Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #235 – Time For A New Body Image

Meet Kristie. Like too many other 31-year-olds, she has a history of an eating disorder, and a life-long journey with negative body image. As we learn more about Kristie’s story, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, makes a distinction about the unique culture in which she grew up. A culture around which she went through some really tough life experiences, and it wasn’t something ‘talked about’ at home. She has, in a sense, taken her healing and growth into her own hands. Firstly, Marc encourages her to celebrate the success she has already had. Secondly, he invites her to continue the inner work. It’s about continuing to confront the lack of communication and avoiding uncomfortable conversations. True freedom may only be possible if she continues goes through, not around, her feelings. Check our this episode to see what Kristie can move into so that she can truly feel comfortable in her own skin, and be present in moments where she may typically freeze, judge herself, or try to fix. Hint: it doesn’t have to do with her body.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We’re back in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And I’m with Kristie today. Welcome, Kristie.

Kristie: Thank you.

Marc: So, Kristie, let me just say a few words to viewers and listeners. And then you and I are going to jump in. So for those of you who are returning visitors to this podcast, thank you. So glad you’re here. So glad you’re part of our world. If you’re new to this podcast, here’s how it works. Kristie and I are having a first time session. And we’re going to get to have about an hour together today to see if we can push the fast forward button as best we can on a little bit of transformation. So, Miss Kristie, if you could wave your magic wand, and I mean this, and get whatever you wanted out of this session, what would that look like for you?

Kristie: To be friends with my body and just be comfortable in my body

Marc: So to be friends with your body, to be comfortable with your body. What would that look like for you, if you were friends with your body and comfortable with it?

Kristie: Just feeling like I belonged in my skin and feeling like my natural body, my natural shape, is okay.

Marc: So you would feel like, “Okay, this is my body. This is my skin. I belong here. And what this is, it’s good. It’s okay.”

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: Okay. So how long have you felt not that way?

Kristie: I kind of feel like it’s almost in two parts. When I was a wee kid, probably around eight or nine or so, I remember just feeling like I didn’t belong in my skin, and just little incidents. I remember getting a school photo taken, and I had my best friend sitting next to me. And she was a gymnast. And I remember looking down and thinking, “Why are my thighs three times the size of hers?” And then I look back at that photo today, and we were both like twigs. And it’s like well, there was something going on at that age where I just didn’t feel okay. And then when I was around 14 I developed an eating disorder. And that was quite a big part of my life. And that was when it really sort of took off and ramped up on a whole new level. And I think that sort of still lingers in terms of just not feeling like I’m finally through, that’s not a problem. I’m done with an eating disorder. But I don’t always feel comfortable in my skin.

Marc: When are the times that you actually find yourself feeling more comfortable in my skin than I usually do?

Kristie: Yeah, I work in the outdoors teaching rock climbing, kayaking, that type of thing, so when I’m white water kayaking, when I’m horse riding, being out in nature. When I’m cooking I feel like it’s such an act of sort of self care. I feel like, “Oh, I’m here in my body.” They’re probably the times I feel most in my skin.

Marc: When are the times you find yourself feeling worse? Is there anything that you’ve noticed? Do those times have anything in common?

Kristie: If I had to, say, I don’t know, go out in the beach and wear a bikini or something. I feel like it’s just this shame about my body, like it’s different to everybody else’s, and it’s not okay. If there was a weight pattern, it would be more in the evenings. And that’s like big picture stuff. I guess I feel better about myself when I’m up in the mornings before I’ve eaten. And then as soon as I start eating it can escalate throughout the day. But then I have entire weeks and months where I’m good. And then it just comes in all of a sudden. And I wish there was a pattern that I could grab onto, but I often feel like sometimes it just comes.

Marc: Yeah, that makes total sense. How old are you, Kristie?

Kristie: Thirty-one.

Marc: Thirty-one. How long would you say that, “I, Kristie, have really been working on this, my relationship with food and trying to figure this out? I’ve been putting my attention on this since…”

Kristie: Yeah, I’ve been recovered from my eating disorder for four years, solid. In terms of working on my feelings about my body or my thoughts, I feel like that’s really been since I was 14. But then I feel like that whole process between 14 and, say, 27 was just all eating disorder. So I don’t know if I could really call it working on. It was all just messed up, if that makes sense.

Marc: Sure. Brothers and sisters?

Kristie: So I have a sister. She’s four years older. And then growing up my parents fostered children. So we had a ton of foster kids.

Marc: So your sister’s four years older. How’s her relationship with her body?

Kristie: She had an eating disorder too. We’re not that close, so I don’t know how she feels about her body today. I couldn’t tell you.

Marc: Tell me about your relationship with your parents.

Kristie: Dad and I get on really well. We definitely understand each other. We’re good. Mom and I have a difficult relationship. And I think we’ve done a lot of work on it. And I think we’re at a point where we’ve both done our best.

Marc: What’s the difficulty would you say?

Kristie: Good question. First answer is I just feel like we don’t understand each other. And I guess I wonder if she feels hurt by me or like she’s, in a way, to blame for my eating disorder. And she really blames herself. She’s never said that. That’s just sort of my intuitive feeling.

Marc: How old is your mom?

Kristie: Sixty-six.

Marc: So if I was talking to your mom right now, and she didn’t know that you were listening in, and I said to her, “Tell me about your relationship with Kristie,” what do you think she would say?

Kristie: She would have a big pause while she thought about it. And I think she’d probably say, “I don’t really understand what I’ve done or why it’s so difficult.”

Marc: I’m not clear about something. It sounds like, from what you just said, you guys haven’t really talked much about your relationship with food and body and eating disorders and kind of where it all came from. It just sort of happened. Give me a sense of what was the communication. What was the conversation way back when?

Kristie: There was none. It got really distant, really complicated when I was a teenager, just usual teenage stuff ramped up. And I guess there really hasn’t been a conversation. And I’ll be straight up right now. I think the relationship’s at a point where we’re not going to have those conversations. Our relationship’s pretty limited. We just email. And it’s kind of informative, like what’s going on in her life, what’s going on in my life. But it’s better if we don’t talk face to face. She lives in another country. So I really feel okay with the level of relationship we have in that I function really well when we communicate the way we have.

Marc: So at its worst, what would it look like?

Kristie: At worst I feel like she would probably be hurt by me. So there was an incident a couple of years back when I was just coming out of treatment for an eating disorder And she had a lot of her own food and body stuff going on, that’s for sure. And she also has terminal cancer, for the last 12 years. And she was talking to me on Skype and just saying how she needed to lose weight and how this food was bad and that food was bad. And I said, “Hey, Mom, it’d be really helpful for me if we didn’t talk about food and body.” And so we ended the Skype call. And she sent me an email and said that she felt really hurt that I didn’t understand her. She was going through cancer, and it was big for her. And so I felt oh, we’re really going to struggle to talk because her whole life is about food and body and weight. That’s what I feel. And I’m not into that.

Marc: Got it. So if you guys really started getting closer — let me see if I get this right — or talking more in depth, she’s going to kind of want to go into those conversations.

Kristie: Exactly, yeah.

Marc: She’s going to want to go there. And you’re like, “I can’t. I’ve got to move forward not move backwards.”

Kristie: Totally, yeah.

Marc: Yeah. So why so many foster kids? Was that something your parents liked to do? Was it a way to support themselves? Help me understand that.

Kristie: I don’t understand. I don’t know. I think my parents would say, or my mom would say, it was a nice thing to do. And I think it’s a really beautiful thing to do. They’ve got a really big heart. But I don’t know why there was that many.

Marc: Was it hard for you?

Kristie: Up and down. There was a time when I was probably 15 where there was probably four or five of us. And we’re all around the same age, so it was like boarding school. It was fun. It was just like this is cool. And then when I was younger we had a lot of older kids. And that was really hard. And then when I was older we had a lot of two and three year olds. And that was hard. So it was up and down.

Marc: Got it. Tell me about your experience with dating, with relationships.

Kristie: Yeah, I’ve dated. I’m currently single. If a relationship comes along, fine, great. But if it doesn’t at the minute, I’m just really living life. And I don’t feel like it’s a hole or anything. I’m not actively looking for a relationship.

Marc: What was your longest term relationship?

Kristie: Three years.

Marc: And when did that begin? When did it end?

Kristie: Early 20s and ended mid 20s, I guess, yeah.

Marc: What was one of the great things about that relationship?

Kristie: He’s just a really good friend. I just know he just loves and respects me for who I am. And I feel exactly the same.

Marc: Got it. How has it been for you and sex and sexuality given kind of how you’ve been dealing with food, with body? How’s that? What could you tell me about that part of your life that feels important for this conversation?

Kristie: I’m really fine with my sexuality. Sex has been a process. I was molested by a family friend kind of mid teens to late teens. And I feel like I’ve done a lot of work on that. It’s something that happened. It wasn’t great. And I think it’s a journey.

Marc: So mid teens to late teens, family friend. So mid teens to late teens, that’s a long time. What did you tell yourself? What went on in your head?

Kristie: There was a lot going on. I feel like I have a connection between what happened with those experiences and how I feel about my body.

Can I just redirect with a memory that just popped in? Is that okay?

Marc: Please, of course, yes.

Kristie: I feel like I loved my body before I hated my body. So, for example, I remember being probably 14 or 15. And I used to be a gymnast. And then, oh yeah, this is really important. I was a gymnast, and then I was an elite athlete for a long time. So I was a weightlifter. And I was representing my country. I started that at 14. And it’s very much about you always had to make weight for competitions. And there’s a body focus. And so I remember, yeah, probably being 14, 15. And I was in front of a mirror with one of my foster sisters. And she was like, “Wow, you’ve got the best abs ever.” And I really remember that moment now. It just kind of popped into my head. And I felt like in order to be recognized, for some reason, it was like that. It was all about the abs. And then it sort of went into weight lifting. And then I felt like I had to have that body. And anything other than that body was a bad thing. Does that make sense?

Marc: Yes, it does. It absolutely does. So that was a foster sister who said that to you.

Kristie: Yes.

Marc: How old were you when the friend of the family first molested you?

Kristie: Probably like 15.

Marc: How does that feel for you now that you’re looking back on the situation, and you’re integrating it into your life? What do you tell yourself these days? What goes on for you?

Kristie: About the molestation?

Marc: Yes.

Kristie: Honestly, I feel like I’ve done so much work on it. I kind of feel done. I’m like it happened. And I’m 31 now.

Marc: So you feel like you’ve done work. And what would you feel like is some of the good work you’ve done? If you sum it up in one or two or three sentences, I feel like I’ve…

Kristie: I feel like I know it’s not my fault. That’s the biggest thing. I just know it’s not my fault.

Marc: Got it. So did your parents know? Did your mom know?

Kristie: She found out later, probably when I was 18 or so, 18, 19.

Marc: And when she found out, what happened?

Kristie: There was never a conversation. Yeah, my family’s not big on talking. I don’t remember how she found out, if I told her. I feel like a counselor came to our house maybe and told the family. I think that’s it. I think a counselor came to the house with me, told mom and dad, and then nothing was ever said about it. That was done in that session. And then no one ever brought it up again.

Marc: Wow. How was that for you?

Kristie: I think that’s just how we roll.

Marc: Yeah. How was that for you? I know that’s how things roll, but when you look back on it now, do you go, “I’m annoyed, wish she would’ve been different, no worries?”

Kristie: I feel like to bring it up would’ve been super awkward. I don’t think our family knows how to have difficult conversations. So I don’t feel let down or upset that we didn’t have that conversation at all because I can’t even fathom how that conversation would’ve worked.

Marc: Yes, understood. Okay. So let me ask this question. And I’ve asked you this already. So when you have the relationship with your body that you want, when you feel you’re in the sweet spot, tell me some more about who you’re going to be. Who is this person? Describe her a little bit to me, as if you’re describing her as if she’s a friend.

Kristie: Really present and focused and just comfortable in her skin, just has an energy that’s kind of tangible about really being okay with her body.

Marc: There’s an energy where you’re just okay with your body, got it. Do you know people who you’d want to model yourself after?

Kristie: Yeah, I’ve definitely got people in my mind. I meet them, or I know them, and I’m like, “Oh, that’s cool.” And if I’m having a rough time, I definitely tap into those people and think, “Okay, if I was that person, how would they be right now in their body?”

Marc: And if you could describe, just give me a few little nuggets, what is it about these people? What do you notice, anything specific that you kind of go, “Yeah, I want to be like that?” What is it about them?

Kristie: It’s just a visceral kind of feeling. They’re just there. They’re present. And the people that I role model myself after, it’s not like they have the perfect body. They’re just regular people, all shapes and sizes. They’re okay with that.

Marc: Yeah, so they have a sense of okayness with themselves that they just exude, no matter what shape or size they might be.

Kristie: Exactly, yeah.

Marc: Okay, I’m getting it. I want to go back to your past and to the experience you had of being molested. Do you have any recollection of where you went in your mind at the times it was happening, what you told yourself? “This is wrong,” or, “I need to just keep this secret.” Tell me some of the conversation in your head that you remember.

Kristie: I haven’t thought about that before. I’m just trying to grasp kind of—

Marc: Sure, that’s fine. It’s not an easy question. It’s not an easy question at all. So take your time, if there’s an answer somewhere.

Kristie: Just kind of like I wanted to shrink away and disappear. I think that’s the best way I can put it.

Marc: Yeah, so I want to shrink away and disappear. Do you remember anything else, any other words to put on your experience that you would’ve thought in the moment, feelings in the moment?

Kristie: I think I felt bad, for want of a better word. But I don’t really have a feeling.

Marc: Now when you say…

Kristie: Like I knew…

Marc: Yeah?

Kristie: Sorry, like I knew it was wrong.

Marc: So I knew it was wrong. Did you ever voice anything?

Kristie: In the moment?

Marc: Yes.

Kristie: No.

Marc: Afterwards.

Kristie: We’ve never had a conversation.

Marc: So these days, your relationship with food itself, are there times you enjoy food?

Kristie: Oh, sorry, you just broke up. Can you say that sentence again?

Marc: Yeah. These days, when it comes to your relationship with food, are there times that you enjoy food, you go, “Wow, I love this; this is great?”

Kristie: Yeah. Yes.

Marc: When does that happen for you?

Kristie: Yesterday. So at work they provide food for us. There was this tuna pasta bake. And it was raining. And I was kind of hungry. And I came in, and it was hot food. It was a cold day. It was like yeah, this is good. It was tasty.

Marc: Okay, I get it. So here’s what I want to do. Ideally I’d love to have about three more hours with you, but we’ve got enough to start to just kind of add to the picture and add to, I think, your body of knowledge relative to where you want to go. So let me just kind of free associate a bit and just say a bunch of things that are on my mind. And we’ll see just kind of how things land for you. I want to say in the big picture, you’re on a really good trajectory.

Kristie: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah, you’re on a really good trajectory. Based on where you’ve been and where you are now, I am very happy for you because you have had some difficult pieces to deal with relative to the challenges that you face. Difficult piece number one, you’re a woman being born on planet Earth. That is enough to make it difficult these days when it comes to the whole body image thing and the whole weight and the whole shape and the whole am I okay with this body. So right then and there, that’s a challenge.

Number two, my sense is you also come from a culture — I’m going to compare it to mine — that is not necessarily as expressive, potentially, as talkative, or a culture that had or has as much resource as others might have. So yeah, your story could’ve been a thousand different American women that I’ve spoken to. But quite frankly, there are cultural differences that go down.

And the reality is, when you come from a culture where no, we don’t talk about that, we don’t speak about that, yeah, a counselor came over the house and then that was the end of the conversation, that is very hard for a young person. It’s extremely hard for a young person because young people are observant. They see the world. They have a sense of how they feel. And when the adult world isn’t congruent, when the adult world isn’t showing up in a smart way, us younger people at the time go, “It’s confusing.” And it doesn’t make any sense.

And all of a sudden we end up feeling like we’re alone in the world. So even though you’ve got parents, and you’ve got a sibling, foster kids, whatever, one can feel really alone. So you had that challenge with your culture. You had the challenge of being molested repeatedly by a man that you knew. That by itself is a terrible offense that will throw anybody into an eating disorder or a disordered relationship with food and body. So that’s another challenge.

And no, wait, one more, one more that made it very free freaking difficult for you, extremely, even if everything else was perfect, the fact that you were a gymnast, the fact that you were, at a young age, in your body. And Kristie, I’ve got to tell you this. It’s mind blowing. I have worked with so many female gymnasts, former gymnasts, over the years.

And there’s a time, especially when you’re young, you have an extremely high functioning, high metabolic rate. You have the toned body. If you’re weight lifting, you’re strong. You’ve got it all. As soon as you stop that level of competition and of activity, especially when you start at a young age, the body never finds that place again that you had when you were 14, 15, and 16. And it ends up being like a benchmark in the head.

Yeah, and you’ve even shared that. You had that moment where this girl said to you, “Oh my God, you have the greatest abs in the universe.” And you were like, “Yeah, that’s me.” So that makes perfect sense that you would go there. So that by itself is hard. The amount of body dysmorphia and eating challenges amongst former gymnasts is shocking. It’s intense because of how high functioning your body is at some point. And then there’s always this weird comparison going on. So what I’m trying to say is given all that, you’ve overcome your eating disorder. You’re better with your body today than you were a year ago, two years ago, three years ago.

Kristie: A billion times, yeah. I feel like I’ve moved rugby fields, yeah.

Marc: Yes. So what I’m trying to say to you, I’m trying to help you get really present with the fact that you have succeeded greatly, I mean greatly. I really mean this. I can only imagine how hard you’ve been working. And I know a little bit about you. And you have a lot of energy. And you get very focused. And you’re very sincere. And there’s a part of you that doesn’t quit. There’s a part of you that just doesn’t quit.

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: There’s a part of you that just doesn’t quit. Yeah, you could be hanging off a cliff and hanging onto a blade of grass, and you ain’t going to quit. And I think there’s a part of you that knows it’s going to find its way out. You just don’t know how. So that to me is interesting.

Here’s what I want to say. Here’s what I’m trying to communicate to you. It’s a little difficult, but I think I could do it. There’s a part of you that feels you could be doing so much better. There’s a part of you that wants to hit the target and go, “Okay, love my body now, done, finished. Now I’m going to move on from this nonsense.” And what I want to say is I want you, highly suggest, I beg you to change that part of your religion, to change that part of your belief system, because there’s a place where you’re trying to win the lottery, win the medal. And this thing is gone. And what I’m saying is it’s going to be… go ahead.

Kristie: You did break up. Could you say that again?

Marc: Yeah. Thank you for asking me to do that. There’s a place in you where you’re wanting this to just be done, and, “I’m finished. I love my body. I’m comfortable. Okay, on to the next thing.” And what I want to say to you is it’s not going to look like that for a long time. What it’s going to look like is you’re going to do the same thing you’ve been doing, which is you’re going to get better and better and better. And it’s going to be step wise.

So I would love for you to take away the goal called I’m just going to feel comfortable in my body because here’s the thing. I know people who feel way more comfortable in their body, on average, moment to moment, than I do, than you do, or than anybody else does. So you and I could pick people from our worlds that oh, yeah, right. She’s comfortable in her body. He’s comfortable. I wish I had that.

But I promise you there are times when they’re not comfortable. There are times when they get sick. There are times when they’re not fully comfortable. It just happens. There are times when you’re going to get up on the wrong side of the bed. There are times when you got into an argument. There are times when the moon and the stars are in alignment, and you’re just not comfortable that day. So I don’t want you to waste time and energy going, “Oh my god, it’s this thing. It’s the boogeyman that I still can’t get rid of,” because any evidence right now that you get that you’re not comfortable in your body throws you into I’m not where I need to be.

Kristie: Kind of, yeah.

Marc: Yeah, so I am wanting to address that, first and foremost. And we’re going to talk about other stuff in this conversation. But if I can help you with that, you will have accomplished a lot in this conversation because there is a place I am getting where you go into a little bit of… it’s partly collapse. It’s collapse. It’s confusion. Things go haywire in here. You literally go haywire. And you don’t know which way to go.

And part of what happens, part of what triggers that, is that you get information. And the information is, “I don’t like my body today, okay. I looked in the mirror. I don’t feel good. I don’t like that. I want this to change.” You say something to yourself, something, whatever the trigger is, and you go down a rabbit hole. I want you to start to get more conscious before you go down that rabbit hole, that is, I want you to think of what I just said as weight lifting.

There have been times in your past when you got weights in front of you. And they’re a little bit more than you’ve lifted before. Or it’s at your edge. And you know, “Okay, I’m going to deal with this weight here right now.” You’ve got to be focused. You’ve got to have good technique. You’ve got to breathe. You’ve got to have your eyes open. You’ve got to have your mind clear. You’re focusing all your energy. You’re bringing all your energy to bear on that moment, on that activity, on that weight, same principle. There are times when you have to lift a little bit more weight in this process.

The weight here, the Olympic amount of weight that you have to lift, happens every time you go into the chaos mode because what happens is there’s a Kristie that you are naturally. There’s a person that you are naturally. And I believe that person happens to be very carefree, happens to be a lover of life. You love food. You love life. You love the outdoors. You love your body. You love feeling embodied. You love doing things in your body. You’re a happy person.

And you’ve gotten certain signals from your family. You’ve gotten certain signals from your upbringing. You’ve gotten certain signals from your life that that’s not okay. That’s not good. That’s not how we’re going to live. That’s not what it’s about. And you go into confusion mode. It literally confuses the bejesus out of you. There’s a place where it just feels like your brain goes into a storm. Now, follow me for a second here.

Kristie: Okay.

Marc: Two things, two events in your life, event number one, and it doesn’t have to be a specific moment, but I’m talking general when I say event.

Kristie: Can you say that again?

Marc: Sure, yeah, thank you. So there are two events in your life that I want to highlight. And when I say event it doesn’t mean a specific moment, more like two experiences, two pieces. Piece number one is there’s a disconnect in you as a child and how you’ve been communicated to. Your emotional body wasn’t well taken care of. Your emotional body wasn’t well communicated to you. You didn’t have good reflection. You mother, I wish I had another hour to dive into that relationship, but what I want to say is a woman’s relationship with her body often, and in your case I bet my life on it, tracks her relationship with her mother.

A woman’s relationship with her body tracks her relationship with her mother. Your relationship with your mother is okay, here’s who she is. Here’s what it’s about. We have a certain comfort zone. You stay there, Mom. I stay here. We’re not going to talk about this kind of stuff because it really gets me upset. I want to move beyond this. Mom, you’re still worried about food. You’re worried about your body. You’re worried about weight. You really don’t know how to talk to me. Plus in the past, whether you realize it consciously or not, your mom was not able to support you. Your dad is less important to me in this conversation. Your mother’s more important.

So if you’re a female, your model is your mother. If you’re a male, your model for being a male is your Dad, just how it works. So you have half your mother’s DNA. You’re modeling after her. You’re matching her as a child. You don’t even realize that you’re doing it. You’re tracking her. And your relationship with your mother is kind of like this. It’s not comfortable. She’s not comfortable in her own body, so you never had a role model for somebody who’s comfortable in her own body, in her own skin. So for better for or worse you are now trying to discover how to do that on your own.

Kristie: Totally, yeah.

Marc: Yeah, so you are. Now, here’s what I want you to say as a punch line into the future, into the future, into the future, way into the future. Where I want to see you able to get to go is I want to see you feeling more comfortable with your mother. The more comfortable you get with your mother, the more comfortable you’re going to be with your body, plain and simple. It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with her. It might be a lot of inner work that you do. But quite frankly, I think there are some steps to take there in terms of how you’re being with your mother because I promise you every baby step that you move forward in your relationship with your mother will be a giant step in relationship with your body. Did you catch that?

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: I really mean that. I really, really mean that. So right now you’re still a girl with your mother. You’re disappointed with her a little bit. And you don’t even want to go there. There’s a place where you don’t want to go into some of the feelings. And I think what happens is there are some feelings there, some feelings around Mom. There are some feelings around like hey. “That hurt”. And you kind of want to just go, “Okay, it happened. It happened. I want to move on.”

And I get that you want to move on. Sometimes what moving on looks like is moving in. Sometimes moving on is diving in. Yeah, sometimes we’ve got to let people go. I don’t know if it’s your time to let go of your mother like this. I don’t know. I honestly don’t believe so. If I am 100% being your advocate, and if I want to see you get where you want to go the fastest, this is what I would harp on. If you were my client, and we were talking once a week, I would be on it with you and your mom. You would so not like me. And I would do it because I care about you and where you want to be.

I really get a good picture of where you’ve been. And you’re trying to manage this without having to go into a lot of chaos. You’re trying to manage this without having to feel a lot of shit and without having to feel a lot of stuff. And what I want to say is I don’t know that you can escape like that. I don’t know. I’m curious in my own mind what would happen if Kristie was like, “Okay, whatever I feel I’m going to feel, especially when it comes to my mother,” because the discomfort in your body is all about discomfort with life. It’s not about your body.

Yes, it’s about your body. Yes, it’s about your body. It’s about being here. It’s about being alive. It’s about dealing with people. It’s about what the hell is going on? Who are these people? How come I’m not being taken care of? Why am I not being communicated to? Who are all these kids around me? There’s a lot of stuff that happened in your life without any conversation and any communication. And there are all these gaps. And you’re trying to constantly regulate yourself without a lot of information. No wonder you don’t feel comfortable. Nobody would in your circumstance.
So what I’m saying is definitionally when you tell me I’m not comfortable in my own skin, what happens for you is because of your past, gymnast, weight lifter…

Kristie: Sorry, you broke up. Can you say that again? I heard if you’re not comfortable in your own skin.

Marc: If you’re not comfortable in your own skin you’re going to think it’s about my body. The truth is, it’s snowing out here today in Boulder, Colorado. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin because I don’t like the cold anymore. So I’m not comfortable in my own skin when I walk outside. Now I could easily turn that into a body issue. But no, it’s an uncomfortable with life as it is. I’ve got to get used to the cold. I dress warmer. I try to look at my attitude.

So what I’m saying is we translate discomfort about life into discomfort about the body. You do that. You make the common mistake of defining discomfort about the world, about my past, about my experience, and you immediately focus it on the body because to our mind, to your mind, to my mind, to the human mind, oh, okay. Well if it’s just about the body, I can fix that. I’ve just got to exercise. I’ve got to run. I’ve got to lose weight. I’ve got to weight lift. I’ve got to diet. I could fix that uncomfortability.

So we want something we could fix. We want something that’s physical and tangible rather than the more difficult thing, which is like my mother. Okay, let’s just talk. Ultimately, when you’re able to feel like you belong in a conversation with your mother, and you could talk adult, you can be an adult in your conversation, what happens is, here’s what I think is the difficulty with you and your mother. You’re not quite her little girl anymore. You don’t live with her.

She doesn’t tell you what to do. You’re not her little girl. You’re your own woman, clearly. But there’s another part of you that when you’re talking to her you go back in time. You time travel. The moment you’re in her sphere, whether it’s on the phone, computer, whatever it is, you go back in time. And that’s natural. We all do that. But I need you to start catching yourself. And I need you to learn to stay in present time with your mother and stay in your adult.

Kristie: Can I ask a question about that?

Marc: Oh, 100%, please.

Kristie: Because we don’t really talk — we probably talk at Christmas, maybe a birthday — I don’t feel like I time travel so much because we don’t actually talk. If we were to, sure.

Marc: Okay, so what if you woke up tomorrow, and you got a call, “Mom died peacefully in her sleep last night.” Would you feel there was anything left unsaid?

Kristie: No.

Marc: No?

Kristie: No. And I’ve thought a lot about this. And I’ve wondered is it cold of me? But I really feel complete with my relationship in the sense that when I say I’ve worked to the best of my ability, and I think she’s worked to the best of hers, I really feel we’ve both given it our best shot.

Marc: Nice. Interesting. So we’ve both given it our best shot. So you’ve reached a point where you feel like, “Okay, I’ve done my work over here with this lady.” I want to think about this one. What would she say if she knew she was going to die peacefully in her sleep tonight? Do you think she would say to me, “Yeah, I’m complete with Kristie. I don’t have anything else to say.”

Kristie: I don’t think she’s complete. I feel complete.

Marc: Got it. Okay.

Kristie: And I hope this doesn’t sound rude of me, but I don’t feel like it’s my job to make sure she’s complete. That’s her job to make sure she’s complete with the people that she needs to be with. And I sense that, but I feel like if I were to hit her up about it, I don’t know that I would get that honest answer because I don’t think she knows how to. And I don’t judge her for that. It’s just the whole family. You look at the generations, and you’re like, “I get it. I get where it comes from.” And I’ve done a lot of thinking about it. And I don’t know that she’ll ever get to say what she wants to. It’s just where it is.

Marc: Yeah, okay. I hear you. So I guess what I’m looking for is the inner shift then. So there’s an inner shift that I’m looking for. Here’s what it looks like when it happens, in my experience. When it comes to a parent, when it comes to graduating — I’m calling it graduating because in my experience, and I’ve gone through this in my own life personally, and I’ve walked this journey with so many people, and I’m not just talking about clients, just friends, family, loved ones — there’s a place where we make peace with our parents, and we make peace with our past, and where we can see our parents like we see any friend, any other human. “Oh, God, yeah, that was you. That must’ve been hard being you. God no wonder you did all those behaviors. No wonder you acted like that. Here’s your context. Here was your upbringing. Here was your life, deep breath. And I get it. And I forgive you. And I understand. And I’m complete.” Right now, to me, your completion, what it feels like is it feels like the end of a chapter. And it don’t feel like the end of the book.

Kristie: Cool.

Marc: You with me?

Kristie: Yes.

Marc: In the end of a chapter it feels like you needed to just draw this line for your own sake. Makes sense to me. That’s another smart thing you’ve done. For you on your journey, and I’m just getting this now, for you on your journey there was a piece where for you to move forward you actually needed to create some separation, really. Get these people out of my system.

Kristie: Absolutely, yeah.

Marc: I have to get these people out of my system. Who am I without their noise, their nonsense, me talking to them, working with them? Enough. Okay, so I want to say brilliant move. So I am not saying you have to go back there into the trenches in any way, shape, or form. But what I am saying here, and this is a subtlety that there is a heavy weight here to lift. There is an Olympic amount. And it’s different than the previous work that you’ve done. And it’s an inner shift where you become an adult in relationship to your parents, in this case specifically your mother. Right now in this conversation I am still talking to Kristie, the young daughter of a mother. I’m not talking to 31 year old you. I’m talking to, I don’t know, sometimes it’s 15 year old you. Sometimes it’s 30 year old you. We’re just trying to get it right contemporary because as you’re able to look at that from more of a big picture, there’s going to be a little bit more comfort for you. That’s all I want to say about that piece.

But I want to cycle back for a moment to this place where you go into confusion. So you, to my mind, suffered a kind of trauma. I’m going to call the molesting a form of trauma. It might not occur to you as that. It might. I don’t know. But a trauma is a stressful event that is hard to metabolize. Okay, you have done very well in metabolizing that experience, no doubt. No doubt you’ve done amazing at metabolizing it. We’re not done. You’re not done. You’re not done.

And that’s okay because this is your new Olympic training. And in the Olympic training there are days like I thought I did this already. I thought I did this work. And this is a very human dilemma. We often work very hard at something, and we think we’re done, and we are at that time. And then we circle back again. So there was a trauma that was committed. And in the moment of that trauma, in those moments, something happens in your mind.

So I was asking you questions, where did you go in your mind? What were you saying to yourself? So there’s not a lot of information that you were able to give me, which is understandable because a) it’s going to be in part memory challenge, b) because a part of you had to check out. A part of you had to not be there. What you were able to say was, “Yeah, there was a part of me that wanted to get small and disappear.” You said two things, “A part of me that wanted to get small and disappear,” number one. Number two, “There’s a part of me that felt like this is wrong.” So you knew enough to know that this is wrong. You also knew enough that you were in a stress response. One aspect of stress response is you fight. You duke it out with the attacker, you run from the attacker, or you freeze with the attacker, fight, flight, or freeze. You wanted to freeze.

Kristie: I froze.

Marc: You went into freeze. So check this out. You go to that place. You go to that freeze place. Every time you hit confusion zone about I’m comfortable in my body, whoops, I ate food, there’s a place where certain things trigger you. And we don’t have time to go into it now, but probably a number of different things trigger you where you go into freeze response around your body. And in that freeze response, what’s happening is confusion. It’s just confusion. You don’t know what to do, which is what was happening years ago when you were being assaulted. You didn’t know what to do. So you did the best you can do, which is disappear as much as you could.

So what is happening now is we always repeat an offense until we heal it. We repeat an offense until we heal it. So you will repeat that offense. How do you repeat it? You go to a similar place, the similar place called, “Oh my God, this is not okay. This doesn’t feel right. I don’t know what to do,” freeze response. And in that freeze response you lose your brain. You lose how smart you are. You lose your power. And nothing works. That’s where I want you to catch yourself because these days, for 31 year old Kristie, the truth is, ain’t nobody touching you that shouldn’t be. You’re still the smart, powerful woman that you are. You just go into forgetfulness in that moment. And you time travel into a past. And that past is also similar, I’m guessing, to moments when you were a kid growing up. And input doesn’t make sense to you because the world is not making sense. The world is not being congruent. And you see that. And you know that. And it causes breakdown.

And in those moments, these days you have to catch yourself and deep breathe because there’s a place where when you abandon yourself part of you eventually goes into problem solving. Part of you goes into, “Oh my God, why is this here? Why am I doing this? What’s happening? What do I have to fix?” And those are the wrong questions. I mean that. Those are the wrong questions. That’s where you go because that’s what’s helped you. Over the years you’ve started breaking it down. You’ve gone, “Okay, wait. Wait a second. This isn’t good. How do I fix this? How do I address it?” So that strategy has worked for you. And it does work. And it’s a great strategy when it’s a great strategy.

So there’s another strategy. When you’re in those moments it’s not what do I need to fix. What do I need to do? What do I need to not eat? What do I need to eat? What do I need to tweak in my brain? How do I love my body better? When am I ever going to be comfortable with myself? How come I can’t be like her? Instead of problem solving, it’s time to feel in those moments. It’s time to be your best friend and be with yourself and breathe and be in freaking chaos, be in extreme discomfort. You want to get out of the discomfort. I am asking you to breathe in that discomfort.

Previously you could not get out of the discomfort of sexual abuse. You could not get out of the discomfort of an upbringing where people ain’t talking to you in a good way. You couldn’t get out of that discomfort. You were trapped. Agree, you were frigging trapped. That’s not a good situation. Now you’re not trapped. So now you can start to feel. And you don’t have to worry about your parents. You don’t have to worry about an attacker. You’re safe.

And this is your time to then be with yourself, be in the discomfort, be in the pain. It’s no different than, I don’t know, if you’re walking, and you sprain your ankle, and you drop to the ground. That hurts. And when you sprain your ankle, it’s good that you’re on the ground. And it’s good that you’re hurting. And it’s good that you’re yelling because you need assistance. And that hurts. And that’s a sign that I’m in pain. I’m in discomfort. I need to be with myself until help comes. So it’s kind of like the same thing.

I’m asking you to get present in a place where you normally start to do stuff and start to figure stuff out. And that’s your signal to be a good mother to yourself. If you’re a good mother to yourself, it would be Kristie, I love you. Take a deep breath. I’m going to be with you as long as you need me right now. I’m not going to leave your side. This hurts. This is painful. I’m hating my body right now. She has a better relationship with her body. I feel so bad about myself. I want you to feel the feelings as opposed to trying to fix the feelings or get out of the feelings. Are you with me?

Kristie: I’m with you.

Marc: Because your environment taught you how not to feel.

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: And you’ve been learning how to feel. I know you give yourself that. I’m not saying you don’t give yourself this, and you haven’t taught yourself that. I’m just saying let’s keep going. Let’s keep doing this. And here’s the place to really start to bring your awareness and your attention. This is what your mother couldn’t do for herself. The reason why you hit a wall with your mother is because there’s a place, God bless her, where she can’t move beyond in her own self. So if she can’t mature herself, she actually can’t be a good mother to you. At best what she can be is your girlfriend. And honestly, she’s probably like your younger girlfriend. And you’re pissed because you want her to be your mom not a girlfriend with all these issues.

Kristie: Yeah. I don’t feel mad at her.

Marc: Yeah, but it would be nice if your mom was just more of a mom and a lady and a woman instead of just this person who can’t move beyond where she’s stuck.

Kristie: Exactly, yeah.

Marc: Okay, so what I’m saying is for you, then, you’re picking up where your mother, in a weird way, left off.

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: Where your mother couldn’t break the barrier was to be with her own feelings and to take care of her own emotions and to learn how to be with herself in such a way that then she could be with other people. Now for sure I know you do this. I know you can be with yourself. And I know you can be with other people. We’re just talking about going deeper. That’s what this is because you’re getting better and better. And you want to have a better relationship with your body. You could hold steady right now where you are. And a lot of people do. And it will have been a tremendous accomplishment given where you’ve been.

Kristie: Yeah. And I don’t feel done.

Marc: No, you’re not done. So given that you’re not done, given that you’re not a quitter, given that there’s this part of you that just doesn’t want to quit, that is so beautiful. It’s so amazing. And that part of you is going to see you through. I know it. I truly believe that. But here’s what I want to say. That part of you is also I don’t want to say a liability, but it gets in your way. And the way it gets in your way is that you are such a bulldog for busting through stuff that you forget that sometimes actually busting through isn’t what gets you through. Sometimes it’s a little bit of finesse.

Kristie: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Marc: And the finesse part is the part that I’m talking about, which is to start to catch yourself in the moment where you go into the stress response called freeze. And freeze for you looks like your mind is going in 100 different directions. So as soon as your mind starts to go in 100 different directions, I want you to deep breathe. I want you to call up a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a best friend and go, “I’m in that spot. And I just need someone to talk to. I just need to regulate myself. I just need to breathe. I just need to calm down. I need to yak.” You could just yak for 20 minutes. Blow off some steam, move the energy, talk about your feelings. You don’t have to make any sense. You don’t have to fix anything. This is not about fixing anything. This is about in the moment catching yourself when you’re in the freeze and breathing yourself back into your body as if you were about to weight lift. When you weight lift, you embody.

Kristie: Yeah, I’m like, yeah.

Marc: Bingo. That’s what I’m looking for. You have that freaking skill. You have a tremendous skill, tremendous. That’s a tremendous skill, especially if you’ve been a world class athlete. That’s a tremendous skill to have. And all I’m saying is we’re taking that skill and translating it.

Kristie: I like that, yeah.

Marc: Okay, it’s that kind of focus. You’re calling yourself into your body. I kid you not. Do you have weights in the house? Do you have dumbbells in the house?

Kristie: I’m done with lifting weights.

Marc: Okay, so if there’s a physical thing that you could do that’s simple and easy, that helps you get into your body in the moment, even if you had two 15 pound dumbbells that you just, I don’t know, breathe yourself back in. I don’t care what it is. I need you to find that trick or two or three. I need you to find an easy trick that oh, that just focused me and got me into my body. And then from that place you’re in your body. How am I feeling? Where am I feeling? Don’t fix anything. Don’t fix anything. Being with yourself is the fix. You’re trying to figure out something. Stop it.

Kristie: Okay.

Marc: You’re torturing yourself by trying to figure out a fix in the moment. And then what happens is you don’t get the fix in the moment, and you think you’re wrong. You get frustrated. You think you missed the target. And meanwhile all you’ve been doing is having one success after the next over the years. That’s why I’m trying to paint a different picture about your story, about your journey, because part of you has it in your mind, freak, I’m still not there yet. I want to get there. I want to get there.

And that in part holds you back because what you’re not seeing is you’ve already won, as far as I’m concerned, six gold medals here. And you think that you’ve still got like a bronze in the closet. And it’s not enough. And I’m saying you’ve got a lot of medals. You’ve accomplished something. You are on a path of success. You have to start seeing it differently. I mean that.

As you start to see your past a little differently, and you start to acknowledge where you’ve come from, how well you’ve done, and that you’re still in progress, and you’re still in play, and that it’s not hit the target, wake up one morning, I love my body, I’m comfortable in my body, done. This is a lifelong relationship. It’s going to get better and better and better. And then at some point you’re going to be 90 percent there most of the time. You’re going to be in comfort most of the time.

And then you’re going to have the 10 percent discomfort that anybody else has. No biggie. You’re not going to let it throw you off your horse the day that you go into discomfort because you meet somebody who looks hotter in a bikini, in your opinion, than you do. Okay, discomfort, fine. It’s really not a big deal at some point. So you’re learning how to not make it a big deal.

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: You’re learning how to say to yourself, “Hey, I’ve been making progress. I don’t have to derail myself because I’m not where I think I should be,” because the goal you’re setting for yourself sets you up for failure.

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: So therefore I’m saying change the goal. And change it to a goal honestly that is more accurate to hit, that is more about what life actually looks like. And what life looks like is it’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s an unfoldment. It happens step by step. You’ve been doing this step by step. I know that you want to get this thing done with. That’s good. So I’m with you. That’s good. I get it.

And now I want you to put that right to the side. So it’s alongside you like a good buddy. “Okay, yeah, I want to get this over with, and I’m doing it,” as opposed to, “I want to get this over with, and I’m not there. Oh my God. And here I am in this moment where it’s not working, and I’m collapsing. And I’m going into freeze response. And my head’s trying to figure it out.”

Breathe yourself back into your body and you go, “No, this is my opportunity to be with myself, to feel.” And you’re learning to be with yourself because that’s the moment of discomfort that your soul is hungering for, you to be with yourself. That place when you learn how to be more comfortable there is what’s going to save you. You try to get out of that place because that place is where the offenses were committed. You were molested in that place.

And you were brought up in that place of we’re not communicating to you. We’re overriding your moments. They don’t count. We just want you to disappear, be small and just whatever. And now you’re learning to stay awake in that place because you’re a woman. You’ve learned some things. You’re safe. And you’re raising yourself now. So we are at that time. But I am wondering, has any of this been helpful and useful for you?

Kristie: I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and need to sleep for a week. There’s a lot to digest. But it’s well on the Mark, I think. And I like the idea of changing the goal because I think, yeah, I’m asking the wrong questions. It’s not about fixing it. It’s just about being with it.

Marc: Yes. That’s going to change everything for you, Kristie. I mean that. I truly mean that. I really feel like I have a sense of you and your earnestness and your motivational force, your inspirational power. And all I’m saying is we’ve got to adjust some of these dials here so that you could use that force and that power effectively by setting a goal that is reasonable, asking the right questions, being more in alignment with how life actually works, which is step by step by step.

Kristie: Yeah.

Marc: I am so glad we had this chance to connect and talk. I really am.

Kristie: Me too. Thank you.

Marc: You are welcome. And I threw a lot in your court. I really did. So if you’re feeling like you got hit by a truck, I get it. I just wanted to put out there my best that I have to offer.

Kristie: It was a good truck.

Marc: All right. That’s great. Miss Kristie, so we get to have a follow up session in a handful of months. And feel free to email me and just kind of let me know, give me an update. But we’ll do a follow up. Somebody on my team will reach out. And I thank you so much. I really do.

Kristie: Thank you.

Marc: All right. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. I really appreciate you being part of our world. Once again, I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. Take care my friends.

I hope this was helpful. Thanks for listening to the Psychology of Eating podcast. To learn more about the breakthrough body of work we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, please sign up for our free video series at That’s I for Institute, P for Psychology, E for T-i-p-s. You’ll learn about the cutting-edge principles of dynamic eating psychology and mind/body nutrition that have helped millions of people forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health.

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I Stopped Washing My Face for a Month – Here’s Why You Should Too

So here’s the thing –

I’ve been planning for a while to write a post on why “I Stopped Washing My Face in the Morning” for a long while. Why? Well, because over the last year, I stopped using cleansers in the morning – completely stopped – here’s the reason:

Truth is, after a night’s sleep (unless you were out in a sand storm battle field while getting your beauty z’s), your skin isn’t really all that dirty. In fact, you’ve probably noticed in the morning when cleansing your face, all you’re removing is last night’s products that you put on to keep your skin youthful and dewy (think serums, oils, moisturizers and eye creams). And to be quite frank, you wanted that on your skin for a reason.
Kate Murphy Living Pretty Naturally

What I realized is that, no amount of cleansing changed my skin’s behaviour (even using a super gentle moisturizing cleanser) because the truth was, my skin didn’t need to be cleansed.

So, during the course of the last year, I’ve used only a gentle Konjac Sponge instead. That’s it. Just plain good ol’ water, and a low-cost sponge – they’re only $10 USD.

Photo Cred: Eco Diva Beauty

Photo Cred: Eco Diva Beauty

This is awesome for two reasons:

  1. Your (sometimes expensive) cleanser is going to last you twice as long.
  2. Your skin is going to look fantastic, and maintain its natural moisture better.


… So, this summer, while traveling Bali, I thought I’d take it a step further.

I decided to not wash my face for a month.

My vow was to avoid wearing makeup (who needs makeup in Bali?!) and instead, just use sunscreen when needed.

To my surprise, my skin was fine. No big breakouts, no “dirt” on my face, just clean, good skin. The proof is in the pudding: here’s an unedited selfie below:

I'm wearing a bandeau bikini top :)

I’m wearing a bandeau bikini top 🙂 and my necklace with the rose quarts is called Angel Whisper’s Necklace from the amazing Ananda Soul Creations in Bali – she ships internationally.

Now, I did use water to splash my face at the end of the days and in the morning, but I avoided using cleansers, with the exception of some bamboo wipes when I had a really thick “sunscreen day.” Other than that, my skin was looking dewy and glowing.

Here’s why: when we cleanse our skin, a cleanser does it’s job and strips the skin of its natural oils. Further, it also throws off the natural bacteria balance.

When allowing the skin to just do it’s darn thing, we’re allowing it to heal, without getting in its way.

So the real question: Will I quit cleansing for good?

best gentle natural cleanser

In short: No!

I like to use it to take off makeup at the end of the day (I don’t want to push and pull around the delicate eye area when removing mascara – gentle is best to protect the skin).

So, my routine is this: if I’ve worn makeup that day, I’ll cleanse with a gentle cleanser, such as Josh Rosebrook’s Complete Moisture Cleanse ($50 USD at the Detox Market). Stick to natural cleansers that feel a little creamier— try to get over the need to feel “squeaky-clean” and “tight” at first, your skin will improve with this already perfect switch.

In the mornings, it’s only water and a konjac sponge.

That’s it. Easy, peasy.

Give it a try, start with just changing out your morning and let me know how you experience it.



The post I Stopped Washing My Face for a Month – Here’s Why You Should Too appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.


How to Fast Safely: Considerations Before Starting a Fast

An individual on a cliff celebrating after fasting safely.

If you haven’t done the research, you might find yourself wondering if fasting is safe. You may have heard from people who’ve never even tried it that it’s crazy, dangerous, or just pointless. And yet, for thousands of years, so many cultures have embraced fasting wholeheartedly. This ancient practice leads to numerous health benefits for most people—when done correctly.

That said, fasting is not for everyone. Even compulsory religious fasting excuses the sick, the young, and the elderly for their safety. For some people, certain health conditions make fasting inadvisable. Of course, there are many ways to plan and prepare to ensure that you fast as safely as possible. Read on to find out if fasting is right for you and what you should consider before beginning a fast.

Who Should Avoid Fasting?

You should only fast if you’re generally healthy. Some underlying medical issues might prevent you from starting one unless you’re under direct medical instruction or supervision.

You shouldn’t fast if you are on immunosuppressive drugs, currently very ill, or recovering from surgery or injury. Fasting ignites immune cell recycling, a remarkable effect that’s like a reset button for your immune defenses. It helps you replace damaged, old, or rickety immune cells with younger, more competent white blood cells once you start eating again. But if you already have a low white blood cell count, you’re better off not fasting to preserve your immune system, even in its weakened state.[1]

Some people should avoid fasting, including:

  • Infants and children
  • Type 1 diabetics
  • Hypoglycemics
  • Pregnant and nursing women
  • People recovering from a major surgery or serious injury
  • Those who are underweight or undernourished
  • Persons with a history of eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive eating
  • People with a history of malnutrition, such as alcoholics
  • Anyone with a depressed or compromised immune system
  • Those on certain medications, especially those that can’t be taken without food
  • People with nutritional deficiencies like low iron status
  • People with heart issues
  • Those who experience severe heartburn
  • Those with very low blood pressure (hypotension)

Your body might not respond well to a radical change in diet, particularly if you have any of the health conditions listed above. Fasting is not a “one size fits all” approach to health. You might have an entirely different experience from a friend or family member—this is normal. Fortunately, there are many different types of fasts to choose from, so you can find the one that suits your body and health goals.

Top Considerations for a Safe Fast

Before fasting, know your limits. Fasting is not something you can just jump into without preparation and research. Your experience, health, nutrition, and personal relationship with food should all be evaluated before you decide to fast.

Experience and Duration

If you’re not an experienced faster, you shouldn’t embark on a 21-day water fast on your first go. Some online resources that advocate this kind of extreme change paint a rosier picture than you will likely experience. First, try going on a juice cleanse or partial fast like my ketogenic fast to acclimate yourself to a more restrictive diet. You can also try intermittent fasting and slowly work your way up to alternate day fasting. One of the primary reasons you should ease into fasting is to see how your body responds. If you know what to expect and what to account for, you’re in a better position to prepare yourself for a fast that’s longer or more challenging.

Health Status

Forget “feed a cold, starve a fever.” Focus on your general health status rather than your immediate health goals before deciding to go on a fast. If you’re trying to detox from a junk food binge, organize your diet plan before fasting. Always put your health first. Under certain circumstances, fasting can do more harm than good. Always speak with your trusted healthcare practitioner about your plans before making any radical changes to your diet.

Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition during a fast? Yes, absolutely! Your body keeps a natural reserve of several key nutrients, like the fat-soluble vitamins, to help sustain normal cellular function when you’re not eating. But you should still supply your body with water-soluble vitamins and minerals to keep your electrolytes stable and your metabolism running as it should.

Water is arguably the most essential nutrient that your body needs. It’s responsible for transporting other nutrients and waste throughout your body, regulating temperature, and providing the medium in which all your metabolic processes occur.[2] This makes water indispensable when fasting. Many fasters become dehydrated because they’re not getting the same volume of water they normally do from food, which means you’ll have to make up the deficit. Drink enough water so that your urine runs clear.

Your Relationship With Food

People with a history of eating disorders should avoid fasting until they’ve dealt with their food issues. It may seem like an appealing option, but it can quickly become a crutch or a way to reinforce disordered eating patterns and habits if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

If you have a history of abusing food to deal with stress or emotional trauma, you should first find healthier ways of dealing with negative feelings rather than turning to food for solace.

Fasting Safely

When you’re fasting, limit intense, strenuous activity so you don’t overtax your body. Fasting is supposed to be a restorative practice, so make sure you get plenty of rest. Nourish your body with plenty of water and water soluble micronutrients to keep yourself energized while you’re running off your energy stores. If you do decide to fast, always fast for the benefit of your health, not to make your body look a specific way. If fasting isn’t a healthy option for you, don’t subject your body to it. And if you begin feeling ill, break your fast immediately. Listen to your body—it’ll let you know if you’ve gone too far.

Do you have any tips for fasting safely? Share them in the comments below!

The post How to Fast Safely: Considerations Before Starting a Fast appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Overhead Letter Y Stretch

If you want to improve your posture, get rid of shoulder, neck and upper back pain, one of the simplest stretches to turn to is the Overhead Letter Y Stretch. I include this stretch as part of a posture routine that I teach that also includes the Overhead Lat Stretch, which you can read about […]


Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #233 – Overcoming the Need to be Perfect

Ashley has spent many years working out obsessively to achieve a certain look. With her overexercising came adrenal fatigue and leaky gut due to not truly taking care of herself. She is now on a journey to experience pleasure in her life without feeling guilty and to learn to accept her body as it changes throughout womanhood. In this session, Marc, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and Ashley dive deeper into how her thoughts are driving her towards perfection and Marc invites her to step into her womanhood and be in her body in order to get to the next phase in life.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Marc: Welcome, everyone. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here we are in the “Psychology of Eating” podcast. And I am with Ashley today. Welcome, Ashley.

Ashley: Hi, Marc. Thanks for having me.

Marc: I’m glad we’re doing this. You are welcome. And let me just take a moment and say a few quick words to viewers and listeners. If you’re returning to this podcast, thanks for coming by again. I appreciate you being in our world. If you’re new to the podcast, it’s very simple. Ashley and I are meeting officially for the first time ever right now. And we’re going to spend 45 minutes to an hour together and see if we can push the fast-forward button on a little bit of change and transformation. So, Miss Ashley, if you could wave your magic wand, if you could get whatever, ever, ever you wanted from this session, what would it be for you?

Ashley: It would be for me to experience pleasure without feeling guilty and like I had to earn it. And accepting my body.

Marc: Mmhmm. Experience pleasure without feeling guilting and without feeling like you need to earn it.

Ashley: Yup.

Marc: I love that. And what was the second part?

Ashley: Um, it’s kind of tied into it, but it is just feeling comfortable and accepting my body. And not worrying about it and not being obsessive with the thoughts that come along with health and wellness. I’m a bit obsessive about it.

Marc: Give me a sense of what those obsessive thoughts might sound like.

Ashley: Well, my day, I would say, 75% of my thoughts are around, just around, maybe more than that, just around health and wellness. And around fitness. I’ve been a trainer for almost 11 years, and my role as a trainer has morphed throughout those years. I’ve evolved to being a trainer that I’m really happy with the way that I am with my clients and things, but I have had experiences of abusing my body and overexercising. Undereating, very orthorexic behaviors, things like that. So, my obsession with being the healthiest, being the most fit, being the most, just, I guess, the best. That sort of perfectionist mentality, I guess I would say.

Marc: Mmhmm. So, when you’re going through that on a day-to-day basis, is there any time when you feel inspired by it, or are you just kind of feeling like, “Oh my God, more rules, more stuff, more things to take care of, more things to worry about”?

Ashley: You know, it ranges. This entire year I’ve made huge progress in my, I call it recovery. I honestly think I’m half recovered. Because I laugh at myself now, when I get these thoughts. I kind of am able to almost gracefully somewhat dance around these thoughts. I’m able to kind of now look at it as, “Alright, my compulsions are telling me what to do. I get that they were once trying to protect me maybe or something, but…”

So I’m able to kind of see them as not a part of me, in a way. So, I don’t beat myself up like I did maybe a year or two ago, when I do get these thoughts. But, for example, I still have these tendencies, because one of the exercises I did was, “Ok, I’m going to eat the things that give me pleasure or foods that I may have restricted in the past.”

And oh, I just ate it up! I loved it; it was amazing. But I still just had this compulsion to where I wanted to go to the mirror, and I still have this compulsion on a daily basis where I want to check my stomach and make sure—I hate even saying it—that it’s flat and that it is still like that trainer and like this. And, you know, my body is changing. I’m older now, I started being a trainer when I was 20 years old.

So now, I understand that. I want my body to change. I want to be a woman. I want to step into my womanhood in a way. And there’s something there that I still feel this really deep need. It’s like a deep compulsion that I have to wake up at 5:30, and I have to go work out, and I have to maintain this body.

Marc: So, when did this start for you? Did this start when you became a trainer? Was it before?

Ashley: No, when I was a trainer, I was just happy-go-lucky. I worked out; my body really never changed. I didn’t really have these obsessive thoughts until I moved here, actually. I moved away from family. I moved in with my now-husband. And maybe losing a sense of connection with things put the spotlight on these feelings, perhaps.

But, roots. Where we live, we’re saving money while he’s a student. I moved from a home I felt like was very homey, and I moved in and didn’t have friends or family here. And, so that seemed to be an issue for me. Threw myself into my career to sort of get those good feelings.

I’ll admit, being a trainer you get… I love listening to people’s stories and finding out what makes them feel good and where they’re struggling. And I want to be that helper to people. I love it so much!

And making that connection with people. So, I dove into that. I worked from about 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, and then, about last March, got adrenal fatigue, was losing hair. I developed leaky gut. I was just in the worst health because I wasn’t taking care of myself. And now I see that as my body was telling me to slow down. And I actually made the huge step to quit my job as a trainer and completely just change things up and do something that spoke to me. And I was still working out obsessively, and then I broke my arm at the gym. So, another thing. The universe was telling me to slow down. And that’s when the anxiety just poured over. Because the first thought I had when I fell on my arm was, “This is what you needed to stop.”

And I was resting and healing, and I had this overwhelming anxiety every day that I was going to gain weight. Like not being able to move my body was so terrifying to me. And to just sit still was very terrifying. And that’s when I knew that I had to seriously make space for healing and sit with what was happening. And that was in March of this year. So, this entire year has been really devoted to all of this.

Marc: Are you going to want kids?

Ashley: Yeah, we’re actually trying. I lost my period two years ago. I’m sure that my lifestyle contributed to that, but we’ve recently been more successful. So, yes, we’re trying.

Marc: How old are you?

Ashley: I’ll be 30 in February.

Marc: And what does your husband think of your challenges? What does he say to you?

Ashley: He’s very supportive. The way that he knows how. I love to talk everything out, and he loves my body so much. He could care less if I was a personal trainer. He could care less about the way I looked. He is extremely supportive. He’ll ask like, “Ok, what are you craving tonight? Let’s really think about it.”

And he’ll try and honor these cravings: “Let’s go get this food.” And then he’ll [say], “Let’s quit the gym membership now.” We belong to a rock climbing gym where we go together. And that is free therapy right there. It’s fantastic. We’re doing things together. So, yes, he’s being very supportive in doing things that help it.

Marc: So, when you talk to yourself, what do you think is kind of hanging on in your system? What do you attribute it to? This kind of piece in you that still worries and still looks and still goes into concern and fear.

Ashley: Well, I think the compulsion to look a certain way comes from maybe the time of my life that I was happy in my body? And that was when I had family and friends around me. That’s something I think about. And I also attribute this sort of image of success and what that looks like. So, there’s one feeling that’s very warm and more of an emotional thought, and then there’s one that is this societal pressure that most women feel. So, I think it’s like success and also this sort of, if I let my body change, then I won’t be able to make as big of an impact, for some reason.

Marc: Interesting belief. I understand it, too. And you’re not the first person to have that. So, these days, are there days or times when you notice, “Huh, it’s not so bad upstairs in my head,” where you just notice, “Wow, today was a decent day”?

Ashley: Yeah, most of the day, I feel great. It is the morning. I usually wake up with this compulsion to check my stomach and see that it’s toned and that it’s flat. And that’s the area of my body that I always focus on. And that starts the obsessive thoughts and the need.

And so, I’ve been trying different exercises where I’m not going to let myself go to the gym. I’m just going to wake up naturally and sit and start a new routine. “Let’s start a new routine, Ashley.” So, I’ll try that, and it may last a day. And then I’ll say, “Well, I need to move my body,” because if I don’t, then I tend to get anxiety towards the end of the day.

It’s normally just the morning where I wake up and I feel this pressure to just have this perfect day and to create and to make an impact and to do something great. And normally, a workout and a routine is included in that. And when I was younger—I’m an only kid—there was a little bit of that pressure to be the best, do your best. And so, I know I’ve carried that into my adulthood.

Marc: How’s your mom’s relationship with her body?

Ashley: When I grew up, she looked in the mirror, and I would always say, “God, you look so beautiful, mom!” I think my mom is the most beautiful woman in the world. And she would go, “Ugh! I’m a fat cow! Ugh, I need to lose 10 pounds.” She did Weight Watchers, I remember. But, I think now that she’s older, she doesn’t really care as much. But when she was younger, mid 30s, 40s, I do remember her not really liking her body very much.

Marc: Interesting. So, how many days a week are you actually exercising?

Ashley: I exercise five to six days a week.

Marc: So, on the one or two days that you don’t exercise, how do you feel?

Ashley: A little shaky.

Marc: What does “shaky” mean?

Ashley: It means I’m very much in my head. I’m not really in my body, so I don’t even know what it feels like. It feels like I can’t sit still. My husband is always asking me to sit with him and lounge, and “Let’s go cuddle.” And I always have something to do. I’m always rushing. I’m always going, going, going. And it feels like that. Like a snow globe that’s been shaken. That’s what my brain feels like. And those are the days when I’m more obsessive with food. I think, “If I’m not going to work out, then I really need to not overeat.” Which is so not the way I talk to my clients. This pressure I put on myself, it’s so boggling to me, because I’ll tell my clients, “Move in a way that you feel good, and eat in a way that you are honoring you.”

They’ll tell me what I’m telling you, and I’ll tell them, “Oh, honey…” I’ll just give them so much comfort and kind of talk them through their compulsion, so that they can somehow see it differently. But for some reason, I’m the hardest on myself.

Marc: So, we do kind of teach what we need to learn, oftentimes. We do kind of say the things sometimes that we ourselves need to hear. I think it’s understandable. So, let’s say you’ve gotten where you want to go, you’re the person you want to be. You have the relationship with food and body that you want to have, the relationship with pleasure that you want to have. Describe this new person to me.

Ashley: This person is carefree and fun, and I can see this woman. And there are days where I am so close! I can feel her. You know, a soft place to land. A woman, to me, is that. The woman I want to be, she’s this fierce, yet soft. I want to wake up in the morning and have sacred time with myself and relax and then have a great day with clients and then have a great evening with my husband. And she doesn’t think about how I “should” have treated my body. That woman doesn’t “should” all over herself. She’s fun.

Marc: So, she’s in a flow, she’s fun, she’s a soft place to land. She’s exciting, she’s bubbly, she’s out there, she expresses herself. Got it, got it, got it. What is the most challenging thing for you about food? If you had to name one thing: “The most challenging part of this whole thing for me when it comes to food is…”

Ashley: Oh, man! It’s when I am eating intuitively. It is when I stop. If I feel too full, I feel bad about myself. That, to me, is the hardest thing. Because it’s not so much picking the food. I have a great diet, and for the most part, my relationship with food I feel good about. I love cooking; I love being in the kitchen with my husband. It’s fantastic. I love the food that we make. The word “indulge” comes to me.
When I indulge, it’s hard for me to just leave it at the plate, in a way. The word “indulge” just has this sort of negative connotation with me, and I don’t want it to. I don’t want to feel like I have to earn the food. I don’t want to feel like I have to earn the pleasure, earn the indulgence. I don’t want to feel like I have to go work out in the morning or work out before. It’s the feeling of earning something that’s great.

Marc: Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like underlying all this that we’re talking about is the fear of gaining weight.

Ashley: Mmhmm.

Marc: Would you agree?

Ashley: I would agree.

Marc: I want to kind of highlight that with our yellow marker here. Because, in a lot of ways, everything else you’re talking about it is useful and it’s helpful. And there’s the part of you, as with a lot of people, as with a lot of women, as with a lot of young women, that gets sucked into perfectionism in a very big way. It’s got to be perfect, it’s got to be just right, it’s got to be great. I want to wake up in the morning and go, “Yes! I’m going to have this great day, and I’m going to exercise, and it’s just going to be so good! And everyone will love this, because it’s just so good. I will love this because it’s just great.”
And that’s understandable. It’s an understandable goal. And it often as well feels to me like it’s this weird picture that gets painted for us in the personal growth space. Like, every day is supposed to be this miracle day, and every morning is supposed to be this miracle morning. And you’re supposed to make miracles happen and be fabulous and do all these fabulous things. And fabulous, fabulous.

And the truth is, sometimes things are fabulous, but fabulous is not a consistent adjective in our lives. I don’t care what anybody says. You can put fabulous on a pedestal all you want, but you’ve got to change diapers. That ain’t fabulous. You’ve got to deal with my headache and my stomachache, and the plumbing needs fixing, and I miss my friends and my family. That’s not fabulous.

I think what’s happening here, in part, Miss Ashley, is there’s a place where you are due for a great reexamination of your religion. And, when I say “religion,” I’m not talking about church or anything like that. I’m talking about the religion that you’ve inherited, invented, come up with, absorbed from the world around food and body and how life is supposed to look.

Ashley: Ok.

Marc: I think there’s some commandments that you have that you will naturally fall short of. And you will then naturally not like yourself or be upset with yourself, because you’re not living up to the standard. So, if I set the high bar of a fabulous life and a fabulous day, and each morning has to be kick-ass, that’s cool and that’s sweet and that’s good. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you don’t leave any room for messy. You don’t leave any room for “It’s just going to break. Stuff is going to happen.” You’re going to get up on the wrong side of the bed, and it’s snowing out today, and the car doesn’t start. And part of it is just joining the human race and getting a little more messy. A little more messy, a little more messy. Because you like perfect.

Ashley: Yup.

Marc: You do!

Ashley: I do.

Marc: I get it. And that’s sweet and it’s good. And I want to suggest that you can have perfect in moments. Where everything just feels so good, and that meal just feels so good, and that workout feels so good. There’s a place where you tyrannize yourself that it has to be a certain way all the time. And I don’t know, maybe it’s too much social media, where everybody seems to have this freaking fabulous life. And there’s no pain and struggle. And everybody is always having a fun time. There’s never a bad picture.

Ashley: Yeah, I’ve had to filter some of that.

Marc: Yeah! It’s crazy! I get it; I understand it. And that’s what you’re up against. That’s what you’re dealing with right now. It’s not super personal, but you’ve absorbed a lot of the, I think, the ineffective beliefs of the world that has us thinking it’s supposed to look a certain way, and we’re always going to come up short.

With perfectionism, we’re always going to come up short. With having to be fabulous, you’re going to come up short. With having to have it all perfect and even feel good about your body. Instead of shooting for that: “I want to feel good about my body.” I would even take that off the table! There’s a difference between feeling great about my body and treating my body in a way where I can feel good about myself.

I’m going to say that again. There’s a difference between “I feel great about my body!” versus “I treat myself, I treat my body, in such a way that I feel good about me.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: What happens is if I say, “I want to feel great about my body,” usually what we’re really saying is, “I want to have the perfect weight, the perfect shape. Which means I have to have the perfect diet; I can’t eat this, I can’t eat that. And I can’t stray. I have to exercise a lot. And oops, I missed my exercise today, which means I can’t have the perfect body, which means I can’t feel great about myself. Because I can’t feel great about my body if it’s not perfect.”

So, that’s different from, “I’m treating my body in such a way that I feel good about myself.” And that looks like not every day is going to be the perfect workout. Not every day will you get to work out. There’s going to be some days where you’re being a mommy, and it ain’t gonna go down; it ain’t gonna happen. You’re going to do the exercise called “picking baby up and putting baby down.” And you’re going to be doing the exercise called “bounce baby around, and drag the kid here, and do this and do that.” And life needs you to trust that.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: You don’t trust that. Your belief is “If I don’t stick to my religion”—my religion being, ‘I don’t work out like this, I eat like that, I do this, I don’t do that’—“If I don’t stick to that…” Basically, you’re screwed, in your belief system. You’re kind of screwed. You’re kind of convinced you’re going to gain weight.
Which would make sense that you wake up in the morning like, “I’ve got to check my belly, and then I’m going to be a little bit crazed,” because your religion says, “This day must be perfect.” So, you’re starting out, “This day must be perfect; this body must be perfect.” So, you’re starting out with a goal that is designed to set you up for failure. And then you get frustrated with yourself. And then you think you’re doing something wrong.

So, a lot of this you kind of know. I’m putting slightly different words around it, and I wish there was an easy fix for this. I really do, Ashley. I wish there was an easy fix. And you actually, you’re making amazing strides with this. You’ve already painted a picture to me that where you were a while ago and where you are now, you’ve changed and you’ve shifted, and it’s not as bad. And you’re getting better here. And my very educated guess is that you are moving as fast as you possibly can. I really mean that. You can’t move any faster than this.

And I get it. You’re human, I’m human, and we have high standards. You have high standards. I have high standards. I want things to happen faster. “Why do I have to wait for this nonsense? Let it happen now!” That’s a little bit of what happens for you. You want things to get fixed now, and if they don’t get fixed now, you take that as a sign that you’re doing something wrong again. “What do I have to do different?” Right? Yeah.

Ashley: Right

Marc: So, you’re beating yourself up for things that you don’t need to beat yourself up for. It’s like, I don’t like snow. And when it snows, I noticed I used to beat myself up. Which is so dumb! I would start to get depressed, and I would get angry. “Why do I live here? Why do I live in snow? Why didn’t I see this coming?”

Ashley: Oh yeah, totally.

Marc: And I’m like, “Wait a second. That is the most ridiculous, retarded conversation I could possibly have with myself!” To beat myself up because it’s snowing. But, for sure, I did that for a number of years. So, what I’m saying is the mind could be a little bit insane in that way.

Ashley: Right

Marc: And you are moving as quickly as you can to mature yourself. Part of maturing yourself, you’ve accurately identified as stepping into your womanhood more. Because a woman doesn’t stand in the world and say, “Ok, do I need to lose another pound for you to love me?” and “Whoops, I ate an extra piece of marshmallow today. Is this going to mess me up?”

There’s a place where you’re learning to trust. And you don’t fully trust yet. And what I want to say to you is that’s ok. I really, really, really want you—one of the best moves you could make right now is to take a little bit of the pressure off yourself. It’s less about fixing yourself at this point. It’s less about getting rid of the thoughts. Thoughts are going to be there for a while. I just want you to take the pressure off for needing it to be so different so quickly. You see what I’m saying?

Ashley: Yes.

Marc: Because once you take that pressure off of you, your system can relax more. And when your system relaxes more, your higher intelligence, your higher brain starts to come online more. Your intuition comes online more. Your higher instinct comes online. You get so stressed out that your decisions aren’t your best ones. The decisions, meaning how you think and how you choose to respond to your thinking. And what you make up about your thinking and your life, and what you make up about where you’re at. You keep gathering evidence that you’re not enough.

Ashley: Oh, yeah.

Marc: I need you to start proving something different. There’s a place where it is literally like, if you were a computer, it would be like there’s a virus in there, and we’ve got to get it out. The virus is called “looking for evidence that proves that I’m not good enough and I need to work harder, do better.”
One of the ways you work harder and do better, believe it or not, is you talk to yourself in ways that are harmful. Thinking that it’s going to motivate you. Thinking that it’s going to cause you to take action, because that’s what the health world and the fitness world teaches. “Come on, you can do this!” Being a personal trainer, you can do this!

And that’s a good message, when that message is the right message. It’s a great message. But we need a lot more messages in your pocket than that one. Another good message for you would be, “You don’t have to do this today.”

Ashley: I know! I’ve thought about that. I’ve thought about “How wild, Ashley, would it just feel for you to take a day off?” Like, put that on the shelf. How wild that would be! How liberating. And, I will go to bed and have these feelings of, “Ok, tomorrow I’m going to do this, this, this, and this.” It’s lists in my head. And it’s been that way my whole life. And then, I’ll think, this wiser self will step in and say, “Shut your alarm off; tear up the list,” and I will feel this “Ahhhhh, ok.” And I’ll sleep great!

And it’s sort of like when you’ve tasted the sweetest or had the best meal of your life, and you just can’t find it. I’ve been there. I’ve been in that moment of, “Ahhh, ok.” And then, “Wait! Don’t lose it! Don’t lose it! Stay in this room here of confidence and not needing to be perfect.” So, it’s like you say, I’m almost—well, not that you said, but—I’m almost there. I’m trying very hard to stay in this space of a positive mindset and a loving mindset. I’ve tasted it, but I’m not quite living in it yet.

Marc: So, here’s a way to go. Ok, I’m going to tell you how to get there faster. We’re going to cheat here. I’m going to tell you how to get there faster. Ok? One of the ways to get there faster, to that great positive place where you’re treating yourself better, where you’re talking to yourself better, is to being to embrace the part of you that doesn’t talk so nicely to you. And to not let it freak you out so much. Because, right now, you are being so reactive to that other voice inside you. It freaks you out. The perfectionist voice in you just puts you in a tailspin sometimes.

When you’re in a bad mood, the perfectionist voice puts you in a tailspin. Is that true?

Ashley: Very true.

Marc: Ok. So, that is what I am calling a “bad religion.” Because, in truth, the way life works is some days you feel good and some days you don’t. Some days you get into an argument with your husband, and he’s a jerk, and you’re pissed, and you think of all these things you wanted to say and should’ve said, and nah nah nah nah… And it’s not a great day!

And maybe you ate too much, and the reason you ate too much today was because you got into that argument and you want to feel good about yourself, and you used food. And what I want to say to you is when that happens, I want you to go, “But, of course! That’s life. That happens; I’m human.”

You must come down to earth with all the other humans who get muddy and sloppy. Because you’re there anyway.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: You’re trying to get higher up into the atmosphere, and you’re going to keep crashing. Instead, we hang out with our feet on the ground, and when you have a bad day, you love yourself. And when you overeat, you love yourself. You don’t love the fact that you overate, but you love yourself despite the fact that you overate.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: Your loved ones, your family, the people that you love the most, sometimes they do dumb things. Sometimes they do things that aren’t good. Sometimes they do things to you that look silly. You might have a moment of judgment. You might have a moment of, “Why do you do that?” but you don’t say, “Ok, pulling away my love now! You suck.”

No, you need to be a better friend for yourself. You keep pulling away and being the perfectionist whenever things aren’t going perfect. And you actually become a not nice friend to you.

Ashley: And on those days that are good, I respond to that voice, and I say, “Oh, honey.” Like I am nice. But those are only days where… It’s half and half. And I’d like to get out of my head and not even in my heart. I want to get in my hips. I want to just really drop in and be here. I want to be in this body. I want to be in it.

Marc: This is how you do it. How you be in this body is you be in all of your experience. How you be in this body is you be in all of your emotions. Because emotions live in the body. Experience lives in the body. So, feel bad when you’re feeling bad. Feel annoyed when you’re feeling annoyed. If you’re feeling lazy, feel lazy. If you don’t want to work out, don’t work out. Trust yourself. And, if you get confused, get confused. But still find love for yourself.

So, what I’m saying is, instead of keep shooting for perfection, and keep shooting for “Wait a second, I don’t want to have these bad feelings, I just want to have these good feelings,” Saying, “I don’t want to have these bad feelings, I only want to have these good feelings, not the bad ones,” it’s almost like saying, “I want to be high all the time. I want to be stoned all the time. I want to be on drugs all the time.”
That’s why people get addicted, because they want to keep that same feeling all the time. And it just so happens that the human experiences that we go through—a lot of feelings and a lot of different emotions—we go on a ride. Sometimes every day. Especially when you’re younger. Especially if you’re a female.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: There’s a lot of emotions coming across the screen. And, stepping into your womanhood means allowing for them. Welcoming them. Not getting so hung up on them, either duking it out with them or trying to suppress them or trying to live there forever. So, I’m just painting a slightly different picture of what things can be like for you. I am really trying to let you know that you set yourself up by setting impossible goals for yourself.

Ashley: Right.

Marc: And you may need to go through a period of experimentation where you will feel a little bit ungrounded. You’ll feel uncertain, because the day when you don’t work out and you do sleep late, yeah, you’re like, “Oh my God, this feels great. Oh my God, this is terrible! Oh my God, I shouldn’t have done this!” Give yourself that. And love yourself through that even. What I’m saying is it’s learning how to stand by yourself through this rocky road, as opposed to turning this rocky road into this smooth, perfect thing. You see the difference?

Ashley: Yup. Yeah. Absolutely.

Marc: So, Miss Ashley, some of the big takeaways here is that it’s a rocky road to reclaim one’s ownership of one’s body, to reclaim one’s dignity, to let go of all the negative thoughts as best as a human can. And what’s going to happen is you’re going to reach a point where you let go of the negative thoughts that control, but they’re still going to be there, every once in a while.

Ashley: Right.

Marc: It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be 95%, 96, 97, 98. Some days it’ll be 100. Some days you’ll dip down to 70%. But overall, what I’m saying is, as you let go of “It has to look a certain, specific way,” then you give yourself so much more room. You talked about losing your period for a while, and so often, so, so often it’s related to either poor diet, overexercise, or stress. Those are three of the most common factors that I’ve seen. So, you probably didn’t have a poor diet, but potentially, overexercise or stress can create that. And stress could look like a lot of things.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: So, I think this is about you relaxing more into this next phase of your life.

Ashley: Yeah, I think when I did move here, I was trying so hard to pick up and be perfect and have this perfect life and have these perfect feelings and perfect clients. And more success. And I fed off of feedback from clients, and I didn’t feed myself, I think. And, I think in doing that, in depending on positive feedback from being “perfect,” it stopped me from really living. And that’s what I would like to practice. The whole “living” thing.

Marc: Yeah, so you’re turning that around. You’re turning that around, and these things take time, you know? Birthing a baby takes time. Gestating a baby takes time. Life takes time. Creation takes time. And life needs you to respect that process more. That it’s not all going to be perfect ever, and there’s ways you’re going to keep getting better and better, for sure. And you’re doing it. You’re actually doing it, and you’re learning along the way.

And it never stops. You’re going to keep seeing your missteps. And you’re going to keep saying, “Oh, I could’ve done this better!” and “Oh, wow, I just learned something new! I was going in this direction and I really should’ve been going in that direction.” A little bit of forgiveness, deep breath, and then, we move on.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: And, my guess is, for the move that you’ve made and the life change that you’ve made and how you described it—you’ve been close with your family, and you’re living in a place where you don’t have a tribe and you don’t have support—that’s huge to do that! That’s very brave! That’s very, very brave, to start to kind of plant roots for a new life, a different life.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: And, is that a doggie?

Ashley: [laughter] Yeah, sorry!

Marc: That’s so funny. Yeah, I think there’s places where it might be useful to give yourself a little bit of credit. Because you’ve wanted it to look perfect, and because of that, and because nothing is ever perfect, and it can’t look perfect, then you’ve missed celebrating what an awesome experience you’ve created, given the circumstances.

Ashley: Right!

Marc: You see it as, “This isn’t perfect.” Most other humans would see it as, “Wow, that was brave! Wow, good for you! Wow, letting go of a career that you’ve had for 11 years that you’ve realized, ‘Wait a second, this isn’t working for me.’” And, I know that was letting go of a lot for you. It’s letting go of a way of thinking; it’s letting go of a way of life; it’s letting go of a whole part of your personality. And when you let go of that, there’s not anything there immediately to replace it that has the same bigness to it and intensity to it.

Ashley: Yeah, exactly.

Marc: So, a part of you has been trying to figure out who the new you is going to be, and part of you gets sucked back into the old you. “Ok, let’s go! You can do this!”

Ashley: Exactly!

Marc: You’re not that girl anymore. Don’t even bother. Don’t even bother. Don’t even bother.

Ashley: Oh, those words are fun.

Marc: Don’t even bother. Now, it doesn’t mean on any given day, just for the heck of it, you couldn’t be her, but you would do it and have so much fun. As opposed to, “I have to do this. I have to be this person.” You know what I’m saying?

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: It’s like, you could take your friend to a gym and give her a great experience, and give her a great session, and motivate her, and have a beautiful time. And you could be your old self, and you could laugh and be goofy and give a lot of great instruction. I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is that person that made a living and identified with just being a little bit carefree, a little bit happy-go-lucky, a little bit like, “Hey, this body’s cooperating with whatever I’m asking it to do. It’s looking like I want it to look like. I’ve got lots of energy, and I work out, and I’m doing this and doing that.” And, you’re not her.

Ashley: Yeah, you’re right. So, I can befriend her, once in a while.

Marc: [inaudible]

Ashley: When I need that, when I want that, but yeah, I’m so ready to just let her know she’s not in control of this life anymore.

Marc: Yeah, yeah! She’s not in control. She doesn’t run the show, and there’s a new expression coming. So, at the same time that you’re placing her into a smaller role—you’re just downsizing her role, dramatically—but at the same time you’re doing that, you’re inviting in a new life. Now, here is the kicker. You don’t exactly know what that new life looks like. Therefore, you have to be in the unknown a little bit. Therefore, you don’t have total control. Therefore, it’s not always going to go perfect. And therefore, you have to trust.
That is like weightlifting. So, that’s going to build your muscles. That’s going to build your personal, spiritual, emotional muscles. And it’s going to also infuse you in your new body. Because in order for your new body—because at every life stage you have a new body. You just do. Your body changes every year. I’m going to call that a new body. I’ve got a new body at my age. Next year I’m going to have another new body. But with every new body comes a new you.

Ashley: Ok

Marc: Yeah, so with every new body comes a new you. In order to have a new body, you need a new you. There’s a new you coming down the pike, and there’s a new body coming down the pike. The new body is going to be more efficient. I’m just telling you, straight up, as you get older, you must train your body to become more efficient. Just more efficient. Like don’t waste energy doing things it doesn’t need to do.

Ashley: Right.

Marc: That’s all. Just more efficient, and more specific. Ok, I need this; I don’t need that. This works for me; this doesn’t work for me. When you were a kid you could do a lot of nonsense oftentimes. The body’s resilient. So, all I’m saying is that your body will match you. If you’re stressed, and you’re freaked, and you don’t trust, then your body will match that. It will feel stressed and freaked and not trusting, because it’s getting signals from you that it’s not safe.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: A body that’s not safe does not want to procreate. Because your body only wants to procreate when it’s safe. That makes perfect sense. “It’s not safe yet! Don’t bring baby into danger zone.”

Ashley: Yeah, no.

Marc: So, yeah. It’s not just about you anymore.

Ashley: Yeah, that was the big wakeup call for myself. When it became difficult for me to carry a child or to have a period. That was when I was like, “Ok, I need to let go of this flat tummy, almost college, teenage body. This is not the body I’m going to have. My body’s going to change. And you’ve got to be ok with that, Ash. You’ve got to be ok with that.” So, this new life, it feels exciting. It feels like I’m going on vacation, kind of. It feels like, “Ok, this is going to be exciting. This going to be fun. Ok, let’s do it! Seatbelts on. It’ll be ok. It’ll be good.”

And I can kind of see what it looks like, so I’m excited to just take the pressure off of just communicating the load I was carrying to you. It almost feels like, “Ok, I can exhale now, and let’s just move forward.” And let’s embrace this next big chapter and be ok with it. And, I hear you when you say that there are days when it’s going to be hard. To kind of recreate or build a religion, I guess. But I’m ok with that, because it’s better than hating yourself for not working out.

Marc: Yeah, yeah. So, you’re on that journey. You’re on that road. And it’s not perfect. You’re not perfect at it. None of us are. I’ve never met anyone who is. And I’ve met a lot of people who work on themselves in a very earnest way. And, you’re doing great! You really are. You’re doing great. It’s time to give yourself a little credit.

And it’s time to just kind of let the wisdom of the universe take over a little bit here. And, you know, there’s a saying in the sports world—forgive me for using a sports analogy, but I think you might appreciate it—and it’s especially used in basketball where they’ll say, “Let the game come to you.”

Because a lot of times you’ll get out there on the court and you want to do stuff, you want to make stuff happen, and you’ve got to do something. And you come out on the court, and you’re all nervous, and you want to do well, and sometimes you just come out with the attitude of “Ok, let me just come here and there’s a game here. I’m going to let the game show me. I’m going to let the game come to me.”

And part of that means you have to sink into your body. You sink into your body before you change your body—do something to it, exercise it. You’ve been doing stuff to your body. You do to the body. A lot. And now is your time to just be in your body more. And I know you’ve been doing that more. I know you’ve been being in your body more, letting go of being super-duper fitness trainer. That’s going to help, for sure.

But more, more, more, how do I just be in this body? Because that’s what going to take you into this next phase of your life. That’s what’s going to give you your healthiest body. That’s what’s going to give you your best metabolism, when you’re occupying your body. Not when you’re occupying your head, trying to tell your body what to do.

Ashley: Right. Right.

Marc: You know what I’m talking about.

Ashley: I do.

Marc: I know you do, because you’re smart.

Ashley: And, in the program, I’m so loving it. I’m loving the journey, and I’m excited to see what’s coming.

Marc: Well, I’m happy for you that you are so diligent about really working on yourself. And, really, the truth is that all of this energy that you’re trying to learn how to manage is really your enthusiasm for life. That’s really what it is. You just want to have a great life! I get it.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: But having a great life doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect. But having a great life means “I am giving it my all.” And I see you giving it your all. And, all you need to do is just be kinder to yourself and notice where you have a couple of beliefs that just kind of get in your way of, “Whoa, wait a second. No, it’s not going to be perfect.” But all that energy is not—I would like you to not use the word “compulsion” when you describe yourself. I would really like you to not use that word.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: I don’t think it’s accurate for you, actually. I hear what you’re saying, and I hear that it can feel like that, but what I want to do is, I want to see if you can slightly shift it. And every time you notice your “compulsion” or your compulsive behaviors or your compulsive thoughts, I want you to remind yourself, “This is really my energy, my boundless energy, to have a great life and to make things really good and to make them really work. And I’m just learning how to harness this energy better.”

Ashley: Ok.

Marc: You follow that?

Ashley: I do. Yeah. So, these—ok, not compulsions—these energies that I get to maintain this body, this body shape, then I’ll practice seeing that as just my energy that loves soaking every drop out of life sort of thing.

Marc: That loves life, that wants to have a great life, wants to have a great family, great kids, be a great mom. Be healthy. Help people. Do good work in the world.

Ashley: Right.

Marc: And a lot of times, all that energy gets put into “perfect body.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: As opposed to “great life.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: “Full life.” Because we think, “Oh, if I had the perfect body, then that gives me great life.” But no, a great life gives you a great life, not a perfect body.

Ashley: Right.

Marc: So, all I’m wanting to say there is compulsion doesn’t truly describe you and what you go through. It doesn’t honor, actually, who you are. You see what I’m saying?

Ashley: I do, I really do.

Marc: It’s your energy. You’ve got a lot of juice in your system, and you’re learning how to harness it in a way that works for you. It’s no different than any little kid that you see that has all this energy, and they run around and they fall down.

Ashley: Yes!

Marc: And that’s kind of what it is. It’s like a little kid with a lot of energy—run around, fall down. It’s like, “Ok, slow down now.” You know?

Ashley: No, you’re so right. I do have that.

Marc: So, I think this has been a great conversation.

Ashley: Yeah.

Marc: I think we’ve covered some good turf.

Ashley: Yeah, I feel really good about it.

Marc: Yeah, you look way more relaxed. When you watch this video, I want you to notice your face at the beginning of this, I want you to notice your face in the middle, and I want you to notice your face at the end.

Ashley: Ok.

Marc: Yeah. Because, this is like there’s a part of you that’s really relaxed, and not trying to fix anything right now. And that’s you.

Ashley: Yes, I agree. I feel it.

Marc: Yeah. Ashley, thank you so much!

Ashley: Thank you, Marc! As always, I really appreciate it.

Marc: Yeah, me too, me too. This has been a great conversation. And we’ll get to follow up in another session a bunch of months from now.

Ashley: When?

Marc: Yeah, someone from the team will reach out.

Ashley: Oh, I’m excited! Thank you so much.

Marc: Yeah, thank you. It’s been really great. I really appreciate you being so willing and so open and so honest. I really mean that.

Ashley: Thank you, Marc. I appreciate your kind words, so thank you.

Marc: Thanks, everybody. I’m glad you’ve been on this journey with us. Always, more to come. Take care. I’m Marc David on behalf of the “Psychology of Eating” podcast.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2016

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Confused on what natural skincare is best for you? Check out this Green Beauty Shop

Since starting LPN, I don’t think I can count how many emails I have received asking me the question: what is the best product for X, Y and Z skincare issue.  As hard as I try, I cannot keep up with the emails – or, I might be able to, but that would result in not having time for a whole lot else. So, when I heard about Marko & Lane, needless to say, I had to share it with you.

Ok, so what’s the deal with Marko & Lane: they do the product selection for you. They are green beauty fans, and since they’re also doctors, they also love the science. A perfect combo. Literally Dermatologist selected skin care regimen — with all natural products tailored to your skin.

When you go to their site, you have the opportunity to fill out their questionnaire – and even include a photo of your face, so the dermatologist can select the best products for your skin.

organic facial oils by marie veronique

I went through the process that any of their other clients would, including selecting that I had hyper-pigmentation in areas (I am a freckle face as you can see above 😉 as well as fine lines that I want to minimize. After the consultation, they selected for me the system I needed for day and night, and sent it to me by mail.  It was easy.

Here’s what was in the anti-aging focused package:

organic facial oils by marie veronique

For morning, the Marie Veronique Lightening Serum and the Josh Rosebrook Day Cream (with SPF 30).

Both very high quality and ingredient approved products.

It was great having the moisturizer built in with SPF, as well as super hydrating ingredients such as evening primose oil, hemp seed oil, shea butter, borage seed oil and jojoba oil (to name a few).

The lightening serum was great for my freckly skin, to help lighten those spots that have grown a little too noticeable over the summer.

Best natural sunscreen for face

For night, there was moisture rich Josh Rosebrook Moisturizing Cleanser (no stripping of natural oils here), followed by Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum (every second night) and Marie Veronique Rejuvenating Oil to apply to the entire face and neck.

The Rejuvenating Night Oil is packed with power oils that are working to improve damage from the sun’s rays, while also smoothing the fine lines. Apricot, meadowfoam, blackberry, argan, jojoba, borage, evening primrose and marula are just some of the oils in this little bottle.

organic facial oils by marie veronique

The Gentle Retinol Night Serum, on the other hand, is only to be used every other night for the first 3 weeks. Retinols are the ingredients with the best ability to repair aging lines. Recent studies show how A, C and E work together to support superior collagen-building and antioxidant effects – and that’s what this product is all about.

A note about Retinol **Retinol is the safe Vitamin A derivative, not to be confused with retinyl palmitate, which one study shows may enhance tumor growth in the presence of UV, or isotretinoin, which dermatologists prescribe for severe acne.**

In short:

Loving this service for those beauties looking for a little one-on-one help selecting her skincare online. It is risk free, as you have 30 days to decide if the product worked for you.

Enjoy, loves!



The post Confused on what natural skincare is best for you? Check out this Green Beauty Shop appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.


What Is Alternate Day Fasting?

Alternate day fasting is a great way to lose weight and encourage longevity.

Alternate day fasting (ADF) is a type of intermittent fasting in which you alternate between “fast days,” when you consume very few or zero calories, and “feed days” when you eat as much as you like. When done correctly, ADF is a potentially powerful tool for weight loss and longevity.

How an Alternate Day Fast Is Done

The basics of alternate day fasting are relatively straightforward. You just eat every other day. On fast days, you consume only water or other zero-calorie liquids like tea and detox water. On feed days, you can eat whatever you want (within reason).

If zero calories seems like an impossible goal, many experts recommend a modified approach. In the modified form, instead of consuming zero calories on fast days, you consume about 25% of your normal energy requirements. Exact calorie requirements differ from person to person, but if we assume a 2000 calorie diet, that means you consume 500 calories on fast days. These calories should be consumed in a single meal between noon and 2 p.m.[1]

Researchers theorized that people who ate only 25% of their calorie requirements on fast days would compensate by binge-eating 175% of their needs on feed days. Surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Participants in the study only ate slightly more than normal on feed days.[2] What that means is that there was a net reduction in calories over the two-day period. This type of energy restriction means that you can lose weight while still getting to eat what you want half the time.

Alternate Day Fasting vs Conventional Dieting

The standard type of weight loss plan is caloric restriction (CR). CR is simply reducing the number of calories you consume every day. You usually have to restrict your calories by 25-40% to achieve noticeable results. As a weight loss tool, caloric restriction seems to make sense. Take in fewer calories than you consume every day, and you have to lose weight. It’s basic math, right?

The primary problem with traditional caloric restriction is adherence. People just don’t stick to it for very long. Generally, dieters are very good about rigorously following their meal plan for a couple of weeks. However, there’s a dramatic drop-off after the two month mark. Eight weeks seems to be about the limit that most people can endure daily calorie restriction. What’s more, your metabolism doesn’t keep chugging along while running a deficit. It starts to conserve energy where it can, so CR just doesn’t work for most people.

For many, alternate day fasting is a more manageable option than conventional CR. With feed days never more than a day away, the fast days don’t seem quite so bad. On a traditional restrictive diet, you must exercise extreme self-control and deny yourself any treats, and that can leave you feeling defeated, depleted, and frustrated. With ADF, you know that you can eat what you want tomorrow.

With this comforting knowledge, many people find alternate day fasting easier to stick to than conventional calorie restriction. In fact, studies have found that ADF has an adherence rate of about 87%.[3] The first couple days are the hardest. Most people feel hungry during the first few days of the fast, but, eventually, their leptin and ghrelin levels stabilize and their metabolism adapts to the new schedule.

The Health Benefits of Alternate Day Fasting

Humans have known about the benefits of fasting for thousands of years, but conventional medicine has often ignored this knowledge. Fortunately, recent research now confirms much of what our ancestors already knew—fasting, when done correctly, can have a tremendously positive effect on the body.

Promotes Weight Loss

Multiple studies, both animal and human, have reported significant weight loss for ADF participants. The results? An average loss of about 8% of total body weight over an eight week period and a measurable reduction in belly fat.[4]

What’s more, ADF preserves muscle mass more effectively than conventional dieting. After a successful conventional diet, about 75% of weight loss comes from body fat; the remaining 25% is lost from lean muscle. With ADF, studies show that approximately 99% of lost weight is in the form of fat. This makes for a much healthier body composition after the fast is complete.[5]

Improves Insulin and Blood-Glucose Levels

ADF may have beneficial effects for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Studies have found that ADF reduces blood glucose levels in animals and improves insulin sensitivity in humans.[6]

Supports Heart Health

In animal testing, ADF was found to reduce heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Further testing is necessary to determine if these results are replicable in humans.[6]

Reduces Inflammation

Both human and animal studies have found that ADF reduces occasional inflammation. The fast even selectively protects certain organs like the liver and endocrine tissues.[7, 8]

Encourages Longevity

Cells become stronger if you put them under mild stress and allow them the time to recover from it. That’s essentially why exercise works. Exercise stresses muscle tissue, which then grows back stronger after recovery. “There is considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting,” says Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging. Intermittent fasting has been confirmed to extend lifespan in animal studies, but more research is necessary to see if this benefit carries over to humans.[9]

Making the Most of Your Fast

Alternate day fasting has many benefits, but it needs to be done the right way. You must still make healthy decisions. All forms of dieting work best when paired with exercise. ADF is no excuse to skip hitting the gym, so find an exercise regimen that works for you. Likewise, if you spend feed days eating toxic, processed food, your health will suffer. Make an effort to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and a reasonable amount of healthy fats.

Alternate Day Fasting Alternatives

Fasting has many health benefits, including longevity, weight loss, and brain health.[9] ADF is far from the only type of fasting regimen. If you are interested in different types of fasts, ADF can also be an excellent introduction to fasting in general.

While many people find the alternate day fast easier to follow than other dieting options, some may find it more difficult. In particular, frequent snackers and people who get irritable when they don’t eat regularly every few hours typically find the ADF difficult to adhere to. That’s perfectly fine. We are all unique individuals with different dietary needs, metabolisms, activity levels, and preferences.

Which specific nutritional plan you follow is less important than the fact that you have a plan. There are many other types of <a href=" diets and fasts (like the ketogenic fast), each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Find a nutrition plan that suits your body and make it part of your healthy lifestyle.

Have you tried alternate day fasting? Any other kind of fast? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

The post What Is Alternate Day Fasting? appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.