The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 109: Emotional Eating at 25 Years Old – A Surprising Cause

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


Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

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’m with Lindsey today. Welcome, Lindsey.

Lindsey: Hi, Marc.

Marc: Hi. I’m glad we’re doing this.
Lindsey: Me, too.

Marc: So let me just say a few words, Lindsey, for our viewers and listeners who might be new to the podcast. Here’s the deal. Lindsey and I, we haven’t met before. We’re going to go for about an hour. And we’re going to dive in and see what she wants to work on when it comes to food, body, health, etcetera.
We’re going to try to move things forward in one session. So if it was possible to squeeze six months worth of coaching into 60 minutes, let’s see if we could do the impossible and, yeah, just find some information or wisdom to help move you forward.

So Miss Lindsey, if you could wave your magic wand and if you could get whatever you wanted from this session, what would that look like for you?

Lindsey: Well, I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. And sometimes I feel a little spacey, and I can’t see the forest for the trees. I’m so in my own life sometimes that I just think I want more clarity. And if I can wave a magic wand, self-trust, the ability to trust myself moving forward, would be something that I would kill for right now.

And, yeah, I feel like I’ve been getting more clarity like with the course. But, yeah, I’m just curious. I always am curious, I wonder what he would say if we’re in a session? So this is cool.

Marc: So self-trust I think I understand what that means.

Anything for you when it comes to food, when it comes to body, when it comes to health, when it comes to weight, where do you live in that universe?

Lindsey: I think probably like a lot of women, I’ll be following a really strict diet, and then I will fall off the bandwagon. And then I’ll come back on. There’s probably more examples just with integrity with myself, like even going to bed on time. Just setting boundaries has been a challenge I guess now that I see that that’s part of what I’m struggling with now.

Marc: Setting boundaries. So give me an example. So you mentioned sleep, what else?

Lindsey: Well, I just started a new relationship three, four months ago, and he works nights. So it’s just been feeling like I’ve been working night shifts on the weekends too, because he just stays up so late. And with food setting boundaries like with my family.

So my mom will cook a meal. Because I still live at home I’m a full time student right now. And, yeah, just saying I’m going to have my own meal sometimes. Like there’s still guilt attached to I think acts of self love. I still sometimes feel like it’s selfish.

Marc: To make your own meals.

Lindsey: Or not to make my own meals, just like things that I would consider an act of self love that other people would be like oh she doesn’t love us as much, because she’s not eating our food, or with us, or that kind of thing.

Marc: What’s been the biggest challenge for you over the course of your young life when it comes to food and body?

Lindsey: Probably my binge eating.

I was diagnosed with a binge eating disorder by a psychologist a few years ago.

And now looking at it from a different perspective, and realizing that there could be messages behind it, has been really helpful. But sometimes I just wish I could press the Fast Forward button and just get the messages and move on.

Marc: So are you dealing with binge eating these days?

Lindsey: Yeah I’m kind of confused now if it’s binge eating or overeating. Only once in my life have I ever eaten to the point of, like I was eating so much, and I just like couldn’t stop that my body actually like threw up. So that’s happened before.

And when I’m at work sometimes I’ll just, even though I’m really full, I’ll just keep eating, because there’s always like cookies, or donuts, or people will bring in stuff. So, yeah, I guess I still struggle. And I work in a café. I’ve three jobs but that’s one of them. And they just sell so many good pastries that I feel like maybe I shouldn’t be working there. Maybe it’s like an alcoholic working in a liquor store. I don’t know. But, yeah, we’ll see.

Marc:

So what happens happen after you might, and let’s just say okay, we don’t know what to call it, maybe it’s overeating, maybe it’s binge eating, maybe it’s emotional eating.

It’s clearly eating in a way that you’r
e not so happy about. What goes on in your mind afterwards? What are the thoughts that happen in your head?
Lindsey: Well, I think it kind of depends on where I’m at and how grounded I feel during that day. I’ve done exercises where I’ve journaled through the binge, like what’s going on for me during it and after it? I’ve kind of gotten to the point now where I can just like accept that it’s what I’m doing and kind of just let it flow, like ride the waves instead of beating myself up about it, which I use to do a lot.
Marc: Well congratulations. That’s a big step forward.

Lindsey: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: So how often would you say you overeat, or emotional eat, or binge eat, or eat in this way?

Lindsey: I feel like my life’s really all over the place. I don’t have a consistent schedule. And so I know that I’m living my life and I’m in it, but sometimes even like thinking back, what did I eat today or like last week, is kind of difficult? But probably a few times a week.

My mom doesn’t tend to keep a lot of things that are tempting in the house. She has kind of a weird relationship with food too, but my sister’s the opposite. She could keep a jar of Nutella in her room for three months and it would just sit there. And I remember sometimes I’d use to go and sneak into her room for it. So, yeah, probably three or four times a week.

Yeah. And now I don’t even consider it binge eating. Well sometimes I do, but I just feel like I’m so off of the bandwagon of where I want to be in my diet, that it’s just kind of almost falling into the routine of what I’m eating normally day-to-day. So, because I’m not being restrictive anymore it’s almost like it’s part of my normal diet, and that kind of scares me so.

Marc: I think I understand. So if you could be at your ideal weight, what would you be at?

Lindsey: Right now, I guess in the past year, I’ve gained 10 pounds, so I’m 145. I’m 5’5 and for a few years I was at 133 and that was nice. Around there.

Marc: So you’d want to lose 10 pounds. What makes you lose weight?

Lindsey: Also, I know you can’t see anything right now, but I use a steroid for my eczema, and it’s not just for losing weight. I think for the past three years it’s been more mostly about my eczema, all the diets. Because, yeah, for the past three years it started gradually on my legs, and then it moved all the way up to my neck, like full body.

And then I was still, even if it was summer I was wearing long sleeves and just kind of ignoring it, and then it started coming onto my face. So that’s when I really started to deal with it I guess. So that’s been a really interesting journey.

And I can just kind of feel the inflammation in my body, even though I’m using the steroid to suppress my immune system, it kind of feels like I’m wearing a blindfold sometimes because I don’t know what’s going on.

And I’ve done a lot of things. And I know that following an elimination diet works.

And I can easily be at, I feel like it’s my natural weight, but it’s like I’m self sabotaging myself to get there.

So what was your original question? I’m sorry.

Marc: I probably asked you, what was your biggest challenge with food and body at one point?

Lindsey: Possibly. It was something about my natural weight I think.

Marc: Yes.

Lindsey: Or my goal weight.

Marc: Right. I asked you what you wanted to weigh. And then you started talking about the steroid.

Lindsey: Oh right.

Marc: So it’s a cream that you’re using, yeah, or is it an internal.

Lindsey: Yeah. It’s an external. You’re not supposed to use steroid on your face because it makes your skin really thin. But, you know, for two years I did the natural route I guess with nothing. I guess I’m glad I had the experience, but I would never want to go back there again.

Marc: Have you gone on an elimination diet?

Lindsey: Yep, I have.

Marc: And what happens? Does it impact your skin in any way?

Lindsey: Yeah, my skin clears almost like right up.

Marc: Whoa.

Lindsey: Yeah. So, yeah. So do you want me to just kind of jump into a little bit more of the background to the eczema?

Marc: Sure. Sure.

Lindsey: Okay. Yes.

So, I’ve had kind of a weird relationship with sexuality, sexual trauma.

When I was 16 I was raped. And then when I was 19 I had an abortion. And then when I was 21 I had a second abortion.

And so it was about maybe four months after the first abortion that I was diagnosed with the binge eating thing. And for me I kind of felt like it was emotional baby weight almost. And then the eczema came, maybe nine months after the abortion, or maybe almost a year after. And I was raised Catholic so I used to write anti-abortion papers.

The sexual assault, I actually did an interview a few months ago, for the New York Times, about a study that I was in. So I talked about the sexual assault in the article.

Marc: Was the assault somebody that you knew?

Lindsey: Yeah. So he was actually the most popular guy in school in my town. And it was my first time drinking. And he was sober. So there was a lot of rape myths I guess that were perpetuated in my school that people were like, oh you got too drunk, like it was your fault kind of thing.

So I didn’t really call it sexual assault until university, when I started taking more feminist classes and learning what it actually was, the definition. And, yeah, then I participated in a study of a “Prevention of Sexual Assault.” And they published the results in June, on my birthday actually. And so they were doing some interviews. And, yeah, it was good.

So I feel pretty good around the sexual assault now. The abortion stuff I think a lot of healing came from doing women circles. And I went to an Ashram, which for those of you who don’t know that’s a spiritual community, for a month in August. And that helped my skin, as well as just my mental well-being.
And then I did my yoga teacher training a few years ago. So, yeah. Now it’s crazy how many of my friends have been sexually assaulted since.

And, yeah, I think one day I’d really like to work with people who have had sexual trauma.

On a professional level I feel like I already do a lot of it now. And maybe lead abortion healing circles, or something.

But, yeah, the skin thing. Oh, and I guess subconsciously I didn’t really think that this is what it was in 2012. And it’s weird even talking about it because this piece almost feels like the most shameful for some reason. I think because it was, I don’t know, but I think subconsciously in a way to reclaim my sexuality in 2012 I decided to get breast implants. And so I did that.

And actually it’s funny because the month that I told my mom and sister that I was going to get these implants that’s when my eczema actually came back. I used to have eczema when I was a kid and then I grew out of it. So, yeah, I got them natural like you wouldn’t be able to tell. But, yeah, some days I kind of wish I hadn’t.

And it’s kind of funny because I heard you say something once about how sexuality can impact eating. And how there’s one part of you that wants to reclaim sexuality, and the other part that doesn’t. And I feel like that’s kind of me in a nutshell, or to a tee. Yeah.
Marc: By the way, just thank you for just sharing.

Lindsey: Yeah, you’re welcome.

Marc: Sharing very openly, and honestly, and letting us into your world. There’s a lot on your plate to kind of digest.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: For sure.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc:

And I’m glad for you that you’re making connections between your past experiences.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Your experience of rape and sexual abuse. Your experience of, wait a second what is this body? Who does it belong to? How do I operate? Where’s the boundaries? What is what? How do you define rape? How do you not define it? And then at the same time, what’s this body for? How much is it supposed to weigh? How do I feed it?

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: I want it to look attractive. Do I get these implants, do I not? The skin condition also. To me everything is always connected. That to me is the beauty of life is it’s all connected. And sometimes it’s connected in a way that we don’t even realize and we can’t even see. I just want to share a few kind of random thoughts about what you’ve just kind of spoken and see if I can share some things that may be useful to you.

You know on a very fundamental level eczema can be related to the gut in a very profound way.

So if we’re eating foods that we’re allergic to oddly enough that can lead to eczema. It could be one food that we’re allergic to, if we’re low in essential fats that could lead to eczema.

If the gut microbiome, the healthy bacteria in the gut are disturbed in anyway, stress will do that.

A one-time stressful event can inhabit or destroy a significant amount of our healthy gut bacteria.

So gut bacteria, our healthy gut kind of colony, is very susceptible to trauma, and to stress, and to food, and especially to antibiotics, if you take antibiotics for any reason, to vaccinations.

So there’s this delicate balance between my gut and my sensitive gut, and the gut feels. The gut is very sensitive. The gut remembers. If there’s a harm that is done to us, I can force my mind to kind of get it, but the body often remembers. So right now it just feels like you’re at a time in your life where your body is really speaking to you.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Like it’s really talking and I hear you listening, quite honestly. There is nothing that you’ve said or shared so far where I think oh my God, she’s so off she’s going in the wrong direction. I feel like you’re being with yourself as best you can. And that’s a beautiful thing because what’s on your plate is really a lot.

So I just want to acknowledge you for that for being really brave. And I’m going to tell you something, girls who are sexually abused at a young age, oftentimes it takes them decades to be able to talk about it, and work it out. And you’re doing it real soon after.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Yeah.

So that’s just very beautiful because this is you claiming your power, and stepping into your womanhood.

That’s fabulous.

Lindsey: Thank you so much.

Marc: Yeah.

Lindsey: Yep.

Marc: So I really want you to know that there is, and I mean this, there is nothing that you’re doing wrong. There’s nothing that you’re missing here in a big way. This is the journey that you’re on. This is the soil that you have to pull your nutrition from.

So there’s some difficult toxins that have entered your life.

Emotional toxins, toxic experiences, toxics beliefs from the world, and you’re learning how to manage that all, and to rise above it, as opposed to let it bring you down.

I want to just say a few things about what I know about the skin and how it talks to us. I want to acknowledge, you can have something wrong in your innards, inside your skin, and nobody might ever know.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: I could have bad adrenals. I could have a bad heart. I could have a bad liver and nobody might ever know.

Lindsey: Oh, that’s so true.

Marc: If you have bad skin kind of everybody knows.
Lindsey: Yes.

Marc: And if they don’t know it’s because you’re busy trying to hide it as best you can. So for a person, and for a woman, that is very difficult. It’s just difficult. The kind of condition that you have, you used the word ‘inflammation,’ and you said something very interesting. I’m trying to remember your words. You said something that the steroid cream is almost, what did you say it was, like a wet rag?

Lindsey: No it’s like I’m wearing a blindfold.

Marc: A blindfold.

Lindsey: When I’m using it I have no idea what’s actually going on underneath.

Marc: Yeah, I get that. So, let’s guess what’s going on underneath.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: And what’s going on underneath is just a lot of emotion.

Lindsey: Yeah. You know there’s different phases of eczema, there’s the dry phase, the wet phase. And they actually call it, when there’s interstitial fluid leaking out of your skin, they call it Weeping. And I remember after my second abortion my skin was just like a layer. Everything was just like weeping.

And I think it’s because I wasn’t actually allowing myself to feel fully.

Marc: Yeah.

Lindsey: So, yeah.

Marc: So, Lindsey, let me say something about abortion. And I’m speaking from as much experience as a guy could have on this. So I have never had a physical abortion, but I’ve been through the process of abortion with someone that became pregnant with me. And it was at a very young age.
And what I learned from that experience, I didn’t even know this, but nine months to the day that the baby would have been born I woke up one morning and I just started crying. I was 23-years-old and I was balling my eyes out. And I thought I was having a nervous breakdown, but I had a great life, I didn’t know what was happening.

And I called up a friend of mine, did I take some drug by accident. Why am I balling like a crazy person? And I started just thinking, and thinking, and thinking, and somehow it came to me oh my God, I’m grieving this kid who would have been born that day. So forget about whatever anybody says about abortion is good, abortion is bad, abortion’s wrong, abortion’s right.

The bottom line is abortion is painful.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: It is painful regardless of what anybody says. Especially for someone like you, you’re a sensitive person.
Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Yeah. And you’re a sensitive soul so you feel it. So I’m not saying to you what you did was wrong.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: I am saying to you what you did was hard.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: There’s a big difference.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: So I hope, I hope, I hope, for you that if it’s about you forgiving yourself. That you find that place in you where you can do that, but at the same time to hold that I am upset because this is hard. Nobody wants to create a life and then terminate it. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says “I want to get pregnant and have an abortion.”

Lindsey: No, no. Speaking to the piece on forgiveness, that’s definitely been something I’ve worked really hard on. I’ve named both of them. I know the first one was a boy and the second one was a girl. And I’ve kind of come to a place, just in my beliefs where I believe every soul comes here for a reason. And perhaps one way that you could look at it is just that those babies are souls that I aborted.

Now I’m doing so much work around sexual trauma with other people it’s almost like their purpose was for me so I can do that work here now.

Because there’d be no way that I would even be doing anything close to that if not for those experiences. And so I think that, yeah, that’s been the best way that I’ve been able to look at it so far.

Marc: Yeah. And that’s a beautiful way to look it, because you’re looking at it as a way of how can I make this bigger than me? How can I help others? Because it is a difficult road to take, it really is. Especially, for somebody whose feeling insensitive, and can feel beings on that level and souls on that level, and your own body, and the young people try to come through your body. It is a traumatic experience.

So in a lot of ways you’re recovering from that. And I was talking about skin before and sometimes what happens is our emotions will often come out via symptom. In psychology some schools of thought, we’ll use the term Somaticize. So we will soma the body. We will somaticize something.

So if I’m not feeling my excitement it might come out as, I don’t know, my heart racing, and my blood pressure goes up. It somaticizes. If I’m not feeling my fear it might come out as constipation.

If I’m not feeling my sadness, my hurt, my tears, my anger, it can come out as a skin condition.

So, and in a skin condition, like you said, there’s different phases, and there’s going to be like a phase where your skin is red and angry. There’s going to be a phase where your skin is weeping. There’s going to be a phase where your skin it’s dried out and it’s just there’s nothing there, you know.
So if you can be, and it sounds like you’re doing this, and I just want to say keep doing it. This is a wave that you’re riding right now. You’re in your mid 20s, yeah.

Lindsey: Yeah. I’m 23.

Marc: Twenty-three. So this is a time in life when you are riding the wild horse called being a young person in her 20s.
Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Right.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: I look back on my 20s and on the one hand 20s are the greatest thing, because you’re immortal, you’re going to live forever, you’re at the height of your youth but you’re not an adolescent anymore. You’re not quite an adult so you don’t have to deal with a lot of nonsense that adults have to deal with. But at the same time, what’s weird about the 20s is that they’re so rocky, and they’re so.

Lindsey: So rocky.

Marc: The ground is not firm underneath your feet.

Lindsey: No.

Marc: Really until you get to your late 20s, by the same time you get to your late 20s things start to feel more solid. Usually, by 30 is a turning point, which isn’t to say that the 20s are bad. I’m just saying this is a time when you will be feeling a lot.
Lindsey: Yeah. There’s so much. It’s just transition like all the time. I never feel like I have a sense of stability ever, and yeah, I resonate with that.

Marc: Yeah. So at the same time you’re building a foundation of stability that it isn’t obvious and that foundation of stability comes from conversations like this. Comes from the experiences that you’re having, that you’re really looking at, and you’re working.

And it comes from you looking at what’s happened and trying to do your best to digest it, and to integrate it, and be a better person.

So you are building up your bank account of personal power, of your soulfulness, of your groundedness, it just doesn’t feel like it right now.

Lindsey: No. No it doesn’t, for sure.

Marc: Yeah. So from that place I want to remind you of something, which I know you know, but I want to remind you that there’s no quick fixes. In terms, of I’m just going to eat this diet or take this pill or do this thing.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: And it’s all going to get better. But there are slow fixes.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: Yeah. And here’s what I’m interested for you, as well. There’s an interesting dance that’s happening, because on the one hand you know if you go on an elimination diet your skin gets better. And at the same time, it’s probably not easy for you to do that sort of diet right now, for whatever reason.
Lindsey: Yeah. It feels really restrictive when I do. And I’ve done allergy tests and the sensitivity tests for food, and everything’s come back negative. And so I almost wonder sometimes, if it’s more just the stress around the food that I’ve been eating, that I’ve been creating in my own mind about it, that’s actually causing it. So I’ve been trying to slow down.

And another thing just to add, is I’m taking it’s called a Womb Healer Apprenticeship right now, and it’s online. And there’s some like shamanic journeying I guess through it. And so we’ll get to the diet part soon, but I was curious about the protein thing. I’m a big meditator and I like to feel energetically light, but I also have been craving feeling grounded. So I’m curious what your take on protein is.

Marc: Yeah, for you I want you to be well nourished, and I want you to feel grounded.

And excess sugar and excess poor quality carbohydrates will tend to unground us.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: Foods that are not nutrition and dense will unground us.
Lindsey: Right.

Marc: Fat and protein, especially of the healthy variety, will tend to ground us more. It will tend to make us feel more solid. Protein is the building blocks of muscle. Fat will become energy in your body, it will become the hormones of energy in your body. It will become all different kinds of substances in your body. It also becomes your body tissue.

So grounding for you is super important. And just because one is grounded doesn’t mean one can’t be spiritual.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: Or one can’t be subtle.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: In fact, I find that it’s the more grounded one is the more flight one can take off.
Lindsey: Right.

Marc: So to speak. So I would love to see you think about, you know the gold standard for allergy testing is through diet, is through actual dieting.
Lindsey: Right.

Marc: Is through okay, let’s eliminate these foods and see what happens.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: So I would love for you to experiment with going on a modified elimination diet.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: Make it less restrictive for yourself. Ask yourself, how can I do an elimination diet such that I don’t feel super restricted?

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: Maybe just a little bit, maybe a little.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: But not a lot. Not so much that you want to say “I give up.” Is that a possible experiment you could do?
Lindsey: Yeah. I feel like that’s kind of been like my last three years. But it’s been more restrictive of doing it really well for two weeks and then going on a huge binge.

With the other thing emotion wise I just wanted to bring up that I noticed last week. That I haven’t had to I guess deal with this for awhile is the more clear my face becomes, and just with steroids because it’s only been recently that I’ve started using them again. And so before that I was just kind of covered in eczema and no one really looked at me, and the ways that I used to be with that. And so just this guy at work who was with his two young kids. And the only way I can describe it is just he was being like the biggest sleaze ball. And I’d just forgot that I used to have to deal with that all the time. And I know it sounds like I’m complaining about being pretty, and I’m not, but in a way I guess I am.

And so I was wondering if you had anything to say on, sometimes it does feel like, I call it Emotional Baby Weight when I gained 10 pounds after my first abortion, then I lost it and then gained it and lost it. It does almost feel like a safety blanket.

And I was wondering if you had exercises around feeling more safe in your body, because I feel like there’s a big element of self-sabotage. I’ll see how much its working and it sounds so stupid to say out loud, but it sounds like I’m afraid of my own beauty, honestly.
And I just, yeah, wondered if you had anything to say on that.

Marc: Yeah. I’ve got a bunch to say. First of all, it’s completely fair game for you to complain about some of the downside of having good looks or having beauty. I think it’s an important conversation that doesn’t get to happen. Because there’s certain assumptions that are made of people with beauty, and those assumptions are very limited.

What I find strangely enough, and it’s hard to see, for a lot of people they don’t notice this, but oftentimes people who are pretty are as prejudiced against and hated on as people who are fat.

Lindsey: Are obese.

Marc: Right. And who get the weight hate. It’s a different kind, because you get jealousy from other women, you get hate from other women. You will get hate from certain men for having beauty, or you will get the creepers and the jerks.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: And it’s a constant navigation of dealing with people’s energies, from women and from men, from both sexes. And oftentimes it’s not pleasant because women might want what you have, but instead of loving you for what you have you might be hated on for what you have. And a lot of times those signals are very subtle.
I think in this world we need a more evolved conversation around beauty. We live in a very politically correct time when you have to say “Well everybody’s beautiful.” Well everybody is beauty, and also we have certain objective measures of beauty, which when you look at all the research on how cultures, different cultures perceive beauty, and look at beauty, the truth is there are certain commonalities.

Lindsey: Yeah, symmetry.

Marc: So there’s around symmetry. And you see this with infants in terms of how they recognize faces.

So the bottom line is throw out all the political correct nonsense out the window for a moment and when one is a pretty girl or a pretty boy you have to deal with a whole other set of problems.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: If you have a lot of money, you have to deal with a whole other set of problems. Sure, better to be rich than to be poor, but it’s a different set of problems that most people don’t realize.

So what I want to say is that it is not uncommon for a woman to use weight gain for protection.

It is classic in the field of sexual abuse and trauma for a woman after an experience of sexual abuse to have weight gain. And it’s impossible to lose no matter what she does. Why, because there’s an emotional stress response. Because the bigger you are and the less attractive you are, the less of a sexual target you are, which means the safer you are. And if you have been sexually harmed you want to be safe. Above all else the body wants to be safe.

The same thing with skin, if your skin is portraying a certain feature and a certain symptom, men might not look at you, safe.

Lindsey: Exactly. Yeah.

Marc: I’m safe.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: And then while I’ve cleared up or I lost this baby fat, or whatever you call it. And then, wow. Okay, now I have to deal with this again.
Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: So all I want to say to you is that this is a legitimate conundrum. It’s a conundrum.

Lindsey: That’s such a good word. That’s a good word for it.

Marc: Yeah.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: It’s a conundrum. And what I want to say to you, and I really mean this, is now is the time at age 23 to wrap your arms around this and understand the pieces and the moving parts that you’re dealing with. And we just kind of outline them. So to understand, yes great, thank you God, I get to be pretty. But guess what, not such an easy ride, because here’s the challenges with it.

So you have to be willing sometimes to be alone in your understanding that, wow, okay, unless it’s somebody who’s like me, which is oftentimes why pretty people will hang around other pretty people, because they don’t get hated on.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: And they’re kind of understood. It’s why famous people hang around other famous people. They don’t get all the nonsense from the non famous people. So we will tend to hang around the people who will not hate on us because they’re like us, because we understand each other in whatever it is we’re similar around.
So all I’m saying to you is, you have a conundrum that’s of a very particular kind, and you have to find your way in this conundrum. And you’re not going to do it this week or this year.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Okay.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: You’re not going to do this week or this year, but you have to wrap yourself around, A) how do I be with this body and these looks in a way that works for me? How can I celebrate myself?

How can I celebrate my beauty? How can I celebrate myself no matter how I look?

How can I do that and navigate the world of men? How can I do that and navigate the world of women, and all the potential nonsense that can come to me from both those tribes based on how I look?

Lindsey: Yeah. Thank you for that. Because, yeah, when I had my eczema I weighed a little less. And then the more steroids I used the more weight I gained. And, yeah, I just found like it was, yeah, I couldn’t win either way so.

Marc: Yeah.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: And the experience you had of rape is such a primal kind of ground zero. Because it showed you that you are not safe, and that here’s this guy who’s supposed to be the most popular and the most sought after, and all of a sudden he becomes the most dangerous person in your life. So his success, or his popularity, or his good looks, didn’t necessarily buy him consciousness, and character, and morals.

Lindsey: Right. Yeah.

Marc: So our task is always no matter what one looks like, or what one thinks one looks like, we have to always rise to the occasion of, how do I walk through this world and have good guidelines, and good principles, and good values, and good commandments, to live by? What’s the moral, and the spiritual, and the religious code, that I live by above all else, because the beauty is going to come and go?

It’s going to give you things that are great. It’s going to challenge you around things that are horrible. And it’s never what we think it is. That’s the challenge. People think God, if I just look like that I would have the best life. I don’t see it happening.
Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: It doesn’t happen that way in life.

So you have a journey ahead of you where you have to learn how to empower yourself as you are, with the package you’ve been given. And that’s not easy.

It’s not easy.

Lindsey: It’s not easy being anyone.

Marc: It’s not easy being anyone.

Lindsey: No.

Marc: I talk to people who want to lose 40 pounds and it’s not easy for them, and they’re struggling. I talk to people who want to lose three pounds and it’s not easy for them and they’re struggling.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: I mean it.

Lindsey: Yeah, I know. I believe it, clearly.

Marc: And what’s fascinating, and this is me being a guy right now. I’m just putting on my guy hat observing women, because so much of the work I do is around women, and observing women. And women have this fascinating belief and they’re convinced of it, so many of them, that if I look a certain way or weigh a certain amount then it’s all going to be okay.

Everything is, “damn it’s going to fall in place.” I’m going to have the best life ever. And I have women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, tell me that. When I ask them, what’s going to happen when you look exactly how you want? And they paint this amazing picture.
And then I’ll always ask them, do you know somebody who has typical Hollywood beautiful looks, and is not happy? And usually everybody knows someone, or they remember someone from their life.

So as you said, it’s not easy being anybody necessarily.

Lindsey: Yeah. So do you think coming from a feminine versus masculine? I was, you know, on one hand I know I need to have more boundaries in my food, but make it in a way that doesn’t feel restrictive. So I guess that’s more of a feminine approach still. Because I feel when it’s restrictive that’s still a masculine approach. So would you say I need to embody more feminine or more masculine, I guess is my question?

Marc: I say you need to embody more feminine or more masculine. I’m going to say neither. I’m going to say it’s sort of both for you. And it’s not that there’s a deficiency, it’s just that it’s about you strengthening what you’ve got.

So to me being in your feminine right now might very well mean I am really noticing who I am, what I want, what I need, what I don’t need. I am trying to step into a place where I’m feeling myself more, and just honoring myself, and loving myself, and respecting myself. We can call that feminine.

Lindsey: Okay

Marc: Or we can call that you and your relationship with your feminine. So it’s learning how to love your feminine for all it is. Learning how to love your masculine and have boundaries.

This is a great time in life for you to explore the edges of what your boundaries are and where you need to say, “No”.

And where you need to be very specific about what works for you or what doesn’t.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: So I don’t even know if it’s for you about reclaiming your sexuality, or it’s really kind of slowly claiming it.

Lindsey: That’s totally fair, because to reclaim means you had it in the first place. And, yeah.

Marc: Yeah. And most of us it takes awhile to own ones spirituality. To own ones sexuality, to own ones intellect, to own ones power in the world, to own ones masculinity, ones femininity. It takes it awhile. It takes a little experience. It takes a few years on the planet.

So it’s less about reclaiming something that you lost and it’s more about claiming something that you want to be yours, and growing into it. So I don’t know that you’ve lost something.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: If anything you’ve lost it’s a little bit of innocence.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: And that’s happens when we grow up, we lose some innocence. So you’ve lost innocence but you’re at the same time learning who you are as a woman, and who you are as a sexual being, who you are in relationship to men and to women. And this is the place you’re at right now.

This place is You Are Here. Kind of like when you’re at the shopping mall and you got that big sign you’re trying to figure out where the heck all the stores are. And it’s like You Are Here.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: And this is where you’re at in your life right now, and there’s a certain beauty to it. And there’s a certain place where after we finish this conversation I would love to just take a moment for yourself and go, you know.

As crazy it’s all has been and as crazy as it all feels, you’re okay. I’m okay. You’re okay. And you’re doing your work, and you’re on your path, and you’re on your journey. And I think you’re doing great. I really do.

Lindsey: Thank you. Yeah. I think that actually was what I needed to hear. Because, yeah, well it feels a lot of the time I’m just swimming against the current all the time, and always looking for new things to try. So just to hear that, yeah, you’re still in the right place. You’re doing it. It’s good. It’s all good.

Marc: Yeah. You should be looking for new things to try.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: That’s great. That’s this phase of life for you.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: So there’s nothing wrong with that. And then try things and go oh, okay. Let me take the evidence, take the data, take the facts, and look at them. And culminate them and say “Great, I just tried this. What happened?” What worked? What didn’t work?

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: And do I want to do that again?

Lindsey: Right. Yes.

Marc:

So there’s nothing bad about you exploring right now in any phase of your life.

And it’s all good. And it’s all about you just being with yourself, and being alongside yourself, and not abandoning yourself. Because it seems like one of the powerful lessons that you’re learning is how to stay present.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc:

The piece about getting so drunk that I don’t have my facility, and I don’t have myself, it’s just a metaphor for how we can do that in so many little ways on a day to day level.

We’re not there for ourselves.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: So I think you’re learning how to be really there for you.
Lindsey: Yeah.

Marc: Moment to moment.

Lindsey: Yeah. Listening to the course when you talked about coaching and how it can be very grounding for people. But for people who are depressed they don’t necessarily want to be present or in their bodies. So I definitely resonated with that.
I think I probably hit, I don’t want to say rock bottom, but I was pretty depressed. And I was so disassociated from my body one week that I got into two car accidents, and both were my fault. And that’s when I took myself out of current life and went to the Ashram for awhile.
But, yeah, it’s presence definitely. And one more thing I just was curious. With my eczema, I know everything would heal a lot better if I didn’t pick at it. I think that’s one of my other compulsions is just picking, and picking, and picking. And I’ve been trying to notice certain times when I do it.. But it just seems like I do it all the time.

And I wonder if that’s almost a way to disassociate or become less present. But I don’t’ know if you ever hear of any similarities between compulsions, or if you have anything to say on that.

Marc: It’s a whole other topic really that we don’t have time for now.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: But what I want to say is, on the deepest level it’s you trying to be in relationship with what’s happening in your body, and to be present with it. And to manage it as best you can. So there’s the party that wants it to leave. And when you want something to leave you kind of try to send it along its way.

Lindsey: Right.

Marc: You’re pushing along, you pick at it, you poke at it, you prod it, you try to give it little hints.
Lindsey: Right.

Marc: If it’s somebody that’s staying too long at your party, it’s like time to go.
Lindsey: Okay, cool.

Marc: So there’s that message in there. And there’s a part where it is natural to go at it because it ought not to be there. I don’t want it there.
Lindsey: Right.

Marc: So I wouldn’t make that so wrong.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc:

And what I would tend to focus on more is other kinds of self-care that you could do for yourself.

Again, I especially would love to see you think about a modified elimination diet for yourself.

Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: Really check that out. If you’re not eating foods that are really rich in natural probiotics like naturally fermented foods, push the pedal to the medal like sauerkrauts, or kimchis, or foods that are like truly fermented that haven’t been heated. A lot of the good health food stores have those kinds of things now. Anyway you can get natural probiotics into your body is a great thing to help with your gut, which will help with your skin.
Lindsey: Okay.

Marc: Yeah. So, Miss Lindsey, we covered a lot of turf here.
Lindsey: Six months worth probably.

Marc: Yeah, there you go. So again, I really appreciate you being so willing to open up and to share yourself, and share your story. And it’s a very powerful one. And let’s reconvene a bunch of months from now. We’ll setup a time, and check-in, and see how you’re doing.

Lindsey: Sounds great, Marc. Thank you so much for everything.

Marc: You are so welcome. And thank you everybody for tuning it. Once again, I’m Marc David. On behalf of the Psychology of Eating Podcast I’ve been speaking with Lindsey. I hope you’ve all benefited from this, lots more to come. As always, my friends, take care.

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

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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.