The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 41: What Can A Woman Boxer Learn From Weight Gain

Since her teenage years, Suzie has been battling a number of concerns including fatigue, digestive problems, mood swings and now a recent weight gain. As a Thai Boxing professional, she puts a lot of strain on her body and she’s ready to find some answers, but isn’t sure where to turn. Tune into this great podcast episode as Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating helps Suzie see that the answers to her health and weight concerns are tied into her relationship with men, and how she sees herself as a woman. Being a professional boxer has helped her for sure, but it may be time to see her life in a whole new way.

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 here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. I’m with Suzie today. Welcome, Suzie.

Suzie: Hey, welcome! Hi!

Marc: I’m glad you’re here. And I’m glad you’re doing this. Let me just say a few words for listeners and viewers who might be tuning in for the first time what we’re doing. So in the Psychology of Eating podcast, we will have a session today. And we will work on whatever Suzie wants to work on.

And the idea is to take what would normally be anywhere from four months to a year’s worth of work and see if we can condense it in distil it into one session so we can come away—so in this case—Suzie can come away with something useful, something tangible, maybe a breakthrough, and opening, a clear path. So that’s the idea here. We’re going to go for no more than an hour and hopefully make some things happen.

So, Suzie, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted from this session, what would that be?

Suzie: I think it’d be a breakthrough. I’ve gotten to certain places in my life. I’ve been taking on new tasks and things. But there always seems to be something that gets in my way. So I’ll self-sabotage or other aspects. So it’s really just to live and be really, just to be happy with who I am.

Marc: Any complaints around food, around body, around weight? Where’s the places that you might want to work on on that level?

Suzie: I have digestion problems. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome when I was about twenty-one. I’m thirty-seven now. So I have phases where it flares up, phases where it’s okay. But more recently, it’s been quite bad. I have really cleaned my diet, cut out gluten, dairy, eggs, corn. And that’s helped it. But it’s still very stress and anxiety related.

Marc: So there’s the irritable bowel. Anything else you want to work on?

Suzie: I’ve had a bit of weight gain, probably about ten pounds over the last few months, depression, anxiety, panic attacks. I’ve had those in the past.

Marc: And are you being treated for the depression and the anxiety attacks in any way?

Suzie: Not really. In the past I’ve seen psychiatrists, psychologists, a hypnotherapist, acupuncturists, nutritionists. I’m currently seeing a C.H.E.K. practitioner on quite a lot of supplements and dealing with it that way. But I just feel this more. The supplements and diet is helping. But it’s just not quite getting there. I feel as though my body is just not working properly. It’s just feels bunged up.

Marc: And are you working right now?

Suzie: No. I’ve just got back from Thailand. I was in Thailand for just over three years. And now I’ve just moved back to my mom’s and stepdad’s. And I’m just lying low, recuperating a little bit.

Marc: So what’s going to be next for you in terms of the next phase of your life?

Suzie: I’m not sure. Obviously I’m doing the course. I finish that in May. I was thinking maybe New Zealand. But ultimately I’ve got working as a health coach in my head. I’m already a personal trainer. I’ve been Thai boxing for six, seven years. So I want to teach that.

But more recently I’ve also gotten lower back problems. So that’s pretty much halted any exercise. That and my digestive issues and just general state of mind was the reason why I came back from Thailand because I was fighting over in Thailand. So it’s just all got too much for me.

Marc: So that’s what you were doing in Thailand. You were doing Thai boxing?

Suzie: I was, yes.

Marc: So is that you were just a study it? Or you were doing it professionally? What does that look like?

Suzie: I was doing it professionally. I had ten fights in the UK before I went out to Thailand. And I’ve had thirteen fights in the last three years while I was in Thailand. I also taught English part time for a bit of money. But, yeah, it was the Thai boxing.

I was plagued with a lot of infections, bacterial infections, which I thought was down a lot to the diet, quite high sugary foods and obviously my stress on the body with training all the time. I moved back home. But I got more infections last week. I had one in my leg and one in my behind. So, yeah, I’ve just been plagued with infections for really three years and just going to hospital, being on drips, lots of antibiotics. Yeah, it just got too much.

Marc: So you’ve had a rough bunch of years here when it comes to your health.

Suzie: Yeah, yeah, quite a number of years, yeah. When I was first diagnosed with irritable bowel, I was in hospital for ten days. They didn’t actually know what it was. And they wouldn’t actually diagnose it. But the nurse said that she thought that it was irritable bowel. And then since then—that was when I was twenty-one—just on and off really with digestive issues. But more recently it’s just with the weight gain and infections and health. And it’s just gotten more.

Marc: So whatever inspired you to get into Thai boxing?

Suzie: I don’t know. I’d always really enjoyed it. I tried it when I was eight. But it’s a very male oriented sport. And then I got back into it when I was 29 or 30. There were classes on at my local gym. And the guy that was running them just asked me if I wanted to fight. I went to see a few fights. And I got into it from there really. Yeah, and twenty-three fights later…

Marc: Wow!

Suzie: Yeah.

Marc: That just amazes me. And you traveled all the way to Thailand to study it, to fight. That’s a big commitment.

Suzie: Yeah, it was. I was single and didn’t have any ties or anything. It was just an itch I needed to scratch. So I went over there.

Marc: So before the three years in Thailand, how was your health previous to that?

Suzie: It was up and down. Digestive issues. But I could always control my weight with going to the gym quite a lot. I’ve always been a good exerciser. So, yeah, just up and down really. But no real issues in terms of major anxiety or panic attacks until I was probably late twenties.

Marc: Do you remember your first panic attack?

Suzie: Yeah. Yeah, that was in York, just in my little flat.

Marc: Do you remember what triggered it?

Suzie: I was going through some emotional issues with a guy that I was seeing. And it was with work, as well. I was working. I was studying to be a lawyer. And I was working a lot of hours. I really wasn’t enjoying it. I was doing it all for the wrong reasons. I just realized I didn’t recognize who I was anymore. I was doing things just for the wrong reason, really, which I do quite a lot.

Marc: So what do you think stimulates anxiety attacks these days when you get them?

Suzie: I just feel overwhelmed. My ability to deal with stress is reduced. I get very teary and tend to get overwhelmed quite easily.

Marc: Yeah. Has that been how you’ve been for most of your life? Or you’re saying just when you hit your twenties?

Suzie: I’d say I’ve been fairly quiet really most of my life. I tend not to like confrontation, like arguments. So I tend to put up with quite a lot. With past relationships I have put up with stuff. And then it eventually built up, built up. And then I just snap and it sort of comes out. I have a little bit of a mini breakdown. So, yeah, it tends to build, bubble into the surface. And then it comes out.

Marc: Wow. It’s kind of fascinating to me for someone who doesn’t like conflict. Yet you’re able to do Thai boxing, which is some serious conflict.

Suzie: Yeah. I asked myself so many times why I did go and train and why I wanted to fight. And I think it’s that self-control and the focus and being able to be in a ring and dictate how the fight goes, be in control, and be the better person and be able to control the fight. I’ve had a lot of fights where I haven’t remembered the fights. And I just go into, just red mist comes down. And it gets scrappy. It got scrappy. I wasn’t thinking what I was doing.

But I wanted to overcome that by being in control and being in control of the fight really and being able to dictate and lead the fight. And I think that crosses over probably to life, as well. Rather than expressing myself, I suck it up and just deal with it inside. I’m not very articulate when I’m solving matters that are confrontational. I think about the other person and how I might, rather than just say what’s on my mind.

Marc: So are you in a relationship now?

Suzie: No.

Marc: Would you like to be into the future? Do you want to be married? Do you want kids?

Suzie: I’d like to be in a relationship. Yeah. I think I really would like that connection. I lack that connection. I lack friends around me, that connection. But in terms of kids, I’m not sure. I know the clock’s ticking and working. I’d like to be at a steady job. I’d like to have an income. I’d like to have a house and be married. I’m thirty-seven now. I don’t know. It’s probably not something I’ll do.

Marc: So is there anything in your mind standing in the way of you being in a relationship right now? Do you feel like you’re ready for it?

Suzie: I feel I’m ready for it. I know in the past with relationship, I’ve only had two serious relationships. I had one which was three years. I finished that when I was twenty-five. And then before that when I was eighteen, a year and a half. But nothing else, really. And I tend to go for the wrong type of guy. And I change who I am. So I think that’s in my head. I feel like I need to work on myself. I feel I need to get stronger. I feel I need to get good character and to be strong with who I am before I meet someone so I don’t run the risk of losing who I am again and living my life according to them and getting clear on what I want out of life I guess before I meet anyone else.

Marc: So when you say, “I tend to pick the wrong guy,” who is the wrong guy? Name me a few characteristics of what the wrong guy would look like or be like?

Suzie: Probably guys that have issues. I tend to want to help and get caught up in that side of it. The bad guy, I guess. And looking at the guys that I’ve had relationships in the past have been guys that have been quite popular so, yeah. I don’t have a good track record.

Marc: So you go for guys that are popular? Or guys that need to be fixed a little somehow, problems? It sounds like maybe you kind of mother them a little bit or you’re helping them deal with their issues? Is that correct?

Suzie: Yeah. That’s probably it. It takes the focus off of me, that sort of thing. I don’t know.

Marc: Yeah. And he also mentioned the bad guys. What does that mean to you?

Suzie: I guess the guys that need help. I don’t know. I’m not sure.

Marc: Okay. When you look at the health challenges that you have… And it sounds like you’ve gone through a lot in terms of your back, in terms of mood swings or depression and digestive issues, and now recently weight gain, how do you see that? What do you say to yourself when you look at all these challenges going on? You think, “Oh, this is happening because umph,” or, “Wow, I wonder what’s going on.” How do you talk to yourself about it?

Suzie: I don’t know. Let me think. Coming back from Thailand, I see it as life telling me to slow down really. I can’t exercise now because of my back. I need to give myself some time off really just to feel a bit better. In the past, I used to be very much, “Oh, why me? Why can’t I just feel good and things?” But I don’t know. More recently I’ve found that I can see sort of where I want to be and who I can strike up…I met a few people in Thailand traveling through. And it lit me up. I got a lot of energy from that. I was chatty. I was outgoing and things. And that’s what I want to be more like.

But the digestion, health problems, it just gets so frustrating. I just get really frustrated, especially now with the bloating and my stomach. It’s just always constant. Like coming back from Thailand, I thought, “By now, I got back at the beginning of December, and I thought by now I’d be feeling a bit better. But even catching up with friends, it tires me out. And then I think I’m doing good. And then I just get really tired and emotional. At the minute, I just feel I’m just struggling a bit with this problem.

Marc: When do you feel best?

Suzie: Around positive people. When I’m having fun. I used to shut myself away. I’ve not been a loner. But I haven’t had a large group of mates around all the time. So I sort of push people away and deal with stuff on my own. When things go bad, I move to a different country. I spent a year in Lanzarote, spent a year in Australia. When I went to Thailand, it also followed after an emotional time in my life when I had a bit of a breakup from a relationship. So I want to be around more positive people and just to be more active and just happier.

Marc: So do you want to stay in England?

Suzie: Not sure. Not sure. I’m up for New Zealand. Maybe I’d like to go to New Zealand next or anywhere really. But then in my head, I’m conscious that I’ve done that before. I moved away. But your problems follow you. So I know it’s got to be done for the right reason. Now I’ve got to go away but I’m a little bit more focused because eventually the same cycle will happen when I just get really down and depressed again. It’s like a recurring cycle.

Marc: What’s it’s like for you to be in your mom’s place now?

Suzie: When I first got back from Thailand, it was great. I had a really good feeling deep down that something good was going to happen. I felt great. It was this energy in me that I just felt it was the right decision, the right thing to do. I’m conscious about being in my parents’ house again, going through all that and the difference. I feel I’m growing quite a lot and maybe leaving mom behind a little bit. And so I find that’s quite hard, not reverting back to the child, sort of thing, being an adult in my own right in my mom’s house, sort of thing.

So ideally it’d be good to get a place of my own. But then I still need the people around because they’ve been away on holiday for three weeks and get back tomorrow. So I’ve felt quite lonely in that time they’ve been away. So I’m looking forward to them going back.

Marc: So was this the flat you grew up in?

Suzie: Yes. This is the house. We’ve been in here for about twenty-seven years, same village, my mom and stepdad.

Marc: Right. Got it. So, Suzie, I think I have some ideas, thoughts based on what you’ve shared so far. And I’d like to just share those with you. On one level, because of the nature of what’s going on for you with your health and with your inner world, there’s a lot. So I’m not going to be able to solve all that in fix all that in one session. Obviously so much of what you’re dealing with in terms of digestion and in terms of your back and in terms of infections, these are medical challenges that I know you’re getting some help for.

I kind of want to start out talking big picture for you because often times what happens for us when we’re dealing with a lot of different health issues or personal issues or both of them at the same time is that our energy goes to fixing the symptoms, which is understandable. If your digestion is not working, “What’s wrong? Let’s fix it.” If your back is going out, let’s fix it. If I’m having anxiety, how do I fix that? So a lot of your energy is going to go into, “Okay, what’s going on?” And rightfully so. It should go there.

So for our time, I want to take a step back and look at the big picture. So when I look at the big picture, I’m going to just pull from little clues that you shared with me. You said at one point when I asked you, “What’s next for you,” you said, “Oh, maybe New Zealand.” And then you started saying how, yeah, but your problems kind of follow you around.

And I’ve been sort of wondering for you about the traveling piece. I’ve been a traveler. I’ve lived in different places. So I love that. I’m an adventurous person. And it sounds like you’re a very adventurous person, which I really admire. And at the same time, I hear you also wanting to settle down. I hear you wanting to be in a relationship. I hear you wanting to be grounded. And that feels like an important theme here. It almost feels to me like there’s so much that’s been going on for you for a long time. And a lot of that is about you learning how to be the real you, learning how not to sell yourself out in relationships of any kind, and to express yourself.

And the truth is when we sell ourselves out and we’re not being who we really are, symptom is likely to happen. And it could be any kind of symptom. It doesn’t matter what. The body often becomes this collection place for our life. It becomes a reflection of who we are and what’s happening. And with all this stuff going on for your body, it does feel like it’s time for you to slow down. What bigger message could possibly be happening than that?

If everything is starting to break, then it’s time to stop, look around, listen, and really attend to self. And I get that you’re doing that. Moving back to your parents place and being there, that’s a way for you to attend to self. And it’s not surprising to me that here you are ending up in the house that you spent so many years in as a person where it feels like you’re…

Sometimes we go back in time to correct things. I had a time in my life when my dad was dying of cancer. And I moved back in with my parents to help take care of him. Ostensibly, I was moving back in to help take care of my dad, but now I’m living in the house that I went to junior high school and high school in. And it brought up all these old memories. And all of a sudden, I’m back in my teen years again even though I’m a young adult.

So it feels like this is a time in your life where you’re in an important transition. That’s what I want to say. You’re in a very important transition. And the decisions that you make now are going to count for a lot. They’re going to be big. Tell me how old you are again.

Suzie: I’m thirty-seven. I’ll be thirty-eight next month.

Marc: So we’re not a teenager anymore. You’re not in your early twenties. You’re in your late thirties now. And that’s a time in life to really start to gather in your energy and to look to the future and say, “Okay, who do I want to be?” You’ve collected a lot of information about your life and the world up to this point. I’m just looking at you from the standpoint of being a thirty-seven year old. You’ve been around. You’ve lived in different places. You’ve had different experiences, different relationships, pain here, pain there, a little bit of success here and there.

And now you’re kind of looking at all of it. And I think this is an important time to ask, “Who am I? And what do I really want? And what the straightest road to get to where I want to go?” I don’t think this is a time for you to take a circular route to get to where you want to go. I don’t know. I don’t think so, based on what you’ve shared and especially since your body is screaming for attention.

I want to say I was fascinated about Thai boxing, A, because I’m fascinated by martial arts and have practiced them myself, but also fascinated at how you’ve describe yourself as this person who can—you didn’t use these words—but kind of almost implied that, “Wow, I’ve gotten walked over in relationships. Or I sold myself out. I wasn’t being the real me,” which is almost saying, “I’m not standing for myself. I’m not fighting for myself. I’m just trying to be somebody so I can please other people.”

And so many of us do that. We all do that. That’s a childhood strategy. We learn how to survive in the world oftentimes by, “If I’m a good boy or a good girl and I please you, I please mommy, I please daddy, I please make teachers, I please everybody, I please the boys, I please the girls, then you’ll like me.” But to then that becomes, okay, you meet somebody. What do I have to do to please you so you like me? Or if we’re in a relationship, “Who do I have to be so you like me, even if it means me being someone else?”

So you’ve kind of identified that that’s what you’ve been doing. I think Thai boxing, like you said, was a way for you to dictate the relationship. You said, “A way for me to dictate the fight.” So what a great thing for you to start to learn how to do that.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and give you an opinion and say I don’t know that your body can keep on getting pounded. I mean that. If you’re my client, I’m going to raise my hand and say, “Great. Good for you that you’ve done this martial art. You’re Thai boxing. You’ve learned it. You’ve committed yourself to it. I’ve really got a big question mark going in my head of you’re having all these infections.”

Infections mean that our system is depleted. Immune system can be defeated for many, many reasons. You’re living in a foreign country, that can do it. Stress, that can do it. Diet, that can do it. All kinds of metabolic issues and environmental factors. But getting your body pounded will weaken your immune system. And I don’t know if it’s the right thing for you. I’m concerned for you in that regard.

For your body to keep taking hits, it could be affecting your back. And I’m sure it is. I’m sure it’s affecting your immune system because your body is constantly having to recover. Taking hits to the body, hits to any part of body is going to create inflammation. It’s going to create stress. The body has to heal and recover. I’m not saying Thai boxing is bad. I’m just calling into question if it’s the right strategy for you in terms of where you’re at in your life and where you want to go.

Suzie: I’ve gotten more into yoga recently, which has been really good for me. Helping with my breathing a bit of meditation, generally taking time for myself. Just slow down really a little bit that way.

Marc: Now, I don’t know. And I think that’s really good for you. I would love to see you do softer exercises. I really mean that, especially when we’re moving into a part of life and want to settle down and we want to take ourselves to the next level and we want to regroup, when we want to heal, in order to heal your body, you need to be in relaxation response. In order to heal your body, you need to not be offending it in any way.

So it’s very obvious to me that you’re in a time of life right now where you literally need to recover. And the recovery is not just physical. The recovery is also emotional. And I hear you doing that. You’re taking stock of, “Who am I?” So instead of dictating the fight, now you’re going to turn that into holding yourself in relationship, being able to say, “Okay, we are in relationship. And it’s a dance.”

A fight is like a dance. On a certain level, you’re dancing with somebody. A relationship is a dance. And you have to be willing to play different roles in that dance. And one of the roles we need to learn how to play that it sounds like you’ve really been learning is how to defend yourself, to stay with yourself, to stand for yourself. I think you know that’s what you have to do. I don’t know if you have to keep fighting to do that, literal fighting. You follow me?

Suzie: Mmm hmm.

Marc: I don’t know that you need to keep traveling and go to a new place to find yourself. Maybe you will. But I’m just wondering for you.

Suzie: Yeah. I do think that, as well. But I’m finding that I’m learning what’s important to me. And what’s important to me is the connection with other people and having a good network of people around me that can bring me up that I’m sort of on a level with.

I tend to meet people and put them on a pedestal a little bit. And then it’s easy for me sometimes to feel let down. And then I sort of see them in a different light and then just move away from them. So I find that’s just a recurring thing, really, as well. So I suppose I think, “I’ll go somewhere else, reinvent myself. I can go be all bouncy, be happy and attract really positive people, find that. But it just hasn’t happened.

Marc: Yeah. So that takes a lot of energy, too, to go to a new place, go to a new country, figure it out, establish yourself, find a place to live, meet some people. It takes a lot of energy. And I don’t believe for you anymore that to the answer is found out to there, “Reinvent myself.” You can reinvent yourself from right where you are right now. And that’s honestly what I would love to suggest you consider very, very strongly. It just feels like it’s time to come home to yourself.

Stop looking for your home. Stop looking for your people. First and foremost, you are your people. So it’s kind of like finding you. And you’re doing that. You’re realizing what’s important for you. And part of what is important for you is surrounding yourself with good and loving people. And it sounds like you have some kind of foundation for that where you are right now. And you can attract the fact to view more and more as you’re clear that, “That’s what I want,” and as you’re clear that you don’t have to go anywhere to find that.

And again I’m going to say it’s okay if you decide, “Oh, I want to move somewhere else” if it really feels right. But I would just love for you to consider what it would look like to stay in your country. And just consider that and try that on because it might finally be the homecoming that you’re waiting for.

Here’s another thing I want to say. I’m going to make a statement. And tell me if this is true for you or not. My statement is that it’s probably hard for you… I’ll say it a different way. It’s not easy for you to be a human being on planet Earth. Doing this whole thing, being a human on planet Earth hasn’t come easy for you.

Suzie: No. No, not at all. It’s weird. I remember when I was… I think I must have been about fifteen or sixteen. I remember thinking, “Is this all life is? Is this it? This is quite easy.” And then from then it just all seemed tangled up. It’s not been easy. I’ve had people around me that have set rules and stuff. I suppose I’ve made things up the way that I think they should be as I go along and made a lot of mistakes and not been as forthright as I should have been. Yeah, it’s not been easy.

Marc: And that’s what a lot of people experience. On one level life isn’t easy. On another level, for some of us who are more sensitive or we’ve just had a different path, it’s not easy. It’s not easy finding out, “Who am I? What do I want? How do I make a relationship work? How do I be in my body? How do I be happy. Do I even want to be here?” So people are here. But we’re kind of half here. We’re doing life. But we’re sort of sleepwalking through it a little bit. We’re trying to make it. But it’s not really that fun. And we’re almost treading water in life.

And I think there’s been a part of you for a long time now that’s been trying to figure it all out. And part of what happens when life is not easy and, “I’m trying to figure this out. Who am I? Why am I here? What’s the point? Am I just going to keep having more pain and more uncomfortability?” part of what will flow from that is often a symptom, digestive issues and pain and mood and whatever.

Emotional challenges are often connected to this place where we haven’t fully agreed, “Okay, life isn’t easy. But I’m here. Life isn’t so fun all the time. But I’m here. And I’m going to commit to being here as long as I’m alive and doing the best I possibly can to make it work.”

I feel like you’re doing that. And I also feel like you can make that decision even more strongly. And just as you’re looking to find your place in life, it’s natural that you’re going to want to go here and go there and go into all different places. And there comes a point—and I’m just talking to you as a somebody older than you—there comes a point in life where we can’t find ourselves out there somewhere.

You can find your self in a tiny little cubicle somewhere and never leave. So in a strange way, it’s just time to turn some of that energy and effort, turn it inward a bit. And, yes, you need other people for sure. I think that’s super important for you. But it’s also time to stand by yourself, meaning to stand by you.

And instead of looking at, “How do I fix my anxiety?” or, “How do I fix my depression?” instead of looking at it like that, sometimes a good way to see it is, “Wow, here I am having this anxiety. Can I still love myself even during this anxiety? Here I am being depressed. Can I still love myself even though I’m depressed? Here I am with these mood swings. Can I still love myself even though I’m having mood swings?”

What I think happens for you is when you go into a mood, that’s uncomfortable. When you go into depression, that’s uncomfortable. Obviously anxiety is uncomfortable. Anxiety attack is uncomfortable. And anxiety attack is triggered because, like you say, your threshold for stress is low. And your system can’t handle it. So what you’re learning is to be present with yourself and your body.

And it’s not about getting rid of the anxiety, believe it or not. It’s about being with it. So the anxiety attack is less the problem. And it’s more the opportunity for you to be with your anxiety and learn how to just kind of wear it and absorb it and say, “Okay, I’m really anxious right now. Maybe I’ll call my friend. Maybe I’ll call my mom. Maybe I’ll call whoever it is. I reach out for help.”

And at the same time, I breathe. And I love myself even though I’m having anxiety. So it’s you learning how to stand by you even more because you probably haven’t had that kind of support consistently. It’s doesn’t sound like you’ve gotten that in your significant relationships all the time where somebody has been able to stand for you and protect you. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Suzie: Yeah, that’s true.

Marc: So you do it for you first. As you start to do it for you, it’s going to make it way easier for you to attract a partner who wants to treat you that way. If you’re banging your head against the wall all the time, we will likely attract a partner who will be happy to help us they are head against the wall because that’s our behavior. And that’s what they see. And that’s who they’ve decided to like.

This feels like a time in life where you have to sort of fall a little bit more in love with who you are with all your imperfections. At some point in life, I think we need to fall in love with our own imperfections, fall in love with, “Yeah, I’m an emotional person. Yeah, I’m a sensitive person. Yeah, I get anxiety attacks. Yeah, I’ve got digestive issues.”

Can you still be in love with that person? It’s kind of one of the reasons why it’s actually easy for you to be in relationship with somebody who has problems or they’re an underdog because you have a lot of compassion for that because you’re kind of the underdog. So you see yourself in others. You see that sensitive person who needs some extra love and care. It’s time to focus that a little bit more in your own direction.

And I think as you start to do that, the challenges around mood, depression, anxiety, and the health issues, they’re going to start to unravel in a natural way. Yeah, you’ll continue to get help with those concerns. You’ll continue to tweak your diet and find out how to better care for yourself. But that has happened surrounded by you creating a relaxation response for yourself.

The body heals in a relaxation response. Mind and emotions, any psychological issue, ultimately heals in a relaxation response, meaning… Parasympathetic nervous system dominance is when you do all healing, maintenance, and repair of body tissue, i.e. when you sleep, when you’re on vacation, when you’re chilling and resting.

So humans, we human, we go to the next level in our health and healing of body and mind when we can relax, when we can be at peace, when we can let go, when we’re not being chased by the lions, when we’re not attacking our own self. When you’re not in the ring boxing someone and fighting somebody, you’re in the survival response.

So I want you to not fight because I don’t want to constantly be in a survival response. I want you to experience now what it means to be in more of a consistent relaxed response to life because that creates the kind of physiology that will supports the digestive system and healing. Your digestive system doesn’t digest in a state of stress. Full-blown stress means poor digestion. Full relaxation means full digestion. Simply how we work.

So all I’m asking you to do is look at the places in life where you can start to create more relaxation, which means love, acceptance. Stop pushing. Stop fighting and forcing. Stop trying to find myself out there. That’s a little stressful. And start loving myself without having to change myself. So it kind of starts right where you are right now.

I think what you’ll find his that it’s less that there’s something to fix. And, again, I know that you have a lot of challenges that you want to fix. But it’s less a something to fix and more about you making the choice to be with your self in a different way than you ever have.

And it really feels like a falling in love with yourself. It’s a sort of like the way to fall in love with another person, the way you put him on a pedestal. You’re going to do that when you put yourself too low. I’m going to want to put people on a pedestal when I’m all the way down there because then it gives me something to aspire to. It gives me something to look up to. And that makes sense. But you’re at a point in life where you have to start recognizing your own value. You have to do that. You can’t wait for someone else to do it. You have to recognize your value.

I want to give you a homework assignment. And the homework assignment—if this feels right for you—is I want you to keep a running list. And you could journal this at night before bed. You could do with you during the day. I don’t care when, whatever feels good for you. Keep a running list of ways that I value and appreciate myself. And I want this to be a growing list.

And it could be the littlest things. “I really appreciate how I talk to people. I really appreciate my left hook. I really appreciate my footwork when I fight. I really appreciate how I try to take care of myself with diet.” I don’t care what it is. But I want you to leave no stone unturned. All ways that you appreciate yourself on an inner level, our level, how you are with you, with other people. I want you to begin to inventory how cool you are and to start to embrace that.

I want you to write down also all the ways that you respect and appreciate yourself for how you’ve been in relationship with people because even though you might say to me, “Yeah, Marc. I made some mistakes in my relationships. I gave myself away to somebody else,” okay, yeah. But you’re also a pretty good person. You cared. You try to uplift people. You gave yourself. And you really put yourself out there. So I want you to really start to grasp your own value because it feels like that’s a little bit of a missing piece here. And the weird thing is oftentimes no one else can do that for us but us.

How is this all landing for you so far? What are you thinking?

Suzie: That makes sense. I know recently I’ve been thinking more to make friends with myself and support myself rather than look at other people to provided that. But I do find that hard.

Coming back, I feel like I should be doing something. I feel like I should be working. I feel that I should be thinking about money. I’ve got family asking what’s happening. My mom has been great [with my] just coming back and just chilling out. But I suppose I’ve just got a bit of a voice on my shoulder going, “You should be doing this. You should be doing that. You should be deciding.” So I’m finding it hard to just relax and be and wonder how long that’s going to take in just that whole, struggling with that at the minute. But, yeah, it does land to me in terms of being friends with myself really and just supporting myself.

Marc: Being friends with your self and supporting yourself even though you’re in the uncertainty, so, yeah. There’s a lot of uncertainty in your life. You’re in a major transition time. Transition time. And I want to underline that for a second. All of us go through transition times. Many of us are in it right now. A transition time means you’re not where you used to be. You’re not quite where you want to go. And in the meantime, there’s uncertainty in that transition. There’s unknowns in that transition. There’s uncomfortability in that transition. And there’s possibility in that transition.

Usually humans tend to freak out in transition times. We get really nervous. We get anxious. “Oh, my God. What’s going to happen to me?” And it’s understandable. Transition time, think of a trapeze artist. At some point, you jump. And you’re in mid air waiting for the next guy to catch you. And you’re in a transition time. You don’t know if the guy is going to catch you. You don’t know how it’s going to work out.

So transition times ask us to really trust. Transition times ask us to build a different kind of muscle. So you can dictate the fight here, so to speak. You can dictate the transition time in part by understanding that there’s going to be a lot of uncertainties and unknowns that’s unnatural. There will be natural fears. There will be natural concerns. And you can still love yourself through that process, be kind to yourself in that process, and understand that, “Yes, I don’t have all the answers right now.”

And dig down for some trust that is going to fall into place. That might mean coming up with a game plan for yourself. That might mean saying, “Okay, mom. I need to be here with you for one more month, two more months, three more months.” Maybe you put a time on it.

Or you give a timeframe like, “How about if I’m here for another two to three months? And then after that, I’m getting my own place or getting a job,” what ever it is to at least have some kind of target or at least start that conversation. And maybe you’re not ready. Maybe you say, “Hey, mom. Give me just a few weeks to figure this out. And then I’ll come up with a game plan.”

But acknowledge to your self that you’re in a transition time, which means uncertainty, which means life is asking you to trust and dig a little deeper into yourself and find you in all this.

Suzie: Yeah. That lands.

Marc: So other thoughts, Suzie, that you’re thinking on what we’ve been talking about? What else is going through your mind in terms of what I’ve shared, what you’ve been sharing?

Suzie: It’s just that trust factor and just being and trusting if I need to rest, I need to rest rather than if other people think I should be going out, finding work. I’ve got the ideal opportunity here. I ride horses, as well. And I ride horses for a friend. So it’s an ideal opportunity now really just to find who I am really and get that spark back, find my mojo again.

Marc: Yeah. To find your mojo and to find it from a place where you don’t have to find it out of there, where you’re finding it in yourself. And I think in the long term what’s you’re learning is self-dignity. You can call it self-confidence. That’s one way. But there’s a certain, I think, self-dignity that you’re learning. It’s a self-respect. It’s a self-honoring.

That’s why I asked you to keep that list going of all the things that you like yourself before, things that you appreciate, the things that you honor about yourself. There is a way where you have to put yourself on that pedestal and go, “God job!” It’s doesn’t mean you have to be perfect because you’re not. None of us are perfect.

But given the life that we each have, we’ve all come far. You’ve come very far. And I think it’s time to really own that. It’s time to own what you’re good at, what you’ve accomplished, the things you’ve overcome, the ways that you’ve looked to better yourself, the efforts that you’ve made, and to take back and wrap it all up into a ball of self-respect and self honoring.

Suzie: How do you recommend to get rid of times when I feel that somebody has taken advantage of me, sort of really let me down. And I’ve sort of given them my time and my energy, but just got nothing back and a lot of regrets, really. So how do you get over that to be able to move forward?

Marc: That’s a hard one. And sometimes it just takes time. But within that time that it takes, it takes a perspective really. And the perspective is—I’m going to offer you a perspective or a reframe—which is they didn’t so much take from you as you allowed yourself to lose yourself. And that’s a learning experience for you that you are now ready to graduate from.

So, “Okay, I learned that lesson. I walked down the street. I fell in that ditch. I am not going to walk down that same street and fall in that same ditch again because that hurt.” So if you frame it as, “This is a life lesson that I came here to learn,” we all have our different lessons. And a lot of our lessons are very similar. And this is a particular lesson that you came here to learn is to not give yourself away, to not sell your soul, to not be someone who you’re not in a relationship. So you’re learning that.

And by definition when you’re learning something, you’re not going to be good at it at first. So there’s nothing wrong with you that you did that. Do you have regrets? Sure. That makes total sense. But it’s more important to focus. So regrets are natural. But it’s important to focus on, “What did I learn from that and how is it making me a better person now?”

Suzie: Just rise above it and to be mature with it.

Marc: Yeah. That’s you stepping into your adulthood. It’s you stepping into your womanhood and stepping out of feeling like a victim because you played your part in it. And you were innocent from the standpoint that you’re learning. And now you’ve learned. And now you see more clearly. And that’s how we grow. And that’s how we evolve. And that’s how we change.

You realize that some point, “Oh, this food and eating doesn’t work for my body.” You stop eating it. You could say, “Sure, oh, my God. I ate sugar all these years. Or I ate this junk food. I have all these regrets. Woe is me.” And you could spend the rest of your life regretting what you did. Or you can say, “Okay, draw a line. Learning experience. Now I know,” and focusing on that, as opposed to getting rid of the regret.

It’s a little bit different. Instead of, “How do I get rid of this regret? How do I get rid of this regret?” No, let the regret be what it is. “How do I see this as a learning experience?” Well, you choose to. “This is a learning experience. Glad I learned that because that’s what I needed to learn clearly.” Clearly that’s the program life gave you. So it’s you trusting in the wisdom of your own journey as opposed to feeling like, “This terrible thing happened to me. Oh, my goodness. I’ll never recover.” So that’s how you dictate the fight.

Suzie: Yeah, that’s it. I take responsibility for it happening. Yeah, they just really let me down. And it’s hard to move on without wanting some sort of explanation from them. I’ve just got to let it go because there’s no point going down that road.

Marc: Sometimes there’s not. Sometimes it is about cutting your losses and just letting go, plain and simple. And letting go, there’s going to be a little grief. And there’s going to be sadness. That’s okay. It’s okay for you to feel that sadness. And sometimes we just need to feel it and feel it and feel it. And then, “Okay. Now I’m ready to move on.”

So I’m not saying don’t feel the grief and don’t feel the sadness and don’t feel the hurt. It’s real. Anybody else would likely feel the same way. And give those feelings time to breathe. And then at some point we say, “Okay, and now I move on. And it’s up to you to start to determine when it’s time to say, “Okay, now I’m going to start to rise above this.”

It feels like there might be a little more feeling that needs to happen for you. And then it feels like you’re also close to getting ready to say, “Okay. And now I’m going to make this transition into a new life.” Because that’s what’s before you is a new life. And you’re kind of letting go of the old one. But you’ve still got those hurts. You still want that explanation.

But you want to step into this new place. So that’s a transition zone that you’re in. I’m just asking you to relax into that’s transition place. It will be a little uncertain. It will be a little chaotic. Rest. Take time as long as you can to heal. You’re finding yourself. And welcome to life.

Suzie: Yeah. It’s a thing of just keeping moving, I guess. It’s exciting, as well. It’s exciting because I’ve got so much. Just trusting and moving forward and not dwelling…

Marc: Exactly. Training your mind to do that, it’s no different. Once again, it’s dictating the fight that goes on in your mind. There’s a fight in every one of our minds. We think stupid thoughts and nonsense thoughts. We think thoughts that elevate us and help us. And oftentimes we’re in very self- rejecting thoughts. So we have to learn how to dictate that conversation.

So dictating the conversation means listening for it and going, “Oh, here I am being a victim. Here I am thinking that I’m the miserable one and thinking this is not going to work out. Whoa, wait a second. I can change that conversation a little.” So instead of dictating the fight in the ring, I want you to dictate the conversation your head more. Translate that skill that you do in the ring. Translate it into your head. And the notice when you go into those thoughts that pull you down. And gently dictate something else. Make sense?

Suzie: That makes sense, yeah.

Marc: So, good job, Suzie!

Suzie: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not as bad as we think sometimes. I think your positioned for a big shift. And start to feel that. Start to really feel into this is a time for a big transition, which means a big shift. And it can be exciting if you start to tap into that excitement.

Suzie: Rights. Thank you. It’s good to have that reassurance and that lead to clear the way, really, to where I need to be going and where and what I need to primarily be focusing on rather than getting caught up in all the little things going on. Just look at the big picture and just think, “Okay, where’s life taking me?” And having a bit of guidance. So thank you.

Marc: Yeah. Thanks for being so honest and so open and so real. That was pretty amazing. I really appreciate it. And I’m really wishing you just the best healing journey that you could possibly have. And I just feel it’s going to turn out good for you.

Suzie: Yeah, hopefully. I feel as though there’s something big out there, something good for me personally waiting where it’s got to be. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

Marc: Great. Thanks so much, Suzie.

Suzie: Thank you.

Marc: And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I’m Marc David, on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. There’s lots more to come, my friends. Take care.

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

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About The Author
Marc David

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.