Home » What You Tell Yourself About Stress Eating – In Session with Marc David

What You Tell Yourself About Stress Eating – In Session with Marc David

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In this episode of The Psychology of Eating Podcast, we explore stress eating – a type of emotional eating – from the perspective of eating psychology.

But first, for those unfamiliar with the term ‘eating psychology,’ a quick definition: eating psychology is the study of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about food and body. It’s a positive and transformational approach that views our eating challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Emotional Eating and Stress Eating Session

Stress eating has a huge psychological component to it. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, our daily stresses can be a HUGE driver behind emotional eating. 

But the key is understanding that it’s not really our circumstances that drive us to emotional eating. It’s the negative and anxious thoughts we have about those circumstances that often cause us to turn to food. 

Reaching for junk foods – frequently carbohydrate-rich foods like chips, cookies, and candies – is a quick and effective way to quickly relieve stress. The only problem is that the “feel good” feeling doesn’t last, and we can gain weight or develop health issues over the long term.

Most of us know this, and we feel guilty and ashamed for what we perceive as “giving in” or being weak around food. And here’s the clincher: shame will often lead us to feel we must be punished for being “bad.” Ironically, an exceedingly common way of self-punishing is with food: eating more “bad” food to punish ourselves for being “bad” with food to begin with.

Kind of crazy, right?! 

If you can relate, then tune into hear Marc David, master eating psychology coach and host of the podcast, work with guest coaching client Denise on how to “graduate” from the self-punishment cycle behind emotional eating.

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


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

New Course…

The Emotional Eating Breakthrough

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

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

What You Tell Yourself About Stress Eating – In Session with Marc David

Marc David  

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

Denise  

Thank you. Hi, Marc.

Marc David  

I’m so glad we’re here. I’m so glad we’re doing this together. The idea is, you and I haven’t met before, and we’re going to do a session together to see if we can help move you forward in a good way. So, if you could wave your magic wand, and you can get whatever you wanted with food and body, what would that be for you?

Denise  

I think my ultimate wish would be to figure out what my natural weight is because my weight has been pretty much all over the place for the past couple years for different reasons. Then, to be able to consistently eat in a way that’s best for me because I’ve just had so many outside influences on the way that I eat. I just want to trust myself in knowing what’s best for my body and my food choices.

Marc David  

Got it. So, you want to sort of discover or determine your natural weight and how to best eat so you can live there? Okay, that makes perfect sense. So, how long have you noticed that your weight has fluctuated?

Denise  

I was a pretty natural, healthy weight up until I got into my 20s, and then I progressively gained weight every year. I was never like a yo-yo, where I would go up and down, until I had weight loss surgery about eight years ago. I had a lot of complications with the surgery, and I had to have a second obstructive bowel surgery. Within the last eight years, my weight has fluctuated over 100 pounds up and down. Now I feel really confused as to where my natural weight is. I get a lot of outside information and different ideas from different things, but then I start to obsess about it, and it causes a lot of stress. It’s like I don’t even want to think about eating at all.

Marc David  

So, the weight loss surgery happened….did you say, eight years ago?

Denise  

Yes. 

Marc David  

Okay, and before the weight loss surgery, where was your weight at?

Denise  

My highest weight was around 240lbs. Progressively, I would say my weight stayed probably around 130lbs all through college and high school, up until I got to about my late 20s. Then, from my late 20s into my 30s, I just gained more and more every year.

Marc David  

So, once the weight loss surgery happened during those eight years, your weight has fluctuated as much as 100 pounds?

Denise  

Yeah, I started at 240lbs, and then my weight got as low as 115lbs. So, I was kind of underweight at that point. My weight stabilized around 140 lbs for a long time and then, during COVID, I was on different medications, and I gained a lot of weight over the past three years. So now I’m at my highest weight since having surgery, but I’m still about 50 pounds less than when I had the surgery. So, I’ve been able to keep off 50 pounds, but it’s just so confusing to know, with such a broad range, where my body is going to feel the best and kind of settle. I feel like right now, I’m probably definitely overweight.

Marc David  

When you started gaining weight during the last two or three years, what do you attribute that to? If you had to guess in your mind? I think this weight came on because…

Denise  

I think part of it was I was taking sleep medication that was causing me to have night sleep. I was overeating, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it. That caused me to gain about 25 pounds. Then, I think just overall stress between work stress, and trying to lose that weight, plus trying to research and find so many different things to lose that weight. I think the stress caused me to gain even more weight from that.

Marc David  

Got it. So, when you say the stress caused me to gain even more weight than that, do you think it’s the stress alone? Is it stress eating that takes over?

Denise  

I was definitely stress eating for a while. I would say probably about the last two months, I’ve felt better and felt like myself again. I’ve been able to manage stress better. So, I haven’t been doing that, and my weight has come down to about…I think I’ve lost like 12 pounds over the past like two months…not really trying to, just kind of eating the way that, I guess, feels best for me. I’m afraid of…sometimes I feel like it could be a little bit restrictive, and I get concerned. Is the way that I’m eating…is that going to be consistent? Should I keep losing, or figure out what my natural weight is going to be?

Marc David  

When you stress eat, what do you reach for? 

Denise  

Carbs, and kind of the crunchy…like pretzels, animal crackers, things that are really easy to digest that you can eat a lot of at one time.

Marc David  

I forgot all about the existence of animal crackers. That was the food for me. That’s so funny. So, okay, so you reach for the carbs, you reach for the crunchy stuff when you feel like you’re in stress eating. Are you in a relationship these days?

Denise  

Yes, I’m married.

Marc David  

How long have you been married?

Denise  

It will be almost seven years in a week.

Marc David  

All right. How does your partner feel about your weight?

Denise  

He has seen me at every single weight, and he just always says he loves me no matter what. He just wants me to love myself, and feel good about myself, and to be healthy.

Marc David  

That’s a sweet partner. I like that. Does that make an impression on you when he says that?

Denise  

I think he’s being honest and truthful but because I don’t feel good about myself, it’s hard to receive it.

Marc David  

Got it, okay. So, here’s some initial thoughts. We, meaning the rest of the people in the world, we don’t know what your natural weight is. I don’t know if anybody can give you that answer. I don’t know if you can find that answer online. I don’t know if you can find that answer in the research. I’m not sure that that’s the best question to be pondering on for you. “What’s my natural weight?” I mean, I get the question. You know, you want to find a weight that you feel good at. My guess is there’s a range that you have in your mind that you say to yourself: “this is where I want to be.” Where would you like to be, weight wise? 

Denise  

I feel like I felt my best around like…between like 140 lbs and 160 lbs.

Marc David  

Okay, so there’s your range that you would like to be at, and right now you’re at 185lbs. Got it. So, the challenge is your body has been through a lot particularly in the last eight years. You’ve had multiple surgeries, and so your body is not in its typical natural state. Like you mentioned, stress happens, COVID happens, work-stress happens, and you know life happens, and then we ended up eating. I’m feeling for you, rather than ask: “what’s my natural weight?”, I would love for you to focus on: “who am I as an eater?” and “what would feel best for me? Not for my weight, but what would feel best for me in terms of how I eat? In terms of how food makes me feel?” So, let me ask you this: other than wanting to be at your ideal weight, to be at your target weight, to be somewhere between 141-160 lbs…what else would you like food to do for you?

Denise  

I do have lupus and fibromyalgia so I’ve done a lot of reading, and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything really conclusive, kind of evidenced-based, to help. I’ve tried low-FODMAP, I’ve done anti-inflammatory, and I didn’t really see any results. It kind of wound up having me want to eat more because I felt so restricted after those things. So it kind of messed with my head a little bit, especially the low-FODMAP because there were just so many different food groups that were eliminated. I think it was because I did it too long, and eliminated so many things at one time for way too long instead of re-introducing things at that time. I developed SIBO from having so many abdominal surgeries,, and so that’s where I was trying to figure out what would agree with me and what wouldn’t. So, I think that’s kind of an example of where I feel like I have so much information that I don’t know what to do. I have all these kinds of authority figures, doctors and things, saying how I should eat, that I feel like I don’t know what is best for me because I have so many different things.

Marc David  

That is totally fair, and I’m really glad you said that. You’re a smart lady, you’ve done your research, you go to the research, you go to the experts…and that’s what I would do if I was in your shoes. If I had any disease condition that I wanted to heal, if I wanted to have an optimum diet for my weight, for my health…yeah, I’m gonna start studying. I’m gonna get online, and I’m going to learn things. As you’ve discovered, you can learn a lot of different things, and none of those things are necessarily all the same, they differ.  I think what you’re discovering, and what a lot of people have discovered, is that you’re in a nutritional exploration. This is an exploration. I don’t know if it’s about finding the one true way to eat. I don’t suspect that at some point, you’re going to wake up, and you’re going to find the ideal diet that’s going to just hit all the right buttons for you. I think it’s going to be an ongoing exploration. I think that all the studying that you’ve done, all the trial-and-error that you’ve done, and all that you’ve learned that certain diets that are very restrictive won’t necessarily give you the benefit that you’re looking for and may give you some drawbacks. (i.e. they make you feel deprived, and then you want to eat.) What I would love to see you do is to respectfully throw out everything you’ve learned, meaning all the voices in your head, and from now on, the voice you’re going to follow is the nutritional expert within.  At this point, there’s nobody that knows your body better than you do. There’s nobody that knows the nuances of your body better than you do. 

Now, you also have a lot of learning, you have a lot of information and you have a lot of experience. Certain foods you like, certain foods you don’t like. Certain ways of eating, certain diets, you eat them and you’re going to find yourself wanting to eat more, because it’s too restrictive. So, I think your body wisdom is moving you towards a way of eating that’s not extreme. A way of eating, that’s more middle-ground, and that you invent.  You want to do your best to stay away from foods that you know, “gosh, these just aren’t good for me”. You also want to understand that you’re human, and you’re going to want to have some fun foods here and there. 

Why not try to see if you can tune-in at each meal, and each snack, and ask yourself:: “what would best nourish me at this moment? What would feel nourishing? What would feel good to me in my own personal experience of the food like tasting it? What would give me pleasure? What would feel healthy?”  In a way, take the goal of weight loss off the table because the conversation of weight loss complicates things for you, and for a lot of people. You’re trying to find your natural way of eating, but you find yourself constantly thinking:.”I have to lose weight, is this going to help me lose weight?”, and what happens is you’re gonna start to doubt yourself, you’re gonna start to question yourself, you’re going to try to skew your approach to weight loss. 

What I’ve noticed is, the body can find more of its natural weight as we become more of our natural self. As you’re more the natural Denise, your body can be more of the natural, Denise’s body, and the more natural Denise kind of follows her nutritional intuition. She takes everything that she’s learned, and says to herself: “okay, let me just relax, and get all the voices of all the experts out of my head. What do I want to have at this meal?” Just really follow, as an experiment, an intuitive path because there’s the intuitive part of you, and I don’t know how much airtime she gets. I think you’re trying to find the answers, which is good, but you haven’t found the answers. So, let’s try something different.  

Now, in general, do you tend to be a fast eater, moderate eater, slow eater in terms of speed?

Denise  

I would say, I would guess…moderate to slow.

Marc David  

Great. Okay. Very, very helpful. When you stress eat, what do you tell yourself after you’re done stress eating? Like, what’s the conversation in your head? You just ate a bunch of pretzels and…

Denise  

Probably, I didn’t need to do that. I’m very hard on myself and beat myself up when I eat foods that I have been told, and tell myself that I shouldn’t eat. So, there’s a lot of the “should’ type of thinking. I’ll feel guilt and shame when I eat certain foods like that.

Marc David  

Yes. So, here’s a good practice. One of the biggest challenges I find for so many people is being an eater. We’ve been taught to have a list in our minds of good foods and bad foods: “these are good foods, these are the bad ones”, when somebody says “don’t eat that food, it’s bad for you”. If you say to yourself, “don’t eat that food, it’s bad for you”, another part of the brain hears: “I’m a bad person if I eat that food.” Of course, we prove it out because “oh, I ate the bad food, now I got to punish myself because that’s what you do to bad people, you punish them.”  Punishment could equal guilt, punishment could equal shame, punishment could equal all kinds of negative self-talk. There’s all different ways to punish ourselves for having eaten “bad food”.

So, then what happens is all that guilt and all that shame does not feel good to us, and normally, when we don’t feel good, we want to feel better. We want to get out of those unwanted feelings and a lot of us reach for food when we have uncomfortable feelings. So, the very feelings that we create from eating a food that’s on our bad list….”bad girl, you should feel guilty, you should feel ashamed”,  creates the condition to want to turn to food so we can get out of our own self-created, self-attack, self-misery. You follow me?  So, this is really an opportunity where we have to self-graduate from self-punishment. 

In other words, instead of looking at “good” or “bad”, let’s look at it as you’re learning how to best nourish yourself. Nothing is wrong with you. There’s nothing to feel guilty about. It’s not easy being a human being who eats, as you know. If this was easy, we wouldn’t be in this conversation, and you wouldn’t have been on this crazy journey. So, this is not easy for a lot of people. You’re learning how to best nourish yourself. Just like an infant is learning how to crawl. There’s nothing wrong with an infant who doesn’t know how to crawl. We don’t say “bad infant, you should feel guilty about yourself”. So, you’re learning how to better nourish yourself with food. And sometimes, you will reach for pretzels, sometimes you will reach for the food that’s on your “bad” list.  

So, how about if the new practice is: “oh, you know, something, I wish I wouldn’t have done that, but it’s perfectly understandable. I’m turning to food because all humans at some point turn to food to regulate their emotions.” Every infant does that, every child does that, every baby does that. You learn, it’s in our cells. You feel bad, you eat food, you feel better. Crying, screaming little infant…give that infant mama and the bottle, mama and the breast, and in a second… infant is relaxed. Infant has the cellular genetic memory: ‘feel bad, eat food, feel better.’ So, when you turn to food to feel better, that’s natural. 

Can it become problematic if you do it too much? Sure, yeah. I can gain weight…I can eat stuff that doesn’t make me feel healthy. So then, it becomes a practice in: how do I learn to soothe my unwanted emotions in ways other than food and eating?  A good homework assignment would be for you to just write an inventory. Write a list of everything you do that can make you feel good. Everything you do that can give you some kind of pleasure, or soothe stress, fear, and worry. For me, it’s listening to music. It could be watching little cute animal videos, it could be watching sports, it could be going out in nature…sometimes I just stand out on the deck in the sun and breathe. You could have a long list, or hopefully at least a medium list of things that you can do other than food. That just brings you some type of: ahhh, a little bit of relaxation, a little bit of groundedness, a little bit of self soothing. That becomes your mini-Bible; to do your best when you’re feeling stressed, when you’re feeling anxious, when you’re feeling fearful, when you’re feeling whatever, and you want to turn to food. It’s just catching ourselves in the moment: “oh, I’m about to emotionally eat. What else can I do?” It’s that practice, because right now you’re practicing self-rejection, and that practice only leads to more self rejection. It doesn’t ever change that same destiny. 

Denise  

Right, it’s like a vicious cycle. 

Marc David  

It is. So, you have to break that cycle. It’s literally stepping out of the “good” and “bad”, the moralism, “good girl”, “bad girl.” No, you’re learning. That’s what you would say to any of your best friends. If your best friend binge ate something or they emotionally ate a bag of pretzels…would you say to the: “ I don’t like you anymore? You should feel guilty…you should feel ashamed of yourself…you’re no good.” You wouldn’t say that to your best friend, right?  Therefore, don’t say it to you. So, it’s learning how to start to manage that voice better. I’m talking a lot. How is all this landing for you so far? What’s standing out for you?

Denise  

I feel like one of my biggest challenges is overcoming the “good” and the “bad”. I feel like that’s kind of where I stay stuck because I think those messages have been ingrained in me for so long. It’s like I’m just constantly carrying around guilt, and when I try to find that intuitive eating, it’s almost like…no food sounds good. I almost get put off by food in the sense that I get tired of thinking about what choices to make. I think I’m disconnected, or kind of disembodied. I don’t even really know what foods make me feel good because there’s such a heavy set of rules around food.

Marc David  

Yes, yes. I understand, and I’m glad you can see that. So really, it becomes a practice. I’m always looking at our relationship with food as a great teacher. So, as we’re talking, I’m asking myself: how is your relationship with food trying to teach you? How is it asking you to grow as a person? How’s it asking you to learn? I think part of it is, you’re learning how to self-trust. Because here’s the reality: no matter what you eat, no matter what I eat, no matter what anybody eats, the eventual destination of every nutritional approach is death. We’re all going to die, no matter what we eat. So, that’s where we’re going. That’s pretty much assured. In between now, and the time we die, we’re eaters… we’re going to be eating.  

You’ve learned a lot, there’s a lot of clutter, there’s a lot of voices, and it’s time to just trust in yourself. Trusting in yourself doesn’t mean you’re going to know exactly what to do. Trusting in yourself means: “you know, I’m going to start to follow my instinct, follow my intuition, explore with that, experiment with that. If I eat something, and I end up not feeling good, then I’m trusting that. I’m going to forgive myself. I’m trusting that I’m not going to start yelling at myself, speaking negatively about myself, and kicking myself when I’m down.” So, it’s trusting that you’re going to stand by you, even when something doesn’t work out perfectly. Just like your partner stands by you, when your body weighs this, or your body weighs that,and he’s still standing by you. You can trust that. 

You need to give yourself that gift: “I’m going to still stand by myself, no matter what the number on the scale does, and no matter if I stress eat, or emotionally eat, or not.” As we do that, the impetus to turn to food all the time becomes a lot less over time because we’re not compounding our constant discomfort, through self-attack. It’s hard enough to live a normal life with all its challenges. It’s way harder to live a life when we’re constantly or ongoingly in self-attack because of: “what I ate, what I shouldn’t be eaten, how my body looks, what it weighs.”  So, to me, again, I would love to see you just start to practice letting go of the “good” and “bad”, using your intuition, and seeing what happens. 

You’re literally consciously saying, “I’m not going to listen to all the voices in my head…this expert says that, that expert says this…okay, I’m done.” It’s like 20 people yelling in your ear at once. At some point, you got to scream “stop!”. You got to just tell them all to shut up, and that you’re in charge. You are the queen of your queendom, and your queendom begins with your mind and your body. That’s where it begins. You’re the queen of that. You’re the ruler of that. You only punish people who are truly bad, who have truly done a crime. Eating a food that you wish you wouldn’t have eaten, it’s not a crime. It’s a very human behavior. It’s forgivable. Some crimes are difficult to forgive, some ought to be forgiven immediately. This is one of them. 

So again, this piece around the weight. What if you decide that you don’t know what your natural weight is, and you’re starting to be more of your natural self? You’re listening to your own body, you’re listening to your own wisdom, you’re experimenting. Animals in nature, they don’t read books about what to eat. They don’t go online to search what to eat. Cows aren’t sitting in the field wondering: “should I be eating grass? Should I be eating an apple? Should I have a steak?” No, they naturally know what to do. Animals are different from us in that way. They have certain instincts. But, we’re part animal, and we still have a very instinctive, intuitive nature. It just gets atrophied sometimes because we don’t give it enough exercise. 

I think if you let just let go of having to eat for weight loss, and instead eat for feeling healthy, and good, and having energy…eat for feeling like: “I’m a human being, I want to enjoy my food, and I value my health, so I’m not going to punish my food with junk food all day long.” I don’t know if I’m putting words in your mouth, but I’m guessing you want food to be healthy for you, you want it to give you some energy, and you want it to give you a long life. And yeah, you would like for it to help your body find its natural weight. So, that begins with you tuning into yourself. At this point, I think that’s what’s going to give you your best shot. I think you should stop Googling.

Denise  

Buying a million books, too.

Marc David:  Yeah! This is your time to trust yourself. Trust in your life, trust in your journey, trust in what you’ve learned, and you put it together. Don’t give so much power away to the experts. Experts work for you. All the experts whose books you buy, or whose websites you go on, or whose programs you do, they work for you. Meaning, they’re your consultants. If I want to put a new roof on my house, I might call three different roofers and get estimates from all three. I don’t know anything about…I mean, I know a little bit about roofs because I’ve been a homeowner a bunch of times, but I don’t really know at the end of the day. I’m going to interview roofers, I’m going to see what they charge, I’m going to see what they have to say, and I’m going to use my intuition. I want to go with this person based on whatever my criteria is. I trust you the most, you seem to be the smartest, you’re clear about what the issue is. You’re clear, you’re going to do this in a certain amount of time. So, even though I’m not the roofing expert, I’m the one who decides who I’m going to listen to. 

So there’s a place where I think you’re ready to claim your power more because otherwise you’ll be like: “oh my god, what do I eat? What’s my natural weight?” You’re gonna have all these questions, and then you’re gonna have to dig around and find the answers. Let’s just start to live your life, follow your inner nutritionist, find out where she lives in your head, and in your body, and start tuning in.

Denise:  I like that because I feel like I spend a lot of time just always looking for answers, and I haven’t found them. So, I think the idea of trusting that I already have the answer within me, and just maybe I need to stop and pay attention to it more without all the extraneous voices and things… it’s already probably there, and exploring that.

Marc David:  I think so for you. I really do. You’ve accumulated, you’ve done that part of your job. You know, there’s a certain point when we are challenged with a bodily challenge, with an illness, with an eating challenge. Yeah, you do your research! You gather up information, you try different things. Oftentimes, what I’ve noticed when it comes to health, and when it comes to food, there’s a point where we then need to graduate, and we need to start tuning into self, and stop the search for the perfect diet; the perfect way to eat. Let go of finding perfection, and start being imperfect. We’re not perfect human beings, we’re imperfect human beings. Even once you find something that works for you, that might change in another three, four or five years because the body changes. It’s an ongoing dance. and I think the more we’re able to listen to our bodies, the more that dance becomes enjoyable for us, and useful for us, and helpful for us, and empowering.

Denise:  Yeah, I think that sounds good, and it feels good to feel like that. I don’t need to keep searching all the time because it causes a lot of anxiety and stress. I feel like I’m just grasping at straws sometimes just always trying to find answers.

Marc David:  Yes. I want to mention one more thing. I think that there’s a place where your weight loss number; your goal, your rate, your goal range, it has more power over you than you realize. Maybe you do realize, but that range I think is extremely important for you, which is, in part, why you’re trying so many different things and doing so much because you want to get to that place. You’ve been to that place before. You’ve been at your target weight. You’ve been less than that, you’ve been more than that, and here you are. It’s been a journey that’s gone up and down. 

The more we give that target number ultimate power, the less happy we are today, right now. Because you’re not at your target weight. So how could you possibly be happy? “I’ve concluded that when I do get to target weight, yes, that’s going to be real happiness. That’s going to be when all the goodies happen, that’s going to feel so good.” By definition, that means right now I can’t feel good. You losing another 15 or 20 pounds or 30 pounds, whatever it is, well, will you feel lighter? Maybe. I know a lot of slender people, they are heavy in their affect. If you’re down on yourself, if you’re depressed, if you don’t like your life, you’re heavy. It doesn’t matter how “light” you are. 

There’s a place where lightness can be very qualitative. Obviously, there’s a certain weight you’re gonna just literally feel heavy, understood. But I don’t know that you’re gonna necessarily feel as light.  My point is, you can feel light now by lightening up around the whole thing, and not putting so much pressure on and not putting so much intensity on. It’s not like you’re trying to look really good to go to the prom, so you can meet your future husband. Done that already. You’re in a relationship that works with a man who accepts you for who you are. Oh! What a lovely thing. That’s good news. He wants you to feel good about yourself. He didn’t say “I want you to lose weight, so you can feel good about yourself.” 

He just wants you to feel good because he knows, men know, that if my woman feels good about herself, it’s just gonna be more fun. Everything’s gonna be more fun! She’s gonna be happier, the sex is gonna be happier because she’s going to be liking herself. It’s just going to be fun. So, part of it is sort of jumping on board with okay, you have your preference. You have your personal preference, which is very respectable. You want to be at a certain weight, that’s your preference. There’s a difference between having a preference, and having a “if I don’t hit that number, I’m not going to like myself. I’m going to keep searching until the day that I die for how I’m going to hit that number.” No, that’s making weight loss the most important thing in your life. I think weight loss has to be downsized for you in terms of the order of its importance in your life. 

Denise  

Absolutely. Hearing you say that it just makes me realize how much I need to take back my power because I feel like I put so much energy into getting to a certain number of getting that number, constantly worrying about my body and food, that it takes away from things that can be more pleasurable and joyful. My headspace is not in the moment to enjoy things because I am always constantly searching or spending free time trying to figure out something that I mean, it’s been years, and I’m not figuring it out. 

Marc David  

So, if your relationship with food is a great teacher, one of the things that might be teaching you is: okay, let’s start to live your best life now. Let’s just pretend that this is the body that you have, because it’s the body you have. Might you lose weight? Sure. Might you not? Sure. We don’t know. So, you might as well get on board with: “hey, this is the body I got, let’s enjoy it because time is precious.” You will never be as young and beautiful as you are right now ever again. So, now’s the time. Now’s the time to feel that youth and that beauty that you still have. Do you ever have the experience…so many people will look back on their pictures from 20 years ago, and they thought like, “oh, I look terrible”, but back then, you thought you looked terrible. Then, you look at your old pictures, and you think “what was I thinking?” Don’t let that happen to you. You’re in a great place. You have a preference for weight loss, that’s fine. But take back your power from that number. Just let it be a preference, and don’t let weight loss be #1 on what’s the most important thing in your life.  It’s natural that the most important things in our life are our purpose, our mission, our relationships, the people you love, whatever gifts you’re giving to the world, whatever is near and dear to your heart, that’s what’s most important to you. Weight loss is not at the top of that list. It doesn’t belong there.

Denise  

Right, and it’s been there for too long, I feel like.

Marc David  

Yeah, and it really is about you reclaiming your power from a number on a scale. You look at the scale, the scale says okay, you gain a pound, then we feel crappy about ourselves. So, the tiny little machine is telling me how to feel about myself, and I am dutifully agreeing. “Okay, machine, you show me I’m a pound more, and I feel bad about myself.” Or, “I’m a pound less, ah, I feel good about myself.” Ouch!  That little scale doesn’t deserve that level of power and responsibility over you. 

You’re the one who should be deciding I feel good about what I got. Do you weigh yourself every day?  Okay, I would love for you to see how long you can go without weighing yourself. Best you can, no more than once a week. I prefer you didn’t even do that. In my perfect world, you wouldn’t weigh yourself for three or four months, and therefore, it doesn’t matter. You know how you feel. Chances are, instead of letting the number on the scale tell you what’s happening, ask yourself: “how does my body feel? Based on how I’ve been living, based on how I’ve been eating, based on how I’ve been taking care of myself?”…”you know something? I feel a little stagnant, I feel a little heavy….” Great, so what do you need to do? Do you need to move more? Do you need to dance more? Do you need to be happy? What needs to happen instead of looking at a number on a scale? To feel your body? “Hmm, yeah, it feels like I might be losing weight…oh, it feels like I might be the same weight…oh, I can’t even tell.” 

It’s a great practice in detaching. It’s kind of like breaking up from a bad relationship. You know, if a relationship is really bad, and really abusive, just make a clean-cut. The scale, ultimately, yeah, there’s days that it makes you happy, but it always comes back to disappoint you. It hasn’t made you a better person. That relationship does not make you the best version of you, it doesn’t help you to become the best version of you. It just keeps this conversation going. “Good girl, bad girl. I like myself, I don’t like myself.” No, let’s determine that you like yourself no matter what.

Denise  

Yeah, I definitely give a lot of power to the scale to kind of let it make or break my day sometimes. When you say like, it’s just a machine that spits out numbers, it shouldn’t have that much power over me.

Marc David  

Yeah, take back the power from the scale, take back the power from the number. Just let it go. Let it go. Don’t look back. It’ll call you, it’ll tempt you. I suggest that instead of just leaving the scale, wherever it is, wrap it up in a bag, put it in the basement, put it in the garage, bury it if you want, step on it and kill it if you want. That would be my ultimate goal for you, just beat it up and kill it, and then you’re free. Do you notice a difference in how you feel between the time we got in this conversation and now?

Denise  

I do, I feel lighter. Not like the heavy burden feeling, and I feel like I have some good ideas of moving forward in a more positive way that is exciting to me. Not to feel so weighed down, or heavy, or stressed all the time, just having obsessive thoughts about food and weigh all the time

Marc David  

I can see it. There’s such a difference. There’s a difference in your voice, there’s a difference in just your energy, how you’re holding yourself, because you’re taking back the power already. That’s what counts, is you being in your power, your fullness, your womanhood, your queenhood. That’s where the energy is, that’s where the action is, that’s where the power is, that’s what’s going to make you happy, that’s what’s gonna make you feel good. You know, we do our best and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to weight. You listen to your body as best you can, you get rid of all the voices, and you start to listen to yourself. What a great new road to go down.

Denise  

Yeah, it definitely is exciting to think of it that way, and it definitely helps me to feel just more positive and not have a heavy feeling.

Marc David  

Yes. Well, congratulations. I think it’s been a great conversation. 

Denise  

Thank you so much. 

Marc David  

Yes, Denise. Good luck to you. I think you’re going to see a lot of progress quickly for yourself here. 

Denise  

I hope so. 

Marc David  

Okay, you take care, and take care my friends.

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