Danielle, 41, is experiencing a lot of confusion about how her body is reacting to food. She has gained about 28 lbs. over the last 4 years, and has tried just about every way of eating, allergy testing, dieting, doctors, etc. Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, takes in her journey and acknowledges the complexity of it. Many factors such as her relationship to food, past traumas, international travel, and potential biological imbalances could all be playing a part. A lesson we can all take away from the insight Marc delivers to Danielle, is that this is our journey. And how can we relax into our symptoms as opposed to fighting them? What would it be like, if even while we are in the unknown, while we are discovering the next thing to try, or the right foods for our body… we could relax into it? Danielle walks away with new opportunity to allow herself to feel instead of fight, to be curious instead of obsessed to find the answer.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We are in the Psychology of Eating Podcast. And I’m with Danielle today. Welcome, Danielle.
Danielle: Hi, Marc. Thank you.
Marc: Yeah, I’m glad we’re here. And we were just chitchatting for a couple of minutes. You are in Scotland. I’m kind of jealous. I wish I was just there right now during this session with you.
Danielle: It’s very cold, you shouldn’t be.
Marc: Okay, never mind. But on my bucket list to go there. So for viewers and listeners, let me just say, if you’re new to this podcast, here’s what’s going to go, Danielle and I are meeting for the first time, officially. We’re going to spend less than an hour together and see if we can move things on fast forward, if at all possible.
Danielle, when it comes to your life, food, body, health, weight, all that kind of stuff, if you could wave your magic wand and get whatever you wanted to get out of our time together, what would that look like for you?
Danielle: So, I really want to say a relaxed relationship with food. Really, I just want my weight to stabilize. I’ve been gaining weight fairly unexpectedly for the last four years. And so I keep doing the work to kind of accept myself and get used to that. And I keep gaining weight and, again, that creates quite a lot of stress in my life. So that would be my magic wand, just to stabilize it at some point.
Marc: How much weight have you gained in those four years?
Danielle: So I’ll have to do this in your terms, about 55, 56 pounds I think. No, that’s probably—sorry, about 28 pounds. I don’t weigh myself anymore but I’ve gained two dress sizes and it’s been the kind of chunk every year, I would say, yeah.
Marc: How old are you?
Danielle: I’m 41.
Marc: You’ve gotten any medical tests?
Danielle: Yeah. So I researched the life out of all of this stuff. So I’ve had thyroid test and I had parasite test. For a while, I had some injections, which were like—I don’t know if you have them in the U.S., they were kind of an allergy, food allergy thing. I don’t eat gluten anymore. And the only thing I haven’t tested that I’ve kind of wondered whether I should is hormone panel. But I haven’t done that because I kind of got tired of the testing.
Marc: So they tested your thyroid. Did they test you for diabetes or pre diabetes, anything like that?
Danielle: No. Although, last time I had a big kind of corporate health check would have been about five years ago. And they said I was very low risk for diabetes, so no. Although interesting now that you say that because one of the challenges I have is I need to pee all the time, like constantly, and I’m thirsty all the time. But I’ve never been retested for it because they’d said I was such low risk.
Marc: Yeah, okay. So I would get tested. It’s pretty simple. It’s not a lot of time and effort. You just described potential symptoms of diabetes or pre diabetes. So it can hit—oftentimes, the onset can be quick for certain people. So that’s just a little alert mechanism for me that I would want to see you have checked out. Usually, the thirsty part—now, I will also say—so previous to this last four years, have you been the kind of person that’s often thirsty?
Danielle: I mean, I always drank trying quite a lot of fluids. But right now I would always have a bottle of water with me if I’m out. I would struggle to go any length of time without some kind of fluid, yeah.
Marc: Yeah, okay.
Danielle: So it got worse definitely.
Marc: Yeah. So definitely, you definitely want to get checked for that. In the four or five years, let’s say running four or five years ago, anything super different about your life?
Danielle: Yeah. So a fairly major family trauma about four years ago, involving a member of my family unexpectedly going to prison. So I can almost totally connect when I fell out of relationship with food again to that point. And when I started to—because I have had eating disorders. I had an eating disorder when I was about 18, 19.
Although, interestingly, I never got really, really skinny but I survived on like 300, 400 calories a day. I used to make myself sick if I was eating. And I worked through that. And then when this trauma happened about four years ago, I was actually, it’s probably the weight I would love to be, about 147 pounds.
And then I just got really obsessed with food again, really obsessed. And started to cut food out at pace to the point where my husband kind of said to me, “I’m not happy with what you’re eating.” And I was in flood of tears saying, “But I’m not losing weight, I’m not losing weight,” which I wasn’t. And then I started to explore food intolerances, did a couple of elimination diet. And then, to be honest with you, I just got really obsessed with finding out what was wrong like you do.
Marc: Sure, sure, sure. And would you say the weight came on incrementally each year?
Danielle: Yeah. So this is what happens, as long as I am really, really careful with food, then my weight pretty much stays steady. The minute I dip into any kind of—I mean, I wouldn’t even call it binge eating, but kind of upping the ante to what I eat. Then I gain weight and it doesn’t come off.
So this year, I had back surgery four months ago. And naturally, I gained weight because I couldn’t walk. So I couldn’t walk actually for a lot of this year. And once it’s on I’ve no apparent way of getting off at all. So I can do, like a couple of months ago, I did two months of no processed food. My diet is very light and gentle but it just doesn’t come off. So once it’s on, it doesn’t come off.
Danielle: And I bloat really badly. So my stomach in the evening is very different to the way it looks in the morning.
Marc: How many times a day would you say you eat right now?
Danielle: Three to four, yeah.
Marc: Do you notice your bloating being worse or better on certain days?
Danielle: That’s a good question. So today I noticed it was really bad. But I haven’t been able to connect it to anything would be the truth. I mean, I’ve started to have really light evening meals now, kind of really gentle suppers at kind of about six o’clock but we don’t eat after that. And I find if I can do that, it’s probably a bit gentler than if I have dinner in the evening, in which case it’s not good.
Marc: Have you had any foreign travel like starting four or five years ago?
Danielle: No. So three years ago, I started traveling to India for business. But no, not four years, I wouldn’t say—oh, I was in Greece but Europe, so nothing…
Marc: Okay. So three years ago, you were traveling to India.
Marc: Did that impact your health any?
Danielle: Didn’t seem to, no. And I didn’t have any of this kind of stomach bugs everybody gets.
Marc: And so let’s say only starting either five years ago, four years ago, or three years ago, did you get any particular kinds of vaccines?
Danielle: Yeah. I had vaccines to get to India, yeah. I had—blimey, I can’t remember—tetanus, meningitis maybe, and yellow fever I think, probably were the three.
Marc: Sure. But prior to that, had there been any vaccinations?
Danielle: No, not for a long time since I went to Kenya maybe about 14 or 15 years ago. So, no, nothing since then.
Marc: Okay, got it. Do you have kids?
Marc: Planning on it?
Danielle: I have stepchildren and they’re great. That’s the ideal way to do it.
Marc: Got it. You’re pretty clear about that.
Marc: So it sounds like you’ve tried a bunch of different kinds of sort of medical/nutritional approach to figure out what’s going on for you?
Marc: What are the ones you’ve tried?
Danielle: So as I started with elimination, you would laugh because I ended up giving up like a list of like 25 foods. Although, there was a point there and actually I was in America where, in that period, I felt really good for maybe a month. And people were really commenting I look totally different and that just disappeared.
So I did that. Then I went to an allergy clinic in London and I had to inject myself twice a day. That also worked really well for about three months and then didn’t work. Although my weight is stabilized, I didn’t lose any. I’ve done leaky gut protocol. I had to give that up because I couldn’t handle the amount of supplements I was taking.
But, interestingly, with that, I had one day on the leaky gut protocol where I woke up and my husband just looked at me and he said, “What has happened?” And I looked like I dropped about 14 pounds overnight. It was insane. And I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it. And then by the end of the day, I was totally bloated again.
So it was kind of another scenario of—and this is making me really edgy around food, right. Because now I just think I eat, I blow up. That’s kind of my connection that I make now. And then over and above that, I’ve tried fasting. I think that does reduce my bloating as you would expect and I also did, which I’d never recommend to anybody. I did the Cambridge diet, which is a shake, I don’t know if you have that in the U.S.
Marc: Yeah, yeah.
Danielle: I lost a ton of weight with that when I did just the shakes and the soups. And as soon as I started eating food again, even when they just brought me on to like 500 calories a day, I was gaining weight. And prior to that, I’ve been dieting all my life, Marc. My dad had me on the scales when I was five. So that has been a fairly constant thing.
Marc: Yeah. Were you, at any point when you were younger, were you in any kind of sports teams?
Danielle: Yeah, yeah. I played hockey fairly competitively, certainly two to three times a week. But other than that, I really struggled with sports. So I was never a good runner, I was very bratty all the time. So it wasn’t until I was about 20, 22 that I started cycling and running and really enjoying sports. I had terrible games teacher, they just shouted at me.
Marc: Got it. And the bloating, when was the first time that you ever remember being bloated?
Danielle: So truthfully, I think I’ve only really noticed that in the last—I’m making this up, right, but two years maybe?
Marc: Sure. Yeah.
Danielle: Yeah. So prior to that everything was kind of, I couldn’t lose weight, but I sure as heck wasn’t changing dress sizes in a day, which is definitely what happens now.
Marc: Do you experience any kind of fatigue, mood swings that are the norm for you?
Danielle: So not mood swings. Well, actually I should check in with my husband on that. He might say differently. I definitely have had periods of—I used to sleep really well. I mean I go back to when I started the elimination diet. I used to sleep really well.
And now there are many days where I wake up. And even though I have slept, it’s like I haven’t at all. I just feel tired on waking. So I try really hard to get to sleep. I do a lot of meditation. And I go to bed pretty early. But often I don’t feel refreshed at all. And that’s quite challenging.
Marc: Are you on any kind of prescription medications?
Danielle: I’m on the pill.
Marc: For how long?
Danielle: Since I was 16.
Marc: Interesting. Have you ever gone off it?
Danielle: Yeah. Okay. So I forgot about that one because of course, in my reading, I’m obsessed with research. I read, I can’t remember, one of your famous female doctors in America and she recommended coming off it. I came off it for, as part of this process, maybe three to four months. Nothing got worse but nothing got better. So I kind of abandoned that and went back on it.
Marc: Got it, got it, got it. Okay. But there are no other prescription medications?
Danielle: No. So with my back, I have been—but I’m really light on painkillers. I took morphine for a very short period of time and Tramadol.
Marc: Tramadol, okay.
Danielle: And amitriptyline, sorry. And amitriptyline.
Marc: Did they give you any kind of steroids for swelling?
Danielle: No, not that I noticed. Yeah.
Marc: Okay, okay. So you haven’t been able to notice particular times when the bloating seems to be better, worse…
Danielle: So it’s worse after food. Almost always.
Marc: Any food?
Danielle: I’d like to say no. So I think it’s okay if I stick to kind of—I wouldn’t expect to be bloated after a salad as an example. I certainly feel, this will sound strange, I feel it’s more related to volume of food than it is to the content of it. And that could be absolutely rubbish.
But if I have what anybody else would consider a regular-sized meal then I notice bloating after that. I mean, for example, today at lunchtime, I had soup. I had a gluten-free wrap with some hummus and avocado and then I had a little bit of cheese. And I was really bloated afterwards.
Marc: Are you a fast eater, moderate eater, slow eater?
Danielle: I used to be super fast. Now I consider myself moderate fast.
Marc: Got it, got it, got it.
Danielle: I’m working on it. I’m not relaxed around food. I mean, it feels a bit like the enemy to be honest.
Marc: Yeah, I totally get it. Interesting, interesting, interesting. Okay. So, I may have more questions for you. I kind of want to start to put things together. I think for you is that this is a potentially—you’re in a potentially complex case. Honestly, honestly, honestly, nine out of 10 people that I speak to, no matter what they think, to my mind, their stories, their cases, their situation is simpler than they think.
Marc: Every once in awhile, there’s a complicated case. This is more complicated. I’ll tell you why it’s complicated to me. For sure, it has been complicated to you. I get it, I hear you. Okay, so reasons why it’s complicated.
Complication number one: The fact that you’ve turned 40. Oftentimes, what I know—I’m a big believer that we go through circumstances of life when the body shifts. The body just shifts. We go through it then we shift. Our emotions shift. Our world view changes. Who we are as a person changes, for better or for worse, hopefully for better.
As we get older, the body becomes more sensitive. At times, the body becomes more specific. And the body breaks down more. Weak links are exposed as you get older. What I have particularly noticed, especially, it can happen at any age. But there’s an interesting thing that happens at 30-ish, 40-ish, 50-ish. Forty is usually an interesting transition zone, where you’re not a kid anymore. You’re clearly an adult. You’re in an adult body, clearly mortal.
Marc: Like mortality sets in more. So definitionally, I often notice, people notice, more about their body around age 40. So that generally happens any way in an average healthy person. Okay, so there’s a factor involved that we have to notice. The next factor involved is that you mentioned to me like, “Hey traumatic event happens, person in my sphere ends up in prison.” Okay, traumatic. So a traumatic event can trigger all that change in the body.
Marc: Hundred percent, it happens all the time. And once the traumatic event triggers that change, it’s not easy to unwind. Because what happens is people try to unwind the change as opposed to unwind trauma itself. So in other words, “Oh my God, I gained all this weight, let me unwind the weight gain.” “Oh let me exercise it off. Let me diet it off.” No, that doesn’t work. That’s not how the weight came on. It didn’t come on because of lack of exercise. It didn’t come on because I was eating whatever. It came on because trauma happened and it changes our system. So there’s another factor right there that we could process, pitch our tent there, and work with for a while. Okay.
Marc: Next, next. The fact within this, so you told me you started gaining weight around four years ago but three years ago traveled to India, vaccination. I will tell you, across the board, that this is a factor. I’m dealing with people who have inexplicable weight gain or various inexplicable onset of health symptoms, disease symptoms. Oftentimes, it’s related to foreign travel and/or vaccination. India is particularly famous for throwing people off.
Marc: Because when you go to a country, you are being exposed to organisms, pathogens, and the like that your body hasn’t seen before, simple as that. So it is not uncommon for people who travel to India and experience constant bloating, digestive distress, energy drops. So you could have easily caught something that stays in the system.
Marc: I know people who are still dealing with response to foreign travel to catching something. So that is a potential. And I will tell you that’s difficult to work with. I mean, it is really difficult to work with. I wish it was easier. So there’s that complicating factor. Yet another potential factor in here is your history of your relationship with food.
You’ve had a ride. You’ve been on different kinds of diets. You’ve been through different kind of eating challenges. You had different metabolisms over the years. What often happens—often not always—for people who’ve had a ride in terms of their relationship with food, you hit a certain age and challenges start to happen that are actually related to just what the body’s been going past.
So all of a sudden, the body gets a little tired because it’s been pulled on a lot of directions. And then we go into just a breakdown and there are inexplicable symptoms or inexplicable weight gain, which is a function of just the road that the body is on. You hit a certain point. You have too many straws on the camel’s back and all of a sudden it’s like, wow, metabolism is like, “Okay, I could do things and not gain weight.
But I’m not getting back to where I was.” So it’s almost like the body’s in a little bit of a crisis. It’s almost like you’ve been running a marathon and doing great. But then, ouch, you’re at mile 22, your body’s going, “This really hurts.” Part of what’s also probably happening is you’ve hit 41 and you’re body’s going, “Whoa, this has been an interesting road.”
Marc: So body gets a little tired and it’s a little reactive because it’s been pulled in a lot of directions. So we often hit these chaos points that we’re dealing with symptoms and symptom in this case is also inexplicable weight gain. And oftentimes for people, it’s a period of riding things out. It’s literally riding it out. It’s like here comes the storm. Sometimes a storm is coming like get your umbrella, get inside, and hunker down. This going to be…
On top of that, you mentioned symptoms of potential diabetes or prediabetes. So what I’m saying is the picture you painted to me is not a simple one.
Marc: So the fact that you are confused makes sense to me.
Danielle: I’m just very pleased to hear that actually.
Marc: So yeah, yeah, yeah. It makes perfect sense that you’re confused. Because it’s not like your foot hurts and you do all this research and you finally look at the foot and you see you have a little funk in your foot that we have to pull out. It’s not that simple for you.
So there could be a number of factors that are participating in creating the different experiences that you’re having right now. And the fact that you’re trying things and nothing is working for you or has worked temporarily, what that says to me is, A, at the very least, you have a little bit of a journey ahead of you. A little bit of a journey ahead of you.
So you’re in the unknown right now. What I would love to be able to see you do, and I know this is easier said than done, is to find a place where you can relax more into this journey. Because what’s happening right now is, amongst other things, you are being confronted with a core fear. You have certain core fears. Perhaps the most common core fear is I am going to die. Even though we’re always in touch with that fear, the fear of death is a big one.
Probably second to the fear of death, amongst women, the fear of weight gain. It is a huge fear. It is not to be discounted, the power of that. You didn’t invent that fear. That fear was invented by others, and it was injected into your mind. So it is very difficult to overcome fear.
When that fear grips us, it will cause us to act distally. It will cause us to be upset quicker. It will cause us to collapse faster. It will cause us to lose hope quicker. It will cause you to be more anxious. I mean, you name it. So what I’m saying here is there are certain factors right now that we can be sure of. However, this factor is one factor that we can be sure of, i.e., we can be sure that this fear is coming up for you.
Marc: And understandably so, understandably so. It’s like do the math, like, “Damn, it just freaking happened for a year, I’m screwed.” Okay. So from this place I would love to see you evolve yourself, mature yourself, trust your life a little more, and understand that you’re on a little bit of a journey here. And I would love to see you change the nature of this journey for you. Right now, the nature of this journey is, “Holy shit, I’m screwed.”
Marc: That’s kind of what’s living in here and, again, understandably so. And I meant you to see that holding that perspective is not to your advantage, it’s to your advantage. It’s a reaction. It’s an automatic reaction to an understandable situation.
From that perspective, you have to gather yourself. And in a lot of ways, it’s facing the fear like, yeah, it’s possible. Worst scenario, I gained a hundred pounds. There’s the worst-case scenario.
Okay, okay. Let’s go there for a second. I gained a hundred pounds. Would that suck? Yes. Would I like it? No. Would I deal with it? Yes. Would I stand by myself? Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. So I need to stand by you right now. Because this is a fear that is gripping you like you have no idea and I think you know.
Marc: And I know this is hard for you, I know that. Because this fear, like I said, for most women, it’s close behind the fear of death.
Danielle: It’s pretty connected to it, right, because what if you eat yourself to death?
Marc: Exactly, exactly, exactly. So this is the place where instead of you focusing exclusively on how do I lose this weight? How do I stop from gaining weight? We’re still going to focus on that. I’m not saying we’re not going to focus on that. We will focus on that. You will focus on that. You will continue to focus on that. But at the end—and as important is focusing on the fear, because the fear goes in trauma.
Marc: And this fear of weight gain existed before four years.
Danielle: Yeah, yeah.
Marc: So most coming up at a time in your life when age 40 is when a woman is on a training program. You’re not a princess anymore. You’re not a young girl anymore. You’re not a teenybopper anymore. You’re not a teenager anymore. But you’re not a queen yet either. You don’t fully own yourself. You’re not fully in power. But these next 10 years, 40 to 40-ish to 50-ish is queen-in-training, learning how to step into your womanhood, how to step into your royalty, how to own your life, how to own your body like never before so you can be in this world and be an empowered woman.
A woman cannot exist in this world as empowered if she’s easily knocked off her horse about her body. If one little thing knocks her off her horse about her body then she will never feel safe. She will never feel enough. She will never feel truly okay and lovable as she is because you gained a pound, you gained this, now you ate too much of this, and all hell breaks loose. Now, granted you’re actually gaining and you actually don’t know how to stop it. So the fear has a legitimacy to it.
Marc: So your task is difficult. Your task is difficult. Your task is not to lose weight. I’m saying your primary task is to be in relationship with your body.
Marc: So you learn to start to not let the fear drive you to the extent that it has. And let the woman in you, drive this process more. Not the girl in you afraid that if I keep gaining weight I am totally screwed.
Marc: How’s all this landing for you so far, Danielle? Like tell me what’s happening for you?
Danielle: Well, I’ve made a deal I wasn’t going to cry but I am. So I will just go with that. Yeah. I feel really good actually. I mean I kind of needed to hear I wasn’t crazy, right?
Danielle: So that was really good. And the thing about trust is a really big thing for me. Because I’m not in relationship with my body because I’m at war with it, right? And I’m usually successful in my life. I mean I have a big job. I’ve done really well. And this is the thing I feel I fail in. So then I just drive up the logic, right? And my heart doesn’t get any say in it. And so, yeah, I mean, you’re telling me to let it go, right? And focus on living.
Marc: Yes. And I’m not telling you to let go of the need to know how to stabilize your body. I’m not telling you to let go of, “Hey I want to be at the weight I feel comfortable at. Hey, I don’t want to gain weight.” I’m not telling you to let go of that. What I’m asking you to do is put it to the side, let it stay alongside you.
Marc: Let it walk alongside you, not in front of you.
Marc: And see what’s in front of you. So it’s a little kid. I want you to hold it by its hand and I want you to be adult in it. So this is the girl in you that says, “Oh my God, I’m going to figure this out, I got to do this, to up the logic.” That’s the part of you that’s trying to figure it out. And right now, you might have to have a little period. And it might be a week, it might be two weeks, it might be a few months where you actually let go of trying to figure this out.
Marc: Will you let go because you’ve been trying hard? And I am acknowledging to you your situation is complex. There are things that would have to be explored to figure it out.
Marc: Even then, even then, like I literally don’t know, if that would provide you with the answer in any way.
Marc: But what I do know is that this particular relationship with you has been here for a long time, where you’ve been in an adversarial relationship with it.
Marc: Where you haven’t really owned it and embraced it and loved on it.
Danielle: For sure, yeah.
Marc: And what that means is you let go of all conditions. And you go, “Okay, God. Okay, universe. Here’s me right now. This is like it’s out of my control. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m trying but I give up. I give up.”
Does that mean you just eat cake for two weeks? No. You still care for yourself. But you care for you. You just do things caringly. Just to let me do this so I can see if I can make myself lose weight or see if I can stabilize myself. No.
Right now, I want you to try to care for yourself with food. I want you to try to nourish yourself with food. So even if you eat something, you get bloated. What I’m interested in you saying is, “Oh, okay that’s information for next time, did I eat too fast? Should I eat something different? How can I care for myself differently or better next time?
So it’s you seeing more that this is care as to fixing your broken body that doesn’t do what you want to do because you don’t trust that it’s going to be what you wanted to be. You have to be in a different relationship with your body. And this is not a thing that you have failed at. It is something that the world hasn’t taught you. The world hasn’t taught it to you because the world kind of failed at helping raise healthy humans around their body.
Marc: That’s an issue and that’s an issue worldwide. We eat garbage food on this planet. We have a crazy relationship with food because of what media, movies, and internet, and images, and culture gives us in terms of crazy messaging.
So it’s not your failure. That is a failure on the part of the world that you and I are doing our best to correct. It’s a big issue to try to correct because it’s a big one. It’s bigger than any of us. The reason why you haven’t been able to handle that is because it will be hard. If it was easy, you would’ve done it. We all would’ve done it. It’s hard. So I’m acknowledging that what you’re trying to do is very difficult and it’s so worth doing.
Marc: Because it sets us free when you could own your body and not live there. And not live in judgment of your own body. And not live in mistrust of your own body. And not be at war with your own body. Then you can marshal your forces and empowered to be the person you want to be more and more and more.
So part of that is turning this into not about weight loss, turning this into self-love and self-care. Self-love and self-care means, “Shit, I think I gained another pound. Oh my God, I’m really bloated tonight. How can I love myself through this?” As opposed to get down on myself, stay up two more hours reading 10 more articles.
Danielle: Checking out the Google.
Marc: Right. So I want you to hold yourself in those moments and that’s what I’m saying by self-care and self-love. Go, “Oh man, that’s hard. Like literally, this is hard. Got bloated. Feels yucko.” And just feel what it feels like, like just, “God, it sucks.” It’s you being with you in that place because what happens is we try to get out of this really quick. We run away.
Danielle: Oh for sure.
Marc: And when we run away, we keep ending up back in the same place any ways. So this is life at—tell me, how old you are, 41?
Marc: So this is life at 41. In the queen-in-training program, life is giving you a workshop. This is admittedly—from here, this is a difficult challenge that you have. It’s not an easy challenge. You are not crazy.
Danielle: No, I create big challenges, Marc.
Marc: I get it.
Danielle: Yeah. So I would never have taken the easy workshop. It’s who I am, really.
Marc: Great. So this is an easy workshop. And it’s the workshop. And you have all the tools to do this.
Marc: But it’s a different tool what usually helps you succeed. Probably what succeeds in your personal and professional life is you go for things. You see the right path. You choose the right to choose. Here’s how we’re going to do it. Here’s the game plan. Here’s what’s going to happen, it makes sense.
Right now, you need to be very much in the mode. You need to be nurturing. You need to be caring. You need to be forgiving of your body. You need to be a little high on life and understand that this is something that is bigger than you. You cannot overcome this by yourself. So this is us right now, acknowledging that, okay, so can’t overcome it by yourself. Meaning, with your horsepower and your brain and your mind is going to figure everything out.
So there’s a little bit of that that needs to happen. And there’s a little bit of feeling right now just feeling it all, just feeling it all and feeling the craziness of it. You might have to feel a little bit of chaos before you might start to feel some of the grounding. My sense is that you start to slow down a little bit more. You’re going to feel in a different way.
So slowing down with food, yes, it has a massive physiologic benefit but in so many ways it’s an emotional practice. Because it’s asking us to slow down in the very place where we really want to feel.
Because if we go down there, we would feel just the complexity and we’d feel the emptiness and the pain and the confusion and whatever is there, whatever is there. So you slowing down with food, really, what it is, is it’s you making peace with your body. You’ll to be at peace with your body is to be relaxed with your body.
Relaxation equals peace. Relaxation is acceptance in the moment. When you’re relaxed, you’re actually accepting in that moment of whatever. So we need to get you to have moments of that with your body where you’re just living and you have the experience and the feeling called, “I can just relax with this.” Even though it’s not a perfect body, even though I’m bloated, even though I’m gaining weight, even though I can’t understand why I’m gaining weight, I can still have a moment of peace. You’re being asked to find some peace during wartime. You catch the analogy there? So there is a war going on there.
Danielle: Yeah, for sure.
Marc: There’s a war in your life.
Marc: I’m asking you to find moments of peace within that war. Because I have a feeling that the war has been happening for you long time. It’s been very internalized. And you’ve been able to succeed in the world. And now this peace is coming home for you.
Now, this peace is saying, “Okay, okay, you focus your energy elsewhere. You’ve learned how to be successful and learned how to build a good life for yourself.” Put a lot of energy into these other places in your life. And yeah, you put energy into this life as well but not the kind of energy and attention to truly move you forward.
Marc: Truly, truly move you forward. So now what I think is happening for you is you’re at that stage of life where life is saying, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to be doing. We’re circling back something important that you need to learn. That you embody now.”
Because life doesn’t let us off the hook. If you’ve chosen to be a growing human, life is going to give you growth. Life will give you opportunity to grow. And it will often look like it’s a challenge. It will often look like irritating, stupid nonsense that I have to deal with. Nobody wants to deal with what you’re dealing with right now. It is not fun. And what I am to you is I’m asking you to address this challenge in a different way than ever, the heat turned up for you. But you have the skills now because you’ve never been more of an adult and you’ve never been more of a woman than you are right now. So it’s you learning how to stand by yourself and love yourself and not abandon you. Not push yourself. Not force yourself. Knock yourself. And not constantly be trying to fix yourself. And start to have moments where you let go and you go, “I give up.”
Danielle: That’s such a hard phrase, right.
Marc: Yes. I give up. Maybe it’s I surrender.
Danielle: Oh yeah.
Marc: Okay. Because ‘I surrender’ may be better words to put around that, surrender is power.
Danielle: Yeah, yeah. For sure. Choice, right?
Marc: Surrender is power. It’s a choice. It’s saying to the universe what is true. You can’t figure this out. And you’re pushing and pushing with your mind, and you’re forcing and you’re forcing, you’re stressing and you’re stressing, and you’re emphasizing the thing that has been causing you the change, which is being behind a battle with your body. You surrender. You’re not fighting your body anymore.
Like, “Okay, body, I give up. I give up. I do. I can’t figure this out. This is very difficult. It’s very difficult to figure out. It’s not an easy one. I’ve tried all sorts of different things. And I just give up.” And giving up is not a sign of weakness. It’s a place where you find your power because you find your humanity there. You find your humility there. And you redirect because your strategies haven’t worked. So we’re trying something different now.
Danielle: Yeah, for sure.
Marc: That’s when one-one-one strategies don’t work, you do something different.
Danielle: Well, I keep pretending I’m doing something different, while doing the same thing.
Marc: Yeah. Well, and it makes sense. But you and everyone, this is not easy work, Danielle. It’s not easy work because it sounds like you’re being “I give up.” But what I’m really asking you to do is cease fire.
Marc: And start to find a little trust. Because you have to be best friends with your body and you’re not. You’re a very conditional friend.
Danielle: Yeah, incredible.
Marc: Very conditional friend. And it doesn’t work anymore. It literally doesn’t work to be in the kind of relationship that you’ve been in with your body. You’ve been able to manage it and good for you, congratulations. You’ve actually been able to put your relationship with food and body that so many of us are born with into this world because of the crazy world.
You’ve been able to kind of put that over here and tried to manage it. Build up your life. Stay relatively healthy and relatively okay up until now. Congratulations, great job, great job. Now, we got to address this head on. So again, what I’m telling you is you’re being hit. I want to remind you because it’s going to be hard for you to remember. You’re being hit with your biggest fear in life, just about.
Marc: The fear of uncontrollable weight gain and I have no idea how to solve it. So what I’m saying is in the face of biggest fear, right now, I want you to be doing more breathing, more slowing down, and more surrendering, not more fighting, not more strategy, not more reading.
I want you to actually do more feeling. And if that means you’re crying every day, five times a day, then so be it. Because what’s happening is you’re tired of the fight. It’s really tiring you. That by itself will stop your body from—like the stress of the fight will lock in whatever metabolic tweak is happening for you. Right now, your metabolism is not cooperating. It is not in its natural state. It’s got a kink in there somewhere.
Marc: What will hold that kink in oftentimes that we’re highly allergic to really poor quality food, certain nutrient deficiencies, sure it’ll lock that in. But for sure what will lock that in is our fear and our anxiety and our stress that we bring to the situation.
So there is a deeper level of self-love; self-acceptance; and in some situations, surrender, that when that happens it is the perfect medicine for the part of you that’s been fighting for, whew, I don’t know how long you’ve been fighting.
Marc: For a long time.
Marc: So you’re tired of the fight. Your body is tired. Your body is not cooperating anymore. Your body goes, “Okay, I know what you want me to do.” So what I’m saying is, let’s go with that. Because the body has its own weird brilliance to it. The body is its own teacher. It’s a strange teacher in that way. It teaches us in ways that we don’t like.
But there’s a wisdom to it. It sounds like letting go means I’m going to be worse and I’m going to war. I’m not saying be irresponsible. I’m not saying, “Oh just eat whatever you want to eat.” I didn’t say that. I’m saying love yourself. I’m saying nurture yourself. I’m saying take care of yourself. That means with food. But caring for yourself with food as opposed to stressing yourself with food as best you can. It’s a practice.
Marc: You’re not going to do this overnight. But it’s a practice. And a little bit of trust that I’m going to try a different way now. And this way is a little bit more about surrender and waving the white flag and stopping the fight. There’s a core fight that will stop and I know you know what I’m talking about.
Danielle: Hundred percent.
Marc: Yes. Until you are ready to take your boxing gloves off, this shit isn’t going to go.
Marc: Once that part starts to relax, this whole thing will start to unwind. You’ll have better ability to select the next correct steps. Things will start to make sense more. Otherwise, we have to pull back a little bit.
Marc: In any war, you pull back from the front lines and gather the forces and strategize.
Marc: You plan. You need to pull back front lines. You need to pull back from the fight. You need to lick your wound. You need to do a little rest. You need to do a little recovery from all the fight. And notice what happens when you do that. And trust that if this is truly something that sounds right to you, to find the place where you can trust your own journey. I’m not asking you to trust me at all. I’m asking you to trust your journey.
Marc: I’m not asking you to trust my advice. I put it out like, “Hey, who wants a podcast?” You raised your hand. So this is a co-creation. So this is your journey. From your perspective, this is your journey. I’m an actor in your play.
Marc: I’m a character in your movie. You’re the producer. I want you to direct your movie.
Marc: I want you to trust that your movie has a wisdom, that your journey your story is a beautiful one with a wisdom to it despite the fact that it could be irritating us all.
Marc: Which it is right now, a little irritating for you right now. It’s a lot irritating. I really get it. I just have to put on my glasses so I could see the time. And I want to take the next two minutes to start to put a bow on this and wrap things up. How are you doing?
Danielle: A lot better than I look. I’m really good, really good. I mean I’d tell you how I feel, I feel like my soul is saying, “You know that’s right.” Because it’s just too tiring living like this. And the thing that’s really odd is this is what I teach, I teach people to slow down. I teach people self-acceptance and self-love as part of my work.
And so it’s interesting that the biggest story is still about me. I mean, I teach to heal, right? I mean, that’s part of the in-service but I’m healing at the same time. And it’s hard when you say let go, I’m committed to it, right? This is what I’m going to do, I’m going to do the surrender thing.
But when you talked about God and the universe—and I’m a Christian—and I know a few times where there are points in life where I know I need to say, “This is in Your hands now,” I can’t do it. Well, I don’t want to do it. I resist it all the time. So this is a lesson that has been calling me for a long time, a long time. Time to do it, right?
Marc: So you know what you have to do, what a great thing.
Danielle: Yeah. I do.
Marc: What a great thing. So I’m really happy for you because you are completely poised to make this next leap and it’s going to take time. But that’s perfect because it’s time. Things need time.
Marc: Things need time to marinade. Things needs time to cook. Things need time to gestate. Things need time to be born. The new you needs time to be born. So this isn’t a problem you’re experiencing. This is a birthing process you’re experiencing. And birthing, if you recall, coming from the womb and getting squeezed out is not easy. That’s a weird event. And it’s a little messy.
Marc: So you’re going to be in that stage for a little while now. I’m just saying, “It’s okay, get comfortable there.”
Marc: It’s going to be messy for a little bit but that’s a beautiful thing because after that, you’re going to be a different person. So let’s not put a time limit on it. And I know it’s nearly impossible for you to say, “Okay, it’s in your hands.” But that’s your task.
Marc: That’s your task. I want you to figure out, and I mean that, you figure out what’s going to keep inching you forward to help you do that. Whether it’s you getting help, you getting coaching, turning to friends, turning to mentors, to a coach in our community, whatever it is, you getting the kind of support you need to move in that direction. You follow me?
Danielle: Yeah, completely, completely. Thank you.
Marc: You are so welcome. I feel very honored. I feel honored to be part of your journey and you are doing some difficult work there, young lady. This is not easy. So I just want to acknowledge that you’re taking on something so big and so huge and the benefits of taking on are so stupendous. So for that, I really, really do. And this is why people don’t do this work because it’s so hard.
Marc: And it’s so worth doing. It is so worth doing, so worth doing. And I know you know that and please get that.
Danielle: Oh I really know it. And I figured here’s a good thing coming off it. No one’s going to ever come to me with a more complicated case than me.
Danielle: I know a lot because it’s….
Danielle: So, yeah. And I understand it, right? So, yeah. It’s good. it’s good. Wow, I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be crying for a few weeks but I think that’s okay. I think it is overdue.
Marc: I think it’s a great thing. I really do.
Marc: Yeah. And the tears don’t have to have a reason. They don’t have to have an explanation. Please don’t forget it’s just crying, because you’re crying, because you’re crying, because you’re crying, and the tears just do what they do.
Marc: No reason needed.
Danielle: And then I get to emerge a queen, right?
Marc: Yes, you do. You do.
Danielle: It will be an exciting day.
Marc: It will.
Danielle: Thank you.
Marc: Danielle, great work. Good for you.
Danielle: Thank you, thank you. Thanks for being willing to do it with me.
Marc: Hey, my pleasure. Thank you, everybody, for tuning in. I so appreciate you being along for the ride with us.
Once again, I’m Marc David, on behalf of the Psychology of Eating Podcast, always more to come. Take care, my friends.
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2016
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