When you make a living helping others get in shape and look good, it can be painful to think that you yourself aren’t measuring up and looking the part. After a lifetime of dieting, exercise and even hitting her perfect target weight, Liz still wasn’t happy, nor could she maintain her ideal body. She was under a constant pressure to make sure she looked like everyone seemed to expect a fitness expert should. In Liz’s first powerful session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helped her to learn a deep life lesson and finally see daylight and a way through her predicament. Tune in now as Marc does a follow-up session with Liz. You’ll get a chance to see how she’s progressed since her first session, and the results are extraordinary.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
To see Liz’s first session with Marc, click here!
Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And here we are back in the Psychology of Eating podcast. I’m with Liz. Welcome, Liz!
Liz: Thank you.
Marc: Glad you’re here. For those of you tuning in for the first time or if you’re a return visitor to the podcast, Liz and I are doing a follow-up session right now. And we met a bunch of months ago. And right now, we’re here to just check in and see how’s life. How did our time together work for you?
So I’m wondering if you can just give people a five-sentence synopsis of what the key challenges for you, the key concerns were for you when we met last time just so we can get people caught up to that part.
Liz: Sure! Yeah, so the last time we met, we talked about weight loss, specifically about 40 to 50 pounds. And we were talking about my challenges in being in the fitness industry and feeling like a fish out of water in the industry with my body. And the conclusion that we came to the last time is that my self-love shifts when my body weight shifts. So my biggest homework and takeaway was to work on my level of self-love and acceptance for where my body is now.
Marc: Which is a big one. That, to me, is one of the more fascinating conundrums when it comes to weight because it’s one thing to just be a person who wants to lose weight. It’s another thing to be someone in the fitness universe who wants to lose weight. So it can make that way more intense.
So how have things been for you since that conversation? What’s been happening? What’s been on your mind?
Liz: Things have been incredible, Marc. I think what I needed was…We call this real talk in the company that I work for. I just needed someone to be very direct with me about that issue. It’s not that I was unaware that there was a problem for me. But I think that we have a way of in our own minds denying the level of intensity that can issue is really.
So just your bringing it to my attention in a very direct way caused me to wake up. So after that call, I immediately went away with, “Okay, now what do I do? How to start to love myself after years of judging my love based on where my body is?” And so I took some small steps at first and just read some books about putting certain things on hold.
So, for example, dating. We didn’t really dive a lot into dating. But that’s a big area that I’ve been putting on hold until I was happier with my body. I’ve been dating up a storm since our last session. And not just to date, but I’ve actually been dating specifically to help actually accept myself for who I am now. I’ve worked a lot on that.
And I have found that my body is not even an issue at all to guys anymore when I’m dating them. So I’m actually having fun for the first time ever dating. And this is like literally I dated when I was at a weight that I would consider to be my best weight. And I never felt this way, even when I was dating at that weight. I didn’t realize how much I tied what I looked like into whether I feel it I should be able to attain certain guys. So, yeah, I’m actually having fun dating.
The other thing I’ve really done is really embraced my body as it is now when I teach fitness.
So on our first call, we talked about how I’d have moments where I would accept my body and it would feel like I was being very purposeful when I taught in those moments. But they were fleeting moments before. Now I don’t even think about my body frankly when I go to teach. I just give it all I have.
And ironically you had asked me if anyone ever came up and appreciated my body size as one of my members. And before the answer was no. But just two weeks ago, someone came up to me and mentioned that they were really inspired by someone that’s curvy that actually has a body that’s able to move the way I move. She mentioned, “I have a body. And I feel like when I watch the way you’re able to move your body around, it inspires me to want to work harder in class.”
And that was the first time I had ever heard a comment like that from a member. And I think it’s sort of a direct reflection of me just really accepting where I am and not using it as a way to make myself stand out in a negative when I’m teaching.
So, yeah, I’ve had some really positive… I’m just about at the place where I don’t care whether I lose weight or not. And that’s to me the ultimate beacon where I wanted to get with my body. I’m almost there. There are moments where I still wish it was a bit different. But I’m definitely closer than it was before.
Marc: Wow! What a great report! I really mean that. Congratulations! That’s huge because when we spoke, you were definitely in the quicksand, which is a very understandable quicksand, of, “Whoa! Wait a second. I want to look a certain way. I’m in the fitness industry. There’s a lot of pressure in the industry, number one. There’s a lot of pressure in my head, number two.” So that’s a lot of pressure coming from a lot of different places.
And the odd thing is only we can change that from the inside. And you started to do that in a big way. And I have to say I’m especially just so happy for you that you took this on in the dating realm because I think in a lot of ways—correct me if I’m wrong—the proof is sort of in the pudding. The proof is in the pudding in terms of if you could be on dates and feel good about yourself for who you are and what you look like and how you weigh, then life is good.
Liz: Yes, absolutely! At least for me, that’s always been the toughest area for me to really accept who I am and what I look like. So, for sure, yeah.
Marc: I think also there is a con of women who think that men think like them.
Liz: [Laughs] Definitely, we do!
Marc: And you know something? There might be some men that think like you do. And when you find them, if they’re thinking bad things or the negative things that you do—“Ugh, I’m not going to like her unless she looks like this”—then you know to cross them off of your list. You thank them for identifying themselves.
But the reality is the majority of men are not thinking the same way you’re thinking. They’re not in this constant state of judgment of your body. And if I’m in that state around my own body, it’s going to be easier to think everybody else’s thinking that. And then we prove it to ourselves when you go out and you start hanging out with different men. You go, “Huh. Wow. This is
not an issue for this guy.”
And different guys have their different preferences. You have your preferences. There are certain things you like. There are certain things you don’t like. There’s nothing personal in terms of what our taste is in food, in women, in men, in pets, in whatever.
So how is this doing for your confidence? Do you feel a lot more confident?
Liz: Oh, I do! You know, it’s ironic, too. I actually just went on a date last week with a guy who’s bigger. He’s like a teddy bear. But, to your point, I actually like that. That wasn’t an issue at all to me. I thought it was attractive. But he made a few comments actually about his body and wanting to lose weight. So I sort of got to see it from the other side of the street.
And I can see how when your perception of your own body is that way, it kind of kills the attraction a little bit for the other person who doesn’t see an issue. Now all of a sudden I start thinking, “Well, what’s wrong with his body? I liked it.” I thought it was a good body. So it’s sort of interesting how our own perception of our body can do that to somebody else’s perception when they walked in completely attracted to the person.
Marc: Yes, and especially in the heterosexual universe, men enjoy women who enjoy their own bodies first and foremost. If a woman is loving on her own body, that’s extremely attractive—
Liz: Yeah, I found that.
Marc: —because it means she’s sexy. It means she’s in her body. It kind of says to the body, “Wow. What does she love about that?! I want to do that, too.” It’s instinctive. It’s natural. And the bazaar thing is you have the power in that regard. If you’re sitting there going, “I hate my body. I hate my body,” then that’s what gets broadcasted. And if you are sitting there loving on yourself, that gets broadcasted.
So a lot of times we think we’re not in the drivers seat in terms of our weight and our shape and its attractiveness to whoever. And we’ve got a lot of power they are no matter what we look like.
Liz: We do, Marc. The biggest message I would have for anyone—and this is me being a few sizes heavier than where I thought I was comfortable being—I never would have thought that people would find this attractive because of my own very limited view. But my biggest message is that’s just not true.
And this is for guys of all shapes and sizes. The other perception I had was, well, maybe a bigger guy would be okay with me being at this size. But, no, it’s all guys! That’s the bottom line. You’re exactly right. It’s about the way we feel about ourselves. So, yeah, I’m feeling really good. And it is a big confidence boost. But it’s coming from me. It’s not because I’m looking for their acceptance outwardly.
Marc: Yes. Yes, wow! So you really hit the target here. I’m happy for you. I’m impressed with how you just have taken the ball and really run with it. And you also made the comment like, “I almost don’t care whether I lose the weight, I don’t lose the weight.” I think that’s a great place to be because then if you lose weight, you’re happy. And if you don’t lose weight, you’re happy.
And sometimes the body just has its own agenda. Life has its own agenda. We could do everything right exercise-wise, diet-wise. And the body just does what it does. And I think there’s a hidden wisdom to it. And sometimes it’s just teaching us bigger lessons. It’s just teaching a self-love. It’s teaching us self- acceptance. And when we can learn that, we can move onto the next thing.
Liz: Yeah. One of the other greatest things I’ve gotten from this is just trusting my body, just trusting it that, as you said, there’s a reason why do you want this weight right here right now. And I’m not going to question that anymore. I’m done questioning that. I’m going to trust that this is the way I should be right now.
And somewhere down the line it might be able to look back and see why and it will all makes sense. But I have to have faith that right now I just can’t see the whole picture. And that’s okay.
Marc: Yeah. And I’m just thinking for you being a fitness professional, what a great fitness professional to be because there’s so many people who come into the doors of the fitness universe. They’re scared crazy because, “I’m going to be judged. I hate my body. I’m out of shape. I look like this. I look like that.” And the last thing we want is to step into an environment where were going to be judged and were not going to be loved, “Because I’m already doing that to myself. Why do I now have to be in a class for everybody to see?” And when you the teacher are modeling love and modeling enjoyment and modeling, “This is fun! Look, everybody! It’s really cool to move your body,” that’s a gift that we give to people.
And I personally think it’s something that the fitness profession really needs. It needs a lot more love and understanding in that way.
Liz: Oh, absolutely, Marc. And, in fact, just a few weeks ago before the member commented on my body, a few members that hadn’t taken my class in a while came up after class. And they said, “You have lost so much weight.” And I actually haven’t. I don’t think I have at all. I don’t weigh myself. So I don’t know.
But I said, “Oh, well, thank you!” And they said, “Well, what are you doing?” And I said, “I’m just learning to love myself and accept myself the way I am right now. I’m not doing anything differently from an eating and exercising perspective.” And they were like, “Really?!” And I said, “Yep, that’s it! That’s all it is.”
Marc: I also think that when we’re loving ourselves more, we’re lighter. Literally as people, we are lighter. And when I’m in a light mood, the people who know me know that. When I’m in a heavy mood, I can be as dense and weighty. And it’s awful. I feel heavy. People feel my heaviness.
And it’s really an inside game. It really starts inside. Once we feel a little lighter and get rid of, I think, some of the self-chosen heaviness, that is easy for us to take on. Once we start to feel lighter, then we actually move in a different way. The body can model off of something that’s real.
Liz: Absolutely. One of my biggest takeaways in trying to love myself, I’ve really read a lot from Mama Gena is her name. Have you heard of her?
Marc: Of course. Yes, yes, yes!
Liz: So the big women’s empowerment and just having fun and trying to have fun no matter what you’re doing, I’ve taken a lot away from her lessons and just accepting where you are now. And to your point making things lighter, why does everything have to be so serious? I’ve recognized in the past few months I take everything. Seriously. And if I can just lighten up a little bit and have more fun and be bolder and braver, then it really does result in feeling lighter, at least.
Marc: Do you feel sexier?
Marc: Yeah. Isn’t that fascinating? See you feel sexier. And it’s not necessarily tied into, “Oh, my God. I weigh X amount of pounds less. Therefore, I am sexier.”
Liz: No! In fact, I have also just learned to just accept parts of me that re strengths that I don’t know why it was thinking about them as, “Well, that’s a weakness. And it’s because I’ve gained weight”—for example—“that my hips are bigger or whatever.” I just accepted that it’s actually a strength in the way that some of the clothes fit you and that type of thing.
So in doing that, I definitely feel like I’m more attractive to guys, for sure.
Marc: Good for you. Again, I’m super happy for you. I’m so impressed that you’ve really taken this and you’re using it. Where do you see yourself going in the next five, six, seven, eight months with all this? What do you think is on the menu for you?
Liz: Well, I’m definitely going to invest more toward creating a community of women around me that support this. Because it’s interesting. When you start to move in a direction that’s alittle bit different then where you’ve been, sometimes you have to find new people, I feel, to really support that.
So I’m actually going down to Miami in November to do the immersion weekend with Mama Gena and the other sister goddesses. So I see myself getting more involved with that. That’s the other thing I wasn’t really thinking about is how women support each other in this. So I see that becoming much more important in my life and surrounding myself with more girlfriends who support that.
At this point, I’ve been dating several people at once. And I think I’m moving more toward now wanting a relationship now that I know that I can do that in this body, that I can date more than one person. I think I’d rather just have an actual relationship. Yeah. So those are the two, I think, biggest things in my personal life.
With my career, it’s kind of interesting how when you start to improve in one area of your life that seems to have nothing to do with another area, it kind of overlaps. Because my career, I’m on the verge of possibly getting another promotion in my full-time job. And I’ve actually given notice to the part of my job…I don’t know if you remember back to the first episode. But we were talking about the catalyst for all this was a situation where I was rejected from a [TV spot.]
Marc: Yes, I remember.
Liz: Well, I gave notice to that part of my job. So at the end of the year I’ll be done doing that, which is to me just important part of healing like forgiving in healing and just getting past that. And what I would hope to do then is to start doing coaching from taking your program, actually starting up the coaching part to take the place of where I would have spent time in the training area.
Marc: Good for you. And you know something? In a weird way, your company’s prerogative, if they’re like, “Okay, we want somebody in our fitness video looks like this, this, and this,” fine. Get that person. If that’s what you want, that’s okay. You are different than that. And I think the people you want to surround yourself with our different from that. They’re talking to a certain segment of the population. Let them have their choice and not take it personal because you’re going to do something way more interesting.
Liz: That’s the bottom line, that not taking it personally thing because I don’t care anymore about her acceptance. I just don’t care. I care about now, “This is the body I’m in. And I choose to believe there’s a reason why. I’m going to serve people that really need me in this body right now.”
So instead of fighting that and being upset that they didn’t accept me, I accepted that this is who I am and it doesn’t align with what they want. And that’s okay.
Marc: Good for you. That’s a powerful place to be. I think on a certain level, empowered women in this world are the most amazing. They’re the most attractive. They’re the most dangerous women because they’re empowered.
And there are certain people who don’t like that. There are certain people, it doesn’t fit into their paradigm. “But wait a second. We need you to look like this in order to be in a video.” No. You can have a million of your own videos that do way better than those videos. It’s so doesn’t matter. I just see you very, very clearly stepping into who you are. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Liz: I can’t thank you enough, Mark. I needed a kick in the butt. I needed to hear it very directly that that was the issue, but in a caring and sincere way. And that’s definitely what you gave me.
Marc: Yay. Well, thank you for saying that. And for viewers who are tuning in and listening, Elizabeth has been talking about Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. You can just go Google that online. Really great programs, a really fun book, as well, for really empowering the feminine. So I’m glad you tapped into that world. And I’m sure there’s lots more to come there.
Marc: Okay, Liz. Congratulations once again. Any last words you want to share as we’re wrapping up?
Liz: Yeah. I think the groundbreaking part for me was just really wholeheartedly saying… You had asked me on the last call to go away and make a commitment to myself that this is it. You either decide to love yourself now the way you are or you’re going to continue to battle this problem for the rest of your life. I really made that commitment. I got off the call. And I was like, “This is it. I can’t keep doing this with the weight and with the way I feel. I’m making the commitment.”
So that’s really where all of my actions stem from. I actually made the commitment to myself to do that. So I would say for anyone struggling with going back and forth with their weight their entire life and never feeling like they had a handle on it, it comes down to that, just making a commitment to whatever the underlying issue is and knowing that it’s okay.
It’s going to take a little bit longer. But in the end, you’ll be happy. I’m so happy right now. And I haven’t really necessarily lost weight.
Marc: Good for you. Thank you for being such an inspiration and a leader in this realm. You really are. You’ve got a whole different thing going on that I think people can use and need and be inspired by. So thanks again, Liz.
Liz: Thank you, Marc.
Marc: And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. Once again I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. More to come, everybody. Take care.
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