Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #225 – Is Self Expression Connected to Weight?

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Podcast episode 225: In session with Marc-David. Is Self Expression Connected to Weight?

Batul, age 23, comes to Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, with very clear intention she wants to lose 20 more lbs to get to her goal weight… a weight she has never weighed before. This goal is tied to her desire to step into self-expression, and own who she is. As we get deeper into the conversation, Marc explains the typical mother-daughter psychological connection, and we see how it pertains to Batul and her mother. There are so many ways she has wanted to be different than her mom, not because she doesn’t love her, but because she is following her own intuition and path of personal growth. As she grows into her own woman, Marc invites her to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Batul realizes she will never be able to fully express her own truth and her body will never settle into it’s natural weight if she keeps trying to please everybody else first.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And we are back in the Psychology of Eating podcast. I am with Batul today. Welcome, Batul.

Batul: Hello, Marc.

Marc: I’m glad we’re doing this. I’m glad you’re here.

Batul: Same here.

Marc: Let me say a couple of words quickly to listeners and viewers, and then you and I’ll jump in together. So if you are a returning visitor to this podcast, thank you, thank you, thank you for showing up and being part of our world. And if you’re new to the podcast, here’s how it goes down. Batul and I are officially meeting for the first time now. And we’re going to spend about 45 minutes to an hour together and see if we can push the fast-forward button a little bit on good change and good transformation.

So, Ms. Batul, if you can wave your magic wand and if you could get whatever you wanted to get from this session, tell me what that would be for you.

Batul: I would like to express myself more, and that sounds really vague. But I just would love to have a stronger presence and a more powerful voice. I have hypothyroidism, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. So that’s one of the things, but I would also like to lose about 10 kg, about 20 pounds.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. And how long have you been wanting to lose about 10 kg?

Batul: So I’m 65 kilos right now which is about 143-ish pounds. But I’ve already lost 20 pounds in the past few months. And I’ve been wanting to lose weight since I was 12 really. Yeah.

Marc: So are you dieting? How are you losing weight?

Batul: No. I was in that dieting vicious cycle for years, but I stopped dieting around 18 and I’m 23 right now. So I eat as best as I can. I kind of can tune into to foods right now and see what food is nourishing for my body. That looks similar to a paleo diet, but I’m not too strict.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. So the weight that’s been coming off recently, what do you attribute that success to?

Batul: More pleasurable movement for sure. And this was really surprising for me, but that comes in the form of strength training for me, just lifting weights. Some yoga on the side as well. Just being more present with my food, eating slightly slower. I’m still a really fast eater, but slightly slower. And less stress overall about life.

Marc: Okay. That sounds like a pretty good formula.

Batul: Yeah.

Marc: So have you plateaued or are you still losing? Like, what’s happening for you?

Batul: I have plateaued, yeah. Yeah. It’s been about a month now.

Marc: Okay. And you want to lose how much more weight?

Batul: About 10 more kilos, 20 pounds.

Marc: What weight would that put you at?

Batul: That would be about 55 kilos.

Marc: When was the last time you weighed 55 kilos?

Batul: I never did.

Marc: Okay.

Batul: I’ve seen 58 when I was about 13. I was overweight as a kid since I’ve known myself basically.

Marc: Mmhmm. So do you think that’s a reasonable goal for you? I’m just wondering. Do you think that’s natural for your body?

Batul: I think the weight strongly ties to that voice component that I’ve mentioned, and there’s no way of telling if I’ll ever reach that weight. And that’s okay I think. But I know you sometimes mention in your podcasts that that extra weight can be just energy that is stuck, so I think that’s what’s going on for me as well. I don’t know if that’s the case for the entire 10 kilos, but I think some of that is definitely stuck potential.

Marc: How tall are you?

Batul: I’m 163 cm, so that’s 5’3”.

Marc: 5’3”. Yeah. So I’m interested. I just want to know where you came up with your number and your target weight. Because you’re pretty convinced that that’s where you should be at, that that’s your rightful place. So I just want to know how you got there, like just how you arrived at that, like what your thinking was. Help me understand.

Batul: Yeah, I never thought about that actually. I’m sure there is a reason. So when I was 12 and I was overweight, my mom actually took me to a dietician, and from her magical BMI calculations, the magic number was 58. And I think being the perfectionist I am, I just wanted to round down a bit and just say 55.

Marc: Mmhmm. Got it. Got it. Got it. So, yeah. I’m going to put a little bookmark over there because it’s a number. It’s a number from when you’re 12 or 13 years old. And you’ve given a little bit of energy and power to that number. So I’m just not quite sure, but we’ll circle back to that. So how did you arrive at for yourself, your voice, your power, expressing yourself in the world connected to your weight? What helped you kind of get to that conclusion?

Batul: It took me many years, as this is a really recent realization. But I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, so that’s the autoimmune form, when I was 12, again, when I started dieting. So that’s the only reason—that’s one of the reasons actually that I think those two are connected. But since then, whenever my voice or my self-expression was compromised for one reason or the other, I would just tend to gain a lot of weight in a really short span of time. Go ahead. Sorry.

Marc: Yeah, no. It makes perfect sense. So when you say, “If my voice was suppressed,” give me an example of a way that you would feel suppressed that you recall from the past.

Batul: The major example would be when my father passed away when I was 18, and I just did not feel like myself anymore. It’s just a really strange place to be, and I was really connected with my father. So it just felt like a big chunk of me just left as he passed away, and that took away most of my voice as well. I’ve come to realize that’s probably not the case, that him physically leaving does not necessarily mean that I lose my voice. But that’s how it felt.

Marc: Yeah. So I still want to know more details from you what losing your voice means to you.
Batul: Sure. That looks like, for example, in a social setting, having a strong opinion that I am internally confident about but not expressing that externally. Almost having a physical lump in my throat that keeps me from expressing whatever it is.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. And you remember that experience starting around the time your dad passed. Yes? That’s what you’re saying or before that or…?

Batul: I think it was before that actually. I think it was when I started dieting at 12, but my dad passing away definitely worsened the situation for me.

Marc: Yeah. So when you were put on a diet at 12, what were your thoughts about it?

Batul: Well, at the time, I actually was putting myself on a diet which was really restrictive. And I didn’t lose any weight on that crazy diet of basically no carbs in my diet. And my mom, watching this, she was concerned, so she said, “If you want to lose weight, then let’s do this with an expert.” And so she took me to a dietician, but that kind of had me almost hand over my food power, my eating power to someone else, to the dietician, but also to my mom at such a young age that I had to do a lot of work around that since then to reclaim that power.

Marc: Very interesting. When you imagine yourself where you want to be, let’s say here’s Batul and she’s got a voice, she speaks the truth, her opinions, she feels strong, good enough to say what she wants to say. Tell me what that new woman looks like. What does her life look like? Just give me some description.

Batul: Yeah, this image actually has been coming up a lot recently in my head. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many people ask this question to me just randomly of how do you imagine yourself to be if you’re more expressive. And that’s always me on a stage of sorts, public speaking, possibly around the topics of eating psychology because I’m passionate about that. I have a long history of binge eating as well. So just talking about those on a stage, sharing that message with others, and feeling grounded instead of nervous while I’m on that stage.

Marc: Got it. So it’s a sense that you could be out there in the public. You could be on stage. You could be a teacher. You could be talking about things that you’re passionate about, you’re knowledgeable about. Okay. What else?

Batul: What else.

Marc: Give me more.

Batul: Sure. I’ve noticed recently there are a lot of things that make me angry, and I think that’s just natural. I think that’s the natural human reaction, but I don’t express that anger. I just tend to bottle things up. That could be someone offending me in some sort of way or something I’m against. And I don’t express that in the moment, but I tend to think about that for the rest of the day. It triggers a terrible, terrible stress response in me. So instead of that, I imagine myself actually expressing that anger at that moment.

Marc: Yeah, makes total sense. Not holding back from what you’re truly feeling even if it’s an uncomfortable feeling or it might be uncomfortable for somebody else to kind of hear what you have to say. Got it. How was your dad with expressing anger?

Batul: Oh, he was terrible at it actually.

Marc: How about your mom?

Batul: She’s the one who has the stronger voice in the family. She is very expressive with her anger. Yeah. My dad was always that soft-spoken kind of guy.

Marc: Are you close with your mom?

Batul: Yes and no. Yeah.

Marc: Where are the places that you’re not close?

Batul: We’re not close when it comes to weight and eating and our bodies.

Marc: How so? Explain.

Batul: She has always been obese since I’ve known her, and that’s okay. But I feel like I have received an “it’s in your genes” kind of message since I was born from the females in my family, especially my mom. And I don’t believe that to be the case. I tend to believe that that was just a mechanism to hold me back from trying new foods, trying new exercises or pleasurable movements. So I always felt like she held me back when it came to my weight loss goals.

Marc: Interesting. So how does she feel like since you’ve been recently losing weight? Is she aware of that?

Batul: She’s aware of it. We don’t tend to talk about it. With the strength training, I’ve also put on a lot of muscle, and it feels great. But she doesn’t seem to celebrate the fact.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Interesting. It’s an interesting challenge that you have there. So you’re originally from Turkey. You’re living in…

Batul: Glasgow, Scotland.

Marc: In Scotland, and you’ve lived in other places?

Batul: I have. I lived in Michigan for my undergraduate degree.

Marc: So that was about four years?

Batul: Yes. Yeah.

Marc: So question for you. I’m trying to think how to phrase this. What impact do you think—now that you’ve been to a few different places in the world, three very different places quite frankly, what do you think the challenges you face around expressing myself, saying what I really feel, is there a part of that that’s cultural, in terms of your upbringing or do you think it’s just whatever, given that you’ve lived in three different countries now? Any correlations? Anything you’re aware of around that?

Batul: That’s actually a really interesting question. Theoretically, I don’t think that would be the case because I went to an international school all my life in Turkey. So I was always exposed to the American or British culture in terms of individualism and self-expression. I don’t actually think that’s the case.
Marc: Got it. How was your mother’s upbringing and her education?

Batul: In what sense? She went to university. She’s a professor of health economics. She works at a university in Turkey.

Marc: Got it. So she’s had a chance to explore her life as a professional woman.

Batul: Mmhmm.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. Okay. Okay. That helps me. So what do you think—when you think of being more self-expressive, and I get that you mention, “Sometimes I just feel like I have this lump in my throat, so the voice doesn’t come out.” What do you think stops you when you think, “Oh, I’m being stopped because…” Do you say to yourself, “Oh, it’s my thyroid that’s stopping me”? What do you say to yourself?

Batul: It’s definitely not that. No. It’s usually what would people think. That’s the main question there. Would they judge me? Would they still love me? Yeah.

Marc: Okay. When’s your birthday?

Batul: My birthday? 10th of April.

Marc: 10th of April. Okay. So you’ll be 24 or 25?

Batul: 24.

Marc: Okay. Got it. So let me say a few things. I think I’ve got some good information about you. To me, you’ve had a really fascinating upbringing and you have an interesting journey around your relationship with food and your body and your voice. And I think you’ve put together a lot of good connections. I think you understand a lot about yourself, and I also really feel, based on this conversation, that you’re really on a good path and a good trajectory. Like, just so you know, I’m not over here sitting, thinking, “Oh my God, you’re so far away from where you need to be,” or, “My goodness, you’re doing such crazy things and keeping yourself from getting to the goal that you want to get to.”

So what I hear is that your thinking has been very good. It’s been solid. It’s been logical, and you’re proceeding in a good way. So what I feel my job in part is to help you continue what I feel has been a very good trajectory. I feel like you’ve taken what you’ve learned, and you’ve taken your gifts. You’re educated. You’re smart. You’re aware. You’re self-aware. You care. And you’re bringing all your resources to help yourself understand, “Okay, wait a second. This is my body. These people have told me, ‘Well, sorry. It’s just genetics.’” And there’s a part of you that strongly thinks and feels and believes differently. And I believe wisely so.

Now, right there in an odd way, you’re going against your family on a certain level. You’re literally going against your tribe.

Batul: Yeah.

Marc: Especially the women in your tribe. What you’re experiencing with your mother in a lot of ways, Batul, is very classic mother-daughter psychology. And what I mean by that is there’s oftentimes two things that happen, oftentimes, in a mother-daughter relationship, which is if the mother hasn’t done all of her work to mature into her womanhood and her queenhood, it will be easier for her to be in a competitive relationship with her daughter.

So there are places where mothers do not relate to their daughters as, “My daughter, I want you to have this better life than me. I want you to go further than me. I want you to launch. I want you to be beautiful. I want you to be everything you can possibly be.” Now, she does have those sentiments in her, but there’s also a place in her where, because chances are she might not be totally happy with where she’s at and might not be skilled enough, aware enough, about mother-daughter dynamics, there’s a place where she will compete with you.

So she will become like your sister. She will become like your friend. Sisters can be competitive. Friends can be competitive. Peers can be competitive with each other. It is not the healthiest dynamic for a parent to be in competition with their child. It’s no good. But this happens, and it’s quite common. And it’s very disturbing for the daughter because the daughter naturally wants unconditional love and unconditional support from a mother, not competition. That’s very confusing to a child’s mind.

Batul: Absolutely.

Marc: Extremely confusing. So you’ve probably been picking up on that message from a very young age, and you’ve been picking up on all the messages where your mother loves and supports you. And there’s places where humans fall short. We’re not perfect. I’m a parent. My son will be 24 soon. I could look back on it and say, “Damn, I wish I would’ve done this better, that better, and the other thing better.” So we’re all learning here.

So anyway, the other piece is a daughter will often respond to that competition with the mother or the daughter will respond to her love for her mother and her care for her mother by thinking, “I should not surpass my mother. Because if I surpass my mother, then I’m messing with her. I’m putting her down. I’m insulting her. I’m belittling her.” Now, I’m not saying you consciously think that, but these are some of the unconscious dynamics that can—I’m not saying this is 100% happening, but I have a feeling there’s some of this going on, where you don’t want to surpass your mother. You don’t want to outshine her out of, believe it or not, a good place. I don’t want to embarrass her.

So if you just stay equal to your mother, if you stay the same weight, if you don’t stay empowered, if you keep your voice down to a certain amount, then you and your mother are kind of equals in a way. You haven’t surpassed her. You follow me?

Batul: I am. It’s very interesting what you said. It brings back a lot of memories actually. When I first got a diet list at 12, I remember looking over that list and saying, “Oh, maybe I’ll follow the same thing as you do.” I remember many instances throughout my childhood where she would introduce me to her friend and say, “We’re more like sisters. We don’t have a mother-daughter relationship. We’re more like friends.” So that definitely resonates.

Marc: Yes. So if your mother has been giving you that message, and, by the way, that’s a pretty strong indication that this is what has indeed been happening. If your mother has very directly identified in that way, then she’s telling us that, “Yes, this is how I’m relating to my daughter. We’re more like friends.” She wants that friend. On the one hand, it’s a sweet thing. There’s a sweetness there. “I want to be friends with my child.” On another level, it’s not the appropriate, correct, main context for the relationship.

The main context for the mother-daughter relationship is that she’s the mother and you’re the daughter. Will you have moments of being friends? Of course. Will you have moments where you’re the mother and she’s the daughter? Of course. Will you have moments where you’re more of an adult and she’s more of a child?

So the roles can shift and change in a moment, but in general, they should have a certain flavor. So because you’ve been getting that message, you haven’t been 100% safe. And you haven’t been able to let your voice be heard because you want to be a good friend to your mother, and a good friend to your mother means you don’t surpass her. You don’t excel beyond her.

Batul: Right.

Marc: You don’t want her to be jealous of you. You kind of want to be a good girl so your mother still loves you. You want to be a good friend so she’s still there for you. And all the while, she was trying to put you on a diet in part because she didn’t want you to have the same struggles she has. And in part, she also wants you to be in the same universe that she’s in and keep her company, which is, “Okay, I can’t lose this weight.”

So here’s what I want to say to you. Let me just be direct here. And I would say this to anyone who’s in the shoes of a competitive relationship between mother and daughter. I’m not saying that’s the entirety of your relationship with her, but there’s an aspect of that. And that aspect is strong, and it lives in you. And you as a good person, because you care and you’re loving, you’re trying to make sure not to hurt her feelings.

On top of that, with your father dying, I’m wondering for you did he feel like a father and not just friends?

Batul: To me?

Marc: Yes.

Batul: Even if he felt like friends, it would definitely be less so compared to my mom. Yeah. He has in his lifetime, many times, warned me that—these aren’t his exact words, but something along the lines of him observing my mom almost trying to sabotage my health and weight efforts.

Marc: Understood. Understood. So that’s probably true to a degree. I’m very clear that it’s not purposeful. It’s very unconsciously driven. And what has to happen, and again I’m going to say I would give this advice to any woman who’s in a competitive relationship or there’s that aspect with the mom, is at some point you have to make the choice in you that you are willing to surpass your mother.

Let me keep going here for a second. You’re willing to surpass your mother. You’re willing to have the body that’s your natural body. Let’s not choose an exact number right now. But let’s assume that you have a natural hair color. You have a natural personality that’s just yours. It’s who you are. You have natural certain talents, certain gifts, certain skills, certain interests. Your body has a certain natural tendency towards a certain natural weight. That’s who you are.

For you to get to your natural weight means you have to be willing to surpass your mother. For you to have your voice means you have to be willing to surpass your mother. Because in a strange way, even though you said, “Wow, I’m not so good at anger, but my mother is,” if you get as good at anger as your mother or better, if you get as good at expressing yourself or better than your mother, then you have surpassed her in a place where she has been ahead of you.

And to your mind, there will be a place where you will somehow feel like that’s a betrayal and that is a sign that you don’t love her. And what I need you to know is that ultimately you being the best version of you is a gift that you give to you, to the world, to your parents, to your lineage. It’s a gift that you give. And you need to let your mother deal with that. It is not your job to rescue her from this. It is not your job to save her from whatever pain or process or emotional challenge she will need to go through. Because it is that pain and challenge and emotional suffering that she might need to go through if you become who you’re supposed to be. That challenge for her will actually help her or it can help her if she chooses to let it help her.

But we have to make choices, and sometimes we leave people behind or it feels like that. So I know you’re not going to not love her. You have to acknowledge that, “Yes, I love my mother, and, no, I’m not going to hold myself back as a way to show love.” So you have to let people be in their discomfort, particularly your parents. Stop rescuing her. You see what I’m saying?

Batul: I do. I do. That clears up a lot of things as well, not just with my mom but also with my friendships in general. If I’ve been treating my relationship with my mom as that with a friend, which feels and sounds like I have, then it makes sense that I always hold onto my voice and power around friends, around my peers as well because I don’t want to surpass them in any way.
Marc: Right.

Batul: I would much rather have them surpass me and not the other way around. It makes so much sense.
Marc: Bingo. Bingo. So you got it. So that’s the conversation that lives inside your head, and we all have this. We all have conversation inside the mind that operates us, that runs us. Now, you didn’t choose that conversation. That conversation is a product of your upbringing. It is a logical product of how you’ve been raised, the world you’ve been raised in, and some of your own natural tendencies.

So there’s no blame here. There’s nothing you’ve done wrong. This is you just growing. This is you maturing as a human being, looking in the mirror, and going, “Huh. Based on what’s going on with my body, based on what’s going on with here, based on what’s going on with my voice, hmm. Let me see what the connections are. What’s going on? Oh, my goodness, here’s how I have learned to be in a relationship with the world, with people. Now, what do I need to change?” Because so much of our life we are living in terms of how we’ve been trained, programmed, taught, and educated. And at some point, we start to feel into who am I actually without those concepts, without those beliefs. So that’s what’s happening for you.

You’re having a lot of information just naturally coming into your system right now. In a strange way, because your mother made you more of a friend, in a weird way it helped you mature a little bit faster. When a child is being raised around adults who are considering that child a friend, there’s a little bit of fast forward on maturity because you’re around adults who are treating you like an adult in a lot of ways. They’re treating you like them.

So you will have adult sensitivities at a younger age. So I found it interesting when you said, “Hey, I’m 12 or 13, and like, wait a second. I gave away my power to the dietician to control my food, and then my mother…” That’s an interesting distinction for a 12 or a 13-year-old. Most kids are not going to think that thought. So it says to me that’s part of your training, but it’s also part of who you are.

So from a young age, you’ve had a voice. From a young age, you’ve had a voice. So that was your voice speaking. Now, yes, your voice has felt suppressed. I get that. And now you’re looking how to let it come out, and that’s a beautiful thing. I just want to say to you that, again, to my mind, you haven’t been doing anything wrong. This is your natural evolution. But you have to be willing. You have to think about this every day. Am I willing to surpass my mother? Am I willing to let my mother be in discomfort if I am at my true weight, my natural weight, if I’m in my natural power, if I’m an expressive woman in the world that says what she believes and says what she feels? Am I willing to let her be angry at me?

You mentioned to me before, “Well, also, if I got strong opinions and I voice them, are people, like what are they going to say? What are they going to think? Are they still going to love me?” Very human, natural concern. If I be the real me, will people still love me? And the answer is yes and no. All the time for everyone the answer’s yes and no. There will be people who when you start being the real you and you voice your opinion, they’re not going to like your opinion, and they’re not going to like you. And then what you do is you put a check mark and you cross them off your list because those are not the people you want in your world. You want the people who get you, who understand you, who stand by you. Even if they disagree with you, maybe they’re your friend and it’s like, “Okay. I love you. You’re my friend. That’s your strong opinion. I disagree. On to the next thing.”

So there’s going to be people who love you for how you show up and who don’t love you for how you show up. Even if you pretend to be someone else, even if you’re not being the real you, there’s going to be people that love you and people that don’t love you for who you pretend to be.

Batul: Right.

Marc: Do you follow me? So this is a very human concern. We want people to love us, and I’m just telling you what the target is here. The target is being comfortable with the fact that, yeah, some people are going to love you and some are not. So we, you, have to start developing a stronger immune system when it comes to being willing to be disliked, being willing to have a strong opinion and have somebody strongly disagree with you, being willing to show up as who you are and somebody goes, “I don’t like a woman like that.” And then you go, “Great. Bye-bye.” Find somebody more like who you like then.
So in part what’s going to help you speak your voice is letting go of the opinions of others mattering so much.

Batul: Just one comment and one question.

Marc: Please. Yeah.

Batul: I’ve been connecting the dots as you were speaking, and I had a big summer break where I was in Turkey and I spent time with my mom. But I came back to Glasgow, and our communication was a bit more limited. I actively chose to leave out some information about my life; whereas, beforehand, she basically knew everything about me and my life. And that’s when the weight loss kind of sped up.

But in the past month or so, I’ve gone back to the habit of sharing everything and anything with her, and that’s when my weight actually started to plateau. And I wonder if there’s a connection between the two.
And then my question was what does being okay with making my mom uncomfortable look like? Just so I can get a head start with that.

Marc: Got it. So first question, could those be related? “Hey, I started communicating with my mom again, telling her everything. Close friends.” Yeah, probably. There’s probably some connection. How important it is I’m not sure. But what I want to say is the difficulty here is that from your mother’s side, she will never be relating to you as a true, true mother 100%. It hasn’t been that way, so it’s not going to change necessarily. So I’m assuming she’s not going to change her position in how she relates with you.

Batul: Okay.

Marc: So it is up to you. You can still be friends with her. You can still be friendly with her, but I also need you to notice where the places are where you lose yourself in order to be her friend. Are there places where you compromise to be her friend?

Now, I have many friends. There are certain friends I tell certain things to, other friends I tell other things to. Certain friends I will never say anything about this, this, and this to. I don’t go there with them. And you know this. There are certain friends you’re more comfortable talking certain things. You do not have to share everything about everything about everything with your mother. I want you to notice what is it that you don’t want to share, and are you stepping over your own boundary? Are you disregarding your own self in that moment?

It could just be intuitive. You don’t have to have a reason for why you don’t want to share something with her. It’s not a betrayal. There are certain things you choose to tell certain people. On a certain level, you are individuating from your mother. This is going to take a little while. It’s not going to happen overnight. So when I say you’re individuating from your mother, it means that you are learning how to be your own woman. So, yes, you’re your mother’s daughter, but you’re also becoming your own woman.
In order to become your own woman, you have to be a little bit less and less and less of her daughter because if I’m still her little daughter, then I can’t be a woman. Do you follow me?

Batul: Yeah.

Marc: So there will be a natural evolution. There will be natural separation here and there. There will be natural boundaries that come up. She will not like that. You don’t have to talk about this with her necessarily at all. You just have to notice and respect yourself and tune into yourself as a person, as a woman. What is it that I want to share? What is it that I don’t want to share?

So if you’re losing weight, you might want to share that. You might not. If you’re on a certain kind of diet, if something’s going on with you with your body, you might want to share; you might not. You might share just a little bit. You might start to notice places where even though she’s not saying anything she’s starting to feel uncomfortable with what you’re sharing because she feels that you’re excelling maybe. And if you start to notice that, that’s when you have to pull inward a little bit. And you just have to notice, okay, how do I kind of cut those cords in the moment and not follow her need for me to be smaller.

Again, it’s an unconscious need. She’s unaware that she’s doing that. She wants to be your friend. She thinks that’s a beautiful thing. There’s a level where, sure, of course, it’s a beautiful thing for a mother and daughter to have a friendship. It’s wonderful. And it would be more ideal if there was also mother-daughter in there. Do you see what I’m saying?

So giving her the space to be in her discomfort simply means not rescuing her, simply means not trying to fix it, simply means noticing when she’s being uncomfortable if you are losing weight and just not responding to it. Just breathing and not jumping in to fill the spaces to fix it. And it’s going to be subtle. We’re talking subtleties here. But there are probably places where your mom gets uncomfortable, and you rescue her. There are places where your friends get uncomfortable, and you rescue them.

I want you to start to notice that and stop doing that. I want you to notice when you do that because that’s also how you think people will love you. Because the truth is, the more you’re friends with your mom the more it feels like she loves you, as a child anyway. Right now, that’s starting to shift. The more you’re friends with your mom it doesn’t always necessarily feel like, “Wow, this is really supportive for me and loving for me.” It’s going to start to feel more, “Wait a second. This doesn’t feel right.”

So it’s you noticing your discomfort when other people are in discomfort in relation to you. Do you follow that?

Batul: I do.

Marc: Oh, my God, I’m uncomfortable because you’re feeling uncomfortable. So let me make you feel more comfortable, and I’m going to feel more comfortable.

Batul: That’s my primary motive of living basically. That’s how I go about life with anyone.
Marc: So if that’s what you do, you will not express yourself. You will not express your truth. You will hold back. You will hold back anger because anger is an uncomfortable feeling for most people. A strong opinion can be uncomfortable for many people. Strong passion could be uncomfortable for many people, because not everybody is self-expressed. Not everybody is being honest and real and putting themselves out there.

So when you do that, you start to lose people. But the people that show up in your world who respect you, honor you, and love you are the good ones. And they’re the people who see you for who you are and those are the people you want in your world because they’re supporting you in who you are and in what your truest expression is.

So you’re individuating from your mother. It’s going to take a good five or six years. This is a slow process. By the time you hit 30, it’s going to be such a different conversation for you. And it’s not like you’re not going to be making progress all the way along because individuating from our parents generally takes until we get into around age 30+. Just what I’ve noticed. Just what others have noticed in this realm.

So individuating from your parents, in this case really from your mother, means as well it’s not just about her; it’s about you stepping into your womanhood. You stepping into your womanhood means to start to express who you are in truth.

Batul: And I’m assuming that will make a lot of people uncomfortable, including my mom.

Marc: Yes. And including you. You’ll get uncomfortable with yourself every now and then. But it’s learning how to be comfortable with uncomfortability. That is a very powerful skill to have because then you’re not rescuing people. You’re not rescuing yourself, and you’re letting things emerge. Because oftentimes as soon as we feel discomfort, we want to medicate it. We want to eat something rather than notice the discomfort, be with it, hang there, breathe through it a little bit, let things unfold, and that discomfort will eventually shift and change. It always does. But we usually distract ourselves before we get there.

So what I want to say to you is that there’s a darn good chance that a lot of the shape-shifting that you want to do with your body, based on what you’ve told me, based on your past, based on your recent success, a lot of your shape-shifting will come as you step into your personal power. Some people they’ve just got to tweak their diet. You’ve got to get them off foods their allergic to. You’ve got all this kind of stuff. I don’t think that’s you.

When you tell me, “Wow, weightlifting really helped me,” that makes perfect sense to me because on one level, yes, will it increase your calorie-burning metabolism? Absolutely. More muscle tissue will really trigger the body. But for you, weightlifting means strength. You’re feeling your strength. Strength. Strength. And the physical strength will also translate into emotional strength, personal strength. Do you know what I’m saying?

So at the same time, you’re feeling physically stronger, you will feel stronger as a person. It’s not just a physical activity for you.

Batul: There’s a big mindset shift aspect there as well for me that I’ve noticed because along with the genetics, brainwashing, there was also that “your body can’t do this, your body is not built for intense exercise” message coming through as well. So the more I lift weights, the more I realize, wow, my body can actually do beautiful things that I never knew I had the potential to do.

Marc: Beautiful. So I want you to keep holding to the principle that I am serving myself, I’m serving the world, I’m serving my mother as I step into my power more and more and more. Even though people might feel uncomfortable, even though I might feel uncomfortable, even though the world might feel uncomfortable, even though my mother might feel uncomfortable, that’s just discomfort. And people will get over their discomfort or they won’t, but that’s not your concern. Your concern is about you because we’re working on you and your life and your personal expression and your body and your health.

So for sure, as you come out more, then this starts to heal more and this starts to become more of what it’s supposed to be as you become who you’re supposed to be. So the fact that your weight loss has plateaued, what I want to say is don’t worry about it. Because sometimes we do a lot of work and then we relax for a while. You climb a mountain and then you take a rest. A plateau is not bad. It’s a very nice place to hang. It’s high up. You get a nice vantage point. You take a little rest. You survey the scene. You gather more data, gather more information, get some rest, whatever it is.

So the plateau isn’t bad. It’s a pause. There’s nothing wrong, and you’re getting ready for the next shift. Don’t push the timing. Let the timing be what it is in terms of your body. Don’t believe so much in your number because if you put so much energy into an exact number, you will harm yourself, plain and simple, because we don’t know the number. But what we do know is that if you have a strong intuition that your body could lose more weight, I trust you to follow that. But I don’t trust you to pick a specific number though. But I trust you to follow that intuition and see where it goes.

Batul: Sounds good.

Marc: And I think you’re on the right track, and I’m really excited for you because you’ve done a lot of great work on yourself. And that’s such a beautiful thing. Again, I think you’ve just made a lot of good decisions and a lot of right moves. And I think it’s time for the world to start hearing your voice more and start practicing it a little bit. Just a little.

Batul: Yeah. Sounds very doable after our conversation.

Marc: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And you and I get to connect again in another handful of months for a follow-up session. My team will reach out to you, and we’ll get to revisit and just check in and see how things go. Batul, I so appreciate you being so real and so honest and so willing. And I’m super impressed. I really am. I think you’re just a brilliant young woman, and you’ve got the world ahead of you. And I know you’re going to get where you want to go.

Batul: Thank you so much, Marc. Thank you.

Marc: Yeah. I so appreciate our conversation.

Batul: Me too.

Marc: And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I always appreciate you being with us on the journey. Take care, my friends.

I hope this was helpful. Thanks for listening to the Psychology of Eating podcast. To learn more about the breakthrough body of work we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, please sign up for our free video series at That’s I for Institute, P for Psychology, E for T-i-p-s. You’ll learn about the cutting-edge principles of dynamic eating psychology and mind/body nutrition that have helped millions of people forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health.

Podcast episode 225: In session with Marc-David. Is Self Expression Connected to Weight?

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