The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 15: Stop Dieting and Do Some Inner Work!
Robin is 55 but eats like a 15 year old without any rules. The problem is, her extra weight has become a health risk – and she doesn’t have much control of her eating despite being well educated and motivated. She is a mature, hard working woman who’s super-smart and gets things done, yet there’s this part of her that completely derails her. Tune into this straight shooting session as Marc David helps Robin discover a part of herself that she never even knew, and gives some powerful advice on how she can finally find freedom with food.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Robin: Thanks, Marc!
Marc: Glad you’re here. Glad you’re doing this.
Robin: I have been looking forward to it.
Marc: All right! So let me explain to listeners and viewers who are tuning in for the first time. So in the Psychology of Eating podcast, what we do is Robin and I are going to spend a total of about an hour together today. And we’re going to take about six months to a year’s worth of coaching and condense it down into one beefy session where we hopefully hit the target and help propel you where want your journey with food and body, wherever you want to go, whatever you want to work with. So it’s a bit of a different situation because were really going for what the places are that really need the attention in order for you to get to where you want to go.
So, Robin, if you could wave your magic wand and have whatever result you wanted out of this session, what would that look like for you?
Robin: Gosh, I think to have a clear path and clear steps that I could take one at the time to get to where I want to be, specifically with my weight, but just generally overall with my health.
Marc: So where are you at with your weight? And would you want to be?
Robin: I’m about 245 right now. I’m 5’5”. And I’d like to be at 150, which is the top end of a normal BMI for my height. I’m fifty-five years old and have been overweight for about thirty years. So I’m getting to the point where the health issues are creeping up more and more as I get older. So I really want to try to address the weight and resolve those health issues before they become major.
Marc: Okay. That makes total sense. So you started gaining the weight when you were twenty-five. When did you start dieting?
Robin: When I was thirteen.
Marc: Oh, wow. Okay. When you started dieting when you and thirteen, were you overweight? Did you have weight to lose back then?
Robin: At that time, I probably was maybe ten to twenty pounds overweight. And as a young teenager, that felt like a lot compared to my friends. So I certainly felt like I was overweight, even though I would be more than happy to get anywhere close to that weight now.
Marc: So during this last thirty or so years when you gained the weight, it sounds like you gain a bunch of weight. In your mind, what do you attribute that to? Why do you think the weight came on?
Robin: Well, certainly poor eating habits, overeating lots of simple carbohydrates. I eat out a lot. And stress.
Marc: What kind of stress?
Robin: I have two teenage sons that my partner and I adopted from foster care eleven years ago. You have a lot of special needs. And they are very challenging to raise. There now sixteen and seventeen. And as I often say, they’re very good at being sixteen and seventeen.
In addition to that, my partner and I also own pediatric clinic that I managed. So we have about 40 employees. So it feels like I’ve got forty-two kids instead of [two].
Marc: Got it. So you’re a busy lady.
Marc: Okay. And this last many years that you’ve been dieting since the big weight gain came on, have there been times when you’ve lost a lot of weight?
Robin: Really, no. I think the most I’ve never lost at any one time has been maybe twenty-five pounds. The weight has gone up. Over the course of thirty years, the weight has really been kind of gradual. It’s not like over the course of two months I gained fifty pounds and then stopped gaining weight. It’s been a little bit, pretty much steady weight gain, about 100 pounds over the last thirty years.
Marc: Got it. And what’s your diet like these days just in two minutes or less? What might it look like typically?
Robin: Again, still lots of simple carbohydrates, protein, fat. Not a lot of vegetables and not a lot of fruits unless I’m making a really conscious effort to eat those things.
Marc: So have you ever spent a period of time trying to eat “healthy?”
Robin: Sure, plenty of times.
Marc: Yeah. And what happens for you?
Robin: Generally, depending on how close attention I’m paying to what I eat, I will lose weight. I just don’t sustain it for very long.
Marc: What happens?
Robin: I revert back to my preferred way of eating, which is eating out a lot, eating a lot of burgers and fries and pizza, and all the things that I know better than to eat on a regular basis.
Marc: Got it. So you get pulled back into the old eating patterns is what it sounds like.
Robin: Yes. I eat like a fifteen-year-old.
Marc: Got it. Understood. So are there times when you feel like, “Wow, I’m really able to do this. And I’m able to eat healthy and not like a fifteen-year-old.” When those times have been, to you find that your efforting? Does it come easy?
Robin: It does not come easy. It requires conscious effort to do that. I don’t dislike it. When I do it, I enjoy the healthier foods. And when I cook at home, it’s a lot healthier than when I eat out. When I eat out, again, it’s lots of sandwiches and fries and bar food. But when I cook at home, it’s generally lean protein and lots of vegetables. But I just eat out a lot.
Marc: How often do you eat out, would you say?
Robin: Probably twice a day, sometimes three times a day.
Marc: Got it. So you’re sort of busy working, you’re managing the clinic, and then you just kind of eat out and get your food that way?
Marc: Got it. So you do that socially? You’re going out with people?
Robin: Yeah, sometimes.
Marc: Got it. So how is your husband when it comes to supporting you around how you eat and quality of food?
Robin: Well, it’s my partner. So she. She will pretty much go along with anything I want to do. She is also in an obese to morbidly obese category. So she needs to lose weight as much as I do. And if I say we’re going to eat at home more and eat healthier, she’s fine. She’s more than willing to go along with it.
Marc: Got it. Got it, got it, got it. But it sounds like you’re the one that’s leading the charge?
Marc: Okay. And are your parents still alive?
Robin: My mother is. My father passed away when I was twenty-five. You think there’s a connection?
Marc: Wow. Were you guys close?
Robin: We were not close. We got along just fine. But I would not describe our relationship as close.
Marc: What was the challenge?
Robin: You know what? I honestly don’t know. I think in a lot of ways we just didn’t know how to relate to each other. I’m not really sure.
Marc: Do you have brothers or sisters?
Robin: I have one sister. She is three years younger than I am.
Marc: And are you guys close?
Robin: Interestingly enough, we have gotten a lot closer within the past year. She just recently moved to Atlanta. So we have spending a lot of time together within the last year that we have not pretty much in our entire adult life.
Marc: And when was the last time you can remember weighing close to what you wanted to wait? Can you actually remember that time?
Robin: Probably when I was about twenty.
Marc: And what was going on for you?
Robin: I was in college. I had a couple of part-time jobs and spent a lot of time at the gym. Quite honestly, I don’t remember how I was eating. But I know that I was very active and very busy and generally liked my life.
Marc: And I’m going to be bouncing around here, by the way. There’s a method to the madness. So with your mom, how’s her relationship with her body?
Robin: I would say not very good. She’s overweight and carries a tremendous amount of weight in her abdomen area. So her body has sort of an odd shape to it and has been that way for pretty much as long as I can remember. So I know that that’s something that she would very much like to change. She’s in her late seventies and is also experiencing some health issues as a result of her weight.
Marc: And tell me about your partner. Does she talk about her weight with you? Does she talk about wanting to lose weight? Where is she at? Which you rather just not have to bother, but you’re interested in it? Help me understand.
Robin: She would also like to lose weight. She doesn’t pursue it actively the way that I think I do. She has been overweight since she was fairly young and would like to lose weight, but, again, doesn’t seem to have as much energy around it as I do.
Marc: And when you sort of go one a diet and start eating healthy and then you kind of go off and revert back to old habits, what you tell yourself when you start going for the junk food? What do you say to yourself? How you talk to yourself?
Robin: Well, generally I’ll start by saying, “Well, I just don’t have time to do it. It’ll just be this once. It’ll be okay.” And then it doesn’t take long before it’s back to my normal.
Marc: And in your ideal world, if you lost the weight that you wanted to lose, how would things look different, being different? How would you be different? How would life be different? What would life be like?
Robin: I’d be a lot more active. I’ve never done any sports. So playing tennis, hiking, biking, those are the kinds of things I would like to do but don’t. Even traveling where you do more adventurous kinds of things than go and sit on the beach or sit by a pool somewhere, which is what I generally do.
Marc: So you think you’d be more active. And what else? How would life be? How would you be different?
Robin: Well, for one thing, I have a lot more energy. And when I say energy, I mean like psychic energy because I’m very consumed with thoughts about what I’m going to eat, what I should be eating. So just to have a lot more mental energy and mental space available for other things.
Marc: Got it. How was your upbringing as a kid? Do you feel like, “Wow, I came from a good home. I had good parents,” or, “Eh, I’ll take it or leave it.” What was your experience? Sum it up in a minute or two for me.
Robin: It was not bad at all. There was certainly no abuse or neglect or anything like that. I think that a lot of times I didn’t feel seen or understood by my parents. Like I said, I wasn’t really close to either one of them and just kind of felt like I couldn’t talk to them, that they didn’t know how to relate to me and I didn’t really know how to relate to them.
Marc: Got it. So, Robin, I think I got a little bit of information to push the foot on the gas pedal a little more here and see if we can help you have a breakthrough here.
So let me just give you a couple of thoughts. Based on how you have described your pattern to me… We all have our habits. We all have our patterns. We all have our ways of doing things. And when I hear your story, I like to just hear the big picture. And what I hear in the big picture is, okay, you gained weight. You gained weight when you were about twenty-five. It started coming on. It happens to be the same time your dad died. That might be connected. It might not be.
And then all of a sudden for the next thirty years, you’re trying to lose it. And you eat healthy. And then you don’t. And you revert back to old habits. So you kind of sort of what goes on for you. You start it. And you start a certain way of eating. But you can’t sustain it.
And I want to say a piece of that, a big piece of that is we get hooked. We get hooked on certain foods. Our taste buds get hooked. Our tongue gets hooked. Our pleasure of sensors get a little hooked. We get attached. We like what we like. I like what I like when it comes to food, when it comes to the weather, when it comes to what clothes I wear. We have our preferences.
And when it comes to food, I think a lot of us don’t realize how much our preferences for certain foods can drive us. So, in other words, those preferences are driving us as opposed to as driving it. And you’ve said a number of times in different ways one of the reasons why you want to lose weight is like, “Hey, I’m getting this weight. And then all of a sudden I gained this weight. It’s kind of a health issue now. As we get older, there is less room for error. And so you’re realizing, “Wow, I’ve got less room for error now.”
But here’s an interesting thing. Here’s an interesting thing to me is that you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time. And I don’t know if this is true for you. But my guess is that fifteen years ago, you weren’t thinking, “Oh, my God. This is a health issue.”
Robin: That’s true.
Marc: So the health issue thing is sort of in a way another, I’ll call it motivation to want to go to lose weight. But how do I say this? There’s a part of me that almost wants to take that off the table. And I’m going to tell you why. Because I see this happen a lot. I see it happen where people for a long time they’re trying to lose weight. And then they reach a certain point. And then they say, “Well, it’s a health issue now.” And it’s true. It is for them.
And it’s true they’ve been trying to lose weight. But it only becomes a health issue when in a weird way it’s more justifiable to say it. It’s just more like, “Oh, I want to do this because it’s a health issue.” And it sounds good. And I believe you. But I don’t know that it motivates you anymore because if it really did, if it was really motivating for you in a really inspiring for you, you would kind of do it.
So there’s a place where even though in the past you might have said, “Well, I want to lose weight because I want to look better. I want to lose weight because I’m going to have more energy. I want to lose weight because I’m going to feel better or I’m going to take up sports,” that’s a little more sexy. It’s less about like, “Oh, my God. This could kill me.”
So previously it wasn’t enough to motivate you. Now it’s still not enough. The health piece still is not enough. So when I start to think that or imagined that or say that, the next place I go is that I’m going to just say there’s a part of you that’s just not on board with it all.
Robin: I certainly can’t argue with that. I think that that’s got to be true on some level.
Marc: So there’s a part of you that’s not on board with it all. And that’s the part that, to me, I’m most interested in for you because you’re smart lady. You run a business. You have two kids. You’re being a great parent as best you can. You’re in a partnership. So you’re capable. “And there’s a part of me that wants to lose weight and be active in the all these things and be healthier.” And there’s another part of you that just doesn’t.
And this might sound strange to you. But I almost want to say to you what if you just gave it up?
What if you just gave up losing weight? Because so far you haven’t fully chosen to do it. So what if you just stopped? What would happen? And I’m just kind of playing here. I’m just imagining.
What if I said, “Hey, stop worrying. Don’t worry about all this nonsense because you’re constantly thinking about food. You’re constantly worrying about food. You made it this far. We’ve got to die of something anyway. We’re all going to die of something. So even if you lost 100 pounds, you’re still going to die at some point. So what if you were just going to stay this weight forever?” What happens when I say that? Where do you go?
Robin: On some level, it’s a relief. I don’t know what I would think about it. I don’t know what I would do if I stopped trying. At least if I stopped saying I wanted to lose weight…Yeah. I don’t know.
Marc: Yeah. I believe that you don’t know. What happens is it’s become an identity for you right now.
Robin: Yes, I totally agree with that.
Marc: And if I do one thing, if I could wave my magic wand, I would want to take that identity away because the identity is, “Well, I want to lose weight. But I can’t. I want to lose weight. But I don’t. I want to lose weight. But I try. But I don’t try hard enough. But I think I try hard enough. But I can’t sustain it. But I want to lose it. And I have to be thinking about it because I know it’s the right thing to do. But I don’t quite do it.”
So, yeah, that becomes a personality. And I don’t know and you don’t know who you would be if that was off the table. Okay, so might it be a health issue now? Sure. But, honestly, it’s probably been a health issue for a while. And honestly there are people who weigh all kinds of amounts, skinny to obese, and they live pretty long. So we don’t even know. We don’t even know how long you’re going to live or anybody else is going to live. You could live to be 100 at this weight and not have any bad health issues that stop you. Or it could stop you. It’s a mystery.
But here’s the thing. I’m very aware of the kid in you. I forget what age you said. It’s kind of like the fifteen-year-old you. So that’s who I feel like I’m talking to in part is that fifteen-year-old kid who’s kind of got all kinds of time and, “Hey, I can’t do it. Let me just eat the junk food because it’s fun being fifteen years old.” And it’s probably your go to place where you feel a little comfortable and you feel good. But you stop yourself from maturing like a fine wine.
So what I’m saying is I get that you have a responsible side of you. I know that. But it’s almost as if there’s no middle ground for you. You’re either being this responsible person or, when it comes to food, you act out this kind of irresponsible person for yourself.
Robin: Yes, that’s true.
Marc: So, “Everything else for the most part, I’m good. I’m responsible. But here’s this place where I just need to be irresponsible and just let it all go.” So what I’m going to guess is that food that you eat, the way you eat, it gives you comfort. It makes you feel better. You’ve got a high stress job. You’ve got a couple of challenging young teens. And food makes you feel better. And food’s made you feel better for a long time.
Food makes all of us feel better. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t make them feel better. So this isn’t a mystery here. Food makes you feel better. And there’s a part of you that needs to fully start to see that you’ve got a fifteen-year-old girl inside you that just wants to do what she wants to do and she doesn’t care. And you have to learn how to address her more.
Here’s what I want for you. Here’s where I think you’re at. I think you’re at the place where you’re ready to see in the mirror what’s happening, what the dialogue is between you and you. And from that place to start to make a choice that’s a truly adult choice because the way you’ve set up the conundrum for yourself, you’ve set up a conundrum that drains your energy. And the setup is, “I want to lose weight. You don’t want to lose weight.” And you constantly play that out. “I want to take care of myself. I don’t want to take care of myself.”
And that’s what I was saying before. Take this health thing off the table because it sounds good. Sounds convincing. But the fifteen-year-old and you couldn’t care less about your health because she doesn’t because you disobey your own good intentions. And you go into that personality and start to eat the things you know are going to move you in the opposite direction of where you want to go.
So I want you to see that this is the set up, that this is what you’ve been doing for a long time. And, to me, you’ve got to make a choice. And, honestly, I’ve got no problem whichever one you choose. And the choice is on the one hand, just let go of dieting. Let go of dieting. Let go of that personality and see what shows up.
Like, “Okay, I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m not going to try to lose weight. I’m just going to eat the burgers, eat the fries. Who cares? Because I haven’t been able to do it. I haven’t been able to lose the weight. And I keep going against myself. So I might as well stop. And just live life and be me.” That’s one option. And it’s an option to just try for a while and see how you feel.
Marc: And I really mean that. I really, really mean that because you just might have a helluva lot more energy. You said you want more energy. That will free up energy. And it’s you saying, “Okay, how my going to spend my mental time and my emotional time?”
And the other piece, I think, if you’re going to choose different and you’re going to choose, “Okay, I don’t want to sabotage myself anymore.” If you want to choose that, then I want to say it’s a choice to grow up. And I really mean that.
There’s a part of you that hasn’t quite grown up. It’s a fifteen-year-old girl. And you haven’t graduated her. And you let her take over.
And to not eat the junk food, to not eat all the carbs and to not eat the sugar, it takes effort. But it takes a choice to become a different person. And I don’t hear you ready to make that choice. In fact, I hear you resisting that choice. I really hear you resisting the choice. And if I hear you resisting the choice, a part of me goes, “Well, just resist it then. And don’t even do it.” And just take the whole conundrum off the table so you’re not fighting yourself.
When you said the weight started coming on when you were twenty-five that’s the time when your dad died. Oftentimes when a parent dies, it shows us where we are in relation to them. And my sense is when I asked you, “How is your relationship with your dad?” You said he didn’t really get you. He didn’t understand you.
Yeah, if one of our primary parent’s doesn’t see us, doesn’t get us, doesn’t understand us, we’re going to feel unseen. And when we feel unseen, a part of us stays smaller. A part of us stays less mature. A part of us stays younger. A part of us will kind of stay there waiting for the thing that we needed.
This is how the human psyche works. We often pitch our tent a little bit at a time in life where we didn’t quite get what we need. And a part of us stays at that age. You know how we say, “Oh, I got my inner child.” I’ve got that. I’ve got my seventeen-year-old kid that shows up. I’m not pinning you up against the wall and saying you’re the only person doing this. This is all of us. We all have different people who live inside of us. So we’re not just one person. We’re a crowd of people.
And those different personalities inside of us often times are on board. And they communicate. And they often times work against each other. You, at this point in your life, you have a couple of different personalities that work against each other. I’m just kind of laying out the land, laying out the turf as I see it. So they’re working against each other. And it paralyzes you. It really paralyzes you.
So what I’m saying is the way to be unparalyzed by this is to see it for what it is. “This is the drama I play out. This is the story I play out. I vacillate between being an adult in my normal work life and a teenager in my food life.” So if you really wanted to lose weight, you would have to become an adult in your food life. And that means bringing the same sensitivities to your food life as you do to your business life. You don’t let things slide necessarily. You take care of business. You make sure things are running smoothly.
Things are supposed to work a certain way. You’ve got to make sure they do that. It ain’t always easy. You make sacrifices. There’s things you do in your business you don’t like to do. But you do it because you’ve got to do it because you’ve got to do it. There’s things being a mom you’ve got to do. You’ve just got to do it. There’s things that are enjoyable. There’s things that are not so enjoyable. Same thing with food.
And what happens is you want food to just give you all the goodies. You don’t want to have delayed gratification. You want instant gratification. “Give me my fries.” Because it feels good. And when life is stressful and tough, we want to feel good. So it makes perfect sense to me that you would want a place in your life that feels good.
If work is challenging, if this is challenging, if that’s challenging, “I want to feel good somewhere.” So food is your feel-good place. Until you find other places that can starts to make you feel good like food like food does, you’re going to stay in this spin cycle. So I would literally love to see you just give it up and say, “Okay, this is the body that am going to have. I’m going to stop wasting my time.”
Or say, “I really want to take this on.” And taking it on means you don’t be the same person that you’ve been. Taking it on means you’re saying to yourself, “I am going to graduate from the fifteen-year-old girl in me that wants what she wants when she wants that and I kind of let her take over. You have to graduate from her. You literally have to say, “Okay, I’m not going to feed you anymore.”
And on a certain level it’s a choice. If you were my client, what I’d probably have to do with you for like a bunch of sessions is just be yelling at you. There’s a part of you that wants motivation. There’s a part of you that wants to find motivation somewhere to do this. It’s not going to happen. You’re not going to magically one day go, “Oh! I can stick to my diet” because you would’ve stuck to it already.
What I’m trying to say is there’s something underneath why you can’t stick to it.
And the underneath part is there’s this teenage part of you that you’ve got to look at her like, “Who is she? What does she want?” Who is she, anyway? Let me ask you that question. If you could describe that fifteen-year-old girl and you, who is she?
Robin: I never felt like I belonged the way that I wanted to. I have friends, but didn’t necessarily feel like I fit in. I didn’t do as well in school as my parents thought I should, specifically that my mother thought I should. I didn’t do sports. I guess I didn’t really have anything that I excelled at and always felt like I should have been better.
Marc: I get it, yeah. “So I didn’t really fit in. I wasn’t like the other kids. I didn’t have anything actually exceled at.” Might not have made your mom so happy. But this feeling like, “I’m an outsider.”
Marc: Okay. So that makes total sense. Being young, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, it’s a very powerful transition time. And every teenager, every kid at that age range needs to start to find a sense of community and acceptance and belongingness outside of their parents. And it doesn’t always work out so well. Kids are mean. Junior high school, high school isn’t easy. And if you feel like you’re an outsider, then it feels like you’re an outsider.
And if there’s a level where you’re probably right. You might be an outsider a little bit. You might be a little different than the other kids. You might have a different path or a different road or a different trajectory. A lot of times we just don’t fit in to the crowd. And that feels like it’s not so good. And at some point, you have to graduate from that because there’s a part of you, I’m going to guess, that still doesn’t feel like you fit in.
Robin: That’s true.
Marc: There’s a part of you that feels like, “I’m not like everybody else. If I lost weight, probably”—you’d think—“I’m going to fit in. If I’m skinny and running around and doing sports like everybody else, I’m going to fit in.” So I think there’s a part of you that the goal of losing weight is really to fit in.
And I’m suggesting to you very strongly…I’m just trying to save you time. I’m trying to help you get more years on the planet here and get where you want to go. You’ve got to give that up. You have to see that that still runs you, that that desire to fit in still runs you because you never were able to fit in because fitting in at some point becomes an inner experience. We want fitting in to be everybody’s saying to us, “We accept you now.” And everybody just shows up and knocks on your front door and gives you a big cake and lots of presents and they say, “Okay, Robin, we accept you! You fit in now. Here’s your gold star.”
And that day doesn’t come for most of us. It doesn’t happen. And we will use different ways to try to fit in. So one of the ways that you’re enacting out this drama is, “Well, if I lose weight and going to fit in.” But because there’s another part of you that believes that you don’t fit in, you actually can’t lose the weight. So what I’m going to say is you have to choose to fit in first. And fitting in means you fit into your world. You don’t have to please whoever. All you’ve got to care about is you and maybe your partner and the people closest to you. That’s it.
So you have to say to yourself, “Done with this whole nonsense about not fitting in anymore! That’s good for a twelve-year-old or a fifteen-year-old. It’s not good for a fifty-five-year-old.” You have to say to your self, you have to be an adult and say, “I fit in to my life, to what I want, to my preferences, to who I hang out with, to what I do, to how I spend my time.” Who are you trying to please? There’s nobody else.
So you have to graduate yourself. Choose to fit in. And then you don’t have to lose weight to fit in. You don’t have all that pressure on you. You can still lose weight. But you’re losing weight because you feel like losing weight, not because it’s going to suddenly magically help you fit in. I’m trying to take the factors that you’re using for trying to lose weight off the table because they stop you from losing weight.
Robin: Well, they certainly don’t work. They certainly haven’t been motivation enough for me to do it.
Marc: Yeah. So to me you have to choose to get unstuck. It’s a choice. Sometimes people think, “Well, I’m stuck. Somebody help me.” So this is me saying, “Okay, let me give a hand here.” But I’m saying that the stuckness isn’t because you’re stuck, so to speak. Your stuckness is a holding place until you realize that there’s a choice to be made.
And the choice to be made is you have to be a different person if you want to have a different body.
You must be a different person in order to have a different body because the other way hasn’t worked. You try to change your body by maybe trying to diet. But that doesn’t help you. So what I’m saying is dieting is not going to help you because you’re going to revert back to your old way because you haven’t changed who you are.
So you’ve been focusing on changing your weight. That’s where all your energy goes. “Changing my weight, change my weight, changing my weight.” It’s the wrong focus. I’m just telling you. If you want to lose weight for you, you have to not focus on the weight. You have to focus on Robin. And the part of Robin you need to focus on is the part of Robin that needs to morph and change and shape shift in order for your body to have a chance to morph and change and shape shift. That’s what I’m saying.
And there’s a lot of people who never change their health or their eating patterns or their weight because they have not changed. Yeah, sometimes it’s changing the food. And you could easily have come to me and said, “Wow, Marc. Thanks for letting me know. I just need to eat healthier foods.” And then I tell you to eat healthy foods. And you eat healthy foods. And you lose all the weight. Yeah, there’s people that happens to. But that ain’t you. Everybody’s got a different path.
So for your unique path, you have to look in the mirror. And see where you need to grow up. I mean it. And I say that affectionately because we’ve all got a kid in us. And your kid is really getting in the way. And you have to realize, “Okay, I’m either going to live with this kid and let her run the food show and give up this weight loss thing and just live my life, or I’m going to choose to lose weight from the place of being an adult who wants to change my body so I can be healthier.”
But changing your body is not going to make you fit in. No one is going to care that much. It might be people say, “Oh, wow! You look so great!” But I don’t know that anyone is going to say, “We now love you and accept you.” You’ve got to do that. You have to love yourself and accept yourself. I don’t know if you’ve done that in your adult life.
Marc: No. So if you could do that first, the whole weight loss drama will start to have perspective. You can’t put the cart before the horse anymore. It doesn’t work for you. And, honestly, if you continued in this pattern, it would just happen for the rest of your life. And it’s not a weight thing. It’s not about weight. It’s not like you’re going to get to your deathbed and you’re going to go, “Thank God I lost all that weight.” No one’s going to care at that point.
When you’re living out the final years of your life, it doesn’t matter what you weigh. It doesn’t matter what you look like. We’re going to be old and wrinkly. You know what I’m saying? You have to make a choice about who you are and how you want to be in the world. So what I’m saying is if you truly want to lose weight, you personally need to ask yourself, “How do I need to change as a person?”
And what I’m suggesting again is that there’s this place inside you where you haven’t fully chosen to be your own parent, to parent yourself, to adult yourself when it comes to food and body.
So how does that land for you when I say that? What’s going on for you?
Robin: When you first started talking about the fifteen-year-old needing to grow up, it was almost like I could hear, “But I don’t want to! I don’t want to! I don’t want to!” So she was saying, “Well, then how do I ever get seen? How do I ever get what I need in order to do that?”
And then I think the other part about fitting in and deciding that I fit in just the way that I am is also extremely valid. I think the part that I’m struggling with a little bit is, “Okay, I need the ten steps. I need the workbook to fill out.” I don’t know a process to get from here to there.
Marc: Yeah, I get it. So in reality you need some on-going support. You need some on-going coaching. That’s ideal for you because you do need some guidance here. You can’t do this alone. This is why God made other people. We need each other.
At the very least, I wanted to give you a map of the territory because what you just raised is so important because in order to let go of that fifteen-year-old girl in terms of letting her run the show, “Yeah, you got resistance. Wow, well, what about me? How am I going to get seen?” And that’s a legitimate question. And she has to get her needs met in some way shape or form. And she has to get seen in order for her to cooperate and for you to start to shift this thing around.
So there’s the rub. So that’s where the work is going to be for you. But you have to choose to want to do that work. So I’m saying it’s going to be work. It’s like a job. It ain’t easy. That’s why people don’t do it. That’s why you haven’t done it yet because it seems like, “It’s easier to just manipulate my food and change what I eat.” But that’s not easy because it hasn’t worked.
So what I’m saying is this is work. This is not going to come smoothly. And if you do the work, you then finally have the opportunity to actually really, truthfully get to where you want to go.
[Robin’s phone rings]
Marc: That means I’m right! [Laughs]
Marc: So the music starts to play! So what I’m trying to say to you is the commitment comes first. I really mean that. You choose to want to have this transformation even though you don’t know how it’s going to happen. My favorite analogy is you might not know how to speak Spanish. But you could choose to learn how to speak Spanish. You might not know a word of it. But if you choose to learn it and commit to learn it, you know, “Okay, I’m going to buy a course. I’m going to go to a class.” You’ll figure that part out eventually.
So I’m saying same with this. You have to choose to want to make that interchange knowing that it ain’t going to be easy and knowing that you’re just going to have to look at different parts of yourself and see how you operate. So that probably comes more in the realm of getting some good counseling.
And there’s a great kind of work called voice dialogue. And I would love for you to get online at some point and Google “voice dialogue Atlanta,” and see who pops up because it’s a kind of counseling or coaching that helps us work with the different voices inside of us. Gestalt work does a similar thing. But that would be a great way for you to take some next steps because I really get that you need help with this and you need some guidance.
But I want you to see first and foremost here that it’s the adult in you that chooses to find the guidance because right now even talking about this, you’re a little vulnerable, which is really sweet. It’s really, really sweet. And you get that you need help. And that’s great because we do need help. We need help in all kinds of different areas at different times in our lives.
So I guess what I want to ask you is does this land for you? Does this make sense? Does this feel in any way intuitively correct for you, the things that I’m sharing?
Robin: It absolutely does. And consciously or intellectually, it makes sense because I can get this emotional, visceral reaction to it, as well, where, like I said, the fifteen-year-old wants to know how this is going to take care of her.
Marc: Got it. Yet. I totally understand. So I want you to look up a voice dialogue in your area. See if there’s any counselor doing voice dialogue or Gestalt work.
That’s a great place to start because it’s a method. It’s a system that helps you get in touch with these voices really clearly. And it’s a sort of methodology to kind of work with that, which is really just learning how to manage the different parts of us because that’s so much of what this is all about.
You and I have different forces that operate in us. And there’s different voices and different personalities and different wants and different likes and different dislikes. And when they work together, life is good. When those voices are working against each other, which is happening for you, then it feels like, “What’s going on? How come I can’t succeed? How come I can’t get to where I want to go? So that’s what’s happening for you in my estimation. And I’d love to see you start to play more in that realm.
In the meantime, until that happens, there is something that you can do, which is I want you to start to affirm from this day forward and I want you to talk to your partner about this, I want you guys to dialogue about it and talk about it with each other that, “We’re not outliers anymore. We’re in the in circle. We accept each other. There’s nothing else we have to do to be part of the crowd.” You make up your own crowd. Your workplace is your crowd. Your little nuclear family system, that’s your crowd. Your closest friends, that’s your crowd. They don’t accept you? Get rid of them. You’re not fifteen in high school anymore and you don’t have to go to high school. You can hang out with whoever you want. You don’t have to see people that don’t love you and don’t accept you for who you are.
So I want you to start to try on what it would mean for you to stop trying to feel like your day hasn’t come yet to be part of the crowd. It’ll make the whole weight piece feel way more manageable. It’ll take some of the charge off because all of a sudden it’s not going to be about pleasing all these other unnamed people.
Robin: That makes sense.
Marc: So, Robin, those are my suggestions. I hope this was helpful for you.
Robin: Very much so. It’s amazing to me that you, in such a short period of time, zeroed in on a couple of things that really fit, but not things that I had ever realized before.
Marc: Well, that’s my job here! So I’m glad I’m able to do that for you. I really am.
Robin: Well, thanks. I appreciate it a lot.
Marc: All right! Thank you so much. And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. There’s lots more to come, my friends. Take care.
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