Home » Emotional Eating & The Criminal Mind – In Session with Marc David

Emotional Eating & The Criminal Mind – In Session with Marc David

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When it comes to emotional eating, so many of us focus on the habit itself — the mindless munching on potato chips or the quick relief from a piece of chocolate — without considering the emotions that drive the behavior in the first place.

And guess what, folks?

That’s where the action is. 

Emotional eating is the act of consuming food not because we’re biologically hungry, but because we’re using food to regulate our emotions.

And many of those emotions we’re trying to regulate with food are intense — and some of them go way back to our childhood, as is the case with today’s guest coaching client, 34-year old Shae. Shae would like to eat healthier, but whenever she does, she gets stressed out, and ends up sneaking in junk food.

Emotional Eating & The Criminal Mind Session

As Marc David explores in this episode, emotional eating often recruits the archetype of the criminal mind, or “the food criminal.”

The criminal mind is that part of us that does something in secret out of fear of disapproval or wanting to get away with something we know we shouldn’t be doing. It’s a natural part of the human psyche that’s typically born at a very young age.

As children, when we’re told we can’t have something we really want, we find ourselves in conflict.

We want to be a “good” girl or boy, and not risk losing our parents’ love for doing something “bad.” But we also still crave the thing — often food — that we’re told we can’t have.

This often leads kids to break their parents’ rules and do it anyway — which is how the criminal mind is born. 

When we continue this unconscious pattern as adults, we can find ourselves in unwanted behaviors that we just can’t seem to break.

We may still have a deep desire to be “good,” while also having that same strong childhood urge for forbidden foods.

Here’s the thing: when we try to be “good,” the desire for the forbidden is still there – along with the thrill and rush of breaking our own rules. There’s simply too much temptation for forbidden foods, and we end up going against what we know is best for our well-being.

So in this episode, we look at the role of the criminal archetype in emotional eating, and how our childhood desire to be “good” can derail our best laid plans with food, body, and life.

We also consider some of the ways we can begin to shift the criminal mindset, including:

  • The key role of awareness, and how it can help us shift emotional eating
  • How “What Else” questions can redirect emotional regulation
  • Tuning into our our own unique food story

We’d love to hear your own experience or thoughts about this episode – please drop us a comment below!


P.S. Interested in learning more about emotional eating and finally finding freedom with food? Would you like some deeper wisdom and guidance in your emotional eating journey? If so, we’d love for you to learn more about our special program, The Emotional Eating Breakthrough. This is a 10-week online transformational experience that’s designed to help you finally find peace with food. You’ll learn from the originator of the field of Eating Psychology, Marc David – and you’ll be guided through a true mind, body, heart and soul approach combining the best of psychology, science, and personal development. The powerful tools and techniques you’ll discover in the program address the root cause of why we emotionally eat, forever changing your relationship with food.

New Course…

The Emotional Eating Breakthrough

Are you struggling with overeating, stress eating, or emotional eating? 
Learn more about our new Emotional Eating Course.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Emotional Eating & The Criminal Mind – In Session with Marc David

Marc David
Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We are in the Psychology of Eating Podcast. I’m with Shae today. Welcome, Shae.

Shae
Hi, Marc!

Marc David
So, you know the drill, we get to be coach and client for the first time, and the idea is to see if we can help move you forward in anything that you want to move forward in. If you could wave your magic wand, have whatever you wanted with food and body, what would that be for you?

Shae
Yeah, such an awesome question. I’ve answered this question in my head so many times. I think, so kind of two parts. First, would be to lose some weight, and then second would be to kind of get two parts of myself on the same edge. I feel like when I’m able to follow a healthier diet, I feel really good physically, but it feels like a mental stress. And then when I’m not [following a healthier diet], I feel mentally calmer, but my body is not feeling good because of the food choices I’m making. So, I would love to be able to align those two parts of myself.

Marc David
Sure, what a great thing. How old are you Shae?

Shae
I’m 34?

Marc David
Okay, so what would you say are some of the differences in your diet when you’re eating healthy, it’s a little stressful versus not eating so healthy, and it’s not so stressful?

Shae
It’s mostly junk food binges that I have. I can go months with that. And I feel, you know, I focus a lot on the macros, and I feel really healthy in that way. I’m eating a good breakfast, a strong lunch, dinner. I don’t feel the need to eat in the evening, I drink lots of tea, my veggies, my meat, and my healthier carbs. I try to stay away from processed carbs. And then, I feel like there’s a point when I hit like a stressful peak, where I kind of…I’m like…okay…and then I’ll start eating chips every night. I’ll have a piece of chocolate cake, and that will start almost like a snowball effect where I kind of go off the rails. Then next thing I know, I’m binging and eating all this food, and then I start to feel it in my body. I start feeling sick and tired and gross. So then I’m able to kind of pull up my socks, and I feel like I get back on the wagon.

Marc David
So, when you’re eating your healthy diet, then it sounds like you’re avoiding the things like the chips and the chocolate cake.

Shae
I mean, to an extent, yes. I have a long history of binging. I’ve come a long way from where I was. So, I do try to allow myself foods like that in order to not binge on them. But there is still a point in my mind where I’m like, “hey, I need to stop this”, and I kind of draw a line in the sand for myself, so that I don’t. What I’ve said before is: “I feel like I could fall into a black hole of bingeing.” And so I try to kind of keep myself out of that.

Marc David
So, how long has this kind of dance been happening for you, would you say?

Shae
Well, without going too long into my history, I quit dieting, like typical dieting, maybe six or seven years ago. Then I had a four year streak where I left my marriage, I had a really hard time. I kind of let go of any type of self-care or any kind of mindfulness about my eating. I gained quite a bit of weight. And then, the last two years, I’ve been trying to kind of balance things out. So, I would say that cycle has been strong in the last year.

Marc David
Do you have kids?

Shae
I have two kids.

Marc David
All right. Are you in a relationship now?

Shae
I am. Yes. We’ve been together for a year and a half. It’s still fairly new, but it’s really great.

Marc David
Congratulations. So, how much weight do you want to lose?

Shae
Well, I’ve lost about 50 to 75 pounds in the past year. I’ve plateaued a little bit over the last month or two, and I’d like to lose another 75 to 100 pounds.

Marc David
So, what would that put you at?

Shae
I don’t weigh myself. The last time I weighed myself, I was a little over 300 pounds. So, I’d like to be around the 200-mark. I think that’s a reasonable ask.

Marc David
Got it. Can you recall how old you were when you first noticed that binge eating was a thing for you?

Shae
I was very young. I’m a Weight Watchers kid. So, my mom raised me on Weight Watchers. I’ve been dieting up and down since I was 10. I remember I get really sneaky with my food. I remember sneaking food as a child. I still do that.

Marc David
So, when you sneak food these days, what does that look like for you?

Shae
Oh, it’s, you know, when everyone leaves the room, and I’m alone in the kitchen for five minutes, I’ll grab a handful of chips and scarf them back as fast as I can, and put the evidence away really quick. Drink some water to wash the evidence out of my mouth. When I’m putting away leftovers from dinner, I’ll have like three or four huge scoops of whatever’s leftover, and it’s very compulsive. Like, I don’t even really know that I’m doing it until it’s done. And then I’m like: “why did I need that four extra spoonfuls?”

Marc David
Are there any times when you feel that the binge eating is more like it’s subsided? And it’s not so bad? And like, “wow, I’m on a good streak here!”

Shae
Yes. I think you’re gonna ask me what that’s like, and I don’t know if I have a good answer to that. I mean, I could say it’s when things are less stressful, when I’m feeling inspired in life, when I’m feeling like, you know, a sense of fulfillment and hope. That’s kind of when the binging doesn’t feel like such an issue. But you know, those feelings don’t last forever.

Marc David
Mm hmm. Are you close with your mom?

Shae
Yes.

Marc David
And…how is her experience of weight these days?

Shae
So, my mom lost quite a bit of weight on Weight Watchers when I was a kid, and she’s been able to keep it off. So, she’s pretty slim right now, and she seemingly, without having talked to her very much about it, is comfortable in her body. She kind of eats, and she’s good.

Marc David
Does she talk to you about your weight?

Shae
She used to. That’s kind of the boundary I’ve put in, in the last year or two. She used to try to convince me to get surgery and all kinds of weight loss, crazy weight loss ideas, which really affected me in a negative way. So, I actually did have a conversation with her about a year ago, and it was a very healing and very positive conversation. We don’t really talk about it anymore. We just kind of avoid the subject of weight.

Marc David
And… how’s that working for you?

Shae
Good, I think. Definitely better, definitely better. So, the last year, I have lost quite a bit of weight, and I remember feeling very conflicted. It’s like, ‘well, I want her to notice and say something, but then also, I hope she doesn’t say anything. I hope she doesn’t say anything.” So, there is a bit of confliction within myself about that, but definitely better than what it was.

Marc David
And how do you feel about her being at a good weight for herself? Like what goes on in your mind when you see your mom being that? She started out in Weight Watchers, and she had her struggles, and seems like she’s reached a good place.

Shae
Yeah. You know, honestly, I’m happy for her that she’s comfortable. As an adult, now that I’ve kind of learned a lot of things, I can see that when she did lose her weight in Weight Watchers it kind of coincided with a lot of other things happening in her life. She met my stepdad, she finally kind of came to a stable place. Whereas, before she met him, things were really rocky. So, I kind of understand how she was able to do that. So, I don’t really say like, “oh, it’s because she ate less.” I think it’s because she was happier, she was more stable, and she was able to kind of come to herself at that time. So, I think it’s good. I’m happy for her, and I hope that she likes her body.

Marc David
So, in normal times when you’re eating, do you generally consider yourself a fast, moderate, slow eater?

Shae
I would say moderate to fast. I’ve been working on this for quite a long time. Sometimes it’s better than others, but it’s something I consciously work on all the time. When I’m bingeing it’s definitely fast.

Marc David
For sure. For sure, for sure. So, after a binge, how long do you feel it takes you to sort of recover, and go back on…the good diet?

Shae
Yeah, honestly, it’s a couple of days. I wish I could say that it was all a couple hours, but it’s…I try to be kind to myself. I try to do all these mindful practices, but when I go down that kind of road, it takes me at least a week to kind of come back. It’s almost like I need to feel the sickness in my body before I can snap out of it. So, it takes about a week for my body to be like, “hey, what are you doing? This doesn’t feel good.” And then I’m like, “oh, yeah, you’re right, I’m gonna get back on.”

Marc David
What age were you when you started thinking, “oh, I need to eat healthy, and here’s the healthy things I should eat.” When did that start to come together for you?

Shae
Well, it’s a good question. It’s a little distorted because growing up, as a kid, I was only allowed to eat healthy things. I remember my family having steak and potatoes for dinner,and I would have to have a salad. So, I kind of resented healthy food for a long time. It was kind of a back and forth, but when I figured it out on my own, when I kind of came to myself…gosh, when was that? I would say maybe two years ago was when I really understood it. I started working with a naturopath, and I started working with proteins. I had never even heard about macros before that so I started a new understanding for myself. Then I was starting to experiment with what actually felt good in my body. So, that’s when I kind of really grasped the idea.

Marc David
When do you feel best about being in your body? What would a moment or moments look like when you go “Shae… yeah, I just feel good.”

Shae
Definitely when I’m hiking, I’m a hiker. I go to the woods quite a bit. Also when I’m playing music, I’m a musician too. So, that really makes me feel just inspired and in my body. I don’t know. Maybe like, when I’m being intimate with someone? Maybe? Yeah.

Marc David
Are there any other places in life that you notice where you do things in secret? You don’t want anybody to know, like here you are, you might want to steal some chips every once in a while and try to hide the evidence? Any other places that you notice you go into the kind of criminal mind?

Shae
Yeah, I love when you talk about criminal mind. I so relate to it. I don’t know…I kind of want to say, I can do that with cigarettes sometimes. I’m not a full time smoker, but I can do that when I’m really feeling stressed out. I’ll kind of hide and have some cigarettes. Obviously, when I’m really hating on my body, I do that in secret. I tend to put out a very confident…you know, I love my body kind of “air”, but I do kind of spend extra time in the bathroom at the mirror kind of judging myself. So, maybe that could count?

Marc David
Okay, let’s have a criminal mind for a moment. When I use the term criminal mind, I’m looking at it as an archetype. I’m looking at it really as a natural feature of the human psyche. So, we have all kinds of voices within us. We have, the voice of the good girl, or the good boy. You have the voice of the mother. You’re a daughter, you have the voice of the daughter. You’re a partner. You’ve got that voice. You have the archetype of musician. You have the archetype of a nature-girl. The criminal mind is very natural to us. It’s the part of us that if we’re going to do something that others disapprove of, and/or that’s against the law, then you do it smart, you do it in secret. So, any criminal knows, “oh, my God, my parents said, I can’t eat these foods”, and at a very young age, for a lot of people, that’s where criminal mind is born. It can particularly happen around food, when certain foods become forbidden. 99% of the time, whatever the food that’s forbidden to you…when somebody says, “don’t eat that!”, what’s the first thing you and I want to do? We want to eat it! It’s automatic. When somebody says, “don’t eat it”, we hear: eat that thing in secret as soon as they’re not looking. So, what happens is…part of the criminal mind is, especially for a child, it’s explorative. “I want to see what that’s about! I want to have a steak, too! I want to have the good stuff! I want to have what the adults are doing. What does that taste like?” Okay, I’m not allowed to do it, so therefore, I need to start to have a relationship with food where I do things in secret. At the same time, criminal mind as a child helps us separate and define ourselves from our parents. “You guys say one thing, I’m going to do another.” So, it’s a strange way to individuate. It’s a strange way to separate and say, “I’m not like you all. I want to do certain things that you say I can’t do.” So, there’s actually a usefulness to that because you get to explore, like…”What is this thing that they say I can’t eat? It tastes pretty good. That sugar tastes good, that ice cream tastes good.” Whatever it is, chances are, it tastes good to you. We want more of that because we’re creatures of pleasure. So, I think what happens for a lot of us is that we learn criminal mind at a young age. “Okay, I’m gonna have to sneak stuff”, and that criminal mind has a certain amount of excitement to it. There’s fun!

Shae
Thrill. I can feel the thrill when I’m in it.

Marc David
Totally, it’s a rush! So, when you sneak something, when you do something that’s against “the rules”, there’s a rush. So all I’m doing is, I’m describing some of the benefits of criminal mind. Part of what you’re doing, I’m not saying this is the main thing going on, but a piece of the puzzle for you is…I think getting in better relationship with the criminal within. Because right now the criminal within likes what she does. Every time we talk about it, you got a big smile on your face. So, it’s fun. It’s fun. It’s always been fun! It’s always been exciting, so there’s a place where unknowingly sometimes for you, breaking the rules is going to be a rush.

Shae
Yeah, as you’re talking, I think it’s like a sense of freedom, almost. That’s kind of what she’s saying. Like yeah, there’s a sense of, “I could do what I want!”

Marc David
Yeah, “you guys put these constraints on me, and now I’m gonna free myself! I don’t have to do what you all tell me to do.” So, that’s the criminal voice inside of us. Now, here’s the challenge: when that voice stays within us, and we’re not really in good relationship with it, what happens is we go against our own wishes. So, that criminal, instead of breaking your mother’s rules, is now breaking your rules, and it’s a rush. Not only is it a rush, but it’s also very familiar. It’s a familiar place. You know how to do it. So, part of it is starting to notice how the criminal mind gives you a rush, but it doesn’t necessarily work for you. Notice that the criminal mind, when it comes up for you…she’s probably 10 or 11 years old. It’s that you’re literally being a 10 or 11 year old girl, who’s going “bah! I’m gonna do whatever I want to do, and you guys ain’t even gonna’ know it! Aren’t I clever? I am beating the system here.” So, you want to stop rewarding that voice in you. You don’t want to make it wrong…because guess what? At a young age, that was a natural response to your environment. It’s a very instinctive, automatic, natural response. “You all are putting rules on me that don’t make sense. It’s not fair. I want to try these things, and you’re not letting me.” It’s not like you’re doing some horrible crime for goodness sake. It’s not like you’re pillaging and stealing money, and defacing great works of art. You’re taking some food on the sly. So, the level of crime that it is, is actually kind of non-existent. It’s not really a crime. What it is, is…it’s a response to rules that you felt were unfair, and that were holding you back. As opposed to “oh, there’s something…I’m a bad girl.”

Shae
Yeah, well, that’s what I was gonna say. It’s almost like the criminal mind gave me the sweet-spot between freedom, and still being that good girl. I was able to do both while I kind of snuck around.

Marc David
Yes. So, when I’m thinking is it’s time for you to graduate from that aspect of the criminal mind. Now, criminal mind still need to exist in you because it’s a part of you, but you learn how to use the criminal mind for good. You know, sometimes there’s people that aren’t honest with you. Sometimes there’s people you meet, they’re in relationship with you somehow, and you can sniff them out. You can sniff out when somebody’s not being real. You can sniff out when somebody’s not being honest. That’s actually you using your criminal mind to discern another criminal; to discern somebody that doesn’t have your best interests; or discern somebody that doesn’t seem to be telling you the truth. So, it’s not like we’re getting rid of that voice. We’re just using it now for your betterment. We’re using it so that it works for you as opposed to: “this is a bad voice”. No, it’s a good voice. It allows you to beat the system. Let’s use it to beat the system in a way where you actually prosper. That criminal mind helps you to discern situations where you’re not going to be safe, [that] you shouldn’t be in. “This is not a safe person to be in bed with, to be in relationship with, to give my money to”…whatever it is. As opposed to: “you’re the criminal, you have to sneak food.” Every time you want to sneak food, think to yourself: “hey, I’m being 10 years old! 10 year old girl in me has taken over”. In that moment…is a choice. It’s an opportunity to call forth the woman in you, the adult in you. Call forth that Queen voice in you that says: “you know, I don’t need to do this. I want to take care of myself right now. Good little 10 year old girl. That was a great strategy back then, but it’s not working so well now.” I think to myself, part of “I’m being a good girl, I’m eating healthy food”…there’s an anxiety in there. I think a part of that anxiety is [that] you’re time traveling back to when you had to be a good little girl.

Shae
Oh! Okay.

Marc David
“You guys are making me eat this food. You’re eating this other good stuff. So, in order to be a good girl, in order for mommy and daddy to love me, I gotta do what they say.”

Shae
Right.

Marc David
We want the big people to love us, so…”I need to be a good girl.” Every boy and girl needs to be a good girl and boy so you could be loved, safe, and protected, and feel good about yourself. But at the same time, you’re doing something as a child that kind of doesn’t feel good, like…”this doesn’t feel fair!” So, there’s a tension that builds up when you were a child. Then that tension had you: “okay, I’m off. I’m gonna go grab what I want to grab, eat what I want to eat. I’m not going to let these people know”, but the tension had to build up.

Shae
Right, right, right.

Marc David
As soon as that tension hits a certain point, boom! You’re eating the “forbidden foods”. So, I think that pattern is still running itself.

Shae
That’s very interesting, yeah. I think that’s very true.

Marc David
Yeah, I think we just hit the nail on the head here. It’s the same pattern, but now you’re 34 years old…and you’re trying to be a good girl. You’re trying to eat the right foods because “that’s good! I want to lose weight. I want to be healthy”…but there’s all this past association of: “oh, no! I don’t want to do that.” So, part of it is realizing that you time travel when you do that, you time travel back. So, first awareness: “oh, I do that”…and it’s the same pattern from youth, from childhood, which is completely understandable. Those patterns don’t change until we…those patterns are automatic. They’re repetitive, they do themselves. You don’t think to yourself: “you know, something? I’m going to eat healthy for a couple of weeks, and then I’m gonna just fall off the wagon.” It just does itself.

Shae
Yes, it does. Yeah.

Marc David
So, the only way to change that, and to intervene with that, is to introduce consciousness. Introduce awareness like…”oh, wait, wait! I’m about to go into that pattern.” In that moment, you are being asked to find your inner adult, find your inner authority. “I, Shae, do not live in my mother’s house anymore.”

Shae
Amen to that!

Marc David
That’s why I started asking you a few questions about your mom. You guys are close, good for you, and there’s a part of you that’s still going to be that 10-year old girl with your mom.

Shae
Yes.

Marc David
And! You have also grown, and you matured, and you’re learning how to set boundaries with her, which is A-plus. Congratulations. This is yet another boundary that you’re setting more so with yourself, like… “I don’t need to be my mother’s 10 year old girl anymore.”

Shae
Right.

Marc David
I just need to be 34-year-old me.

Shae
Yeah. That feels good in my system.

Marc David
And part of it, there’s a certain…there’s a certain kind of saying “goodbye” to that part of you.

Shae
Yeah, I feel a sense of grief for some reason. I’m not really sure why. I don’t know. I think cause I’ve always hoped to maybe in my adulthood even…I can still do what she wants me to do! You know… I can still have the body that she wants me to have. So, I don’t know…I’m gonna have to sort through that a little bit more, I guess. But, yeah.

Marc David
Part of the grief…just part of it is…it’s a familiar pattern. It’s just familiar, and sometimes letting go of the familiar even when it’s bad, even when you’re leaving a relationship that’s not good, it can still be hard because you’re leaving something that’s just very familiar. You know it…and if you leave that relationship, if you leave an old pattern, you’re actually in the unknown, more so than ever. Part of it is, there’s a certain place where this has been part of your relationship with your mother, it’s been part of your dance. You love your mother, your mother loves you, and you reached a certain balance when you were young, okay? “I’m gonna be a good girl, but I’m gonna be a bad girl. And I’m gonna be a good girl, but then I’m gonna be a bad girl.”

Shae
Yeah.

Marc David
You’re still your mother’s daughter, but again…you don’t live in her house anymore. You’re your own woman now, and you don’t have to be anybody’s good girl or bad girl. Your mother loves you for who you are, and in a weird way… you’re learning how to reclaim your body as your own. You’re individuating like, “oh, this is my body…and I can eat what I want! I could trash myself if I want! Oh, that doesn’t feel so good. I can eat really strict. Ooh, eating really strict doesn’t feel so good.” So, the question to be asking yourself, I think is: “who am I as an eater?” Independent of my mother, independent of all those things that I learned when I was young… “Who do I wish to be as an eater?”, “Who do I wish to be with my body?”

Shae
I’ve thought of all these things before, but not in the context of the criminal mind and my mom. So, that’s very interesting. If I may, I’d like to say, there is a…I’m feeling a little bit of fear come up because I know when I am sneaking, [and] when I’m in a binge because I have been able to catch myself in the middle of a binge. There’s almost this feeling of like, this like…letting go… this like…calming down when I’m able to be successful in my criminal thing. So, what do you think about that?

Marc David
Okay. So, on a very basic, simple level, what you just said makes perfect sense. I’m going to make a global statement, I’m going to say: 100% of human beings who binge, or in any binge eating experience…in order for us to binge eat, in order for you to engage in a behavior called “binge eating”, you must be in a stress response. You will be in a stress response. Whatever causes it can be different for everybody, and anybody, but in order to binge eat, your body must be in a stress response. And the moment you begin to binge eat, the binge eating is actually, in a strange way, it’s a remedy for the stress. Nobody wants to be in a stress response, a stress response is not fun. “Get me out of this, I don’t want to be in fear, anxiety, upset, shakiness.” And when you eat, and you eat enough, the body will soon and quickly get the signal: “oh, I’ve got a lot of food in here, I need to digest all this food.” In order for the body to digest a lot of food, it needs to be in a relaxation response because in a stress response, we’re in some degree of digestive shutdown. So, the body will automatically go into a relaxation response when there’s enough food in the body. “Feel bad, eat food, feel better.” That’s what every infant knows. That’s genetic. That is passed on from generation-to-generation. Every creature, every human creature, understands at the most primitive level, “If I feel bad, and I eat food, I’m going to feel better.” So, it makes sense then, that when you binge, there’s a relief because there’s a stress that’s been building up.

Shae
So I guess, what’s kind of going through my mind now is like, when I’m sneaking food, it seems as though there is a stressor that’s kind of building the tension up. Then I am successful with my criminal act, and then there’s relief. So I mean, who’s to say what that stressor build-up is? Like…that tension that is building up. I guess I’m like, how do I not be stressed out? I guess I can’t. It’s just a means of finding better coping skills?

Marc David
Yes, okay so…I think that there’s probably two categories of stress going on for you, when that stress is building up that leads to the binge. The first category of stress is the old pattern that we’ve talked about. Old pattern of: “okay, being a good girl. I’m doing what you guys told me to do. I’m eating healthy…”

Shae
Just that alone.

Marc David
Just that alone. “I’m eating healthy, but this isn’t what I really want to do. This is not fair! It’s not fair. It’s not fun. It’s not fair. You guys are having fun. I’m not having fun. This is not fair.” So, very gradually, you’re building up resentment. You’re building up…”I don’t want to do this, but I’m still doing it, but I don’t want to do it, but I’m still doing it.” That’s a stress. When you’re doing something that you don’t want to do, and you’re complaining in your head, you’re going to be building up tension. So, part of it is literally the old pattern repeating itself. That’s just unconscious for you. It’s just running itself. So, to help remedy that particular stress, it’s an ongoing reminder for yourself that: “you know, I’m eating healthy for me. I choose to do this. Nobody’s making me do this. I’m choosing this for me. This is what I want. I don’t care what anybody else says, this is what I wish to do.” That’s who’s eating. “The woman in me is eating, the adult in me is eating, the inner nutritionist in me is eating, the Queen in me is eating because I want to take care of myself.” And then begin to notice…”hmm, eating in this way actually feels good.” Now, there’s another category of stress, which is just whatever the life stress is. Whatever it is, whatever happens to be stressing you out, which is like a myriad of things.

Shae
Could be anything.

Marc David
So, part of it is…and you mentioned that you’re doing this, part of it is…I want to make sure that your healthy diet includes some fun experiences, such that you’re not feeling deprived. So, your healthy diet is not 100% sugar free, carb free, fun free.

Shae
Right, no it’s not.

Marc David
Great. So, then the ongoing, powerful question to ask yourself is: “what else? What else can I do in this moment, other than turn to food, to soothe my stress?” Because right now…”I’m feeling really freaking stressed, and I want to eat, and food is one of the best stress relievers on the planet. I don’t know a quicker, easier, faster, better way to relieve stress than to turn to food [which is] much easier than meditating, much easier than breathing.” So, that’s why we do it. Because it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s right in your kitchen.

Shae
It’s effective.

Marc David
Yes. So, it makes perfect sense that you would do it. That’s also part of the puzzle is just being able to forgive ourselves because it makes sense that we would do that. We need to keep listening and calling forth for the moment of consciousness, where I can catch myself right before the act and go; “oh, I’m about to binge eat.”

Shae
Yeah, I’ve done that before, and it’s worked beautifully. I don’t do it all the time, but I have when I catch it, and I’m like: “you know what, I’m gonna do this instead.” And it is great. So, I know that’s effective. Also, what you were saying about eating healthy for me, and not for anyone else…that is kind of blowing my mind because the past year when I did lose weight, like I’ve lost about 50 to 75 pounds recently, that was during a time when I was religiously, like: “this is for me, this is for me. It’s not for anyone else. It’s for me.” I started plateauing around the time when I started sharing, and started letting people into that space, or allowing people to try to give me advice or trying to appease others. So when you said that, that just really clicked in for me that…I really have to keep this about me.

Marc David
That’s so fascinating. That’s so fascinating that that’s what happened. And it really might be that this is a very personal, private and internal experience. You know a lot of what you need to do, and you don’t need other voices. This is your body. Yeah, if you choose to get advice for you, then great…but it’s for you. It’s not a giving away of your power, it’s an assertion of your power. You know, sometimes we go to experts and we ask for advice. I’m not giving my power away to an expert. I might listen to them, I might not, but it’s for me. So, that’s just a great mantra for you. To be very self-ish like…this is about you. It’s not to please your mother, and it’s perfectly human. I don’t want my mom to say anything about my loss of weight because I tried to make a boundary, but of course, I want her to notice it, because I want to be a good girl, and I want to know that you love me. So, that’s the fine edge that you’re playing. Of course, there’s always going to be the part of us that, you know, “I want people to love me, I want people’s approval.” And let’s get to the place where that doesn’t drive us. Where that’s not the main voice sitting at the head of the table, making all the choices. It’s okay for you to have that voice. Of course you want your mother to approve of you, and return to: “this is for me.”

Shae
For me. It’s all about me.

Marc David
It is, it really is! There’s got to be a better word than self-ish. It’s really self-empowering because what you’re doing is you’re quieting all the other voices. You grew up with some intense voices outside of you telling you what to do about food, telling you what made your body lovable, and what didn’t make it lovable. So all of a sudden, what you eat and what you weigh is tied in with your love-ability. That’s some difficult noise to deal with. So, you are unwinding that. Your parents did the best job that they could. Your mom, you know, just thought like she’s helping you.

Shae
And I totally know that. It took me a while to get there, but my mom really had my best interest. I know that now, yeah.

Marc David
So, I want to just go back to the piece where you said: “yeah, I’ve done that before, and it worked”, meaning you catch yourself when you’re about to binge. So, that’s an ongoing practice. You’re not perfect at it, but that’s literally the practice. That’s how you, in part, turn this around. Where you have a menu of options of things that you could potentially do, other than turn to food in the moment. “I’m gonna go take a walk outside. I’m gonna go play some music, I’m gonna go watch some videos.” Whatever it is that you can do, that can bring you back to yourself, that can temporarily distract you from the habit of wanting to grasp for food. Sometimes you’re going to be successful at it, sometimes you won’t, but the more you practice it, the better you get at it.

Shae
Okay, okay.

Marc David
How you doing?

Shae
I feel really inspired actually. I also feel like you confirmed a lot of things that I already kind of thought. The piece about keeping this about me is really highlighted for me right now, just because of the pattern that I’ve seen within myself where as soon as I try to make my choices about someone else, they always crumble or they go the wrong way, or I don’t feel good. So, it’s kind of affirming to me to be like: “okay, I’m supposed to make this a personal journey for me.” It’s not showy. I think there’s a part of me that feels the need, or felt the need, to be showy about it like… “look at all this weight I’ve lost! isn’t this great!?” like…to kind of like show it off? I think that’s just not gonna work for me, and I am kind of okay with that. I feel a little bit like: “oh, but everyone’s gonna be disappointed”, but there’s also the part of me that’s like: “I don’t care.” So, I feel inspired to just go back and work for myself again.

Marc David
Yes. Good for you. And I want to remind you that yes, this is about losing weight, but it’s about far more than that. This is about you having dominion over your own body. You’ve been exposed to beliefs and concepts that just didn’t work for you, nor do they work for anybody else. You know, “you’re not going to be okay unless you lose weight.” “You’re not going to be lovable unless you eat this, and you don’t eat that”, and “we won’t approve of you, unless…” So, even the act of still wanting to lose weight, there’s a part of it that’s gone: “okay, see? Okay, I’m one of the good guys now.” So yeah, it’s fine for you to have your preference and want to lose weight. That’s absolutely fine. I 1,000,000% support you in that, but I also want to emphasize that this is about you having dominion over your own body and you having love for your bodily journey. Just something like being selfish and doing this for me, that’s you having dominion over your body. That’s you loving yourself, because you know, sometimes in order to love yourself, we kind of have to shut out voices, to shut out conversation. So, the ultimate goal isn’t really to lose weight. Losing weight is going to be a side-effect; of you owning your body; of you inhabiting your body; of you learning how to nourish your body in a way that works for you. Because when you do that, your body’s going to start to find its natural weight. As opposed to: “what am I going to do to lose weight?!”

Shae
And the part that brought me to weight loss is because I went to see my naturopath, and it was about health. It was about me wanting to be in a healthier body. I just happened to find a really great doctor who was able to take the weight off the table as well, and we were both able to take the weight off the table, focus on the health, and weight started falling. Within nine months, it was just gone. So, I guess it’s just a reminder, a beautiful reminder, to kind of stay in that headspace. And yeah, just to stay loyal to myself in that regard.

Marc David
So true. Well put.

Shae
Thank you so much.

Marc David
You’re so welcome. Great conversation. You’ll do wonderful. I’m very confident that you’re going to get where you want to go. I have no doubt.

Shae
Oh, thank you so much. It’s so wonderful to talk to you.

Marc David
Great work.

Shae
Thank you, Marc.

Marc David
Thank you. And thanks, everybody for tuning in. Take care.

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