Home » The Psychology of Eating Podcast with Nathalie Ouellet

The Psychology of Eating Podcast with Nathalie Ouellet

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Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David. Here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. I am with Nathalie. Hi, Nathalie!

Nathalie: Hi, Marc!

Marc: I’m glad you’re here.

Nathalie: Me, too. Thank you.

Marc: Yeah, let me just fill viewers and listeners in for a moment in case you’re new to this podcast. So what’s going to happen here is Natalie and I are going to do a session. And we’re going to dive in for pretty much a one-time session to see if we can help her have a breakthrough, have an opening. And I’m going to take six months to a year’s worth of work and see if we can do the impossible and condense it into less than an hour so we can help you, Nathalie, with some kind of opening, insights, breakthroughs in what ever challenge in the eating psychology and nutrition university wants to face.

So why don’t you give us a sense, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever it is you wanted from the session, what would be the ideal outcome?

Nathalie: I would find out the obstacle, the thing that’s keeping me stuck. I know there’s a reason I’m not losing the weight and I’m just gaining. And it feels like I’m punishing myself. There’s a message in there. And it feels like it’s right there. But I can’t put my finger on it. So with a magic wand and your help, maybe just pull that veil open and find out what that is.

Marc: So what kind of weight do you want to lose? And how much? And when did he come on? Could you give me some details?

Nathalie: I’ve got about thirty to lose from my weight that was… I used to be about 130 when I was exercising normally and eating normally and healthfully, but not being fanatical about it. And in the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve put on about thirty pounds, possibly more. I haven’t weighed myself lately. A new relationship, new job, kids’ activities, just not taking the time for myself. And that’s not an excuse. I could find the time, I suppose. But it just seems impossible.
Marc: So about thirty pounds or more in 2 1/2 years. And you said the thing that changed is you got into a new relationship, you’re not exercising as much. So tell me about the relationship. Why might that be a factor here?

Nathalie: I think part of it might be that sort of hobbling myself. If I make myself less sexually attractive, then there won’t be any issues with other men or temptations or any of those issues. I might be afraid of my sexual energy or sexual power. So I’m dampening myself.

It’s a good relationship with him. And I want to keep it good. And I want to keep going with him. So I suspect that’s what’s going on. But I’m not too sure. Part of what’s going on, anyway.

Marc: And what kind of exercise were you doing before you had this weight gain? And now after?

Nathalie: I was running a lot.

Marc: What’s a lot?

Nathalie: A lot? Maybe five times a week. Not marathon running, but I really enjoy running in the trails in the forest in nature. So I get a bit of a high from that, I guess. Not running on streets or roads. I don’t like that. So I’ve stopped doing that. But I don’t get much opportunity to run in the forest anymore. So less pleasure.

Marc: So why so much less time? I know the kids got busy. But you had the same kids beforehand, yes?

Nathalie: I did. My son got into hockey, more serious hockey. So that’s quite a few times per week. And my daughter’s got activities, too. And it’s not a regular schedule. And I guess that was enough of an obstacle to stop me from keeping my own routine going.

Marc: And when you were running five times a week, how many miles? How many kilometers?

Nathalie: During the week?

Marc: Yeah.

Nathalie: Probably five to ten kilometers four to five times a week.

Marc: And on the weekend?

Nathalie: Including the weekends.

Marc: Oh, including the weekends. Got it. Got it. Got it. So has your diet changed any?

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: How so?

Nathalie: It’s not as good. I go through periods where I’m eating very well, very healthy. I went vegetarian for a while or clean diet until it felt like it wasn’t right anymore. I find lately I’m eating a lot of junk food or drive-thru food because I don’t have—I know it sounds like a bad excuse—but I don’t feel I have time to cook and the drive people around. And I think at some point I’ve just given up. And it feels like it’s too much. I can’t fight it. So I’m just giving in until I don’t know when. Hopefully I give it up at some point.

Marc: How old are your kids?

Nathalie: Twelve and ten.

Marc: Twelve and ten. So you’re divorced?

Nathalie: Uh-huh.

Marc: Is the dad in their life?

Nathalie: Yes. So we have kids week on, week off. So I do have that one week without kids.

Marc: Got it.

Nathalie: I really have no excuse. I guess I don’t know what’s going on.
Marc: So on the week that you don’t have the kids, what happens? What do you think to yourself?

Nathalie: When I do have the kids, I spend all my time with them or driving around. I put a lot of attention on them. And within the week I don’t have the kids, I use that time to do the things I didn’t do that I needed to do, like errands or chores or so on during that week.

Marc: And are you working?

Nathalie: I work full-time, yeah.

Marc: Can you tell me about your job? Are you commuting? How many hours a week?

Nathalie: I work full time. It’s a small town. So my commute is probably fifteen minutes. So that’s not a big deal. I have a desk job, which I don’t enjoy. And it feels very draining to me. So by the time I get home, I just feel blah. And I know going for a run would perk me up. But I don’t even have the energy to put my shoes on or just to go. Like I said, it feels like something’s blocking me. And I don’t know what that is.

Marc: Previously before the weight gain, how did you motivate or inspire yourself to run and exercise and take care of yourself? What you think with different?

Nathalie: I loved it. It was the momentum of it. So I kept doing it in getting a high from the running in nature. And that just kept me going. But I stopped for more than three or four days, I find it starts going downhill. So I still run occasionally. But I can never keep it up.

Marc: So when you wait about 130 pounds, how long were you at that weight for which you say?

Nathalie: Maybe three years.

Marc: And then where were you before those three years?

Nathalie: I’ve been at about 130 for… I’d say that’s my regular weight overall. I’ve been up and down quite a bit. I went on Weight Watchers for a while and went down to the low 120s, which was probably too small for me, although I was very proud of it. But not sustainable. And then at one other point in my life, I was this heavy. And I was in a bad relationship and lost the weight, lost the relationship. And it was good since.

So to find myself at this much, thirty pounds overweight now, it’s just feels very discouraging. And I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve gained this much weight with the lifestyle I’m leading. But it still feels a little bit unfair, I guess.

Marc: So your weight’s been up and down. I’m just trying to understand. So before this weight gain, you’re at 130. You’re at 130 for how long? You said about three years maybe?

Nathalie: About three years. Yeah.

Marc: And before those three years, that was the other relationship that you had that didn’t work out so well? Was that it?

Nathalie: No, that was my marriage. And then I had gained a little bit of weight, lost it. So have a bit of a pattern of when I’m single or in declining relationship, I lose weight. I’m thinner. And then in a relationship, I gain weight.

Marc: Got it.

Nathalie: Whether I’m happy or unhappy. It doesn’t matter. [Being] in a relationship equals weight.

Marc: Got it. Okay. So how does your current partner feel about your weight and where your body is at?

Nathalie: He’s fine with it. The only thing that bothers him is my attitude about it. So if I feel down about myself or I have no sex drive because I’m feeling fat, then that affects him, as well. Otherwise he’s very supportive and loving and loves me whether I’m 130 or probably 200 pounds, although I don’t want to test that!

Marc: Right. So how does that land for you, the fact that he’s fine? Doesn’t matter to him.

Nathalie: It’s reassuring. It’s comforting. But it still feels external to the. I don’t feel like I’m in my real body right now with this extra weight. I’m working on it. And I’m learning to love myself now as I am. But it’s still very difficult.

Marc: So when you were weighing in the 120s you mentioned, how did you gain the weight back from there? What do you think happened?

Nathalie: I started eating. I was on Weight Watchers and counting. I was eating less than it should. But it was working. So I got a little overenthusiastic about it. But once I started eating like a normal person, the weight started creeping up.

Marc: Got it. And tell me how old your kids are again.

Nathalie: Twelve and ten.

Marc: Twelve and ten. And who’s older? The boy or the girl?

Nathalie: The boy.

Marc: The boy. Okay. So, by the way, I like to bounce around a lot. But there’s a method to the madness here.

Nathalie: I trust it.

Marc: How is your daughter’s relationship to her body?

Nathalie: She seems very happy. She’s a little ball of sunshine. She’s got a bit of extra weight. And she doesn’t seem to feel bad about it, which is great. Her friends are thin. And sometimes I worry that people make fun of her. And I hope she doesn’t listen to this podcast. But she’s good with her body. And I’ve made an effort not to speak badly about my body in front of the kids.

Marc: And how about your mom? Is she still alive?

Nathalie: Yes.
Marc: And are you guys close?

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: And what would you say is her relationship with her body? What’s that like? How would you describe it?

Nathalie: Not very good. As long as I can remember, she’s always been dieting or feeling fat or talking about her body in a negative way. So I think that probably did influence me.

Marc: How much weight that she wants to lose?

Nathalie: Twenty pounds maybe. I’m not too sure.

Marc: Does she talk to you about it still?

Nathalie: Yeah. It just seems to be a normal part of the conversation. People talk in the diet culture, I guess, the new ways of eating or the new diets, the new exercise plan.

Marc: So what do you think would happen if you lost the weight you want to lose? You lose twenty-five or thirty pounds or whatever it is. How would things be different?

Nathalie: Just thinking about it, it’s just felt like a big emotional weight lifted off me. I think I’d have more energy. I’d have more confidence. I would probably be a little more social. Sometimes I don’t feel like going out, especially if it’s people haven’t seen in a while because they’ll notice how much we again. So I think I might be more social, more me.

Normally I’m a fairly outgoing, happy person. But when I weighed down with my body image issues, I just feel dull and like my light is extinguished. So with losing weight, feeling better about my body, I see myself as a more vibrant woman.

Marc: And right now at this weight that you’re at now, are there times when you tend to feel more vibrant and like you have your light? Are there times that are just naturally better than others for whatever reason?
Nathalie: Yes. I’m taking some dance classes. So when I’m salsa dancing, that feels really good. I feel shiny then.

Marc: Got it. Are you doing those classes with your partner?

Nathalie: No, with one of my friends.

Marc: Got it. But that’s a time when you just feel, “Wow. I’m in my body. I feel good.” When was the first time in your life you could remember wanting to lose weight or wanting to look different?

Nathalie: Probably when I was fourteen and I had appendicitis. So I had to have surgery. And I lost ten pounds overnight or something. And I remember being so… Here I was in the hospital post surgery. And I was really happy because I lost ten pounds. And that memory kind of sticks out in my head as that’s a bit screwed up. So fourteen.

Marc: So you were fourteen years old. Had kids made fun of you in school?

Nathalie: Yeah. Yeah. I have a bubble butt. So kids would make fun of that. It wasn’t fashionable back then.

Marc: So kids would make fun of that. And what happened when you lost that ten pounds? Did they still make fun of you? Was anything different?

Nathalie: Other girls were admiring me because, “Ooh. You lost ten pounds. That’s great.” Jealous, and wanting to know how to do it.

Marc: So then in your teenage years, did your weight kind of maintain itself after you had that weight loss from the appendicitis? Did your weight now stay down? Did it fluctuate?

Nathalie: No, it came back up to a normal level. I think I was a normal weight in high school. I don’t remember it fluctuating too much. I was never skinny. I don’t know. Looking back, I think I was just perfect.

Marc: But it was that point at fourteen, were you self-conscious after the weight came back?

Nathalie: I don’t think so. I don’t remember that. I just remember losing ten pounds and being so happy about it. I don’t remember when it came back, what happened then. We moved shortly after that. So everything changed then.

Marc: So you move shortly after that. Everything changed, meaning?

Nathalie: Moved to a new city, new friends, bigger town. So it was all different.

Marc: So when was the next time you could remember after you did that move being self-conscious about your body or people saying things?

Nathalie: It was when I was twenty-one and I was in university and I was having a long-distance relationship. And I went on the pill. I gained a lot of weight. It didn’t really strike me. It didn’t bother me that much. When I saw him again, though, he didn’t want to have sex with me anymore. And he pushed me away. And he told me that he wasn’t attracted to girls who were overweight. And I started crying. And he pushed me away. And he said that I’d be better off going running than crying.

And I would never take that now. But then I was young and naïve, I guess. Anyway, even though I know that was very cruel of him and that was coming from his own insecurity, it still affects me now, I think. So that was the next big moment in weight—I don’t know—consciousness or being aware of my weight.

Marc: So that’s pretty powerful.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: Yeah. I have some thoughts that I want to start to kind of put together and share with you so we can start to unravel where you’re at. I think I got a lot of good information and a lot of pieces here. So I’m going to just give you some feedback and some thoughts.

I want to start with the real general picture. I like to say that each one of us are very unique for sure. And we share a lot of similarities at the same time. Our stories are different. And there’s places where they’re quite similar. So you have a story in general that I find really fascinating that I’ve heard so many times before. And you kind of nailed it when you said, “When I’m not in a relationship, when I’m a single girl, I’m fit. I’m running. I’m taking care of myself. And I’m at the weight I want to be. And then when I’m in relationship, whether that relationship is good or bad, the weight comes up.”

You are not the first lady to say that.

Nathalie: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah. It’s a phenomenon is what I want to say. And I want to give you my observation of that phenomenon. In the big picture level, my observation of that phenomenon is a lot of women have what I’m going to call the false or toxic belief called, “If I look a certain way and weight a certain amount, then you’re going to love me. I will be lovable. I will be worthy of love. And I will attract a partner in my life. And I can get the love I want and live happily ever after. And if I don’t have the right body, then clearly I’m not going to be loved. I’m not going to be popular. I’m not going to get noticed. And therefore I will be alone and without love.”

So that’s the underneath statements that the mind is saying, oftentimes unconsciously. Oftentimes we don’t even realize that were saying that. But I think women have that very strong. Women have a certain kind of mating instinct that’s locked and loaded into their genetics and into their evolution. Women are the ones that are making the babies. You’re the ones that are gestating the babies, growing in your bodies. So you’re responsible in part for continuing evolution.

So women have this biological program that they’ve got to couple up and mate. And we do what we need to do to couple up and mate. And a lot of human minds have fallen under the falls, toxic belief that, “I need to look a certain way in order to find a mate.” And as soon as you find that mate, “Yeah, I don’t exercise as much. And, yeah, I’m not taking so good care of myself with diet.” It’s kind of hard. It’s hard running every day.

I know you say you love it. I know you say you feel better. I believe you. I know you feel better when you eat well. But, to me, there’s a part of you that’s in this strange rubber band effect because there’s a little bit of push and force and artificial motivation that has to go into it for you running five days a week. I don’t know that you really want to run that much, even though you say you like it and it feels good. As soon as you don’t have to do it, you stop doing it on a certain level. As soon as you don’t have to start taking exquisite care of your body with food, you stop doing it, in part because it’s not sustainable for you.

So on Weight Watchers, you gained the weight back. You said, “When I started to eat,” i.e. you had to starve yourself. Not sustainable. So, sure. You could weigh 100 pounds if you want by not eating. Quite honestly, nobody cares. Nobody is going to love you more if you weigh hundred pounds. You might think it’s interesting. But you might be the only one. I promise you that.

So part of it is starting to come to grips that this is a larger pattern and you don’t have a patent on it. You’re not the only one who does this, that this is a phenomenon. And I just want to point out where it makes sense. For men and women, men have their own ways that they do this. But when we go out dating, of course, we’re doing our best. I’m dressing my best. I’m looking my best. I’ve got my best personality on. And I’m going to give it my all.

And then when we’re in relationship, “Yeah, I’m going to take my foot off the gas a little bit.” You know? I’m not going to be the perfect guy. I’m not going to be the perfect gentleman all the time. There’s a little bit of courtship that happens. One of your courtship rituals, one of your mating rituals is, “I’m is going to get as thin as possible.” I’m going to put all my energy and effort into getting thin and reel that guy in, who found the thin girl.”

And if that’s how we think we’re really somebody in or we’re attracting a relationship, it will naturally hold that if we gain the weight back, will be afraid of losing the person, which is why I asked you, “How does he feel about it?” And you said, “ Fortunately, he’s okay.” The only challenge for him is when you’re not feeling good about you because then if you’re not feeling good in your body, you’re not going to feel good in your body. And that means no intimacy for him maybe or no sex. And he just wants you to feel good in your body.

And in your mind, you don’t feel good in your body unless you lose the weight. So you’re in an interesting conundrum and an interesting predicament because the setup is in part—and I’m not saying this was purposeful or well thought out—but there is a part of you and a part of a lot of women unconsciously driven to create a body that’s not sustainable for them in the interest of getting a relationship.
Relationship happens, take foot off gas pedal because, “Oh, God. Thank goodness I don’t have to do this anymore. It’s too much. It’s too much work.” So I keep hearing you saying, “It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work. I don’t have the time.” And then you said a number of times—and I’m going to paraphrase here—“I know what I need to do. There’s something blocking me.”

On one level I don’t know if there’s anything blocking you really, meaning I think there is a very legitimate place inside of you where you go, “Screw this. I can’t be doing a mating ritual all my life.” You can’t go out on a date every day or all the time with your partner. You are not in dating stage anymore. You’re not in mating ritual stage anymore. You’re a couple. And you’ve got a life. And now you have energy going to your partner. And you’ve got a new job. And the kids are getting busier.

And the truth is you looking thinner has moved down the list a little bit. It’s not a priority. I know you want it. I hear that. I get that. I’m not saying it’s not something you want. But in your hierarchy inside your psyche, it’s as big a priority. I’d be willing to bet a lot of money if your partner just disappeared tomorrow and you had to get in another relationship, you’d lose the weight. You’d find a way. You get motivated.

But motivation often means, “I’m pushing myself. I’m forcing myself. I’m shoving myself. And I’m making myself do this,” as opposed to inspiration, which is, “I love doing this. This is great. This is good for me. I would do this no matter what. I run because I love to run. I eat this way because I love to eat this way.”

So I want to go back in time for a second because oftentimes our early life is the foundation from where the rest of us springs from and where our habits and patterns and ways of being in the world, that’s where they come from. It’s okay. It’s not a mystery. We often make psychology like it’s some highly clinical field where you have to fix people and mess with their minds and do psychotherapy. No. We just have to look at our story.

So you have a story. I have a story. We all have a story. And our story influences us. It really does. Our stories are wonderful. They’re beautiful. They’re poignant. They’re challenging. So I want to pick out two pieces of your story that I found interesting that you shared. One was, “I’m fourteen years old. I have appendicitis. I end up in hospital.” You could die from appendicitis, by the way.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: And here you are a fourteen-year-old girl. And you go, “Cool! I lost ten pounds.” Now, I also want to say that you are not the first person, particularly woman, that I’ve heard this from. Women will be in the hospital and they’ll be ill. And they might even be on death’s door. And they’ll lose ten, twenty, thirty pounds. And they are secretly happy. And it’s this weird thing.

And the reason why it’s weird and strange and distorted is because there is a 50 belief that circulates in the atmosphere and in the universe that doesn’t belong to you, that you didn’t invent, that I didn’t invent. It’s a belief that will be there long after you and I are gone. And the belief is, “If I am thin and I weigh a certain amount and I look a certain way, then I will be acceptable. And I will be loved, particularly as a woman.”

For a man, it’s a little different. For a man, it’s, “If I am handsome and muscular and tall and/or have a lot of money.” That’s the guys little fairy dust that he’s looking for. So you adopted that belief. You absorbed it from the environment. It comes to your mother. It comes from kids. It comes through media. It comes to magazines. You absorbed that.

And as soon as this weight comes off, you get validated. The other girls wants to know, “How did you do that?” All of a sudden you’re cool. And kids are not making fun of you. Wow! To a young kid, to a young impressionable girl where previously, “I might not have been popular or I might have been made fun of for my body parts, for my bubble butt, now I’m okay.”

So we are now invested in making sure that our body looks a certain way because when we’re young, everything is about approval from the outside. Young people want one thing: “Approve of me.” Young girls, young boys. “Do you love me? Do you approve me? Am I okay?” “Okay, I’m not okay. What you have to do to be okay? How do I have to change so you all think I’m okay? How do I have to change so you all like me?”

We become people pleasers. We do things that go against the truth of who we are. In your case and in a lot of people’s cases, we go, “I have to look a certain way in order to be loved.” So you have that early experience of, “A-ha. I lose weight and people start to like me. That means I’m popular.”

You mentioned then again when you were twenty-one, you moved. And things changed. Tell me again what happened at that point. You moved to a different city.

Nathalie: Yeah. I was going to university in a different city from my boyfriend. I went on the pill. So while we were apart—

Marc: On the pill, that’s when you gained the weight?

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: Okay, so check this out. So here you are all so young and impressionable. And you’ve got a boyfriend. And it’s long-distance. Isn’t that amazing? And isn’t that wonderful? And that’s sweet. And all our hormones are kind of raging and on fire and making us feel really, really good.

And you gain this weight. And the part you gain the weight because you went on the pill that was allowing you to have sex with the guy so you could have fun and he could have fun and you bond even more. And now he’s saying very directly, in no uncertain terms, “You are no longer lovable. You’ve gained weight. You are not lovable.”

So he is now validating what most of the culture and most of the media and the invisible virus is saying. He just validated that. He just said, “You see? Everybody’s right. You are not lovable. I’m out of here. Adios. You’re no good.” And from that moment on, I want to suggest that you got real clear that, “In order to have love and be in a relationship, I needs to lose weight. I need to look a certain way because if I don’t, I’m screwed.”

And your self-respect and your sense of self-dignity and self love has been tied in for sure since then in terms of how much you weigh. But the conundrum is you do all that effort when you’re single. And it’s tiring. And it’s unnatural. And it’s unsustainable for you. I don’t care what anybody else says. How do I know this? Because as soon as you get into a relationship, the weight comes back on. It’s too much work for you.

You don’t realize, in my opinion, you don’t realize how much work it takes you in the running and watching your diet—especially the running—to maintain your body where it is. I know you say you like it. But I’m still going to say I don’t think it’s your first choice to be doing that because you stop as soon as you can, as soon as you feel safe. “When I’m single, I don’t feel safe. When I’m single, I’m alone. When I’m in relationship, now I’m safe.” As soon as we’re safe, we let go. Guys get married, guys get into a relationship, guys gain weight. Guys stop exercising. Guys stop taking care of themselves oftentimes. Same thing.

So what I’m saying here is that I want you to bump up to a bigger picture. And I would love for you to let go of the belief here that there’s kind of something wrong with you as to why you can’t lose the weight. That’s what you say. You are basically saying to me, “Something’s wrong and/or something’s in the way, some kind of obstacle as to why I can’t lose the weight. So if I can find that obstacle, evaporate it, then I could lose the weight.”

Nathalie: Right.

What I’m saying to you is or isn’t an obstacle. There’s no obstacle here. There’s no obstacle to your weight loss. Might you have waste to lose? Perhaps. Might you lose weight? Perhaps. Might we come up with a few ideas or strategies to lose weight? Perhaps. But what I’m saying is for you at this point, weight loss is not where it’s at. It’s not where the action is in my opinion for you to get to where you want to go.

To me, for you to get where you want to go, you have to for the first time in your life—for the first time in your life—you have to shut out the noise. And you have to get in right relationship with yourself because inside your mind, you’re being a twenty-one-year-old girl. Inside your mind you’re being a fourteen-year-old girl.

You’re bouncing back and forth. “I want to lose this weight. I want to be acceptable. As soon as I lose this weight, I’m going to be loved. I’m going to be acceptable. People are going to love me. Then I’ll be okay about myself,” even though your partner loves you, even though he’s into you, even though he’s got no problem.

And I get, okay, you want to look a certain way for you. But what I’m saying is this is where you’ve placed your body right now. And it’s there for a reason. There’s a wisdom to this weight that you’re at right now. And I believe that that wisdom is that this is a time for you to start to learn self-love. You do not have enough time or energy to motivate yourself to lose weight the way you used to lose it. That’s my assertion.

You’re looking for ways to get motivated, to find time, to get in that groove because it is kind of like a groove. “Yeah, as soon as I get momentum, I could do it.” You’re right. But creating that momentum is unnatural for you. That’s my belief. It’s an artificial momentum.

Yeah, I can go out and I can go jogging on the road right now. I hate jogging on the road. I can’t stand it. It’s not good for my body. I’m like you. I’m a trail runner. I don’t like anything else. But you couldn’t pay me to run on the road. But I can. And in fact I used a road run. And if I road run four or five days ago, I could get momentum and do it. But it hurts my body. I don’t like it. I get my chemical high from it. But it’s not good for me. And I really don’t like it. But getting drugs from it, i.e. I get that high. I could do it. Who cares? Really, who cares?

Your partner doesn’t care. You care. But I’m saying the way you care doesn’t serve you because it’s coming from a place of conditional love for yourself. “I don’t love you for who you are right now” is kind of what you’re saying to you. And by the way, our kids are going to pick that up. I’m glad you don’t openly criticize your body or talk about the dieting a lot around your kids like your mother probably did around you. It makes a difference, Nathalie, not to do that. And at the same time, kids will pick it up silently, especially your girl. It happens.

So you’re doing this for you. And you’re doing this for your child because your mother—and this is not blame—she helped you have a relationship with your body that was modeled after hers because the model after our parents. We model after our same-sex parents in relationship to our body.

So you modeled after your mother’s relationship to her body, which is, “I don’t like it. Gotta diet. Gotta change it. Gotta shift it.” And life gave you all kinds of opportunities and circumstances to see that that is proven. Because you lost weight, the girls loved you when you were fourteen. You gained weight and your boyfriend ditched you when you were twenty-one.

And we have to grow up. You’re a woman. You’re an adult. You’re mature. You’re not that fourteen-year-old anymore. You’re not that twenty-one-year-old. And you’ve got to claim your power. And are you hanging around your daughter going, “Eh. I don’t love you. I don’t approve of you. You’ve got to lose weight.” You’re concerned about her friends and the kids at school making fun of her. In essence, you’re attacking your own self in your own head about your own body. That’s the same thing.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: It’s the same exact thing. So, “We don’t want people from the outside doing it. But it’s okay if we do it.” Well, if I’m doing it to me, it will come from the outside. Guaranteed. In some way, shape, or form, it’s going to come from the outside I’m doing it to me. I’ll call that the law of attraction. I’ll call that’s just something that I’ve noticed that happens.

I see a lot of people out there—men, women—who have big bodies who are fat who love themselves, who are in their bodies. They’ve got no problems. And if somebody does say something, it just goes over their heads. They’re not interested. It’s not an issue for them.

So what I’m saying is that your next movement, your next development here—in my opinion—is calling a cease-fire on you having to lose weight. For three or four months, let it go. Be this weight that you are right now. And see what life would be like if you just let go of this whole agenda. I’m not saying I want you to let go of it forever at all. I just want you to push the pause button on, “You’re no good. This is not okay. This isn’t good enough. You’re not going to be loved. You’ve got to lose weight. What are the obstacles?”

There’s so much chatter up there that you can’t be you. And you can’t be happy. And there’s plenty of people that are happy who have your height and body weight. And you’ve got a good life. You’ve got a man that loves you. You’ve got two beautiful kids. You live in a beautiful place. It might be a little cold. I get that the desk job is challenging. All in all, life is not so bad.

Nathalie: Mmm hmm.
Marc: So I’m asking you to take three months—and I mean this—and not weigh yourself. And how do you love your body right now? Give your partner a gift. Go, “Here. I’m loving my body just like it is. Have at it.” Sometimes if we can’t love our own bodies, it’s nice to get help. So he’s like the help right now. He’s the guy, he loves your body way more than you do. And he’s not lying to you. Trust me. I’m a guy. He’s not lying. He’s not trying to make you feel better. He’s a guy. And guys first and foremost—most guys—want a woman who is just so comfortable being in her body. That, to a man, is sexy.

You could have “the perfect body.” But if you’re completely uncomfortable in your body and you don’t want to be touched, for a guy it ain’t going to work at the end of the day. And if there’s men in your life who make as a condition, “You is five pounds or fifteen pounds or twenty pounds. Otherwise I’m not going to love you,” if that’s what they say at this stage of the game, you go, “Great. Bye bye. Adios. I don’t want you in my life.” They’ve just self-selected out of your universe because they’re jerks. Plain and simple.

If one of your good friends said to you, “Nathalie, I don’t love you anymore. And I won’t love you until you lose weight,” do you really want that kind of friend?

Nathalie: No.

Marc: No. So I’m saying… Can you tell me how old you are?

Nathalie: Forty-one.

Marc: Forty-one. This is a great time for you. Forty-one is when a woman is officially on the queen program. You’re a queen and training in a big way. You’re stepping onto your throne. You’re stepping into adulthood. The attributes of a good queen, think of Queens that you’ve seen in fairy tales or in movies. Think of a good queen. She sits on her throne. She is giving. She is loving. She is commanding. She knows who she is. People respect her. People bow to her. She’s generous with her energy.

Think of the classic good princesses that you’ve seen in fairytales. They’re always about their beauty in their looks. And they’re always in trouble. There’s always something going on. There’s always a little bit of a drama. And they don’t fit on a throne because they can’t give of themselves to their queendom because they’re not mature enough yet. You don’t give the keys to the car to the eleven-year-old. They’re not mature enough. You don’t give the keys to the queendom to a twenty-one-year-old little princess. She’s not ready.

A queen doesn’t sit on her throne going, “Okay, everybody. Do I look good enough? Do you love me? Do I need to lose weight in order to be your queen? Oh, my God. I need to lose weight to be your queen. I’m not a good queen anymore. Maybe I should step down from the throne and give up all these great benefits.” No. The queen doesn’t say that. She knows she is. She understands life. She understands the circle of life.

Bad queens, by the way, compete with princesses. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” That one. That old queen gets jealous of a young princess and wants to look like her, it doesn’t end up good for anybody when that happens because she’s stepping out of the natural cycle of life and she wants something that doesn’t belong to her anymore because she hasn’t stepped into being a good queen.

So I’m saying that, yes, you can try to lose weight and force yourself to lose weight. And you can find a fitness trainer who comes to your house every day and yells and screams, “Come on, Nathalie! You can do it. Get out there. Run more.” And we can have somebody yelling and screaming at you whenever you eat, motivating you to eat less or whatever.

But part of you is rebelling. So I want to say this. A part of you is very rebellious. And I like that part of you because it’s a part of you that truly thinks this whole thing is nonsense just kind of like I’m saying. There’s a part of you that actually thinks this whole thing is nonsense. And that’s the rebel in you. When you say, “I’m trying to figure out why I’m sabotaging myself,” you’re not really sabotaging yourself. I really mean this. I want you to consider this.

We have different voices in my head. We have different people who populate our mind. There’s the girlfriend in you. There’s the mother in you. There’s the office worker in you. Maybe you have a teacher in you. There’s the athlete in you. There’s a little bit of a scientist in you. You’ve got a bad girl in you. You’ve got a good girl in you. You have all these personalities that come out when they do.

When you are with your friends, you have another personality. When you’re with your partner, you have another personality. The rebel personality can be very useful to us. The rebel personality is the part of us that says no to stupid stuff and says, “I’m not going to follow the herd if it means that I’m going to be just another lamb. If I need to break a rule so I can be me and I can be honest and I can be real, then I’ll break the rule. I’m not doing dumb things for no good reason, especially if they’re harmful to me and people I love.”

So the rebel is courageous and original and doesn’t want to do dumb stuff. And it’s the rebel in you that’s going, “Man, this is too hard. This is nonsense. I just want to be me. I don’t want to exercise every day and force myself to do something I don’t like to do.”

By the way, I asked you these days when you feel best about your body. And you told me when you’re salsa dancing. When you’re in your body in a way that you love, that’s the translation. For you, “When I’m in my body in a way that I really love…” You didn’t say, “Yeah, if I run occasionally, that’s when I really love myself.” You didn’t say that. It’s when you’re doing movement that you love.

Nathalie: Yes.

Marc: So, yeah. You got that one. You smiled on that one because you know I’m right here on that one.

Nathalie: You are. Yep.

Marc: If you can salsa dance a bunch of days a week or more times a week, that could be your exercise. If you can get outside of walk—you don’t have to run—even a little bit, I would love to see you for the next three months only do movement that you love just as an experiment. Just an experiment. Just do what you love. “I like salsa.” Great. Do salsa dancing. Forget about running.

If you enjoy walking and walking is easy and natural to you, I’d rather walk and give up and running. Just give it up. Just let it go. It doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up again. I’m talking three months, we’re trying on a different habit. We’re trying on a different way of being. And I’m suggesting it because I’m suspecting you’re going to get a big bang for their buck here. And you’re going to discover a part of yourself that you haven’t fully met before, which is the part of you that’s relaxing into who you actually are.

Nathalie: Okay.

Marc: Does that make sense?

Nathalie: Yep. I can do that.

Marc: So it’s just doing the movement that you care about, that you enjoy, that you like. Salsa dancing, perhaps walking. Is there anything else on the list of, “Yeah, I would love to…”

Nathalie: There’s belly dancing. But there’s not much opportunity for that here, except at home. But it doesn’t have the same energy as doing it with a group of women.

Marc: Oh, for sure. I get it. Anything else?

Nathalie: But if I find it…

Marc: Anything else? Anything else that’s doable?

Nathalie: I can’t think of anything. I like hiking and exploring. That kind of goes with walking.

Marc: Got it. So I’m going to say hiking, exploring, walking whenever you can. Salsa dancing whenever you can. If you get lucky with the belly dancing, great. I think what’s going to happen is because there’s the rebellious part of you coming out because the rebellious part of you doesn’t like this whole nonsense about, “I have to be really, artificially thin and do all this hard work and this hard running in this hard dieting.”

So part of you was going to swing the other way. This is what humans do. We rebound to the opposite extreme. So you’ve been in one extreme. And now you’re rebounding to the other. And a lot of times when you’re eating junk food and you’re going against yourself, it’s the rebel in you.

It’s easier to choose a diet that’s going to work for you, to choose foods that are going to work for you when you’re not rebelling against anything. So when you let go of having to lose the weight, when you let go of having to exercise, it’s just you and the food now. And I’m inviting you to try on the weight that you are at right now for three months. Just try it on and get used to it and enjoy it.

And I’m going to suggest that if you have weight to lose, if you really did, then it has to come off naturally because any other way is going to be too hard for you and it’s not going to work and it’s not going to be sustainable because you’re not a young single girl anymore spend a lot of time exercising and dieting and putting energy into that.

You need to put energy into your kids. You need to put energy into relationships, your life, your work. You need to put energy feeling good right now, not into the future at some point, “When I weigh twenty-five pounds less, then I’ll love myself.” Because you’ve never been able to sustain that because the only thing that’s truly sustainable when it comes to loving yourself is loving yourself no matter what.

“Hey, I gained ten pounds. Okay. I still love myself. I gained twenty pounds. I still love myself. I’ve lost fifteen pounds. I still love myself. People get a jealous of me because I lost a bunch of weight. I still love myself. People hate me because I gained weight. I still love myself.” The noise is always going to be there, out there. And the noise is going to be there in your head until you start to change it. So I’m saying you have to step into your adult woman queen.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: Are you with me?

Nathalie: I’m with you. I hear you.

Marc: Yeah. How is this landing for you? Tell me your feelings, your thoughts here.

Nathalie: It feels a bit liberating. It’s a different angle than I had considered before, the part about my rebel. And it’s true. I know I have my rebel in me. But I hadn’t considered that my rebel was doing something good, was helping me out. It feels liberating, as well, to think of the next three months as just living in my body, just being myself and doing things that I enjoy rather than always feeling that pressure. It’s not like I am doing the things that I need to be doing to lose weight anyway. But just to lift that pressure, just tell myself, “That’s okay. I’m not going to worry about it right now.” That feels good. It feels like a weight lifted already. So I think there’s hope.

Marc: Yeah. One of the ways that we lose weight sustainably… A lot of times people want to be lighter. And you said at the beginning of this conversation, “I just feel like I’m carrying around this heavy weight. And I want to feel lighter.” So now you already feel lighter.

So part of sustainable weight loss when we really have weight to lose is we begin to have the feelings that we want, that we imagine we’re going to get then. “When I lose the weight, some going to feel lighter. I’m going to be happy. I’m going to love myself. I’m going to be in my body. I’m going to be out there. I’m going to be social.”

Okay. You can do all that stuff now. Why wait? Fine, lose the weight. But unless you start to have those results now, you actually can’t model for your body what it’s trying to do. So if you start to have those in the results…You start to socialize. You start to enjoy your body. You start to love yourself. You start to let your light out because your light is not dependent on how much you weigh.

Buddha is a pretty famous fat guy. And he wasn’t trying to diet so he’d be smarter or happier or more enlightened. Santa Claus seems to be a pretty happy dude. I am sure you have met people who are large, who are fat who have a lot of light.

My two grandmothers were like that. They had more light and more love than anybody I’ve ever met in my life. And they were not skinny by any stretch of the imagination. They could care less! And they both lived into their late eighties, early nineties. And they were fine. And they were loved. And they gave a lot of love. They didn’t need to be any thinner. So you can let your light out now.

And from that place, the rebel doesn’t have to be constantly going for things that go against you because the rebel doesn’t have anything to fight against anymore because you’re not trying to artificially push your body in a direction that just doesn’t feel natural and sustainable. And you’re not hating on your body. If people started coming up to you and knocking on your door and saying, “We hate your body,” your rebel would come out and protect you, put a sign on the door saying, “Haters, stay away.” Your rebel would protect you. “I don’t like this nonsense. These people are not my friends anymore.”

So the rebel is protecting you right now by what seems like subverting you. But it’s really saying, “Don’t do this same pattern anymore. It’s exhausting. It doesn’t work. And it’s a dead end,” because it is a dead end because it hasn’t gotten you anywhere. Some you’re trying to heal from childhood and from upbringing and from the world and from the nonsense the world teaches us. You’re trying to heal that. You’re trying to change and transform.

And it’s not easy. If it was easy, you would have done it. And tens of millions of people would have done it already. So this conversation is us to gather putting our brains and our smarts together and creating a collective immune response and saying no to these patterns, these habits, this what I’m calling a virus. It’s an invisible viruses in the atmosphere that we catch. And it says that where no good.

So there’s another piece. I don’t know if this is necessarily right for you. But this is a time that if you start making sure that you focus on having enough healthy fat, have enough healthy protein in your diet, that tends to curb the carbohydrate sugar cravings. Are you doing a lot of carbs or doing a lot of sugar right now?

Nathalie: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I get cravings. And that seems to be what’s about the house.

Marc: Are you dieting right now? Or are you skipping breakfast? No. So if you want to go on a meal plan or a diet plan, something like The Blood Sugar Solution Diet that’s by Mark Hyman or The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin, they’re essentially diets that are low in processed carbohydrates, lower in sugar, higher healthy fat and protein and vegetables.

And it doesn’t mean you have to stick to a hundred percent. But I would love for you to emphasize more healthy protein and more healthy fat in your diet. Don’t even think of it as calories because it’s the sugar and the carbs that will tend to be more problematic for weight gain.

Nathalie: Okay.

Marc: So once you can start to gravitate towards more nutrient-dense food that you like, that you enjoy, that work for you, you’ll see the cravings for carbs and sugar start to decrease. Does that make sense?

Nathalie: Yeah.

Marc: Yeah. So I would read The Blood Sugar Solution. That’s maybe a good book to help you get going, and/or The Virgin Diet. You can just pick out pieces from those books in terms of how to eat. But it’s pretty simple: more healthy protein, more healthy fat, more vegetables, less sugar, less complex carbohydrates. And do it in a way that works for you. And you’ll feel better. You’ll literally feel better.

And I don’t want you to try to control your calories. I want you to just start to love your food more and enjoy eating because right now food is a little bit of a battleground for you. And I want to take that battleground away. I want to get you in a place where you’re just eating. And for the next three months, you’re just eating. And you’re following a natural appetite to see what happens as an experiment.

Nathalie: That sounds good.

Marc: Yeah? Makes sense?

Nathalie: Yep. That makes sense.

Marc: Okay! Do you have any questions for me?

Nathalie: Not that I can think of right now, no.

Marc: Okay, great. Well, I’m going to send you some of my notes from this so you can get caught up in case it was a little bit of a whirlwind for you. But I threw a lot of you. That was a lot in trying to go to the target. This is where I would want to steer you if we were working together for ten sessions or fifteen sessions. This is a direction I want you to go in. We would have done more work in different places. But this is taking six months worth of work and condensing it into one conversation. I think there’s a lot of good pieces in here for you. I really do.

Nathalie: Okay. Thank you very much, Marc. I appreciate it.

Marc: Thanks, Nathalie! Yeah, thanks for being such a great sport, too, because I know this is not easy. And you were very honest with us and with viewers and listeners. And I know there’s a lot of us who can see ourselves in you. So it’s not that you’re the only one that has this issue. I guarantee you there’s a lot of other people, particularly women in this case, who are facing some of the same challenges and the same conundrums. So I hope this helps you. But I have a feeling it’s going to help others, too.

Nathalie: Thank you!

Marc: Okay, Nathalie! Thank you so much. And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I really appreciate your time and your energy. And there’s lots more to come.


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