Home » The Inner Rebel & Food: Why We Love Going Against The Rules – In Session with Marc David

The Inner Rebel & Food: Why We Love Going Against The Rules – In Session with Marc David

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Podcast Episode 393 - The Inner Rebel & Food: Why We Love Going Against The Rules

Do you love going against the rules?

If so, you might have a strong “inner rebel” – an archetype that lives inside us, and can unwittingly make us go against our own best interests, especially when it comes to our health.

As Marc David, founder of the Institute, explores in this episode, our inner rebel is often behind the scenes unconsciously making choices for us about things like diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, and so much more. 

Are You a Food Rebel? – Inner Rebel & Food Session

Thirty eight-year old Daniela from Mexico wants to improve her health but frequently gets tempted by frappuccinos, sodas, and junk food. Daniela, a psychologist, knows that making changes to diet and exercise are important to her weight and health goals, but she just can’t seem to stick with it.

As the session unfolds, it becomes clear that Daniela has two competing voices inside her duking it out for control: the part of her who wants to make healthier choices, and the part of her that doesn’t want to feel restricted and controlled. This latter voice is her inner rebel, causing quite a lot of difficulty, confusion and frustration.

So how can Daniela – and the rest of us – work with the inner rebel? 

Is the inner rebel here to vex us, or is there a hidden wisdom and message this archetype has for us? 

You’ll hear the answers to this, and more – and hear some life-changing takeaways, including:

  • How childhood food restriction, food scarcity, and other limitations with food at a young age can lead to a strong inner rebel as an adult
  • The origins of the inner rebel shown in the Biblical “Adam & Eve” story
  • How we can use our inner rebel for constructive and positive purposes when it comes to our health
  • Why positive reinforcement from our loved ones can go a long way in creating healthy habits
  • And more…

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.

Podcast Episode 393 - The Inner Rebel & Food: Why We Love Going Against The Rules

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

The Inner Rebel & Food: Why We Love Going Against The Rules – In Session with Marc David

Marc David
Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We’re in the Psychology of Eating Podcast and I’m with Daniella, today. Welcome, Daniela.

Daniela
Thank you, Marc.

Marc David
Thanks for being here. So for those people who are new to the podcast, here’s how it works. Daniela and I are having a first session ever, and the idea is to help move you forward, Daniela, in anything that you want around food and body. If you could wave your magic wand, and get whatever you wanted with food and body, what would that be for you?

Daniela
I would like to understand better my relationship with food. Especially because I know that I’m not having the healthiest habits regarding food and exercise, and I know that could be bad for my health. It’s really hard for me to change that. So, if you can give me some advice, something that will help me with that, I will be really, really happy.

Marc David
So you want to change your habits and just have healthier habits when it comes to food and exercise?

Daniela
Yes.

Marc David
So, if you were able to change your habits, let’s say you could just automatically do it, how do you imagine that would look for you? If you were having good habits?

Daniela
I would imagine myself doing exercise almost every day and enjoying it. Even though I try and I do it sometimes, I don’t necessarily enjoy the exercise. So, I would see myself loving my exercise, and making better choices when it comes to food.

Marc David
So, what are the choices you make that don’t feel like they’re such good habits?

Daniela
Well, first of all, I love frappuccinos. Constantly, maybe two or three times a week, I go have one. I love sodas. Almost every day I have the tiniest can I can find, but I do have one a day, one cup of soda. So, I think those would be my major challenges, and just adding more veggies, and finding better recipes…I think that’s a path that I’m going, but I can definitely do it better.

Marc David
Where are you at with your weight? Are you wanting to lose weight?

Daniela
I would like to lose weight. Definitely. Not necessarily because of the way that I look, but because I know that the way that I am now could be a risk for my health.

Marc David
How much weight would you want to lose?

Daniela
I would say somewhere around 30 pounds or so.

Marc David
Has there been a time in the recent past when you were 30 pounds less?

Daniela
When I was a child, I was really thin. I started gaining weight around 16-18 years old. Since then, it has been a constant weight gain. However, I’ve always felt “fat”. I always felt big. When I see pictures of myself when I was 20 or 22 years old, I’m like “I wasn’t fat.” If I was that weight right now I would feel more energy, and feel healthier. However, I’ve never experienced feeling good in my body. I don’t know if I’m being clear?

Marc David
Sure. How old are you, Daniela?

Daniela
I’m 38.

Marc David
We were chatting right before we started, and you’re in Mexico.

Daniela
I am, yes.

Marc David
So, born and raised?

Daniela
Yes. Completely Mexican.

Marc David
So, how’s the diet for the rest of your family?

Daniela
Well, when I was a child, the food was really restricted at home because my dad and his family were overweight. My dad right now is not overweight, but he was and his family is…all of his brother’s and sister’s. He’s also diabetic. So, the diet in my house was really restricted. My mom always cooked healthy food and never let us have chocolates and candy. When I got married, I started including those things in my diet. Now that I’m married, I try to cook healthy for my family, but I definitely allow my children to have candy. The things that they like are here in the house, and they can have them.

Marc David
How many kids do you have?

Daniela
I have two.

Marc David
How old are they?

Daniela
The girl is ten, and the boy is seven.

Marc David
Are you working these days?

Daniela
I have a practice as a psychologist. I don’t have as many patients because I try to focus more on my house and my children, but when [my children] are at school, I try to squeeze in a little appointment so I can keep working and keep busy.

Marc David
If you were me right now, what would you be telling yourself? If you were being your own psychologist.

Daniela
I would say that my relationship with food has never been good. Not even when I was a child, and that maybe I am like a rebel right now. Now, I am allowed to eat whatever I want. So, I just do it. I’m seeing that it’s something that’s not gonna help me get where I want to go?

Marc David
You know, funny, you should say that, because that’s part of what I would have guessed for you. Sometimes when we grow up with restrictions around food, as soon as we’re able, we do what we want to do. We do what we want to do because that’s kind of natural. You know, anytime somebody says: “don’t eat that”, the first thing we’re thinking is: “I want to eat that. Why is that forbidden?” It’s like the story of Adam and Eve; it’s all about “don’t eat the apple”, and of course, the first thing they do is they eat the apple. It was a very simple rule, and apparently the only rule that they had to follow. So, I think there’s something about just the human mind where that’s built in.

Marc David
Part of it’s a curiosity, you know? Because for you and I to survive, for our ancestors to have survived in their early environment, we need to explore everything. You need to know all about nature. You need to know: what are the dangerous animals? What are the safe ones? What are the dangerous foods, and what are the safe ones? Which foods are poisonous? Which ones taste nice? So, we have a natural urge to want to understand our environment and to explore the forbidden. Whenever somebody’s saying something’s forbidden, we smile…we’re interested. “Why is that forbidden? Maybe I should be doing it.” There’s something alluring about that. There’s something interesting about it. So, to me, instead of saying “you’ve never had a good relationship with food or body”, let’s say that “you’re learning how to have a better and better relationship with food and body.”

Marc David
All things considered, your relationship with food is not so bad. When you tell me: “oh, I have a frappuccino three times a week, and I have a small can of soda every day”…there’s lots of people who wish that would be their worst habit when it comes to food. Yes, you also want to make healthy choices. I think part of that is really you making the choice to step more into your adult mind, your Queen’s mind, your mother’s mind, when it comes to food and body. Right now, it’s almost as if you’re being the child who lives in your parents house, and they’re not home. It’s like, “okay, I can eat whatever I want to eat because Mom and Dad aren’t here.” So, there’s a part of you that even though you don’t live with your parents, it’s almost like you’re being a bad girl, and your parents are out, and you’re eating what you want to eat.

Daniela
But I’m still living there.

Marc David
Yes. So, a part of you is still living there. I’m always looking at it that our relationship with food and body is just a great teacher. It’s here to teach us. I’m asking the question: “what’s Daniela’s relationship with food and body trying to teach her?” You already know the answer. It’s teaching you to make choices that are longer lasting; choices that aren’t based on immediate gratification. The infant in us, the child in us wants immediate gratification. “This tastes good, I’m going to eat it!” A four year old doesn’t understand the concept of: “no, you can eat this every day because it might give you diabetes 30 years down the road.” A kid can’t hear that. They don’t think about the future. They’re very much in the present.

Marc David
So, what I hear you saying is that you’re really wanting to think about the future: “I want to think about my health because there’s certain medical conditions that run in my family. I’m aware of that, and I want to act on it.” There’s a part of you that can’t, and the part of you that can’t act on it is that 15 or 16 year old girl in you that all of a sudden: “hey, I could do what I want.” It’s not making her wrong. It’s not that there’s something wrong with that voice. There’s everything right with that voice. The rebel in us, it gives us our courage. The rebel in us makes us try new things, and do new things. The rebel in us breaks rules that maybe don’t work so well. So, the rebel in us isn’t bad. It’s just, are we using that voice or that personality to our advantage, or to our disadvantage?

Marc David
You want to use that rebel to your advantage. Part of it is understanding that you have a little bit of a rebellious nature. How else can you express that part of you? Other than with food? You might not have an easy answer for that question, but the thing to realize is that voice isn’t wrong, it’s not like you’re trying to beat it up, or hit it with a stick. It’s just that we don’t want that voice making all the decisions when it comes to food. When you say: “I’ve never felt good in my body”, that’s important. That’s an important place to start because I think a lot of people have that challenge, where they’ve just never learned how to feel good in their body. Or, there might have been a time when you felt good in your body, but you were very young and you don’t remember. At some point, we start comparing ourselves, or we look at the movies, or the TV, or social media, and like you said, you thought you were “too big”. Then, you look at pictures of yourself and you think; “wow, what was I thinking?”

Marc David
So, I would want you to ask yourself the question: “what are the things that I can start doing in my life, that are easy to do, that help me feel good about being in my body? Baby steps. You’re not going to do exercise that you don’t like. Right now that’s probably not going to happen because doesn’t feel good to you. So, what kind of ways of moving do make you feel good? Is there anything that just makes you feel good when you do it?

Daniela
Yes, I love ice skating, and I was good at it when I was young. I can still do it. I just cannot do the jumps and all that stuff, but I can move well on the ice. I’ve also have been curious about doing Pilates.

Marc David
Pilates is wonderful! First of all, ice skating-that’s so amazing! I think you’re the first person I’ve heard say that in forever. I was so terrible at ice skating when I was young, I haven’t ice skated in years. So yeah, Pilates. If there’s a studio near you that’s such a great way to get in your body. [Pilates] is very specific, it can be very challenging, you can feel really good after a Pilates session, and you work your muscles in your body in ways that you never have. So, I like the idea of you exploring new ways to move that you haven’t done before because it’s all about finding what works, and then you start to do it. So, if you can ice skate once a week, or once every two weeks, at least that’s something, “oh, I’m enjoying moving my body”. If you like Pilates, you could do that once a week, or twice a week. Then, all of a sudden you have some momentum. It’s helping yourself get out of the old habit called: “I don’t feel good about being in my body”, and starting to look for ways where you can feel good.

Marc David
What I’ve noticed is that ultimately, if we’re not feeling good about being in our body, it’s going to be easier to want to turn to food because food makes us feel better. If I don’t like my body, if I think I should weigh less, if I criticize myself, or if I just don’t feel good about being in my body, then we’re going to look for ways to feel good. Food is one of the ways we’re going to look to feel good. So, I think you’re learning how to create new habits for yourself, and new strategies just by exploring. How does this sound to you so far? How does this land for you?

Daniela
I feel excited about doing that. I do go ice skating, but I do it once a month. So, I think I can commit myself to do that for me, just for me. Going to the ice rink, and skating once a week, and also go to the [Pilates] studio and trying it. I’ve been curious about it…well, try it. It doesn’t sound like I have to do exercise every day. For example, if you tell me go and run, I hate running! So, I think that sounds like something doable.

Marc David
Yes, yes. That’s what I’m interested in for you: finding something that, “oh, this feels nice! I like this. I can do this.” That begins to build some momentum. When it comes to being in our body and moving our body…and when I say “moving our body”, I’m also talking about exercise. A lot of people have a negative association with the word “exercise” because it almost sounds like punishment: “you have to do this.”…”you ate food, you better exercise.”…”you need to lose weight, you better do this thing that you don’t like to do.”

Marc David
The only way to feel good about being in your body is to do things that help you feel good about being in your body. That’s the only way. You need to practice them, and to feel that feeling more and more because then you’re going to want to take care of yourself more. When you start doing things on a regular basis that help you feel good about being in your body, it’s going to be easier for you to make better choices around food. So, what I don’t want you to do is to say: “I have to eliminate all the frappuccinos, and all the soda.” I don’t think that’s so much what you need to focus on. I’d rather you focus on what you can do about moving your body, that feels good. Start there. And when you are making choices about what to eat, really check-in with yourself and say; “what does the mother in me, the Queen in me, the adult in me think is the right thing for me to eat right now?” “If the woman in me was making the choice, not the child in me, but the woman in me, is making the choice, what would she choose?”

Marc David
Understanding that, if you want to have soda, if you want to have a frappuccino, if you want to have candy, that’s okay. Instead of making those [desires] wrong and trying to resist them, I’m more interested in you focusing on listening to that adult voice in you and giving that adult voice in you more respect. This is not just for you, this is also for your kids…because our children, they tend to model after us. You can tell them what to do, but they don’t necessarily care what you told them. They’re going to look at how you behave. Also, I don’t know if this is true for you, but…there might be a part of you that because your eating was restricted when you were young, you don’t want to do that for you, and you don’t want to do that for your children. You want to do something different. “I don’t want to restrict myself or my family.” Do you think that’s happening for you in any way?

Daniela
Yes, it is. I do try, for example, to cook healthy food, but if they want an ice cream, I’m like: “okay, let’s get an ice cream.” Because it’s a Sunday…because we’re outside…because we’re having fun…let’s just have an ice cream.” I don’t make a big deal out of it. If we go to the supermarket, and they’re like: “mom, can we have some chips? Can we have some cookies?” I’m like, “yes, let’s buy them.” That’s making my children not be so obsessed about candies. For example, right now Halloween is coming and they go trick-or-treat, and they have these really big bags full of candy. I can tell you that I could find last year’s bag, and they are full because they have one or two, and they keep playing. They’re not so obsessed because they know they can have them.

Marc David
Yes. That’s great. So, same for you. Meaning…you don’t have to obsess about it because you know you can have it; you know you can eat whatever you want to eat. Part of it is you remembering that you’re an adult, and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want to. You don’t have to live in reaction anymore to your upbringing. [You might say to yourself]: “I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want to eat it [even if it’s] something that’s not going to always be the most healthy thing for me. I might choose to eat ice cream all day, for every meal, but that’s not going to work.” You’re inventing a new you. It’s not easy at first, it’s just not easy. When you’re inventing a new you, we take baby steps. The baby steps: more ice skating, try Pilates. What else are you attracted to, when it comes to any kind of movement?

Daniela
I used to go to a class called “step”. It’s like a gymnastics class when you go up and down a step. I used to like that class, and I was good at it.

Marc David
Do they play music?

Daniela
Yes.

Marc David
Anything you could do where there’s music, to make it fun, think that’s a great idea. Always, always, always, when you’re doing something like that…sure, you know you’re getting the benefits of exercise, you know that this can maybe help me lose weight…but you’re doing it to feel good in your body. That’s the ultimate reason. You’re doing it to feel good in your body. I think humans naturally like to move. Most creatures in nature, they naturally like to move. They’re moving, animals are always moving. We live in houses, and we sit in chairs, and we’re at desks, and we’re doing a lot of work, and we’re in front of a computer…and for a lot of people, it’s hard to get the body moving after that. So, there is a certain kind of effort, there’s a certain kind of pushing through the inertia.

Marc David
It’s reminding yourself that there’s going to be a good benefit on the other side of this. Yeah, there’s going to be times when you know you want to go to the Pilates class, but “eh, you don’t really feel like it.” Those are the times when it’s helpful to have some way to inspire yourself to make that choice. Maybe your husband is your support system. He’s your buddy, your friend. You let him know: “I want to be moving my body more, and I want to try to do Pilates once or twice a week.” Whatever you’re going to do, let him know that, and ask him to remind you, just as a way to support you. Any way you can get support in making good decisions for yourself so that it’s not just you, by yourself, trying to gather up all your energy,

Daniela
Okay, okay.

Marc David
You can even tell your kids. You can have your kids be your support system. “Mommy has decided that she really wants to move her body more, so I can be healthier, and can make sure that I live to be a nice old age, so I can see when I have my grandchildren. I want to be healthy, and that means I want to exercise. So, I want you to make sure that you remind me.” A lot of times kids really enjoy something like that. “Oh, I get to help mommy.” You’re teaching them a healthy habit. You’re showing them: “I’m making the effort, and I’m creating support for myself.”

Marc David
Anything else that you haven’t mentioned yet? You talked about the step class…any other ways that you’d like to move?

Daniela
I don’t know. I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of movement and exercise. For example, everything that involves a ball. I don’t like those sports. For example, running and these like extensive exercises don’t feel so good. I’m thinking about swimming.

Marc David
See, that’s perfect. You understand what you like, you know what you don’t like…and that’s totally fine. Running is not for everybody. Too many people run, and they’re just not built for it. They don’t have the right body for it. They don’t have the right temperament for it. For a lot of people, running is just a punishment. Of course, there’s plenty of people who love it, but it’s all about you feeling good in your body, and finding new ways to feel good in your body. It’s good to mix it up a little bit so that you have choices, and you have options. Is there any way you can enroll your husband in helping you make good choices around food?

Daniela
I don’t know. I mean, he eats healthy. Every single morning he goes to the gym, and he does his exercise, and he always tries to eat healthier. But I think the part of me that reminds me of my mother telling me: “no, you shouldn’t be eating that, or you should eat that.” I don’t take it really well when my husband tells me, for example, “seriously, are you going to have your Frappuccino today?” I don’t take it really well. I think it’s me and my story with food.

Marc David
Yeah. So, what you can do, if he’s willing and able to do this, you can coach him. Say: “honey, instead of you saying, ‘oh, you’re going to eat that again?’OR ‘oh, that’s bad for you.’… have him state it in the positive: “honey, are you choosing vegetables today?” “Are you choosing a healthy meal today?” “What are you going to have for snack or dinner?” Have him state it in the positive, and ask him: “do me a favor…I have a negative association when somebody tells me: ‘oh, God, you’re going to eat that.’ That doesn’t inspire me, and that doesn’t help me. It’s nothing that you’re doing wrong husband. It just reminds me of my mother and reminds me my childhood. I’m more responsive to positive messages.”

Daniela
Okay.

Marc David
It’s about you creating support that works for you. People criticizing you doesn’t work. That’s fine, I get it. I would rather somebody give me positive reinforcement, then criticize me. So, I’m a little focused on you getting your family involved somehow in understanding that this is what you want to do for yourself, and you’re wanting support. Because then you’re creating, in a way, the family environment around food and health and exercise that you might have wished you had as a child; that maybe if you could go back in time, and have your parents do it differently, this is what you would have created.

Marc David
It’s not that your mom or your dad did anything wrong. They were just doing the best that they knew how, and you’ve learned from that now. So, you now have the opportunity to really step into being the matriarch, the woman of the household, the Queen of the household. In order to do that, the voice inside of the little girl who just goes: “I want to eat something fun! Whenever I want it!” You have to really notice that voice because you can’t be 15 years old inside yourself and successfully raise children, or have a good marriage. You have to be the 38-year old inside you; to be a good mother, to be a good psychologist, to have a good relationship. Same with your relationship with food and body. How is all this landing for you?

Daniela
That’s making a lot of sense. You know, connecting with with this little girl of 15-16 years old who’s rebelling. And, as you said, not telling her “you’re wrong.” OR “you shouldn’t do that”. Just listening to her, stepping up for her. One of the good things of this rebel girl is that she’s no longer following in my mom’s [footsteps]. In my mom’s family, there was always this obsession about “how you look” and “how much you weigh.” I’m really happy that I totally closed that for me, and for my daughter. I don’t allow anybody to talk about how she looks-if she’s thin, or she’s fat. I’m not making it important to do those types of things. So I’m happy, and I think I can use that voice to be the rebel for that. But not: “I’m gonna eat whatever I want because I can.”

Marc David
Perfecto. That’s exactly what I’m saying. You have the tools, you have the awareness, you have the knowledge that you need, and it’s just a question of putting it into practice. Just know that it’s not always going to look perfect. There’s still going to be moments where you’re going to make choices with food that you wish you didn’t. Then your job is to just to forgive yourself, and start over. What you’re doing in the bigger picture is you’re training yourself, you’re learning, how to feel good in your body by moving your body in ways that feel good to you. It doesn’t matter how many calories you think it burns. No, doesn’t matter. It has to make you smile, at some point; the exercise, the movement has to make you smile. If it’s making you smile at some point, then it’s good for you. Also notice, what are the other ways that make you feel good about being in your body?

Daniela
I think it’s when I take care of myself…just getting my nails done, or getting a nice haircut, or buying clothes that fit because sometimes I am like: this doesn’t [fit]. I have to push it, and I have to wear these jeans, for example. So just letting those [clothes] go, and buying clothes that fit. I think that’s also something that makes me feel good.

Marc David
That’s so wonderful. I love that. Anything that helps you feel good about being in your body, especially self-care, beauty care…that’s part of having a body. You feel good about it. And the more you do good things for yourself, the more you’re going to want to do good things for yourself. That is what you’re learning how to do better and better.

Daniela
Great.

Marc David
So, has this been a helpful conversation for you, Daniela?

Daniela
It has. It really has. You know, just giving that little girl the voice, not making her wrong, but not necessarily listening to her all the time. I think that’s the biggest part that I’m taking away as well as not seeing exercise as something that I have to do every day even if I hate it, and I have to do it. Just looking for, as you said, baby steps.

Marc David
Yes, you got it. I think you’re going to be successful at this. You’re going to just learn how to make it enjoyable for you so it fits into your flow, and it fits into your lifestyle; your lifestyle as a mother, as a wife, as a professional. You know, you find ways to to fit it in so that it’s part of your life…but it’s not like hanging over you.

Daniela
Yes.

Marc David
Well, I’m so happy we’ve had this conversation.

Daniela
I’m so happy too! Thank you so much Marc for your time, and for sharing your wisdom.

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

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