The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 23: What To Do When You Dislike Your Pregnant Body

Anastasia is a smart and loving woman who finds herself in a fascinating conundrum. She’s always wanted to be thin, and when she finally lost the last bunch of weight to get there, she was stressed about keeping it off, and then she found herself pregnant. And as hard as it is to admit, she feels disgusted with her “fat” pregnant body. Anastasia knows she should be seeing things differently, but she simply cannot stop the self-attacking thoughts. Tune in to this fascinating episode as Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating helps Anastasia with some great insights, powerful coaching and a no nonsense approach.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc: Welcome, everybody! I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here we are in the Psychology of Eating Podcast. And I’m with Anastasia. Welcome, Anastasia.

Anastasia: Thank you.

Marc: Thank you. Thanks for being here. Thanks for being so brave. Give me a moment. I just want to tell viewers and listeners what we’re up to if you’re a first timer on this podcast. So this is going to be a real live session. We’re going to turbocharge the session and try to cram six months worth of work into less than an hour so we can see some results and see some perhaps breakthrough and opening.

So I’m going to take about twenty or so minutes and dialogue with you, Anastasia. And then afterwards am going to give feedback and suggestions and hopefully be of service to you.

Anastasia: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah. So why don’t you tell me, if you could wave a magic wand, what would be the result of this session together? What would you come away with?

Anastasia: Wow, that’s a great question. I’ve kind of been working in this area a little bit, like realizing some things that I have about body image.

I’ve kind of realized that I’ve been uncomfortable in my body for most of my life. And I was not a fat child. But I was always a little muscular maybe, I don’t know. Maybe a little chubby and have always just felt like, “Oh, if only I could lose five or ten pounds” most of my life.

And then I got really thin a couple of years ago. And I loved it. But I was always a little bit anxious about keeping it going. And now I’m having a baby in about ten weeks. So being pregnant has been really difficult for me with the body image piece and wondering what my body is going to be like after and boxing up all my skinny clothes and stuff like that.

And it seems kind of superficial. But I don’t know. I do spend a lot of, I guess, mental energy on it.

And then the other big thing for me is my mom, I think she’s probably about a hundred pounds overweight. She’s very heavy. I worry about her health. I want her to be around to be with her grandchild. But I just want to be able to accept her because she doesn’t want to change, and be okay with that and just be a loving person to her.

Right now it’s painful for me to see her because she’s so heavy. And she’s always hot and in pain. It she doesn’t get around very well. I know she’s on medication for hypertension that she probably wouldn’t need to be on if she took care of herself. So it’s like coming to some kind of peace with that would he really helpful.

And my other thing is I want to do this work with other people. So any kind of tools that I can pick up to help other people on their journey would be great.

Marc: That was very clear. Thank you. I just have to tell you, to me what you just shared is really brave. And it’s really open. And it’s really honest because I truly know and believe that so many people — especially women — but so many people experience that same thing of, “I don’t know if I’ve never really been comfortable in my body.” Think of how fundamental that is to life. And yet so many of us experience that. So I just want to thank you for naming that.

And, by the way, congratulations on being pregnant!

Anastasia: Thank you!

Marc: Really! How amazing is that?! And how crazy is it that this is what the mind kind of does. It’s like, “Oh, my God. Am I going to lose the weight? Am I going to return to my skinny self? What’s going to happen?” So that’s a real live fear that exists for a lot of women.

So how is old your mom?

Anastasia: My mom is sixty-eight.

Marc: Sixty-eight. And how would you describe your relationship with her in terms of are you guys close? Extremely close? Somewhat close? How would you name it?

Anastasia: I’d say we’re fairly close. She lives locally. It’s hard for me with my mom because I feel like she spends a lot of time talking about things that I don’t really find important. Like right now, she doesn’t really like where she is living. And she’s looking at houses.

My dad lives in a different city most of the time. So before he’s even seen the house, she’s telling me which rooms she’s putting pieces of furniture. And I’m just like, “Wow.” I think she’s not really in reality. And she doesn’t really have much in her life.

And she’s super excited about being a grandmother. My sister is actually pregnant right now, too. So she is over the moon about that. But it’s like sometimes I feel like we have more of a superficial [relationship], especially when we talk. It’s like she’s telling me about her cat. I don’t know. She’s really lonely and I feel for her. But at the same time, it’s like sometimes I’ll kind of shut down a little bit with her because I just feel like she’s talking about nonsense, unimportant stuff.

Marc: I totally get it. Yeah.

Anastasia: And I want to be real with her. And for me, addressing her health issues is a real thing that she’s just not willing to go to. So that’s kind of a block for me. It’s just an area I can’t go to with her anymore because she feels like I’m judging her. So that makes it hard.

Marc: By the way, I’m going to bounce around a bit. I’m going to ask different questions in different areas. And it might seem a little disconnected and discombobulated. But there is a little bit of a method to the madness.

So before you got pregnant, was it a concern for you? “Oh, my goodness. What’s going to happen with my weight?” Had you been thinking about that?

Anastasia: So I’m forty-two now. I wound up marrying a man that I’ve worked with now for five years. But when we started dating, we’d been working together for like four years. And he’s amazing. I love him. He’s amazing. But I was getting into my forties. And I was like, “I think it’s not going to happen for me.” I just wasn’t meeting somebody that I felt like I could have a family with. And I was kind of like, “Well, I want to be a mom. But it’s not so much about having a child. It’s about having a family for me, and having an incredible partner to have a baby and have a family with.”

So we started trying to get pregnant right after our honeymoon. And it happened really quickly because with my age, I was like, “It might take a long time.” The other piece for me as I have a diagnosis of bipolar II. So I was taking lithium and an antidepressant. And I had to go off my meds to get pregnant. So that was really hard.

And it was better once I actually was pregnant with the mood and stuff. But I just get really depressed if I’m not on the medication. So I don’t know if I’m answering your question. But, yeah, it was tough. I was very excited and happy to be with him, but also trying to stay really skinny, but then trying to get pregnant, and had to kind of let go of being teeny tiny.

And it’s been tough. I think I was maybe about four months pregnant. And I was staying at my grandparents’ house. And they have a full-length mirror in the bathroom. And I saw myself naked and I cried the whole night. I just could not deal. And I think after that I kind of shifted a little bit into more trying to accept it. But I don’t know. I’m just talking all over the place.

Marc: You’re not talking all over the place. I think you are really diving into the hearts of really what’s painful for you and what’s causing a lot of turmoil inside.

It’s almost like a lifelong quest to be fit and to be accepted is to feel good about yourself and to think other people are feeling good about you. And, “I want to have a child. But wait a second. If I get pregnant, that makes me fat. But I want a child. But I don’t want to be fat.” And none of those quite fit together.

Anastasia: Right.

Marc: And I think the desire to look a certain way is very strong. You don’t have a monopoly on that. There’s a lot of people who live and breathe that all day. So it’s totally understandable.

If I were to ask five of your friends, “Give me one word that describes Anastasia,” what are some of the words they might come up with? This is your friends describing you, just to grab a word or a phrase that kind of hits the target to describe you that your friends might say. What would they say?

Anastasia: It’s so interesting because I just spent last weekend up in Portland with my best friend. [Sobs] We were talking about the body image stuff and having a baby. She has two kids. And she’s like, “You know, when you moved to California, you kind of got into this a little bit, having to be really skinny and perfect.” And she’s like, “You’re beautiful. And you’re amazing.” I don’t know.

I think maybe my friends would say that I’m a generous person and kind and thoughtful. I have some really amazing girlfriends. Unfortunately, most of them don’t live nearby. I know I’m a good person. And I kind of want to get past this worrying about how I look piece and move more into the queen that you talk about because I don’t want to spend energy on that anymore. I want to be healthy. And I want to look good.

I’ve gained like thirty pounds since I got married before and during my pregnancy. My husband still loves my body. And I’m like, “Okay.” He just loves me. And I need to just feel like I don’t have to turn myself into a pretzel and try to be perfect for him to love me. But I think about, “Oh, my gosh. After the baby is born, how quickly can I lose the weight? What kind of exercise can I be doing?” And I want to let it go. I feel like I’m ready to let it go. I just don’t really know how.

Marc: Okay. So I’m thinking this is a good time to start to figure that out. By the way, one of the reasons I asked you that last question is I just wanted to collect from you some reflections from the people that know you and love you because oftentimes we judge ourselves a heck of a lot more than the ones who love us do.

Part of how I see you right now is — and I want you to hear this as a compliment — you’re a very intense person.

You have a lot of inner power. And I think you feel very strongly, don’t you? When you feel feelings, you feel them very intensely.

Anastasia: Yes.

Marc: Okay. That’s what I’m getting from you. And for people like that…we all feel our feelings intensely to some degree. And some people, in my experience, just feel really deeply to the point where it affects every part of your body. And it just kind of consumes you. And I just see you as archetype.

And the beauty of it is you feel intensely. You’re not a surface person. My guess is if somebody says something in passing to you that’s kind of a mild insult, you might feel it deeply. If you see an injustice that most people don’t notice, you might feel it deeply, even if it’s not aimed at you.

So that’s, I want to say, a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a superpower that you have. You feel deeply. And I’m saying that because I think it’s very important for you to own that. And own it as something positive because what happens is it’s going to be easy for you, if you’re not owning it as something positive, to be almost inundated by those feelings and to be flooded by them and to go, “Ugh, I can’t even handle this.”

So part of you stepping into your power as a person and as a woman is to own the fact that you’ve got a lot of power. And you’re learning how to direct that better.

Anastasia: Okay. I like that.

Marc: Yeah. It’s no different then, I don’t know, an eight-year-old kid who’s stronger than the other kids and ends up hurting them when they’re playing or wrestling. That eight-year-old kid who is stronger and bigger than everybody else needs to learn how to manage his or her power better. And then you could use that for good. You could use it to be a great athlete and certain things. You could use that to feel confident about yourself.

So for you, it’s knowing that, “Wow. I’ve got this power that can actually hurt others,” even though I don’t actually think you’re that kind of person. But you can actually turn inwards and hurt yourself. And that’s called a self-judgment. That’s called self-attack.

And part of what’s happening for you is because you don’t know how to manage all the inner power that you have, it sometimes turns against you. And it turns against you in this thing called perfectionism. “Oh, my God. I have to look a certain way.” And you feel that intensely. And it takes you over and it grips you.

So to me, part of your journey is — and it starts now — starting to own all your power. Frame it in the positive. “I’ve got a lot of power. I have to learn how to start managing that power better so it’s working for me and not against me.”

Anastasia: Okay.

Marc: Make sense?

Anastasia: Yeah. I like that. I’ve never thought about that at all in that way.

Marc: But it resonates for you, yeah?

Anastasia: Yeah.

Marc: Because it’s just a positive reframe on something you experience because right now, it’s like the power of your waves crash on you. And as soon as you start to own it, go, “Oh, that’s me. I’m a powerful person. I’m going to start to breathe this in and start to see, wow, I can use this to better myself. I can use this to uplift others.”

It’s interesting because we’re talking about, when I asked you, “Okay, what are we working on today?” the two things for you is, “Hey, my body image. And here I am, I’m pregnant. And it’s this wonderful thing. And I’m living in this challenge of, ‘Oh, my God. I’m fat. Am I going to lose the weight?’”

And you’re working on your relationship with your mother and accepting her. And she’s maybe up to a hundred pounds overweight. And you love your mother. And you don’t want her to be unhealthy, unhappy, uncomfortable. And you want her to be around for your kid. So that makes perfect sense. So I just want to acknowledge those are all very legitimate.

Anastasia: Okay.

Marc: To me, if I’m in your shoes, I’m feeling the same thing. If I’m a parent, I want the grandparents to be around for my kid. So here’s the piece. Here’s the formula, which could be helpful in that a woman’s relationship with her mother and her relationship with her own body often track one another. They’re often very, very, very similar. A woman’s relationship with her mother and a woman’s relationship with her body are often the same.

You are uncomfortable with your mother. You are uncomfortable in your own body.

You judge your mother a little bit: “I don’t want you to look like this. I don’t want you to look like that,” judging your own body, “I don’t want you to look like this. I don’t want you to look like that.”

Now, again, it’s understandable. Some saying there’s a little bit of a paradox here. We have to embrace the whole craziness of it in that, of course, you love your mother. And you want her to look different. But at the same time, within that is a piece of, “I disapprove of my mother.” There is a piece of, “I don’t quite respect her.” There’s a piece of, “Why are you doing this to me, mom? This affects me. This hurts me. This doesn’t make me feel good. This doesn’t make me look good.”

Let me tell you the punch line here. Let me tell you in my experience the target that you’re looking to hit. And this is a strange quirk of life, which is at some point, for most children, at some point you become the parent of your parent. Not all. When our parents don’t grow and evolve consciously, think stay where they are.

You’re expecting your mother to be a mother. You’re expecting your dad to be a dad. “And my mother is supposed to know more than me, be better than me, be smarter than me, more conscious. She’s the lady that gave birth to me and brought me into this world and dressed me and changed my poopy diapers. So she’s supposed to have her act together.”

And when you look around, you see you kind of in a lot of ways have your act together more than she does. So there’s a disappointment there, which is understandable. It’s totally understandable. But at some point, you have to take your disappointment…there’s a lot of disappointment, I think, in your system because, “My mother is not stepping up in the way I know she could.”

And perhaps you’re right. But there comes a point where we have to become the parent to our mother, meaning you have to own, “You know something?” You’d say to yourself, “You know, Anastasia, this place is where I’m just more conscious than my mother. I’m a little more mature than my mother. I’m more involved. I’m more aware.” So you have to own that.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t know, “Oh, my God. I’m more conscious and aware then she is about body, about weight, about health, about taking care of myself, about getting my act together, about not talking about silly nonsense.” But at the same time, I want her to be my mother. And I want her to be more mature. It’s probably not going to happen.

Anastasia: Right.

Marc: So your job — and I mean this really clear — is to let go and let her be in effect your child, meaning it’s time to just step into unconditional love and let her be who she is. She’s kind of told you, “I’m not changing.” A lot of adults, when they hit their fifties, can draw a line in the sand and say, “I ain’t working on this. I’m not doing that. I’m not doing this.” And usually they’re telling you the truth.

And there’s a level where, if you want to be in relationship with her, you have to accept that. And it might be too hard for her. It might be too painful for her to go there. We don’t know. You don’t know what your mom went through. Maybe you know some of the story. I don’t know. We don’t have enough time to go into that. But it would be interesting at some point to really get your mother’s story, what she experienced as a child, what she grew up with. How about her mom? How about her dad? What was she surrounded with?

Because for her to walk around in a body that’s she’s completely dissociated from an uncomfortable with and that’s not really supporting her, you know that there’s pain and suffering in there that’s real.

So there’s a reason why she can’t live in a body that is healthy and supportive. And we don’t always know the hardships that our parents went through.

So what I’m saying is this is your time to step into being an adult and being a queen, especially because you’re pregnant. So you’re going to be a mother now. So you have to be the mother that your mother couldn’t be, that you wanted her to be. You have to be that mother to your child. And you have to be that mother to your mother because you’re the adult now. The more aware one always have to claim their place. If you’re more aware and more conscious, then you have to own that. And we can’t bitch about it. We just have to own it.

It’s like with your kid, you’re going to be more aware and more mature than your kid. You’re not going to complain to your kid, “I can’t believe I need to change your diaper. What is this stupid nonsense?” No. You’re more aware. You’re smarter. You’ve been on the planet longer. They’ll catch up. And they’ll surpass you, most likely, at some point.

So you’re being asked to step into your new role. And it has nothing to do with your mother’s behavior. It has nothing to do with her weight. I get that it’s painful for you. I’m with you on that one. And you have to let it go. You have to say, “This is my mother. This is who she is. This is what she has said to me and what she needs.” I’m going to guarantee that if I could spend ten sessions with her and you, what we would find is that she never got the love that she needed.

Anastasia: And I know that. She didn’t get it from her parents. She hasn’t ever gotten from my dad.

Marc: So right now, in a strange way, you’re withholding from her the way other people withheld from her or weren’t able to give her. You’re more conscious. You’re more aware. You’ve learned more. You and I have more tools. We have more possibilities than our parents did in terms of information, in terms of wisdom, in terms of workshops, in terms of conversations like this.

So you have the opportunity to give your mother little bits of medicine that she never got, which is unconditional love. It’s, “I love you for who you are. You don’t have to change. You don’t have to be different” because the truth is she’s probably not going to change. She’s told you that.

So when she starts talking nonsense, what I want you to say is, “This is my mother talking nonsense.” That’s what you say to yourself. And you go, “Isn’t that cute?” Because let me tell you something. Nobody other than you and your husband, chances are, no one is going to love your kids more than your mother. I bet she’s going to be an awesome grandmother. And kids pick up on that love.

My grandmother was about a hundred pounds overweight. I didn’t realize that until I was about twenty-one. I mean that! I always saw my grandmother as this goddess. She was this mountain of unconditional love. I never saw her body. I saw this amazing queen. And it wasn’t until I started maturing and getting into my nonsense, “Oh, women are supposed to look like this,” it was like wow, my grandmother’s got the weight to lose.

And it’s so dumb on a certain level. She lived until eighty-six. And I couldn’t have asked for more from a grandmother because she was loving. And that’s what I’m left with so many decades later. So all I’m saying is that this is your time to step into your adulthood. And you have to be the mother that you didn’t have.

And that heals the system. It’s going to heal you. It’s going to heal your mother, I bet. And it’s going to help heal the future generation because then you’re going to raise a child where you’re not in constant judgment because right now it’s so important for you that you turn this around because if you’re judging your own body, if you are uncomfortable in your body, what’s going to be translated to your child?

That’s what got translated to you from your mom. Your mom was never comfortable in her body. So when you say to me, “Marc, I don’t think I’ve ever been comfortable in my body,” of course.

That makes perfect sense. Your mother wasn’t in hers. And we model off of our same-sex parent, dramatically so, when it comes to our relationship with our own body. You’ll be influenced by mother and father both. But for a woman, you will be especially influenced in your relationship with your own body, you’ll model after your mother. I will model after my father.

So you had a start in life where you had to catch up. And it’s nobody’s fault because your mother didn’t get what she needed to be comfortable in her body. And chances are her mother didn’t get what she needed. And who knows how far back it goes?

So in a weird way there’s no blame in the system. And you and I are here to change that for ourselves, to change that for future generations, and to stop the nonsense. So part of this, as well, is you learning to kind of get control of your mind. Right now your mind tortures you with the perfectionism. That perfectionism is a virus. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the world. You caught it. I caught it. Most women that I know who were brought up in the United States caught it. A lot of them were brought up in other westernized nations. They caught it.

And it’s our job to notice when it’s crushing us and start to turn it around. The way you turn it around — you particularly — is number one, with your mother, start to come from unconditional love. Let go of your agenda for her to lose weight. And I get that you want her to live long. I totally get it. I get that you want her to be comfortable and healthy. I would love for you to take the next three months as an experiment and see, “Can I love my mother for exactly who she is?” And let go of all agenda about her weight and her health and hope that she lives as long as possible.

I think — I’m not sure about this — but I’m going to say people pick up on that energy. You know that’s when somebody else shifts that you’re close with, when they have an opening, especially towards you, when they’re not like psychically attacking you or wanting you to be different, we feel that.

Anastasia: Yeah.

Marc: And she just needs unconditional love. And you can start to give that to her and that’s the biggest lesson here, by the way. The biggest lesson in the system for you, for your mother, for your child is just unconditional love, meaning loving without conditions. And that’s a spiritual growth piece in your life. You almost can’t describe it in the other ways. We have to grow spiritually.

And unconditional love, we’ll never be perfect at it. But we can get better and better. So it’s not like you’re going to love your body perfectly. You’re going to love your mother perfectly. No. But we move in that direction. We take baby steps and let go of the conditions because when your baby pops out, you’re not going to say, “I want a baby that can talk,” or, “I want a baby with no baby fat.”

No. You’re going to unconditionally love your baby because that’s what humans need and want, love without conditions. “I will only love you if you grow up to be this and you look like that.” And then that unconditional love starts to get translated a little more into you, as well, meaning your loving yourself without all these conditions.

When you start to let go for you about how you’re looking, and you’re carrying your child…and it’s interesting because it would be fascinating for you to get online and start to Google images of pregnant women and see how beautiful they are. There’s a website — I’ve got to find it — of just this photographer. I bookmarked it somewhere. I want to send this to you. It’s a photographer who just takes pictures of pregnant women who are just loving on their bodies. And it’s beautiful!

And it’s just a twist of the mind to see that. And that takes a willingness. And it takes a maturity. And I really want to say that you are way better than, “I disapprove of my body. I need this body to look exactly like that.” This is a time of surrender. Surrender not meaning giving up, but surrender means let go. And let life be what it is. Life makes a woman pregnant when she wants to be pregnant. And then life makes the baby grow. And then it looks like that. And then the baby comes out. Anything, whatever happens happens from there.

And the more you surrender, that means you’re trusting. So trust is the next big piece for you. And trust is a practice.

So you can say to me, “I don’t know if I’m going to get back to my skinny self.” And you’re right. You don’t. “I don’t know if I’m going to have little wrinkles over here or there.” You don’t. But eventually we’ll be wrinkly anyway, no matter what you do. No matter how skinny you are, eventually you’re going to get wrinkly. We’re all going to get wrinkly and old and die.

So it’s inevitable. And it’s time for you to embrace that queen who sits on her throne and owns her inner beauty. And it’s that queen who’s aware of the circle of life, that we do age, that we do die, and we do mature, and we do grow. This is how it looks. And you and I, we don’t have the power to change that circle of life. But we can accept it. Or we could fight it like mad. So this is your time to accept it and surrender to it. But there’s a beauty in that. And there’s a power in that.

And that’s kind of where I started before where I said, “You have a lot of intensity. But intensity is really power.” And I think that’s one of your big soul lessons in life is to learn how to take that powerful energy that’s inside you that feels so strongly and use it for good: good for you, good for your child, good for other people. When you start to harness that and you’re not turning it against yourself, you’re going to be unstoppable.
So how are you doing with all this? I just threw a lot in your direction here.

Anastasia: I love it! I think what really got me was when you were saying about how I’m withholding from my mom because I hate that. I don’t want to do that. [Sobs] I don’t know. I do. I just want to accept her and be there for her. And I know it’ll only benefits the rest of my life if I do that.

And it’s so funny because I’ve always just thought of myself as such a mellow person. But I guess I am. I am really intense with the feeling parts of myself. And I like thinking about harnessing the power of that. It’s good. Good stuff.

Marc: Yeah. There’s a part of you that tries to avoid it because you want to be mellow because mellow would be much more fun and nice and easy. And I don’t know if this is true, what I’m about to say. But when you mentioned your bipolar diagnosis, I believe on a deeper level that what’s really happening is there is the two sides of you, the one side that has all this power that’s a powerhouse, it’s the nuclear generator that just wants to create and use all this power. And then there’s this other side of you that’s going, “Whoa! Too much! Too intense.”

Anastasia: Yeah.

Marc: And you live in either one. But you can’t really be either one because it’s all one. It’s all part of you. And when you own that power, when you start to own it like, “I’m a powerful person. I’ve got a lot of intensity. Wow, do I have intense feelings right now!”

So whenever you’re having an intense feeling, own it because you feel intensely. There might be a roomful of people not feeling what you’re feeling. And that’s okay because you are who you are. You’re unique. You come in with your own energy, your own genetics, your own way of being. So as you start to own your power, you’re not going to feel so split off from it. And you’re going to start to use it.

So I have a suggestion for you. After we finish this conversation, my suggestion — we could even call it a challenge— is I want you to choose to unconditionally love your mother. Don’t ask yourself, “Well, how am I going to do that?” or, “I’m going to think about doing this,” or, “I know I want to get there.” Just flip the switch and choose to do it.

It doesn’t mean you’re going to do it perfectly. It’s doesn’t mean you’re not going to take a step forward and three steps back. What it means is that you’ve made the choice. And I know you’ve done this 1,000 times in your life where you choose to do something and then you have to kind of figure it out.

Anastasia: Yeah.

Marc: You wanted to be in a relationship. You wanted to get married. You were considering having a child. And at some point, you pulled the trigger instead, “Okay. I’m going to do this.” When you got together with your partner, at some point, “I’m going to do this.” You don’t exactly how it’s going to turn out. And I’m sure you guys have had arguments and blips on the screen and all that stuff. But you move forward.

So it’s choosing to create a new relationship with your mother called, “I’m going to unconditionally love her and drop all my stuff.”

And then you start to see, “Okay, what’s the challenges that come up in that?” So you make the choice. You make the choice to dive in. And then you start to do it. And you start to take baby steps.

And you try to see her through the eyes of love. And you start to appreciate her for who she is because my sense is she’s got a lot of qualities in there that are so amazing, but they’re overridden by, “God, my mother’s nonsense,” and all the little things that we wish we could change about people but we can’t. So the challenge is to make that choice: I’m going to do this. And I guarantee you your life is going to change because it’s going to filter into your own body.

And I’m going to write down some notes for you and send them to you. I really want you to consider how the way you think and believe and treat your body, even if you don’t say anything, even if you use no words, is the way your child will think and treat and believe and feel about his or her own body. Do you know if it’s a boy or girl?

Anastasia: It’s a boy.

Marc: It’s a boy. So the way you are experiencing your body is going to get translated into him. So the more you start to turn this around, the more you give him a leap forward in life where he could have a healthy relationship with his body because kids are very poor interpreters. They’re good observers. But they’re poor interpreters, meaning if he starts to pick up “My mother hates her body. My mother hates her body,” it’s like, “My mother hates bodies. Does my mother like my body? Because if she hates her body, by definition she’s got to hate my body because it’s a body and I come from my mother.” These are all unconscious thoughts. But if you are feeling self-directed hate towards your own body, kids take that on. You took it on from your mother.

Anastasia: Right.

Marc: So he’s going to do the same. So every step forward you take in love with your body is a beautiful step forward for him. It’s an amazing gift that you give to your boy.

Anastasia: Yeah. I’m so glad that I was having a boy because of all my body issues and stuff. But it’s like he’s not exempt from picking that up for me.

Marc: Not at all. Not at all. And at the same time, yeah, it’s going to be different than having a girl. And you have the opportunity to really put what you know into action.

Anastasia: Yeah.

Marc: So great job, Anastasia. Really!

Anastasia: Thank you so much.

Marc: Thank you so much. Thanks for being so open and so willing. To me, this is such a big service that you’re doing because so many people, so many women I know can identify with what you’re going through and the challenges that we have around our parents, our mothers, our bodies. So really you are speaking a voice that represents so many people. And I just think you’ve been really brave and courageous and very, very, very generous. So thanks again.

Anastasia: Thank you so much, Marc.

Marc: Yeah. And thank you, everybody, for tuning into the Psychology of Eating podcast. Lots more to come, my friends. Thanks, Anastasia.

Anastasia: Thank you.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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About The Author
Marc David

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.