Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #239 – Sometimes We Need to Ask for Help

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Podcast: Episode 239 - Sometimes We Need to Ask for Help

Patricia, really wants to find a sense of calm around food, and get rid of her emotional eating. From a young age, she remembers being a little chubby, going for the sweets, and comparing herself to others. Now 37, she tells Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, that she is happy with how her body looks, and it’s more about getting down the right schedule so she doesn’t binge and then feel guilty. As the session unfolds, Marc introduces Patricia to the idea of letting go of her perfectionism, letting go of doing everything for everybody else’s approval, and begin to really step into her womanhood, her queen, and nourish herself. Watch the full episode to see Patricia’s biggest takeaway.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc David: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And we’re back in The Psychology of Eating Podcast. And I’m with Pat today. Welcome, Pat.

Patricia Carrera: Hi, Marc. Thanks so much for having me today.

Marc: Yes, I’m so glad you’re here. And let me just say a couple of quick words to viewers and listeners. If you are a returnee to this podcast, thank you, thank you for being on this journey with us.

If you’re new to this podcast, here’s how it works. So Pat and I are meeting each other officially for the first time right now. And we’re going to have a session together. We’re going to go about 45 minutes and see if we can push the fast forward button on a little bit of transformation.

So Miss Pat, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted from this session together, tell me what that would be for you.

Patricia: Okay, I definitely would love to change my relationship with food, transform my relationship with food. I have had body image issues for the longest of time. That is something that is getting better as I get to work with you guys and I get to follow your program. I’m currently in the Transforming Your Relationship with Food Program. That is helping me a lot.

So I feel I’m making some progress. But when life gets complicated, I tend to take it out on food. I’m an emotional eater. I will describe myself like that. And I also have had some body image relationship. So I have some body image issues. So I would like to transform that and be more at peace where I’m at, be more certain of who I am as a person. Yeah, find myself into a more calm, peaceful place.

Marc: So when you’re not in that calm peaceful place, what does it look like? Or what does it sound like in your head?

Patricia: As far as eating habits?

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: Or…?

Marc: Yeah, yeah. As far as eating habits. Let’s start with that.

Patricia: Well, as a business owner, I’m always on the go. I’m always on the run, always busy, teaching fitness classes and taking care of business matters. So I usually tend to sometimes skip meals and then towards the end of the day, I’m more or less starving.

And then I tend to sometimes eat more than I would like to. Sometimes I’m binge eating just because I’m holding on sometimes to too much stress of the day or sometimes because I’m too hungry and mostly like that.

So something that I don’t have right now for when I’m not on calm, like you say, I don’t have any structure that I follow. And sometimes that gets too much out of the way and then end up just feeling like a snowball rolling. And it gets bad sometimes for a couple of days until I finally can find some peace again, maybe on the weekends or stuff like that.

Marc: So when you say it gets bad for a couple of days, tell me what that means for you. It means you’re eating a lot at night? You’re eating a lot after work? What does it look like?

Patricia: Mostly, at the end of the day when I can finally get home and get to take time for myself. Sometimes if the day has maybe too busy or a little bit stressful with different things, I tend to eat more. I wouldn’t say I eat large quantities. I don’t eat a lot, probably like a normal person would eat.

But it’s just like the way of eating—maybe too fast and not really enjoying myself, not enjoying the food. Or sometimes I don’t have much time between when I finish eating until I go to sleep. And then the next day, I wake up with a heavy stomach. I feel bad for not taking care of myself properly the prior day and then kind of accumulates a little bit, that cycle of feeling guilty.
And then when you’re an emotional eater, food is either there to give you comfort or to punish you. So it’s a little bit that. Sometimes, for a couple of days, it’s that feeling of guilt.

Marc: Yes.

Patricia: And then it just keeps going for a little while. But it’s just my thoughts of beating myself up for maybe not following schedule, not taking care of myself or spending too much time without eating properly. And then I know that at the end of the day I’m just going to be starving and maybe not having too control.

Marc: What helps you get back on track?

Patricia: When I have what I will call free time maybe during the weekend that my business has a more flexible schedule. And I don’t teach many classes. And I have more time to maybe do some reading or do some physical activity that always helps me to release that energy—some yoga practice or some running that I have started recently.

When I have time to stay a little more connected to myself, I would say, then I can follow schedule. And I can be more present, more aware.

Marc: When you overeat or when you find yourself eating too much, is it certain foods that you for? Or it could be anything?

Patricia: I have a sweet tooth. So it’s definitely sweets and things that maybe are not the healthiest, yeah.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. And how long have you been doing this?

Patricia: Well, like I said, I think I had body image issues from a very early age. But I would say that the relationship with food and a little bit the struggle with food started from very early, from maybe as a kid, starting to compare myself with others around.

But it always changed. I had a time when, I could say, I was a little bit anorexic. Then there was a time when I would be more binge eating.

And as I grew older, all that kind of went away as I became aware that it’s not a healthy way of living and that it was harming myself too much.

But I still continued to have some issues with food. I don’t know how everybody else relates to food because I can only have my experience. But I would say that maybe it’s not the most normal that I could have. Maybe sometimes thinking about food too much or sometimes always being concerned about what to eat, what not to eat.

But I would say it always changes. I would say that I have seasons in my life where something was strongest. But since I can’t remember from very early age, maybe 5, 6 years old. Yeah.

Marc: Why do you think—and there’s no right or wrong answer here—why do you think the body image issues started? Where do you think they came from?

Patricia: When I was a kid, I was a little bit chubby, not overweight. But I was. When I look at pictures of myself as a baby, I was chubby. And then until I was a teenager, I was having a little belly or maybe thick legs and stuff like that. And I would compare myself.

I don’t know how it started. But I always compared myself with my sister. My sister was always skinnier. I always liked sweets. So I always ate too many sweets as a kid too. And there were sweets around my house. My parents like sweets also up until today. And there was also sweet stuff to eat. And I would always eat more. So I was naturally a little bit heavier than other kids that I would see around.

So I think I compared myself all the time from that time. I’m not really sure how it started. But I was aware of that.

Marc: Are there any times, let’s say during the month, where you notice it’s just better for you? You’re not worried as much. The body image issues are better. The emotional eating might be better than usual, yeah.

Patricia: Not sort of the month. No, I wouldn’t say there’s a cycle through the month. I think it’s directly related to things that could be happening with my life at the moment. I own a business. Sometimes, there are some business struggles, some struggles with business partner, some struggles with—I don’t know—with daily operation things. That sometimes just gets too much on my own way.

And because I always had the personality where I always tried to—very perfectionist. I always tried to do the best and always be the best in my own head, even though I know I tried hard or I gave my best. But sometimes in my own head, it’s not good enough.

So if things are not happening or going the way I would like them to be, then sometimes I take it on myself. “I should be doing more. I should be doing this.” And then, that’s mostly.

But I think it’s more mostly related to situations or things, facts happening in life that then I get too stressed about. And then I just take it on myself.

Marc: Sure. Sure, that makes total sense. Are you close with your parents?

Patricia: You could say that. You could say that. Even though my whole family is still living in my country, we communicate through Skype. We communicate through emails and stuff. I would say we have a good relationship, yeah.

Marc: How’s your mother’s relationship with her body and with food?

Patricia: I knew you were going to ask that due to other podcasts. And I was thinking about that. She had a normal relationship with food, I would say. There was a time when she was taking care of herself, more as far as watching what she was eating. She was exercising maybe more and trying to lose some weight, I remember, maybe when I was a teenager.

But she always had a more normal relationship. Nothing more obsessed about it. Yeah.

Marc: So I have a question for you. And I want you to answer, if you can, as 100% honestly as you can. Do you want to change anything about your body right now in terms of its look or its shape?

Patricia: I don’t want to lose weight. I know I’m a healthy weight right now. But I definitely try to work out these days more just to tone and to build my cardiovascular capacity. And definitely, I like to improve a little bit my health as far as using workouts to be stronger or to feel healthier.

But, no, I don’t think—that’s always the issue. I would like to have maybe more flat belly or stronger arms or more definition in the muscles, all the things. But it’s not an obsession that I have right now. I know if I stay consistent with my workout, that’s going to be accomplished with time. Yeah.

Marc: Got it. Got it. How old are you?

Patricia: I’m 37.

Marc: Are you planning on having kids?

Patricia: No. Not that I think of, no.

Marc: Is that a good decision for you? Do you feel good about that?

Patricia: I think so, yeah. It’s an interesting question. I dedicated my early 20s to my career. I finished my college degree. And then I wanted to finish a doctorate. I have a Ph.D. So my whole early 20s, I was fully focusing on my career.

I hope I’m not offending anybody. But I’m not a woman that was always drawn to have kids. I never really saw myself like a mom. I never had that interest.

And I have a very well-established relationship with my fiancée for more than ten years now. But we both never really saw ourselves like parents. We never really planned. And I guess, it just never happened. We never really looked for it. At this age, I don’t think that will happen. We have talked about it. And we are fine where we are right now.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: I’m content. It’s not something that I’m missing. If that had happened, I think I would be fine it would have been very well welcome. But I think it just didn’t happen. And I don’t think I’m going to be looking for it in the near future.

Marc: Sure. Where do you see yourself five years from now? Who do you want to be?

Patricia: That’s a beautiful question. I kind of have stopped thinking long term for a little while because sometimes it can be a little bit stressful. I try to be more at the present moment and try to be content because that’s one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always been a goal-driven person and planning and trying to have a well-planned, organized life. So I don’t think like that as much.

But to answer your question, I definitely—five years, two years, three years, I think it will be the same answer. I would like to be content with my profession. I think I have found my passion in what I do which is being of service to others, teaching yoga. I teach healing yoga, yoga that is a lot about healing physically, emotionally. So I love doing that.

And I love being of service to others, especially when I connect to my students and I see them making progress in their life and being more accepting of themselves. So I would love to be able to make a living out of that sometimes.

We have a new studio. So we’re still trying to settle our business and everything. And I would have to, yeah, have a career more in the wellness industry. What you guys do I find fascinating and beautiful, really like a beautiful service.

But I would like to be content in what I do, what I do for a living, and feel fulfilled, that I’m of service and I’m connected to what I can call my calling or my passion I think. That’s where I would like to see myself, yeah.

Marc: Understood.

Patricia: And be happy with that, yeah.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: And I think because I’m happy in what I do, I feel that everything else falls into place. So that’s why it’s a little bit my priority, yeah.

Marc: Great. So when I say the word perfectionism, what does that mean to you?

Patricia: Well, I can track it back to my early years. I grew up with a family that was not the wealthiest. So my parents from the early stage told my sister and me to do our best, to work hard, to have an education. I remember being very young and at the time not understanding much about it but having my father telling us, “Look. We are not going to be able to give you material things after we’re gone. We’re not going to be able to give you a big bank account or a big house or this kind of material things. But if there’s something we can give you, it’s going to be a good education, something that nobody will take away from you.”

So that’s something that got in my mind all the time. And from high school, primary school, I always tried to do the best in my studies. And I always accomplished that, being always top of the class up to my college and everything.

I think that perfectionist feeling came from that, for not disappointing others that were hoping for me to give the best. And I think probably from that time, that became part of me, that I always tried to be the best.

And sometimes, life happens. Sometimes, things can get a little bit out of control. Sometimes, I tend to blame myself that maybe I didn’t do enough or start thinking I’m not good enough, these kinds of things. So I think that that perfectionist feeling comes from that mostly.

Marc: And here we are, just where we need to be, I think, right now because I think for you this is really where the action is. I think for you, the action is the place where you don’t feel good enough, where you could do better. You should have done better. Maybe you can do better. Maybe you can—just better. Better, better, better. Because then if it’s better, then it’s better because you’ve been taught to strive.

And I think you are at an age right now—you said 36?

Patricia: 37.

Marc: 37, yeah. So late 30s for a woman is a time when you are transitioning out of being how I like to say the princess stage. You’re a late princess. And princess is not an insult. It’s not a pejorative term. It’s a term I’m using for young woman. And everything that a young woman faces and deals with.

And you are approaching 40. And once a woman hits 40, to me she’s on the queen-in-training program.

Patricia: Okay.

Marc: Okay. And right now to me, you are very diligently and steadily leaving behind some of your past. And what the past is that you’re wanting to leave behind is the guilt, the shame, the perfectionism which so many young women are taught to carry around.

So the fact that you had body image challenges or issues or concerns and you’re already feeling that and seeing that from a young age, that’s a product of being alive on planet earth. There’s almost no escaping it. It’s almost nobody’s fault. It’s what the world teaches us.

If you’re a woman and you’re alive on planet earth, there’s a good chance you’re going to be contending with body image at some point. It’s part of the package.

Patricia: Right.

Marc: And what I’m saying is that you’re in a place now where, to me, you’re getting ready to graduate to another place but in a whole different way than you’ve done before. And you’re not quite sure how to do that. But you know you have to. And you’re not sure how to do that. And you know you have to.

The good news is, it’s not so bad. The good news is, what you’re facing, all things considered when you look at your life—the good news is good relationship, beautiful place. You’re doing work that you love.

You’re setting yourself up for a long time to have a career that is satisfying to you. You’re setting yourself up to earn a living at helping others. That’s something you value. You’re setting yourself up for one of your other values which is health and yoga and growth and take care of yourself and feel good while helping people. So you’re doing all that. You’re setting that up. So that’s the good news.

Where perfectionism starts to get you is that it’s not good enough. It’s not good enough. That little voice starts to come into your head. And it’s probably a voice that nobody else sees and nobody else hears. It’s very private for you. And that’s okay. It’s totally okay.

And what I want to say is that you and this thing about being perfect, or better and better and better, you have to turn this into a yoga practice.

So a yoga practice means you get on the mat and you do yoga. And some days you’re stiff. And some days you’re tight. And some days you’re annoyed. And some days you’re angry. And some days you feel great. And some days you want to be here. And some days you don’t.

But the practice means you show up. And the practice means you do the posture. And you do the breathing. And you do your best. And the practice means you love yourself and you forgive yourself even though the girl next to you does the pose better or even though the person next to you is taller, skinnier, whatever. We do our best.

So right now, my feeling for you is that it would be a great idea to take the practice called “noticing my perfectionism, noticing how it sends me into guilt, noticing how it sends me into really—”

Here’s the thing. A lot of times, you mentioned to me that you can go through a day and really not attend to your body on a certain level. Even though you’re teaching yoga and even though you’re running your business, you don’t attend to your nourishment.

Patricia: Right.

Marc: And on one level, that’s totally understandable just so you know. You’re a business owner. And there’s a lot to do. And sometimes when you have a kid or you have a business, you have to sacrifice certain things. Certain things fall a little bit by the wayside. So it’s not going to be perfect.

So given that it’s not going to be perfect—you can’t have the perfect lifestyle—how can you do your best within those circumstances even though it’s not perfect? And how can you find the place where you can be okay that it’s not perfect? That’s the target I want to see you shoot for.

So it’s not going to look exactly how it should be. It’s going to look a little messy sometimes. It’s going to look like, “Okay, today I ate well. And I took care of myself.” And the next day, “Whoops! I went through a whole day. And I really didn’t eat. And then at the end of the day, I was eating a lot.”

But I think the key piece here for you is you are in a place where you have to more consciously step into your womanhood. Consciously stepping into your womanhood means letting go of the little girl. It doesn’t mean you abandon the little girl. It just means the little girl in you that wants it to be just so, the little girl in you that just wants it to be perfect and wants everybody to say, “This is great. This is good. Congratulations! You’re exactly where you need to be. You did it!” It’s all—

Patricia: I’m used to that. It’s funny that you say that because I’m used to being recognized for my efforts. And I think that’s something that changing careers has changed. I used to have publications. I would receive awards for my research or receive awards for my degrees in high school or primary school. And these things I’m used to.

Marc: Yes.

Patricia: To be recognized, yeah.

Marc: And that’s beautiful. That’s a wonderful thing. And when we’re young, when we’re of prince age and princess age, we need that outside feedback coming from the world that says, “You’re good. You’re great. We love you. Congratulations!” because that helps build our ego structure. It helps us feel good about ourselves because as young people we need that. We need the outside world to tell us.

And now you’re transitioning out of that. You are transitioning now to being more self referenced and more self sufficient in that way. And I believe that, right now, that’s actually what the struggle is. The struggle is you’re growing. You’re actually growing. And you’re going through growing pains right now.

So whenever you’re feeling guilty, whenever you’re feeling ashamed about food, it’s actually a growing pain because you’re growing out of needing outside approval. You’re growing outside of needing perfection and everything just right—look just right, feel just right, do it just right, achieve just right—to you have to be able to congratulate yourself and love yourself no matter what happens today.

So even if it’s not a great day, even if not enough people show up for the class, you still have to congratulate yourself for moving to Hawaii and starting a whole new career and a whole new business. Even though you didn’t eat perfectly today, you still have to love yourself because you’re doing your best, and you have a lot to do. And maybe you didn’t have enough time today.

Or maybe, “I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t find it to take care of myself today.” Now, can you step into doing what a woman would do which is not beat herself up, not self attack but go, “Oh,” deep breath, and forgive. And deep breath and not abandon yourself. There’s a place where you leave yourself when you’re not doing it just right. You become not your friend anymore.

So to me, you have a great piece of work to do. And when I say “great,” I’m wanting you to see how good you have it. I’m wanting you to acknowledge, “Wow! If this is the challenge I have to work with, I’m in a damn good place.” You don’t always notice that always.

So to me, you’re doing the kind of work that elevates you more into your womanhood. It’s not about getting control of your food. So yes, it is. But it’s not really that. It’s not about getting control of your food. It’s not about finally loving my body. It’s not even that. It’s more about learning how to treat yourself like a woman.

So for a woman, for an adult, even though she’s not having a great day, she still stands by herself. Even though she looks in the mirror and might not think it’s perfect or even though she looks at how she ate that day and it’s not perfect, she still stands by herself.

So it’s you invoking, calling forth another part of you that wants to be louder, that wants to be born more as opposed to my sweet tooth. Do you see the distinction I’m trying to make here for you? Am I making any sense? Is this landing for you? Tell me what’s happening in your world over there.

Patricia: Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, absolutely. It makes a lot of sense. Sometimes I feel I’m inspired. Then I go back into the same cycle. Sometimes I feel like I’m not grateful enough for everything I have, like you say. There are days where I really amaze myself from everything that I have accomplished, being able to not be in fear and take a leap of faith, leaving my successful scientific career and jumping into a whole new world and pursuing what I called my passion or my calling at the time without really knowing what was going to happen and being strong enough or being fearless, jumping into that and being able to come here and still succeed in whatever level we are at right now.

Some days, I’m connected to that. And I’m very grateful. When you were asking me before, those days are the ones where I feel more calm because I’m more present and aware and connected. Then I get to thinking too much in my head. I know you are right. I know you are right.

And sometimes also I feel like, what am I complaining about? I have so much. So much has been given to me. I’m healthy. I have so much to be grateful for. But still there are days where it’s not good enough.

Marc: Yes.

Patricia: There are days where I still feel it’s not good enough. And of course, it makes sense what you say. I think that for me the biggest challenge is to be present every day. And it’s something that I’m trying to awhile.

And I always struggle to make it a daily thing, but to have a habit of waking up being grateful or do some early yoga practice that can ground me and stay connected. And then usually those days are the ones that I am the most positive or the most present and happy.

I know I don’t have probably many issues. And sometimes I feel, what am I complaining about? Like I said before. I wanted to be happy myself. It makes sense what you’re saying, yeah.

At this moment, I’m aware. Everything that you said I’m aware of. Sometimes I don’t know how to put it into practice into a daily thing.

Marc: Yes, so let me make some suggestions about how to put it into practice. First of all, it’s understanding what you’re trying to practice. Part of it is practicing gratitude.

But certain days, you will not feel grateful. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong if you wake up and you’re not feeling grateful and you’re not feeling okay.

I actually want you to notice what you’re feeling on those days. I want you to embrace it. And I want you to have a moment where you can love that part of you. “That doesn’t feel grateful. Yeah, this is me not feeling grateful. And I can still even love myself despite the fact that I’ve got this great life and I’m not feeling grateful.” It’s a slight difference.

So love yourself even through the struggle. I don’t even need you to change that. It’s just a moment of compassion for yourself as opposed to, “Okay, well, let me get on the yoga mat and fix this.” I don’t want you to get on the yoga mat and fix it so quickly. I want you to be with yourself and first feel what you’re feeling and have a moment to be that woman who’s feeling not grateful and feeling not good about herself and feeling like she could do better and just be with her for a moment.

So maybe in a way, this is where the mother in you is wanting to be born which is to be a little bit more motherly towards yourself in those moments. But I mean the kind of loving mother that just loves her daughter no matter what. “I love you even though you’re not feeling good about yourself. I love even though you’re not getting on the yoga mat right now.”

So that’s a practice. It’s a practice to love yourself in the moment. So you say, “I don’t know always how to do that.” I think more important it’s not always easy for you. I understand. It’s not always easy for me to get on a yoga mat and do a pose. It’s not easy. I don’t want to do it. I’m tight. I’m resistant. I’m whatever. I don’t even know what I’m feeling. I just don’t want to do it.

So we breathe. We relax a little bit. We let go a little bit. We love ourselves in that moment. “Yeah, this is me being resistant.” And there’s something on the other side of that.

I want you to find an image. Find a visualization for yourself that works for you of what the woman in you looks like, the woman in you who takes care of herself and stand by herself no matter what even when she’s not perfect, even when she’s not doing everything right.

So I’m just wanting you to be able to stand by the girl in you, the woman in you who’s not doing it right as opposed to constantly pushing yourself to make yourself better. You see the difference?

Patricia: Yes.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: Yes.

Marc: Yeah, sometimes we have to take the foot off the gas pedal a little bit for you. And you do that when you do that. And you don’t when you don’t. So maybe in those moments when you don’t know how to love yourself, I want you to have a reference point, have a visualization. “Oh, there are certain times when I’m really able to drop in with myself. What times are those? What does it look like? What does it feel like?” And to be able to breathe that in whenever you find yourself starting to talk too much.

A lot of times, when that voice starts to take over, that’s when you need to start breathing and catching yourself. Once the voice takes over and you let it take over, that’s when you don’t know what to do.

So other thoughts you’re having right now? Questions? Concerns?

Patricia: Not that I can think of. But it’s right what you say. It’s correct. You know, that I think too much. And thinking too much sometimes is not very beneficial, especially when I’m in that place where I’m not my best friend, like you say.

But I like what you’re saying. I like what you’re saying. I know I have to work on that. I have to work on that. And I’m doing the program with you guys so far and having the little highlights and the little homework throughout the whole week, I’m just in the beginning, first half of the program, haven’t finished it yet. But it has helped me a lot. It helped me a lot with that kind of thinking, with those kinds of thoughts and to be aware.

But I know I have that work to do. And I don’t expect it to be perfect even though I say I expect things to be perfect. I know it’s a lifelong journey. And I know it’s part of us as human—struggle, struggle with the things that we see around because our senses and our minds sometimes tend to fool us and tend to—yeah, we get confused sometimes.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: You can give an importance to things that sometimes are not the most important. And just we make our lives more complicated than they should be.

Marc: Yeah. And plus, your previous career, you made a living out of using your mind and being very smart. It’s a great thing. So that’s a great superpower to have. But it can also get in your way because then you get accustomed to solving problems with your brain and your mind.

Patricia: Yeah.

Marc: And this is a challenge that doesn’t get solved in that way. It’s a whole different set of tools and techniques that have nothing to do with logical, linear thinking necessarily. And it has everything to do with being quiet and feeling and many times not using your mind. And dropping in and just making contact with you and feeling yourself and not having any words.

Patricia: Yeah. Yeah, that really hits the point, this part, because when I’m struggling I tend to bring out my books, my planner. And I try to, “Okay. How am I going to fix this?” And I make a whole set of goals and the action and the planning. And I like to plan, to have control and to fool myself, feeling that I have control of these things.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: That’s why when you asked me, “Where do [you] see yourself in five years?” It’s something that I’m trying to stop myself from going.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: Because that’s exactly my mindset. When I have trouble, either it could be relationship, family, or business, I always try to, “Okay, how am I going to fix this?” And have a plan of action and resources and always feeling that I have control.

And from my early age, like I say, when food was something for me that when things will get out of the way. It’s not as bad right now. But food was something that I was able to control. I was able to control and to be, “Okay, this is something that I’m going to eat what I want to eat” and eat something that I’m slowly letting go of, knowing that I do have the choice. I do have control.

But also something that I didn’t mention. I don’t know if it matters at this point right now when we’re almost finished. But growing up, I was very sensitive to certain types of food. And there are certain things that I don’t like eating. And as a child, I always was kind of forced to eat things that I didn’t want to.

So that became a part of my looking forward to growing up. At 17 years old, I left my parents house and moved out, move far away, have my own place, pursue my college degrees and everything. But I remember that sense of freedom that I can control now my food. And that was one thing that I was—when I think about it, it’s a little bit crazy. But that was something very powerful for me.

And that was the time when I became a little bit more anorexic and took it to the extreme, pursuing my studies and having everything planned and controlled how I wanted it to be. But because I had that freedom and without realizing that I always had that freedom.

But with that controlling mind that I have and the controlling personality that I have, it’s something that I have to work on. And still up to this day, it’s getting a little bit better. As I get older, hopefully, I come to a place where I’m satisfied. But it’s something that I always tried to have that control.

Marc: Yes. So the good news is you’re aware of that. That’s a great thing. The good news is you understand you have to work on that. That’s a great thing. But what I want to tell you is you don’t have to work as hard as you think.

Patricia: That’s good news.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You don’t have to work so hard to control this especially, “Okay, got to plan this out. I’ve got to take out all the books. I’ve got to figure out a system. I’ve got to have this approach. And I’ve got to do all these new rules. And I’ve got to do all these new regulations now.”

A lot of times, the work is just deep breath; let go. Deep breath. Let go. And just feel the feeling the feeling of letting go a little bit. That simple. Just feeling the breath in and the breath out of what it feels like to just let go of a breath and not have to do anything. The breath just comes out.

So yeah, there’s a place where we have to effort in life. There’s a place where we have to work. And there are also places where we just have to let go and surrender. And you’re learning this other part. You’re learning let go and surrender. And it doesn’t come easy for most people because it doesn’t seem natural. It seems like giving up.

It seems like, “Wait a second. I need control because control got me where I am today. And control makes me feel good about myself. And control makes me feel safe.” And control doesn’t really work so much anymore.

Patricia: Giving up is another word that definitely triggers me.

Marc: Yes.

Patricia: Yeah, definitely.

Marc: So you’re not giving up. You’re letting go which is very different because letting go is another way to get what you want oftentimes. It’s not like you’re letting go and giving up and losing something. You’re letting go as a way to let life in.

Yeah, part of it is there is a bigger wisdom going on here that’s running the show, the bigger wisdom that’s in control. You can’t forget that.

Patricia: Right.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: Yeah, I tend to forget that, absolutely.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: Yeah.

Marc: So what I think is that you’re on a beautiful journey. You’re on a beautiful path. You have been tremendously successful in your life. And you’ve made a huge transition, a huge career transition, a life transition, and a lifestyle transition. And I’m sure that hasn’t been easy. But you’ve done it in a graceful way. And here you are.

And now you’re looking at bettering yourself in this certain part of your life where you’re just moving some dials and just making it better. And that’s a beautiful thing.

And I’m over here just saying, “Job well done.” You can give yourself some credit. You can even celebrate a little bit. Really, it would be great for your to celebrate your successes more and maybe even redefine what success means for you these days.

Patricia: Right.

Marc: Yeah. I really appreciate our conversation. I really appreciate you being so willing.

Patricia: I’m the one that’s thankful, yeah. I appreciate the job that you guys do. The job that you guys do, it’s amazing. I always like to say people who are of service like you guys are, they have earned a place of heaven. You guys are, without knowing—I’m lucky to have this one-on-one session with you. I always admire you and Emily.

But following you, following your work, everything that you put online, your free courses, free e-books and everything, it helps tremendously to help to find ourselves because the more and more I do what I’m doing now, I come across so many people who struggle daily, who struggle and need so much help. And I’m always sharing. I’m always edifying people to your place, to your website and stuff because I feel that you guys do an amazing job. And I’m tremendously grateful, grateful for everything you do, especially for this opportunity to talk with you.

Marc: That’s very generous of you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

Patricia: Absolutely.

Marc: Yeah.

Patricia: Thank you. Thank you.

Marc: And we get to have a follow-up session in a handful of months. So somebody from the team will reach out. And we’ll schedule a time to just connect again and revisit and see how you’re doing.

Patricia: Okay. Hopefully, by that time, I will have finished the program, and I’ll find myself in a more peaceful place than at the moment.

Marc: Yay! Thank you so much, Pat.

Patricia: Thank you. Thank you, Marc. Thank you.

Marc: And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I’m Marc David on behalf of The Psychology of Eating Podcast. Take care.

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 239 - Sometimes We Need to Ask for Help

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