The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 21: Sugar, Weight Loss and the Road to Being Fabulous

Our 20s are often a time of great change and flux, and a time when we want to feel our healthiest and sexiest. But for Ariel, sugar seems to be getting in the way of her finding her natural weight. What’s more, her challenge with managing sugar has her feeling less confident about life and hungry for some answers. Tune in as Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating helps Ariel discover that her sweet tooth is here to teach her some important life lessons – the kind of lessons that can help her grow and finally become the powerful young woman that she knows she is destined to become.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

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

Arielle: Thank you, Marc.

Marc: I’m so glad you’re here!

Arielle: I’m really glad that I’m here, as well. This is awesome.

Marc: Yay. So let me give the viewers and listeners who are new to this podcast a sense of what’s going to happen. So, Arielle and I are going to do a session together. We’re going to go for no more than an hour. And the idea here is we’re going to find out what concern she wants to work on. And we’re going to try to condense anywhere from six months to a year’s worth of work into one session. So, yeah, right?

So hopefully you’ll come away with at least a roadmap. And you’ll come away with maybe some insights, some ideas, maybe a breakthrough or two or three to really help you move in the direction that you want to go in. So the idea is to take whatever you feel like you’ve been stuck in, you haven’t been making headway in, and find a clear path through.

So I’m going to be asking Arielle a bunch of questions. And it might sound like it’s sort of discombobulated and I’m all over the place. But there’s a method to the madness. And after I finish with questions, we’re going to just launch into feedback and insights and ideas to get you rolling.

So here my question for you, if you could just wave your magic wand, get whatever you wanted from this time together, what would that look like?

Arielle: I would effortlessly and in complete desire be completely nourishing, moving, and exercising my body in a way that just supports its highest functioning.

Marc: So you would be taking care of your body, moving it, exercising it in a way that just feels right for your body.

Arielle: Exactly. And really be choosing what I eat based upon wanting to support its highest health versus falling into just wanting to eat for comfort and checking out.

Marc: So are you doing that? Do you find yourself eating for comfort to check out?

Arielle: Yeah. And I would say that if I ever had an addiction, it would be sugar. And it’s just something that’s always been what I’ve coped with in times of uncertainty, discomfort, or even really high intensity. And over the past four or five months, I’ve gone in and out of not eating any sugar for like a month and feeling awesome, and then going back into eating it, and then coming back out. So I’ve dabbled in both realms.

Marc: Got it. Got it. So when you go for a sugar, what does that look like?

Arielle: Lately it might mean that I’ll go and buy a pint of ice cream. Or it means I’ll go and buy these really yummy chocolate covered coconut things. It’ll usually be late at night, for the most part, like eleven o’clock at night. Or it’ll just be in times where it’s really not about me enjoying the sugar. It’s just me wanting some type of instant fulfillment or something along those lines.

Marc: So will you do the whole pint of ice cream? Or you just do part of it? How much will you have?

Arielle: It’s cool because I used to really struggle with binge eating four or five years ago. And right now it’s like I’ll buy a pint of ice cream. And it’ll be somewhere between three quarters and the pint. Sometimes I won’t eat all of it. Sometimes I will.

But if I buy like a bag of these chocolate things, I wouldn’t consider it to be like a huge binge. But for me it’s like I know that I’m eating past the point of where my body is going to feel good. And I’m doing it from a place of eating quickly, not being present with the experience.

Marc: So then what happens afterwards? What’s going on in your body afterwards? What’s going on in your mind? How do you feel? What do you say to yourself?

Arielle: Well, again what I’m happy about is that I don’t really go into a place of judgment. I guess I’m judging in that I want to change behavior. But it’s more just that I feel sluggish and kind of checked out. Like I look at my cravings for sugar as that I can either go and eat something really sugary, or I could do something really productive and creative. And when I go for sugar or sweet things, it’s because I’m really just wanting to turn off my mind and de-stress.

Marc: So let me get this straight. So what you are saying is when you have sugar, it makes you kind of more tired, more checked out, more not aware, more relaxed. Is that true?

Arielle: It brings me down. I have a very active mind. And whether it’s for like super stressful related things or even for things where like I’ve had this amazing experience, it’s like I come home. And then perhaps I fear just kind of being alone and being with myself. I’ve really been considering that piece of not knowing just how to be with myself without distraction.

Marc: Are you in a relationship right now?

Arielle: No. I’m actually in a place where I been a serial monogamist for most of my life. And after getting out of a relationship about five months ago, my choosing to do that, I’m committing to actually not to being in one relationship with any one person and allowing myself to explore multiple intimate connections and varying levels of sexuality or affection without committing to one person.

Marc: You mentioned, “Okay, well in the last maybe five months,” — I think you said four or five months, you’ll go on sugar. You go off sugar. Have you noticed anything that kind of happens? Are the conditions different when you’re able to go off it and then all of a sudden you go on it again? Do you notice any of the particular triggers that happen? “Oh, my God. I’m back on sugar now.” What changed?

Arielle: That’s a good question. I think it’s when I know I’m going into a really stressful time or when I’m going into a time…like, for example, my business has really been asking a lot of me. And it’s all really good stuff. But when I go into these times of where I know I’m so busy and I don’t have a lot of downtime, I tend to know that sugar is a quick way for me to cut myself a break. And it doesn’t take an hour. Like I can go on a hike, but it takes an hour. And sometimes I don’t have an hour or something like that.

Marc: Sure. Does sugar affect your weight?

Arielle: I’m sure it does. Right now I feel good in my body. But I also feel like my body wants to be lighter than it is. And I think it is in large amounts due to the sweets that I eat.

Marc: So how much weight would you want to lose or would your body want to lose?

Arielle: I have a feeling my body would probably be happier at like 145. And I’m probably like 160, 165 right now.

Marc: So you want to lose fifteen or twenty pounds?

Arielle: Yeah. Twenty pounds even feels like a lot. Yeah. So maybe like fifteen pounds or something like that.

Marc: When was the last time you were at that weight of fifteen pounds less?

Arielle: When I was in college. But the thing is, I wouldn’t say it was from a healthy place. First of all, I was playing college volleyball. And that was great, playing sports six times a week. But I was also yo-yoing between ridiculous binge eating and then restricting calories under like 1,000 calories a day.

And I was just really obsessed with just entering data into calorie counters. And right now I’m just really much of a place of not doing anything that involves obsessively controlling, restricting, manipulated the way that I eat.

Marc: So it was in college when you would have weighed fifteen pounds less. How long ago was that?

Arielle: Probably about five or six years at this point.

Marc: Have you ever tried to lose that weight since then?

Arielle: I feel like since I started down my path of really looking at the deeper layers around what the relationship with food and the body is that since I started that path, it’s never really been specifically about losing weight. It’s more than about me exploring where my resistance is to really being in my most authentic body, to me being in my most vibrant, hot, empowered form. And that’s where I am right now because I feel like for me to be in my full power, it’s like I want my body to reflect that. And I don’t like them there right now.

Marc: What do you think it would look like if you got there? What do you think would get you there when you imagine about it?

Arielle: I feel like I’m already sort of on the path, like I’m doing a lot of work around honoring my feelings and taking clear boundaries with people and listening to what’s true for me and finding out the more I’m walking on my path, the more I’m compelled to go on hikes. And I’m running more and actually feeling good about it.

But there is something about the resistance to eating more vegetables and eating a really nutritious, nourishing meal that isn’t my priority.

And I feel like there’s been this place and me…I’ve lived in ten different places in the past five years. And I’m about to move again. And I keep having this story that once I finally have my home and I can just completely let my nervous system relax that nourishing my body and taking the time to do that will be more important to me. But it hasn’t happened yet.

Marc: So that’s interesting. So settling down, having a place, being able to relax, “That’ll help me to really start to nourish myself.” It makes sense to me, by the way, when you say that. So do you feel right now that you can’t?… It sounds like that’s what you’re saying. But I want to make sure I’m clear. So do you feel that you can’t really truly, fully nourish yourself right now because you’re not really grounded? Like, “Oh, my God. I have to move.”

Arielle: The thing is I don’t like the word “can’t.” I don’t think that I can’t. But what I will say is that I feel like I have like an orbit of all these different planets of things that I need to focus my energy on. And they feel pertinent. Like I needed to figure out where I’m living. I want to make my business thrive so that money becomes something that feels really good and it’s flowing.

And I also feel like if I were to focus more my main focus on taking care of my body, that the other pieces would more naturally fall into place, like this whole concept of my body is my home.

Marc: When do you feel most at home in your body these days?

Arielle: When I’m hiking in the woods.

Marc: And what’s the feeling?

Arielle: To me, nature is magic. To me, nature is the connection to everything. And when I’m in nature, it’s like everything that I judge myself about, all these expectations that I hold myself to, then I’m just surrounded by all these beings. It’s like trees. All they do is exist. And they’re so incredibly happy.

And I just feel myself remembering like, “Oh, I am here in the nature with everything around me. And I am perfect. And I’m doing this for myself. I’m not doing this for anyone other than myself.” It’s like I’m remembering myself.

Marc: When do you feel least at home in your body?

Arielle: That’s a good question. When do I feel least at home in my body? When I feel like things aren’t okay. Like this living situation, for example, where I’m being asked to leave my living situation. When I feel like there’s discord in my life, it’s like this tension, like things are not okay.

And the default is, “I’ve done something wrong to make of the universe show this to me.” I don’t feel that way. I actually feel like they’re all really powerful lessons. But there is the place that I just freak out and I clench up and feel sick in my body.

Marc: Got it. So let me just repeat back to you so I make sure I’ve got this straight. When I asked you the question, “When do you feel least at home in your body?” and you kind of said, “Well, when things are not quite going well for me out there, whatever it is, there’s like a monkey wrench that gets thrown into the situation like, ‘Oh, I have to move right now. I’m not comfortable. I’m not at home,’ it’s like you might be a little stressed in the feel like, “Wow. Why is the universe doing this? What did I do wrong?” So you’re no longer comfortable at home in this. Is that right?

Arielle: It is. And I feel like I want to take it a little deeper because at the root of that, I’ve just really been noticing what I feel like in my body when I feel like I’m not on the same page with someone energetically. Like in terms of my connections with others, if I feel like there’s incongruence or a misunderstanding or I’m not being received, then rather than automatically making myself okay regardless, I start to go into, “I’ve done something wrong that this person is not understanding me or receiving me or accepting me or loving me.” And that definitely makes me go into rejection around myself.

Marc: Good, that’s very helpful. So let’s go back to the part of the conversation where in terms of losing weight, for you that’s a reflection of you just having the body are supposed to have that just sort of matches you and would match your fullest potential of you are.

So here’s my question for you. So who is the person that you would be if you had the body that you felt like really matches who you are as a person, who you are as a being.

You have this body that is just an alignment with what you know you should be like. Describe this area that would be showing up.

Arielle: Well, on multiple levels… So on a professional level, which really is just a representation of everything else, I would be completely expressed and delivering my message around body image and personal power and the world. I’d have a flow of clients. I’d be doing public speaking gigs. My life would solely revolve around empowering others around accepting their bodies so that they could create the most potent lives for themselves possible. Right now I’m in this transition. I haven’t yet done it. So there’s this doubt around if I could do it or not.

And then in terms of relationally and is just showing up in the world, I’m completely okay with who I am regardless of how I’m perceived by anyone else. There’s almost this bitch quality in me that I’ve never really allowed myself to embody. And not to say I want to be a bitch, per se, but to not be so overly concerned with making sure everyone likes me and just be unapologetic about who I am.

Marc: So if you had this body — I’m just going to feed this back again — you would be okay with yourself. And if you need to be a bitch, you can be because you don’t care about somebody’s opinion of you. You’re just going to be you. And you don’t have to hide or pretend. You can just be more authentic. Does that make sense?

Arielle: Yeah.

Marc: Got it, got it. So my last question to you…I just want to make sure I’ve got this right. So when you have sugar, you find that it relaxes you. It kind of brings you down. And I think you said this, often times maybe when you have a lot of energy or there is a lot going on and you have sugar, it’s almost kind of brings you down from that high. Was that correct?

Arielle: That is correct. And I think the one piece that I want to add is I wouldn’t want to go…it’s like eating sugar or connecting with someone. If I eat a whole bunch of chocolate, I’m not going to want to go out and relate to someone because I feel like I’ve deliberately brought myself out of connection.

Marc: How old are you?

Arielle: I’m twenty-seven.

Marc: Twenty-seven. Great. Okay. So I think I’ve got some thoughts to share and some words to say if you feel you’re ready from there. I’ve collected some good information. There’s always a ton to ask. But there’s a bunch of things that are jumping out for me right now.

It’s interesting because different people have different relationships with sugar. Obviously, we’re all different. Sugar is one of the biggest — of all the foods out there — alcohol and coffee not included, of all the food stuffs, of all the things you could buy in a grocery store or a supermarket, sugar and the things that sugar finds itself in, that’s arguably the most addictive substance in the diet. So it doesn’t surprise me on that level that sugar might be a food that you turn to because as you accurately said, it makes something happen. It gives you an experience.

There are people who use sugar to kind of stimulate themselves. They use sugar to have a particular feeling. What you’re describing, the way you’re using it is sugar kind of regulates your metabolism and your emotions downwards a little bit. It just kind of helps brings you down, which is one way to use it. And oftentimes there are some people who sugar brings them up, and then it brings them down. So I might even wonder for you if there are the more nuances in there, like does it bring you up first when you do it? Do you ever notice that? And then bring you down?

Arielle: I suppose I would say yes to that because obviously I’m desiring to feel a certain way. And I feel like when I reach for it, it’s because I want to feel good. So, yeah. I would say that there’s a nuance there.

Marc: Yeah. So even with that, what I want to say is, number one, it makes sense that we used to regulate our emotional experience. People do that all the time. We’ve been doing it since we’ve been babies. You were crying. You were screaming. Your mama gave you there bottle or the breast. And there you go. Food regulating metabolism. That’s the first experience. So we constantly — many of us, majority of us — will do that throughout life not even realizing it. And it’s not bad.

Yes, food is necessary for survival and to nutrify the body. But we don’t just purely use it for that. We’re not just these dispassionate scientists. Yeah, we are using foods to regulate my hunger and my appetite and get the nutrition I need. But we also use food to regulate our emotions. It makes sense. And you even said yourself, “Wow, if I would have taken a walk or done exercise, I could have had the same effect. But it’s easier to reach for sugar.”

So all I want to say is your strategies makes sense. There’s someplace where you need to have a different experience.

Maybe there’s too much energy. Maybe, “I just can’t handle that energy. So this kind of makes me feel good in some levels. Sweet foods are nice. Ice cream is nice. And then it just kind of brings me down. And when it brings me down, that’s probably a familiar place,” meaning sometimes would like to return to home base. That’s familiar.

For a lot of us, the familiar place is that place where we were wishing life was better and we weren’t feeling so good about ourselves. And then we have to go do stuff and accomplish things and be somebody to feel better about ourselves. My sense is it brings you back to that particular place where now you have to start to work again. Now you have to dig yourself out of that sugar hole. “Whoops, drop back into that. And, wow, maybe I’m doing that for a few weeks or a month. Okay, gotta get out of that now. And now I’m on a roll. And now I’m going sugar free. And life is good.”

So I’m just trying to paint a picture of what I’m imagining it might be like to be you because, again, we’re often going to go to a place that feels familiar, even if it doesn’t feel good. So it’s almost as if there’s a part of you, when you start to get excited…and a lot of people have this. We have a toleration point for feeling good. We have a toleration point for feeling empowered. We have a toleration point for feeling intimacy. We have a toleration point sometimes with feeling pleasure. Somebody tickles you. It feels nice for the first moment or two. But if they tickle you too much, you’ll hit a toleration point. Some people love being tickled a lot. Kids love it.

All I’m saying is we will have natural toleration points that indeed we’d like to go past because we know, we intuit inside, “Wait a second. I hit this limit. I use sugar.” Some people will use other things, other foods, other substances, other drugs to bring themselves down because we’re almost cutting ourselves down to size.

So what I’m saying is I think on one level — there’s a couple levels that’s happening here — on one level, you’re learning how to expand and open up into increasing levels of being you. And it’s scary sometimes. Sometimes you just hit that place where this is too much. And arguably it probably is too much in that moment. So you might go for sugar because it doesn’t make you feel that bad because it does taste good. So it gives a little bit of pleasure, that little nuanced, “Ahh, that feels nice,” and regulates you downward so you’re not like, “Go get ‘er, girl!” You’re not Superwoman. You’re just this person who just had sugar who wishes she doesn’t necessarily. And now we’re mortal.

So for you, I want to see you reframe where you are right now with this challenge and where you think you want to be. There’s to me a little bit too much of an emphasis being placed on your ideal of what the Superwoman you would look like. Now, I want you to imagine her. I want you to have an image. I want you to have a goal there. I want you to have something that you’re aiming for in terms of who you want to be. Absolutely.

There’s a place where it’s going to be easy for us to be a little bit too pure in that. “I don’t want to ever have to go for sugar again. I want to just know that every meal, every snack, I’m nourishing myself. I am in my potential. I’m doing my thing. I’m rocking it.” Because it almost gets into an either/or because if we’re not there a hundred percent, then we’re not really there. Or if we’re not there ninety-eight, ninety-nine percent, then were not really there.

And there’s going to be this unconscious trigger mechanism that when you’re not a hundred percent there, you’re going to drop yourself down to like zero percent there because somewhere in the mind, you’re registering failure. I think there’s a place where you’re setting the bar artificially high. It doesn’t mean you don’t set a high bar for yourself. It just might very well mean that when you’re in Superwoman mode, even Superwoman is sensitive to kryptonite. Even Superwoman has feelings. Superman, Superwoman, they have their weaknesses. Man, do they have their superpowers. And they’re well aware of their weaknesses.

So I think there’s a place where I just want for you to embrace more of the messiness that’s possible even when we’re in our superpowers. Are you with me?

Arielle: Yeah.

Marc: So you don’t have to be a hundred percent in your superpower to be in your superpower. You don’t have to have the perfect number of clients and money and professions and living situation to kind of be in your superpower because there’s plenty of powerful people who are in their superpowers being a vagabond, being on the road, being a wanderer, living in a palace, not living in a palace.

So understandably you want to be grounded in a house, in a place. I totally get that. I’m with you. So I’m not knocking that whatsoever. But I’m also saying to you that on that road to finding the place and having that settledness, still invite your superpower in and not put it off into the future. Might things be better when you’re settled? Perhaps. Absolutely. Do other things happen when you’re settled? Absolutely. Good things, absolutely.

But there’s also something to be said for not being totally settled because you’re in the mix. You’re being pushed. You’re in flux. And things are moving. And things are shifting. And that in and of itself is a powerful time. So I just want to acknowledge that the upheavals that we go through, especially in our twenties, especially before you hit thirty, the upheavals are kind of like your weightlifting. It’s your exercise. It’s your yoga. It’s not an obstacle, per se. It’s not a splinter that you have to remove so you feel better. It’s actually the weights that you’re here to lift to be stronger.

How are you doing so far here?

Arielle: I’m a little emotional. I want to eat some chocolate. [Laughs]

Marc: [Laughs] How perfect!

Arielle: And I think what’s coming up for me is this feeling…so I do. I do believe that the way things come to us are not by chance. I really believe in divine orchestration and as we make shifts in our lives, positive or negative, when we make little shifts, we make space for more to come to us. And I think that for better or for worse, I’m in this place of belief that I need to start making more profound changes in order to receive more.

And perhaps that is limiting. But I think that’s where it’s coming up. It’s like, “Oh, I feel like I’ve been trying to create this for myself for a while now,” like my business, this next phase in my life. And it’s very hard being on one side of the hill when you know how much is waiting for you. But you aren’t at the top yet. And that’s kind of how I feel.

Marc: Yeah, which makes total sense. And that’s how probably one ought to feel when one is twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, when, yeah, you’re still building your life. You’re still building momentum. You’re still discovering yourself on a deep level. You’re still purging things from the past. You’re learning a lot of new information. You’re seeing yourself in different ways.

So the reality is you’re not there yet. By the way, I don’t know that we ever get there. And there are places where we hit where we get to where, yeah, we go, “Oh, wow. I just broke through to this new place.” And for you, as hard as this is, a lot of it is about patience, just straight up taking a step back and going, “Yeah, I’ve got all this energy. I’ve got all this juice. I have all this ambition. I have this dream for myself. I have this vision.” Don’t ever stop.

And within that, we have to have pause. And within that, we have to recalibrate. And I think on a certain level, if sugar is regulating you downwards, in part what it’s doing is it’s taking that energy in you that wants it now and it wants it now. But it’s not really happening right now in the way that you want it to. So it’s almost like bringing that vision more down to size. It’s almost putting the brakes on you that I want for you to put on. Maybe not putting the brakes, but taking the edge off the push to have that because the push is, “If I don’t have that now, there’s something wrong with me. If I don’t have that now, I’m still not the real me. If I don’t have that now, I’m kind of not good enough.” There’s a little bit of that happening.

So I get that you want your body to reflect the highest you. If you feel that’s not doing it right now, the challenge is how do you keep moving forward in bettering yourself while at the same time not forcing and pushing and shoving and diminishing your accomplishments and where you’re at and not noticing the good things that are happening here right now.

So, again, there is a place where I want to say that you have a beautiful vision for yourself. And give that vision time to just be what it is. And instead of you trying to get it, let it pull you. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s a slightly different piece. Instead of you having to climb up the mountain in effort — which you’re going to do anyway — there’s a place where you know you want to get to the mountaintop. And it’s almost like relaxing a little bit more into that because the mountaintop is calling you.

There’s a place where when you let that future vision of yourself just let it be a little bit without having to give it a time, without having it to hurry up, the sugar is going to have less need in your life to show up, I think. Because right now the sugar serves a good purpose. It’s regulating you to you slow down a bit. And it almost kind of makes you feel. It makes you feel things that you don’t necessarily want to feel, like, “Oh, wait a second. This is bringing me down. I’m a little tired. I’m a little sluggish. Wait a second. What did I do wrong? How do I do this better?”

So, in the strange way, that’s the effect you are looking for, meaning the effect you’re looking for is that kind of pause that allows you to reflect.

The challenge is when you use sugar to pause and reflect, it actually doesn’t help you pause and reflect. It kind of makes you feel a little bad about yourself like, “Ugh, that’s doesn’t really do it for me.”

And this is not about trying to get rid of sugar right now. I’m trying to add something else in that might serve its function as well or better or just almost as good. The thing I would like — and maybe you do this already — but it’s looking at this truly is a sugar substitute. So instead of using Stevia as a sugar substitute, I’d love for you to have a regular time that’s your self-reflection time, your time to regulate yourself and check in with yourself and ask yourself about your pace, ask yourself what you need. It could be something you do alone. It could be something where it’s a friend who is accountable to you and you’re accountable to them. And you just get on the phone. And they’re there to listen. “Here’s Arielle. Here’s me. Here’s my report.”

It almost feels like there’s a part of you that needs expression that the sugar kind of is the best approximation to expressing that, which is on the one hand, sugar is sweet. It’s exciting. It’s fun. On another hand for you, it brings you down and gets you quiet and gets you slower. And you do want to have sweet and excitement and fun. And you have a lot of that. But you also have a lot of moments where you have to pause and slow down and go, “Ooh, how did that feel? And how did that feel? And how does this person feel? And how does that person feeling my life? And what do I want?” So it’s just giving that part of you more time.

Does that make sense? Does that ring true? Does that sound like it’s applicable for you?

Arielle: Yeah, it’s totally does. It makes me just thinking about the idea of even giving myself like ten minutes every day where I’m just checking in with myself and I’m seeing how I’m feeling and what do I need? It makes me emotional. I do journal sometimes. And I do meditate sometimes. And I do do inventories sometimes. But I don’t really have a consistent practice like feeling myself get sentimental when I think about just taking ten minutes to be like, “Hey, how are you Arielle?” That feels good.

Marc: That’s what I’m talking about. And it is a daily practice. And it feels like that’s what the sugar kind of does. And when the sugar is not there in your life because you don’t need it, chances are you’re on more of a roll. And you’re on a high. And a lot of times when were on a high or on a roll, we don’t need to check in. We’re fine. “I don’t need to check in.”

And at the same time, check-in is always good. Referencing, “Okay, where am I at? How is my driving? How am I doing here?” And it’s just as simple as that. And in that check-in time, that’s your time to be fully human and fully not Superwoman. Or maybe you are Superwoman who happens to have her various kryptonites. It’s okay.

I really want you to get that with superpower also comes from abilities. With superpower comes places where we are very tender. With superpower comes places where we can feel very vulnerable. The two come as a package deal is what I find. And part of what I think you need to get for where you’re at in life right now in your phase and your age is that the Superwoman where you want to get to isn’t quite the unstoppable woman of steel that you want her to be. Are you with me?

Arielle: [Laughs] Yes.

Marc: She is wonderful and beautiful and strong and powerful. And she’s exquisitely sensitive and vulnerable and intimate in the places where she’s sensitive and vulnerable and in the places where she’s intimate. Plain and simple. Those are, as well, superpowers. Those are superpowers for humans, believe it or not.

And there’s superpowers particularly for women, your ability to be vulnerable, your ability to embrace your sensitivities and the places where you feel a little weak or the places where you feel in need of help and support. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to hold that, wrap your arms around it, own it, admit it, and hold it and care for it. So I don’t want you to lose such a tender, vulnerable place on your way to being strong, accomplished woman of the world. You follow me?

Arielle: Yeah.

Marc: You smiled when I said that. I’m assuming it’s because it resonates for you.

Arielle: [Laughs] Yes. I do. I just want to change the world. But just the piece about not losing the piece that’s always going to feel vulnerable and always going to feel a little out of control. Yeah.

Marc: And what’s going to happen is if you don’t stand for those places in you, if you don’t own them and love them and nurture them and acknowledge them, what will happen is you will find people in your environment who will expose them for you and often times in a jarring way. And that will come in the form of little hurts or little digs or the relationship stuff that will bring out your vulnerability, bring out your sensitivity, bring out the places where you’re not paying attention to yourself.

So oftentimes part of what’s happening in the environment around us is it’s trying to reflect back to us often times places where we are not noticing ourselves, holding ourselves, honoring ourselves, taking care of ourselves. So to me, you’re on the right track. To me, there is nothing that you’re doing wrong.

And in the scheme of things, the challenge that you’re having around sugar, what a great challenge to have. In this scheme of things, wanting to have your body shape shift to where you think it’s a true reflection of you, in your case it sounds like the way life is working is — and this is, again, for your unique journey — I think life wants you to be the real you first.

A lot of people think…and you kind of said this when I asked, “Well, who are you going to be when your body is reflecting exactly who you want?” And you just, in large part, described a person who felt independently good about herself beyond anybody else’s opinion. So it’s kind of like a saying, “When I have the perfect body, I’m going to be beyond your bad opinion of me because it won’t matter because I’m perfect.” Like, “How could you be so dumb as to have a negative opinion of me if I have my perfect weight and my perfect body? That’s so silly.”

So, in our mind, the unconscious mind believes that. We will use perfectionism really as a code word for, “I am beyond criticism. And if I’m beyond criticism, you can’t hurt my feelings. If I’m beyond criticism, no matter what you say to me I am so cool and so chill, I love myself because I’m beyond criticism. Why am I beyond criticism? In this case, I have the perfect body.”

Now, for me, I used to think I would be beyond criticism if I had the perfect body and the perfect amount of money. Everybody has their own little beyond criticism, perfection secret formula for what that might look like where, “Everybody will love me!” So bottom line I’m trying to say is it’s a bunch of nonsense. And you didn’t invent this nonsense. This nonsense lives in the atmosphere. And it’s lived in the atmosphere for probably thousands of years. And it’s called, “When I do this, this, this, this on this list, when I change all these things in my outer world, meaning my outer appearance, my things, my possessions, my stuff, my this, my that, then I can feel good about myself.”

So I’m interested more in you being beyond people’s criticism now, is start to adopt, starts to wear that royal coat now. It’s not easy. It’s not going to happen overnight. But when you put pressure on your body to look a certain way so you can have approval, so you are beyond criticism, it puts a lot of freaking pressure on the body. It puts a lot of pressure on you. You’re squeezing your metabolism a little hard. And it’s not how life works. It’s not how the intelligence of the wisdom is trying to run the show.

So we’re kind of going counter cosmic intelligence is what I’m guessing because there’s no free lunch on this one. There is no shortcut where, “Oh, see? I have the perfect body. Now I’m fine.” No, we have to do the human work, the work that we all came here to do, which is the work on self that allows us to grow and heal and transform. And along the way, we get better and better at facilitating others as we’re doing that for us. So you’re on the right track. We’re just doing a little bit of course correction here, just a tiny little changing your course just a little.

So I’m happy for you that you want anybody that reflects who you are. So let’s make sure you start being who you are first.

And who you are is okay. The body you have is okay. It’s lovable. You can have twenty different bodies. You can weigh ten pounds more, twenty pounds more. You could weigh ten pounds, twenty pounds, thirty pounds less. You could have all kinds of different variations. What I would say to you is each one of those bodies is lovable.

My guess is you’ve probably had hundreds of different bodies throughout your life at every age. You know what I’m saying? And all of those bodies were lovable. Tiny infant, that’s lovable. A little three-year-old, that’s lovable. You gain a little bit more weight, that’s lovable. You lost some weight, lovable. Usually we get accolades like, “Oh, my God! You lost all this weight. Wow!” And then we think, “Wow. I’m really loved now, way more than before.” And we get sucked in by that drug.

So it’s all lovable. And if you want to go for another version of lovable, great. But I’m saying for you, let’s push the pause button on your strategy for getting there. Let’s make what you’ve got lovable knowing that you’d like to shape shift. Totally cool. I know you want to be more professionally successful. Great. But can we also honor where you’re at right now, which is think of how far youth, where you are right now compared to where you were four years ago. Like, “Wow!”

So four years from now or two years from now, you will be exponentially further along down the road. So it’s kind of loving where we’re at as best we can because it’s worthy of love.

Arielle: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah. You forgot that part a little bit.

Arielle: [Laughs] Yeah. I’m taking an unconventional path. And the world can be a little difficult, especially around making money and feeling like I needed to get somewhere is so I can actually feel good about the path that I’m taking.

Marc: Yeah. So taking an unconventional path, agreed, is difficult. And you’ve chosen that path. You could unchoose it, which is fine. But I don’t think you will based on the movement of your head. So you’re not going to unchoose that.

And you’re right. More people would choose the unconventional way, which arguably the unconventional way might be the real way, meaning in alignment with the truth of who we really are because we both know that there’s a lot of pain and struggle in the world. There’s a lot of people who are incredibly unhappy with their job, with their style of living, with where they have to work, with what they have to do. We don’t feel like we’re contributing. We’re struggling to make money. It’s not an easy world to live in. It’s just not.

And if you had a regular job, even if you hated it, you know, “Here’s my regular paycheck. And at least I have that security.” And for some people, they need that. And it’s understandable. And it’s fine. And you’re choosing a different road. And it has its own degree of difficulty. So it’s acknowledging that.

And that’s where the daily pause comes in. The daily pause comes in in like really remembering in a way. The daily pause is to remember who you are and why you’re here and what you represent and to remind yourself that the path you’re on is beautiful. And the path you’re on is difficult. And you’re on the right path. And just because obstacles happen doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

As long as you are walking, you’re on the right path. That’s an old line from Buddhism. The Buddha said, “The path is indeed made by walking on it.” You don’t discover it. You start to take steps. And you’re doing that. So you’re on your road. And you’re learning about it. You’re seeing what it really is because the world is revealing to you the program you need to go through in order to be your best self. It’s like Olympic training.

Arielle: [Laughs] It feels like Olympic training.

Marc: It is!

Arielle: For my soul.

Marc: Yeah, it is. And if you weren’t doing Olympic level training for your soul, then you would be not setting the highest bar for your self. And I get you’re the kind of person that sets a high bar for yourself. Good for you. The world needs more of that. And setting a high bar for your self means a lot of training. It means a lot of efforting. It means you’re going to get some burn in your muscles and in your life, right? You’re going to get tired. You’re going to feel down. You’re going to go, “Why am I doing this? And why isn’t this working?” And that’s when we remind ourselves to trust in our journey.

So it’s about trusting in your journey even when it looks dark out there and trusting in your journey even if you’re feeling a little lonely or you’re feeling a little like, “Ugh! Did I totally screw up and make a big mistake?” It’s trusting in your journey. And that’s kind of between you and the universe.

Arielle: Yeah.

Marc: So what’s present for you right now? Just give me a weather report.

Arielle: I think the biggest thing is I’m periodically reminded of this comment that I put this unconscious pressure on myself that I need to be farther along than I am because I feel like once I start making money, my family will see that I’m not crazy and that the path that I’m walking on actually support me and whoever else I feel like I need to prove that the path that I’m on is a successful one. So I think just reminding myself that I’m really okay, where I am, and to not be afraid, I guess.

Marc: Or to be afraid and still forward. It’s fine to be afraid because it is tricky territory. It’s unknown territory. And what you’re saying makes total sense like, “Yeah, I want my people to approve of me. I want my family to approve of me. And if I can have proof, okay!” So what’s proof. Proof is in the money. And proof is in the weight. Those are considered proof. “Ah, so you make a lot of money?” That’s proof that you’re worth something and you’re doing something right.

Well, let me tell you something. There’s a lot of really wealthy people out there, billionaires, who at some point they were uncomfortable. They were poor. They were in debt, in their garage building their empire and creating Apple Computer or creating a software company or creating something that didn’t exist anymore that people thought they were mad. And people thought they were insane because what they’re inventing never existed.

So you’re inventing something in your own life that’s never existed in your own life. And you’re inventing a career path that not many people do. You are choosing your way. And that’s not an easy road. It’s just not. And you’ve got to find little ways to love yourself along the way and get a little bit of cheerleading from your self, from your friends, from your tribe. It’s so important.

So, yeah, there’s going to be people not approving of you right now. Let them have their disapproval. Just to let them have it. It’s okay. It belongs to them. It doesn’t belong to you. So you’re learning how to strengthen your immune system so it repels disapproval and the low opinions of others that come your way because that’s like taking in poison and toxins and too much sugar and too much artificial sweeteners. Your body doesn’t need it.

Arielle: Yeah.

Marc: And then once we kind of start to ground those lessons, the actual things that you want, the real results have the right conditions to grow. You want to have a nice organic garden? You want to have these vibrant vegetables? You’ve got to have some basics. You’ve got to have good soil. You’ve got to have some water. You got to have some sun. We need those conditions. Once you’ve got those conditions, then things can happen. So it might take a little effort to go get some topsoil. It might take a little time to get the ground healthy again. It might take some time to dig a well. So you’re creating the conditions for some flourishing. A little patience.

Arielle: Mmm hmm. [Laughs] Yes. I have more patience now than I did a year ago.

Marc: I bet you do.

Arielle: Yeah. Well, thank you, Marc. Yeah. I feel more grounded and a little more relieved.

Marc: Yeah. And we need that. I think you needed that. And it’s good. This is a place for you to return to. So your homework assignment, your practice is setting aside even a small amount of time every day for just a pure self check- in where anything goes. You could feel what ever you need to feel. And you can feel the difficulties. You can feel the feelings that don’t feel so good. You can feel your hopes, your dreams. Check in with your self. Be honest with yourself.

And as a practice let go of the push when it comes up. Let go of the timeline. “Wait a second. This should have happened already. Or it should happen at least by tomorrow.” Let go of the timeline and let the timing being what it is because it is what it is. You’re in the womb and you might want to come out after three months. But life has a different agenda. It’s just does. Some things take a certain amount of time. So you’ve got to let life naturally give birth to you.

Arielle: Okay.

Marc: Yeah?

Arielle: Yeah.

Marc: You’re coming out the canal again.

Arielle: And again and again and again.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks, Arielle. Really, really good job. I really appreciate you being so open and so willing and so honest and so vulnerable.

Arielle: Thank you for showing up, as well, Marc. I really appreciated our conversation.

Marc: You’re very, very, very welcome. And I know it’s going to serve lots of other people because everything that you’re sharing, I think we all share to the degree that we do. I’m in the same place where I have to always remember to take my foot off the gas sometimes when you need to take your foot off the gas and just let the natural pace be what it is. So there’s a relief in that, which is why you feel relief because the muscle that has us wanting to push forward gets to relax a bit. And we go, “Oh, right. I’m kind of where I’m supposed to be.”

Arielle: [Exhales] Yeah.

Marc: Yeah. Congratulations on being where you are right now. It’s a great place. It really is.

Arielle: Thank you. I feel that.

Marc: Beautiful. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. I appreciate you being on the ride with us. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And lots more to come, my friends, in the Psychology of Eating podcast. Take care.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014

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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.