Kim has been struggling with her weight for 28 years, and in the last 3 years she’s been dealing with low energy and fatigue. She has a solid knowledge of health and nutrition, has worked hard to lose weight and get her energy back, but is now feeling stuck and discouraged. Nothing is working, and she’s hit a dead end. Tune in to this episode as Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helps Kim discover an unexpected and surprising way through her weight and energy struggles that requires Kim to radically change her dieting and health strategies, and her outlook on life.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Marc: Welcome, everyone! I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And today I’m with Kim. Welcome, Kim!
Kim: Thank you.
Marc: Thank you. Thanks for being here. And I’m going to say a few words to viewers and listeners to get you all caught up about what we’re doing. So Kim and I are going to have a session. And we’re going to work on whatever she wants to work on. And we’re going to go for no more than an hour. And I’m going to ask her, gosh, fifteen or twenty minutes worth of questions.
And we’re going to try to condense may be four months to maybe even year’s worth of work into one session. And the idea is to give you, Kim, whatever you need to keep you moving forward on your journey to get where you need to go, hopefully some openings, some insight, a breakthrough. And that’s the idea, to kind of push the pedal to the metal on transformation.
So, Kim, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted from this session, what might that look like for you?
Kim: Definitely more health. And the weight isn’t as important now. I do want to get weight off. But it’s more about how I feel. Even after a short four-hour shift, my feet hurt. My knees hurt. It’s just seems my body is very inflamed. I am a holistic nutritionist. So I listen. And I know a lot of knowledge. I know how to eat. But there’s just something there that I can’t figure out.
My kids are getting older. And I’m always say I really want to be the grandmother that can run in the park with the kids, not just sitting and doing puzzles because that’s all I can do.
Marc: Okay. So you want to lose some weight. And you also have, it sounds like, just pain, inflammation, fatigue, is it, as well?
Marc: So first how much weight you want to lose?
Kim: I would say thirty pounds is probably fair.
Marc: And when was the last time you weighed thirty pounds less?
Kim: Two years ago.
Marc: What was different years ago do you think?
Kim: I went to Hong Kong and did dragon boating for the worlds. I was training five to seven days a week. I was really excited about going to Hong Kong and the opportunity. And then it almost seemed when I got home that everything started turning around, the more fatigue, the weight gain.
I just thought I had adrenal fatigue. For so many years, my husband and I ran a business, three active kids. So your life was all about getting to the gym, running your business, dealing with the kids. And no regrets on any of that. But I just thought, “I think my body is telling me to slow down.”
Marc: Kim, how old are you now?
Marc: Forty-seven. And where are you at in the whole menopause continuum?
Kim: I’m still really regular with my menstrual cycle. I don’t believe it’s hormonal. That’s never seemed to be an issue with me as far as I know.
Marc: And have you seen any kind of medical practitioners for the fatigue and inflammation?
Kim: Yes. About a year ago, they did all kinds of blood tests, thyroid. Everything was normal. Two of my boys have immune deficiency. So just for the heck of it I said, “Could you test that?” Generally with immune deficiency you don’t make IgG or IgA, IgG being eighty percent of the antibodies in your body that protect you from colds, pneumonia, that kind of thing.
So I wasn’t showing symptoms that way at all. But I just thought, oh, for the heck of it because two of my kids have it, if they could check me. They did. And I actually have the same common variable immunodeficiency.
Marc: Okay. So that’s the only thing that showed up on the testing. Interesting. So how long was it after you got back from Hong Kong that you started feeling sick?
Kim: I would say my feet became an issue right away. And I just figured we walked and walked. And I probably didn’t have the proper footwear. So I just kind of put that off to, “I’ll get back into issues with good orthotics that kind of thing.” The weight gain, probably about four months later, and the fatigue.
Marc: I’m assuming that pretty much when you got back, you weren’t working out five, six, seven days a week anymore?
Marc: Now, how long had you been training for this boating event?
Kim: I’ve worked out on and off ever since I can remember. Probably a good year for training that hard for that event.
Marc: Okay, so previous to training hard, where was your weight and your health at?
Kim: Up and down like ever since I can remember. High school, probably a good ten pounds overweight. And then I lost that and got married. And after having kids, I had a strong belief that it would be selfish for me to take care of myself, so to speak, like go to the gym, that kind of thing. It was all about the kids, the business. And I started gaining weight there.
I’m trying to think how many years ago it would be. A good, maybe twelve years ago, I was out West with my family. And we were climbing a mountain. And halfway through, I just had the hardest time getting up this mountain. And that’s when I realized, “Yes, it’s time to start taking care of myself again.” So then I started to go to the gym again. And I lost a fair bit of weight then.
Marc: So are you on any kind of special diet right now?
Kim: For the most part, I try to avoid wheat, gluten, sugar. I’ve always known that too much sugar would just wear me down. And any kind of gluten, if I eat it too much, I get a rash on my skin. So I know I have an issue with gluten, too. I’m almost a hundred percent gluten-free. But sometimes if you’re out and it just happens, I have grabbed bagel or something on the run.
And I’ve noticed over the last couple years, too, that I have food sensitivities. So for the most part, I’ll have a protein shake in the morning. And I’ll throw in blueberries and spinach and maybe hemp seeds. And usually a salad at lunch with sometimes walnuts and feta cheese and sometimes chicken or fish. And then supper, same thing, usually like a protein and salad.
Marc: Do you have any other health symptoms? Digestion challenges, mood challenges, anything else I should be aware of?
Kim: I figure digestive challenges just because of all my food sensitivities. And mood sometimes. In November I pulled my calf muscle. So I was on the couch for a couple months. And I noticed then because I wasn’t exercising at all. I was really starting to get…I don’t want to stay depressed. I was never depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts or anything, but just in a mood that I know isn’t me and in a space I don’t want to be in.
Marc: Got it. Tell me what kind of boating event was this? Was it rowing?
Kim: Yeah, dragon boating.
Marc: Yeah, so, okay. So how did you get into that?
Kim: I had a friend that had been doing it for years. And then she kept asking me. But, again, at that time I felt with the business, with my family, I didn’t have time to do it. And then I had another friend join. So I guess this was maybe like three years. Well, I’ve known about that now for almost three years. So this would have been like six years ago.
And when the other friend joined and then I realized it was on the same team as my other friend, I just thought, “You know what? I’m going to try this.” So I really enjoyed being part of the team. I did like the sport. I didn’t live and breathe it like some of them. But it was neat to belong to a team. And just the whole experience of going to Hong Kong and China was amazing
Marc: So in total, how long had you been training for the boating event?
Kim: It was only my second year on the team. So I was just fortunate in the timing.
Marc: Got it. So you had been training for two years. That’s what you’re saying?
Kim: Mmm hmm.
Marc: And how was it the first year? Did you lose weight the first year you were training?
Kim: I don’t believe so. I think I had been at that weight for a while.
Marc: And then all of a sudden you just started losing it in the second year? Were you training more? I’m just interested to know.
Kim: Oh, no. I think when I joined it I was at a lighter weight then I had been for a while. It would go up and down maybe ten pounds. And the turning point there was, I want to say, around twelve years ago when we were out West. So I was at the heaviest weight I had been when I was pregnant with my first, my son.
So that kind of was the turning point when we were out West and I was trying to climb that mountain and I couldn’t. So then I started really taking more interest in my health and exercising again. And that’s when I lost weight. And that weight did mostly stay off for quite a number of years.
Marc: So I’m just trying to figure out what your weight differential was once you started training intensely for this boating event. I’m trying to get how much weight came off because it sounds like you said you were training almost every day.
Kim: Probably five to ten pounds.
Marc: Got it. Okay. That helps me. So did you have any kind of vaccinations when you went overseas?
Kim: No. Well, I didn’t know that at the time. But because of my condition anyways, I can’t be vaccinized because I wouldn’t make antibodies. So I’ve seen a naturopath. And I did the probiotics, the grapefruit seed extract and oil of oregano before and during. I also did some adrenal and thyroid support, as well, before my trip. I starting a parasite cleanse, actually, two weeks ago because that just kind of came to me that maybe I picked up something in Hong Kong or China.
Marc: And you’re doing that on your own? You’re not doing that under anybody else’s auspices, the parasite cleanse?
Kim: No, I’m doing that on my own. It’s just RenewLife Health, their formula. I’ve done my two weeks on and then five days off. And now I’m back on.
Marc: So you were in mainland China. How long were you in mainland China for?
Kim: Two weeks.
Marc: Two weeks. And were you just in the cities? Were you in the countryside?
Kim: We did all the touristy things. So I guess both.
Marc: Had you done much foreign travel before that?
Kim: Not a whole lot, no.
Marc: Where had you been previously that would have been considered overseas?
Kim: Caribbean like St. Martin’s, Aruba. I’m trying to think where else. I’ve done a couple cruises. So they stop at a few islands like Grand Cayman that kind of thing.
Marc: And did you see the same naturopathic doctor once you got back when you started not feeling well, the same naturopath that helped you with the immune building substances when you went overseas? Have you seen that same practitioner afterwards?
Kim: No. I guess I figured I could help myself. And it just got me more reading and digging. And what kind of come up with — because I don’t make IgA, as well. And I know that’s the antibody that protects your gut lining—is a feeling that I really had to work on my digestive system. So I did that by really watching what I ate.
But now I’m thinking it’s a lot deeper. And that’s why I came up with thinking about parasites and maybe bacteria imbalance, that kind of thing. It’s okay to start eating the right food. But if I’m not fixing the problem…so I’ve been thinking deeper now.
Marc: Got it. How’s your sleep?
Kim: Really good.
Marc: That’s good.
Kim: I almost — and my belief here, and I could be wrong again — because I don’t have any antibodies. But I don’t get sick. I don’t catch a cold and that kind of thing. So it’s like my immune system to me is on high alert all day. And then when I hit the pillow, I crash.
Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. So I think I’ve gathered up some information here. I’m going to probably ask you more questions. But I want to start to kind of put together some of my thoughts about where you’re at right now and how to move forward.
First of all, when I hear the big picture, big picture to me is always the most important place to see things from.
And here you are at forty-seven. You’ve raised how many kids again?
Marc: Three kids. Tell me how old they are now.
Kim: My oldest is twenty-three, my son. And then my next son is eighteen. And my daughter is sixteen.
Marc: Got it. So are they also living with you?
Kim: No. It’s funny because my twenty-three-year-old just moved back in for a couple of months because he is in between jobs. He’s a firefighter. So he was fighting fires out West. And now he’s trying to get something permanent here. So that’s been amazing to me to just have him back and spend some time with him. And my eighteen-year-old is at college. So he’s out. But he’ll be back in April.
Marc: Got it. Got it. So you’ve spent time raising your kids. You had your business. And that’s been taking a lot of time and energy. And then I hear you all of a sudden start to intensively train. So that’s intensive training that you did. I’m calling that intensive. And then after that intensive training in a foreign country, particularly mainland China, you come back and your system – it sounds like kind of crashed just in the most blunt terms.
What you’re describing to me in a strange way is so not unusual. I have probably heard the story…well, let’s say this. I have heard this story hundreds of times over the years where somebody just goes overseas and travels and comes back and is now dealing with an unknown ailment that nobody can figure out.
So invariably when we travel, we can catch all kinds of organisms, many exotic that the medical experts can never track down. It is one of the great conundrums in the healing arts. And so often, so often it just goes unnoticed or dismissed. And people don’t even make the connection called, “I went to another country, and I came back ill.”
Especially I asked you had you done other foreign travels. If you had been to China five times before and if you had been a real world traveler, then that might not have — might not have — been a big factor. But this was really one of the first major times. I’m not going to count the Caribbean so much because we probably have more natural immunization to that area than you will to someplace like China.
So bottom line is at the same time that you are doing foreign travel when it’s easy for the human body that is not used to that environment whatsoever and there’s probably no one in your genetic lineage going back for many generations that was in that part of the universe building up immunity. So it doesn’t surprise me that you got ill.
And the fact that you’re doing a parasite cleanse makes sense to me because if you were going to a practitioner, that’s what I would recommend that practitioner do at some point. It’s very hard. It’s unbelievably hard to test for parasites. It’s just extremely difficult. You can have a parasite and it never shows up in any of the various kinds of testing that are done for that. So, very difficult.
At the same time, you were participating in a very, very intense exercise experience. That by itself can crash a system. And we don’t necessarily know it. Especially if you haven’t been training as an athlete for a long time. A lot of times we take something on. And we do it with a lot of gusto. And to me when you create the recipe of a lot of intense work with your body plus foreign travel, it doesn’t surprise me that you came back a little burnt out. Chances are you could have overprepared. You could have overexercised. And your system was just going, “Too much.” So if somebody diagnosed you as adrenal fatigue, I might not be surprised about that.
And then couple all this with this already existing immune condition, which quite frankly I haven’t worked with before. That’s the big X factor in here because we don’t know. It’s unpredictable how that’s going to impact you in terms of intense exercise, in terms of foreign travel. You could be twenty times more susceptible given that condition to situations where you can be at risk to immune assault.
So that’s where my brain would naturally go. That’s where my mind naturally goes to what’s happening for you, A, in terms of what’s happening with the fatigue, the inflammation, the pain. Given that you’re taking care of your self with fluid and you’re aware of food sensitivities, that would’ve been the first place I would’ve looked. I would have taken you off of gluten. I would have taken you off of some of the common food allergies, corn, soy, even dairy just to see what happens.
So if you’re already doing that without any great change, then it tells me for sure that the action is someplace else. And it’s most likely in the travel, the intense exercise with your already existing immune condition. Mix that up together. Here we are trying to get better. I honestly believe it is as simple as that only because, again, I’ve seen this kind of story so often. And it’s the simple, elegant place to look. So what often happens for somebody in your shoes is you have to go on the kind of healing journey where you try different things.
Kim: And I have been.
Marc: Yeah. And really your healing journey then becomes detective work. Your healing journey then becomes, “Let’s try this and see what happens. Let’s do this new immune therapy. Let’s try this parasite cleanse. Let’s try these new supplements. Let’s work on my digestion.” So it’s pretty much to me going to be like that until you start to find some relief.
And part of it also…so here’s another piece. Given that life isn’t easy and you’re putting a lot of energy…when I asked you about the big picture, you were very clear. It’s like, “Hey, I wouldn’t change my life. But raising three kids and having a business of your own,” that’s takes a ton of energy, especially if you’re a parent who cares and you’re really paying attention to your kids.
That’s like having four full-time jobs. And it’s a lot of energy. And it’s a lot of output. And then you couple that with a physical challenge in your mid-to late forties. And it doesn’t surprise me that your system kind of crashed. Things caught up from twenty years. Really, that happens to people.
I meet people — and this isn’t you. But just an example — I meet people who they have been eating the worst diet for two or three decades, really. And they’ve been healthy and fine. And you can’t understand,”Wow, how come you’re not dead? Or how come you don’t have any symptoms?” And all of a sudden, age forty, age fifty, their health crashes.
And it’s the cumulative effect of all the assault to the system finally catches up. So that can happen for people where they finally come down with diabetes or they finally come down with an arthritic condition because they’ve been playing the same game of tennis for the last thirty years with the same repetitive motion. And their elbow is fine. And their elbow is fine. And all of a sudden, boom. Now they have tendinitis.
So what I’m saying for you is my guess — and no one can know these things for sure — so what I’m saying, I’m guessing. I’m taking very good educated guesses, very good clinical guesses. My guess for you is that you’re coming off of a long time’s worth of energy output and putting yourself out there without maybe a ton of gas coming back into your tank. And the system goes, “Done.” Oftentimes when we get fatigue, it’s because we need fatigue.
Kim: To slow us down.
Marc: Yeah, it slows us down. I often call fatigue like a divine symptom. And I will tell you honestly I have never, ever met a person who was suffering from some version of ongoing fatigue or chronic fatigue that truly didn’t need it. And when I say truly didn’t need it, I mean to start to make a life change, to start to make a health change or a dietary change or a lifestyle change or an inner change, and emotional change, spiritual change. You name it.
If we didn’t get fatigue, we’d keep moving like banshees. We’d keep going. And you would be on to the next race here and working out really hard and maybe traveling to some other country. And meanwhile your system would be breaking down. So in a way fatigue is the body’s way of letting us know, “You need to slow down.”
Just the same way tennis elbow is the body’s way of letting you know you’re doing the same repetitive motion too much. And it’s going to eventually completely break down your arm and make it useless to you. So I’m going to give you this symptom that lets you know to stop and to listen and to look and to do something different with yourself and your self-care in your life.
So I think you’re on a new program now. And the program is there’s the subprogram called parasite cleanse or working with your diet or seeing different practitioners or working with your digestion. That’s the subprogram. The higher program that life with a capital L is putting you on is called, “Okay, Kim. What’s going on?” almost as if to say you have to slow down. You have to listen to your body in a different way.
You probably can’t push it like you have in the past even with that intense kind of training. My guess is your body’s not going to be built for that.
Some bodies are really built for that intense kind of training. I don’t know that yours is. It doesn’t mean you can’t work out. It doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. What you did I would consider intensive. And it got you down to a very specific weight and likely very specific body type. So it doesn’t surprise me that as soon as you stopped that, a bunch of weight came on.
Now, granted you said your weight has gone up and down for a long time. And it sounds to me like a big factor for you in kind of shifting your weight and your body has been exercise. Is that true for you? Like your body shifts when you start to exercise?
Kim: Definitely diet, too. But to me, it’s always seemed I had to do everything right. Or it’s kind of one of those things you did everything right, say, Monday to Friday. And your weight goes down two pounds. But it’s a crazy weekend. And you’re on the road and you eat like you shouldn’t. And then you’re up five pounds.
Marc: Yeah. So you’ve had to keep yourself within very tight parameters. And that probably doesn’t work for you anymore just as a lifestyle, whether it’s successful or not. It seems like your body is trying to find a different way. It seems like you’re trying to find a different kind of balance. And I guess I think for you the question is what’s going to start sustaining you on a day in, day out level that’s not extreme when it comes to dieting and exercise?
I would love to see you at some point…are you exercising in any way right now?
Kim: Yes. I got back at it around three weeks ago because I injured my calf muscles.
Marc: What are you doing? What kind of exercise?
Kim: I’ve been doing some Jillian Michaels just because I find it…I don’t know. I get bored of going to the gym sometimes. So it’s only a thirty-minute commitment.
So there’s been another shift. At the end of April, we actually left our business. So we were self-employed for almost thirty years. Both my husband and I just thought we wanted to do something we were more passionate about. And if we didn’t do it now we weren’t going to do it. So I would allow myself every day to sit and read. And I just thought, “I’m going to take some time and just really rest because that’s what my body’s asking for.”
And that’s coming up a year. So I definitely have been resting. I took a part-time job just because I had to get out of the house a little bit. I’ve realized since then how much self-worth I measure by my work or how much I accomplished. Like even at work, I always had to have lists. And if I got through my list, I had a good day. If I didn’t, I didn’t.
And then the longer I was out of work was kind of, like I said, I was kind of falling. My moods were changing. And I was getting down. And I wasn’t exercising as much. I was just too tired. And I wasn’t making the time. I was in a rut. But then I came up with that I definitely measure a lot of my self-worth through work. I want to be in work that I’m more passionate about. And it’s not happening.
I figured out six months after leaving the business I’m going to be one of those stories. And I kept visualizing and putting out there common people asking me how it’s going and [being able to say], “It’s the best thing we ever did.” So once I did make an attempt to get back at the gym, like I said, about three weeks ago. And just even short workouts, just more about the Jillian Michael’s approach, I guess, because you’re doing cardio and a bit of weights at the same time. But you’re always moving. So you might only go for thirty or forty minutes. But you’re always moving. And your heart rate is always up.
Marc: So you’re in a life transition is what I’m hearing. You’re in a big life transition. It’s huge. So what I want to say to you is it’s extremely common that we were in a big life transition, we’re also at the same time in metabolic transition and a body transition.
So your life isn’t what it used to be. And it probably never will be what it used to be because you were having young kids and raising a family in a very specific way.
And you had your own business. And that was a very specific kind of lifestyle and work style. And now it’s all different in terms of kids, in terms of work. You don’t exactly know what it’s going to look like.
So which doesn’t surprise me that in a transition time, your body is in a transition. And even it’s in a little bit of breakdown. Oftentimes when people are in a transition, they’re moving. They’re getting divorced. They’re getting married. Somebody close to them dies. It’s not unusual when we’re in a big life transition, a career change, the body goes into breakdown sometimes. And it just seems par for the course.
Transition times often come with breakdown. And I think it’s part of the strange, almost universal, invisible programming that goes along with life. When a caterpillar is turning into a butterfly in a cocoon, it’s sitting in a cocoon essentially breaking down. It gets really mushy in there. At some point if you open up the cocoon, you can’t find a caterpillar, nor can you find a butterfly. It’s just a bunch of breakdown mush. Eventually it coalesces into something else.
So it’s when we look at the big picture, the end result of all of our efforts nutritionally, healthwise, exercise is usually death at some point. We all die. And obviously between birth and death, you want to be healthy and you want to have a great life. And that’s what my sense is that you want for yourself. And part of the challenge here is staying on the horse during this transition time. And if you fall off the horse, to get back on, meaning it’s going to be a little bit of a wild ride.
And it’s less, I think, that something is wrong with you, oddly enough, and more that your life in your body are morphing. Habits have to change. How you live has to change. Things have to change. And part of the ways that the wisdom of life helps us figure that out is it puts us in the unknown. Transition times are filled with uncertainty.
For any of us out there that are in a transition time or have gone through a transition time, the hallmark of it is uncertainty. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s coming out the other end.” And in a strange way, it’s part of the initiation. It’s kind of like an initiation, it’s kind of like a gauntlet. It sort of as if we have to go through this challenge, which my assumption is it’s going to make you stronger.
Kim: And I believe that, too.
Marc: Yeah. And it’s going to make you clearer, too, about your path. What I would recommend for you, Kim, I would love to see you — if it feels right — at some point working with a practitioner, somebody who was more of a naturopath or more of a functional medicine doctor because I think you need somebody who understands the traditional kinds of medical testing, but also understands nontraditional approaches to the body, as well.
So the nontraditional approaches would be a naturopath or functional medicine doctor. And most functional medicine doctors — and many naturopaths, also — understand what kind of traditional tests we have to look at just so you can have another set of expert eyes on this. Like you, I do a lot of self-management with my health. You know a lot. And I get that you’re interested in this. And it’s something that kind of stimulates you. So it makes sense to me that you would self-treat. And I love that. I have a ton of respect for that.
And I also want to say that it’s good to get outside opinions because when it’s just me looking at me, I can sometimes miss the obvious or just sometimes miss things that I just wouldn’t know. The hardest people to treat if you’re a practitioner are your relatives, your significant other, and yourself, and your friends. Those are the hardest people to treat. So I would love to see you get more help in that regard just because. And it obviously has to be somebody who you feel good about and somebody you trust. That’s important.
The weight thing is interesting because the fatigue and the body breakdown is a little more new for you relatively speaking. The weight challenge has been around for a while, the weight going up and down. When was the first time you ever thought to yourself, “I need to lose weight.”
Kim: Probably age twelve, kind of thing. I know I was young. And I always wanted to be beautiful kind of thing. And you look at skinny people and think, “Oh, they must have it all,” or, “They’re beautiful. How could they have any problems?” I’ve obviously done a lot of growth since then. And I understand more about inner self or inner beauty.
And like I said, I feel over the last few years, I’m definitely in a place where I’m not as much looking to get rid of the weight because I want to…I mean I do want to look and feel more attractive. But it’s not about that anymore. It’s about, like I said, how I feel.
Marc: Yeah, yeah. I get that. So that’s a place where you can probably do some fine tuning. And fine tuning, not about losing the weight in particular, but fine tuning in terms of what you’re thinking and feeling inside about the weight, meaning yeah, I don’t know how important it is for you at this point, how really important it ought to be.
And I wonder to myself how much of your working out is driven by losing the weight. What percentage of you works out because, “I want to lose weight.” Like if you didn’t have any weights to lose and if you had your exact weight that you wanted and you knew that you could never work out again and you would state that exact weight, would you work out?
Kim: I find more in the last few weeks I work out because I know I feel better after.
Marc: Got it. Got it.
Marc: Beautiful. So what I want to say is I just want to watch yourself. I want you to watch your thoughts. And I want you to watch what’s motivating you because my guess is that the majority of you, like over fifty-one percent of you, is free of, “Oh, I have to look a certain way and weigh a certain amount in order for me to be okay and in order for people to love me.” So I think the majority of you understands that you’re loved regardless.
And at the same time, there is still this part of you that wants to kind of get the golden ticket because, “Yeah, skinny girls don’t have problems.” In a weird way they have more problems, believe it or not.
Kim: And consciously I know that. I understand that.
Marc: So to me, it’s continuing to mature into what’s important for you. Where do you want to put your emotional energy?
Yeah, if working out makes you feel better, go for it. But I also want you to be aware that you can’t push your body like you did training for this event. You can’t do it. It’s not going to work for you.
So when you say you’re doing a thirty-minute Jillian Michaels workout, I’m like, “Yeah, that’s the way to go for you right now.” It’s sort of finding your sweet spot where you can exercise and feel good about yourself and feel good physically. And let that be enough because we don’t know what your body is going to do. We don’t know what your body is going to do weight wise.
And what I want to say…this is not for everyone. I’m going to say this is for you. But this is especially for women who are in their late forties and or the mid-forties and up. There comes a time — for men and women late forties and up — there comes a time where it may be that we have to just let go a little more or a lot more about, “I’m going to look a certain way. And I’m going to exercise my way to that place. I’m going to diet my way to that place” because it starts to be a dream and a waste of life energy. It’s doesn’t serve us.
Maybe when you’re young we can worry about that and obsess about that more. But there comes a time…and this is really age-dependent for a lot of us. And I’m not saying this advice is isn’t applicable for somebody younger. But what I’m saying is for you I’m feeling like this is your time. These next many years are your time to explore, “Who am I? How do I want to express myself? And if I’m going to do work that really inspires me, what’s that going to look like? How do I put my energy into that? And how do I focus on what’s truly meaningful to me on a deeper level?” That’s where the action is right now I think for you. And it sounds like you’re doing that to me.
Kim: Yeah, I’ve done a lot of work. I feel I try to love and appreciate my body. And it’s interesting my injury happened when I was on holidays. And I was in the wheelchair for a week. But I’m just looking around at people and seeing what we take for granted. Like walking, we take that so much for granted. So it brought me back into a place of being grateful again.
Marc: Yeah, it’s also interesting that you say that. It seems to me — I haven’t collected any statistics on this —but I’m a storyteller and a story collector. For me, having been a clinician for thirty years and a coach and counselor for thirty years, it’s really all about listening to people’s stories. And that’s what any healing professional does. They take your history, story, his-story. So you listen to someone’s story. And you start to piece together, “Oh, this symptom, this habit, this way of eating, this food, this drug.”
You take somebody’s story. And our story really tells us about who we are. And your story is this beautiful, fascinating journey. And at some point, we have more say in that. Or we have more and more say in how we write out our story. And to me, you’re creating a new story for yourself at this point in life.
And one of the common stories I’ve heard is people go traveling and get injured. Or people go traveling and they get sick. Or people go traveling and their system crashes. And they just stay in the hotel and sleep for four days or five days because often times when we get away from our usual life, all of a sudden you almost have permission to go into breakdown. And we have permission to go into a big shift because we’re away from our normal circumstance. And you don’t have to go to work when you’re on vacation. And somebody else generally is cooking food for you. You’re eating in a restaurant. It’s just different.
So to me I’m hearing all the story pieces add up to life is asking you to slow down. Life is asking you to go inward. Life is asking you to reinvent yourself, reinvent how you do everything, really, including exercise, including how you do your weight and how you do your self-care. And I think you’re going to be moving at a slightly slower pace in a good way. Does that make sense?
Kim: Mmm hmm. And I know a big part of it, I know it’s for my husband and I is the kids growing up and moving out. We have always been real family people. We’ve taken off for a month, gone to the Yukon in our trailer. And we’re there with our kids day and night. We have a really close family. So I know that it’s a bit of a struggle to move to that next level where our kids are growing up and are going to have their own lives. And I think that’s why we both left what we did and we’re trying to find ourselves.
I think I feel, though, when we were running our business and I went back into the holistic nutrition course, I just got so excited and passionate. I was going to help other people. And this was more my calling. But now I think since I’ve left work, there’s almost maybe like a guilt because all of a sudden my focus went from, “What can I do for others?” to me.
Marc: Yeah, how interesting that that happened. What a nice surprise. And part of doing for others is you have to learn how to do for yourself. You’ve been focused as a mom on doing for others very intensely for a long time. Chances are you’ve been focused as a partner and as a wife in doing for others.
And, sure, you will continue to do for others. But you have to fill your own tank. And we have to sometimes do the personal inner work where we’re giving to self. And it just feels like this is a time for you to feed yourself, to charge your batteries, to fill your tank, whatever metaphor you want to use. We go through those phases. And if we miss them, if we miss the part, the natural life phase where it’s time to give to self, then we miss an opportunity.
So you’re lucky because you have the wherewithal right now to indeed have a little time for yourself and to do self-exploration.
A lot of people don’t get that. So you actually have that. And life is telling you. Your life is talking to you. To me, each of our journeys has a beautiful wisdom to it. Your journey has a wisdom. My journey has a wisdom to it that’s smarter than us.
Your journey is smarter than you, meaning all of a sudden it’s going, “Yeah, Kim. You thought you were going to be serving other people. And now look. You’re just taking care of yourself.” Now, you might look at that as an imposition to your plans. But how I’m seeing and looking on the outside in is that life is saying, “Sure, Kim. You have bigger plans. You want to help people. You really want to help people? You have to learn a few things here first.” And one of the things you need to learn is to go deeper in yourself to find some of the more talents and gifts that you have to give, to find some of the energy that you have to give.
So I think life is giving you all the proper clues here. And I’m getting that you are listening. And it feels for me like this session is in the large part just confirming a lot of what I think you already know. I don’t know if I’ve said anything to you that’s earth shattering or earthshaking. It’s confirming what you know. I feel like you’re already following your guidance. And I’m over here saying, “Yeah! Go, girl! Trust your guidance. And trust your instincts. Trust your intuition.”
And even as you’re talking about the physical challenge that you’re in right now, I just have a sense that you’re approaching it from just a very clear place. You’re looking at it going, “Okay, here’s what’s going on in my body. What’s the next logical step to manage this?” And that’s what I think your trajectory is right now – putting one foot in front of the other.
Oftentimes, Kim — I know you know this, but I’m going to say it — it’s our own healing journey that teaches us how to be a healer even more. So you’re learning right now what it is to be patient, your own patient. You’re learning what it is to have life change your body dramatically and everything that that means personally, emotionally, metabolically. You’re experiencing that firsthand.
You’re going to be way more sensitive and understanding and insightful about clients if you’re going to be in this business than ever before. You’re going to have a lot more wisdom as you more and more come through the other side with what you’re going through. So I think life is just putting you through a real professional workshop, so to speak.
Kim: Yes. And I believe that, as well. And every time I think of something new, like this weekend I probably spent ten hours watching The Healthy Gut Summit, which I see you were a part of, as well. I’ve seen a lot of really wonderful speakers. And then I get really excited about a new approach.
And I think when that approach maybe doesn’t work, then all of a sudden I let myself get into a space again for maybe a day or whatever. And everyone talks about their journey and what a wonderful journey and how much they learned. But they eventually come out of it. And I think I just finally got in that space of, “Am I ever going to come out of this?”
Marc: Sure. And we don’t know. We really don’t know. And part of the challenge there — and I think this is a good place, a perfect place to wrap up this conversation — part of the challenge is I’m going to call it a higher challenge, a more cosmic or a more spiritual challenge. And it’s called trust.
And when I say trust, what I mean is you developing a greater trust in life, in the universe, in a greater intelligence, in God, whatever you want to call it. And in part it’s just that I’m going to be okay. And trust that I’m going to be okay often means you might not heal perfectly. But you can still be okay, meaning will you still be able to manage your life and manage yourself and do good things in the world and have some joy in some peace and some happiness?
So can you trust that no matter what happens with your body that you’ll be okay?
Which is different than trusting that I’m going to be hundred percent back to my healthiest ever. We don’t know. So it’s trusting that the wisdom of life will give you what you need and that on some deeper level, you’ll be okay, even if I’m still in a little bit of fatigue.
I know people who have had chronic fatigue for decades. And they spent a fortune in medical intervention and in brilliant strategies trying to fix it. And at some point they just learn how to manage it. And they have a life. And they have a social life. And they have friends. And they have relationships. And, “Here’s what I have to get to bed. And here’s what I can eat. And here’s what I can’t eat. And here’s how much walking I can do. And here’s how much running I can’t do.” So then it becomes trusting that you’ll learn the tricks to manage your energy.
So whenever we have fatigue, it’s all about learning how to manage our energy better. It’s no different than if you told me, “Marc, I only have $20 left. I used to have millions and I blew it all. And I want to have a ton of money again.” And I would say, “If you want to have a ton of money again, I want you to learn how to manage that $20 really well. You start with what you have. How are you going to spend it? How are you going to save it? What are you going to do with it? Learn to manage the money.”
In this case learn to manage the energy that you have right now. That’s almost like being in kindergarten again in a strange kind of way. But it’s very beautiful. There’s something very humbling about it and very I think instructive about learning to compassionately and exquisitely manage your energy so you can do the things you need to do right now during the day and get things done and take care of yourself.
And when your body says, “Kim, enough,” you have the wherewithal right now to go, “Okay, I’m going to rest. I’m going to sleep. I’m going to just sit and read. I’m not going to push myself.” So you have that ability right now. And it’s a gift. It’s a blessing.
Kim: I believe I have conquered that. I give myself permission kind of thing to have a nap because I know lying down for half an hour, then I’m recharged. I’m good to go again. And I am grateful and that way that it is just fatigue, say, because I can just lie down and feel better or have a good sleep and feel better. So there’s a lot of people that have to deal with them a lot worse than that.
Marc: Agree. Great work, Kim. Thanks for being such a good sport. And I know you’re on the right path. I love how you’re managing this all and taking care of yourself. And I really appreciate you sharing so openly and honestly about your journey. And let’s reconvene. I’ll have somebody reach out to you in a few months. And we’ll reschedule a check in and do this again see how you’re doing.
Kim: Okay. Thank you. It’s been an honor. I’ve done your eight-week Eating Psychology course. I repeated it when I was off with my leg and lying on the couch. So the eight weeks, you do amazing work. And when I was chosen, I just felt really blessed.
Marc: Yay! Well, I feel blessed, too. I’m glad we had this time together. Thank you so much.
Kim: Thank you.
Marc: And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. Lots more to come, my friends. Take care now.
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