Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #197 – An Unexpected Connection Between Food & Sexuality
Scott has been feeling that he isn’t enough for some time. He wants to change his body, lose weight, feel more secure with money, and feel more at ease with food. He and Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, explore what’s really at the root of his unease in his own skin. Scott connects the dots when it comes to his own self-rejection and where he has felt rejected by his parents for his sexuality. He reflects on forgiveness and letting go of the imprint of some of his earliest experience of coming out and not feeling fully accepted. He commits to changing the story in order to radically change his situation and his life.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Marc: Welcome everybody, I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We are in the “Psychology of Eating” podcast. I am with Scott today. Welcome, Scott!
Scott: Thanks! Good to be here.
Marc: Yeah, same here. I’m glad we’re doing this. And let me just say a few quick words for listeners and viewers who are new to the podcast. Here’s what we do: Scott and I have just officially met for the first time a couple minutes ago, and we’re going to spend about an hour together and hopefully push the fast forward button on a little bit of change and transformation and see what we can make happen.
So, Scott, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted from this session, what would that look like for you?
Scott: I would be super happy in my body that I have, and my body would release 30 pounds. I’d totally be happy.
Marc: Ok, I like that!
Scott: And there’s a feeling of lack I’ve got too. That’d be nice if that was gone.
Marc: Feeling a lack. Just give me some more words—what that means for you, how that shows up for you.
Scott: In my eating patterns, I’m afraid to be hungry. And I’m also afraid to be without money. So, somehow they’re related, and I would love to figure out what it is. That’s my big thing.
Marc: Got it. Afraid to be hungry, afraid to be without money. Lose 30 pounds. Love your body.
Scott: That’s a big hour!
Marc: The loving your body kind of comes along with losing the weight, for sure.
Scott: I wish it didn’t, but it still does, a little bit. That’s part of it.
Marc: Yeah, I get it. Makes total sense. So, for you, can you give me a sense of the first time you looked in the mirror or talked to yourself and said, “This is not ok, this body”?
Scott: I was young. I was young. Probably 6th grade, so what’s that—12? 10? 12?
Marc: Yeah, it’s young.
Marc: And what do you think sparked that? I’m just curious. There doesn’t have to be a right answer here, when you look back on it.
Scott: No, no. I’ve done a lot of self-work in the last year, and I’ve traced it back to a negative pattern from a parent who had a pretty low self-image. And so, I think I adopted that pretty early.
Marc: Did you start dieting at any particular age?
Scott: No, I won’t do it! No. Huh-uh.
Marc: So, how do you try to lose weight? Do you just kind of, like how do you relate to the pounds on the body, from that perspective?
Scott: I’ve tried exercise, I’ve tried personal trainers, I’ve tried hypnosis. I’ve tried lots of stuff, but I don’t stick to anything for very long. Exercise is really un-fun. And I’ve tried a diet here and there, but it never lasts for more than a few days. I just kind of give up. Like, “Oh, I guess this is the way it’s going to be.” You know. Defeat.
Marc: So, when you say you give up, do you notice why you give up? Do you tell yourself, “Oh, too much work! Too hard! I don’t like this!” What do you tell yourself about why the giving up happens?
Scott: It is [too hard]. It’s like, “Oh, this sucks. I don’t like this. I can’t be like this forever. This isn’t sustainable.” I like meat, I like bacon, I like fatty stuff. I love food, I love life, I love stuff, and so when I restrict myself, I start to rebel. And I really notice that I’m like, “Oh well, whatever. That’s more of who I am than this weight” So, I’ll just go eat something that I know I shouldn’t or that is not on the—not diet, but—eating healthy of the week thing.
Marc: Sure, sure, sure.
Scott: And that was awhile ago. I haven’t done that for a long time.
Marc: So, when you think to yourself, “Ok, I’ve lost 30 pounds and I’m loving my body,” how is your life different? Do you start to imagine a different you? A different experience? A different expression? What do you think is going to look different?
Scott: It’s probably as simple as just a lack of self-judgment and a confidence that I can walk around. And, I don’t know, I lost my hair. That was the last pretty thing I had on my head. Let’s see, how would that be?—I would just be overall confident and happier.
Marc: Yeah, yeah. But let’s just break this down even a little more.
Marc: So, I think I know what confident means, but sometimes we have different definitions of things. So, what would “confidence” mean to you? Confidence in what? How would that show up? What situations?
Scott: I guess not worrying about what people thought of me as I walked down the street. And I guess [not] projecting my judgment on them of me. Feeling like I could do anything.
Marc: Feeling like you could do anything, feeling like you’re not beholden to people’s judgments, and you’re just cool with you who you are. It’s like, “Hey, this is me. This is pretty good!”
Scott: Yeah! Well said, yes.
Marc: Ok. Have you ever had that experience? Maybe accidentally? Maybe because you woke up on the good side of the bed? Do you recall having a time, a day, moments like that?
Scott: Accidentally, yeah. I’ve had it, and it feels good! It feels good to walk down the street—and not in an arrogant sort of way in the slightest, but—in just a really “I deserve to be here; I’m good; you can’t touch me today” kind of air.
Marc: Yeah. How long did that last for you when you felt it?
Scott: About an hour? No, it’s usually come after big milestones. Graduation, landing of a good job, that sort of thing.
Marc: Yeah, so it almost sounds like there’s such a sense of accomplishment—“I’m proud of myself; I earned something”—that just kind of takes over, and that gets louder than “You’re no good. You’re not enough”—all that kind of nonsense.
Scott: Sure! Great, yeah! Absolutely! That was nice.
Marc: Yeah, ok. Ok, I think I’m getting the picture. How old are you?
Marc: Thirty-seven. Are you in a relationship?
Scott: I am, yeah. I have a great partner.
Marc: How long?
Scott: Two and a half years.
Marc: Do you have a vision for what you want it [the relationship] to be, where you want it to go?
Scott: We just got engaged, so we’re moving down that track. He’s going to be around for a while.
Marc: So, how does he feel about your body?
Scott: How does he feel about it? He likes it; it’s ok.
Scott: But he sees how I feel, and that makes him empathetic.
Marc: But what I’m getting at, and correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s not standing around going, “Scott, man, you’ve got to lose this weight, otherwise…”
Scott: Oh, God! No, no, not at all, no.
Marc: No. How do you reconcile that in your own mind? He’s cool, and you’re not. What do you do with that when that comes up?
Scott: Sure, yeah, yeah. I don’t get it. I’m like, “How can you not see all these flaws? How can you not see everything wrong? Are you blind?” And then I’m also really appreciative of his love and support, because he gives me more than I give myself, and that’s really, really nice.
Marc: So you mentioned earlier that you’ve done some work on yourself, and when I asked you, “Why do you think this whole thing kind of started?” where “I don’t like my body,” and you mentioned one of your parent’s negative messages. Was that your mom? Dad?
Scott: It was Mom.
Marc: Mom. Is she still alive?
Scott: She is, God bless her.
Marc: Are you guys close?
Scott: No. We’re close—we’re superficially close.
Marc: What’s your biggest complaint about your mom?
Scott: With that [the superficial closeness]?
Marc: No, no, no. What’s your biggest complaint about your mom? Let’s try it like this: “I would probably be much closer to my mom if…”
Scott: Ah, it’s delicate. Religion, and me being gay. That’s a big one. I’ve truly forgiven my parents in the last year, and that has been the biggest weight off my shoulders, but now it’s like a sense of loss, and I miss them very much. And we talk, and we’re close, and they’ve met my partner, but we’re not as close as we used to be and as much as I would like.
Marc: Yes, and so what I’m getting from you is, from their end, from her end, it’s like, “Wow! You aren’t being the person we want you to be. You’re gay. Here’s what you’re doing with religion,” and that kind of puts up a little barrier for them. Is that correct? Am I getting that right?
Scott: Yeah. And more than anything, they don’t know how to handle it and how to assimilate that into their religion. Because they’re being told, “This is wrong,” and I’m saying, “I’m your child; I love you.” So, they haven’t put it together yet.
Marc: Wow, that’s intense!
Scott: It’s a lot. It’s been a lot.
Marc: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where do you think it’s going to go with them?
Scott: I don’t know. They’ve made huge leaps and bounds in the last few years, but I don’t know. I would love it if we could be closer, but now I’ve moved, and I live a state away from them. And it’s really difficult to go see them between my job and them getting older. They don’t travel as much. So, it’s a holiday relationship now. I don’t know how it could go any closer.
Marc: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Scott: One brother, one sister.
Marc: Where are you in the birth order?
Scott: I’m the youngest, by ten years.
Marc: And how do your brother and sister get along with your parents?
Scott: Much better than I do. And it’s not that we don’t get along. There’s a deep love between all of us. I’ve had to separate; that’s been my thing. They are both very religious also, and they get along better than I do.
Marc: Got it, got it, got it. Do you ever think to yourself, “God, if I could only do this, then I think I’d get where I want to go when it comes to my body, when it comes to my weight.” Do you have any things you tell yourself? “If I just did this; if I just did that.”
Scott: No, not anymore. I used to. And I’ve had a huge internal shift in the last year. A really beautiful shift, as far as more self-love, more self-forgiveness, that sort of thing. I’ve had the internal shift, and now I’m kind of getting impatient for the external shift. I’m like, “Ok, I did the work. It’s time!”
Marc: Got it, got it, got it.
Scott: So maybe I’m waiting for one more breakthrough. There’s just one more thing I’m missing, and then it would happen.
Marc: Do you weigh yourself?
Marc: Do you have a rough sense of when might be the last time in your life, if at any point, that you were at what you would now consider your ideal weight?
Scott: I mean, I didn’t think it was the ideal weight at the time, but about 15 years ago, I was 25 pounds lighter. I’d love to be there right now.
Marc: So, 15 years ago you were 25 pounds lighter, but you didn’t really feel like, “Yes! I’m there!”
Scott: No, no. Because that was the most I’d ever weighed.
Marc: Got it. But at this point it’s like, “Sure, I would love to be back where I was then!”
Scott: Wouldn’t that be nice, yeah.
Marc: Got it, ok. Ok, ok. I think I’m getting the picture. Tell me how old your parents are.
Scott: Seventy-two and seventy-three.
Marc: It’s tough when parents get old.
Scott: It’s hard.
Marc: It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard. It’s a big transition. Your future: where do you want to be twenty years from now?
Scott: Oh man! I think more in the terms of like how I want to feel, when I think about that. I really want to be a benefit to people. I really want to help. Because I’ve seen the change in my life and how good I can feel, and I still realize there’s a lot further to go. I really want to help other people feel that way too. And so, when I do any visioning for my future, it’s a beneficial role—contributing to society sort of thing. And I don’t have a specific, “I want this house, this car, this relationship.”
Marc: So, it’s a feeling, and the feeling is like, “Hey, I’m giving some gifts to the world. I’m being useful to people, and my life matters.”
Scott: Yeah! True! A sense of purpose, sure.
Marc: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ok, I’m getting it. I’m getting it. I think I’ve got some good little clues. To start sharing some of my thoughts about where I see you are and how you might get where you want to go.
Scott: I’m all yours.
Marc: So, Scott, here’s what I want to say. You, to me, wisely concluded that different things in your life are connected. How they’re connected, sometimes we don’t even know, but I just think, who we are, everything’s connected to everything else. How could it not be? I think that’s just the way the world works. So, part of this conversation is to see maybe how things do connect up for you.
So, some of the big pieces that you mentioned, like, “Hey, at some point I look at this body, and I go, ‘Not good enough.’” Did you get those messages from a parent? Yes. Did they model that for you? Yes. Did you absorb that into your system? Yes. Now, I’m going to probably say things that you know, but I’m just kind of putting it in my words. There’s a level where when we don’t accept our body, we don’t accept our existence. Because my body is, as far as I can tell, it’s me. Yeah, maybe I’m not my body and all that sort of thing, but, hey, this is what I’m walking around with.
So, if I’m not loving and accepting, and this is not ok, then there’s a level where I don’t accept me. And you got that message subtly. And in a weird way that message got reinforced, given that now your sexuality is not ok with your parents. Your, in a sense, religion is not ok. Your relationship with the dude who created everything isn’t good, so that really puts you in the cosmic criminal jail, even though we all know you’re not that guy.
Marc: Your parents are not dumb that they can’t see, “Wait a second, this is a good human being.” But they’re living in this amazing cognitive dissonance, and it’s blowing their minds.
Marc: We could only conjecture, but it’s probably a level where it’s blowing their minds. On the one hand, that’s their issue, and on the other hand, yeah, you have to live with it because it’s your parents and you love them. So all I’m trying to say is, I’m drawing a connection between the big conundrum of you getting this message from a lot of fronts over the years. It’s kind of cumulative: your sexual orientation is not ok; your body’s not ok, which means your existence is not ok, your religion’s not ok. Which almost kind of questions your position even in the family—it’s not ok.
Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Marc: So, you’re walking on very tentative ground, as a human, trying to find your place. Trying to find your “ok-ness.” So, it makes perfect sense to me that there would be a constant “I’m not ok.” When I asked you, “So how would it be different if you were loving your body?” the first thing you said is, “I’d be more confident.” And then I asked you to break that down a little bit more. What does “more confident” mean for you? And you said something to the effect of, “I would just be ok to be here because hey, here I am. I have an acceptable body, and I can’t be criticized now.”
Scott: Wow, yeah.
Marc: “You can’t criticize me. I’m acceptable now.” So, what happens is, the mind is very clever. The mind is very symbolic. We look for ways to symbolically be ok. I might turn to food to symbolically feel comfortable. I might turn to, I don’t know, being by the ocean to symbolically feel connected to my emotions. The mind is metaphoric. We conclude that if I had the right body, because that’s controllable, on a certain level.
Marc: We think it is. “Well, if I could just diet and if I could exercise,” and even though you don’t like the exercise and you don’t like the dieting, you still know because you’re a human on planet Earth: “Oh, yeah, right, that’s how you change stuff. You diet and you exercise, and I know my body can change, because other people’s bodies change.” So, if this body changes, then I become acceptable, and then I have a right to be here. So, what I’m saying is, you having a certain body is completely tied up in you finally being an acceptable human being.
It puts a lot of freaking pressure on you having the right body. Because that right body is going to make up for being not the right religious orientation, not the right sexual orientation, not exactly the right son that [they] wanted. It’ll put you closer to your siblings, but you know that’s not you. So, this is a terrible conundrum.
Marc: So that’s why, I believe, it’s hard for you to move forward. Because the way the conundrum is set up, it’s impossible to solve. On the one hand, you want to just be like, “Somebody tell me I’m ok!” Even when your partner, and I’m just laying this out here, even when your partner loves you—says, “Hey, you’re great!”—I see this as making you go crazy. But [he’s saying], “I’ve got no issue here.” You can’t hear that. You go, “Uh, what are you talking about, crazy person?” You can’t hear that because there’s such an immune response to you being able to feel “I, Scott, am ok in this world as I am. Not a single thing more needs to change.”
Scott: Yeah! An immune response.
Marc: Yeah. It’s an immune response.
Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Marc: And it’s automatic. It’s habitual. It’s not conscious. It’s not thought out. It’s kind of like—I think of a dog or a cat that’s been living on the street for a while, and they’re all antsy. And if you try to help them, they bite you, you know?
Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Marc: But then once you take them in and you be really patient and you love them, eventually they relax and they become the greatest house pet ever.
Marc: But, initially, they have an immune response to love.
Scott: Wow, yeah!
Marc: The very thing that’s been absent when they’re on the street getting beat up. So, we have a very immune response to the thing that we want. But we keep wanting the thing we want, which is, “I want to feel loved, I want to feel good.” But then when it even comes in, it doesn’t register. So, technically, you could never have it.
And you can say, “Yeah, God, I wish I could have that weight that I had back then,” but even back then it didn’t make the heavens open. So, what I’m trying to say here is, we need to change your religion, but different from what you might be thinking. So, when I say we need to “change your religion,” there are certain beliefs that we tend to make very “religious”—we believe in them so strongly, as if they define the freaking universe.
So, you have certain beliefs that define your universe. So, we’re going to call those into question now. We’re going to examine them to see, ok, how are these commandments working? Are they useful, and are they changeable?
So, commandment number one is “I will not be loveable and acceptable until I have the right body.” That’s the mantra that you’re telling yourself. I call that into question. Now, you might like yourself a lot better. I’m fine with that. I don’t think there’s any problem with that. Let’s just be more elegant about it. “I might like myself better if I was more fit, if I had more money. Yeah, that’s me: more fit with more money. If I had more time to exercise, I’d like myself better.” And, “My self-worth as a human being on planet Earth—acceptable and ok to be here—isn’t wrapped up in that.”
Marc: Would that be nice? Sure. But there’s a difference between “nice” and “defines my freaking existence.”
Marc: So what’s happening is that there’s a part of you that is that little boy. There’s a part of Scott that’s 37-year-old Scott, and there’s a part of you that becomes a functional 10-year-old. And that functional 10-year-old is the one who is in relationship to food and his body.
Marc: My guess is when you’re at work, you’re 37-year-old Scott. My guess is that there’s plenty of situations where you’re your mature self. You’ve got things down, you handle that. When it comes to food and body, you’re that 10-year-old boy.
Marc: So, the way we graduate is we self-graduate. Your parents cannot grant you—how do I say this—they can’t grant you the right to be here. They can’t grant you, “Scott, you belong here. You count. You matter. You 100% have the right to be here and who you are.” Our parents ought to give us that sense, because they’re the beings we sprung from. So, you want to make sure—parents, you want to make sure—you’ve given your kid the message: “Loveable as you are.” Want to improve shit? Great, but, “Loveable as you are. We love you, we love you, we love you.” Clear. They couldn’t give you that message nor can they give you that message. They’re not equipped, you know that.
Consequently, what’s happened is the way the child mind works is, “Ok, mommy and daddy don’t love me. What do I have to do?” And we make up these magical things: I have to catch the unicorn. I have to shoot down the space monster. I’ve got to be the President of the United States. Like, whatever! I’ve got to lose 30 pounds. That’s what the symbolic mind does. It finds a target that it feels is doable to validate its existence.
So, what I’m saying is, yes, you could want to lose weight. Yes, you could be clear that I will feel better about myself if I look like this. And, there’s a place where you can still grant yourself the full 100% total right to be here in this body that you have right now. This would be no different if, I don’t know, somebody walked into your house right now and said, “Scott, you don’t have the right to exist! Because of what you look like. Because of what you weigh. Because of…” You wouldn’t put up with that nonsense!
Scott: Right, no way!
Marc: You’d kick them out! If your best friend said that to you? “Scott, I’ve decided today you don’t have the right to exist with this body.” They wouldn’t be your friend. And this is the conversation we’re having with ourselves. So, what I’m saying to you is the work is not what you think.
Here’s the other religious belief we have to call into question. One of your commandments is that there’s one thing that’s going to happen for you that’s going to make this all come together. That’s also the child’s wishful thinking.
Marc: “I’m going to win the lottery; Elvis is going to come out of the spaceship; my team is going to…” Whatever it is, we make these magical events important.
Marc: And that’s what a young mind will do. So you have to start to see where you drop into that 10-year-old boy, and you have to catch yourself, and you have to talk to him a little more. And you have to parent him. You have to let him know he’s ok. He deserves to be here. It’s not an easy road. It’s not. It’s not, it’s not, it’s not. Nobody said it would be, and truly, it isn’t!
Do other people have it easier than you? Absolutely. Do you have it easier than a hell of a lot of other people? Absolutely.
Marc: That sense of lack that you mentioned? On the one hand, it’s very simple: If my existence is not ok, I am living in lack.
Marc: If my existence is not ok, then that’s it. I am living in lack. “Ok, how do I make my existence ok? What do I have to do? Who do I have to please? Ok, what do you need? What do you need? What do you need? You need me to weigh less? Got it. Ok, you need me to be straight? Got it. Anybody else?”
Whew! That’s a lot of work!
Scott: A lot of work.
Marc: So, nobody else can grant you that right to exist but you. We wanted your parents to be able to do that, as we want that for all young children. Because that helps us get the messages that we need at the key parts of our lives, so we can step into the world with more and more confidence. You used that word as well. So, you said, “When I get where I want to go, when I have the body I want, I’m going to be more confident. I could just walk down the street and feel ok.”
So, I agree, you are hungry for that experience. Because you wisely articulated that confidence is an outgrowth of our right to be here. If you don’t have a right to be here, you aren’t going to be confident. You’re going to be the opposite! And it’s always going to be, “What do I need to do to earn that confidence?” But you’ve already decided what that is, because that’s what the world teaches us: “Oh, you’ve just got to have the right body. That will make me have the right to be here.” Which is, of course, silly, because there are plenty of people out there who have “the right body,” and they’re miserable; they’re suicidal.
Scott: Yeah, totally!
Marc: So, that doesn’t grant us anything. So, the adult in you needs to notice when that 10-year-old boy kind of takes over the whole show. Which is often for you. Which is a lot. So, you have to catch yourself. You’ve got to catch yourself, and you have to intend—choose—a program of slowly and steadily, try this on, re-parenting yourself. Start to be the adult for yourself that your parents could not be. They just don’t have the tools. They don’t have the wherewithal. I wish they did.
And you said you’ve already forgiven them. I believe you, I really do. And now that you’ve forgiven them, you’re in perfect position to take over where they left off.
Marc: Because now you’re not reliant on them to do something that they couldn’t do. I meet people in their 70s who are still mad at their parents from age 13. It’s understandable, but at some point we’ve got to let it go. So, you already let it go, and now the next step is, “Oh, ok, what is it that I didn’t get?” So, this is personal—this is one of the pieces of personal development work, Scott, that I’ve noticed is very freaking useful. It is a very straight shot, to look at, “Ok, what didn’t we get? What are we still hungry for? What hole are we trying to fill?” You used that analogy—trying to fill a hole. All of us are trying to fill some kind of hole.
So, great, let’s identify what that hole really is. Not what it symbolically is.
Marc: So, you were mentioning, “afraid to be hungry. Afraid to not have money.” Those are survival issues. A creature should be afraid of being super hungry, because that means you’re going to starve. A human should be afraid of not having money, because then your life is going to be in peril. But what I want to say is those are survival needs that get easily activated in you because, again, you don’t have that core message of “It’s ok for you to be here.” If it’s not ok for you to be here, then your primitive brain is going, “Whoa, whoa, I’m in danger! It’s not ok to be here!”
Marc: So, then things like hunger, which comes from our primitive brain, become a fear. Not having money becomes a fear. Not having the basics is going to become a fear, because our very existence is in question. So, as you do the deeper dive, the appetite stuff, the money stuff starts to take care of itself in a different way without you trying to directly intervene: “Oh, let me work on my money issues.” You don’t have to work on money issues. Trust me on that—not at this stage of the game. You don’t have to work on hunger issues. Where the work is, is granting yourself the right to be here, is you being the master of your own universe and saying, “I belong here.”
Just like this: “Do I want to have more money? Sure! Do I want to shape shift my body? Sure!” and “This is ok and this is acceptable as it is because I say so.” And then, when people like your partner start giving you positive regard, you have to notice your immune response, and you literally have to start letting it in, consciously. It is no different than if somebody walked into your house right now and said, “Congratulations, Scott! You have just won a million dollars!” and you really did, and they give you a check, and you say, “No, no, no, no! I don’t deserve this! I suck! I don’t deserve this!” And your hands are closed; you don’t get the money. You’ve got to open up the hands. And that’s easy when it’s forthcoming, when it’s coming in your direction. So, I’m just asking you to practice receiving in the places where it’s easy.
So, body love. You and your partner should be on this one. Where he should be a support system for you in knowing that sometimes you have an immune response to just being loved up and taking in “I’m ok just who I am.” That’s a bodily experience. Just like, I don’t know, just like jogging is a bodily experience. Just like eating a slice of pizza is a certain bodily experience. Having the feeling, “Oh, I’m being touched and held and loved. Oh, I deserve this. Oh, that feels so good” —that’s a bodily experience. Once you start to allow it, it gains momentum for itself. And you actually start to believe that you deserve it, because you are letting it in. But letting it in is a willful act.
So, the adult in you has to notice when the 10-year-old in you is trying to “immune response” it out, so you could continue being that upset kid who was told, “You don’t have the right to be here.”
Marc: You follow me?
Scott: Oh, I follow everything, yes.
Marc: Good, good, good. So, I’m busy yakking a way here, Scott. Tell me how you’re doing. What you’re thinking, what’s going on for you.
Scott: Mind blown. Yes! This totally makes sense, everything you’re saying. I never thought about the act of receiving as a receiving of love. And I thought I had dealt with being worthy and being enough. I didn’t think about it from the perspective that you brought up: my parents, in that way, and in other ways. I only looked at self-judgment as making myself, but I didn’t realize that I have really gotten it from several different areas.
And that awareness is such a huge, huge epiphany. It’s really meaningful and resonates in a big way. Yeah. And I understand the work, too.
Marc: Yeah, there’s no fault here. You were caught in this perfect storm that is going to knock you off your feet. Actually, you never had a good start to be on your feet, because you didn’t get the clear message.
When did you realize that you were gay?
Scott: You know, it’s funny, also around the 6th grade. I knew I was different.
Marc: Yeah, yeah. So, that was all converging, and, because there’s no elevated conversation—I’m going to guess, at that time—there’s not somebody mentoring you going, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Scott: No, no. The opposite.
Marc: So, that is a terrifying—even if you were straight—sexuality is still terrifying when we’re young. It doesn’t matter. It’s terrifying. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing or what it’s about. And we’re taught nonsense by the world. So, you had a lot of unknowns, and there’s no fault there. There’s no blame. Particularly no fault or blame of self. You have to understand, this is a co-creation with the world.
Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Marc: So, it’s you learning how to course correct a challenging existence. And learning how to course correct so you can make it better. It’s no different than driving down the road, and the road isn’t working, and it’s bumpy, and it’s washed out, and you go, “Ok, we’re going to take a better road.” That’s all.
Scott: That’s it.
Marc: That’s really what it is. What I would love to see you do is to start receiving and feeling the abundance of when you get a paycheck. Actually start to feel the value of the thing you’re getting. That paycheck might not be enough to make you feel wealthy, but, man, we’ve got to start somewhere!
Scott: Right, yeah!
Marc: And there’s a beauty in being able to celebrate the money, the materiality, the security that you have right now. And to really absorb it, and get it, and feel it, and feel the abundance of it, and feel the gratitude of it. Because then you’re training your system to have that feeling.
Marc: Because otherwise, we’re shooting for the lottery win: the 30-pound loss, the “I have so much money, I don’t have to worry anymore,” instead of, “Yeah, money can be a worry, hunger can be a worry, but here I am eating my meal. Ah, food feels good. This nourishes me. Let me just enjoy this for a moment without worrying about what it’s going to do to my body. And let me just have a moment with food. I’m alive, for goodness’ sake!” It’s dropping out of here [head] a little bit and feeling here [heart].
Because what happens is, one of your super powers is you figure things out. You’re a smart guy, and you have a lot of emotional intelligence. And that’s also going to get in your way, because when you’re a smart guy, it’s easy to hang here [head]. To figure out the world and do the world, and there’s a place where I’m just wanting you to drop in here, like here [heart]. And when you’re eating, it’s how to slowly start to let go of your mind, and, instead of fighting hunger, worrying about appetite, actually play with, “This is really good! This feels good.” And just play with that. See what happens. You might scare yourself.
You might go, “Oh my God, this means I’m going to eat like tons of this stuff!” Ok, maybe. Let’s see what happens when you surrender in a more intimate way and just let love in. It’s going to be hard. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be very uncomfortable. But I would love for you to be uncomfortable in that way, as “uncomfortability” goes, that’s a good problem to have, to have to deal with. You learning how to slowly take in, absorb, assimilate that which you say you want.
You follow me?
Scott: I do.
Marc: It’s already out there. It’s already out there in little ways, in little pieces. So, let’s start to absorb it—try to train my system to absorb it in, and then it builds momentum naturally.
Scott: Man! Really good stuff. It really resonates. It makes sense in a big way.
Marc: And at some point, the weight loss conversation, the actual, physical weight loss conversation can have more gravitas to it, it can have more impact because you will be owning your body more. You will be in your body more. You will be circulating more with the environment, with yourself. And then, it will be more natural for you to shape shift your body. As opposed to right now: you’re trying to shape shift your body so you can be loveable, so you can be accepted finally, and it’s going to do all this. Whoo! Too much pressure! Because it can’t happen.
Scott: I know better than that, too!
Marc: Right, and the universe won’t let us cheat. That’s a cheat, and the universe isn’t going to let us get to the top of the mountain by taking a helicopter. We’re going to have to make the trek.
Marc: And I think you’ve got all the tools, and I think you’re all set up, and I think you’ve already got the existing knowledge, wisdom, background. You’re in a loving relationship. You’ve done work on yourself. Let go of the fact that “Ok, I’m done the inner work. Now I’m ready for the outer work.” Let’s be a beginner again.
Scott: Ok, I can do that.
Marc: Let’s do that. Let’s just be a beginner again. And it can be a very sweet exploration for you, because it’s independent of parents now; it’s independent of you having to change your body; and it’s all about absorbing all the goodies now.
Scott: There’s a lot of goodies.
Marc: A lot of goodies.
Scott: There’s a lot of goodies.
Marc: Yeah, yeah.
Scott: Cool. Thank you.
Marc: And I know, sometimes—it’s not sometimes, probably all the time—this stuff is easier said than done. And it’s true.
Scott: Of course.
Marc: Anything’s easier said than done. But I’m feeling like you’re getting that there’s a different road you can take here to get where you want to go.
Scott: Oh, absolutely! There’s so many ways that I’m blessed and loved and accepted. And that’s where my attention should go, and that’s where it will go.
Marc: Bingo, you’ve got it.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. Cool.
Marc: Great work, my friend! Good for you!
Scott: Thank you! Marc, thank you so much! Thank you.
Marc: This has been such a great conversation! You’ve been so willing, and, for me, it’s so beautiful to watch. You’ve already put so much thoughtfulness and so much effort into the places where, I think, the thoughtfulness effort ought to go. In terms of being able to forgive your parents—still loving them, understanding where they’re coming from—despite the fact that they could be a lot better in the scheme of things. But you understand them, you actually understand them. And that’s just a beautiful thing. It really is.
So, I’m happy for you, and I’m confident for you. I really am. That you can really get where you want to go. And you just have to be willing at this point to let it be a natural process. So, let it be gradual.
Scott: Oh, of course! Yeah.
Marc: Because you’ve gotten to this point. And I would be really interested for you to look back on your life story. Maybe if you journal or just do this while you’re kind of meditating, lying in bed, however you do it: look back on your life journey and see what would happen if you just started framing everything in the positive and how this was meant to help you grow. How this was meant to help you become a stronger human. How this was meant to help you own you and who you are even more. Because it kind of feels to me that if we put your life on the movie screen, it’s a story about you being able to just own and celebrate and be freaking comfortable with “This is me!”
Scott: Yeah. Journaling sounds good. I’ve done part of that, with other parts of my life, but I’m excited to try it with the “just me” and owning it. Yes, I will do that.
Marc: Scott, thanks so much! Great work, my friend.
Scott: Thank you, Marc! I really, truly thank you.
Marc: You’re welcome, and we get to do a follow-up session a bunch of months from now.
Scott: Yeah! Great!
Marc: Yeah, so somebody on the team will reach out. Thank you, thank you, thank you, once again. I really appreciate it.
Scott: Yeah, likewise. Thanks. Enjoy your trip.
Marc: I shall. And thank you, everybody for tuning in. Once again, I’m Marc David on behalf of the “Psychology of Eating” podcast. Take care, everybody.
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2016
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