The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 97: Follow Up – When Low Calorie Dieting & Exercise Just Don’t Work
Raquel has been concerned with her weight and body image since childhood and considers herself her own worst critic. The only successful diet strategy she’s had was a fat free and very low calorie diet, but it wasn’t good for her health. Now she’s on a paleo diet, and feels so much better health wise, but she still can’t lose weight even with plenty of exercise. Raquel is sick and tired of this up and down experience with health and weight and needs a new direction. In her first session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helped Raquel see the specific places where she needs to change, and gave her the important but hard-to-hear feedback she needed to finally have a breakthrough. Tune in now as Marc does a follow-up session with Racquel and hear about the amazing progress she’s made since her first session!
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
To see Raquel’s first session with Marc, click here
Marc: Welcome, everybody. 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 Raquel today. Welcome!
Raquel: Thank you. It’s good to be here with you, Marc.
Marc: Yes, thanks so much. And for people tuning in for the first time to this podcast or if you’ve been a regular, this is the follow-up session. Raquel and I met, oh, probably nine months ago. And we had a session together. And, Raquel, if you could just take a minute, fill people in on what the core concern was that you wanted to work on and then how life has been unfolding since then for you.
Raquel: Okay. Well, my core concern at the time was battling with my weight, issues with body image, being unhappy with my body and the way I was feeling in my body. Since then, things have improved quite a lot. And, yeah, I’m feeling much better about myself. Body image wise, I’m a lot more confident. And I have lost quite a bit of weight. So all those things. So, yeah, I’m feeling quite good.
Marc: So what do you think helped make the changes for you?
Raquel: I let go of the need to lose weight, began to feel more comfortable in myself, and just accepting, and also just loving myself for who I was, irrespective of what I look like. And I think that made a big difference, coming to realize that I’m more than just what my body looked like. And, yes, loving what is was very important for me. So I think that made a tremendous difference.
Marc: Well, congratulations. I’m wondering, has this experience for you, does it feel like it has impacted other parts of your life?
Raquel: Yes, I would say so. I was battling at the time, obviously being a Pilates instructor. And I picked up a whole lot of weight. At the time when we spoke, Marc, I had been going through a period where I was quite insecure, not insecure in my skills as an instructor, but insecure in the way I was feeling. And I kept feeling that I wasn’t being a good example.
And I think I judged myself more than maybe other people were judging me for the way I looked. So, yes, having learned so much on the Eating Psychology Course, it’s really just changed my whole perspective. And just realizing that it didn’t matter what I looked like. What was important was who I was and the skills that I had, and just being confident in that.
But now that I’ve lost the weight, obviously my self-confidence has gone back to normal, to being who I am, feeling great. And I think it has impacted that area of my life where I don’t feel insecure with my body image any more. Of course, it’s a journey. I do have moments where I still too. And, of course, I’m not where I want to be with my weight. But it doesn’t matter.
My body will take the time that it needs to get there if it gets there. But it will take the time that it needs. And I’m not stressing over it anymore like I was. It’s not an obsession. Because it was an obsession. I just thought about it all the time.
Marc: It just amazes me how when we had that obsession, it takes over. It rules everything. And it becomes our life. It becomes our religion. It becomes almost our inner job. It’s like our profession. And it’s so, so important that we liberate ourselves from that.
And I just want to underline what you said. A key for you was letting go of the intense need to lose the weight or the neediness around it. And let it be more natural process to just kind of love ourselves into weight loss or celebrate ourselves into it, as opposed to beat ourselves with a stick moving into it. It makes a huge difference.
Raquel: It does. And I began to understand that. And even as I speak to people, I say, “What have you done?” I hear people criticizing themselves. And I stop for a moment. And I think, “Wow, that was me. I would have sounded exactly like this person.” How ridiculous is it where you just criticize yourself the whole time? But that was me.
And now I stand back. And I see it happening. And I tell people that doesn’t work. You cannot continuously criticize yourself and expect a different result. That’s crazy. Stop criticizing yourself. And I tell them I was like that. It was his constant replay in my mind, this continuous self-judgment, self-criticism. And, it’s crazy. Now that I hear it, I see how ridiculous it actually is. But when I was in it, you don’t. You don’t realize how silly it actually is.
Marc: Yeah. That’s the hard part. It’s so true that when we’re in it, it’s almost like chain-smoking. You don’t realize you’re doing it. It’s this habit that kind of does itself. The mind just turns on. It’s criticism mode. And it runs us. And I think so much of what we’re talking about right now is us learning to get a little bit of control just over what the mind is saying and what it’s doing because when we let it went crazy on us, it can torture us.
Raquel: Yeah, absolutely. It is torture.
Marc: So is what do you see as a next step for you from here in terms of just fine tuning you even more? And I’m really speaking from a place of your own inner world, your own inner happiness, your own personal empowerment. What you think is next?
Raquel: Well, what is next is making sure that I keep on track, that what I’ve learned and my mind doesn’t fall back into bad habits because they are there. And they do come back. So it’s just a matter of being able to look in the mirror and not allowing the criticism to start, even on a bad day.
So that is very important, to just keep on track, keep believing and trusting in the process and trusting that I’m on the right track. And reaching out to others and helping others achieve what I’ve managed to achieve the correct way. Yeah, I think that’s very important, passing the message on and reaching out to people. That’s important.
And, of course, understanding that eating healthy and looking after one’s self is important. But it mustn’t be the be-all and end-all of your life. It mustn’t be an obsession. I do exercise a lot, which was always a thing with me. But I actually enjoy training. And I always say to people, “If you don’t enjoy it…” Even to clients, I say, “You’ve got to move in ways that you enjoy. If what you are doing doesn’t work for you or if you don’t enjoy it, stop. Find something that works.”
And I would never have said that in the past. I would have always said, “Oh, don’t worry. You’ve just got to keep going and training. No pain, no gain,” all the traditional things, whereas now my perspective has changed. If you love what you’re doing, do it. I love what I’m doing. And I love training. For me it’s always been that way. So for me it’s a way of life. It’s because I enjoy it. That’s it.
There were times in the past where…Now if I feel tired, I will tell myself, “How do I feel? Okay, today I’m feeling tired. It’s okay. I don’t have to train,” whereas in the past no matter what, I felt driven. I just had to pay her it otherwise the guilds would consume me. So I’ve let up on a lot of those reins. So just keeping that in mind as they go forward because I know I can be OCD when it comes to training and that sort of thing.
So just realizing it’s not the be-all and end-all. Relax into it. Enjoy it. And if you’re feeling tired, it’s okay. It doesn’t matter. You will…. There’s another day that’s going to come, God willing. And you carry on. So it’s just learning those lessons, keeping those lessons in my mind and not allowing myself to slide into the old habits.
Marc: Yeah, and it also sounds like you’re listening and dialoguing with your body in a different way. I think especially when it comes to weight loss and even health, we often tell the body what we want and what we think we should do with it. And we tell the body what’s going to happen and when it has to happen and how it should happen and how it should feel and how much weight it should lose.
And the thing is the body is this brilliant creature that has rules that are often different than ours, different than what’s in my head. It has its own rules. And when we start to pay attention to it, which I think means really when we start to respect it and not push it with our head, then it kind of talks to us in a different language and I think in a language that helps us be effective in helping the body be healthy and helping it be what it’s supposed to be.
Raquel: Yes, absolutely. I always said the body will go where I tell it to go. And I learned the hard way when I had my stress fracture last year. That was already a big wake-up call for me in January when that happened. The body was really telling me, “Okay, that’s what you think, that I will go where did you say I must go.”
And that was really a wake-up call. And I’ve learned to respect that the body will go where the body needs to go, not where I say it should go. So I need to listen to my body. I need to pay attention. And if the body says no, then it is know for that day. And that’s fine. It’s not a big deal. Just listen. Work with your body.
Marc: I’ve also noticed—and I’m not saying this is true for you, but I’m just kind of bouncing off what we’re talking about and really wanting to draw a wide circle around this topic of weight loss—I’ve just noticed, for a lot of people who have weight to lose, and they lose it or some good amount of it, what often happens is even though they’ve had a shift in their body, their inner world doesn’t shift.
And it’s easy to still stay in, “Okay, well, I lost the weight. But am I going to gain it back? Oh, my God. I’ve got to watch my diet. I’ve got to watch myself. It got to watch my exercise.” And there’s still this internal world of upset around the weight and an inability to simply relax into my body.
So for a lot of people, I find even if they keep the weight off, it’s easy to live in a state of misery or in a state of bracing as if I’m going to gain the weight. We have to have that inner shift where if there is a change in the body, if there is a positive change, now can I relax into that new change and ease into these new clothes and almost surrender and let go and enjoy it as opposed to be afraid that I’m going to lose it?
Raquel: Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s in the past is what happened with me. I lost the weight. And the fear was there that I would regain it. And I think it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And also it was that continuous…
Even though I had lost the weight, I was continuously criticizing what I saw anyway, whereas now I’ve learned to accept and say, “You know what? I’m not going to criticize anymore. I’m going to accept what I am. And, yes, I’m not where I want to be. And so what. I’m just going to enjoy where I am now and love it. And if more comes off, great. If it doesn’t, fantastic. I am happy. I accept who I am.” And that has been a big change for me, just getting that mindset to change.
Marc: Good for you. That is a huge leap into stepping into our true personal power, stepping into who you are as a person because you’re not pulling yourself down all the time. It’s just kind of like going out swimming and just allowing yourself to go under even though you’re in 3 feet of water. We have to have a sense of dignity in this whole process.
And I think, again, a lot of people lose the weight, but they don’t lose the negativity. They don’t lose the fear. They don’t lose the self-criticism. And that’s what we really have to let go of because that’s what really weighs us down on so many level sometimes.
Raquel: Yeah. Yeah, it will pull you down, absolutely. I totally agree with that.
Marc: Well, Raquel, I’m thrilled for you that you’ve had this shift. And I’m fascinated to see for you how this translates into your life, into the work that you do. And it really is yet another way that you can now help other people and really see what’s going on in the world and see what’s going on inside people’s inner worlds.
Raquel: Yes. And that’s the thing. You do begin to see. And maybe my journey was necessary. It was necessary so that I could help other people. And I see others that are in that very possession. And I can try and help them. And it’s difficult. It’s difficult to get through to people because they’re still stuck in that mentality. And to try to get them out of it is hard work.
But I believe that my journey was necessary because that’s really what I wanted to be able to help other people. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me in the sense that I hope I can be effective in helping other people on their journey and to break through from the shackles that bind us when it comes to weight and body image because they are really shackles, terrible shackles.
Marc: They are. It’s bad news for so many people. And the good news is when one of us breaks free, we have so much momentum and we have more ability and power than we realize to serve others. Because when you speak to people now who are where you were, you’re going to speak with a certain authority and knowing that’s quiet sometimes. It doesn’t have to be this big thing. But you’re going to speak with the kind of knowing, I think, that really sinks in when people hear it.
Even if it doesn’t change them right away, it’s what we know inside because
we’ve been on that journey that you know what’s possible for someone else. And then we can hold space for them. And then when you hold space for others, it’s also easy to hold space for you because you’re just practicing it a lot.
Raquel: Yes, absolutely. I say to people if you begin to love your body and love what is, you will respect how you nourish your body. And it’s all about the quality of the food that you are having and having respect for your body. And, yes, we are human. And we do enjoy nice things. And it’s great to have those. And there are no boundaries in that regard.
But when you begin to love what is, no matter what you look on the outside, it will change your mindset to how you’re going to look after the temple that you have, how you’re going to nourish that temple, the quality of the ingredients that you’re going to be feeding your body. All of that is so important. But you’ve first got to get to a place where you love your body and respect your body for who it is and what it does for you and what it can do for you. And that’s part of that whole journey that has been really so important for me that I’ve come to realize.
Marc: So well spoken. And I just want to honor you for really taking the reins and really choosing to use what you know and give it a try. And you tried something different. You tried loving yourself and respecting yourself into this journey where previously you hadn’t. And we don’t know until we really give it a chance. And you did it. And it worked for you. Job well done.
Raquel: Thank you to you for the work that you do because it’s a whole different perspective. And it’s not something that you get told anywhere or learn anywhere. What we get told is, “Eat less. Exercise more. Count your calories. And that’s the journey that you need to go on if you want to lose the weight.” And that is not correct. There’s so much more to it, so much more to it. There’s a whole lot of inner world that needs to change before any of that can ever be effective anyway.
So lots of thanks to you and for the work that you do, which is brilliant. It’s exciting. And I’m glad to be a part of it as one of the coaches now, yeah.
Marc: Thank you so much, Raquel. I really appreciate it.
Raquel: Okay, take care. Thanks for your time, Marc.
Marc: Yeah. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Once again, I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating Podcast. There’s lots more to come, my friends. Take care.
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