was a thing. Now, I realize bandwagon is nothing, right?

So, bandwagon is actually just your way of saying ‘I'm in the all-or-none mindset. Right now, I'm all out and I'm about ready to go all in again.’ What I want to say about that, the reason our brains do that, is because humans like certainty. Being all in is certain, “I can do all these things and I'm all in.” Or, “I can do none of them and be all out.” It's very certain.

Living in the gray zone, which is really where you'll achieve results, is really confusing for people. Brains do not like to accept that the gray zone is really where the magic happens. Because the gray zone is uncomfortable, because it's uncertain. So, all-or-none thinking.

Second, is “should” statements. So anytime you hear yourself say, ‘I should’ or ‘should’ not have. I guarantee you, if you actually wrote down how many times you say it in a day, it would be a lot for most people. It's very anxiety provoking. So, if you suffer from anxiety or anxious feelings, I'm going to tell you, you're probably thinking you “should” or “should not” have done something.

The other part about that, is it creates a whole bunch of disappointment. So, whenever we're feeling disappointed, we already think that we've lost the battle, why do we even keep going? Let's just stop. Because it's so much effort anyway, and we're not getting the result we want. And so, “should” leads to disappointment, which leads us to stop doing it all together.

The next piece is a mental filter. That's the third one I see all the time. So, a mental filter is when you're looking at the whole picture with really foggy goggles. And so, somebody might be really consistent, I see this a lot. Somebody might be really consistent with their strength training, really consistent with eating their protein, really consistent with doing their mindset work, and they're not seeing their weight drop.

Or they're not seeing their body fat percentage change. Or they're not seeing their run pace being quicker, or something that they think should be happening; going back to the “should.” And so, they're just focusing on all these things that aren't happening, versus being able to focus on things that are actually positive. I'm going to get to that, that's my fourth one I always add in there.

So, mental filters are when we continue to focus on all the negatives, which just makes us feel defeated. And then, we think that the things we're doing are so much effort for so little result, and then that's not going to make anybody want to continue them.

Then, the fourth one, is disqualifying the positive. So, a lot of times when we're making really great improvements, or we're making really great progress… And this is a great example. Somebody will compliment us, and we find a way to kind of disregard it.

So, somebody will say, “Oh, wow, you look really fit.” And then, you don't feel comfortable agreeing that you look strong. And so, you may say something like, “Oh, gosh, you're just seeing things. I'm not strong.” Or you find a way to put yourself down, versus just saying thank you. So, disqualifying the positive is a big distortion that typically happens.

Kristi: Those are good. Okay, so all-or-none, “should” statements, mental filter, and disqualifying the positive. I think you just highlighted probably the top four mindset habits that people who listen to this podcast struggle with, even if it's outside the realm of fitness, nutrition, or health. They’re so common, they go in so many different facets of life, right?

Ali: Yeah. And remember, they bring on the big hitters. Disappointment is probably as close to shame. Shame is such a big, heavy one. Disappointment is super heavy. So, disappointment, and then even regret, and then anxiety. So, it's bringing on all these really heavy things.

Yeah, okay, of course, you're not going to want to eat chicken and broccoli. Of course, you're not. You feel terrible. Why would you want to eat chicken and broccoli? That's way too hard. That's a big effort. Why do that? Not that you have to eat chicken and broccoli, you can eat whatever you want. But I'm just saying, generally speaking, right? Chicken is going to have good protein; broccoli, get your greens.

When we start to think that we're doing everything wrong, or nothing is working, then things that we associate with being good, positive actions, we're not going to want to do them. We're going to rebel against that.

Kristi: So, mentioning shame, mentioning disappointment, mentioning the excruciatingly uncomfortable gray zone... And sidenote, anybody listening, Ali and I talking about this, we talk about this because we have lived this. We know this.

I will just speak for me, I won't speak for Ali, but all these distortions, all these things that are obstacles, they are things that I have personally dealt with. That I still deal with, that I still notice. I still notice my mind does this. I still notice this, right?

But when it comes to these things that are uncomfortable, I think one of the most overlooked aspects of our experience and of our health, is our emotional health and our somatic experience of our emotions. Because nobody teaches us much about this.

Emotions are pejoratively referred to as; they're silly, they're soft, they're weak. But you and I know better. So, how do emotions come to play in the work that you do, around things like nutrition and eating and fitness and wellbeing?

Ali: I love that question. Recently, I actually did a podcast on emotions that we eat with. And so, one of the things, when women come to me for physical health things, I mean, we can't deny that nutrition is going to be part of it. Yes, we use gentle nutrition. Yes, we use intuitive nutrition. We use mindful nutrition, but there's also some science behind it. And I can't deny that.

So, as much as I want to be like, “Oh, let's just all love our food,” we should love our food... You heard a “should” in there… We have the ability to love our food, and I'm going to tell you some scientific things that are going to actually really promote better results. So, there's that part.

But along with it, it's the idea that general nutrition is going to be the heavy hitter as it relates to our physical results, it really just is. I mean, you can exercise all you want. In reality, the nutrition piece, whether you want to be in a deficit to lose body fat, or if you want to be eating in a way that's going to allow lean mass gain, or if you want to eat in a way that's going to allow for energy, nutrition is where it's at.

And so, what happens, is particular emotions, a lot of times… and there's even some people that have a higher tendency towards emotional eating; it's actually more genetic. And so, if food is kind of getting in the way, and it's becoming kind of an emotional, I guess, saving grace for a lot of us, then it's going to throw the nutrition that we need for a certain physical result off kilter.

A lot of times, it's really the emotional aspect that we have to address. And it's not like, when the urge happens, and sitting with the urge; yes, we need that tool, but it comes way before that. It's about staying emotionally regulated on a daily basis, so that if you do have urges, they're not that strong.

Because if you have all these really strong urges, what's going to happen? Well, if we give in, we're going to be eating more emotionally. And if you have a certain physical goal, that emotional eating is definitely going to make it more difficult to achieve that goal.

So, we need to target it, but not. Yes, we need a tool for the urge. But we need to backtrack like 50 steps, and really start targeting, “Okay, let's just be more emotionally regulated on an everyday basis. And when an urge hits, we also have a tool for that.”

Kristi: I love thinking about that as sort of like the fire drill, right? You do the drill. I don't go on cruises, but I know you like cruises, like on the cruise ship. They do the drills in advance, so that it's easy when you actually need it.

Similarly, if you can have an approach to emotional regulation on 99% of your existence, then when you need to tap into it for very specific things, like ‘I have an urge to go to my pantry with my glass of wine, and my chocolate and my chips, and hope nobody finds me, to soothe my bad day and wind down,’ you'll have a tool that you have used when things aren't as intense.

So, this brings me to something I'm so glad that you brought up. You are a national speaker on so many things, but one of the topics that you teach, that you speak about, that everybody loves, has to do with the stress scale. The people in my Habits On Purpose group are really lucky to have had you as a guest coach for this exact thing.

But can you just give people a little teaser? Because I know this is one of these very in-depth topics that all of us can actually study and work on for many months, if not a year. But the idea of a stress scale, can you give people a little bit of an overview of what you mean by a stress scale?

Ali: Yeah, I love that so much. The idea is being aware of where we live with our stress, so that we can notice what our mannerisms are. Or I guess a better way to put it, what our symptoms are when we're at that stress number. And the reason why it's important, is because at certain numbers, we're not going to be able to do anything that's going to be super regulating.

We actually have to use distraction before we can even get to more of a mindful practice. It's kind of like when you're really, really heated, and you keep thinking, “Well, a lot of people meditate, maybe I should meditate. I can't even think about meditating right now.” It's because we're so high on our stress scale.

But the idea is that the stress scale runs from 1 to 10. One is that you are super relaxed, not a care in the world. You're sitting in a cabana, drinking your pina colada. Ten is that you are beyond, you are so stressed out that you can't even see straight.

The idea is that we're going to live somewhere between 1 to 10, kind of on a daily basis. And so, it's really important to get to know where you live. I mentioned this a little bit when I talked about your energy scale. But this is different.

Because what we want to do is, for each number, everybody is going to go ahead and they're going to make their scale. They're going to know where they kind of live in their stress on a daily basis. What they want to do then, is just kind of work through 1 to10 and write down the symptoms associated with each number.

For example, if somebody it’s a one, what are they doing? Well, maybe it’s that they're just really quiet. Maybe your symptom at a one is, you're really, really quiet. And you're just kind of observing; your eyes are moving because you're observing and looking around. And then, we can go through the whole thing.

Because as you mentioned, it's pretty elaborate, how I teach it. However, the idea is that for each number on your stress scale, 1 through 10… and everybody has a 1 through 10… you're going to have different symptoms at that number. The important part is recognizing what your symptoms are.

For example, when I'm at a 6 stress level, I'm pacing back and forth in my kitchen and probably vacuuming my floor; that is my classic, I'm at a six. What we know is that when we are 7 or above on our stress scale, there's no point in even trying to do yoga or meditate. That's distraction mode.

So, you actually have to learn to distract yourself before you can even get to a space which is going to be below 7, where you can use a grounding technique. A grounding technique is going to be your typical things that we talk about, like a 5-4-3-2-1 method, or it's going to be using your senses to be able to become in the moment. So, grounding gets you in the moment.

If you think about an electrical circuit, you have to ground an electrical circuit. The reason why we ground an electrical circuit is because you're going to have an explosion if you don't, okay? So, just like humans, we have to have a grounding regimen that we use so that we don't explode.

And so, the more we're able to use that grounding technique and stay within that kind of six and below range; I'll say, most people, I love to get them below a six.

I mean, if I can get somebody in a five, and that's where they live, that's going to be golden. That means that's a regulated person. That means you're going to be able to take the twists and turns of life, no matter what emotions they create, and you're going to be able to handle them.

Now, you will go higher at times, however, you can distract and get right back to it. And so, that's kind of the whole principle behind the stress scale, and how to adequately use it to manage life in general.

Kristi: I love this so much. Because sometimes, we'll have people who will notice that they will be a 7-8-9-10 in their stress scale, and they recognize that the way that they feel better is by distraction, and then they shame themselves for buffering.

They say, “Well, I'm using something outside myself. I'm opening up my novel. I'm going online and perusing something. What's wrong with me that I can't do something else besides this?” I love to teach people that you can use “buffering” or numbing in a strategic, boundaried way on purpose, to help regulate so that you do get below that seven honestly.

Let's give people something really concrete. You mentioned the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, which I also think is one of the best techniques you can use, out there. If somebody listening to this is thinking, “Okay, I would like to expand my toolbox, for an emotional regulation technique for grounding,” is there one or two grounding techniques that you love to use? Mine changes, depending on the season, my life. But are there any lately that you really love to use?

Ali: Yeah, I love that question. One of the things… Well, I'll say, maybe I'll share this one, because I don’t know, a lot of people might think it's a little interesting. But I'll give you the ones that are pretty easy to kind of grab.

I am a physical person. I love to move my body. I love to find a way for my body to feel grounded, it just feels safe to me. So, actually, if you just stand up and you press your feet, your bare feet, into the ground and allow your feet to go into the ground and the ground to go into your feet, that's going to be a grounding technique right there.

My second one, is just really observing around me, and vision. So, really seeing all the things around me, and being able to really classify them and name them very descriptively. It's kind of the five, of the 5-4-3-2-1. Five things you can see, and just kind of really noting it.

The third thing is, I like to close my eyes and see if I can see different colors. A lot of times when I close my eyes, I can sometimes see blue. I know everybody has that ability, but when you go into a deep meditative state you can actually start to even see different things. And so, I look to see what I can see. That's one of my other ones. It's kind of my own meditation; self-meditation, if you will.

Kristi: Okay, that is so perfect. Anybody listening to this, think about how you might take some of these and bring them into your day, in advance of feeling triggered or activated. I use a similar technique you use, the feet on the floor, for my surgeons. I have them in their Dansko’s or in whatever shoes they wear, because they are not going to be barefoot in O.R.

But if they get a little bit activated or if they want to ground in the middle of their nice, boring benign case, they can just feel their shoes against the floor or feel their feet against their shoes. It seems so silly, seems so small, but it's so effective.

Ali: I love that. You made me think of something. I have an anesthesiologist that when she was above a six, she would be almost yelling. And so, one of the things she started doing was humming. So, whatever your symptom is, like if your symptom is you talk loud or fast, or whatever it is; and that was hers. If you pair it with a grounding technique that meets the need of that sense; so, hers was sound. She started humming and that really seemed to help.

Kristi: Oh, that is so good. I love that, because some people are more auditory, more tactile. I do have a client who she'll rub her finger and her glove together, just so that she has a little privacy for grounding. But she'll just use that, because that sense of touch is very grounding.

So, this might seem like a hard right, but it's related, I promise. When we're talking about grounding or talking about emotions, what crosses my mind is the idea of boundaries, and let me explain how this is connected. You and I both have sort of an overlapping take on boundaries, in general.

But one of the things that I love that you teach, that I think is very different from what people usually hear, has to do with self boundaries, and keeping your word to yourself. I think when it comes to being really in touch with your authentic experience, which I think our emotions are a big part of, I think these self boundaries and keeping your word to yourself is very related.

So, can you talk a little bit about boundaries, and then self boundaries specifically?

Ali: Yeah, I love that. One of the reasons why I love teaching about boundaries, is because my work for the past five years has been boundaries. I notoriously was a people… I say was, it’s true, was, a people pleaser. That was really the way that I found my worth.

And because of that, I didn't say no, often. It was constantly yes. I would say yes, all the time, and just regret saying yes. Then I started to get angry. But I didn't know that anger was good. I thought that anger was just ‘wow, I have some problems. I'm angry all the time.’ In reality, the anger was just kind of my alarm clock saying, “Hey, listen, your boundaries being crossed.”

And so, I used to second-guess myself. I would say, hmm. Like, there would be an issue with maybe a friendship, and I would be questioning how I showed up, all the time. I didn't trust myself. I didn't have my own back. And I would blame myself, versus am I angry?

Because if I'm angry, then I can trust that what I did was fine. This was a boundary breach. And so, it just started allowing me to have my back more. Boundary work became really crucial for me, in terms of boundaries with other people.

Now, the interesting thing for me, is that boundaries with myself have always been awesome. Which is super interesting, right? Because boundaries with yourself are saying you're going to do something for you, and you do it.

It’s saying you're going to show up for your 10-minute workout and you do it. It’s saying you're going to hit your protein goal and you do it. It’s saying that you're going to take active rest periods during the day, and you do it. It’s saying that you're going to go to bed at 9pm and you do it.

And so, I found that that was a lot stronger, which was really interesting, right? Because I had terrible boundaries with other people. If you think about it, I was able to stay disciplined with myself. Interesting, right?

So, I taught myself to have boundaries with other people through my boundaries with myself. Which made me realize that not everybody's the same as me. Some people are going to have really good outward boundaries, and maybe not as good boundaries with themselves.

What I found is that… and some people are just going to need help in both areas, which most of us do. It's not that I didn't need any help with my self-boundaries, but it was just stronger, if you will. What we can do with that, it's just kind of work through it when we're working on boundaries with ourselves.

When you have boundaries with yourself, your relationships in general, are just going to get so much better. And so, I would have thought that would have been true for me. But I really had to lose this belief that I had to say yes, for me to belong and be accepted.

And once I did, and once I released that, and once I embraced my anger, then my self-boundaries taught me how to boundary with other people. So, it was almost like I was modeling it for myself.

I usually say, when you're working on self-boundaries, it's starting really, really small. A lot of times, people will say, “I'm going to work out three days a week for 30 minutes, 30 minutes each time.” I'm like, “Okay, how long have you been working out?” “Well, I haven't been.” “Okay, that's way too high. That's way too much. Let's go lower.” “Well lower won't work.” And then we have to go through this whole mindset thing.

But the idea is, that you have to set a very realistic thing so that you can prove to yourself that you can do it, that you can show up. You have to almost give yourself little carrots to build the confidence for the self-boundaries.

Again, I think that there's a lot of ways you can look at boundaries. I really like to talk about anger, when I talk about boundaries. I like to talk about the idea that when we hold boundaries with ourselves, it teaches us how to hold them with others, and we can feel that it's safe to do so.

And then, vice versa. If we're good at holding boundaries with others, we also can kind of translate that into how we can hold ourselves accountable.

Kristi: I mean, anybody tuning into this, who maybe knows your name and associates you with nutrition, fitness, obesity medicine, I'm imagining a lot of them are going to be surprised that we're talking about things like boundaries and emotions when it comes to that.

I just love that. This really does play such an important role.

Ali: So important. It's so funny that you say this, because actually, on my sales page now, I have ‘It's not just a fitness program.’

Kristi: No, it's definitely not just a fitness program.

Ali: It’s so funny. Well, it may be mental, emotional, physical fitness, that's fine. But you're exactly right. I just think that for you, for example, habits is such a mechanism by which you teach everything. You teach so much through that.

I see it kind of similarly, the health portion is kind of my mechanism for which I teach the things, then we come together and can have very cohesive conversations, because we're saying similar things. The mechanism is just different, fun, and exciting.

Kristi: Exactly. We have two different colored vehicles, that are sort of the mechanisms, and underneath it all is where all that overlap happens. I love this. I love this conversation so much. I know I joked last time, I was like, “Oh, so, we're going to do part two, but maybe we should do part three and part four.” But this is the fun part of getting together with you, is that we can just keep going.

For time’s sake, though, in an effort to wrap up, is there anything, based on what we talked about today, anything that you think that we missed? Or does it feel complete?

Ali: You always make everything feel complete. Even if you say, “Hi,” I'm like, “Oh, wow, that was a great hi. It felt really solid.” I don't know, I always like to end with something. So, I would probably say, that what you think you need to do to be optimally healthy, I would say decrease that effort by at least 20%. Because it's nowhere near where you think you need to be; you actually need to do less. I mean that, I'm not just saying that.

I've cut back by probably 40% with the amount of effort that I do with nutrition even, and don't get me wrong, I eat really well. But it's just not as calculated, right? I've had to up my rest a whole lot more. So, I would say less is more, and I really stand behind that.

I would say give yourself permission to find that sweet spot, that gray zone, to give yourself more rest to work smarter, not harder.

Kristi: For anybody who listens to this and is instantly bristling, which I'm going to wager is probably about 90% of all the listeners who are high achieving, really thoughtful, empathetic, and highly productive. Over achieving perhaps, individuals, to hear do 20% less, if that makes you want to have a little bit of a shiver, that message is specifically for you.

This is the perfect time of year, when things are kind of busy and we've got holidays and classic New Year's resolutions, and all that sort of frenetic energy around us. This is the perfect message. So, if this lands on your ears and you’re like, “I don't know about that,” this message is specifically for you.

You could ask yourself, what's in the way of doing 20% less, or expending 20% less, of a sort of rigid energy towards this? So beautiful. Can you tell people where they can find you, and how they can work with you?

Ali: I love that. Yes, I'm just at www.TheFitCollective.com. We have an awesome six-month program, Transform, it’s an optimal health program; 72 CMEs for women physicians. We also have a monthly membership program called Fit Woman Collective, FWC. We are actively enrolling in our Transform program and our FWC programs. And so, you can find all of that at TheFitCollective.com, and Instagram is @alinovitskymd.

Kristi: Right, perfect. So, we will link all of that in our show notes; The Fit Collective, Ali Novitsky MD. Go find her everywhere. Thank you so much for your time. I just adore spending time with you and learning from you. Thank you so much. This was great.

Ali: Thank you so much.

To celebrate the podcast getting to 100 episodes and moving into 2024, I am doing a very, very special giveaway for a woman physician listener. It has to do something with wellness and a tropical location. So, stay tuned for all the details for how you can enter the drawing.

If you love what you heard today, I would love it if you would let me know. It would mean the world to me if you would consider scrolling down, leaving the podcast a rating, and a very, very short review. I know your time is precious, and it is not a small thing to take a moment out of your busy day to do so. But it means so much for the discoverability of the podcast, and it means so much to have your word-of-mouth endorsement so that other people can find this work. Thank you so, so much for your review.

If you're listening and you're thinking the time to start being intentional with your habits is now, and you're a woman physician, you're going to want to go to the Habits On Purpose waitlist. Because when you sign up to this, you're going to be the first to hear about all the enrollment information and updates for the next round of my small group coaching program, Habits On Purpose for Physicians.

The small group coaching program is really incredible because it gives you an intimate community of like-minded physicians who want to work on their habits. We focus on habits ranging from overthinking, overwhelm, busying, second guessing, getting triggered, work stress, relationship stress, parenting stress, charting, self-doubt in leadership roles, people pleasing, etc.

The next round will begin in February, and it comes with CME. So, if you're interested, go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/waitlist and you'll be the first to hear about the details.

Now if you're more interested in private coaching, that's also an option. I have a few spots open right now. I coach physicians as well as non-physicians, and women as well as men. To connect to see if we're a good fit, if what you would like to achieve is a match for my coaching style, you can go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/private. Until next week.

Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit HabitsOnPurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.