There is never a better time for change than right now!
If you prefer to read, rather than listen to the podcast, the Transcription of this episode is below these notes:
Meet Matthew Soff, M.D.
College – Boston University- graduated Summa Cum Laude
Medical School – Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in Bronx, NY
Residency and specialty training – 5 years – St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Boston MA
Practicing physician for 31 years, the last 13 in Plantation, FL: Gastroenterologist
Office: 201 NW 82nd Ave, Suite 202, Plantation, FL 33324
Telephone: 954 474-3262
NEW RULE – the Big Idea/ Strategy to help with this new world we live in:
To make a change – YOU have to make a change
Why it’s important; benefits both personally and professionally:
“Most people want to change – their body, their life, their physical, mental and financial health – but are unable or unwilling to make the changes that are required. The role that I play is to make suggestions for the many small changes that add up to the big change we all look for.” It’s important to help you reach your goals!
How to accomplish the above:
“Look for small milestones – and limited short term goals. For example- you can’t lose 25 pounds – but you can lose 5 pounds 5 times.
Focus on the process, believe in the importance of the goal, and believe that what you have committed to do will help you reach the goals.
Realize that the goal is lifelong change!”
“KISS” – Keep it simple, stupid.
Be sure you get all your yearly checkups scheduled and taken care of!
Holli: Hi Welcome back to New Rules for Your Life and Your Business, this is Holli Rovenger and as always I’m thrilled to have you here. And as you can tell from the introduction, the purpose of this podcast is to provide information to help you not only survive but thrive in our rapidly changing world. You know that I always joke that we are morphing into the Jetsons era, but there are some developments that continually occur that are proving that this is becoming more and more of our new reality. I especially like to talk about the rapidly changing technology and the internet. We no sooner learn one skill than a new one keeps presenting itself over and over and over again. And again another fabulous thing is phone TV. I know as I was growing up we would talk about phone TV and that would be like somewhere far, far far into the future. Again reminiscent of the Jetsons. So the new technology is definitely a positive but the flip side is we have drifted and have lost a lot of the general etiquette of life and I believe we need to get back to basics. And doing this will help you not only stop the overwhelm, but feelings of frustration that “I just can’t keep up with it all.”
Part of my mission is to help you step into your best life which means engaging whether it be in your personal or professional life or both depending on your situation. Because only then do you become empowered and elevate the way you are living. With that in mind I choose my guests to interview that will give you tips, tricks, strategies advice etc to help you. They are gracious enough to share their stories. You can not only learn from them, but become inspired and motivated to be and do your best. The topic for today is a continuation of our New Year’s resolutions or New Year’s goals and how to accomplish them. And..the topic is about change whether it is wanting to do something about your weight, if you need to cut out alcohol,…we’ll get into it as I speak with my, my very special guest tonight who is Dr.Matthew Soff. …..Hi Dr. Soff.
Dr. Soff: Hey Holli how are you tonight?
Holli: I’m doing great thanks. I am so excited for you all to meet Dr. Soff and I’ll just tell
you it’s very hard for me not to call him Matt because over the years…
Dr.Soff: We’ve been friends for years.
Holli: That’s exactly right we have become very, very close friends. As a matter of fact,
his wife is one of my best friends…but just to share with you all how Dr. Soff and I met. I was a pharmaceutical rep for I guess like 6 or 7 years and Dr. Soff was one of my favorite doctors because he, he not only is a fantastic physician but he has a fabulous personality as you’ll soon see. We met professionally but then I met his wife and then little by little, you know we got to be social friends as well…and I don’t know Matt, I think it’s over 10 years already.
Dr. Soff: I think we’ve known each other for 10 years and nobody has more exciting conversations than you and I. Whenever we get together it’s always exciting, always. Interesting. You never know where we’re going to take the conversation to.
Holli: (laughs): That is true, and one thing I want my audience to know is Matt likes to
be….what’s the word Matt when you try to be on the other side of the …
Dr. Soff: Controversial, always playing the devil’s advocate.
Holli: Thank you ,Thank you, Thank you
Dr.Soff: Always questioning never taking anything at face value.
Holli: (laughing): Yeah there was a while where no matter what I said you would say the
opposite just to stimulate me.
Dr.Soff: Absolutely makes it much more fun.
Holli: Exactly, exactly…Well I am just thrilled really….I really appreciate you being here
tonight. Last week I introduced a psychologist, a PhD to my audience who deals with relationships and really making marriages work and making relationships work. So you’ve managed to have a very, very successful and happy 40 year marriage. Do you have any words of wisdom or tips for the people that are listening?
Dr. Soff: Most of the time the most important thing you can say is yes…yes good idea that’s nice. So in most conversations with my wife, most of the things that we disagree about just really aren’t that important and… I find that if I can find the area of agreement, we go with the flow. It just….most of the issues just aren’t that important….and…I really have spent most of the 40 years looking at the positives of our relationship. Not every day has been wonderful, not every week has been great but the positives, the benefits of a long stable relationship enjoying your past and reminiscing, anticipating the future…it really is a wonderful thing to have a longstanding stable relationship with someone. And it takes patience and sometimes it takes a little forgetfulness. You don’t want to remember all the things that annoy you, all the things that bug you. So sometimes it is forgetting some of the negatives and really concentrating on what the important part is. What is the good stuff, why is it worthwhile.
And for me.. ah it has been very worthwhile for the last 40 years.
Holli:That’s wonderful, you guys definitely should be congratulated because…
Dr. Soff: And if she disagrees with anything I just say,
Dr. Soff: I’ll just change my mind and agree with whatever she says…(chuckles)
Holli: (Laughs)… That’s what. And all of you listening this very true what Dr. Soff is
saying. I will tell you personally, yes he says a lot “yes dear” and whatever makes his wife happy makes him happy.
Dr. Soff: But let me tell you this, whenever push comes to shove….and something is important for me, something that I want to do, something that I feel is important for us as a couple to do… almost always my wife will acquiesce and do that . So when one of us knows something else is important, something is important to the other, almost always we’ll go with the flow and accommodate the other person. And…it’s very rarely that we butt heads and really basically disagree on any of the major, major points in our life. And it really is just thinking about what the other person wants and how you can accommodate them. She accommodates a lot of my craziness. I accommodate her. It’s worked out. We are looking for another… we’re looking for another 40 years.
Holli: And you shall have it. You shall have it (laughing). So let’s jump in now to your new rule..
Dr. Soff: My new rule, is… if you want to make a change, if you want something to change, you have to make a change. Sounds obvious, but…what isn’t obvious is that so many people want to get to the goal without the work. And let me tell you it’s interesting how many times someone says to me, ”You know I wanted to be a doctor, I should’ve been a doctor” and it gets me to think, you know it’s easy to be a doctor. All you really have to do is study like crazy and work really hard for 25 years. If you can work really hard and study and stay focused for 25 years…you can be a doctor. And that’s what it took me. It took me 25 years….from high school , college, medical school, 5 years after medical school. So if you stay focused for 25 years… if you see the goal…if you stay focused on the goal…you can achieve it.
But what most people find themselves, they are running along, they’re just rolling along. They’re working, they’re taking care of their kids them you know they’re relating to their husband and wife. They’re dealing with all the nonsense of life and they’re in a pattern. And they’re not happy with their weight or they want to get off a medicine or they want to be able to do something. But they don’t feel strongly enough about whatever that goal is…is to make the change to have that happen. For example, people still ask me.. do I have the magic pill to lose weight. And I look at them like “Are you kidding me?”…Yes and I say “Yes I have a magic pill, but I don’t want to tell anybody that cause then I’ll make too much money by selling this magic pill.” People are still looking for magic they are still looking for some quick fix to make a change. It just doesn’t work that way.
So the rule is ..if you want something to change you have to make a change. It’s easy and it’s so simple as a concept. People want to eat the same foods everyday and expect to lose weight. They want to not give up smoking and still have the cough go away. They want to continue with whatever they’re doing, but …but they want a different outcome. It’s never gonna happen. It’s never gonna happen.
So to make a change in your life, you need to make a change, You need to do something different. And I think, I think that is what ties in, in fact I was listening to your introduction Holli and you say the complexity of life and how we get overwhelmed and we….we just don’t know where to turn to next! And I think that is a big problem for people. They get overwhelmed. They go back into their comfortable niche, their comfortable routine, and to make a change…to do something different requires a lot of energy over the long haul. And…go ahead..
Holli: No I was going to say you said 2 very important things that I just want to make a note of here because they are golden nuggets they are very very golden nuggets. So you said 1 thing about focus. And in order to focus you said another thing is….I call it your why….ok? Like what’s your why? And I truly believe from the bottom of my heart, if somebody’s why is not big enough…whether it’s to lose weight….to stop smoking….to get off drugs or alcohol…or become a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief…their why is not big enough, they won’t be able to focus and they won’t be able to accomplish
Dr. Soff: I agree with that 100%. I saw a fellow today….40 year old man. He has been involved with drugs. He’s been sober and a couple of months ago there was a family crisis. He relapsed taking drugs and now he was sitting in my office today needing medical as well as emotional help and support. And he said his motivation to stay sober and to stay clean is that he wants to live a fulfilling life and take care of the people who are important to him. So his why, his goal, his focus is that he needs to live a certain life so he can fulfill his obligations. That’s his why. The question is, “Can he stay focused enough on that why,….on that goal, to keep himself out of trouble? And “Does he have the support of family, physicians, psychologists the people around him? Does he have enough support to help him reach that why?”
And for most of us it’s very hard to reach the why to reach the goal without help. I know, I …I would never have achieved what I have..if I didn’t have 2 incredible parents to push me and…a really very positive support of wife to help me keep my course. So we all need people to work with us to help us to…encourage us to lift us up when we’re down.
We need to keep our focus on the why …on the goal, on our target. And…stay strong enough and use all the resources that we have to achieve that why or achieve that goal.
Holli: Why… yeah and I kind of like used it a little bit differently.. I think you have to
have the why you have to have the reason so strong that you will work on steps to accomplish that goal.
Dr. Soff: But then.. .but then I always wonder for the people. And one of the most obvious things to talk about is weight and overall health. Why is it? Why is it Holli, that you and I over the course of years…..why is it that people are able to lose 10 or 15 pounds and then a year later that weight is gone? They were able to stay focused for a month, six weeks, a period of time. But why can’t they, why can’t we stay focused on a long enough term? Is it that the why becomes less important? Is it? And I wonder about this all the time. I, I….the woman today, she said, she said that for her she was able to lose 15pounds on weight Watchers. But, it came back. But why did she stop the Weight Watchers? Or she lost it on another diet….on Atkins diet, or the South Beach diet. Why don’t people stay with it on a long term?
Holli: Because….it’s exactly what your rule is. To make a change, you have to make a change. And people..
Dr. Soff: And They don’t do it
Holli: No Dr. Soff: They don’t stay..They don’t make the change strong enough and long enough
to really sink into their soul.
Holli: Exactly….and they also don’t study, I believe that they are so many things that influence us and if you don’t take the time to really break them down…like for example, let’s say….she has an argument and that sets her off and she runs to the refrigerator and looks for things she knows she probably shouldn’t eat.
Dr. Soff: Right
Holli: Well you have to make behavioral change… you have to take that chain and break it and make new habits. You really have to work on it! You have to make the change and I don’t, I don’t really think people do that. They look for a Weight Watchers which I do believe is one of the best plans out there if you have to
Dr. Soff: I don’t get any endorsements from Weight Watchers but I absolutely think it is
one of the best programs
Holli: Yeah I don’t get endorsements either though I wish I would. But
Dr. Soff: (Laughs)
Holli: They, they….they really don’t teach you the behavioral changes and what happens is that’s the hardest part of things for people to face! As you and I both know, it’s facing your foibles – “What’s making me do that?’ You know…
Dr. Soff: They also need to anticipate, because things are going to hit the fan again.
There will be troubles. So the next time there is a crisis, what are you going to do other than hit a quart of ice cream. When a person is trying to stop smoking,… I tell the people all the time, I ask the people, “What are you going to do next time you feel stressed, instead of reaching for the cigarette what are you going to do”. You need to have a plan ready. You need to have an action plan ready. You can’t say, ”Well I’ll deal with it then”, because it’s too late. When you hit the stress button and you are looking for the munchies. You are looking for a bag of potato chips. You are looking for a quart of ice cream. You are looking for that cigarette. You are looking for that next couple of beers. What happens is you have to anticipate bad things are going to happen because they always happen to us. A car breaks down, um.. there is a leak in the roof. Now your mother in law is visiting unexpectedly. One of the kids is sick. Something is going to happen to create stress in us and we need to be able to anticipate that. What are we going to do when everything hits the fan? Are we going to overeat? Are we going to start smoking again? Are we going to start drinking again? Are we going to look go back to drugs again? All of us have that weakness and all of us have those easy ways and …. destructive ways of coping. We need to anticipate how are we going to constructively cope with the next crisis.
Holli:Well you ….well that’s perfect….exactly what you said. And there is a quote that I
like to say is, “Under stress we regress”.
Dr. Soff: Oh absolutely…..I agree with that 100%
Holli: So what you said is exactly right. And that’s when… when I work with people with
food you know food problems and losing weight…
Dr. Soff: Right
Holli: Its exactly what you said. “What are you going to do when you hit the stressful
situation?” But I can’t tell you how many people will say, “Oh yeah I know I have problems when..”. I said ok lets work on them. “Oh no I don’t want to”. Like to make the change you have to make the change.
Dr. Soff: Right
Dr. Soff: They just wish it away. They just want to… you know just imagine it’s going to
happen. Whether its tobacco, alcohol, food, biting you nails. Whatever destructive habit you have, you have to be able to work to overcome that particular issue, that particular problem. And that’s where it requires all sorts of resources of dietitians, counselors, friends and relatives. It takes so much. It takes a… it takes a village, it takes a team to help all of us through those issues.
Holli: Yeah.. no… absolutely. And I love where you wrote that you help people really teach them that many small changes can add up to the big change that everybody is looking for.
Dr. Soff: Actually and that’s true…. and when before we started talking I had.. aah I had
written that as a note. People tell me ”I want to lose 40 pounds”, I say You can’t lose 40 lbs. You can’t lose 40 pounds. You can’t lose 20 lbs. But you can lose 5 lbs, 5 times. So you can lose 25 pounds but you’ve got to do it 5 pounds at a time. I had a person today. It was a very busy day today. She said that she was on a diet but she was only losing…she was on Weight Watchers…but she was only losing 1⁄4 pound a week. I said, “A 1/4 pound a week, that’s 12 1⁄2 pounds a year”. You tell me if you can lose 12 1⁄2 pounds a year and keep it off that’s not a reasonable goal? So people go into Weight Watchers and LA weight loss, Quick weight loss. Any of these quick programs and they want to lose 30 lbs in 2 weeks. It’s just not realistic. It’s just silly. You need to make small changes. You need to make, have a target. I want to lose 5 lbs in 2 months. That’s doable. Five pounds in 2 months, that’s easy. But you can’t lose 30 or 40 lbs, you’ve got to lose 5 lbs. You lose 6 lbs. You don’t exercise for an hour and a half, you walk for 15 minutes. You make little changes and over the course of time, you make a little, you walk for 15 minutes…Great! You do that for a month or two. Now you’re ready to walk for 15 or 20 or 25 minutes. Now you’re ready to add something else to your program. So you make a little change, a little change and you keep adding to it. You keep adding a small change at a time. If you look to completely redo your life….it ain’t…it’s not going to work. So I can…you take the house….you going to redecorate the entire house at once? It’s overwhelming. You take one section of your house and you redo that and you go from room to room slowly redecorating your house, slowly redecorating yourself and changing yourself. You make small changes, whether it’s in your diet. I have smokers.
Sometimes I can get them to stop smoking all at once. You have medications. We use other things but there are plenty of times I say, “You have…you smoke a pack a day…get to a 1⁄2 a pack a day, I won’t hassle you.” They work themselves down to a 1⁄2 a pack a day and they stay at that level. They have just made themselves healthier. They reduce their risks. They’re doing better. Small changes add up so ultimately to massive changes in your life.
Holli: That’s very,.. very interesting you said that. And my first podcast and for those
listening, I hope you remember. I did this little analogy. It was a dance analogy actually on how just a small tiny adjustment like led to the biggest change. So….I ah….that’s definitely a bulls eye. I ah you know love that.
Dr. Soff: And you know….you know sometimes, sometimes we forget why we do this.
Like why… why bother? If you’re walking around and you’ve got 25 extra pounds on you….who cares? I mean like who cares? So you’re not going to be on the cover of a magazine. So what? The so what is.. is that as we get older our blood pressure goes up. Our cholesterol goes up. Our sugar goes up. Our heart gets weaker. Our livers and our kidneys get into trouble and…I’m now 62 Holli…
Holli: I can’t believe it
Dr. Soff: I know I know, I can’t believe it either. And I can tell you that at 62, I don’t know
how much more time I have. I don’t know if it’s going to be 2 or 3 years or 30 years. I don’t know. None of us know. None of us knows how much time we have. So what all of us ultimately want, is as many good quality years as possible. And so by making the changes….if you have people listening to you now who are in their 30’s and 40’s. Part of 30’s and 40’s, you feel indestructible and you feel like you’re going to live forever. It’s very hard to anticipate when you’re in your 20’s 30’s and 40’s what you’re going to feel like when you’re 60. But as we get older we realize our mortality that much more keenly.
And….as we get older we worry and at least I think more about how much time I have left. And I want them to be as functional and as good and as positive as possible. So by keeping some of the extra weight off… by working hard to maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol and sugar…you’re making the changes that will give you the good quality life that all of us really want.
Basically as far as we know, this is it. This is our life. Is there an afterlife? I don’t know. I’ll talk to you in fifty years and we’ll find out what’s happening. But as of now, we’re looking to preserve the God’s gift to us of our own health as for as long as possible. And really ultimately that’s the best why we have. Some women say well I want to get into a specific dress size for my son’s wedding. Okay that’s a short term why. That’s not going to sustain you. But if you’re looking for a why, you’re looking to make your body, your health as good as possible, as long as possible. So you can have a long good functional active quality life. That’s the ultimate why.
Holli: Per…. and that’s perfect. You know and then as people get older it’s also… you know they want to be around to see their grandchildren with all their milestones and they want to get down on the floor and play with their grandchildren. So you know that’s also part of the.. I guess, the quality of life as you get into what they call the sunset years. Right near the end of our lives. Now I can ….that’s really nice…I like all that advice from you…Fabulous
Dr. Soff: And… and you know we look at things. Much of what we do in medicine is changing the odds. I think about it this way. Today, there is a tiny chance that we can die, either one of us in a car accident, an illness. Something could happen today. There is a very tiny but a definite chance something bad could happen today. And a hundred years from now there’s a hundred percent chance that all of our listeners will probably not be here. So we need to do whatever we can to lower the chance that something bad is going to happen in the near future and push the inevitable back as far as we can. Most people don’t like to talk about death. Most people don’t like to buy life insurance for that very reason. When you buy life insurance, you’re automatically talking about your own mortality and what’s going to happen after you’re gone. So since most people don’t like to talk about death and illness and catastrophes, they push it out of their mind.
But really when I treat blood pressure, which has no symptoms…when I treat cholesterol which has no symptoms, what I’ve done is lowered the risk that, that person is going to have a heart attack, stroke or early death compared to a person who doesn’t have the blood pressure or cholesterol treated. So what I’m doing is I’m changing the odds. And that’s also one of the whys. One of the whys for eating better, taking the medicines, checking your blood pressure and cholesterol is to change the odds. One of the reasons why women should go for a mammogram, very very important, by finding a problem early she’s decreased the odds she’s gonna die and she increases the odds that she will survive whatever is found in her way. Why does a person go for a colonoscopy? I’m a gastroenterologist. Colonoscopies are very important to me. By going for a colonoscopy we will decrease the chance that that person will die of colon cancer. I had, I had a woman today, 53 year old woman, and I found colon cancer in
Holli: Oh boy
Dr. Soff : Now colon cancer in a 53 year old lady. Now, 53 is a very early age. If we find cancers early as close to fifty as we can, we will decrease the risk that these people will die. So hopefully we found this cancer early enough that we can cure it surgically and she can live a full life. We need to do things. We need to make the changes. We need to stay focused and diligent when it comes to eating well, exercising, preventative care, which is mammograms, colonoscopies, pap tests, ah colon..skin screenings. You go to your dermatologist. These are all the small little things that add up to a greater chance of a longer life. Going for dental work. Going to see your dentist regularly is part of that. If you have significant gum disease and tooth decay that leads to multiple medical problems. There are some…there are hundreds of tiny things that need to be done to keep us well. There isn’t one big thing. Although smoking is probably the biggest thing.
But there’s no one big thing. There’s many little things. It takes a lot of little changes, little efforts to keep us well for the long term.
Holli: Right and this is some great advice to start the year out. You know make sure that
you get all these routine checkups done. You know don’t procrastinate
Dr. Soff: Right
Holli: Go out there. Get them scheduled. Take care of it and go on with your year
Dr. Soff: Right
Holli: Well that’s great. Let’s just talk a little bit about what your favorite quote is..
Dr. Soff: Oh my favorite quote is..”Kiss..K I S S” stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid”
Since most of us are simple minded, whenever there’s an alternative, whenever there’s a choice or multiple ways of approaching something, I always keep it simple. Take the simplest, least complicated course of action. Whatever it is, whatever you’re dealing with. I find that people make things more complex. And the more complex something is the less likely they’re going to stay with it. If I gave a person 27 different ideas on how to lose weight, they will do none of it, because it’s way too complicated. But if I tell them eliminate bread and wheat products for a month and see how you do, that is 1 change they might be able to make. So keeping it simple, simple changes simple plans. That I think has the greatest chance of success. So if I’m doing something, if I’m planning a trip, whatever I happen to be doing, I try to keep it simple as much as possible. So my model, my own personal quote KISS…“Keep It Simple”…it works most every time.
Holli: Oh I love that, I love that. Well, any last words for our listeners on just taking care
of yourself and being present with your life and taking it 1 day at a time and keeping it.
Dr. Soff: And keeping it simple? To me…to me there’re so many aspects of our lives.
You have our family our job, our hobbies. .And I think it’s important to keep enough energy to keep all of those going. You need a certain amount of energy for your spouse, your children, parents, your family. You need a tremendous amount of energy in your job. You need and you need to reserve some energy for your own hobbies and your own life. I think many adults forget that they are entitled to have fun. And I think it’s a balance between maintaining fun, maintaining your obligations, maintaining your family relationships. I think it’s keeping all of those spheres going all at once really creates the most rewarding most pleasing life.
Holli: It’s like the balancing act, the juggling
Dr. Soff: Exactly keeping the balance. I think that’s the simplest way of putting it.
Dr. Soff: Keep the balance.
Holli: Yeah, yeah and that’s terrific. And I do teach people and I have spoken about on
these podcasts how it’s very important to do something nice for yourself and to have fun
and laugh everyday
Dr. Soff: Yes
Holli: Because like you said you don’t know how long that we’re going to ..we’re going
to be here So, I truly thank you so so much for being here today. And ahm for those listening aah Dr. Soff is in Plantation Florida. I am going to list on my website, his contact information. I drive 4 hours to be his patient so he is..
Dr. Soff: No no wait 4 hours in the waiting room, it just feels like 4 hours
Holli: I drive 4 hours and wait a little bit..he tries to keep on schedule. But I will list that
ahm you know for all, for all.
Dr. Soff: Thanks so much Holli
Holli: For all our listeners. My pleasure. So I will list the connection phone number etc.
And again thank you all for being present and listening to us today on New Rules for Your Life and Your Business. Have a great week and remember always have positive mindset so you can live healthier and wealthier and happier with passion. This is Holli signing off for today. But before we go Dr. Matt has made his needed changes, and a question I have for all of those listening.. ”Are you?’’
My mission is to Educate, Empower and Elevate Savvy Women to step into their full potential and passion for health, wealth and happiness. I am a dietitian by trade but an entrepreneur in my heart, as well as a best-selling author and speaker who values authenticity, honesty and ethics while taking my message to the world and helping others shift from dependence to independence in all areas of their lives. I see my connections and relationships with others as a way to encourage, energize, and empower them to live up to their full potential.
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