The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode #143: Sometimes, Losing Weight Means Feeling Safe

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Podcast Episode 143: Sometimes, Losing Weight Means Feeling Safe

Julia is in her early 40s, and she’d like to lose 60 to 80 pounds – but she feels stuck. She’s tried all the diets, and found that if she restricts herself severely, weight comes off temporarily, but that method simply isn’t sustainable in the long term. She knows there has to be another way.

She wants to learn how to model a healthy relationship with food, body, and weight so that her son can grow up with a positive influence. In this moving session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helps Julia to realize that in order to lose the weight she’s been carrying, she must first learn to feel safe in her own body – possibly for the first time ever.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And here we are once again in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And I’m with Julia today. Welcome, Miss Julia.

Julia: Hi, everybody.

Marc: Yay, I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad we’re doing this. Julia, I’m going to just say a couple of quick words to people who might be new to this podcast. So what this is, Julia and I haven’t met before. We are on the line for the first time. And we’re going to talk about whatever she wants to talk about related to food, body, health, and maybe even life and see if we can help move Julia forward in whatever you want to work on.

And this is about really kind of turbo charging the experience and trying to squeeze as many months of coaching into one chunk of time. So based on that, Julia, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you want from this session, what would that be for you?

Julia: I would like to be more at peace around my body and my weight.

I mean I would like to lose some weight. But I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been like this for quite a number of years. And maybe it will be just as many before… or maybe the weight never really shifts. And I want to be happy here, now. And I want health more so than a specific look or body type or a specific weight. I want to live for a long time.

Marc: Good for you. So then you would sort of lose the need to lose weight, is that what you’re saying, and kind of love what you have right now? Is that it?

Julia: Yes.

Marc: So can I ask how old you are?

Julia: I’m 41.

Marc: And where are you from originally?

Julia: Switzerland.
Marc: Switzerland, all right. And you’re living in the states now.

Julia: Yes.

Marc: Is that a big change? Is that a culture shock for you?

Julia: It was. I did it when I was 18. I came in as a high school exchange student. And there was major culture shock going on and a big adjustment. And then I’ve been back and forth for a few years. And I’ve now lived here in the U.S. longer than I ever lived in Europe.

Marc: Wow, okay, congratulations. So if you could lose weight, if, if, if, how much weight would you lose?

Julia: I would think about 60 to 80 pounds. But I have not been anywhere close to what I would think would be the right weight or a good weight. I really don’t know. I kind of have to wait and see when I get there. But just based sort of on the standard sort of ways of thinking about it, I would say somewhere in the 60 to 80 pounds.

Marc: When was the last time you were 60 to 80 pounds less than you are now?

Julia: I would have to say 20 years.

Marc: Okay, a couple of years ago. So has there been any time within that last 20 years where you lost, I don’t know, 30 pounds, 40 pounds, something like that?

Julia: Yes, yes, I’ve lost as much as 80 pounds.

Marc: And you did that how?

Julia: So I’ve done it a number of times. The patterns that I see, sort of, I go light on carbohydrates and concentrate more on sort of eating vegetables and meats or protein and fat, not that I totally give up carbs all together but just lighter. And then what seems to go well for me is slow, steady exercise. So one time I would walk for an hour or two every day. And this most recent time I did a lot of Bikram yoga. And so that’s an hour and a half each session. And I would go four, five, six times a week.

Marc: Woo-hoo. That’s a lot, yeah.

Julia: I know. It’s so much harder to get into the studio since I had the baby.

Marc: How old’s your baby?

Julia: He’s eight months.

Marc: Oh, congratulations.

Julia: And this last time I lost the weight so that I could get pregnant because I had issues getting pregnant. And I finally sort of thought okay, I don’t want to look back in ten years and think that if I only lost the weight I would’ve been able to get pregnant. And so that really motivated me. And I lost the weight. And I got pregnant. And I did okay with the pregnancy and all of that. Now I haven’t been able to lose the weight since the pregnancy. So I’m about 20 pounds up from what I was before the pregnancy.

Marc: Have you tried since you’ve given birth?

Julia: Not in any sort of real sense, just because I breastfeed. So you have to be careful with how much you restrict because it can affect supply. And then I’m just so hungry. I mean for a long time I was just hungry all the time. And then I got to the program, the Change Your Relationship with Food, or Transform Your Relationship with Food. And so then that sort of reinforced the idea that I shouldn’t go on any sort of program or count anything, whatever. And I needed to take a different approach. And I felt that I could work well in tandem with breastfeeding my son.

Marc: So why do you think you gained that original 60 to 80 pounds? When you look back on it, what do you think happened?

Julia: I struggled with my weight in my teens.

And there was a lot of stuff from my mom, just with sort of unintentional body shaming and things like that.

But when I was 18 I got married. And that relationship, it was the first time I put on 60 pounds or something like that and really changed. And he was a very controlling person and physically abusive. And so I think I put it on at that point as a protection mechanism. I mean he was a fairly jealous person. So if I got too much attention, then that didn’t bode well, and just getting less interest from him, in me, too, I think.

Marc: So how long were you with him?

Julia: Four years, I think. I have to go back and do the math.

Marc: I’m just trying to imagine being you back then. So you’re done. You’re finished. You’re out of this kind of abusive, sort of limiting relationship. Then what happened with your body? What did you think to yourself?

Julia: So I remember it was really hard to get out of that relationship. I mean my mind was really wanting me to go back in because I had just moved, so I knew nobody in the town that I was in. And I was just extremely lonely. And it just would’ve been so easy to go back. So that’s mostly what I remember from that time. And then I would take a lot of walks. So I had a dog at that point. And so I would take the dog for long walks and remind myself of why I was leaving and managed to get through that initial phase. And I don’t know what I thought of my body per se. I mean I’ve always sort of felt like my body betrayed me a little bit.

Marc: Can you just say a little more about that? You always felt like your body betrayed you a little bit. Just say what that means for you.

Julia: It feels like I’m not in the body that I’m supposed to be in. It’s something that’s been forced on me. And then when I go on restrictive diets, I have to be extremely careful how much food I eat or how many carbs or whatever it is in order just to lose a few pounds. But it doesn’t take much to go the other way. It feels like it’s so much easier to put it on than it is to take it off.

And I always run sort of against these… the weight I’m at right now, it’s fairly easy for me to sort of stick around this weight within a few pounds. So as long as I’m not going crazy binging or whatever, I know I’m going to be fine. And I’m thinking to myself why can’t I just do this at a lower weight. It feels like I’m holding myself. And I find I’m really good at eating just enough food to keep myself at… and I’ve become more aware of that. I realize, for example, that I drink while I eat. And when I’m full, and I should stop eating, then I will drink, as it stretches my stomach. And then I’m able to shove more food in.

Marc: When was the first time you ever had the thought to yourself, wow, this is not the body I’m supposed to be in?

This body’s been forced on me.

Julia: Oh, that would be 10, 15 years ago it would’ve been like that.

Marc: So you weren’t thinking that when you were a teenager then, let’s say.

Julia: Well I think there was a lot of body hate in my teenage years too. I struggled a little bit with eating disorders. It was never diagnosed and kind of just, for me, was a phase. I just kind of outgrew it. But it was definitely a struggle with my mom and controlling issues. And I remember that time doing just crazy stuff and just being mad at my body because it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do.

Marc: Yeah, I completely understand. So how was your dad all this time when you were growing up about your body and your eating issues? Where did he fit into the picture?

Julia: So my parents divorced when I was six. And I had contact with my dad. But it was only a few weeks every year, like on holidays or vacations and then some phone calls. So I don’t know that he had much to say. The pattern is, in my family, my grandfather struggled with his weight, my grandmother. My dad did too. All my siblings do. And there’s definitely a lot of pressure in the family just based on appearance and those sort of things.

Marc: Wow, so then you’re coming from a family that already was having challenge around weight and trying to lose it. And you were kind of born into that lineage. That’s interesting to me.

Julia: Yeah, my mom was like a Twiggy model in the 60s. She was really skinny and anorexic. Then she got my dad really skinny. And my grandma freaked out because he was too skinny, those kind of things.

Marc: Yeah, so is your boy’s dad in the picture?

Julia: Yes.
Marc: How long have you guys been together?

Julia: Going on ten years.

Marc: All right. And how does he feel about your body?

Julia: He thinks I’m beautiful.

But he does think I was more beautiful when I weighed less.

And he wants me to be healthy most of all and enjoy life.

Marc: And would you describe yourself as a fast eater, moderate eater, slow eater?

Julia: Fast.

Marc: Fast, okay.

Julia: Yeah, that’s a big, big challenge. I’m also very good at checking out and just like oh, where did all the food go?

Marc: Is your dad still alive?

Julia: Yes.

Marc: Are you in contact with him?

Julia: Mm-hm.

Marc: How’s that relationship?

Julia: It’s adjusting. It’s not quite what I would like it to be. But we’ve had, over the years, a number of conversations about it. And nothing ever fundamentally changes. So I’m glad that I have a relationship with him. And I take what I can get. And it’s a little bit like that. He’s got four daughters. So I’m one of four. And he’s my only dad. So the balance is not exactly the same.

Marc: So are there times where you kind of drop into wow, I kind of like my body. I might even love it a little bit. I’m enjoying it. Forget about all this weight nonsense. Are there moments where that happens for you at all?

Julia: Yes.

Marc: When does that happen?

Julia: Yeah, so since I started the program I’ve been practicing those sort of things. And so then what I do is I just put myself in a state of gratitude for my body. And I just think about all the awesome things that I’ve been able to do things to my body. And my pregnancy is one of those because I’ve been 40 plus years.

I went all natural. I had 36 hours of labor and didn’t take any medications. Just getting there without any intervention, doing Bikram and those kind of things, to where I know my body’s capable of quite a few things. And so I think about just how awesome it really is. And so I’ve been practicing that. And that feels pretty good.

Marc: Yeah, what gets you most angry?

Julia: Oh, when things don’t go my way. So I like to plan and be efficient. And then when interruptions show up, because usually it’s because other people have their own plans for their own life. And they don’t necessarily want to live their life the way I think they should, those kind of things. And then what else? Yeah, I can easily feel disrespected. And I think that gets me really angry too.

Marc: What would cause you to feel disrespected? Give me an example of something, even if it’s a little thing.

Julia: So, for example, this shows up in my relationship with my husband. And it might be when he will carry his plate after dinner in the kitchen. But then there will be something on the plate. And he will not throw it in the trash. And so then I think he does it on purpose because… well I don’t think he does it on purpose. But it feels to me like I have more work to do now thanks to him. And he should be more considerate and throw these things away.

But from his perspective it’s like oh, I don’t know if you’re wanting to keep this. Like I would keep my chicken bones so that I can make stock from them. And so then he would leave them there because he doesn’t know what I want to do with it. There’s the communication there. And then I have this thing in my mind.

And then I have to calm down before I’m able to see that a lot of it is just that I have these automatic programs that I tend to go into of just everybody’s out to get me.

Marc: Okay, thank you. That’s very honest. So there are four girls in your family. Are there any other siblings?

Julia: Yeah, I have an older brother and a younger sister that are from my dad and my mom. And then my stepmother has two daughters. And my dad and stepmother had another son together.

Marc: Got it.

Julia: But from my dad’s perspective, he considers all of them his kids. So that’s why I said my dad has four daughters and two sons.

Marc: How is that for you, having this whole strange configuration of brothers and sisters?

Julia: Yeah, it was just what it was growing up. And I never lived with my dad after the divorce. My other siblings all lived with him at one point or another. So they’re much more sort of part of that family. I’m really not. Sometimes I don’t really feel like I’m truly part of the family because I’m not as close to… I’m close to my sister, who I spent 16 years with. And then my other siblings I’m just really not that close with because we haven’t had that time. And then I moved to the U.S. 20 years ago. And it’s easier nowadays than it ever was to keep in touch. But it’s still a giant distance. So I don’t always feel like I’m truly part of the family.

Marc: Did that bother you when you were younger, that wow, I don’t get to live with my dad. They do.

Julia: Yeah, I was okay. My sister struggled more with it. But I never really had sort of that wish because it was a house full of craziness. And my stepmother’s a nice person but not somebody I would necessarily want to live with.

Marc: Understood. So let me ask you this question.

So we started out with the desire that you want to learn how to love your body and not be worried about weight.

So hey, it might be nice if you lose weight. But gosh, that takes a lot of work. And you’ve got an eight month old son. And I’m guessing you’re not going to be doing five Bikram yoga classes a week right now. That’s not in the cards. So what are you leaning more towards? In your mind right now are you leaning more towards I just want to learn how to love this body? Or I’d rather lose some weight and then love it?

Julia: No. See, I feel like I’ve been at war with this body for such a long time now. I’ve got to quit. I mean I just can’t do it anymore. It was one of the first lessons in the program. I realized back in 2000 or something like that. I was planning a beach vacation in Mexico with a girlfriend. And I was about the same size I am now. And I was like this is crazy. I’ve been more or less this size for so long, up and down 20 or 30 pounds or something like that. But essentially I’ve always been overweight. And I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t. I feel like I’m at war. And I just don’t want to anymore. I’ve got to do something different. And I need to be more at peace because I just don’t have the energy to fight this battle any more.

Marc: Yeah, so Julia, I think that’s a great place to be. I really do. I just want to say it’s a great place to be because the battle will tire us out because when you think about it, fighting anything for half of a lifetime, if not more, is hard enough.

Julia: It’s crazy.

Marc: Fighting someone else for 20 something years is hard enough. Fighting our own self and our own body, that’s a soul crusher. And it just doesn’t yield any benefits.

I want to say that when you mentioned before at some point you feeling like wow, this isn’t my body, this body’s been forced on me, I don’t like this, a lot of people go through that. A lot of humans have that experience. So yes, you’re very unique. I’m just letting you know that’s not uncommon.

And what I want to say is that experience has a lot of power. When we decide somewhere in the mind that this body is counter to me, this thing has been forced on me, then on a certain level we don’t have a home. We literally don’t have a home. We don’t have a place that we can live and be at peace and have a sense of safety.

And right now one of your main jobs in life is to be at peace and be a sense of safety for your son because that is what young children need more so than anything.

They need to know I am safe. I am protected. I am okay. I am loved, period. They don’t care about anything else. For the first 13, 14 years, that’s pretty much it. I’m safe. I’m loved. I’m okay. I’m taken care of. These people aren’t hating on me. My parents love me. They’re not going to abandon me. I can count on them. I can relax into them. They get me. They understand me. That’s a good childhood, if you can have that. So I get that you want to give that to your son.

So what I want to say is sometimes, and I think this is one of those times, we can do a little bit of healing and transformation by getting stimulated from the outside, meaning, in this case, having a child. So it’s not just you anymore. And I think this is actually good medicine for you because for you to push your body and force your body to lose weight for you, so you can feel better, whatever, there’s a place where you want to be as a mom, as a person, as a woman, as a mother for your son.

I totally get it. That’s a beautiful thing. I’m glad you’re using that to motivate and inspire yourself because then it makes it more than you and more than you and your husband. It makes it about someone else, too. Because what do kids want with their parents? They also want their parents to be happy.

I still remember when I was a little kid wanting my parents to be happy. That’s all I wanted for them, really, just be happy because I know if they’re happy, they treat me better. And if they’re happy, the world is just a happier place. Kids will pick up on our unconscious judgments of them or us. If I’m unconsciously judging myself, my kid’ll pick it up.

So what I want to suggest to you is that I think there are some pieces in here that will help round out the picture for you to put you on a different path to loving your body. And I’m going to just try to put those in words and play with them a little bit right now. Sometimes we don’t always understand our past as a child in our parents’ home until we ourselves become parents. All of a sudden, when you become a parent, you know a lot more. As soon as that kid pops out of your womb, you realize oh my goodness, everything has just changed now. And this ain’t so easy either. You’re now on 24/7 for the next many, many years.

So this is going to be a great time for you to slowly relive other parts of your life. As your child grows, you will grow with them. As he becomes one, you will be one again. As he becomes two, you’ll be two again. When he’s ten, you’re going to be ten again. It’s slightly different because he’s a boy; you’re a girl.

But there will be many similarities that you will notice out of nowhere.

There’s something about you finding home in your body, first and foremost.

I’m going to guess that in a lot of ways, you growing up, you didn’t have a strong sense of home because your home life was a little chaotic because things shifted, parents got divorced when you were young, stepmother, this, that, new siblings. I mean you handled it as well as you could. And you probably handled it well.

And that still affects us because your parents don’t have a ground. There’s no ground there all of a sudden. And we will take that on oftentimes. And all of a sudden the body becomes a foreign place. I don’t like the way I look. I need to change it. It doesn’t do this. It doesn’t do that. And the body almost becomes the place where we work out our sense of place, our sense of home. So all I’m saying to you, and I think you know this, is that this is a time in your life that your body has to become a sense of home.

If I was getting paid $50 million to help you lose 60 to 80 pounds, but you had to do it sustainably so it actually lasted, and it had to be in such a way that you weren’t banging your head against the wall doing Bikram yoga seven days a week while breastfeeding, if I was going to get $50 million to help you do it the smooth way, this is what I would do first. This is the first thing I would do to get my $50 million.

I wish somebody would give me that $50 million. The first thing I would do is I would invite you and try to inspire you and coach you as best I can to help you feel like your body is home right now at this weight. What happens is a lot of people decide that well, I’m going to love my body. My body’s going to be okay. My body’s going to be a good place to live when… and it looks like this, that, the other thing. So you’re kind of past that but not 100%. You’re about 89% past that.

So if we were climbing a mountain and its 14,000 feet peak, you’re at about 12,000 feet. The weird thing is those last 2000 feet get harder because the oxygen isn’t as full at that level. We’re a little tired at that point. And still, what I’m going to say is, you’re really close. And what, to me, you’re close to is dropping into your body and feeling at home for the first time. And what’s going to help you do that is you have to be a home for your child. Yes, the place you live is the home. But you know something? What if we had to move ten times in the next ten years? You will always be home for your child. You will be home for yourself. You will be home for your partner. You’ll be home for the people who are super closest to you, that you want to be that for.

So what I’m saying is I think that’s part of your journey right now, is to find that place. And it’s a very personal place. It’s kind of a spiritual place, meaning you make peace with this body wasn’t forced upon me. Okay, this body’s irritating. It doesn’t do what I want it to do. I’m pissed off about that. I kind of tried. It worked. It didn’t work. Okay, I’ve been down that road. Now it’s time to do what is going to feel a little bit like the impossible, which is sink into the body, love it, make it a home, make it the best possible home.

When I say home, I’m hoping you’re getting a meaning it’s on an energetic level.

It’s a place of safety. It’s a place that you can return to and your son can return to that just goes ah, this is good. So every time you hold him, you are healing yourself, selfishly but not selfishly because I know you’re loving him. But every time you hold him, you’re healing yourself because you’re giving him, in a lot of ways, what you need and what you needed. You needed to feel I’m held. Somebody’s got me. I don’t have to worry about that. I’ve got a safe place that I can always return to.

If you give that message to your infant, they’re going to have that for the rest of their life. So every time you hold your baby, I want you to feel that you’re home, that you’re home for you, you’re home for him, and that there’s nothing else in the world that can possibly make this a bad experience. You know what I’m saying?

Julia: Mm-hm.

Marc: So to me, once you do that more and more and more, you are training yourself that this body is a safe place to be. When the body is a safe place to be, it can relax. When the body relaxes, its chemistry completely changes. Science really hasn’t drilled this home because it doesn’t go there because most of the research is funded by the drug companies, the food companies. And it’s all a lot of nonsense. And they’re trying to make a buck off of you. But the reality is, when we switch our internal state, as we are able to relax into life, relax into love, appreciate the body, appreciate life, trust in the universe, we create relaxation chemistry, which changes how we digest, how we assimilate, how we calorie burn, and how our appetite is regulated. It drops into its natural place.

So every effort that you would make to force yourself to lose weight will ultimately end in unsuccess until, in my opinion, your body feels like home.

Because if the body doesn’t feel like home, then you’re fighting it.

Okay, I asked you what made you mad before, what gets you mad. So I’m going to kind of tell you why I asked that. Number one, I just wanted to know how you process anger. And what you said was well, when things don’t go the way I want them to go, particularly in relation to other people. I’ve got my plans. I figure it out. I’m a smart girl. And then if somebody’s not on line with that, or it doesn’t go how I want it to go, I get angry. Hey, me too. So I’m with you there.

And what’s going to happen is you’re going to do that same thing with your body. When your body’s not doing what you want it to do, your anger gets turned on your body, sometimes in ways that you know and other times in ways that you don’t even realize. Your body doesn’t like anger aimed at it, not by them, not by anybody, and definitely not by you.

So part of the piece of the puzzle of you learning how to drop in and let this body be home, this body that weighs whatever it weighs, right now you’re in your mama body. You’re a mama right now. You’ve got the body of a mama, okay. Love it. Love being a mama. Love the act of being a mama. Love your son. And love the body that he just popped out of. Let him know that this is still a loving place. He’s in that womb. He wasn’t swimming around in there going oh, Jesus. I wish my mother would lose a little weight. I’d feel so much better about myself. He could care less.

My grandmother, I didn’t realize until she was in her 80s, which would’ve put me in, I don’t know, my 30s or something, I didn’t realize that she was fat. She was always my grandmother. And one day I was with my grandmother and somebody made some sly comment. Some stranger we passed by called her fat. I wanted to kill the person. But I’m like she’s not fat. And I kind of looked at her and said, oh, right, she’s the kind of person people consider overweight. But she was such a home for me and such a place of unconditional love that all I saw was love, that all I saw was this magnificent human.

So anyway, back to the anger piece. When things don’t go your way, you will get angry. Okay, fine, understandable. We all have things we get angry at. I just want you to keep your eye on anger for you. And I want you to notice when it gets aimed at you, when your anger gets aimed at you.

And I’d also love for you to notice when you bottle up your anger.

So yeah, if your husband pisses you off because you didn’t do this, that, or the other thing, say something. Don’t hit him over the head. But I would be interested for you to see how you can move your anger more and process it more by not pushing it down.

Julia: Okay.

Marc: I mean does that sound like something even interesting to you in terms of anger?

Julia: Most definitely.

Marc: Because what I think happens for you is that when you aim anger at your own body, that is, by definition, warring on your body, that is by definition fighting your body. Now when your body is fighting something, it literally senses fight. Your body is smart. It wants to win. Your body is smart. It wants to survive.

The body is programmed to survive in any conditions.

One of the ways the body is programmed to survive is when it senses continuous threat that is unclear and uncertain. It’s getting angered upon. It’s getting attacked. It’s getting exercise. It’s getting pushed. It’s getting diet. It’s getting hated. It’s you’re not the body I want. So when your body senses that, your body defends itself.

One of the ways, and I’m not saying this is you, but it could be, one of the ways the body will defend itself is to get bigger and stronger because bigger and stronger generally has a better chance of winning in the jungle. The biggest and strongest creatures generally have less other creatures trying to eat them. So there’s a place where your body thinks it needs to be bigger and stronger. And I’m not saying that that is the cause of the weight. But I’m saying it might be a piece of the puzzle, that as you start to handle these pieces, then things can unfold a little bit more naturally because I don’t think you’re going to lose weight, and I think you know this, by going on a weight loss diet and doing the intense exercise. You would have to do it more naturally at this point. More naturally means more in your flow.

So what I’m suggesting is use motherhood by letting your body be home. And just have a period of time. I don’t know, let’s pick a time period. Let’s say six months. Have a period of time where you just make sure that your body feels like the safest place for your kid, that every time you hug him he is being held by not only a woman that loves him but a woman that loves herself and is not at war with herself. That’s the gift you give him. And as you give it to him, you give it to you.

Within that I would love to see you put more awareness and attention and intention on landing in your body in a different way when it comes to food itself. And one way to land in your body in a different way when it comes to food is to begin to do with food what you would do with your son. You’re not forcing him. You’re not pushing him.

You’re not making him do everything really fast. Hurry up. I want you to grow up. Hurry up. I want you to walk like the perfect kid. No, you’re letting him unfold. You’re watching him. The same with food, I would love for you to slow down with food and let the nourishment process be just like you’re breastfeeding your boy. Here it is. You’re not going hurry up. Do this really fast. Suck faster. Eat faster. You have to slow down because as you slow down with food, it’s all about your going to start to make peace with food. The act of eating fast puts the body in a stress response.

Therefore the brain will think, on some level, I am in fight or flight. I’m in a battle. Something’s wrong. I’m not quite clear what. But I’m eating. And when I’m eating under stress, the body doesn’t digest as well. It doesn’t assimilate as well. You will not have your optimum metabolism, whether digestive or calorie burning. You will lose your natural appetite regulation simply from the habit of eating fast.

The body is designed to encounter food slowly.

So you have to be that little baby who relaxes into the eating experience and just disappears into it in a very sweet way. Eating slow will be hard for you because you have a long term habit of doing something different. But on an emotional level and on a psychological level, what I am convinced it will do, and remember this is me trying to get my $50 million, so what that’s going to do for you is it’s going to train you on a psycho physiologic level to see food not as the enemy but as your friend. You will need to eat fast if food is the enemy. There’s an imprint in there somewhere that you’re not fully aware of where food is kind of the enemy because you try to control it. And you try to diet. And you try to do this. And I know if I do this with my food and that with my food, then I’m going to lose weight. But oh my God, I could easily gain weight if I just ate that or that.

So on some level, food is a problem for you. Food is the enemy. There’s a strange thing that can happen when we set it up like that. It almost accentuates that metabolism, where you go God, I just ate a little bit. And it feels like eating a little bit makes me gain weight. And I have to work so hard to lose just a little. What’s really happening is we’re skewing metabolism from the self fight. It is self created stress chemistry that changes how the body functions on a metabolic level. That’s my belief, based on years and years and years, looking at this from the clinical end, looking at it just from a scientific end and trying to understand what I notice happens with people.

So what I’m saying is I want you to make friends with food the easy way. And the easy way is to slowly, over time, teach your body how to slow down with food such that six months from now, when you sit down to eat, you’re going to be relaxed Julia. And you’re going to eat your food. And you know something? You’re going to enjoy it. Because when you eat food and enjoy it, you’re teaching your child that it’s safe. You can eat. You can enjoy. It’s okay. He’s going to notice that. He’s going to pick up on it. He’s going to learn that energetically. He’ll adopt that pattern. And you’re adopting that pattern at the same time. You’re letting your body know it’s safe. There’s no war anymore. Cease fire. So the cease fire is a practice.

Strangely enough, you could say to me, “But Marc, I just want to call a cease fire now.” It’s possible. It is possible. So I don’t doubt that you can have an epiphany tonight and call a cease fire and love your body from now until the day you die. If that doesn’t happen, one of the best strategies that I know to slowly cultivate peace with your body and cease fire is slowing down with food because it stops the fight. It stops the stress chemistry.

And it’ll slowly help you see the places where you get anxious with food. It’ll slowly help you see the places where you get fearful. It’ll help you see the places where you just want to rush through it. And you’ll begin to reeducate yourself.

You will literally be reparenting yourself.

It is no different than if your boy right now was six years old. And all of a sudden he started taking food and shoving it in his mouth and eating really fast. You might take a look at that, and you’d go hmm, I don’t think that’s so good. And instead of hitting him or whacking him on the side of the head or telling him he’s a bad, dumb kid, you would say, “Hey, son, here’s what I’d like for you to do. I want you to eat slower. You know why I want you to eat slower? Because if you eat slower, you know what’s going to happen? You’re going to grow big and strong. You’re going to be strong and have bigger muscles.” That’s what little boys understand. “You’re going to feel good about yourself. You’re going to be able to run faster. You’re going to be able to jump higher when you feed yourself in the right way.”

So all I’m saying is we need to give your brain and your body messages that food, it’s okay to slow down with it. You’re safe. There’s no war. So those simple things, your body being a home and you practicing slowing down with food, one is a very kind of internal practice, you being a home for your own self, for your own child, feeling that sense of home in this body right now. Your body doesn’t have to look any different, doesn’t have to weigh an ounce less for your body to finally feel like home.

Just think I’m in my mama body right now. Celebrate it. Love it. You’ve got a good mama body. Those two pieces alone, I think, can really help you move forward. They’re very straight forward, simple in principle, not always easy to practice. So what do you think of all this? I’ve been talking a lot here. And how’s all this landing for you?

Julia: It sounds really spot on. So the idea with the home, I find it interesting that you picked up on that because that’s sort of… we moved a lot growing up. And for years and years I had the fantasy of wanting to settle own somewhere and sort of have roots. And then I came to realize that’s not how I live my life but that I can still be sort of that home. My husband and I and our son, we can sort of be the nucleus and then draw others into us and be the place where people come for the holidays and stuff like that because that’s always sort of the images that I have. So I found that very interesting.

And then the whole anger thing, too. One of the videos that I watched on the YouTube channel was on the voice and finding your voice. And that really, really resonated with me too. The other day I watched that.

And then the slowing down, I’ve been very much aware of just how fast I eat.

And I’ve been practicing. And I find that I’m already eating slower. I find that they’re very slow changes. I notice them. Somebody else might not notice them quite yet. But I’m definitely noticing that there are changes going on already in my behavior around food. And so I think it’s spot on.

Marc: That’s what counts, you noticing those small changes, because that’s what’s going to get you where you need to go. The small incremental changes are, 90% of the time, actually I’m going to say 96% of the time, how the body works. The body changes in small incremental changes except when it goes through growth spurts. How many times in life does your body go through a growth spurt for goodness sakes, maybe, what, a handful of times when you’re zero to 21? But afterwards it’s small, small, small incremental changes. But those small incremental changes are how it’s designed. It’s how we’re engineered.

And we try to win the lottery. We try to find the one thing that’s going to change it all overnight. And it doesn’t work. It’s such a failed strategy. So if you’re willing to be in this for the long haul you can, over time, find your natural weight, not lose weight, even though that could very well be what it is. But it’s finding your natural weight. Your body will find its natural weight. It’s not about losing weight. It’s being at your natural weight. Your natural weight might be 80 pounds less. It might be 90 pounds less. It might be 50 pounds less. I don’t know. But I’m trying to take it out of this usual thing, I have to lose weight, lose weight. No, I want you to be your natural weight.

How do we get you to your natural weight? You have to be your natural you.

You have to be the real you. So what’s the real you? The real you is the person who actually says what she wants to say, who speaks what she wants to speak, who feels what she’s feeling. The real you needs to feel a sense of home. Why? Because we all need to feel a sense of home, whether we have a home or not. So I either feel my sense of home in my home, or I feel it in my body, hopefully at least my body.

So as you start to do that, those small incremental changes, they build on each other. And you are actually building a strong foundation to reach your natural weight, your natural health, your natural appetite. So I’m all kind of confident for you that you could do this. And I invite you to take the slow road to get where you want to go because I believe that’s going to be the right road for you.

Julia: Yes, I think so, too. I remember the first week it was all about what’s the message. Just wait, pass, and slowing down is what came up for me again and again.

Marc: Beautiful.

Julia: I’m very efficient. I’m very good at whatever I do. I can run my life very efficiently. And so I’m very good at doing a bazillion things at the same time and making it look easy. And so that was the message that I got. This is an area you need to slow down. You need to learn to slow down, and that you can slow down and things still all get done, and teaching this to my son, too, this being slow, being present in the moment and enjoying life and not rushing always to the next thing.

Marc: Beautiful. I think you’re right on the path you need to be. Is that your baby in the background that I hear?

Julia: Yes. Yes, probably.

Marc: He’s ready for mama, right?

Julia: Oh, yeah. He’s probably hungry.

Marc: So, Julia, this is then the perfect place to stop because he’s letting you know I need my mama, who’s going to feel like home for me. And he’ll be teaching you how to do this and teaching you how to slow down. And I really feel like the pieces are in place for you. And I really want you also to celebrate your mama body for a while and just really love it up from where it’s at now because he’s loving it. And really feel that love. He’s loving what he has with you. So if you could take a little bit of that and feel it in your body, you’re doing good.

Julia: Yes, that’s a great idea. He does get very excited. I joke with my husband because I’ve never seen anybody get quite as excited to see my boobs as my son does.

Marc: Hey, why not. Take it where you can get it. Take the appreciation.

Julia: Yeah, it’s awesome how they have such joy for such simple things.

Marc: Right. Amen to that. Julia, thank you so much.

Julia: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah, this has been a great conversation. And like I said, I really feel you can get where you want to go. Take the slow road. And it’ll unwind in its own time.

Sometimes we just have to trust in the timing of it and really relax into what life is giving you right now.

And I feel like you’re doing that. And you’ll continue to do it. And let’s revisit in another six or seven months. I’ll have my team reach out to you. We’ll schedule another time. And we’ll check in.

Julia: All right. Thank you so much.

Marc: Thank you, Julia. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Once again, I’m Marc David. On behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast, always more to come my friends. Take care.

Podcast Episode 143: Sometimes, Losing Weight Means Feeling Safe

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