The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode #37: Reclaiming Your Body Fuels Weight Loss
Patricia is in her late 50s and is burdened with a big weight gain, emotional eating, negative thinking, and never ever feeling lovable or good enough. Her confidence is at a low point and her weight loss efforts keep failing her. She has a lot of nutrition knowledge but is clearly stuck and unsure how to make any headway. Tune into this fascinating podcast episode as Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating helps Patricia see where her problem is truly rooted, and how before she can have the hope of losing any weight, she needs to do one important thing that will make a huge difference not only for her body, but for her life.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And I’m here with Patricia. Welcome, Patricia!
Patricia: Hello! Hello, Marc. How are you?
Marc: Good. And thanks for being here. Thanks for doing this.
Patricia: Oh, I’m glad to.
Marc: Yay! So I’m going to just fill in a couple of words for viewers and listeners right now. For those people who are new to this podcast, here’s how it works. Patricia and I are going to do a session together. And we’re going to go into whatever concern she wants to work with. And we’re going to take about fifty minutes to an hour. And we’re going to try to hit the bullseye and contents smuts to a year’s worth of work into one hour-long session to see if we can have some openings, some insights, some breakthroughs, and at least a good path to take whatever concerns might be happening around food, body, and health.
So, Patricia, how about if we start out with me asking you the question if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted to get it from this session, what would that look like for you?
Patricia: Well, I’d like to get some more confidence in my abilities to lose the weight. I feel like I’ve got kind of like a big amount of weight that’s really impeding me from being the person I really want to be. And so what I’d like to do is to look at solutions or set up a plan to go forward.
And I feel like I’ve spent an awful lot of time doing things like trying my meditation, trying tapping, trying visualizations, and a lot of various modalities. And nothing seems to stick with me. I do it for a short period of time or for a month or two months. And then I seem to get a little bit of results.
So what I’d like to see really is to find plan to move forward and what could really help me. I seem to be the kind of person that sticks with something for a period of time and then gives it up. I see little bit of results. And then somehow I sabotage myself. So it’s really sabotage that happens. And I know that it’s important to have self-love and to slow down my eating and various tips that I know that you profess. But I just really need to see if I can get q method that will work for me.
Marc: So how much weight do you want to lose?
Patricia: Frankly, I’d like to lose fifty.
Marc: Okay. Great. And have you tried to lose that weight before?
Patricia: I have. I’ve done Weight Watchers. I did NutriSystem. I’m trying to think what else I did. I did the Jon Gabriel Method, his New You in the New Year last year. I spent two years doing integrative health and healing class where I was learning all about myself and my inner world.
So I’ve done a lot of trying to do self-improvement internally. But my goal has always been to put myself, to align myself, my body, and my internal thinking so that I feel grounded in who I am. I feel like my body is not connected to my thoughts. Do you know what I’m saying?
Marc: Sure. So in any of these diets that you’ve tried or systems or programs, have you ever lost the weight and gotten to your target?
Patricia: I’ve maybe lost twenty. That’s about it. I tend to stick with something for maybe six months or two months or so. And then I give up. Or life situations get in the way. Or I sabotage myself somehow or other. I don’t know if in reality maybe I just don’t want to lose the weight. I don’t know what it is. In reality in my heart, maybe I don’t feel myself there. I don’t know what it is.
Marc: So which of those systems worked best for you in terms of letting go of weight?
Patricia: Well, I get confused, is what it is. Like I will do the tapping for a while. And then I’ll listen to all of these various suggestions of what to do. And then it seems to make some headway. And then I’ll go ahead and I’ll start using the visualizations. And that is confusing to me. I don’t have a plan that’s set that’s really working. It’s just confusion.
Marc: So those systems that you told me you tried—Weight Watchers, Jon Gabriel’s Method—which one of those worked the best in terms of getting some amount of weight off?
Patricia: Well, I would say the Jon Gabriel Method is a life-changing method in that you learn how to change your food desires where you’re going for the non-GMO. And you’re going for pure food.
But Weight Watchers and all that wasn’t a life-sustaining kind of weight loss. You go on it. And you feel like you’re depriving yourself. And that feeling of depriving yourself really bothered me because then I would find that I needed to turn it around and love myself or love myself through eating food or whatever it was.
Marc: But give me just a three-word answer. Which one of those systems do you think worked best for you?
Patricia: I would say the Jon Gabriel one did.
Marc: Got it. Okay, great. So when did you first decide that you needed to lose weight? How old were you when you started going on some kind of weight loss diet?
Patricia: I was about forty. Yeah, I was hitting that period of change where my body, my hormones were probably way off. And I was gaining weight. And I was in a stressful job. But I would say I probably gained five pounds every year from then on.
So I’m fifty-seven now. So it’s been almost twenty years that I’ve been overweight, what I would call overweight.
Marc: Uh-huh. And have you had any medical testing for thyroid, for insulin resistance, diabetes, prediabetes? Have you ever done any of that?
Patricia: I went to a naturopath. And I have adrenal fatigue. So I went on some supplements for a period of time, of course, a couple months. But then as I ran out of the supplements, I didn’t renew them. So I’m not really treating myself for that.
Marc: But were you tested for diabetes, for blood sugar.
Patricia: I have no diabetes, no blood sugar issues, nothing.
Marc: And no thyroid issues?
Marc: Okay, great. That’s good to know. So when do you feel best in your body?
Patricia: When I’m sleeping. [Laughs]
Marc: [Laughs] I’ve never heard that answer before. I like that.
Patricia: Sorry. I guess you hit it on the head. I don’t really feel comfortable in my body. I get very distressed that I have two beautiful girls were in their early twenties. And we can’t shop together.
Patricia: We can shop for accessories. But I can’t shop in the same departments as them at all. Granted, I wouldn’t expect to be as thin as them right now. But I’m saying that there is that feeling that from my daughters’ standpoint, “Mom isn’t really cutting the muster as far as attractiveness.” And my own mother is telling me every time I see her, “You’ve got to lose some weight, dear.”
Marc: So was there a time in your life when you felt comfortable in your body?
Patricia: In my thirties I was pretty comfortable.
Marc: And was that just because you were at a different weight?
Patricia: I didn’t feel the intense stress that I have felt. The job was the stress. Before that, everything was running pretty smoothly. And I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. Right now I feel overwhelmed in many regards. It’s more of a feeling of I can’t handle it all.
Marc: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So are you married?
Patricia: I’m married with two girls.
Marc: How long have you been married?
Patricia: I think it’s twenty-seven, maybe twenty-eight. I’m not sure! [Laughs]
Marc: And how does your husband feel about your weight? Has he relayed to that?
Patricia: He’s fine. But I often notice he’s walking with the girls and not with me.
Marc: Meaning you think he’s staying away from you?
Patricia: No. But he feels prouder of being with the girls than he does with me.
Marc: Have you ever asked him about that?
Patricia: He would deny it. But you can always understand body language.
Marc: And how do your girls feel about it?
Patricia: I notice when pictures are taken and, say, I have the camera or the camera is passed around, they never take a picture with me and them.
Marc: Have you spoken to your family about that?
Patricia: Not really. It’s just something I observe.
Marc: Can you imagine yourself speaking to them about it?
Patricia: If it’s an important moment, yeah.
Marc: So even in your teens and your twenties, you would remember then that you had a good relationship with your body? Never issues with weight or body image back then to any great degree?
Patricia: No. I didn’t have any problem. I was pretty attractive. And people would take notice of how attractive I was. But that changed when I gained the weight.
Marc: So who in your life do you feel just loves you the most unconditionally and could care less about what your weight is?
Patricia: In reality, it’s my mother even though she says, “You’ve got to lose weight, dear.” But she loves me unconditionally, yeah.
Marc: Do you have a good relationship with her?
Patricia: I do. Yeah. But I emulate her in a way. She’s very overweight. I emulate her in that. She’s ninety-five years old. And she still has her mind.
Marc: Wow, that’s amazing.
Patricia: Yeah, I’m very pleased for her and that I have her, actually.
Marc: She’s doing something right, huh?
Patricia: She is! Yes.
Marc: So how would your life be different if you lost all the weight that you want to lose? What would be different and who would you be? Give me a sense of this new Patricia. Loses, what, fifty pounds or more? You get where you want to go. Who is this new person?
Patricia: Confident. Smiling. Happy. Feels energetic. Can go into a store and pick out an outfit with no problem. I would hope that I would love myself more, frankly. So, self-accepting.
Marc: So, self-accepting, confident, you’d love yourself more, smiling. Anything else?
Patricia: Also get rid of these lines maybe, which I often feel people feel that I’m angry or that I’m unhappy. And in reality I’m not unhappy. It’s just lines that I believe are from my weight.
Marc: And have people told you that you look unhappy?
Patricia: Yeah, they have.
Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it.
Patricia: And my husband will look at and say, “What’s wrong?” And there’s nothing really wrong. It’s just I’m not exuding happiness, confidence, joy, love.
Marc: Got it. So you said a little bit ago that, “Oh, well. Maybe I really don’t want to lose it.” You just cast a little bit of doubt about kind of what happens for you. Do you really think that? What do you think when you think about that?
Patricia: I think that people have extra weight for protection. And I think a lot of women are thin because they want to please other people what they want to disappear in a room or something. You can look at it both ways. You can either gain weight to disappear. Or you can disappear by losing too much weight. So it’s sort of making yourself irrelevant and not stepping up to what life has to offer frankly.
And a lot of times, sometimes when you put yourself out there, you’re open to criticism and risk. So by maybe keeping on the weight, I’m masking myself and keeping myself from being exposed to… It’s that fear of success maybe. You know?
Marc: That’s possible. Yeah, I get it. So let’s say you could just push a button right now and the weight automatically comes off and you’re there. What would be some other areas of life that you would want to see a change or transformation in? Like if you were the Almighty in control of all things on planet earth, other than the weight, how would you make your life different?
Patricia: I want to be more organized. I feel scattered and ungrounded. So I want to feel more present and joyful. So I would see myself as a happier, more confident person. Was that the answer to the question?
Marc: Yeah. So other things in your life… I asked you, “What else would you change?” you would want to change being more confident, being happier. And you would want to feel like, “I’m more organized. Because I feel like I’m a little scattered.” So that’s what you would change. Anything else that you would change in your outer universe? When you have the same job? When you have a different job? Same money? More money? Less money? Relationship? What else would you change?
Patricia: Right now I’m not working. And, to be honest with you, I’ve toyed with whether or not I should go back to work or not at my age. I’m soon-to-be fifty-eight. It’s kind of one of those transitional periods in life where, “Yeah, maybe I should work because maybe I need more money for retirement.” But it’s also being maybe a little selfish and saying, “Maybe I need a little me time.” So it’s sort of a juggling act. Fortunately, I have a husband who is working. And we’re getting by. So I’m very lucky in that. So I have some choices. But it also means that I’m still juggling.
Marc: Got it. And juggling means you still have to—
Patricia: Juggling finances, juggling whether we can do this or do that. I can’t just say I want to go traveling or I want to go spend a lot of money or something like that. I don’t have that option.
Marc: Understood. Understood. So you’d be happier. You’d be more organized. You’d be less scattered. You’d be more confident. You’re not sure about your future if you want to work yet.
Marc: What would you do if you didn’t work?
Patricia: Well, I have been volunteering. And up until October I was volunteering at hospice. And I just decided I wanted to take a little time off. I had a good friend die of breast cancer who was fifty-nine. And my uncle passed away. And my mother is ninety-five.
So I’m leaving my options open because I want to be able to travel and see my mom is much as I can before she passes because I figure ninety-five this pretty up there. And I can’t rely on the fact that she’ll be around. And I do find that she’s my rock. And even though I’m fifty-eight years old, soon-to-be, I do feel that my mother has been my rock. And when I lose her, it’s going to be really hard. So I have that fear, the fear of losing my mom.
Marc: Sure. I get it. Wow. You’ve been fortunate to have her this long. That’s pretty amazing.
Patricia: Well, it’s like I’ve been a kid for this long. You know what I mean? I could be a kid.
Marc: Yeah. I get it. Yeah. So I think I’ve got some good information from you. There’s always more to collect. In an ideal universe, I would be asking at least an hour’s worth more questions. But I think I have a good bunch to work with here.
Actually, but let me just ask a couple more questions before we move forward. Let’s talk about eating for a second. Are you a fast eater? Moderate leader? Slow eater?
Patricia: I am a fast eater.
Marc: And are you eating regular meals these days?
Patricia: I eat regular meals. But I tend to graze. I do a juice in the morning. Then I might have maybe some toast with some almond butter and flax seed on it. And I have soup, which I have been making homemade, which is great and I love it. And then this evening, in particular, we had chicken. And I had some beans and some brown rice with it. So I’ve been having regular meals.
But I would say if you were to ask about my rhythm, which is one of your things, I would say my rhythm is probably kind of off. I don’t have a good rhythm. Sometimes I have a good breakfast. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I eat lunch. Sometimes I don’t.
Marc: Got it. And do you have times when you binge eat or overeat or eat more than you think you should?
Patricia: Well, I ate some cookies the other day. And I binged on the cookies, I’m afraid. I used the coconut oil and I use the palm whatever sugar and whatever. And I made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. And they were divine. And I had to have quite a few. So, yeah, I binge once in a while.
Marc: What might a binge mean? What does that mean for you?
Patricia: A binge is having a bag of chips. I don’t tend to be a chip person. But I’m a cookie person, having five or six or seven cookies. I’m sorry. Or today I have some gingersnaps. I had a few of those.
Marc: Okay. So I’ve gotten the information that I need right now. Let me give you some thoughts and feelings and ideas from my neck of the woods here. So here you are. You want to lose weight. So I’m going to context everything I’m saying in terms of helping you be best positioned to get to that goal.
So in this conversation, I’m not going to give you a plan because a plan wouldn’t work for you now in this moment because you’ve had plans before. So your problem isn’t the right plan. Yeah, some plans are better than others, for sure. Would I want you doing Weight Watchers? No. What I want you going to Overeaters Anonymous? No. What I want you to do, I don’t know, some dumb diet where you’re just eating cabbage soup or something else? No.
I want you on any kind of a program that is sustainable and doable where you’re not limiting your self and starving yourself and you’re enjoying your food. And it’s nourishing you. So that’s what I want to say in general. When I asked you which plan worked best for you, you mentioned The Gabriel Plan. I personally happen to think it’s a good plan. I could see that working for you. I could see why it would be useful. And you’ve already said to me, “I stick to a plan for some amount of time. And then things change.” You mentioned the word “sabotage.”
So that’s really what we have to talk about. We have to get underneath plans because I can give you a plan. And then you can do it and then stop. And I can give you another plan and another plan. And you can keep getting plans for the rest of your life. So I think we have to go just a little bit underneath what might be happening for you because, again, it’s not so much for you a question of plan. It’s a question of what’s going on for you in your inner world.
So here’s a few things I want to say. I asked you when you’re most comfortable in your body. And you jokingly said, “Well, when I’m sleeping.” And I asked a few more questions. You said, well, previous to having this steady weight gain, before thirty or so, you were fine. Since the weight came on, you don’t feel comfortable in your body.
So consider this. If you want your body to get somewhere, if you want to change your body, if you want to shift your body, if you want to shape shift your body, you want to morph it, you want to change it—I’m saying all those words instead of, “You want to lose weight.”—you’ve got to be in it to operate it.
If you want to your car to go to the supermarket, you must get in the car. You must sit down. You put on your seatbelt. You turn the key. You put your hands on the wheel. You put your foot on the gas. There’s a whole thing you have to do to manage and be in your car. If you don’t know how to drive that car, you ain’t getting anywhere. And that car can go to all different kinds of places.
So the challenge is you can’t lose weight, you can’t do anything with the body, you can’t learn a new sport, you can’t lose weight without being able to be in your body and be somewhat comfortable operating the biological machine called your body. Right now, in my opinion, there’s a part of you that’s kind of abandoned your body. You have determined that, “This body sucks. It’s not okay. I don’t love it. Other people don’t love it. This is no good. I don’t like it.” And the net result is, “Well, who the hell would want to be in it, then?” Not you.
So you’re kind of not owning it. If I gave you $100 and I said, “This is your hundred dollars,” the only way for that hundred dollars to do anything useful to you, whether you’re going to put it in your bank account, whether you’re going to buy something really fun, whatever it is, you have to own that hundreds dollars. You have to say, “Wow! Here’s this hundred dollars! Am I going to save it? Am I going to invest it? Am I going to go buy a nice sweater for myself? What am I going to do?”
So owning the money means you’re being with it. You’re not just, “Oh, I’ll just put it over here somewhere inch toss it on the floor. Oh, I hate money. Money is the root of all evil. Oh, money is terrible. Oh, I don’t deserve that money anyway.” You could say all kinds of things to make that money irrelevant. And all of a sudden, that money loses its power. It loses its ability in your life to be something.
So what I’m trying to tell you is… And I’m trying to save you a lot of hard work here. As I’ve been doing this for a long time. There is no way on earth that you’re going to be able to get where you want to go until you get back into your body. Getting back into your body means it cannot be the enemy. It means you can’t be attacking it. It means you have to be like your mother and love yourself no matter what.
You said a number of times, “Well, my husband is really not proud of me. He walks with my daughters. Yeah, my daughters, when the camera is being passed around, they don’t really take pictures of me.” So you’re very sensitive to other people not loving on you when it comes to your body. I’m not sure if you’re accurate they are. I’m not sure if they’re really feeling that way. But maybe you’re right.
And, regardless, if you buy into that nonsense, then you’ve bought into that nonsense. And what happens is you lose your power. You lose your self-respect. You lose your dignity. And, of course you’re not going to be able to follow through on a game plan because you’re starting from I drained bank account of self-love and the self-care and self-acceptance.
It’s hard for us humans to get very far in life if we don’t have self-love and self-care and self-acceptance. You’re old enough. You’ve been a mother. When your girls were younger and they were—I don’t know—when they popped out of the womb as these little fatty little babies, were you yelling at them because you wanted a baby without any body fat? When your kids had trouble in school or when they were learning how to walk and fell down, you don’t smack them. You don’t hate on them. You love them through everything.
And I’m willing to bet you’re that kind of mother that you have not abandoned your children. You have loved them through everything. Am I right?
Marc: So be that person, please, for you. You have to start to learn how to love yourself through anything because right now what’s happening for you is you’ve kind of turned the tables. And what I mean is you’re basically saying to the world, “World, you don’t love me because I’ve gained weight. You don’t approve of me. The proof is in my own daughters are kind of not really loving me the way they could. And my own husband is a little bit embarrassed, or whatever it is. And then other people are somehow seeing me as not good enough.” And the bottom line is none of that matter so much if you were still loving you.
And I mean that I really mean that. I’m not just saying that because it’s a nice airy fairy concept. I’m saying that because it’s true. At this point, the love starts at home. You have to reclaim your self-dignity. You have to find the place in yourself where you’re loving yourself more unconditionally. Right now you are giving yourself conditional love, which means, “I love myself if I look a certain way and if I lose a certain amount of weight. And if I don’t look a certain way or lose a certain amount of weight, I don’t love myself.”
Consequently, what is happening is your energy is going to be more depressed. You’re going to feel not good about yourself. I believe this affects your metabolism. I don’t have proof of that. But from my clinical experience and observation, when people are engaging in self-hate, self-attack, and conditional love towards self, the body isn’t going to be what it’s meant to be.
Patricia: Yeah. It’s interesting. I went and had chakra balancing. And I’ve done that over eight times. And the person who does the balancing does some shamanic stuff. But it’s very much like she will say I’m not grounded. But this is all very insightful because what you’re saying is I’m not in my body. And what she’s saying when she is saying I’m not grounded, it’s probably that I’m not in my body.
Marc: And you’re not in your body because you’ve abandoned it. You’ve abandoned it because you’ve decided it’s not worthy of love until it looks a different way. And the truth is this is you. It’s your body. Now, true, it is we’re not our body. We are more than our body. And while you’re in your body, this is the body that you have. This is what it’s doing right now.
Your body has gained weight not because you’re a bad person, not because you did something wrong, but because based on things that have happened in your life and how things have gone down in your work world, in your personal world and how you’ve been able to manage things, your body has slowly gained weight.
Some people are sitting around battling cancer. Some people are sitting around dealing with heart disease. They’re dealing with addictions. They’re dealing with depression or heartache or whatever they’re dealing with. And you’re dealing with, “My body put on a bunch of weight.”
There is no blame there. There is no, “You did something wrong. You’re a bad girl. You’re not worthy of love.” But you kind of bought into that. And you bought into that understandably because the world is filled with a lot of weight hate. There’s a ton of weight hate. And it’s hard to dodge that bullet.
Patricia: It’s funny. I visualize the gentleman who, I was just getting into a booth. And I’m heavy. But I don’t really think I present myself as that heavy. But I was getting into a booth. And the men were right next to me. And I could see them laughing at me. And I don’t have paranoia. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying that there is this fat hate or whatever you call it.
Marc: Yeah. So it exists. And we have to become more immune to the haters. And we especially have to be clear that we’re not taking on their hate and then aiming it at ourselves because that’s what happens. And you’re not the only one that that happens to. Trust me.
I would love for you to Google “fat acceptance.” There are so many places, resources, websites for fat acceptance. It would be great for you to start to explore that realm just because I would love to see you… I want to say I would love to see you take the next four months and let go of having to lose weight. Let go of apologizing for who you are. And I want you to spend four months loving one yourself and proceeding from there.
It doesn’t mean you might not adopt a kind of diet or a meal plan. It doesn’t mean you don’t back on The Gabriel Method. Maybe you do. But what it means is you are not trying to lose weight. You’re just living the life. And you’re focusing on reclaiming your dignity and your self-love for this body. Think of it again as you as a mother, you don’t abandon your girls. You haven’t abandoned your girls even though something happens. They make a mistake. This, that, whatever it is, you love them no matter what. This is your job. This is your job.
You’ve let your mother do that for you, as you should. It’s great to have a mother that unconditionally loves us. You have to give that gift to yourself. Because otherwise what’s happening is you’re becoming an apology for who you are. And you deserve better than that. You have nothing to apologize for. I really mean that. I don’t know… You have nothing to apologize for, particularly when it comes to weight. I don’t know. Maybe you piss somebody off about something and you apologize. I’m not talking about that. I mean you don’t have to apologize for who you are and what you look like and what led you up to this place in your life.
We’ve all been to some degree through the school of hard knocks. And things happen. And until you can start to get back into your body, it’s like a car from the standpoint you’ve got to get in the car to drive it and get it somewhere. If you want to shape shift your body, you have to be in it. Being in it means you can’t fighting it, hating it, dissociating yourself from it. That means whatever you can do to feel and experience your body as it is and start to love it right now.
Do you have dogs or cats?
Patricia: Two dogs and a cat.
Marc: Okay. So think of it as if you took a stray animal who was just the cutest little puppy. And you decide to take it in. And maybe the puppy is a little sick. Maybe it’s a little lonely. Maybe it’s a little hungry. You’re going to just love that puppy up. That puppy hasn’t gotten anything from anyone. It was just kind of born on the streets.
And you’re taking it in. And you’re kind of rehabbing it with love. And then you’re touching the puppy. And you’re loving it. And you’re playing with it. And you’re feeding it. And you kind of give it whatever medicine it needs. That’s what I want to do for you.
Patricia: Is that sort of inner child work, too? Would you call it that?
Marc: Mmm, yes and no. Good question, though. Here’s the yes. The yes part is I want you to treat your body like a beautiful little child. So yes to that. The no part to that is there’s another part of you… So when I say treat your body like a little child, who is treating it like that wonderful little child? It’s the adult in you. It’s both inner child and inner adult work at the same time.
You actually have more work to do on your inner adult then you doing your inner child. There’s actually a part of you that’s very childlike and very innocent. And to me you’re more in touch with your inner child for yourself then you are with that inner adult for yourself. The inner adult is the woman in you claims her authority and her dignity and sits on her queen’s throne and tells the queendom where it’s at and what’s going on and what to do.
Marc: In any fairytale you’ve ever read about, any movie you’ve ever seen that has kings and queens and witches and ferries and all that kind of stuff, a good queen, she doesn’t sit on her throne and go, “Oh, do you love me? Do I need to lose weight? Am I acceptable? Forgive me for gaining five pounds or fifty pounds.” That’s not the queen you want.
A good Queen rules through love and through dignity and through authority. She knows who she is. She’s not trying to be someone she’s not. Yeah, she may want to get a manicure. Yeah, she may want to lose weight. But that doesn’t stop her from being in her power. That doesn’t stop her from being in her dignity and her authority.
So here’s what I’m saying. Here’s the map I’m putting before you. I’m saying you’re starting from YOU ARE HERE. And you want to get to YOU’VE LOST THE WEIGHT, You’ve got to start from YOU ARE HERE. What you’re trying to do is you are trying to not start from YOU ARE HERE.
Patricia: Sort of be present within my body?
Marc: Bingo. That means take a yoga class and just do whatever you can. Do general yoga. Just to be in your body. Take any kind of movement class that you can feel good about yourself where you love moving. It’s not to lose weight. It’s not to exercise. It’s not to do cardio. It’s not to do nothing other than to just celebrate being in your body.
Patricia: It’s funny. I did tai chi last year. And I did it for ten weeks. And then I gave it up.
So I guess you are right. I sabotaged. And I guess it is because maybe I was at
the point where that’s mixing of in your body out of your body was happening. So then I sabotaged myself. Do you think that’s what happened? I don’t know.
Marc: Well, let’s just say this. You have to commit to not abandoning yourself and staying your body. You have to commit to not abandoning yourself and staying in your body. If your kids didn’t stay in their body, they wouldn’t have learned how to walk. They wouldn’t have learned how to go potty by themselves. They wouldn’t have learned how to cook for themselves or feed themselves. You’ve got to be in your body to make things happen.
So when I asked you, “So what’s going to happen when you lose weight?” what did you say to me? You said, “I’m going to be more confident. I’m going to smile. I’m going to be more me.” I’m going to love myself better is essentially what you said. But how could you start from a place of not love and the following is system of, “Ugh, I don’t really like this,” and continuously giving yourself negative messages every time you look in the mirror. Or, “Oh, I’m not losing enough weight.”
If the journey is not filled with love, the destination cannot have love. So the journey will always inform the destination. If you are taking a road of self-attack and self-hate, you will end up at a destination of self-attack in self-hate. So we have it backwards. We think were going to lose weight by, “Come on! You’re awful. You’re terrible. You’re a bad person because you have body fat. How evil of you!” That nonsense doesn’t work.
Patricia: What did you say? The journey informs the destination?
Marc: The journey informs the destination. So if your journey is filled with self- attack in self-hate and criticism and, “I’m no good,” and with self- abandonment, that’s what your destination will be. It is mathematically impossible to have any other outcome.
Marc: So you have to stop apologizing for who you are. The way you’re going to get to where you want to go is to fully accept where you are right now.
Marc: I remember one time a friend was calling me up. He was driving to my house. And he was lost. And he was really upset because he got lost. And it was late at night. And he was like, “I’m lost. I’m trying to get to your house.” I said, Okay, great. Tell me where you are. And I’ll tell you how to get here.” He said, “What do you mean tell you where I am? I’m lost. I can’t tell you where I am.”
I said, “Well, how my going to tell you how to get here if I don’t know where you are. Go find a street sign.” And he was just so huffy and gruffly and all upset. And I really had to get on his case and motivate him to get in his car and drive one block to look at a street sign.”
My whole point is you’ve got to accept where you are in order to get where you want to go. So he has to accept that he’s lost. “Here’s my street. Here’s where I am.” Big deep breath. And now we can start to make a move here. But until you love and accept the body you have right now, your mind is not going to cooperate. Your body is not going to cooperate. It’ll cooperate a little bit. You’ll diet. You’ll do this. You’ll get a quarter way they are, halfway there. And then you’ll let go. You’ll sabotage because you’ve been feeding criticism and self- attack and lack of self-love into the system.
And you’ve been trying to get there without really being in your body. So you’re in a place right now where you’re a little confused. You’ve been confused a while because you don’t understand why you’re not getting there. And you’re confused. And you’re a little hopeless. And you’re a little sad. And you’re a little apologetic. So I understand that. I get it.
The way you turn that around is not by changing your body. That’s not putting first things first. The way you turn it around as an adult is you have to learn the lesson life is putting before you. There are no shortcuts here. There are no shortcuts. How do I know? Because you haven’t found a shortcut. And it’s been a long time since you’ve been trying to lose this weight. So whatever you’ve been doing doesn’t work.
And, again, not your fault because were not really taught how to navigate this terrain, which is very difficult. And there’s a lot of landmines. And the biggest landmine is the world giving you all of this nonsense that you’re not good and you’re not lovable. Therefore you shouldn’t love yourself. And that’s untrue. It’s toxic. It’s bad news. And it’s a little evil to take on those messages because they don’t raise us as human beings. They don’t elevate us. They don’t make us better people. They’re like bad viruses floating in the atmosphere that debilitate us. So you have to be stronger than that. You have to be aware of what you’re up against. And you have to put love into the system. That’s it. It’s as simple as that.
Love into the system means, “What baby step can I take the day around loving my body?” Here’s an idea. I was to become a slow eater. I want you to start learning how to eat slow. Why? Because eating fast means you’re not in your body. The body is designed physiologically, genetically, through millions of years of evolution to eat in the physiologic relaxation response, parasympathetic nervous system dominance, same thing.
When you eat too fast, your appetite is deregulated. You will tend to eat more food. You won’t register pleasure. You will put your body into a stress response, which means diminished digestion, which means nutrient excretion. So you could be eating the healthiest food in the universe. But you will literally be excreting microminerals, macrominerals if you’re eating under a state of stress—stress means eating fast—state of stress because eating fast is considered a stressor by the body.
Plus, when were in a constant mindset of self-attack, every time the brain registers attack, it goes into some degree of stress response. So you’re walking around in a mild stress response. Yeah, life is stressful. But you don’t add to that stress by piling on yourself with negative thoughts. So if you’re going, “I’m no good. I’m not lovable. I hate this body fat,” that’s stress chemistry right there.
Stress chemistry will signal your body—I’m talking insulin, cortisol. Those two hormones in particular, when we hypersecretes them day in and day out—will signal the body to store weight, store fats, and not burn muscle. So our mind creates the biological, the biochemical, soup that we’re swimming in. And right now your mind—and a lot of people’s minds—are creating an opposite kind of biochemistry that we want to become fat burning and muscle building, i.e. stress chemistry. That’s what we’re doing.
So we need more relaxation chemistry. Specifically we need more love chemistry. We need more pleasure chemistry. We need more self-acceptance chemistry. All those are thoughts. They’re feelings. Those feelings, they can’t exist without a chemical equivalent because we are biochemical beings. So they create a chemistry. In this case, they create relaxation response. You will start to naturally train your body. And your body will naturally training you when you sits down with food. But slowing down means eat with joy. Eat with love. Get the pleasure out of the food. Let it nourish you. That’s what I mean when I say slow. It’s doesn’t mean be real boring and chew your food hundred times. It means that celebrate being in your body.
Dine! Dine like a French person or an Italian person. Take a little more time. That will signal your body that it’s being nourished. You are starving yourself from eating too fast and not really feeling the nourishment from your food. And you’re starving yourself from pulling away self-love because you think there’s something wrong with you and you’re not good enough because you’ve gained this weight.
Patricia: I don’t sleep well either. And I often wake up with negative thoughts in my head. So is it just to changing my thoughts to self-love and slowing the eating and changing my thoughts to self-acceptance? So by changing my thoughts, my body chemistry will change? Is that the thought?
Marc: Yes. But here’s what I want to say. I want to put a caution in there. That’s exactly what I’m saying. But what I am saying is I want you to let go of losing weight. I don’t want you to go, “Well, here I am waking up in the middle of the night. And I’m thinking these self-rejecting thoughts. But Marc said that if I think more positive thoughts, I’m going to create a different chemistry and lose weight.” No.
Yes, but if you start to think with that goal, you’re going to cheat because then you’re going to look in the mirror the next day and the like, “I don’t lose any weight. When this is going to happen?” So you’re putting a condition on unconditional love and acceptance. So you’re doing this for you. You are doing this for you, not for your weight because here’s the truth. I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows when your body is going to lose weight, how much, if it’s going to lose weight. We don’t know right now.
If I was working with you long term, this is what you would have to do to position yourself to lose weight. Will it help you? We don’t know. That’s why I want you to let go of the goal. I want you to feel what it feels like to live without the goal because that’s what’s going to allow you to love your body. When you can love your body as it is right now, then the body that you want has a chance of coming. But you have to love what you’ve got now. And you’re not going to love what you have right now by doing everything for the purpose of changing it. That’s like saying to your kid, “Well, I’m going to love you right now just because I want you to change.” It’s a mixed message.
Patricia: Is it sort of like what Louise Hay says to use affirmations and look at yourself in the mirror and say you love yourself? Is that a tool that one would use towards this goal?
Marc: That’s a tool you could definitely use. Your work is very powerful. You don’t even have to say anything. You could just look in the mirror, spend time in the mirror. Get naked. Spend time in the mirror. Look at yourself. Observe yourself. Get to know yourself. Introduce yourself to yourself. And see what it would take for you to have a little bit of kindness towards the body and the being and the person that’s in the mirror.
You don’t have to say, “Wow, this is the hottest creature I’ve ever seen.” But you could say, “Wow, do I love her no matter what.” It’s a lot different. And you might just begin to find beauty in what you have.
Have you ever met or noticed or seen people who others might consider rather overweight and they’re really in their bodies and they don’t apologize and they love themselves for who they are? Have you ever met someone like that?
Patricia: Not really. But I’ve seen on Facebook recently, they have a Facebook thing about dancers who are overweight. So I guess in reality I have seen some people who have been overweight and have been confident, but rare.
Marc: Yeah. So you just don’t get to meet them. They’re out there. And there’s plenty of them. And you could travel to other countries and different cultures and you could meet probably a lot more than you might in this country. But the bottom line is it exists, which means it’s possible.
And until you resurrect and rediscover self-love, kindness, acceptance, more unconditional love as if you were your own child and even though this is a little hard and a little challenging, you’re not going to abandon yourself. And you’re going to love yourself. No more feeling sorry for yourself. That’s the goal. No more apologies. I want you to catch yourself when you apologize.
And I asked you this at the beginning of our session when you said, “Yeah, I noticed my husband this and my daughters don’t take good pictures, “And I said would you be willing to say something,” and you said, “Well, if it’s important enough to me.” Well, I don’t know what’s going to make it more important for you. If that’s really happening, I would love for you to raise your hand with your husband, call him into a private room, and say, “Listen, here’s what’s going on for me. I just want to check in with you. Here’s what I’m feeling.”
Now, you told me, “Oh, he would deny it.” Give him an out. Say, “Listen, I understand if you would feel that way. I understand if you want me to look different. I just need to check in with you because that’s what I’m feeling. And I’d love for you to be honest with me.” And even if he doesn’t own it and even if he avoids it, fine. At least you said it.
Patricia: Well, before we got married, he said if I were over 150 pounds he would divorce me. And that’s stuck with me all these years.
Marc: Okay. Well, he hasn’t divorced you.
Patricia: No, he hasn’t.
Marc: Okay, so he lied. So your job is to start reclaiming your dignity. So when you’re at an event with your daughters, you tell them, “Okay, you grab somebody and have them take a picture of you and your daughters.” And you be proud about it. You be proud of yourself. You be proud of your daughters. You bring them in. You show them. Don’t wait for them to do it.
That’s you claiming yourself. That’s you claiming your dignity because until you do this, it’s not going to work because if you’re walking around not loving on yourself, apologizing, not being in your body, no system, no approach, no diet, no strategy is going to work. You’ve sabotaged yourself from the beginning because you’re not even in your body, loving it, accepting it, and saying, “Okay, if I’m going to change this, I’ve got to be in it.”
Patricia: Right. I agree.
Marc: Yeah. So you’ve got the roadmap now. And I’m going to recommend if you say to yourself, “Wow, I want a system to follow,” go back on The Gabriel Method. You can even modify a little bit if you feel, “Wow, there’s little that I have to change here so it could be more sustainable for me,” I want you to take that liberty and of that power to tweak that kind of system so it works better for you if there is such a thing.
There’s 1,000 different systems you can do. And so many of them are good. So there’s a level where that doesn’t matter. I’m just thinking out one that you’re familiar with, you’ve done it before. You’ve had some level of success. I know it. So I know it can work. You picked it out is the one that works for you. But it’s not a big deal. I’ve tried to tell you that at this stage of the game for you, for other people it might be different. Some people really need that system. And they need the right system. That’s not it for you.
Patricia: I actually get very bored with this calorie counting. I don’t like any of that stuff.
Marc: No, it’s a bunch of nonsense. You don’t need to do it. And it hasn’t worked for you anyway.
Patricia: No, it didn’t work.
Marc: Yeah. So now you’re reclaiming yourself.
Patricia: Reclaiming my body. [Laughs]
Marc: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. You can’t reclaim it when it loses weight because it doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to take sequential steps. You have to reclaim it first. You have to own it. You have to love it. You have to be in it. Then we can talk about, “Okay, now how we going to shift it, make it to do this, make it do that, make it to the other thing?”
Yeah, talk about that once you’re in the car and you’ve got the key. And the key is self-acceptance and self love for you. The key is no apologies. No apologies for you. There’s nothing to apologize for. Any time you find yourself silently apologizing… I just want to stress this one last time. There is this part of you that to me feels like you’re apologizing for who you are.
Marc: And when you do that, it will feel like other people are saying to you, “We don’t accept your apology.” Because they’re not accepting your apology because life doesn’t work that way. You can’t energetically put out, “I apologize for who I am.” Either, A, people don’t care or, B, they tend to step on someone who is energetically apologizing anyway.
Patricia: I have felt stepped on frequently.
Marc: That’s because you’re stepping on yourself. By walking around as an apology, you’re stepping on yourself. And it’s almost like an invitation. It’s almost like saying, “I deserve this. I’m apologizing for myself.” So nobody can uplift you from that place. Only you can.
Patricia: Yeah, I know.
Marc: So this work isn’t easy. But it’s the only work there is at this point because you are fifty-seven, fifty-eight years old. And it’s time to reclaim yourself. Don’t wait ten years. Don’t wait five years. Don’t wait two years. Don’t wait three days. Start doing it now.
It’s a process. So I want to remind you it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s like learning anything new. It takes time. You commit yourself to it. You make mistakes. You take two steps forward, three steps back. You take another few steps forward. So it’s not going to be easy and perfect. But it’s going to be like life where you keep at it, little baby steps. And you’ll get there.
Patricia: It’s terrible. When you were saying that my self talk was, “I’m ashamed of myself.” So I need to take those baby steps and turn them around and say, “I accept myself,” right?
Marc: Bingo. A hundred percent. One hundred percent. And then you have to act as if you accept yourself. Be an actress. Pretend that you love yourself. Pretend that you’ve got what everybody wants. Pretend that not only do you have to apologize, quite the opposite. “Come to the party. Here’s where the party is. Here’s who you want to be hanging out with!”
Patricia: I’m ready for the party. It’s just I haven’t been invited.
Marc: Yeah, well, invite yourself in. Walk in the door. The door is open. The party is happening. You make it happen. Nobody else makes the party. It’s your party. You invite people into your party. That’s kind of what it’s about.
Patricia: Okay. That’s great. Thanks. You’ve given me some great insights.
Marc: Great. Thanks, Patricia. You’ve been a great sport here. I definitely pushed a little bit here. But I’m coming from the place where I really want to see you get where you want to go.
Patricia: Well, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to get where I want to go.
Marc: I know that.
Patricia: I know I have failed. And I’ve been working at it for a while now. So I think what you said is very insightful. I appreciate it.
Marc: Great. I’m happy for you. Let’s reconvene in several months. And we’ll do a check in. And meanwhile you know your homework assignment, which is a big one. But, wow, is it a good one.
Patricia: Okay, thank you.
Patricia: Yeah, thanks a lot.
Marc: Great job. I really appreciate it. And thanks, everybody, for tuning in and listening. I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. Lots more to come, my friends. Thanks so much.
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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