These days, there are so many people dealing with unwanted weight that the media is calling it an epidemic. There are plenty of health and nutrition experts out there proposing solutions, but they all seem to be suggesting some variation on “eat this, don’t eat that” – a story we’ve heard many times before, and one that never seems to arrive at the promised happy ending.
That’s because it leaves out some of the most important factors when it comes to nourishment for the body, heart, and soul. As the field of Mind Body Nutrition teaches us, any diet plan that doesn’t take into account who we are as eaters is bound to miss the mark and leave us feeling unsatisfied.
If you’re frustrated with weight loss methods that just don’t work, please join us for this fascinating new video from IPEtv. Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, explores some of the less well known reasons why human bodies sometimes hold on to excess weight, and offers some surprising solutions.
Tune in and find out if you might be carrying excess weight because you’re deficient in one of the most important nutrients of all – love.
Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings, friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We’re talking about strange things that can make us gain weight: lack of love.
So you know this. We live in a world where weight is a concern for so many people. And what most people don’t realize is that weight is a very complex topic. It’s not simple calories in, calories out.
So we all need to draw a wider circle around what weight gain/weight loss is really all about.
And we have to do that from a place where there’s no shame because there are so many people who are being taken down a road of guilt and shame for how they look, or approaching the topic of weight from a perspective of not making anybody wrong for what they weigh, but just an honest and nonjudgmental look so we can see the hidden complexities that can cause us to hang onto unnecessary weight.
Now, one of the very strange things that can cause weight gain in this world — and it’s kind of not so strange when you think about it — is lack of love.
Humans need love and intimacy. Vitamin L might be the most important nutrient in the world. It’s as simple as that. Humans need love like we need oxygen and water. It is how we’re designed. It’s a nonnegotiable. It’s not some fanciful thing. It’s built into our soul, our psyche, our DNA.
And you know what happens when you don’t have enough air or water. The body lets us know with signals of discomfort and pain and eventual alarm. When we don’t have the love and the connection that we want, it’s kind of a slower burn where instead of addressing that lack had on, what the psyche does is reenact symbolic behaviors to compensate for that lack of love.
This is psychology. And it’s simple. And it’s basic, meaning we’re going to look for a symbolic substitute. We’re going to look for the closest approximation – symbolic substitute – of the things that we can’t get, love, in that moment.
And what’s one of the best symbolic substitutes for love that you can reach for? It’s food.
Why? Because it’s readily available. You can get it anywhere. You know what you like. You know what’s going to make you feel good. And it works because food will make you feel good.
Now, for many of us, a lack of love in our lives, you know it’s painful. And it’s even more painful when we don’t love self. It’s hard for humans to endorse such self-attack when we’re feeling, “Oh, I’m not lovable. Oh, I’m not good enough.” And the psyche is going to look for ways to create relief from the pain of, “There’s no love in my life. I’m alone. There’s no intimacy. It’s never going to happen. I have to lose weight in order to be loved.” And, again, we’re going to go to food to be a pain reliever.
But here’s the beautiful thing: it makes sense. So you have to stop beating yourself up. When people say, “Oh, you’re using food as love,” I go, “Yeah, for sure I am.” It’s a perfect symbolic substitute. And it can get us into trouble sometimes.
So here’s the thing. Go to the source.
And that means the love we experience in relationship with others and the love we feel when we aim it at self because when we aim love at self, when you start to do the little things to acknowledge yourself…
And you don’t have to love all your imperfections. You don’t have to love all the excess weight, if that’s what you’re dealing with. All you have to do is love the person who is in this world having that experience, just like you would love your best friend when they’re going through a tough time. You don’t hate them because they’ve gained weight. You don’t hate them because they’re going through an illness. You love them. You don’t love their illness. But you love them even though they have an illness.
Do that same thing for yourself because when you start to initiate self-love, when you start to understand that, yeah, if you’re using food as love, it makes beautiful sense. Forgive yourself. And then draw a wide circle around your life and say, “How can I let the love in?”
Because when you let in more vitamin L, your natural appetite starts to emerge. You don’t need to go for food to fill up a hole that’s not getting filled by what you really want. And from that place, the chemistry of your body, your central nervous system, your nutritional metabolism all begins to come into synergy.
In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!
Subscribe to The Psychology of Eating Podcast
Get notified when new episodes go live.