Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode #183: Learning to Finally Trust Her Body & Her Life

Elizabeth can’t remember the last time she felt completely okay about her body or her health for a long period of time. She has spent so much energy and time second guessing her decisions and looking for the next best fix or solution. Like many others, she feels tortured by the contradictory nutrition advice and can work herself into a tizzy trying to find the right answer. The only time she feels completely comfortable is in silence and meditation. In this really relatable session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, works with Elizabeth through some issues that many can relate to. He helps her appreciate all that she already knows and to really trust her innate body wisdom. He guides her into really stepping into and owning her queenhood. And he gives us all an important reminder about relaxing into the unknowns of life and releasing the reigns on having to know all the answers all the time.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

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

Elizabeth: Hi. How are you?

Marc: I’m good. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad we’re doing this. Let me just let viewers and listeners know. For those of you who are new, here’s what this is about. Elizabeth and I haven’t officially met until about two or three minutes ago. And we’re going to do a session, less than an hour, and see if we can just kind of help move things forward a little bit faster. We’ll sort of push the fast forward button on things.

And with that in mind, Miss Elizabeth, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted out of this session, what would that look like for you?

Elizabeth: So I’ve been dealing with a lot of physical pain. And I would love to just feel comfortable in my body. And it’s been a long road when it comes to food and my body. And so I feel like I’ve let go of worrying about my food when it comes to my weight.

But I feel like I’m still stressed about my food when it comes to my “health.” And I feel like I manifest these pains because I’m so concerned with how I’m eating and what I’m eating and whether I’m eating the right thing. And then I start to wonder what that’s all about. So ideally, I would just love to be comfortable in my body physically and mentally.

Marc: So when you say you have pains, what kind of pains? Where?

Elizabeth: So lately, it’s been a gut thing, so sort of central stomach. And that’s been sort of all year long, coming and going. Something somebody would probably describe as heartburn.

And then lately, I’ve been having sort of a low back thing when I’m sleeping. It reminds me of when I was pregnant, and it’s just really sore to turn over side to side, that kind of thing. And that’s been a couple weeks now.

And it’s the kind of thing that every day I think, “Should I call the doctor today? No, it’s not that. It’s something else. Should I call the doctor today?” No.”

But I have a hard time sort of going to diet as a way to deal with things because I was a chronic dieter my whole life. So I don’t want to start getting stressed and putting morality around food when it comes to my health all over again, for a different reason. And I feel like I tend to do that.

And then I read all these books that talk about how great—if you get your food and your diet straightened out—how wonderful you can feel. And I get torn between these two worlds of, “No, it’s in your head. You need to work out the issue. It’s not about the food.” Or, “Wait, maybe it really is about the food. And I need to work on my diet.” So I get all stuck in the middle.

Marc: So I’m going to put the back pain thing aside because generally speaking that’s not going to be nutritional. A gut pain might be. And you also mentioned this thing called “I want to feel comfortable in my body physically and mentally.”

What does that mean to you, “I want to feel comfortable in my body”? What does that mean to you? Just give me some more words around that?

Elizabeth: Some of it is not worrying about these pains. That would make me more comfortable. Being able to recognize that if they happen it might be stress. It’s not necessarily something else.

I’ve been going through a job change this year too and starting a whole new life and starting a whole new career. And I know that’s stressful. And obviously, life can be stressful. So I’m constantly trying to feel like nothing is wrong. I always feel like something is wrong.

And then I always think it’s my food. And again, some of that is old habit. So for 30 years, I used to wake up every morning and think, “Something is wrong. Oh yeah, what I ate yesterday.” And that was my first thought every time I woke up.

And when I released that, it went away for a little while. But I feel like it’s back. And now it’s for a different reason. It’s, “You’re not eating well. And your health is suffering.” Or, “You should really be trying to cut out this or try that or eat more of this to get rid of this pain in your gut or this pain in your back” or whatever else it is that is bothering me.

So comfort to me just means not worried—not worried about my food, what I’m doing, and that I’m doing something wrong that’s harming me in some way.

Marc: So then, let me ask this a different way.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: So if you were now magically comfortable and it was all working out for you, what would that look like? Describe this experience that you would be having. Or describe what would be different for you.

Elizabeth: Interesting. Okay, so the stress and the worry about thinking that there’s something physically wrong with me would be gone. And then I feel like I could probably take my energies and invest them more thoroughly into things around me.

Yeah, it would just be nice not to think every time I go into the kitchen that what I’m eating is just so important. Or maybe it is. That’s where I get stuck. I feel like it would give me a lot of emotional freedom if I wasn’t worried about this.

Marc: So you would have more emotional freedom. Got it. And help me understand what weight for you has to do with all of this.

Elizabeth: Weight. Okay. Well, being a chronic dieter my whole life, I’ve always felt like I was “overweight.” And I’ve done a lot of work in the last few years to stop dieting, put weight on the back burner. I don’t get on the scale anymore. I know I’ve gained weight because my clothes got bigger. I had to get bigger clothes. But I did.

And I’m working really hard on the body image issues. And being comfortable in my body, that’s a whole other part of my whole journey/process that I’ve been working on this year.

So I’ve let go—and I’ll say almost entirely of the idea of necessarily losing weight even though I still feel like I have weight to lose. And I want to say I’ve put it completely on the back burner. I know I haven’t because certain things still bother me.

If I read that somebody went on the self care diet and lost weight or started loving themselves and released weight or did this or that to lose weight, I know it still nags at me that people are saying these things.

So weight is there. But I don’t think it’s my main issue anymore. I’m concentrating on going out and doing the things that I want to do regardless of the weight. And I’m trying to do that very consciously with the new job and putting myself out there in new ways and continually doing that. I’m continually seeking out, where is my stress coming from? And how can I sort of face my fears and go through it anyway.

So weight is there. It’s there. But I was starting to feel like it wasn’t the driver anymore. But then this “health” issue keeps coming up where I’m sort of judging my food based on how I—I’m trying so hard to learn how to listen to my body. And that’s part of it. And I feel like at times I don’t know how. So I don’t know if I’m just not listening to it, and it’s trying to tell me to do something different.

Marc: Sure. So you mentioned that, “Yeah, in the last year, I’ve been working on being more comfortable in my body.” So how’s that going for you? What has that kind of meant for you? And what kind of success have you had?

Elizabeth: I feel like I’ve been fairly successful. I don’t weigh myself anymore. When I needed bigger clothes, I bought bigger clothes. I’ve been focusing on the changes I want in my life regardless of weight. I did some public speaking this month for the first time ever where I just did it and kind of worked through my fear and stood up in front of the crowd. I’ve been working through the fear of being seen. I’ve done a lot of things around it, a lot of different courses and work.

I feel like that’s going well. Obviously, it’s definitely a progression. But I feel like I’m well on my way. And that all feels good. I’m very aware of it. If I have feelings or issues that are concerning me—let’s say I’m getting ready to go to a wedding. And I’m trying to get dressed and figuring out how I feel. I have a lot of tools now that sort of help me through those moments if I’m starting to feel bad. So I feel good about all that stuff.

And there’s more I want to do on that. There’s so much more to be gained that I know is out there. So I’m excited.

Marc: Yeah.

Elizabeth: I’m perfectly happy putting the weight behind me in order to go forward and go after the stuff that’s way more important.

Marc: Elizabeth, how old are you?

Elizabeth: 46.

Marc: 46. How many kids do you have?

Elizabeth: Three.

Marc: How old are they?

Elizabeth: 15, 12, and 10.

Marc: Whew! Are you a full time mom? Or…?

Elizabeth: Actually, I’m an actuary. That is my official profession, although I’m trying to change that this year. And I work part time doing that.

Marc: Okay. Okay. So are you married, in relationship?

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: Got it.

Elizabeth: Yep, I’ve been married 19 years as of November 1st.

Marc: Okay. How does your partner feel about your body, your weight?

Elizabeth: Loves it and wishes I would just love it as much as he does. He’s completely awesome with it. And just wants me to embrace myself.

Marc: How does that feel for you?

Elizabeth: Good. But hearing him say it is awesome. And I’m so happy and grateful that I have that. But you still have to feel it yourself. It’s okay that he says that. That’s fantastic. And I’m getting to the point where I feel it more myself. But definitely still working on it for sure. I’m probably not quite as free with myself around him as he would like to be.

Marc: Is your mom around? Is she in your life?

Elizabeth: Yes, sort of. Estranged.

Marc: How’s her relationship with her body?

Elizabeth: It’s okay. She’s was sort of one of those moms that always ate like a bird. She was never hungry. I think that’s actually kind of a classic dieting thing.

Marc: Yeah, yeah.

Elizabeth: And now, she’s more overweight because she’s very sedentary. And she’ll comment on it. But she lives alone. She doesn’t really care that much anymore, so to speak. She’s in her 70s. So it’s not one of her top priorities. But I know it bothers her. Yeah, she’s definitely not empowered about it or on the end of the spectrum that I’m trying to get to. Yeah.

Marc: So I want to get back to this thing called feeling more comfortable in my body.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: Comfortable is an interesting word.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: It’s just an interesting word because usually when we say comfortable, we all have a different definition of what is comfortable. So that’s why I was asking you a few questions about it just so I can get an idea of your definition of comfortable.

Let me just issue a theoretical question. If you’re uncomfortable in any given moment, what do you do so you get comfortable? Is there a general thing? “Well, if I’m uncomfortable, what I do to get comfortable is…”?

Elizabeth: Yeah, and I guess if I’m in my house alone, that’s one thing. If I’m uncomfortable, maybe I’ll shift position, go lie down. But sometimes, you’re at work or something. And if you’re uncomfortable sitting there in your work clothes at a table at a desk with a lot of people, you can’t necessarily go lie down if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

And luckily I work from home mostly. So most of the time I can be comfortable. If my jeans feel tight, I can go put on some other pants and get more comfortable. But I find that even when I’m in my comfortable clothes, I just feel tension. I feel tension and sort of resistance in my body. And then my mind cycles over to, “Maybe you need to eat more vegetables” or that there’s a reason for it. And then I kind of start going down that rabbit hole. And I’m just sick of going down that rabbit hole.

Marc: Okay, I think I understand. So it sounds like what happens in your body, whatever it is, something goes on. And it triggers certain thoughts for you. And all of a sudden, you’re in a rabbit hole. Thoughts get triggered, and you’re in a rabbit hole. And you call that being uncomfortable. Okay, I think I’m getting it.

Elizabeth: Essentially, because that means I’m doing something wrong maybe. Or there’s something I should change. Or there’s something I need to address or whatever it may be. That’s where the rabbit hole sort of gets me.

And then I almost know too much in terms of all the nutrition. I read so many books, listen to so many podcasts, and look at websites. And they all have an idea of “detox from these skincare products” or “eat this and feel great.” And sometimes, it’s overwhelming trying to figure out what to do.

But I also don’t always think that that’s it. I feel like that’s the distraction. And maybe there’s something else behind it.

Marc: Okay. Okay. So I think I’m starting to get more of a picture here. Correct me if I’m wrong here. It sounds to me like you’re still trying to figure some things out about your body and your weight and your diet. And you’re not trying to figure it out as much as you used to. You’re not pushing it so hard. And you’re not letting it consume you like you used to. But you still think about it.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: And when you do, it’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: Okay. When you fall into the rabbit hole, then all the nonsense in the head starts. You get uncomfortable in your body and start going down all these tunnels of “is this wrong? Is this right? Should I do this? Should I do that?”

Elizabeth: Correct.

Marc: Okay.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I’m still judging it—judging it for a different reason. But I’m still judging it all the time.

Marc: Great. Okay. So let’s do this. Let’s identify the place that if you start to tweak a little bit—because I asked you before, what do you do when you’re uncomfortable? You said, “Well, you shift your position. Or if I’m uncomfortable in these clothes, I take them off. I put on something different.”

So what I heard you say is, “If I’m uncomfortable, I make an adjustment as best I humanly can. Hey, you’re at work. Sometimes, you can’t just go lie down. You’ve got to deal with it.” It makes total sense. So we get uncomfortable. We make adjustments.

There’s an adjustment for you to make here that is a little bit different than your usual adjustment. It’s a little different than changing clothes or changing position or anything like that. It sounds to me like when you start to make the right adjustment for where you keep falling into discomfort, you might see a little bit of headway here.

Where I think the challenge is happening for you is you’re pretty aware of exactly what goes down for you. You’re pretty aware. As soon as you start to gather information, read this, and read that, chances are you’re going to go down a weird tunnel, it sounds like. Is that true or false? Reading something—somebody’s weight loss success story that you have tried or didn’t try or should try or think you should try or a diet to make you healthier—things grab you.

Elizabeth: Yeah, and then I don’t know what to do next. So I’ll read a book on digestion because I’ve got this pain that kind of feels like heartburn. And I think, “Oh, maybe it’s inflammation of some kind. And I should be eating things that deal with that.” And then I’ll read some of the stuff on what you should do for that.

And then I almost don’t know where to start because then it starts feeling too “diety” to me. So, oh, I’ve got to cut this out or that out. And then I don’t do anything. Let’s just take coffee for example. I’ll read that coffee is acidic, and you shouldn’t drink it. And then I’ll read something else that says coffee has polyphenols, and you should drink it.

And then I end up going, “I don’t know what to tweak. I don’t know what adjustment to make. And this feels like too much work. So I’m going to put that on the back burner.” And then again, I still keep thinking maybe that’s not it. Maybe I’m getting too lost in the details because I’m avoiding dealing with other bigger issues. So I just don’t know which way to go. And I’m kind of trying to play the fence.

Marc: Got it.

Elizabeth: And do a little of both.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. So how about this? I think an interesting approach and an interesting tact might be to ask yourself what you really want in the big picture for yourself because right now, I don’t hear that you have a clear goal. It might be weight loss but kind of not. But it kind of is. But it kind of isn’t. It’s…comfort is feeling better about being in your body. But you’re not sure how to get there.

So I guess what I’m really looking at for you here is what a bigger decision would look like, what shooting for a higher target looks like for you because what I’m hearing on a bigger level is that you don’t know how to trust yourself. And you don’t know how to manage information that’s coming at you.

When you get information, you become a 12 year old. And I say that affectionately. You’re like, “Oh!”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: You literally become a little kid.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: And you don’t know how to process it. All of a sudden, you might as well be holding your parent’s hand going, “Oh my god. All this information—what do I do? Where do I go next?” So you get a little paralyzed. And it sends you back into kind of the past really. You’re going somewhere into being a kid.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: You’re being confused.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: And I hear you stepping out of your adulthood. I hear you stepping out of your queenhood. And once you step out of that, you can’t solve anything because you’re literally a different person who cannot solve it.

The person you become genetically, technically, intellectually cannot solve the problem because Elizabeth, the 40-something year old that we know, is gone. She ain’t there. Who is there is a confused girl.

And what I’m asking you to do is to consider circumventing that entire process to understand that that is what is happening. And rather than focus on, “Should I eat this or not eat that? Should I focus on diet? Should I focus on the bigger picture? Should I focus on the smaller picture? Should I focus on whatever?” I’m saying no.

What I’m more interested in focusing on is for you to notice when you step out of being an adult, when you step out of being a queen, when you step out of your royalty, when you step out of your dignity, and all of a sudden, you become a human that would be unfit to raise children because you’re a child. Children don’t raise children.

Now, I know you’re a successful woman adult because you’ve raised children so far. You have a good marriage. Life is okay, all things considered. Hey, there are a few things going on that we don’t like, that you have going on in your body—understandable. But what’s happening is, when you step out of your womanhood, it’s all screwed.

And right now, we’ve been trying to solve your challenge by helping that little kid kind of figure out should the little kid focus on nutrition? Or should the little kid focus on that? I just want to have that kid step to the side.

So what I’m asking you to do is to begin to catch yourself when you do your personality shift because it’s that personality shift that ultimately brings you into this thing you’re calling discomfort because all of a sudden you’re—I don’t know…I’m going to pretend she’s 13 years old. And she’s going through puberty. And she’s not comfortable in her body. And when is this going to change? When is this going to feel better? What do I have to do to make this feel better?

There’s a place I’m going to guess for you. So many humans have this. It boggles my mind. I’ve had this where we’re not taught how to be comfortable in our bodies from a young age. We just don’t have that—

Elizabeth: Well, yeah. And not only that, but I was taught that whatever you’re doing is wrong because I had a bigger body. So from the time I was a little kid, I was always a bigger kid.

So I was always taught that whatever you are doing is wrong which is why I think when you’re identifying that that’s where I’m stuck makes perfect sense because that kid never got any mentoring or any support and was trying to figure it out the whole time and went down the diving path which didn’t necessarily lead me where I wanted to go. So I’m here. And that definitely makes sense that that part is still stuck.

The only time I feel good is when I am deep in meditation and telling myself that everything that I need to know is inside me, and I have all the answers. When I connect with that, I feel great. But then I come out of meditation and have to go on with my day. And I sort of lose that peace of mind as I deal with everything else.

Marc: Bingo! That’s it. Bingo!

Technically speaking, you don’t need me or anyone like me anymore. There’s the answer right there. It’s like when you connect to your—you didn’t use these words. But I’m going to use these words—higher self.

Or you can call it your inner wisdom, your inner queen, your inner adult, the part of you that’s able to look at yourself from a higher perspective and go, “Oh, you’re not that little kid. You’re fine. You’re okay.”

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: “You’re on the right path.” When you connect with that, you feel comfortable. You feel good. Now, when you come out of that, it’s like, “Oh my god, I’m out of that.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So this sounds so mundane and so simple. But that is the work. The work is to learn how to hold that space—

Elizabeth: Yes.

Marc: Longer.

Elizabeth: Yes.

Marc: Plain and simple. Learn how to hold the space longer. The longer you hold that space, the longer you hang out there. The longer you hold it, the more you train yourself to be there longer, the easier it is and the more momentum you build.

So what is happening is when you get knocked out of that place, like any kid, it’s like, “Ah, I don’t have it anymore. I lost it. And I want to go watch TV. Give me some ice cream. I don’t like this game. Let’s do something different.” When a kid gets disappointed, they give up easily generally speaking because that’s what a kid does. Let Mommy or Daddy do it.

So that is why I am saying to you, you are at an age and you’re at the kind of understanding, in my opinion, where you want to look at the game—you want to look at this experience—differently in order for you to get where you want to go. So I want you to get where you want to go.

Right now, to me you want to be comfortable which really what I hear is you want to be free from getting trapped in a rabbit hole that you get trapped in. So we’re identifying the rabbit hole.

I’m suggesting—it sounds like you’re agreeing—that this rabbit hole is from back then when this young girl was told, “You’re doing it wrong.” Now, you were a good kid. And like any good kid, you want to do it right. Somebody told me as a kid I’m doing something wrong, I want to do it right, especially if you’re going to like me better.

Elizabeth: Yep.

Marc: Especially if it’s going to change my body so you stop insulting me and shut up and treat me better.

Elizabeth: Yep.

Marc: So you wisely made the choice, “Oh, the adult world is telling me these things. I need to do it better. It seems like I’m supposed to be doing it different. It should be my diet. It should be something. How do I lose this weight?”

So we’re at a point where that message in your mind, even though there’s nobody telling you that anymore—your parents are not telling you that anymore. Nobody is banging you on the head, telling you all that nonsense. You are repeating the insult that was taught to you. Why? Because that’s what we do. Humans do that.

When a wound happens, when an insult happens, in order for us to resolve it, we actually end up repeating the wound or repeating the insult until we resolve it. It’s just kind of the way the mind works.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So you’ve taken on the job of the big bad world.

Elizabeth: And so now I’m repeating it to myself with all the messages that I’m getting that maybe aren’t coming from my parents. But they’re coming from the website I read that said you should eat this in order to feel this.

Marc: Right.

Elizabeth: So I’m taking those and doing the same thing to myself.

Marc: Right. So this is all about you catching yourself in the moment. So everybody’s always looking for the magic bullet and the magic pill here. Here it is. Literally, here it is. It’s not sexy. But what it is, is you notice. You stay awake in the place you normally go to sleep. Okay. “Oh, I’m on this website. Oh, it sounds like these people know what they’re talking about. I should be doing this. But I’m not. Oh my god!”

So there’s where you want to catch yourself. And you want to go, “Whoa, Elizabeth. Whoa. You’re going down that tunnel.” Deep breath. Close eyes. Meditate for a minute. And you have to catch yourself and strengthen yourself and invent a way in the moment—and this is through daily practice—to hang in that positive place longer.

So it’s an intention. It’s a choice. It’s a commitment. People often try to use the word “willpower.” It’s not really willpower. It’s a personal choice and then doing one’s best to live into that choice. So you have to hang onto that adult part of you and literally breathe more when you feel her leaving your body.

It would be no different than if you were teaching your kids not to trust themselves. And you say to them every time you leave the house, “I want you to feel uncomfortable. I want you to not know what to do. I want you to cross the street and go, ‘Oh my gosh. Should I cross? Should I not cross? Is it safe? Is it not safe?’”

Imagine teaching your kid to hesitate at any given moment. They wouldn’t like that. You wouldn’t like that. They wouldn’t turn out so healthy. So now, you’re re-parenting yourself. You are re-parenting yourself. You are teaching yourself how not to hesitate.

So when you start to hear your mind going, “Oh, I just read this. I should be doing this. I should be doing that.” You have to let it go. You literally have to catch yourself before that glass of alcohol goes down any further and go, “No, I’m going to place it down.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: That’s it. That’s the practice. And some days, you’re going to do that really well. And you’re going to go, “Wow! I did it.” And other days, you’re going to go, “Oh, man. I got sucked in.”

Elizabeth: Right. And I’m laughing because even as you’re talking, I’m both agreeing with you and disagreeing with you in my head.

Marc: Yeah.

Elizabeth: Because there’s a part of me that knows that’s totally true. And I already knew that. But then there’s another part of me that’s saying, “But look at all these people with all these self help books and all this information that they’re giving us about how to best live life and be healthy.”

Marc: Yeah.

Elizabeth: “And not be diseased.”

Marc: So I’m asking you to draw a line in the sand here.

Elizabeth: And just not go there?

Marc: And just don’t go there.

Elizabeth: Just don’t go there.

Marc: Just don’t go there.

Elizabeth: Regardless of what I’m eating and regardless of what I’m drinking. And just don’t go there.

Marc: Don’t go there. And it is fine for you to step into your wisdom in any given moment and step into your questioning, meaning if you’re going to go—I don’t know—get in a taxi cab and the car stops for you and you look in the car and you don’t feel safe about getting in that car, you’re going to make a choice. It’s fine for you to make a choice in that moment. “What’s good for me? What do I think is going to be good for me? God, this could be the nicest cab driver in the world. I don’t feel safe. I’m not getting in.” It’s a choice. What is the right choice? It’s not a bad choice.

So I’m asking you, yeah, you can still notice what you eat. You could still notice how you feel. You could still tweak your diet. But I’m asking you to do it from the place of an adult and stop making it mean so much.

Elizabeth: Yeah, and I think that’s where I’m getting stuck because I’m new at this. I feel like when we talk about acting like a child—because I feel like I was just born when it comes to this stuff. It’s only been a few years that I even realized that I was in diet culture and that I have been berating myself for what I’ve been doing with my body my whole life long. So I do feel so—don’t know how to say it other than like a baby—

Marc: Yeah!

Elizabeth: When it comes to trying to discern between—

Marc: You are.

Elizabeth: Really listening to my body’s wisdom that says you really want to eat a salad or whether I’m listening to the chatter that says you need more plant-based foods in your life.

Marc: Okay. So I’m going to agree with you. So this is a place where you’re kind of a little baby. You’re learning. You’ve got your training wheels on.

You’re a mother. You have three kids. When you’re helping your kids in a place where they feel challenged, pretend you’re your mother right now. You’re the daughter. And you’re going to give you your best, loving, motherly advice around this. What would you say to yourself?

Elizabeth: Oh, see that’s where I don’t know. And I probably do know if I think about it. But I feel like I never got that lovingly, mentored advice about—

Marc: You didn’t.

Elizabeth: I didn’t.

Marc: You didn’t. But you’re smart now because you’ve been on the planet 40-something years.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: You’ve been raising three kids.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: You know kids. Okay. What would you tell your girl if she was you and she was 12 years old, going through this? What would you say to her? And remember, you love her. And you care about her.

Elizabeth: What would I say to her if she was going through trying to make a decision about what to do with herself?

Marc: Trying to make a decision about, “Oh my gosh, should I eat this? Should I eat that? And why do I keep worrying about it? And I get all upset. And I think I need to fix it. And I change it.” What would you tell her if she had this same conundrum?

Elizabeth: Obviously, I would tell her what I try to tell myself which is try to listen to the inner wisdom that tells you what you want to do in that situation. But yeah, what you’re asking is exactly what I have a problem with. So I don’t know how to answer it because even if it was my daughter, I would obviously try to guide her to the place that felt the best for her and get her away from trying to satisfy any external input.

But even with them, I worry. I still worry with them too about the balance between the external input and the internal input in terms of there is a lot of good information out there too. It’s that discernment that I don’t have between listening to my inside and listening to the outside.

Marc: Okay. So you’re learning how to listen to the inside and listen to the outside. It seems to me—and tell me if you disagree. But all humans need to learn at some stage, or at many stages, how to balance what I’m feeling and thinking and knowing and believing on the inside and what’s coming at me from the outside.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So I don’t know. If somebody was telling your girl, “Here’s what I want you to do. Come with me. Or go on this date with me. Or sleep with me.” Then she’s going to have to make choices and decisions. So what I’m saying here is we’ve got to learn that.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: So what happens is you argue a little bit for your inefficiencies and why you have them. And I get it because we all have places where we have to catch up a little.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: We all have places where we learn very well. There are places where you’re ahead of the game. And there are places where you’re not. So this is a place where you’re catching up. You’re learning how to balance outside information and inside information. So all I’m saying is you’re on a learning journey.

Elizabeth: Completely. And I need to learn to trust my gut which is why I think it’s so ironic that that’s what hurts.

Marc: Yeah.

Elizabeth: And I get that.

Marc: Yeah. To me, that’s the first moment in this conversation it felt for me like you really dropped into a little bit more of a knowing for yourself. It felt like you spoke with your body just now. “I have to trust my gut more.”

Elizabeth: Right. And I can do that. It’s just that’s not where I live. I live more in that place that I’ve been talking to you about which is why we’re having this conversation.

Marc: Bingo.

Elizabeth: Because if I didn’t live in that place, I wouldn’t have signed up for the podcast and be so curious about what we were going to talk about.

Marc: Right.

Elizabeth: And still be seeking answers.

Marc: Yeah.

Elizabeth: I’m still looking outside myself.

Marc: Yeah. So I’m saying the way you live in that place is you keep finding ways to ground yourself there more and more. And you intentionally, very, very specifically try to keep hanging out there.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: And notice when you start to check out there. So it is about learning to trust yourself. And what I want to suggest—this might be helpful for you. When you see yourself slipping away, a good question to ask is, do I choose to trust myself? Or do I choose to not trust myself?

Lay it on the line because oftentimes what happens is you choose not to trust yourself which then sends you into chaos which you call discomfort.

What you call discomfort is you simply not trusting yourself, is you being a 12 year old which is understandable. It’s totally understandable. No harm done there because that was your upbringing. That was how you were taught. That’s how you were raised.

So again, I’m saying, you are re-parenting yourself. Being a good mother means, hey, you don’t always know exactly what you’re doing as a mom. But what you do know is you’re always going to love your kids. Loving them is generally speaking—whether it’s sweet love, tough love, whatever kind of love. Loving them generally helps. Wisdom generally helps.

So when you remind yourself, “Hey, do I choose to trust myself in this moment? Or do I choose to not trust myself in the moment?” then you are giving yourself a choice. And you are allowing your adult self, your higher self, your witness self, whatever you want to call it, to step to the forefront. And I’m saying that’s a choice. And I’m saying you’re going to go back and forth because the little girl in you is very active.

Elizabeth: Very.

Marc: And she wants to figure it out.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: She wants to figure it out. And she wants to have a nicer body according to what everybody says it should be. And what I’m saying is I think it’s wise for you to put that aside as best you can. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that you don’t say, “Hey, maybe I should eat slower. It might help me not have heartburn.” Or, “Hey, maybe I will experiment not drinking wine at night—I don’t know—so I don’t have heartburn.” That’s not a limitation. That’s an adult experiment.

Elizabeth: Right. Right.

Marc: So you have to start to re-concept what you call limitations. That’s like if you tell your kids, “It’s 11 o’clock. It’s time to go to bed.” And they go, “Mommy, that’s a limitation.”

Elizabeth: Right. Right.

Marc: That’s what you’re doing. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. And you’re yelling, “Mommy, that’s a limitation. I don’t want to go to bed.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: It’s not a limitation. This is what we do.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So you’re going to feel better tomorrow. Okay, let’s try staying up till 3 in the morning. And then let’s wake up at 8 and see how we feel. That’s a nice experiment.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So you need to let your adult show up. You know who she is. You know what she sounds like and looks like. You know what happens when she escapes. And it’s just about you being more vigilant. You’re there right now.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: That’s who’s talking to me right now. At the beginning of the conversation when we first started out, it was a different person talking. It’s literally I can watch you shift.

Elizabeth: I wish I could watch me shift.

Marc: Yeah. And it’s sweet, the little girl part of you. It’s sweet. And it’s endearing. And it’s a part of you that has given you advantages. So there’s a part of you that when you get all innocent and all sweet and all young, people are going to rescue you. And people might feel a little sorry for you. Or it might just be a little bit easier because no one’s going to beat up on a kid. So for part of you, it’s familiar, safe place that you go to.

Elizabeth: Although I never let anybody else see the kid. Nobody else in my world would ever know that I struggled with this to the degree that I do.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Elizabeth: And they don’t.

Marc: Understood.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: Understood. So it’s you learning how to love that kid. So here’s a thing. Here’s the paradox. And this, I think, is an important distinction. That little kid in you, she needs your absolute adult love. You need to go, “Hey, I totally understand why you feel this way, why you do this. You didn’t get love. You got some bad information. You were not taught how to trust yourself. You were told you were doing stuff wrong. You were told you had to fix this, that, and the other thing. That’s a lot of nonsense pressure to put on a child. It’s not fair. It’s not good. And you’re trying to correct that now which is a beautiful, noble thing.”

So in doing that, it’s you loving that kid but loving that kid from your adult place and being able to look at her and go, “Oh, look. Here’s you showing up now. Big hug. Isn’t that sweet? Here you are feeling uncomfortable, feeling insecure. But here’s adult me.”

And what adult me says is, “You’re going to learn how to trust yourself.” And trusting yourself means we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. So if you want an answer, you want to know what’s going to happen in the future, nobody knows.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: No one knows who’s going to be the president. No one knows when they’re going to get sick, when they’re going to die, when this is going to happen, when the sun is going to shine or not. We don’t know.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So if you want to know, is this outcome going to happen for me? It’s the wrong question because these are things we can’t know.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: Is it possible to lose weight? Sure. Is it possible to gain weight? Sure. So the answer is yes.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So the answer is yes to any of it. Anything is possible. But what’s most important right now is that if, for any reason, your body was going to shift in a direction that you truly wanted it to go, my sense is, given where you’re at in your journey, it’s not going to happen until you learn to step into your adult, to step into your woman and your queen and live there as opposed to living mostly through your 12-year-old girl inside you when it comes to all this because she can’t ground herself.

Elizabeth: Well, I’m feeling like maybe it’s just too early in my journey/growth to expect my inner wisdom to make sort of nutritional decisions for me because I’m not used to listening to her for that. So I keep thinking, “Well, if I just listen to my inner wisdom, it’s going to tell me the answers to these questions.” And I do think that’s true. But I just don’t think I’m there yet. I don’t think I’m at the place where I can listen to that.

Marc: Okay.

Elizabeth: Because right now, I just get mad and want to have a tantrum and say, “Why do I have to change at all? Everything’s fine.”

Marc: So that’s the kid in you. So I want you to be able to recognize that.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: The one that wants to have a tantrum is the kid in you. And you have to manage that. You literally have to be an adult parent for yourself. And you have to manage that. You have to go, “Oh, here’s me about to go into a tantrum. And here’s me bucking the system and being upset at the rules.” And I want you to catch yourself. I want you to notice yourself in those moments and just stay present and stay awake.

And also understand it’s not like we’re looking for our inner wisdom to give us these timeless, holy answers that are coming from the absolute truth of the universe. No! It’s listening to your intuition and going, “Okay, let me try eating this. Oh, here’s something I read. I’ll experiment with that. Huh, it worked. Huh, it didn’t.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: That’s it. It’s trial and error.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: Trusting yourself doesn’t mean trusting you’re going to get the right answer all the time.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: Trusting means, “I’m going to try this. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, I’m not going to die.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: “I’m not going to shoot myself. I’m not going to jump out of a window because it didn’t work. I trust that I will rebound and that if I ate this and I don’t feel good, fine.” You’ll wake up the next day. And you’ll do it different. You didn’t die. It didn’t kill you. It never has. It never will. You see where I’m going?

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: So it’s being in an exchange. And it’s being willing to be wrong. And it’s being willing to be messy. It’s being willing not to get it right. And to experiment like every other scientist does. Like every other person exploring their body, you experiment. “Let’s do it like this and see how it feels. Let’s eat this. Let’s think that.” So it’s all your experiment and trusting your experiment is a good one.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: And you’ll keep doing your best. And you’ll keep standing by yourself even if you ate the wrong thing seven days in a row. It’s like, “Okay.”

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: So I’m trying to say here that there is an attitude and an approach that’s a little bit lighter and that’ll make it more interesting for you.

Elizabeth: Yeah. No, it makes perfect sense. It’s almost like a piece that you’ve identified that sort of fits the whole story that I wasn’t even thinking about really. I know I have this adult side of myself. But I hadn’t really identified the noise as being the child. So that’s nice. I like sort of being about identify it that way.

Marc: Yeah.

Elizabeth: Because I know I’m aware of when the noise starts. So now, I can just identify it and be able to hopefully quiet it.

Marc: Right. And that’s the work. That’s the work. It’s learning how to quiet it. And quiet it means you invoke your adult. It doesn’t mean you smack your kid.

Elizabeth: Right. Right.

Marc: “Shut up.”

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: You hug the kid.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Marc: And you say, “Here’s adult me. Here’s mothering me.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: “Here’s wise me.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: Wise me doesn’t have to have the answers. Wise me says, “It’s okay.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: “You don’t even have to do anything right now. If you’re not sure, you can just step back. If you’re not sure, you can just try something. And if it works, great. I love you. And if it doesn’t work, great. I love you.”

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: Done.

Elizabeth: Right.

Marc: And then you stand by yourself as an adult instead of abandoning yourself as a kid. So it’s you constantly invoking your adult and making sure you can access her and ground her in your body. She’s the one that will feel more comfortable. The 12-year-old girl from back then does not feel comfortable.

Elizabeth: Right. Right.

Marc: But you’re going to help her feel more comfortable by loving her a little bit more. So this is you re-parenting you. And I think if you focus on this strategy for awhile and really, really focus on it, you will notice a huge difference for yourself. I really believe that.

Elizabeth: I love that. I really love that. Yeah.

Marc: Me too. I think we got to a good place.

Elizabeth: I think we did too. I agree. I agree.

Marc: Yay! Yay!

Elizabeth: Yay!

Marc: Well, Elizabeth, I really appreciate you kind of sharing your journey and being willing and open and just having such a great, open attitude about it. So appreciate it. I think this is going to serve a lot of people. And we’ll connect a bunch of months down the line and see how you’re doing.

Elizabeth: That’s fantastic. Well, it was an honor to be able to talk to you. So this was really great. I really appreciate it.

Marc: Same for me, Elizabeth. I really appreciate it too.

And to everybody tuning in, thank you so, so, so, so much.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2016

Get Your FREE Video Series

New Insights to Forever Transform Your Relationship with Food

P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our FREE information-packed video series, The Dynamic Eating Psychology Breakthrough, you can sign up for it HERE. It’s a great way to get a better sense of the work we do here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. If you’re inspired by this work and want to learn about how you can become certified as an Eating Psychology Coach, please go HERE to learn more. And if you’re interested in working on your own personal relationship with food, check out our breakthrough 8-week program designed for the public, Transform Your Relationship with Food, HERE.

About The Author
Marc David
Founder

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.