Home » In Session With Marc David: Why We Self-Sabotage with Food and How to Stop

In Session With Marc David: Why We Self-Sabotage with Food and How to Stop

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Food and body challenges aren’t confined to certain regions or countries, they’re truly found all over the world as today’s episode of the podcast demonstrates.

Samantha is a 43-year old originally from Johannesburg, South Africa who is now living in London, and is struggling with a variety of eating challenges, including binge eating, emotional eating, and overeating.

After quitting smoking 8 years ago, Samantha put on weight that she has since not been able to shed. She’s tried plant-based diets to good effect but eventually returns to unwanted eating habits.

Tired of struggling with her weight, low energy, poor sleep, and weak digestion, Samantha turns to eating psychology expert, Marc David, who helps her find a deeper understanding of what’s driving her food challenges.

In this episode, Marc and Samantha explore how certain diets like Keto, Paleo, or plant-based diets can be therapeutic for the body — whether we stay on them over the long term or use them as tools to recalibrate our health.

Whatever our approach to eating may be, it’s important to recognize that these diets don’t address the psychological drivers behind our eating challenges.

Taking this a step further, Marc explains how we can’t fix eating challenges — which stem from our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs — using nutrition alone.

To address unwanted eating habits such as binge eating or emotional eating, we need to understand and ultimately transform our psychology.

A common way we stay stuck in our eating challenges is by self-attacking ourselves that we have these challenges in the first place.

This negative self talk can be truly endless.

If you find yourself saying things like “why can’t I just get over this already?” or “I’m terrible at controlling myself around food,” it’s time to bring loving attention to these thoughts.

Look for where you can begin to make small shifts in your internal self talk.

Where can you acknowledge your efforts and your progress, no matter how small?

Recognizing the shifts you’re making helps solidify those positive changes over time.

No matter what your brain may try to convince you of, remember you’re a unique and wonderful human. You’re not broken, there’s nothing to fix.

Keep reminding yourself of this … eventually, you’ll feel the truth of that in your bones.

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


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

New Course…

The Emotional Eating Breakthrough

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

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Marc David 

Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We’re back in the Psychology of Eating Podcast. I’m with Sam today. Welcome, Sam.

Sam 

Hi, Marc. Hi, everyone.

Marc David 

Glad we’re doing this. Sam, if you could wave your magic wand, and get whatever you want with your relationship with food, with your body, what would that be for you?

Sam 

I think it would be peace. I’d like to just really be comfortable, and at peace with my body exactly the way it is. With food, I’d like to remove the fear around food that I have. I love food, and I love eating, but there are definitely areas that I find challenging. I’ve got some bad habits like emotional eating, stress eating, and binge eating. I would like to gain some understanding and comfort around those challenges so I can really address them.

Marc David 

Great. So, when did you first notice that you were having these challenges around food, emotional eating, binge eating and so on? When did that start happening?

Sam 

Honestly, it was when I was trying to lose weight. I picked up a bit of weight for whatever reason, and I was trying to lose it. Despite feeling like I knew what I should be doing, I wasn’t doing it. I knew that I needed to eat more healthfully, and change some of my eating habits, but I just wasn’t doing it. It was beginning to cause me more anxiety and grief. Before that, I don’t think I had ever considered myself as having a challenging relationship with food. I had not been a dieter throughout my life, though I’ve certainly been aware of food, and aware of what I’m eating. It was only more recently when I quit smoking, that the weight began to pile on. I was trying to lose it, but I was really struggling and that was when I started thinking that maybe there’s more to losing weight than just knowing what to eat, when to eat it, and exercising. That was when I began this journey into understanding the psychological and emotional aspects of food and my eating challenges.

Marc David 

How long ago was that?

Sam 

It has been a yo-yo weight loss journey for probably the last eight years.

Marc David 

Okay, about eight years. How old are you now?

Sam 

43.

Marc David 

So, it started around age 35-ish?

Sam 

Yes, that was when I first started having problems with weight gain and losing it. Prior to that I had always been pretty active. My philosophy was: eat what you want, but balance it with exercise. I was quite good about…well, I felt that if I I could eat what I wanted to, but I just needed to make sure that I was balancing out what I ate with exercise. Then, I stopped smoking and that approach wasn’t working.

Marc David 

How much would you say your weight fluctuates?

Sam 

Probably about five to six kilograms up to a maximum of 10 kilograms.

Marc David 

Got it. I guess it must have been a surprise for you when all this weight gain started after having not had issues before?

Sam 

Yes, it’s not that I didn’t have issues with my weight, but I never felt that it was a challenge or that I needed to go on a diet. I just saw my weight struggles as a call to regulate what I was eating. Since then I have tried different diets like keto and have become more restrictive about what I’m eating, which I don’t really enjoy.

Marc David 

During this eight year journey, what seems like it has worked for you, even short term, to find a little bit of peace?

Sam 

Plant-based eating really helped me. But then I find that I become so focused on the idea that it’s got to be plant-based and that I can’t deviate from that.

Sam 

Plant-based helps you. Does it help you to lose weight or something else? What’s the impact that plant-based has on you?

Sam 

The first time I tried plant-based, it helped with everything. I lost quite a bit of weight, my energy improved, and my digestion improved. Prior to switching to plant-based, I had been quite unwell. I was not sleeping through the night, and I experienced a lot of stress. After the switch, I just felt more alive and my vitality improved. So, I love eating that way; predominantly fruits and vegetables, and not a lot of meat. So, plant-based really agreed with me.

Marc David 

So, let’s say that you’re eating a plant-based diet, or mostly a plant-based diet. What happens that throws you off?

Sam 

Good question. I get thrown off when things in my life don’t go according to plan and throw me off my schedule. The first thing that goes is the food. I’ll reach for something to comfort me or soothe my current situation. It’s generally sweets, or cakes, anything sugary and sweet. This sets me off and I start spiraling out of control, sometimes binge eating. That will last for a couple of days to a week and then I’ll reset.

Marc David 

Sure, sure. So, do you live alone?

Sam 

Yes.

Marc David 

And are you in a relationship?

Sam 

No.

Marc David 

Do you currently wish to be?

Sam 

Yes.

Marc David 

So, if you were writing your script around partnership, what would that look like for you?

Sam 

It is an ongoing dialogue in my head. Are you asking about script in terms of partner or around food?

Marc David 

Just in terms of a partner? What would partnership would look like for you? Is it marriage…or?

Sam 

Yes, I would like to one day be married and have a family of my own.

Marc David 

Okay. Have you come close before?

Sam 

Honestly, no. I’ve had serious relationships, but I don’t feel that any of them would have led to marriage.

Marc David 

What do you feel when you think to yourself: “here’s what needs to happen for me to find the relationship that I want or attract the relationship that I’d like to have?” What does your brain say to you?

Sam 

My brain says that there’s work that I need to do on myself before I can have that. There’s a lot of work I need to do around my relationship with myself and trusting myself. Trusting who I am, and not losing myself when I’m in a relationship. So, I think I’ve held back from being open to being in a relationship because at the moment, I feel there’s more work that I need to put into myself and discovering who I am in all areas of my life. This is something I’ve been going quite a bit of, and it’s an ongoing project at the moment.

Marc David 

Sure, good for you! So, career wise, work wise, are you where you would like to be?

Sam 

I’m moving in that direction since about a year ago. I had a job, and it was great, but it wasn’t fulfilling me. I didn’t feel like it was my purpose and what I was meant to be doing. So now I’m exploring other areas, and I’m moving in the right direction, career wise.

Marc David 

What do you think that would look like for you? What would the work you need to do on yourself in order to be ready for a relationship look like for you more specifically? Or what would it feel like? Like…Sam knows that she’s ready for a relationship because…

Sam 

I’ll have faith and trust in who I am as a person in the world. I think in relationships, I tend to lose who I am and put the other person first to the point where it’s all about their needs. I stop focusing on myself and what I need. That, in itself, just never really works, and so I don’t feel like I’ve chosen the right partner. I’ll be ready for a relationship when I am free within myself, and I know who I am. That person will just attract the right partner. I’m just focusing on myself at the moment.

Marc David 

Yeah. So, back to food for a second, and forgive me because I like to bounce around a bit. When do you feel the most free around food and body? Are there times when you just sort of forget about it? When you feel like life is okay, and eating is not something that you’re worried about, even if it’s just for a day, or two, or three?

Sam 

Well, when I’m on holiday certainly. Is that freedom? Other times, I feel free with food when I’m in a hot, sunny climate. I feel more alive within myself.  I have more energy, more vitality, and I’m more active. It all sort of lends itself to my goals. The more active I am, the healthier I eat. Also, the better I feel in my body, the better my clothes fit me. It’s like a cycle. Yeah, when my life is on the up, everything’s good, but when it’s not, it filters through, and it’s like a chain reaction. If one thing goes wrong, the first thing that goes is my food habits. I’ll start eating badly, and then I’ll stop exercising, and then I’ll pick up weight. Then, the cycle starts again. Something inside me says “alright”, and then I’ll reset…back to square one.

Marc David 

You know, I’ve noticed that what you just described is such a common pattern for so many people. You’re unique, we’re all unique, and yet there’s also this common pattern of: “Okay, I’m doing everything right. Things are going well. I’m taking care of myself in a pretty good way.” Then, we find something goes wrong, or something doesn’t feel good, and the system collapses while all hell breaks loose.

Sam 

Yeah, that’s pretty much the way it goes.

Marc David 

Where do you get support when those times are happening for you and when things start to break down? Do you have friends that you reach out to? How do you get back on track? What is it that you do to help right the ship at some point?

Sam 

I actually tend to withdraw when things go wrong. I sort of go inward. I don’t tend to reach out to people and I tend to isolate myself. Then, when I’ve had enough of feeling sorry for myself and being a party of one at my own pity party, only then do I say to myself: “we’re not doing this anymore.” There are a few people who I can reach out to, but not too many atleast who I can talk to openly about these kinds of challenges.

Marc David 

Okay, so more specifically, it sounds like there are a few people who you could conceivably talk to about what goes on for you with food and body. Are they friends or relatives?

Sam 

Yeah.

Marc David 

Are they friends who can identify with what you go through?

Sam 

Yes.

Marc David 

Yes, yes. You know, this is interesting to me. I find that we often have our ways of leaving ourselves. Ways where we check out, or we abandon ourselves and stop standing by ourselves. So, I think part of it is recognizing that this is what we do and noticing the pattern. You just described the pattern really well. You’re smart enough, and you’re wise enough, and you’ve had enough experience to go: “yep, here’s what happens for me when something in my life, whatever it is, doesn’t go my way, or doesn’t feel good to me. I start to go off.”

Marc David 

Here’s step one. Step one is just being aware. You say to yourself: “Oh, here’s my challenge, and here’s what actually happens. Anybody looking at your situation from the outside would agree with you. Yeah, you were doing well, you were taking care of yourself, and then something went wrong for you. You started self-soothing/self-punishing/not being there for yourself. So, the first thing I want to say is that that’s the place to work. It’s very unsexy, but it’s about learning to catch yourself in that moment, and say to yourself: “Okay, here’s me. Here’s Sam. And I’m about to go into this pattern that I’ve been doing for a bunch of years. This is my pattern.” Anything that helps you interrupt that pattern is very good for you. Any practice that you can do to help yourself interrupt that pattern is where the action is. Nothing changes until you can identify the place where you just switch off the light. It’s like a part of you just literally,  turns out the light and goes a little bit to sleep. You know, you do that.

Sam 

I get that.

Marc David 

So, there are two pieces that can help you to catch yourself in the moment and let me tell you what I mean by that. One piece is that, in a way, what you’re doing with food is not really sabotaging. It’s not really punishing yourself. You’re looking to soothe. It’s also really important to know that the strategy that you’re using makes sense. Something’s going on in your life that doesn’t feel good, and you’re doing the thing that you know best to do in the moment, which is to eat something sweet. Sweets make you feel better and sweets make anybody feel better in the moment. The only reason why you would do it is because it makes you feel better. You’re not doing it to punish yourself, you’re not doing it because you’re a willpower weakling. You’re essentially doing it because your nervous system, your body, your DNA has a memory that if you feel bad and eat something sweet and fun, you will feel good even if just for a moment, or two or three or four.

Marc David 

That’s the strategy that you know, so that’s what you’re doing. You talked about knowing yourself more as a way to get where you want to go in life. To me, knowing yourself more is sort of what we’re talking about right now. We’re talking about you recognizing that: “Oh, this is what I do…I’ve been pretty consistent with this, and now I need to interrupt that.” So, I think what you’re ready for is a shift. You’re ready for a shift in how you are viewing yourself, viewing your future, and viewing what success looks like. I don’t think success for you is going to look like: “Oh, I’m free now.” You’re gonna feel more and more free as you address this more and work on yourself. To me, freedom is like a stepwise process as opposed to this target that we hit. Knowing yourself is not about waking up one day and saying “I know myself.” I think you know this, but I’m just stating the obvious so you can take it a little more easy on yourself. I think part of the challenge is that you’re hard on yourself when all this goes down.

Sam 

Yes, I’m quite hard on myself.

Sam 

Once again, that’s knowing yourself. “Yeah, I’m hard on myself.” That is the place where you learn to know yourself better.  Knowing yourself better means knowing that you’re hard on yourself and that being hard on yourself doesn’t work. Being hard on yourself may sound good because you may believe that being hard on yourself means you could push yourself more. If I’m being hard on myself it’s like: “come on Marc, you could do this! You can run harder, jump faster!” Whatever it is, there’s a place where you have to find the part of Sam that goes: “Wait a second, I don’t have to be so hard on myself.” I think a lot of it for you is how hard you are being on yourself. Being hard on yourself makes the lows lower. And in a strange way, it makes it a little bit easier for you to not take good care of yourself. If I was surrounded by people who were really hard on me about my eating, and how I take care of my body and my health, and how I am as a person, and how I do anything, I would constantly be on edge, and I would be nervous. The moment I screwed up, I would be even more anxious. Then, I would screw up even more because I was just waiting for the moment when I would screw up because of all of the pressure that I am feeling from the outside.

Sam 

It does feel like that. I mean, even when I’m on a good run, I’m always thinking in the back of my mind: “okay, how long is this going to last before you start to self-sabotage?”

Sam 

Yeah, yes. That’s what I’m saying. So, here’s the unsexy, or not-so-sexy strategy.You have to choose to mature yourself  in this particular area. Being hard on yourself to the degree that you have been has not yielded a positive result. The only reason we are hard on ourselves is because of habit. A part of our brain believes that it’s eventually going to work. When you get support from your friends, or your loved ones, they’re not supporting you by being hard on you, or judging you, or being your harshest critic. No, they’re like: “Hey Sam, big hug. We love you. How are you doing?” That’s what you’re finding for yourself. To me, that’s the goal. If there was one goal, it’s about you learning how to love yourself through this process. You start by calling off the dogs a little bit and starting to like yourself and respect yourself. Only you can do that, and it’s a practice.

Sam 

Yeah, that’s really interesting. I keep going on about needing to love myself, and so I like the idea of taking baby steps to start liking myself a bit and respecting myself. That’s really helpful.

Sam 

Yeah. It’s easy for you, and for anyone, to attract a human being into our lives who is punishing to us because that’s what we do to ourselves and our little advertisement is self-punishment, punishment, or the concept of punish me. So really, this is about you treating you the way you would want to be treated by another human being. This is about you treating you the way you would treat the people that you care about, and the way you would treat the people you love. I’m going to say it’s a choice. It’s really choosing that I’m going to practice it even when it is difficult. It’s difficult because it means seeing when we’ve been on a path where we self-attack and seeing that we have stopped loving ourselves and taking care of ourselveves when things don’t go well. It’s about asking yourself: “how would my friend treat me in that moment? Would they abandon me? Would they judge me? Would they say negative mantras to me?” No.

Sam 

No, they wouldn’t. They would be supporting and loving. And yeah, I’m very different to my own internal critic.

Marc David 

So, let the internal critic be there and alongside that internal critic, let the internal Sam, who’s a woman who respects herself and takes care of herself be alongside her. If you were raising children, and they were going through a hardship, you wouldn’t beat them up, you wouldn’t punish them, you wouldn’t judge them, and you wouldn’t be harsh with them. You would love them into wherever you saw that they needed to go. There’s another piece to this too, which is the part of us that can be very all or nothing. Meaning where we eat just like this: totally plant-based, no sugar, no desserts. I don’t know how all or nothing you are, but it sounds like there’s a part of you that once you hit the sugar, then you just let go.

Sam 

Yes. All or nothing is something I do struggle with. It can even get to the point where if I open a packet of biscuits or a chocolate bar, I will eat the whole packet, go unconscious and then have two. It’s all or nothing. The way I control that is by not having it in the house because I don’t trust myself to be able to have just one cookie or just one biscuit.

Sam 

Yeah, so I think it’s a reasonable strategy to say to oneself: “okay, if I get triggered by certain foods, and I don’t want to eat all of it, then got it. It’s best for me not to have it in the house.” There’s also this thing about trusting myself. And I just want to offer some different viewpoints on that. Correct me if I’m wrong. When you say “I don’t trust myself, I don’t trust myself around these foods”, does that mean: “okay, if I have this around the house, I’m just going to eat it all, and I can’t trust myself to eat just one.” Is that the mistrust?

Sam 

Yes.

Sam 

Okay. So part of earning your own trust is that even when you do eat the whole bag or the whole box, you still stand by yourself. You still don’t punish yourself. You still forgive yourself. Even though it feels yucky and even though your body might not feel so good, and even though your energy might not feel so good, you still say to yourself: “ah, Sam, you didn’t want to do that but you did it. And you did it because you wanted to feel better.” That’s the only reason. You weren’t feeling good, so you did it to soothe. You don’t have to punish yourself for more than 10 minutes. It’s really about shortening the amount of time that you would normally punish yourself or abandon yourself or not take care of yourself. Instead of it being a week, or five days, or three days, or one day, you start to cut it down to three hours.

Sam 

So, those are the baby steps. It’s you trusting yourself like your good friends and the people that you’re closest with. I trust them. I trust them because on a certain level no matter what happens to me, or what I do, or what I go through, I know that they’re going to stand by me even when I’ve done stupid nonsense. You say you don’t trust yourself around having the food in the house, and I understand that. So, we need to get to a place where we trust ourselves because that’s fundamental to you. Being at peace in the world is trusting yourself. It’s not trusting that I won’t eat the sugar. That’s not it. It’s trusting that even when you do eat the sugar, you’re still your best friend. Do you see the distinction there? Do you see the difference?

Sam 

Yes. Yes. The difference between not eating it and just being okay with eating? Yes. Yes, I do.

Marc David 

How’s this conversation for you so far?

Sam 

It’s good. But why? I understand that it’s all or nothing behavior, and I’m self soothing. But why is it? I mean, I always take it back to being at boarding school, and being one of five children, and having to rush through meals. Is there any insight you can offer into why I would eat the whole bag rather than just half the bag?

Sam 

Yeah, yeah. Like I mentioned, Sam, I’ve heard this story 1000 times from people who never went to boarding school, or who were an only child. They were from different circumstances completely, but it’s the same basic story. Part of all or nothing, is that it’s a very childlike strategy. Not childish, but childlike. It’s a young strategy. If you give a young person, like a five year old or a seven year old, free reign and observe, you’ll see that they will eat all the ice cream that they can. They’ll just go for it. They’re not thinking about their health, they’re not thinking about their long term risk of getting diabetes or something. They’re in the moment, and in that moment, all they understand is that this feels good to me.  I’m ain’t gonna stop until my body forces me to stop. So, it’s the child in you.

Sam 

I keep hearing that, with just all the other work I’m doing. This idea that there’s a teenager who’s been defiant. I think for me, in terms of my emotions, there is a lot of growing up to do.

Sam 

You know, it’s not bad. We love the child in each other. The child in you is great. And this is one particular place where the child in you doesn’t serve you. It’s not that there’s something wrong with you. It’s not like that. It’s more about understanding the wonderful complexity of you. It’s the child in you that, you know, makes you sweet and makes you innocent, and makes you lovable. It’s the child in you that wants to eat it all when she gets the bag of sweets. It’s no argument, and it makes perfect sense to a child’s mind. That’s why we have to introduce consciousness. That’s why we have to introduce awareness. That’s why we introduce the practice of consciousness, which is not easy. It takes a certain degree of work. I really want to see you take away as much judgment as you can about yourself in all of this. There’s literally nothing wrong with you. You’re just a learning, growing human being. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s another piece of the puzzle for you here. It’s just sensing that there’s the part of you that thinks you have to fix yourself.

Sam 

I’m slowly coming around to seeing that, yes. You’re not wrong. I often catch myself in the language that I’m using, and I’m trying to see myself as just being on a journey. This is where I am in my journey rather than something that needs to be fixed or something that I need to find a solution for. It’s just a journey, and I’m learning and growing as I go along.

Marc David 

It’s as simple as that. And if you can remind yourself of that every single day, you’re doing yourself a big favor. Remind yourself everyday that you’re a person, you’re wonderful as you are, and you’re not broken. You’re just learning how to be a better version of you. There are certain places where you’re really good at being you and there are certain places where you have got to do work. Just like everybody, you have certain places where you’re just doing the work. This is a place where you’re working, but not trying to fix something about you that is decrepid, deficient, bad, broken, or disease. You’re just learning.

Marc David 

I know, it’s easy for me to say, but I really want you to hear these things. Because I mean it from the bottom of my heart, and I want to see you get where you want to go. And sometimes part of getting where we want to go is reframing how we see our life and how we see ourselves and seeing the picture of who we are from a new angle. You’re going for the for all the whole, plant-based food, and it’s all or nothing, because you just feel like yes! let’s do it! You’re exuberant in that way. You’re passionate in that way. It doesn’t work for you, but it’s a sign of passion and exuberance that needs to be better regulated.

Sam 

Attend to this, yeah.

Marc David 

Yeah! You tame it, and you regulate it. You do that not by punishing it or by trying to fix it, but by truly understanding it and seeing it from a place of non-judgment. You’re like every other human being who sees the goodies, and there’s a part of you that wants all of them! Why not go for the whole bag? “Yeah, I’m going for it!” is the child’s exuberance. It’s the adult mind in me and in you that steps up and goes: “oh, wait a second. Whenever we do this, we don’t feel good.” Take a deep breath and have a moment of consciousness to invoke the woman in you, the adult in you, the Queen in you. Invite her to the table in that moment. It’s a practice.

Sam 

Yeah, that will be a practice. I don’t currently practice it. I think in the moment I do, but I don’t consider the child versus the adult. I suppose re-parenting myself in that moment and just having that quiet conversation with myself and saying: “you know that you don’t feel good after this, so let’s not have the whole packet.”

Marc David 

Even if you do eat the whole packet after having that conversation with yourself, and even if the child in you still says: “I’m not listening”, afterwards you will still stand by yourself. You say: “Oh, wow, that happened again! That doesn’t feel so good. Let me put that in my memory banks for the next time.” It might take you three times, it might take you 30 times. I don’t know. Keep trying that and at some point, you’re going to start to get it. It’s about you and I learning to stay awake in the moments that we tend to go to sleep. That’s one way to look at it. It’s about staying conscious in the moments when we tend to go unconscious. Call forth in the moments when I tend to let the Child in me take over and run the show a different voice, a different archetype: the Adult in me, the King in me.

Sam 

Yes. I think that will be very powerful for me.

Sam 

I think so too! I also think this ties into you and the relationshi you desire. I really love when we can take the attitude of: you know something, before I dive into a deep relationship, I’m going to see if there’s some work I need to do on myself. I’m going to be with me.” I think that’s great. I think that’s wonderful. I think more people ought to do that in-between relationships because sometimes it’s very instructional. When was the last time you were in a more significant, intimate relationship, would you say?

Sam 

About four years ago.

Marc David 

Okay. So, I don’t know, but I really wonder for you, if you’re more ready than you think. Meaning, you’re not perfectly in a place where you’re free, and you know yourself, and you know that when you get into relationship you’re not going to completely give up on yourself and just focus on the other person and lose yourself. But you don’t have to know that 100% if you just see yourself right now as a work in progress and see that you’re starting to look at the places in your life where you can go unconscious, where you can step outside yourself, and where you can lose yourself. Losing yourself in a relationship is no different than losing yourself in your relationship with food. It’s the same thing.

Marc David 

There’s a part of me that somehow forgets to take care of me, there’s a part of me that somehow forgets to stay in my body and have the adult voice, the woman’s voice, the Queen’s voice. The voice that understands: “wait a second, you know, here’s what we need to do to take care of ourselves”. So, you’re finding that within your relationship with food and body, and you’re finding that in your relationship to men. Why not assume that you’ll be able to do that work together with the men that you attract? There will be moments where you’ll be challenged. There will be moments where you start to lose yourself and then you will catch yourself. You’ll know you have chosen the right partner because they are somebody whom you can work with as opposed to someone who will only like you after you become this finished product.

Sam 

Sure.

Sam 

Yeah, I don’t know if I’m waiting to be a finished product. I suppose I just feel like I would trust my judgment better. Part of this is that in the last relationship I had, I think my weight was reflective of the state of the relationship. I picked up quite a lot of weight because food and alcohol was quite a big part of the relationship. I guess I’m just scared to go back to that place and then not be able to control it.

Marc David 

Yes. Understood. So, then you’re not quite there yet, with yourself, where you realize that in the comfort of your own home, you can stand by yourself. When it comes to food, if I fall off the wagon, if I eat the whole bag, I’m still going to love myself, I’m still going to take care of myself. I’m not going to punish myself for days. I’m going to get back into self- care and self-awareness as soon as I can. Because punishing myself doesn’t work for me. So I think that as you practice that, you’ll be ready sooner than you think. In my opinion.

Sam 

I’m willing to give it a try.

Marc David 

Do you have any questions that are occurring for you? Anything that you’re wondering about based on this conversation? Anything that doesn’t quite feel like they fit, or that you didn’t quite understand?

Sam 

I think I’ve understood everything you’ve said, and it all makes perfect sense. My resistance is coming from knowing that  the work has to come from me. As you say, it’s a practice, and I have to do it. I think historically, maybe I haven’t been as supportive of myself in that space as I can be. So, I guess the fear that’s coming up for me is that: okay, I know that I’ve tried these things before, and yeah, it’s a practice, and I just have to keep doing it. It all makes total sense. Perfect sense. I think the the inner child work is all new for me. That’s probably a really big thing for me. Being able to have those conversations with the inner child when I’m in that space and about to eat the bag or do something that I know won’t serve me.

Marc David 

Yeah. You know, so much of it is about us being willing to be beginners again. Because it’s easy to say: “yeah, I’ve tried that, and it didn’t work. What else can I do now?” It’s not easy to let go of the very strategies that will work for us because they’re hard or they don’t yield immediate results. Sugar gives me an immediate result. I eat it, I feel good. That’s immediate. I don’t have to wait days or weeks to feel good. We don’t experience the efforts of practice right away. So part of it for you is: can I just push the reset button, the refresh button and say: “okay, I’m going to be a beginner here, and that’s okay.”

Sam 

I think it’s also recognizing that it is a journey, and I can’t solution my way out of this. This isn’t about fixing something. It’s about learning and growing. That’s been quite big for me, because I have always been about how can I fix this? What’s the solution? I’m recognizing that that isn’t working in my life. I need to see things as it’s all part of the journey.

Marc David 

You have it! You know it. It’s starting to put that knowing into practice so that it feels more embodied and your brain understands it. If there’s such a thing as the soul, which I think there is, I think your soul understands it, and practice makes it more real. I think you’re ready.

Sam 

Is it that simple, though? Is it really just about being able to catch myself and have that conversation? I’m looking for a solution here, for an answer. Does the binge eating, the emotional eating, the all or nothing get addressed? It’s one thing to be able to catch myself, and another thing to learn how to find other ways of self-soothing without using food.

Marc David 

Bingo. Yes, absolutely. It is that simple. It’s not that easy, but it’s simple in concept. So yes, it’s learning to catch yourself and then learning to have other strategies that help in the moment. That’s one of the reasons why I asked you if you have people you can turn to for support. Is there a girlfriend that you can agree with and say: “hey, you know, if I’m going to be in a moment of weakness, and I feel like calling you up when I’m about to eat a bunch of whatever, can I call you? Can we just talk it out? Can I just bitch, and moan, and complain?” Whatever it is, you need to do that. You mentioned that you tend to isolate. How can you start reaching out and creating more connection and getting more support for what you’re going through so that you’re not isolated?

Marc David 

Part of it is yes, catching yourself in the moment. But then it’s looking at the rest of your life, which is why I was focusing on relationship. The relationship just feels big for you. It feels like a big piece of you that wants to happen. And in a strange way, I would want to see you putting as much energy there as you do into healing your relationship with food. That might mean being in a relationship, or it might mean looking at what it means for you to open yourself up to that.  Oftentimes, one of the ways we open up to a relationship with a significant other is just to start in the easy places. Open yourself up into a relationship with the people you’re already in relationship with. Find and be more connected to them, and be more intimate with the people that you already love, and who already want to support you. There’s a little bit of pushing them away because I don’t want them to see this part of me for whatever reason…shame, guilt, whatever, I don’t want to bother them. So, it’s about greasing the wheel of relationship by being in close relationship with those people that are already close to you.

Sam 

That I can do. My family is slightly more challenging. Some of my sisters, my mom, and all my family have their own challenges with food, body image, and weight. So, I don’t feel like we are necessarily a good support for each other. That’s one of the reasons that I don’t really go to them for support because we’re bad for each other in some ways, I suppose. But yes, I can certainly lean on friends more.

Marc David 

Yeah, so it’s you making your life more fulfilling by including that which you want, which is more connection and more intimacy. And again, starting with the people that you’re already close with. That, to me, naturally opens us up for a significant kind of relationship because we’re already making that affirmation to ourselves, to the world, and to life like: I’m in connection. I’m in healthy connections. I’m in healthy, supportive connections. What a great affirmation! I’m with people that I can reveal myself to, and they will still love me.

Sam 

That’s the important one.

Marc David 

Yeah. Great work, Sam!

Sam 

Thank you. I got a lot out of this. Thank you.

Marc David 

Yeah, I really appreciate you just sort of diving in. I know this conversation is not easy. It’s very personal. It’s very intimate. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of people benefiting from what you’ve shared and your honesty about your own story and your own journey which you’re realizing is indeed a journey.

Sam 

Yes, I’m realizing that I actually have to do the work which is all about practice and actually putting the work in.

Marc David 

Well, today’s the first day of this new part of your journey!

Sam 

It is indeed. Thank you.

Marc David 

Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

Sam 

Thanks, Marc.

Marc David 

Take care everybody. Bye bye now.

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