Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 153: Follow-Up: A Lifelong Struggle with Weight
Linda wants to lose 50 pounds, but feels like it might as well be 500. She continually criticizes herself for not being thin enough, smart enough, or lovable enough – for not being perfect. She’d like to break free of the cycle of self hate, but decades of dieting have not taken her where she wants to go. In this uplifting session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helps Linda to see the ways she still thinks of herself as a disempowered, ignored little girl living in her parents’ house. Tune in as Marc coaches Linda toward owning her successes in life and embracing her authority as an adult so that she can finally begin to treat herself with love.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
To see Linda’s first session with Marc, click here!
Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David. And here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And I’m here today with Linda. Welcome, Linda.
Linda: Hi. Thank you.
Marc: So I am glad you’re here. And just to let viewers and listeners know—so Linda and I are doing right now a follow-up session. So we met a bunch of months ago and worked on some things. And we had one session. And this is our check in to see how Linda’s been doing. So Linda, if you wouldn’t mind, just summarize for people what the issues are that you had wanted to work on and kind of give us a weather report of any changes, any updates, anything good, anything bad. Just share whatever comes to mind for you that you think we should know about.
Linda: All right. Well, what I was working on, what I originally wanted to work on was losing the weight that I have to lose, about 60 pounds or so. And just the frustration of having tried all my life, battling weight since early childhood—I would say about 8 or 9, 10, somewhere in there, just starting to really battle with the weight, going on and off all kinds of diets, and realizing in the back of my head that it’s more of a head issue instead of a stomach issue for me.
And so I’ve been kind of looking into the psychology of eating aspects of everything and just reached out to you over the internet, ordered your program, was listening to it, but still really struggling with the food and the aspects of my social life and everything, the way I felt about myself and the way I would present myself because that’s how I was feeling. That’s usually what would happen. So that was the main issue was just getting this weight off and feeling good about myself again.
Marc: Yep. So any headway in any way, shape, or form that you’ve made?
So based on what we covered in the session and some of the insights that came out, where are you right now?
Linda: Well, as far as the weight goes, nothing’s come off. But it’s not such a big deal in my head right now because I have been working more on the way I’m thinking about myself. And who am I really isn’t what I weigh. And I’ve been just working on the thought process which I find to be even a little more difficult than actually dieting because in dieting you can just stick to a program.
And you can lose weight. If you’re just going to stick to eating those foods, you’ll lose the weight. But with the thought process, I have to fight it every second—the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed—about the negative thinking about myself and putting myself in that position where I think I’m not going to be good enough if I don’t weigh a certain amount, but knowing that even when I weighed that amount, I still didn’t feel good enough. So it was something inside.
So I have been working on what you had said, just forgiving myself. Don’t even have to figure out what it is I need to forgive myself for. Just be okay. I’m okay. You didn’t do anything wrong. For some reason, that guilt feeling follows me around. And I just have to keep telling myself I didn’t do anything wrong. You’re okay. You’re a likable person. You don’t need to feel like you’re not.
So I had kind of an “aha!” moment kind of recently actually. My husband wanted me to go to a big birthday party for people I didn’t know in the group. I wouldn’t know anybody. I really didn’t want to go. And I went with a super bad attitude about it, feeling really ugly, feeling really out of place, feeling like no one’s going to talk to me, feeling like I’m going to feel like an oddball there.
And that’s exactly the way I presented myself. I sat at a table by myself, didn’t talk to anybody. Somebody that came over and sat at the table, I said hi to them. And they just looked at me and said, “hi” and turned their head. And I was just like, “Ugh! I’m a terrible person. Nobody likes me.” Just pretty much just brought it all about.
Then the next time we went with the same people—same people at
that party—went to their house for another thing. And I was dreading it, dreading it. But I went, “You know what? Forget it.” Pretty much, “Screw it. I’m going to go. I am who I am. And I’m going to just put myself out there and be open and talk to people and forget about the physical aspects of myself, just be me.”
And if somebody doesn’t talk to me, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad against me. So I went. And I had a great time. The same girl that I thought hated me, we talked all night long. And we totally connected in a lot of areas. And I just left there feeling so different. I was just like, “It isn’t the way I look. It’s the person I’m presenting as myself is what the problem is.” It’s not the physical part of me that’s putting people off.
And I think I’ve used that all my life as an excuse to why people maybe don’t connect with me right away or whatever. I think, “Well, they don’t like me because I’m heavier than everyone else in the room.” And typically, I’m not really that much heavier than everyone else in the room. But anyway, it’s just I feel like there are—if I present an open person to them, they’re just going to connect it back.
So long story, but the weight hasn’t come off. I just haven’t focused on it that much over the past few months. But I’m getting to the point where I feel like I can do the weight but not for the same reasons. I want to do the weight now because of the way I physically feel. It’s not so much the outward part of it.
It’s because I know that I’m going to feel better physically overall. And it’s just a way of eating instead of a diet to lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount it time. It’s just the way I want to feel because I know it makes me feel better to eat a certain way.
Marc: The late, great Stephen Covey had a great line. He said, “Inner victory precedes outer success.”
“Inner victory precedes outer success.”
And you mention this about you. And I’ve seen this with thousands of other people who will say, “Oh yeah, I lost the weight. But I still didn’t like myself. I still felt bad. I still felt guilty. I still felt fat. I still was afraid I was going to gain it back.” And I’m kind of glad you didn’t lose the weight before you started changing your inner world because otherwise you would have just gone back to gaining the weight again. And that’s why people gain it and lose it and gain it and lose it either because they’re following strategies that aren’t sustainable diet-wise and/or their inner world hasn’t shifted.
Marc: And there’s nothing wrong with you.
Marc: You weigh this much. You weigh that much. There is nothing wrong because of your weight. It’s all about how you’re perceiving yourself. And as you can start to accept yourself and love yourself, then when you go about the business of weight loss, actual weight loss, that journey becomes completely different.
Marc: And you are actually positioned for potential success there if your body truly has weight to lose and for whatever all the X factors are. And I also want to say, so many people—and this drives me bonkers—so many people go, “Oh, well, I didn’t lose the weight.” And weight loss is a measure of success when it comes to weight loss.
Marc: And what I want to say is, that’s absolutely not true.
Weight loss is not a measure of success when it comes to weight loss because—gosh, I was just talking to somebody yesterday who lost 125 pounds with weight loss surgery. Success!
Marc: And then gained it all back plus another 40.
Marc: Failure. So there was no inner change.
Marc: And the temporary loss of weight that people put on a pedestal and worship ends up driving us crazy. So I’m happy for you that you had this “aha!” because you’re getting—this is about you. This is about your life. This is about you loving yourself and saying, “Hello, world. Here I am.”
Marc: The world could care less about you if you look 10 pounds heavy or 20 pounds light or 40 pounds lighter. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. The people that are going to not talk to you because they think you need to lose 20 pounds, you should never talk to them. Cross them off the list, for goodness sake.
Linda: Right. They’re doing me a favor, not talking to me.
Marc: You better believe it. That’s not different than if you walked up to somebody and say, “Well, I’m not going to talk to you because you need to be 20 years younger.” Or, “Let me see your bank account. I only talk to people who are making millions.”
Marc: Who cares?
Linda: Right. Right. Right. And I have a family reunion coming up this weekend that for the last probably six months since it’s coming up, I was thinking, “I’ve got to lose 30 pounds. Oh, I’ve got to lose 20 pounds.” And it’s getting closer and closer. “Oh, I’ve got to lose—can I lose 50 pounds in three weeks?” It’s ridiculous. And then just because just of recent ways that my mind has just been changing, I’m not stressed about this family reunion. I’m okay. And I’m not going to go making excuses. And I’m not going to go there going, “Oh, well, I’m so fat.” And bring it out like that is who I am. I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m going to go and enjoy everybody around me. And I’m just going to have a good time.
Marc: Good for you.
Marc: That’s how you take your life back from the virus that circulates on planet Earth about how you’re supposed to look and why we’re not good enough and all that nonsense.
And even if you want to lose weight, what I’m saying is the way to lose it is to step above it.
The way to lose it is to not be defeated by the fact that you have more weight on your body than you want because if we start out defeated in the process—“Oh, I’m a loser. Oh, my God, I have to lose 50 pounds in the next two or three weeks.” That’s a bad form of masturbation. It doesn’t allow us to live life.
Marc: Once you start living your life and you gain momentum and you feel good about yourself, then weight loss is in service to what truly feels right for your body and what’s natural for your body as opposed to, “Oh my god, if I don’t lose this weight, I’m screwed. Nobody’s going to love me. My life is going to continue to be terrible. Nobody’s going to see me. No one’s going to care about me” which is all our child’s mind making up this nonsense.
Linda: Yeah. Right.
Marc: This is not true.
Linda: Right. Right.
Marc: So has your husband noticed any difference in you since you had that kind of “aha”?
Linda: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve been talking to him about it ever since that party. And then this last weekend, we were at a big festival, a weekend long festival. And I just feel like a different person. I kind of feel like I’ve come out of—I don’t know how to exactly put it—like I just kind of come out of myself. I was stuck in this little—I don’t know. I can hardly say it. I don’t know the words for it. But I feel like I’m just more outside of this body that I was so trapped inside, sort of like. It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know.
Marc: Yes. Oh, it makes a ton of sense. You know what I’m realizing right now—when we first started this conversation 15 minutes ago or so and I said, “So give me an update; tell me how you’re doing,” you were like, “Well, I didn’t really lose any weight.” And then you proceeded to slowly tell us about this epiphany which is huge.
And, Linda, this is what I wished for you. This was my wish for you in our first session—that you would be able to get out of the mind trap that you’re in because when you’re in that mind trap, the mind trap called, “Oh, my God, I’ve got to lose the weight. I’ve got to lose the weight. What do I have to do to lose the weight?”
And you’ve been there since you’ve been young. So this isn’t like 5 or 10 years. This is a long time. And you’re not the only one. What I want to say is, you’re one of many, many millions of people whose lives had been gripped by, “I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough”—all about a number on the scale.
And what I’m saying is to me, in my experience, you have had the breakthrough that every human who’s in your shoes needs in order to go to the next step, in order to actually position yourself for real, lasting, true weight loss or shape shifting yourself to the weight that is natural for your body. You’re positioning yourself for that now.
Marc: It’s almost like if I was saying, “You know? I really want to make more money. I want to make more money. I want to make more money. I know how I can make more money. I’ll just go rob a bank.”
Now, that doesn’t really position me to make more money and to have that as a lasting money making experience because then I will be a criminal. I will be an outlaw. And I will probably be caught. So I invented a strategy for making money that was driven by stress, driven by “I’m not good enough,” driven by “I’ve got to do this now.”
And that’s kind of what we do when we’re looking for weight loss from that crazed, self-attacking place. We come up with bizarre diets and bizarre strategies that don’t last and don’t give us what we want. And then we actually end up feeling like we’ve shortchanged ourselves. We feel guilty because we couldn’t accomplish it. And that serves nobody. So I’m thrilled for you. I’m like, congratulations, really.
Linda: Thank you. Yeah, I’m thrilled too actually. Yeah, and it has been just sort of recent within the last couple of—maybe a month or so because it just wasn’t—this wasn’t clicking, some of the things you said. And I would re-listen to our podcast. And I was just like, “What is he talking about?” And then a few minutes later—or not minutes later, but a few days later, it was like, “Oh yeah. Okay, I get it now.” I don’t know. It was just like my brain just started to slowly open up to those thoughts.
Marc: I love the way you put that because, Linda, I think—and I’m now talking about any way that we humans change—I remember things that I was told as a child that I didn’t understand until a year ago, things that I remember my grandparents saying, my mother saying, my father saying that somehow they stuck with me.
But they only make sense now. So all I’m trying to say is sometimes the journey that we’re on—our understanding and the breakthroughs and the success—they’re kind of time released. And they happen when we’re ready.
Linda: That’s true.
Marc: And sometimes, we hear something. And we hear it. It doesn’t quite sink to into our system. But it’s doing its thing.
Marc: It’s slowly creeping in. And I think if we have the intention—if we have the intention for, “I want to better myself. I want to have a breakthrough. I want to see the light. I want to understand,” then I think there’s an unseen process that happens in our mind, in our psyche, in our soul, in our being that helps us do the work.
Marc: So that’s kind of how I see what you’ve gone through.
You had a lot of intention. And it paid off.
Linda: Yeah, it did. It did. I’m ready. I just sort of feel like I want to—I feel like I kind of woke up, and I want to enjoy life now. It’s hard to put into words.
Marc: Those are good words. I think you just said that. “I woke up. I want to enjoy life” as opposed to, “I want to punish myself and hate myself into change.” You can just as easily enjoy yourself into change. You could enjoy yourself into transformation. And you could show up at the family gathering, go, “Hey, here I am. Let’s have fun. Let’s party.” And if anybody has an issue with your weight, that’s their issue.
Marc: It’s their issue. If anybody has an issue with your hair color, that’s their issue. If they have a problem with your shoes, that’s—who cares?
Linda: Yeah, yeah. Exactly, exactly. And I don’t think anyone will have an issue.
Marc: I don’t either.
Linda: They’re all loving people and yeah. So we’re good.
Marc: I think also especially if we don’t give people the space to have an issue.
Marc: If I’m a walking apology, “Oh, I’m sorry for being a man. I’m sorry for who I am. I’m sorry for how much I weigh. I’m sorry for what I”—if I’m a walking apology, then it is easier for me to invite attack. It’s easy for me to invite offense that comes my way. But if I don’t make room for it, if I’m clear inside me that if you don’t want to be my friend, I definitely don’t want to be yours. If you’re not loving on me, don’t expect me to love on you.
Marc: If you disapprove of me, then you don’t deserve my friendship.
Marc: It’s as simple as that. People are privileged to be a part of your life. They’re privileged to have you as a friend, as somebody who pays attention to them. And if they don’t get that value, great. They just self-selected out of your world. And it’s almost about—I’m thinking of a word. It’s kind of about self dignity.
Marc: So I just feel like this is your time to just sit in your throne and be a Queen and give the weight loss piece a little more of a rest is what I want to suggest to you. Notice when the thoughts come up, “Oh, okay. Okay, not that I’ve gone to this family gathering, I’ve got this other event. And okay, I want to lose 20 pounds for that.” Don’t lose weight for anything—
Marc: Or anyone or any event. Don’t do it. Just you wait for the moment when it feels right for you to do whatever weight loss strategy you want to do. It’s for you. It’s just for you because you want to feel better in your body.
Marc: Because you want to love yourself.
And you could love yourself in lots of ways and shape shifting your body to a place where it feels super comfortable, that’s one way to love yourself.
Linda: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I’m finding out that when you change your thoughts, your actions change. So I used to try to change my actions first and not change the thought. And that wouldn’t last very long. And so now, I’m thinking, change that thought pattern; believe who you want to be, who you really are, who you want to put out for people; and then your actions follow those thoughts.
Marc: Bingo. Good for you.
Marc: Good for you.
Linda: Yeah. Just one other quick thing that came to my mind when we were talking. A couple months ago—I have a sister-in-law who has always been on the weight battle with me. We’ve been soldiers in this battle. And she’s always the one I could bounce off these things like, “Oh my gosh, I gained 20 pounds. I’m struggling with weight.” We just used to talk like that all the time. Well, I called her recently and told her, “Oh yeah, I’m going to the reunion.” It was like two months ago. And said, “I’m going to the reunion. And I didn’t lose the weight. I’ve gained weight since the last time you saw me. So be prepared. You’re going to see me fatter again.” She’s like, “Stop it!” And her husband just got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And her life is a totally different perspective now.
Linda: And she kind of just put me in my place. These things—what you weigh is not important in life. That’s not the point of life. Anyway, she went on and on and on about, “You’re healthy. You’ve got a great family. You’ve got a great support system. Quit thinking about what you look like.” And it was sobering to hear. But it was something I needed to hear as well.
Marc: That is sobering. And she learned something very powerful in a very difficult kind of package. And sometimes, that’s what it takes for us. We have to really grasp that life is precious. And life is short. And life could be taken away from us in a moment. And why waste our time on the nonsense of self attacking?
Marc: It doesn’t serve anyone.
Linda: Right. Yeah. Don’t waste our life.
Linda: It’s short.
Marc: Yeah, yeah.
Marc: Well, Linda, I’m super glad you shared that. That’s really powerful. And I’m sending warm wishes to her and sending warm congratulations to you for really staying with yourself. And I just want to say one more thing about that. It feels like you’re more of a friend to yourself now. It feels like you’re not abandoning yourself because it would be no different than—imagine if every time you saw your husband, you said, “Oh, I don’t love you anymore because it looks like you’ve gained about a few ounces. Did you just eat something?” And every day, “I don’t love you. I don’t love you.” That would be awful. That would be terrible for someone you love to hear that from you.
Marc: And in a way, we abandon people, we abandon ourselves, when we start to attack or self-attack. And what I’m saying is this is your time in life to just stand by yourself. You are your advocate. You’re your hero.
Linda: Yeah. That’s good.
Marc: I’m super happy for you.
Linda: Well, thank you very much. I feel a lot better than the first time we talked. I felt like the first time we talked I was just so struggling and felt like a victim, of what I wasn’t sure, but just felt totally victimized. And I just feel a little more empowered this time around—
Marc: Yes. Good for you. That’s the name of the game. Sometimes, it’s baby steps. Sometimes, it’s giant steps. Sometimes, it’s a big breakthrough. We have to be open. We have to be willing. And you totally are. And you got the gift that you needed. And again, I want to suggest, give yourself a little more time to just—
Marc: Be you at this weight and own you, own your life, own your body for just a little longer. It could be weeks. It could be days. It could be months to just really get clear, “You know? I don’t have to change a damn thing if I don’t want to.” So once you could relax into that place, then you can also relax into, “And if I want to change this, I can put my energy there in a good way.”
Marc: So I think you’re positioned for all kinds of good success for yourself.
Linda: Good. I’m looking forward to it. And it’s freeing to think that I don’t have to think about losing the weight all the time.
Linda: Just don’t worry about it so much. Just enjoy life.
Marc: So true. So true. Good for you.
Marc: Thanks so much, Linda.
Linda: Well, thank you. I really am glad I met you this way.
Marc: Yay! Me too. Me too. It’s an honor to be on this journey with you. And for those of you listening in, thank you for tuning in. Once again, I am Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. I’ve been with Linda today. And my friends, lots more to come. I hope you tune in again. Take care.
I hope this was helpful. Thanks for listening to the Psychology of Eating podcast. To learn more about the breakthrough body of work we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of eating, please sign up for our free video series at IPE.tips. That’s I for institute, P for psychology, E for eating .tips (T-I-P-S). You’ll learn about the cutting edge principles of dynamic eating psychology and mind-body nutrition that have helped millions of people forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health.
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