The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 111: A Warrior Woman Finds A New Way with Weight

Margaret is an accomplished professional doing powerful work in the world. However, ever since she had children, she’s noticed that she hears her own mother’s judgmental voice in her head, putting her down, and her relationship with food and body has suffered as a result. She’d like to lose the weight she gained during her pregnancy, but hasn’t been able to let it go. Tune in to this illuminating session where Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helps Margaret see how tapping into her true voice can help her finally get unstuck.


Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And we are here in the Psychology of Eating Podcast. And I’m with Peg today. Welcome, Peg.

Margaret: Thank you, Marc.

Marc: I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad we’re doing this. And, Peg, let me just take a moment and share with viewers and listeners a little bit about how the podcast works. So if you’re new to this podcast we’re going to be doing a session together.

I haven’t met Peg before. And I’m going to try to do the impossible and squeeze many, many month’s worth of work into one session. We just want to try to hit the target as best we can. And I’m going to see if I can help you, Peg, in terms of getting where you want to go.

So I’m going to just start out asking a bunch of questions. And we’re going to go for about an hour. And my first question for you is if you could just wave your magic wand and have your wish come true. And get whatever you wanted from this time together from this session. What would that look like for you?

Margaret: You would help me see what I have to do to become unstuck with regard to my health.

Marc: And what does that specifically mean, unstuck with regard to your health. Give me more specifics.

Marc: Well, I put on weight when I had my first child. She’s 11 so 11 years ago. And in my life I’ve always been able to, if I’ve been unable or in a situation that didn’t work for me. I was always able to take action to change it, to plan my way out of it.

And for 10 years I’ve struggled with, or 11 I guess, struggled with the weight. And I cannot analyze my way around it.

I feel like I’m in a psychological straightjacket of sorts, where I’m bound by impulses.

Or it’s like the food is, not the food is controlling me, but I can’t think my way out of this. And so I’m hoping that this conversation will help me in that way.

Marc: Got it. So how many kids do you have?

Margaret: Three with myself and my husband, and two older step children, and a grandchild.

Marc: Okay. So you got a whole zip code of people it sounds like. So how much weight did you gain that you would want to lose?

Margaret: Right. Now I’d be happy getting under 200 pounds. Overall, if I lost about anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds, if I lost anything I would feel much better. But it’s hard to put a number on it.

Marc: Sure. And so the last time you would have been at a weight that you would have liked was before your first child, correct.

Margaret: Yes.

Marc: Okay. And why do you think the weight stays on or doesn’t come off?

When you just look in the most practical way, what do you say to yourself?

Margaret: I stopped doing a lot of the things that make me, me I guess. I stopped walking in the mornings. I’m more isolated from my network of friends. Because I’m geographically isolated and they’re all around the country and I haven’t done this type of Skyping with them. I don’t know, I haven’t kept close contact with friends.

I’m a vegetarian in a household of meat eaters, so I cook a lot of food that I can’t eat. So then I eat the scraps around the edges. But also it seems like when I became a mom and in charge of this household of seven people, and I became a mom later in life when I was 37, that I don’t know these habits are lessons from early on came back.

I hear my grandma telling me you have to finish everything on your plate.

I feel like I have to finish everything on everybody’s plate.

I don’t know, these rules are programming in my head that I just can’t seem to get rid of.

Marc: So do you find yourself then eating more? Do you say to yourself wow, I’m binge eating, I’m overeating? What words do you say to yourself? How do you language it to yourself?

Margaret: I’ve never binge eated, ate, I don’t know what the verb is. But I’ve never done that. I eat a lot at night and my sleep patterns are interrupted. I don’t have good sleep patterns. I don’t plan my food. And I kind of live in a food desert.

I have a large garden to grow food on my own. And we do have a decent grocery about 30 miles from the house. But there’s a lot of eating at gas stations, and whatnot. So I need to have a lot more planning if I’m going to eat the way my body wants me to eat. I kind of treat my body like a garbage can a lot of the times.

Marc: Yeah. So, and again you would say to me, that before your first child it wasn’t so much like that.

Margaret: Right.

Marc: In terms of how you were treating your body.

Margaret: It was a lot easier to plan, yes.

Marc: And have you tried to go on a diet, a weight loss diet?

Margaret: I’ve tried to change my way of eating. Let’s see, I tried Nutrisystem. I tried Gabriel Coaching. If I look back through my notebook there’s a lot of things that I’ve tried. Different eating styles. Let’s give up sugar, let’s give up dairy.

I don’t have that many protein sources readily available unless I’d rive to a health food store to get more meatless options, which is about 200 miles from where I live. So there’s some structural things but I could get around those things, the physical barriers if my psychology was better.

Marc: Yeah, I think I understand. So are you a full-time mom right now? Are you working?

Margaret: I home school the three girls. I teach college a couple of nights a week. I am in charge of the ranch business, as far as finances. And I also have a part-time law office, which is all out of the home.

Marc: What kind of law do you practice?

Margaret: I do contracts for travel governments. So I’m a government attorney.

Marc: Do you personally have a Native American ancestry or background?

Margaret: I don’t. But I’m the only non tribal member in my family, everyone else is enrolled. I actually practice public health law and education. I have an MPH. Yeah.

Marc: Good for you. So you’re a busy lady. You got a lot on your plate.

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: So when you were growing up, how was your relationship with food?

How was your relationship with your body? What’s the key highlights that you remember?

Margaret: My grandmother who raised me grew up in the Great Depression, and there was a lot of don’t waste anything, be frugal. So don’t waste food. So there was this message to not throw any food away. My mom and grandma tried to give me healthy options I think for snacks.

I just remember around my grandmother a lot of love. So the things that she used to feed me like sliced cucumbers in vinegar. I just loved whatever it was that she gave me as far as food. My mom there was a much more punitive feeling around everything that through all the ways she interacted with me, including food.

Marc: So for you when you say, you know, wow I think I have to change some of what’s going on inside my head. What do you think it is? What do you tell yourself inside that needs to change?

Margaret: I give myself a lot of negative self-talk, that why aren’t you doing this, or why aren’t you doing that? My mom had this image of being strong and independent. And she really impressed on me so that it feels like if there’s any weakness that that’s somehow wrong, or bad, or a failure. And that is also associated with food and eating I think.

Yeah. Well she is a fundamentalist Christian and everything is sort of either black, or white, or good, or bad. There’s not a lot of grey areas or tolerance so that I think affected my relationship with food and eating.

Marc: So she’s still alive.

Margaret: Yes. Yes she is.

Marc: Are you in contact? Are you close?

Margaret: We’ve never really been close. And sometimes I’ve wondered if the difficulty that I’ve had with weight after having the children is myself moving into that role of a mother, which when I have this difficult feelings with my own mother. But that’s the mother that I know so I don’t want to carry that on with me. But it’s hard to see how not to do that.

Marc: So how would you be carrying it on? How would you be sort of reproducing that kind of relationship? Do you notice you do it with your kids or it’s just internally inside your own head?

Margaret: Mainly internally. Mainly internally.

There was a lot of rejection and conditional love with my mother’s relationships.

So there was a point in my life where I thought well, okay I can’t control other people’s decisions, and I can’t control what kind of mom she is going to be. So at that point in my life I can control what kind of daughter I was going to be.

And then when I had my kids, okay now I can control what kind of mom I will be here, and make this a new situation. And yet somehow those old patterns still seem to be there inside me.

Marc: Got it. So where does she live? How far away from you is she?

Margaret: Massachusetts. She’s 1600 miles away.

Marc: And does she ever visit?

Margaret: Yes. Yes, she tried to visit. She tries to visit. She’s getting older. Every now and then we’ll sort of meet in the middle. And then I was sending the children to visit in the summer with her. But the last visit the baby got hurt and so I’m not going to do that anymore. I mean I will still send them but only if I’m there with them to watch out for them.

Marc: Understood.

So let me ask you this question, if there was anything in your life that you would say “Wow, I haven’t really grieved that. I haven’t really kind of felt that, or moved on from that.” What would that be for you?

Margaret: You know I never thought about this. When you asked that question, the first thing that came into my head was the loss of my grandmother, which was when I was 18-years-old.

Marc: She died unexpectedly or.

Margaret: Well, she was elderly and she died in her sleep. She was 86. So it wasn’t unexpected but she hadn’t been sick before that.

Marc: Right. Okay. And how does your husband feel about your challenges around food and weight? Where does he land with all of that?

Margaret: He wants me to be happy. He’s awesome. I waited until I was 37 to have children. One of the big reasons it was I didn’t have a dad in my life and I wanted my children to have a good dad. So I waited until I found that person.

Marc: Good for you. Congratulations!

Margaret: Thanks. Yeah.

Marc: So how long have you been married now?

Margaret: 2005, so 11 years. Yeah.

Marc: And so he doesn’t go crazy over your weight, or oh I need you to diet. I need you to do this. Yeah.

Margaret: No, not at all. He’s very supportive.

Marc: And how do you see the next sort of 10, 15 years of your life when you project that far into the future?

Do you feel like you’re planted where you are?

Margaret: Yes. I’m very planted. I have a 30 year mortgage. That’s pretty planted.

Marc: Got it.

Margaret: Yeah. And we have a ranch so we’re very much tied to place here. And I’ve got all the elements of my life setup the way I always dreamed they would be. I have this beautiful family. We own our home. We have our business. I control my time. We make enough money to support ourselves and to give back to the communities where we live. So it’s great.

When I was a little kid I kind of liked the whole Old MacDonald Farm thing. And here we are in the middle of a beautiful nature with a couple of hundred cows, and horses, and dogs, chickens. And so this is the life that I envisioned. It’s coming true. But this, why is this still here? I should be enjoying all these things. Why is this weight still hanging on?

Marc: Okay. So let’s see if we can play with that a little bit. Because it’s a very poignant way that you just kind of placed things saying, wow, this is kind of what I imagined. This was a little bit of your vision, your fantasy. And here it is and you’re living it and just virtually all the elements are there.

I want to say about that how you’re probably not the first person to say “I wanted this. I went after this goal.” Fill in the blanks great job, some certain amount of money that you make, some position in the world. And then wait a second, I’ve got it. And it felt good for a little while, but now here I am. And what’s the blockage? What’s in the way?

I see that so often, especially people who set certain high financial goals or career goals for themselves, or family goals even. So I say that only because it feels in part like a very shared story, a shared human story. And the way I imagine it is we’re humans and we’re in development, and there’s often a little bit a work to do. And sometimes we do get our dreams and then we have some work to do to be able to enjoy them.

So I guess the first thing I want to say is, congratulations because you’re doing something right. I know it occurs to you as but here’s the wrong thing. I get it. Before I launch into how I think you can tweak things or fix things, I just think it’s important to acknowledge, wow you’ve kind of made it.

And you’ve created an amazing life for yourself.

And you said yourself, “I found an amazing man, an amazing father for my children.” And here you are on the farm, on the ranch, and you’re making it work. So I just want to kind of hold that piece that something’s working here. And here’s this other block, the weight, or what gets in the way that ends up coming out as extra weight.

So I think there’s a couple of factors, Peg, that are probably kind of swirling together to help create what I would just call weight loss resistance. And there’s a good chance that you have weight to lose. I also want to say that we never really know how much weight somebody has to lose.

So I think there is sometimes an odd, strange, unpredictable, wisdom to life that the body does what the body does. And your body used to look a certain way, it used to feel a certain way. And there’s a part of you that’s believing, or knowing, or intuiting, that wait a second, there’s a shift that can happen. Why can’t I make that shift?

So I just want to look at the factors of what’s in the way of that shift from my experience. The first piece as simple as it is, is you’re in an interesting nutritional conundrum where you have to travel large distances to get to the food. Meaning you’ve got a good grocery store, I think you said about 30 miles away. And the health food store’s a couple of hundred miles away where you can have more of a selection of protein, because you’re a vegetarian.

You mentioned a lot of eating ends up getting done at the gas station. And I haven’t been planning. So what happens? Gas station food just might be some of the worse on the planet when it comes to health and weight. And I say that affectionately. It just doesn’t cut it.

So, first and foremost, I think what happens is the body needs to feel what’s natural to it.

Right now you have probably some fresh air, and you have outdoors, and you have animals around you. That’s kind of natural to the human existence. Compare that to how a lot of us live in cities, in cubicles, in teeny, tiny little boxes.

So a part of you is really living a natural lifestyle and the food piece I believe is enough to hold you back. Meaning, there are some bodies honestly that are way more sensitive to the foods we consume. It’s just the way it is. We’re all different.
You can take one group of people and feed them a lot of junk and it’s not going to affect them in a big way, right away. And it might not even affect their weight. And you take another group of people and some people are just super sensitive.

And when they’re not getting real food, when they’re not getting the right nutrient and density that they need, when they’re not getting food that’s recognizable to their DNA as yes, this is what I have grown up with, and evolved with. The body goes into a little bit of haywire.

So to my mind, first and foremost, I would love to see you focus more on the food piece straight up in terms of quality. And I get that that’s going to take a certain effort on your part. It’s sort of another thing on your plate to do. And I know you have a lot on your plate.

Margaret: I have ordered food online from like Vitacost Grocery, or Amazon. And so that’s something I have tried. I haven’t done it consistently, but you know.

Marc: I’m glad you said that because I was thinking wow, it would be so easy to do that. There’s another company called Thrive.com, which is also like budget, low cost, healthy, organic food. So is there anybody that can be of assistance to you in this process? Is this something you need to do by yourself? I’m just wondering how you can gather momentum to create sort of the game plan of how you order, what you order, when you order.

Margaret: No, I’m perfectly capable of doing that. There’s logistic barriers around eating healthy here, but nothing I can’t overcome fairly easily. I have a 2100 square foot garden in the back where I grow lettuce, and tomatoes, and everything else in the summertime. So I can do that without too much effort.
Marc: So I think that is such a key place to start to gather momentum for yourself. And really when you’re doing that I want you to think this is me taking care of me. I keep hearing this analogy, but honestly it’s a great one.

It’s the sort of thing where you’re on the airplane and they tell you, when the oxygen mask comes down you put yours on first before you put your kids on. Because if the adult, if momma, isn’t breathing it’s going to be hard for the kids to breathe, you know.

So you as a mother I think, if you start to context this as even more than you just taking care of you. This is you taking care of your family. You taking care of you equals you taking care of your family, in a big way.

Margaret: I agree. I mean that’s why we put in the garden.

But I feel like there’s something emotional that’s stopping me from taking these steps.

Because I’ve tried to do these ordering food, and what have you, over the last 10 years. I’ve tried to make these changes.

But at night when I eat it feels like there’s a fear, a low level fear. I don’t know where it’s coming from. I’m like everything’s working. What am I afraid of? Why am I stressed out? I don’t understand. What do I think is going to happen? And yet it’s that fear that drives night eating late at night.

So, yeah, I can order those things. And I can make that change. I just don’t know how to get passed. I had to do a whole round of tapping just to get ready for this conversation because it was just fearful.

Marc: How old are you now, Peg?

Margaret: Forty-eight.

Marc: So here’s my thoughts about what might be circulating in there that, as you say is in the way, or needs to be kind of metabolized. And this me taking some very educated guesses with you. And I think it could be a squirrel of any of these.

Part of it is that I get the sense that there’s some grieving that wants to happen in your system. I don’t know how else to say it. When I asked you the question of, if there’s something that you really haven’t grieved, you had an immediate answer to that. And you said your grandmother.

And to me you’re such an earth mother. I mean really you’re like the quintessential earth mother. In terms of, look what you’re doing with raising kids, homeschooling? You have your own kids. You have kids that you’ve taken on. And you’re doing work in the world. You’re doing a lot of service. You’re giving back to the community.

You’re embodying the feminine, and motherhood, and your queen, and being a woman, in a really powerful way.

So I just really want to acknowledge that. And what happens is when we do that. When we step into a big role like you have, it tends to expose the places where we’re not 100%. It’s going to expose, not only all your strengths, but it’s going to expose a few of the places that are just soft spots, or weak spots.

And I’m going to consider that a good thing because life is just bringing up for you that which needs to be kind of looked at, or purified, or cleansed a little bit.

And your connection with your grandmother I think there’s a lot of importance there.

She’s from what I guess giving your relationship with your mother, and giving your relationship with your grandmother, you and your grandmother have this really powerful connection. She’s like your model it sounds like of like unconditional love. And that’s what you imprinted off of in a lot of ways. But you also imprinted off of your mother, who’s your mother, and that’s the womb you came out of. And there were some real mix messages in your lineage.

And you’re not the first woman or man that this is happened to where okay, here’s your mother basically having these strict rules. And kind of putting you in a box. And not accepting you for who you are, or who you were? Not being able to. And so part of you modeled after that. And you got that wait a second, that’s not good. Here’s your grandmother. Here’s this whole other piece and it’s beautiful.

And all I’m saying is in the complexity of all of that in a strange way you’re becoming your grandmother, in a good way. I think you’re on the path to be the woman that your grandmother was and then some, in a very positive way. I think in order to do that there’s some work you need to do with communicating with her, writing to her, dialoguing with her, and grieving her loss.

Do some kind of ceremony where you get to say goodbye in a different way. What do you miss about her? Why do you wish she was here? What did you learn from her? What did she teach you? What are you thankful for? What part of her lives on through you?
And I would love to see you find a way to bring her more present into your life. In a strange way. Which just might be, I don’t know, is her picture in your house somewhere?

Margaret: I used to have her picture on the refrigerator, but then we had to replace the refrigerator. The new ones don’t take magnetic. But I should put it back up somewhere where I can see her.

Marc: I would love for you to do that. Maybe even make a little shrine for her somewhere in the house that just feels like your honoring her. And I want to say, Peg, that I know that you want to drill down, and find the thing that’s in the way, and fix it. But I also want to say to you, that a lot of times it’s less about taking out the splinter that’s getting in my way.

And oftentimes it’s more about the little moves that you make that are subtle but powerful and positive.

To me this is kind of a positive thing that I’m recommending. Like find a way to just get current with your grandmother, honor her, grieve her at the same time, and bring her into your life so you can start to embody what she represented to you.

Because, also another way of saying that is, oftentimes what happens as parents we don’t realize this. We don’t always know this, but we hit a place where either we feel like we’re becoming our parent. Or we notice similarities between me and my dad, me and my mom. And it can be very confronting.

Because it’s almost like it’s kind of like hitting a little bit of a wall. Like wait a second, I’m bumping up against something that feels invisible. And that invisible it is invisible, but it’s real. And it’s the place where we need. In this case where you need to kind of move beyond being your mother’s daughter.
There’s a part of you right now that’s your mother’s daughter. And another way of saying that is you’re living in her house a little bit. Not a lot just a little. Now true it is you are your mother’s daughter. We know that. But there’s a difference between being your mother’s 5-year-old daughter, her 12-year-old daughter, her 16-year-old daughter, and being her 47, 48-year-old daughter. A whole different thing.

So there’s a part of you that still identifies with being a little girl living in her house. And am I good enough? Am I okay? Am I worth it? Oh kind of not, because that’s the message I got. You really aren’t loved. You’re not okay. But here you are you’re not that little girl anymore you’re being a mother.

But that old little piece it’s just a little something in the system that still lingers, probably for all of us.

So now you’re noticing it, is what I’m guessing. Because your life is unfolding and there’s a lot going on, and this is just your next stage of development. So my assumption is as you move through this you’re going to be a whole different person. You’re going to step into your power like never before.

And in order to make that leap you’re going to experience a lot of discomfort, which you are right now. I think your experience right now of your body, and not knowing how to manage it, that’s the discomfort of you trying to get to this next level.

So the weight to me is more of a symptom of am I lovable? Am I worth it? Am I okay? Does the world love me and accept me? Even though your husband loves you, and your kids love you, it almost doesn’t matter. Because there’s still this old little mind talk that gets carried over from our upbringing, which is understandable.

Nobody’s fault. Not your mother’s fault. Not anybody’s fault. It’s just how the world works. So part of it is I think also is asking powerful questions. And I want to offer some powerful questions for you to ask.

One question is, how am I an improvement, and an advancement of my female lineage? How am I an improvement, and an advancement of my female lineage? I don’t want you to answer that right now, but I want you to consider that as a powerful question for you. Because it’s going to help point you in the right direction.

Because right now there’s a place inside you that you’re wanting to access and it’s a place of personal power. And it’s a place of spiritual power to me. That’s how I would language it. It’s a place of personal power, spiritual power. Say it however you want. It could be a swirl of both, but in order to get that you’re of queen age right now.

You’re not 12, you’re not 15, you’re not 30. You’re sitting on your throne and you’re not quite comfortable in the queen’s chair just yet. You’re kind of comfortable but not quite. We want to get you real comfortable in that chair. So you can start to be you and enjoy the benefits of all of it. And be able to give your best gifts.

So you have to see for you how you’ve moved beyond your mother.

Not that I’m better than you mom, but what happens a lot of daughters, sons will do this also. There’s a slight little fear, and concern, and hesitation, out of love, that we don’t want to surpass our parent.

Margaret: Yeah. That’s true.

Marc: We don’t want to surpass our same sex parent because then we make that it means I don’t love them anymore. They won’t love me anymore. Oh I’m making like I’m better than them, and it’s an insult, and all that nonsense.

Margaret: I’ve actually gotten those messages though. I mean I have a lot of compassion for my mom. She’s in her own straightjacket, as it were. You know that she struggles with and tries to love me around the limits of that. But I remember when I went to grad school she got very angry with me, because she didn’t finish her undergrad.

So she’s always been in competition with me. Even when I was three she was reading books and I taught myself how to read apparently, and was asking her to turn the page. And rather than being happy that her child did that, she took a speed reading course. I mean she’s very competitive that way. So what you’re saying is, I love her to death, but what you’re saying really rings true.

Marc: Yes. And that is a shortcoming that a lot of parents have. And particularly mothers and daughters in this day and age because of how society has dumbed us down. And culture has dumbed us down. A lot of mothers end up competing with their own daughters, which is the biggest bunch of nonsense.

Not her fault that’s what she was taught. That’s what she observed from media, from the world, from images, from movies, from TV, mothers end up competing with their daughters, and it’s horrific. It creates a terrible distortion in the mother/daughter bond, because those two are not meant to compete. A mother is a mother.

So you’ve absorbed that. And the truth is the mother is supposed to win in that model. Not the three-year-old the mother is supposed to win. And that’s the message the mother gives you unconsciously.

So I’m saying that right now what’s happening is your system is now trying to metabolize it.

Because if you surpass your mother then you’ve won in that paradigm. Which means she loses. Which means you kind of lose. Because if she loses and she’s the mother, then you lose because you lose love and you’ve done something bad. Because you’re not supposed to surpass her.

So what I want to say is, this is less about you surpassing her and more about you being in advancement, and an improvement on your lineage. It’s you stepping into your power. It’s nothing personal against her, but you have to sore. And you have to be willing to let her be who she is and still love her.

And in a strange way you have to be willing to leave a certain part of her behind. But the part of her you’re living behind is the part of her that you kind of want to protect, which I don’t want to hurt my mother. Might not have been the perfect mother, but hey, I’m a good person. I don’t want to hurt my mother.

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: And you have to get that it’s not hurting her. You have to get that. You have to get that it might make her damn uncomfortable, or not, I don’t even know. It might make her the most uncomfortable person in the world, but that’s okay. Let her have her discomfort because that’s what’s going to help her grow, even at this ripe old age.

So you have to let her have her journey, trust her journey. I know you’re still going to be a respectful daughter. I got no concerns around that. And this is your time to embrace who you are and where you’re going. Is that landing at all? Does that make sense?

Margaret: It does. It all really rings true and is very helpful. Particularly, you said “Don’t focus on the splinter”. I feel like I’ve been too reductionist and thinking oh, what’s wrong here? Rather than why am I so afraid? Rather than saying who cares? Let’s just let it go and focus on grammar. Focus on the positive things. Focus on the changes I want to make and need to make.

Marc: Bingo! That’s it. Because if you focus on the splinter, sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the splinter. Because when you’ve got a splinter you really have to focus on it, to find it, and pull that little thing out. So we’re in agreement there.

To me where you’re at and what you’re contending with the splinter is interesting, but it’s not the problem. It’s not that important. It’s not where the action is. The action is in you looking at what’s right. The action is in you looking at what wants to happen.

How am I trying to grow? And how can I help myself grow in that direction?

So it’s kind of like you can look at the garden and you go damn, it’s not growing so fast. Oh my God, what am I doing wrong? Is it me, is it my upbringing? And you can focus on what you’re doing wrong. And there’s it looks a little dry. Let’s water it.

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: It looks a little hungry. Let’s fertilize it, you know. Yeah, there’s useful information about why there wasn’t enough water, or why there wasn’t enough fertilizer? What happened? Got it. And need some water, need some fertilizer. So right now you just need a little water and you need a little fertilizer. Rather than trying to look at why you need water and fertilizer.

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: You following me.

Margaret: Yes I do.

Marc: So we’re going to save a lot of time here in that regards. And I want to offer a couple of more kind of questions that you can consider here. And it’s what positives, if any, do you want to incorporate in your life as a mother from your own mother?

So I want you to begin to see, what do you want to take from your mother in terms of how you want to incorporate it into you?

What are the positives? There’s things you certainly want to leave behind, we understand that. You’re focused on that. You’ve probably done that already.

I also want you to notice the little things. The ways that momma did a few things right.

Margaret: Yeah, she did.

Marc: And this is all about here you are on a reservation and you’re in a different universe than a lot of us live in. And in my limited understanding there’s a part of Native American world view where lineage and ancestry holds a certain power. And it’s going to hold power for you in a whole different way perhaps because that’s what you live in.

And to me this is about you embracing your lineage in a more empowering way. And the way you embrace your lineage is you honor your ancestors. And in this case, especially your grandmother. Especially her, because in a way she’s not in your life it feels like, and you kind of need her.

And, yeah, she’s not on this earth but there’s a way where I think you need to be in relationship with who she represents for you. What she represents? Those energies. That unconditional love. That way that when you’re around her everything was kind of okay, and everything tasted good.

So it’s including her in your life. And it’s embracing your lineage by understanding that each succeeding generation is meant to stand on the shoulders of those before us. So we are standing on their shoulders. So we will be an advancement. And you have to be willing to do that.

You have to be willing to step into your power right now. And part of it is just kind of revisiting this little piece around you and your mom. And really getting that you’re an improvement and that’s okay. So however you need to journal around that, or write around that, or talk to yourself around that, I think that’s a big piece of the puzzle here.

Margaret: Yes, I agree. Everything you’ve said feels right.

Marc: That means I’m right.

Margaret: Yeah, exactly. Yes. What you’re saying feels true. And I can see how I can put it into action. So that’s helpful. I mean that gives me hope.

Marc: Yeah. And there’s also a piece where I notice a lot of people fail to celebrate the small things, or the medium things, or even the big things sometimes. Okay, we celebrate our birthday that’s a big thing, or our weddings, or our whatever.

And it feels to me like you’re a woman who has had so much accomplishment in your life. And you have so much accomplishment in your life.

And I wonder to myself, how much you are really able to honor yourself?

This is so important. Because oftentimes women and men were taught you’re not enough. You’re still not enough. Women are especially taught that my value isn’t giving. My value isn’t serving. My value isn’t giving up my life. My body, my time. You’re homeschooling your kids, for goodness sake. You are giving so much of yourself. And that’s amazing.

And when we’re not able to actually look in the mirror and go good job, and really honor that. And thank whoever. Thank the universe. Thank all the people who helped you be who you are today. If you can’t acknowledge that, then we’re constantly operating at a deficit and it’s never enough.

And I think there’s a place where you have to get current with yourself where job well done, you’re enough. Simple as that feeling. Like job well done, you’re enough. What’s happening is the weight is likely one of the few things in your life.

The weight and the things that surround it is one of the few things in your life where you don’t feel enough.

But then that takes center stage. And it’s so big or it’s looming in the background. It’s always there. It’s always there. It’s always there. And it’s infiltrating.

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: The logical mind goes well, okay let me just handle that then. Let me lose the freaking weight so this nonsense isn’t infiltrating everything else I do. And I can relax and have a good life. And that to me makes sense. But when you then tell me but wait a second, I’m having a hard time getting there. It’s really not working. And you told me it feels like there’s something in the way.

I started out talking nutritional with you and you said “Yeah, but wait a second, Marc, there’s something else”.

So to me what it’s all pointing to is that perhaps, and I see this happen, life conspires to bring us to a place where we have to dig deep.

And maybe before the weight comes off there’s a little inner shift that needs to happen. There’s just a little tweak that needs to happen. And the little tweak I’m suggesting is job well done. I’m 100% okay as I am right now. And then we go into weight loss.

And then we go into okay now, let me strategize now around that. But to be able to hang for a little bit, whether it’s a minute, whether it’s for a week, whether it’s for a month. To be able to hangout. And congratulations, Peg, job well done. You’re enough.

Yeah, there’s always more work to do. I get it. But being able to drop into, wow, you’ve created your dream here. Because if it wasn’t the weight that was getting in the way of you saying that to yourself, it would be something else. Something else would show up on the radar that seemed to be in the way. That we would then focus on that’s not the real thing.

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: How is that landing for you?

Margaret: Oh, I can physically feel that in my body. I hear it in my body not just in my head. Because that thought. I look around and I say well this is enough. The house is enough. The income’s enough. The family’s wonderful. All these things are great. But the thought that I’m enough is a foreign thought. It’s just not ever happened before. So to think that way it’s strange. So it feels like touching a nerve.

Marc: Yeah. You were most likely, Peg, not given that message. So that message comes from the important adults in our early life, which are our parents for most of us. The message called You Are Enough. You know. You know the moments when you held your young children, your infants.

Did you look at them in the moment and go, this isn’t okay right now. You’re a little infant but I want a successful young woman, who is on the computer. And okay I’m holding you now, but you’re not enough. No, you’ve had unbelievable amounts of moments I know where you were holding your children and they were enough.

Margaret: Each one of them started off perfect and they’re perfect to this day.

Marc: Yes. Bingo! I love that. So you know what that feels like. You know what it feels like to give that. You also know intuitively how important it is for them to receive that. So now we turn our attention to you. And we turn your attention to you. And we turn that wisdom that you have towards you.

And what that means is you are now your mother internally.

We are going to pass the torch. Your actual mother who lives in Massachusetts she’s the woman that I gave birth to you. You can call her your mother. She raised you. She’s your mother, but she’s not mothering you anymore. And I would like to say her job is done. She has no responsibilities at this point whatsoever, don’t expect it. She’s an older lady. She needs to live out her life. She’s got her journey. She’s got her path. Love her in the ways that you love her, but she is off duty in terms of being a mother.

So you have to decommission her in your head. Especially the parts that didn’t work. So okay she wasn’t able, for whatever reason, to give you the pure message Peg is loved and she’s enough. And in fact, words that came your way said otherwise. And I know she said some harmful words to you.

And as young people we take that in. Because when our own parent throws words at us that are harmful, or that create separation, we take them in. so you’re now retraining yourself. This is simple retraining. You’re learning the lesson that you’ve taught your kids already.

You’ve already given them this beautiful liftoff of, you’re loved and you’re enough as you are. So now you have to give that message to you. It’s your job. One of the reasons why we often don’t sleep well is because there’s personal pieces inside of us that are just incomplete. And this might be that for you. Because if I’m not enough it’s going to be hard for me to shut my eyes and relax. You know what I’m saying?

Margaret: Yeah.

Marc: So it would be a great practice to try lying in bed at night and just making affirmations to yourself.

Speaking to yourself as if you were your child. How would you talk to yourself? How would you language yourself? How would you give feeling into yourself, the same way you gave feeling into those tiny little bodies that were your children?

How do you do that to you? Because your body’s hungry for that. It’s hungry for that. And the more you give your body that the more you’re going to actually hunger for real food. The more you’re going to want healthy food because you’re going to be getting the real nutrition. That’s kind of been absent for awhile that you weren’t quite sure how to get. Understandably so.

Margaret: That’s something I’ve never thought about spiritual nutrition.

Marc: Sometimes we got to focus on physical nutrition first, food nutrition first, a lot of people. In your case you’ve pretty much told me no, and I agree with you. There’s a place where you’re wanting to do some inner work. It’s kind of where I feel you’re being directed and you’re being guided.

So I’m kind of following your lead because I trust you, and I trust your instinct. And I also trust my instincts here. And in this collaborative conversation this is kind of where I’m landing with it. Which is when you get the spiritual food that you didn’t get, the spiritual nutrition, which is a feeling. It’s an energy. And it’s one of the most important inputs we could ever have as a human being.

It’s what we all want. You don’t marry somebody because they’re going to be mean to you, and hate you. You marry them because hopefully they’re going to make their life better and they’re going to love you for who you are. We want our parents to be that. We want our friends to be that. And here we are and now you have to be that for you.

Margaret: Yeah. And I think in all of the words that you were just saying you painted a clear picture of what I’m grieving. It’s not just the grandma I lost, but also this other love that wasn’t there. Those messages that weren’t there.

Marc: Because. Yeah, I’m sorry.

Margaret: Oh I just think I understand that more clearly now. Thank you.

Marc: And it’s a natural outgrowth of being a good parent. Because your own childhood, you’ll track your own childhood as you raise your child. As you raise your child you’re literally raising yourself again. You’re helping improve what didn’t happen for you, and you’re also bumping against places where you don’t even know what happened to you or how to improve it. And then it gets revealed.

So your good parenting, the way you’ve been a good parent, is now exposing the places where you as a person, you as a daughter, didn’t quite get what you want. And there’s a grieving there and it’s totally legitimate. We don’t have to justify it. You don’t have to try to explain it, nor do you ever have to apologize for it. Because my sense is there’s a lot of emotion there for you, and there’s a lot of feeling, and there’s a lot of depth. And that’s beautiful.

It means you’re awake. It means you’re alive. It means you have a heart. It means you feel. And it means you care. What a great thing?

So if you feel grief around your upbringing, if you feel the sadness, if you feel the longing, then what I want to say is that’s beautiful.

And feel it as long as you need to. I don’t care if it takes another 20 years.

Because sometimes we need to bring our longings with us, our sadness with us, a little bit. Not that we put it on a pedestal but that we’re just aware that it’s there and we don’t pretend it’s not. And in a way it helps us carry it better. And it helps us transform it better.

When we acknowledge, yeah, I feel like I’ve transcended my upbringing in my childhood. And I’ve forgiven my parents. And they’re both deceased and they were amazing, loving people. And I had to work through all the nonsense and all my own nonsense.

And their challenges. And still there’s moments where something will happen and I’ll grief, or I’ll cry. And it’s a beautiful thing. It just means we’re awake, and we’re human, and we’re alive. And these emotions circulate in us.

And it’s sometimes where we’re feeling our emotions. Sometimes you’re feeling emotions that don’t even belong to you. You might be feeling your own mother grieving for what she didn’t have.

Margaret: Well, it is really resonating for me because I’ve felt stuck. There’s some sort of almost paralyzed or glaciated or frozen, not to borrow from the kids’ movies. But I have a feeling that if I follow the suggestions that you’re making, and giving attention to those feelings, and going through that process to kind of get that moving again. That there’d be less in the way of me enjoying all the good things that I have in front of me now, today.

That’s good.

Marc: I think it’s really true. And I think it’s you allowing that voice in you to come out to yourself. Whether you’re speaking it to yourself. And I’m also going to say I want to make one last suggestion to you. Because even when you just referenced how, yeah, you previously maybe felt a little stuck or frozen, you kind of pointed to your throat.

What I want to say there is it might be a really good practice for you. You could do this alone. Just go outside to a place where you’re by yourself and talk to the wind. Talk to the air. And just talk. And just get it out as if you’re talking to the perfect listener who wants to listen.

Whatever your personal, or religious, or spiritual connection.

Use your voice to speak whatever it is that’s inside and really get it out.

Who do you miss? What are you feeling? What’s going on inside? And not you’re saying it so you can say it with the right words, and to Wordsmith it properly.

And so it’s well received on the other end you’re just being messy, and you’re getting it out. So you can get that voice moving because I think it’s in there, and it’s powerful, and it wants to speak. You’re smiling.

Margaret: That’s the best idea I’ve heard in a really long time.

Marc: Good for you.

Margaret: That’s a fantastic idea.

Marc: I’m glad it resonates for you because it resonates for me for you. Well, Peg, I think you have been a wonderful companion in this. A wonderful listener. And I just really appreciate your willingness to share what you’ve shared. And to drop in as much as you dropped in. And to reveal what you’ve revealed.

Very much appreciate it.

And I just feel like there’s some beautiful, juicy places for you to work and play in here.

And letting go of focusing on the splinter and focusing on the task at hand. These beautiful rituals. And feeling your feelings. The grief connecting with your grandma. Letting go of your mother as being a mother. All of that I think you’ve got a lot of good little tricks and tools in your kit now.

Margaret: I feel that way as well. Yes, I feel very helpful.

Marc: Yeah, me too. Me too. Thank you so much for being so generous. I really appreciate it.

Margaret: [Wopilatunka].

Marc: Oh.

Margaret: A big thank you to you for the work that you do. And for this conversation today.

Marc: Very beautiful. Very, very, very beautiful. And we’ll do a follow-up session a bunch of months from now. I’ll have my team reach out to you. And we’ll just kind of check-in and see where you’re at and maybe, hopefully move things forward even more.

Margaret: Excellent. Thank you so much, Marc.

Marc: Thank you so much, Peg. You take care. And thank you everybody for tuning in. Once again, I’m Marc David, and on behalf of the Psychology of Eating Podcast. Lots more to come my friends.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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  • Miroslav Kovar

    Hi Marc, these podcasts are totally awesome! As a college student, I can’t really afford a therapist and these podcasts are quite literally saving my life now. Thank you!

    Are there any podcasts scheduled with male patients? Although I can relate to almost any female patient with ED out there, I think a session with a male could bring a little different perspective.

    • Hi Miroslav! Thanks so much for your kind words. So glad to hear that you are getting some insights from our Podcast! Yes, we do have some male guests coming up! I hope you enjoy those sessions as well. Wishing you all the best! Warmly, Marc

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.