Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 149: Follow-Up: Emotional Eating at 25 Years Old: A Surprising Cause

Sometimes, getting close to achieving our goals for our ideal body can be pretty scary. After all, our body may have altered its weight, shape, or appearance in the past because that’s what it thought we needed to keep us safe. Lindsey has done plenty of self exploration and healing work, and she’s now ready to take it to the next level and release the last remaining challenges: an extra 10 pounds, chronic eczema, and a less than friendly body image. In this inspiring session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, coaches Lindsey toward accepting and empowering herself as a beautiful young woman. Tune in and see how Lindsey is able to connect the dots between her past, her dreams, and her struggles with emotional eating.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

To see Lindsey’s first session with Marc, click here!

Marc: Welcome, everybody. I am Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And I’m here today with Lindsey. Welcome, Lindsey.

Lindsey: Hi, Marc.

Marc: And I should even say welcome back because this is our follow up session. And for people who are new to the podcast, Lindsey and I met a bunch of months ago, maybe back in February. We had our first time and only time session together. And this is our chance to connect and get an update and hear from you, Lindsey, what’s been happening.

So why don’t you first just give listeners the few nuggets of what you wanted to work on way back when we spoke in February.

And then give us a weather report of what’s been happening, where you’re at, any openings, breakthroughs, steps forward, steps back. You tell me.

Lindsey: Okay, sounds good. So when we spoke in February, I originally came to you wanting to talk about my binge eating. And that kind of stemmed from some past sexual traumas. When I was 16, I was raped. And then there were two abortions that followed.

And I did a lot of healing work. The physical symptoms that my body was showing, I was covered head to toe in eczema. And I went through a phase last year where I only wanted to heal it naturally. And I met an incredibly different part of my self. When your face is covered in something, there are different forms of masks that we wear, but that was definitely something that I’ve never experienced.

And so last August I took myself out of the game for a little bit. And I went to an ashram, which, for those of you that don’t know, is a spiritual community. And I stayed there for a month doing Karma Yoga. And my intent was to heal my eczema/heal from around the abortions. There’s so much grief that we don’t actually have time to process in our daily life. And I think for a lot of us it’s about fear that grief doesn’t have a bottom, that we’re just going to fall into this bottomless pit and never come out. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that later. So the ashram was probably the best and the worst month of my entire life, tons of insights and lots of work. But I still didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

The week before I was set to leave, do I go back to finish my business degree at the University of Calgary, which kind of occurred to me like I was selling my soul a little bit through doing that work. I just felt no connection to anything. And I had just turned 24, but I felt like not having a connection to something more, with a capital M, was really killing me. I was at my wit’s end. I said, “Universe, God, whatever, I need a sign.”

And the next day the Institute of the Psychology of Eating started following me on Instagram. And they were just this big Institute from Colorado. And I had no idea who they were. I had no idea that something like that existed. But I came to the ashram thinking okay, this is going to be great. My binge eating’s going to go away. I’ll be eating super healthy.

And I did eat really healthy. But then they would do this thing where they’d put up these amazing cookies for 50 cents. And the binge eating never went away when I was at the ashram.

So I was looking for books at the time on binge eating, emotional eating, what can I do. And so once I started checking out the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, I found that coaching program. And I knew that that’s what I’d be doing that year.

And in addition, I pulled out this book from the library in the ashram called Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. And if you’ve ever read that book, it’s by Christiane Northrup. And it’s 500 pages long. And so I knew that I wasn’t going to have time to read the whole thing in a week. So I sat down on the lake, and I opened it up to a random page. And it was the page on abortion healing rituals. And immediately when I read it, I started crying because I knew that one day I was going to lead those in Calgary. And I wasn’t sure how. And I knew that I had a lot of healing to do.

So I started doing a womb healing apprenticeship in January. And that’s been really cool.

But there’s this quote that Karl Jung has about freedom of choice, and that it’s basically choosing the path that’s not even chosen for you.

And in a way, I feel like that’s been the journey this year, is choosing what’s going on and asking where the universe has been calling me or is calling me.

So Marc, in February, I was doing my womb healing apprenticeship. And my skin was okay. I still had a lot of secondary symptoms. For the listeners that haven’t listened to the first podcast, I wanted to lose 10 pounds. But I also really wanted to focus on healing my eczema. I knew that if I had a perfect diet essentially my eczema would be gone and life would be perfect.

But that’s where naturopaths… it didn’t work, because they would give me this great diet, but I couldn’t follow it for some reason. And with Marc, we really dove in around how feeling safe your face kind of can change in the world, and weight can change, depending on how safe you feel.

And I kind of learned that eczema on my face was another way to keep me safe. And I didn’t have to deal with unwanted sexual attention from men or jealousy from women. And I didn’t have to step into my full power. People would feel bad for me. I could get lots of love by being a victim. It was great but also not.

And also, one of my secondary symptoms was my period was a little bit off. And I thought that that had a lot to do with being sexually inauthentic in my relationship, which I knew was coming to an end. He struggled a lot with alcohol. And he’s still on that journey. So another part around that was I had an IUD, which, for those of you who don’t know, is an intrauterine device. It’s a form of birth control. And I’ve had that for the past three years. And it’s always worked really well. But Marc, oh God, you’re just staring at me waiting for me to say it. And the words that are going to come out of my mouth, I can’t even believe that they are true almost. I can, and this full recap is getting me present to how amazing the universe really is in the most unexpected, crazy of ways.

So the day before I was going to break up with David, my partner, my period was off. It was two weeks late. And I thought okay, even though I have an IUD, and there’s less than a one percent chance that you can get pregnant with an IUD, I’m just going to take a pregnancy test just for my own peace of mind.

It might be nice to take it and have it be negative, just to know. And so this was mid March; this was March 14, I think. So I took the test. And it was positive. And maybe not immediately, it took me about a day to get there, but the question that we always ask for every client in this work is where is life and the universe calling me with this.

So there’s a high chance that when you’re pregnant with an IUD, it can be ectopic. So instead of breaking up with David, the next day he ended up taking me to the hospital to get the facts, what was what. And so we were in the hospital room. The doctor’s there. He set up the ultrasound. And he was like, “Oh, yeah, look at the screen. Do you see that little bundle of cells in your uterus? Yeah, that’s it.”

So I think just the idea that it wasn’t ectopic and that I had to go through making the choice again whether to keep a child or to abort it, there was a lot of grief. And, because there’s less than a one percent chance that I could’ve gotten pregnant, I told more people than I told in the past. I told my parents. I told my friends. I told my women’s circle leaders. I told the community that I felt safe with.

And it really gave them access to put any judgments around abortion aside and just be there fully for me. And so I got to experience, abortion or pregnancy, what that experience could be like with a community.

In September, when I got home from the ashram, a psychic gave me a name of a woman named Sarah Kerr, who is in Calgary. And she calls herself a death midwife. And I knew that I could not go through a third abortion because here I am again; I don’t want a child yet. I knew I could not go through a third at the same level of consciousness in which I had gone through the others. There had to be a better way. There had to be something different.

And also, one of my mentors brought to my attention, “This is your opportunity to heal the past two as well as do something different.” So I contacted Sarah. And I met with her. And Marc, you say it’s about body acceptance and weight acceptance.

And before you can lose the weight, you have to accept the weight and own the weight. And you had this saying, which really stuck with me.

Before you can lose a $100 bill, you have to own a $100 bill. And that was the idea that Sarah really brought.

So Sarah, she learned this one ritual in particular from shamans in Peru. It’s called a Despacho ritual. And you essentially make a prayer bundle. And she got their permission to bring back the ritual to our culture but to tweak it and use different symbols and different archetypes in ways that resonated with this culture now instead of sacrificing the womb of the lamb or, I don’t know.

But that just doesn’t resonate with us. So we need to change the symbols. So when I met with Sarah, she said, “Okay.” And she has this story around death. And it’s beautiful. I’m not going to go fully into it. But David and I, we named him Gabriel. I knew it was a boy.

She said, “Before we can say goodbye to Gabriel, we have to say hello.” And that was, I think, one of the most pivotal moments for me because that’s where so much pain comes from abortion, is going through daily life and pretending like nothing’s happening. And I know that there’s a lot of that in our culture, not just with abortion or with miscarriage, but you have a divorce, or you move, and there’s just all these small griefs that we’re not really allowed to grieve.

And so I took it seriously. We met on a Wednesday, and we booked an abortion healing ritual for the Sunday. And then the abortion was going to be the following Tuesday or Wednesday. And being with David also gave a whole different perspective on the men’s point of view, watching him go through the process of, “I don’t think I can do this. Okay, I think this is right. No, this is not right,” just back and forth. I only really had ever seen it from the women’s perspective. And so that really opened my eyes to how little support there is for men out there as well.

And so from Wednesday to Sunday I focused purely on… she said, “For the next four days that you’re a pregnant mama, just own that.” And that was one of the most freeing experiences. This sounds crazy to say, but I went to a prenatal yoga class. You connect with your womb. You connect with the soul. I would put my hand over my womb and say, “Thank you for coming,” and just send him love.

And the closer it got to Sunday, I started to tell him and prepare him that he’s not going to make it all the way to the far shore, the shore of the living. That’s how Sarah put it. But we’re actually going to turn the canoe around and send him back. And I ate like I would’ve eaten if I was doing it for real.

And I took a lot of time off from work. And I was in my body. And there was a meditation in my womb healing apprenticeship. It was a rebirth meditation. And there was one where it was you as a six-week-year-old fetus. And I listened to that meditation over and over. And sometimes David and I would listen to it because the way it was made was to have it feel like you were six weeks old in the womb. And it’s like you’re very attached to the cosmos, but you’re starting to experience the physical feelings of life. And your dream like state is constantly accompanied by the shamanic drumming of your mother’s heartbeat, things that you don’t think about in your daily life ever.

And so Sunday came. And David and I broke up during that week. So there was a lot of pain. There are three aspects of a ritual to create transformation. And one of them is to speak out loud. Another one is to be witnessed in a loving and unconditional way. And the third is to move it through the body in some way.

So David and I got to express things that we never would have ever said to each other. Our relationship was over. And yeah, we did a few rounds. And I spoke directly to Gabriel and directly to David, what my prayers were for both of them. And there was an opportunity for me to address Jackson and Olivia.

Those were my first two abortions. That’s what I named them. It was very clear that the first one was a boy and the second one was a girl. And I really got being able to carry them in my heart versus carrying them on my shoulders, which is what I’ve been doing for years.

And we also made prayers for other aborted souls that didn’t have this opportunity and the parents of people who’ve had abortions or miscarriages and then prayers for the world. And then we wrapped up this little bundle, this Despacho. And you wrap it up and tie it in a bow. And Sarah’s leading the ritual.

And then we go outside. And we built this big beautiful fire. And the idea is you place the bundle in the fire, and the spirits consume it. And so by the end of Sunday, the end of the ritual, I didn’t feel like there was anything more that we could’ve done. I did everything in my power to go through that process with as much love and as much consciousness as I could. And we both felt really ready for what was coming next.

David drove me to the clinic. And before we went in, we held hands. I’m not Catholic. I was raised Catholic, but I’m not religious. And so we said a little prayer. And then I had the abortion. And my body reacted much differently this time.

The previous two times I think I probably bled and had really severe, severe cramping for 20 to 30 days. And this time I bled for maybe a day. And there was no cramping. So the energy that was released throughout the week and through giving myself time and space to grieve… I was at home.

And if I needed to drop down to my knees and cry for ten minutes and then get back up and continue with my day, I could. And throughout the whole process I didn’t binge eat once except for the day, finally, that I went out. I was busy all day. I was studying with a friend and then teaching yoga. And I could feel the grief rising. And I kept pushing it down, pushing it down.

Marc: So I would love to share a few thoughts, if I may. Can I?

Lindsey: Yes, please do.

Marc: So first, thank you for sharing your story so generously. It’s very powerful. And I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a conversation like this – and I’ve been in a lot of conversations – with a woman who’s gone through the abortion experience in such a beautifully conscious and aware and thoughtful and sensitive way.

I have some understanding of abortion because I had one when I was probably 22 or 23, with a girlfriend at the time. And it was excruciating for both of us. So I understand the emotional and the soul pain. And I think that’s something that we, the collective we, we don’t always talk about. It’s like abortion’s good; abortion’s bad. It’s evil. Do it. Don’t do it. It’s my right to do an abortion. No, it’s not. And that’s the conversation that we usually hear. We don’t do this kind of conversation around it, which is it’s not just black and white. And regardless, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “Gee, I would love to have an abortion today. Wouldn’t that be lovely?” So it’s not fun for anybody. It’s not a good experience, really, I don’t think for anyone.

To me it sounds like you did some healing for yourself from previous experiences. And there are certain life events that happen to us that are powerful, that go beyond us, that are bigger than us, that impact us. This is one of them. And I just hear you really stepping into your womanhood in a very beautiful way and stepping into your young womanhood, really owning, I don’t know, the spiritual, the soulful, the shamanic part of you, however you want to say that.

And I’m so happy for you that you have been able to stay so awake and present, emotionally present, in this whole experience. It’s pretty stunning. And I couldn’t help but think as you were talking that I feel, for you, that you are on the path of a guide, of a mentor, of a teacher, that that’s kind of your archetype. It’s sort of your soul. And that’s a beautiful thing.

And in order to be a guide and a mentor and a teacher and a healer, we usually have to go through our own challenges and our own pain and our own dark nights of the soul, which you’ve been doing from a young age.

And a beautiful advantage that you have is that you’re now working on these hard places at a young age.

A lot of people don’t do the work on self until they hit their 40s or their 50s or even their 60s. And they have to go back in time and revisit events that were powerful, that got swept under the rug. And you’re on a very accelerated path here. And there’s a lot of good in that. And there’s a lot of life in that. There’s a lot of challenge in that.

So clearly you have what it takes to take it on. And I think what it takes is a lot of heart and a lot of soul and a lot of sensitivity. And I just want to say good for you, good work, really. Thank you.

Lindsey: Oh, thank you, Marc. And on the sensitivity note, you talked about turning your sensitivity into a super power. And that’s what I feel like this experience with the Institute for the Psychology of Eating has really given me access to. So thank you so much for just all of the work that you do.

Marc: You are welcome.

Lindsey: Because the acceleration, a lot of it was due to what I’ve learned through the Institute. So I’m very grateful.

Marc: Me, too. I’m grateful also. This, to me, has been, and is, a conversation that really matters. And these are the kinds of conversations I think humans should be having whenever necessary, just real and honest and raw and deep. And how’s your skin been?

Lindsey: Wow, good. I’ve been feeding it nourishing thoughts. And yeah, it’s done a 180. It’s not perfect. It keeps me humble, definitely.

Marc: I was going to say that. Skin issues do that in a big way. I want to be super clear. I’m not saying that I believe that one has a skin issue in order so one can be humbled. But what I am saying is that one of the side effects of a skin issue is that it engenders humility in us, because it simply does.

And that’s a beautiful thing to learn, especially at a young age, because life will humble us over time, and in a lot of ways, the sooner the better sometimes. And again, it’s a real acceleration just of your own evolution. And also it gives you the opportunity to just listen to what that symptom is trying to teach you. And it might teach you different things at different times.
And by all means you want to work on it. You want to clear it up, in part because you want to clear up your skin and have nice skin – who wouldn’t – but also in part to do the work that the genius of the body is asking us to do through our health challenges and our food challenges and our physical challenges. And I just see you rising to the occasion. Job well done, Lindsey.

Lindsey: Thank you so much, Marc.

Marc: Job well done. I’m super proud of you. And I’m so happy that you so graciously shared this with all of us. I really am.

Lindsey: You are so welcome.

Marc: Okay. So I’m going to put the bow on this conversation now. And there’s so much more to say, but I think this is a good place to just say deep breath; let’s call it complete. And I just want to say, again, you took this experience and worked it as good as a human being can. So really, congratulations. I hope you celebrate that for yourself. I really do.

Lindsey: Thank you.

Marc: And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. And once again, I’m going to say goodbye. I’m Marc David. I’ve been with Lindsey in the Psychology of Eating podcast. Powerful session today, lots more to come, my friends. 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 That’s I for Institute, P for Psychology, Eating for eating dot tips. 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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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.