How and Why You Should Try a Sugar Detox

You should try a sugar detox.

While some people jokingly refer to themselves as sugar addicts, the truth is no laughing matter. Refined sugar causes real, clinically verifiable addictive patterns in your brain and ruinous effects on your body. The average American consumes between 22 and 30 teaspoons of added sugar every day.[1] That’s sugar that you could easily cut from your diet entirely by making intelligent dietary decisions—or you could if sugar didn’t have you hooked. A sugar detox is a way to break the hold sugar has over you.

Basically, a sugar detox is when you cut all sugar out of your diet for a set period of time. ALL sugar. That means no honey, no maple syrup, no agave syrup, no white bread, no alcohol, no natural sweeteners, no artificial sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup. You’ll be amazed by how much better you’ll feel when you cut the added sugar.

Natural Sugars vs. Added Sugars

It’s important to make the distinction between natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars are those found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Bound to other nutrients like protein and dietary fiber, these sugars are broken down more slowly and provide a healthier source of energy.[2]

Added sugars are often refined and stripped of these nutrients, leaving only empty calories. These refined sugars are then added to processed foods and beverages. You may feel a temporary surge in energy from these refined sugars, but they burn fast, and you’ll crash hard afterward. These sugars are absorbed very quickly, which leads to a spike in blood sugar, followed by a sharp increase in insulin, which is in turn followed by a steep drop in blood sugar. Low blood sugar causes hunger, and the whole process repeats in a vicious cycle.

When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, refined sugars lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and increased oxidative stress throughout the body.[2]

How Is Refined Sugar Addictive?

Most people will accuse you of exaggerating if you liken sugar addiction to drug addiction, but studies have found the comparison to be spot on. When you eat sugar, your body releases opioids and dopamine. These compounds stimulate the pleasure centers of your brain, much like addictive drugs.[3] What’s worse, studies have found that cutting off your sugar intake causes withdrawal symptoms. The effects of withdrawal are less intense than that of hard drugs like heroin, but the process is essentially the same.[4]

Health Effects of Refined Sugar

Refined sugar is one of the most harmful things you can put in your body that isn’t outright classified as a narcotic or poison. We now know that sugar is one of the top contributors to metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Two out of every three Americans are overweight, and one-third of the country’s population is considered obese. Diabetes now affects 26 million Americans and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.[5, 6]

Emerging research implicates sugar in a growing list of serious health conditions. Sugar causes our cells to degrade faster, leading to DNA damage and accelerated aging. It’s linked to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and other detrimental cognitive effects. Excess sugar consumption even increases your risk of certain types of cancer, including colon cancer.[5, 7]

Benefits of a Sugar Detox

You may not feel like you consume too much sugar, but I urge everyone to try a sugar detox at least once. The results may astonish you. You’ll lose weight, have fewer headaches, have more energy, and generally feel loads better.

A 2015 study found that cutting sugar for as few as ten days significantly improved virtually all aspects of metabolic health in obese children. It reduced diastolic blood pressure, triglyceride levels, blood glucose, and LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).[8] Restricting sugar intake improves heart health, cholesterol profile, liver function, and longevity.[9]

One of the more unusual effects of a sugar detox is that your palate will become more attuned to the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables.There’s a reason foods like sweet onions and sweet potatoes have the word “sweet” right in their names. If you can’t taste it, it’s because your taste buds are seriously desensitized.

With your sugar tolerance back in balance, foods you never thought of as particularly sweet, like bell peppers, carrots, and beets, will start tasting very sweet. An apple will taste like candy.

Once you’ve broken the cycle of sugar dependency and cleansed your system of its effects, sugary snacks like donuts and cake won’t have the same irresistible appeal they once had. I’m not saying that you’ll never want a cookie ever again, but outside of the stranglehold of sugar dependency, you should be able to make clear-headed decisions and enjoy those type of treats in the extreme moderation they deserve.[9]

How to Do a Sugar Detox

The worst part of sugar dependency is that the more you eat, the more you crave. A sugar detox can help break this vicious cycle. Here’s how to do it.

Plan Ahead

Decide ahead of time how long your sugar detox will last. It takes about four weeks to see the full benefits of the cleanse, so I recommend you try it for at least a month. If this seems too daunting, you can try a short week-long cleanse first. You won’t reap the full benefits of a month-long detox, but it’s a good place to start if this is your first sugar cleanse.

Generally speaking, restaurant food is loaded with added sugar, and many eateries don’t provide nutrition facts for their food. This means that you’ll need to prepare your own food during this cleanse. Plan your meals ahead of time. An easy way to do this is to sit down on Sunday and plan out all your meals for the week. After you set a meal plan, shop for all the ingredients you’ll need. Try to add a little variety to keep things interesting.

What Not to Eat on a Sugar Detox

So what shouldn’t you eat during a sugar detox? Avoid foods with a high glycemic index (GI). Let’s start with the obvious stuff. Sugar is clearly off the menu, along with any candy, syrups, cookies, pastries, ice cream, and other obvious sugary foods and drinks.

Get Rid of Soda and Energy Drinks

This may seem like one of the obvious ones, but soft drinks bear special mention as they are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet. Soft drinks are often peddled as a thirst-quenching beverage, but the truth is that they’re little more than liquid candy with added chemicals. Energy drinks can be even worse. The American Heart Association attributes 25,000 deaths every year to sugary sodas in the U.S. alone.[1] Get rid of all of them!

Watch Out for Hidden Sugars

What may surprise you are some of the hidden sources of added sugar. Salad dressing, pasta sauce, granola bars, yogurt, instant oatmeal, breakfast cereals, canned fruit, fruit juice, sweet tea, smoothies, and processed foods all frequently have added sugar.

Watch out for condiments, as many have a very high sugar content. Ketchup, for example, is nothing more than reconstituted tomato paste mixed with high fructose corn syrup. Salad dressing and Sriracha are also loaded with added sugar. Condiments can be especially tricky as we often don’t factor them in when counting calories, and restaurants typically don’t include them in nutritional data. A salad may have only 400 calories and no sugar, but that changes as soon as you add half a cup of honey mustard.

While avoiding refined sugar is the main part of a sugar detox, it’s also important to remove other refined carbs. This means cutting out everything that’s made from bleached white flour. That includes white bread, bagels, cereal, pasta, and crackers.

Cut Natural Sugars, Too

There are also some foods you shouldn’t eat on a sugar detox because of their high carb content, including starchy vegetables like corn, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.

While fruits are normally healthy, you should avoid fruits with a high glycemic index like bananas, pineapple, and watermelon during the first two weeks of a cleanse. Cut out dried fruit entirely. The sugar content is concentrated and many fruits sold as “dried” are actually candied, which means they were boiled in sugar syrup to make them sweeter.

If you are doing a month-long detox, you can slowly add in naturally sweet fruits after the first two weeks. For a shorter cleanse, avoid them entirely.

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

“Why no artificial sweeteners?” you may ask. Well, aside from their known harmful effects, this isn’t just a cleanse for your body, it’s also a cleanse for your palette. The chemicals that make up artificial sweeteners can be many hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.[10] Just like a drug addict builds up a tolerance for drugs, our taste buds become desensitized to sweetness. This creates an artificially inflated standard of sweetness, and we require greater and greater amounts of sweeteners just so that our food “tastes right” to us.

Worse, studies indicate that artificial sweeteners can ruin your body’s ability to regulate caloric intake. In other words, they make you feel hungrier, and consume more calories than you normally would, leading to weight gain and obesity.[11]

Read the Ingredients!

Always read the ingredients on any food product you buy. You’d be surprised how often a product whose label boldly states “No Added Sugar” lists sugar as a main ingredient. Food manufacturers often just call sugar by a different name. Other names for added sugar that may appear on a food label include:[12]

  • Anhydrous dextrose
  • Cane juice
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Crystal dextrose
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated corn sweetener
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar, fruit nectar)
  • Pancake syrup
  • Sucrose

What You Should Eat During Your Sugar Detox

Though it might first appear that this is a very restrictive diet, consider a sugar detox an opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. Here are some of the best foods to eat during your cleanse.


Eat plenty of low glycemic index vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. Kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are all good options. Eat them roasted, sauteed in sunflower oil, or raw in salads.


Include plenty of plant-based protein in your diet. That means legumes, seeds, and nuts. You’ll likely be eating a lot of lentils during your detox, so look up some recipes. I recommend batch prepping some chili or black bean soup for an easy meal. If you find yourself craving an afternoon snack, skip the sweets, and have a handful of walnuts instead. Pumpkin, sunflower, flax, and chia seeds are a nutritious addition to salads.

Healthy Fats

An important part of a sugar detox is to add healthy fats back into your diet. Many so-called “fat-free” foods often just add extra sugar to make up for how bland they taste when fat is removed.[13] Your body needs fat to function, and fats help slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.[14] However, this isn’t an excuse to eat fried chicken and pizza. Add healthy fats like olives, avocados, coconut oil, seeds, and unsweetened nuts.

Alternate Grains

Since white flour and white rice are out of the picture, you’ll need an alternative source of healthy grains. Look for complete grains. These are grains that still have their full fiber content, which slows the impact that carbs have on blood sugar. With its high protein and fiber content, quinoa is a wonderful option. Buckwheat, which is unrelated to conventional wheat and thus gluten-free, is another. Millet, amaranth, and kamut are all solid choices.

After Your Sugar Detox

Once you’ve completed this cleanse, it’s important not to go back to old, bad habits. Don’t binge at the bakery or chug a celebratory soda. A detox can help reset your system, but it’s only a temporary respite unless you incorporate healthy habits on a permanent basis.

If you do find yourself craving a sweet treat, look to natural alternatives. While you avoided these foods during the detox, they can, in moderation, be safely added to your long-term dietary plans. Reintroduce raw fruits into your diet; you’ll be astounded at the depth of flavor. When you need to add some sweetness to your coffee or tea, reach for raw organic honey, blackstrap molasses, stevia, maple syrup, or natural fruit sugars.

You’ll feel better, look better, and have fewer sugar cravings. These effects will be all the more noticeable the longer your cleanse lasts. If you did a week-long sugar detox, try a month next. If you can do a month, then work on making these changes a lifelong commitment. Ultimately, a sugar detox shouldn’t be a one-week gimmick, but a new, healthier way to live your life.

The post How and Why You Should Try a Sugar Detox appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.



What Is Water Weight and How Do We Let It Go? – Video with Marc David

When it comes to weight loss, one of the main places that many of us tend to target is our belly. We’re all familiar with the terms associated with “belly fat,” such as belly bloat, water weight or swelling. In order to try to “beat the float,” or trim down the excess weight around your midsection, you may find yourself doing hundreds of crunches a day, working out at the gym for hours on end, or endlessly experimenting with different diets in an attempt to lose the belly fat. Here’s the secret – water weight is real and it can live in your belly. However, if you’re attempting to get rid of it using conventional methods, you’re likely to end up frustrated. In this groundbreaking new video from IPEtv, Marc David, unveils the truth around water weight. Join us as we uncover the four common reasons why you’re most likely carrying around extra water weight and what you can do about it.

In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!

Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Greetings, my friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here’s what we’re going to talk about: what is water weight and why do we hold onto it? So the question is this thing we call water weight, is it actually real? How does it get there? And how do you let it go?

Now, I think this is especially compelling these days as so many people trying to lose weight. And so many people are trying to lose a handful of pounds from their belly. And usually when we are hanging onto water weight…By the way, water weight is real. We oftentimes hang onto water weight around the midsection, which is really around and inside and enervating all our digestive organs. So water weight is real.

Now, think of it this way. The adult human body is about 60% water. An infant body is about 75% water. Kind of what that means is we dry up as we age, so to speak. But that’s another story. That’s why it’s good to drink water. Now, many people are carrying around extra water in the body. And oftentimes we’re going to think of this as swelling. Many people call it bloating.

So here’s the deal. The body will literally hang onto extra water when it feels the need for protection or when it’s fending off certain organisms, certain bacteria, certain virus, certain disease conditions. There’s a swelling. Water brings metabolism. Water brings protection. Water brings cushioning.

Water helps organize so much chemistry in the body.

It’s a defense response.

Even emotions can cause us to retain more water. So when our emotional metabolism get stagnated, when I’m holding onto anger or fear or stress or resentment or anxiety and I’m not digesting it fully, it’s easy for that to show up in the body as bloating.

Now, once again, this is in part the body’s survival mechanism. It puffs us up to make us look bigger during a time of threat or survival. So when I’m feeling emotionally tense or scared, I hang onto water. Water is emotion. It’s going to puff me up. It’s going to make me look bigger.

But it also alerts us. Swelling and bloating is a divine symptom. It’s a smart symptom. It’s body wisdom saying, “Hey, check this out. You’re bloated. What does this mean?” Now, many people are carrying around extra water weight, again, that concentrates in the region of the gut. And they think it’s belly fat. And they’re trying to lose the last two or three or four or five pounds of belly fat.

For a lot of people, what they’re really carrying around is water weight.

Why? Here’s four of the common reasons why we could be carrying around water weight around the midsection. Number one, food allergies. So the most common food allergies, by the way, are gluten sensitivity—found mostly in wheat—corn, soy, dairy. Those are the big ones. Second, food sensitivities. They’re not exactly the same as food allergies. There’s a different mechanism in the body. But there are all kinds of different foods that might set us off.

Number three, gut dysbiosis. Oftentimes the healthy bacterial balance in our digestive tract, the gut microbiome, it can be disturbed because of antibiotic use, poor diet, not enough probiotic rich foods. That will cause bloating. Number four, stress. That’s going to cause bloating. We will literally just swell up in our midsection whenever there’s stress, anxiety, fear. Not everybody, but a lot of people.

So here’s a great idea. One great remedy is to go on an elimination diet. Look it up. Go on an elimination diet. Eliminate for just two weeks wheat, corn, soy, dairy. Get rid of the sugar. Get rid of the alcohol. Get rid of the caffeine. Let your body find its natural state. See what happens when you eat a very simple, easy-to-digest, hypoallergenic diet.

And last, my friends, once you clean up your diet, time to start cleaning up your inner world.

I want you to check in with your emotional metabolism. Check in with how you process what goes on in your inner world. What are you hanging onto that you’re not speaking, that you’re not releasing, that needs to be communicated? Where are you holding back the truth? Where are you holding back your authenticity?

Because when we’re holding back the truth, when we’re holding back authenticity, when we’re holding back the flow of truth and of life, we bottle up because water is a flow. And the water gets bottled up inside the body. And it’s going to bottle up inside the gut. Why? Because it gets your attention because nobody wants to have a big belly.

So all of a sudden you have to look and go, “Wow, what does this mean? What is it telling me? And it’s a symptom that says, “Look at your life. Look at your diet. Look at your inner world.” How perfect is that that bloating is teaching us to wake up and pay attention? Because when you start to do better food metabolism and better emotional metabolism, the body naturally cleans itself out. It finds its natural weight.

And that, my friends, is the magic of life.

Marc David

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 training series at You’ll learn about the cutting-edge principles of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition that have helped millions forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health. Lastly, we want to make sure you’re aware of our two premier offerings. Our Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training is an 8 month distance learning program that you can take from anywhere in the world to launch a new career or to augment an already existing health practice. And Transform Your Relationship with Food is our 8 week online program for anyone looking to take a big leap forward with food and body.


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Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #247 – Letting Go of Rules and Obsessions

Sarah, 32, feels her obsession with finding the right foods and having the ‘right’ body (which began when she was a teenager) is now taking up so much head space and daily energy, it’s got ahold of her. As the session unfolds with Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we learn that this comparison and self-judgement stems from her teenage modeling days, during which she felt very real pressure from her parents and the modeling industry to be in a smaller body. Marc’s insights lead her to recognize that her big work will be about not just accepting the body she’s been given, but owning it. Sarah knows that this challenge spills over into other areas of life, such as her relationship with her fiance. Listen to this episode to hear Sarah’s full story, and the big breakthrough she is committed to practicing!

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Real people, real breakthroughs. This is the Psychology of Eating podcast, where psychology and nutrition meet to uncover the true causes of our unwanted eating concerns. Your relationship with food will never be the same. Now, here’s your host, Eating Psychology expert, and founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Marc David.

Marc: Greetings everybody, I’m Marc David. Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here we are on the Psychology of Eating podcast, and I’m with Sarah today. Welcome, Sarah.

Sarah Hi, Marc.

Marc: I’m glad we’re here; I’m glad we’re doing this.

Sarah: Me too. Thank you so much.

Marc: Yay! So let me explain to viewers and listeners who may be new to this podcast how it works. Sarah and I are just meeting now for the first time, officially. And we’re going to spend an hour together, with you all. And you’re going to be in on our conversation as we look to help you move forward and get where you want to go.

So, Miss Sarah. Here’s my question for you. If you could wave your magic wand, and if you could get whatever you wanted to get from this session, what would that look like for you?

Sarah: If we could make miracles happen today, I would like to feel more confidence around my body. My body shape, my body size. And also just being calm around food. Eating food, what my choices are, feeling calmness. Those two things would be huge for me if I could tackle that.

Marc: Got it. So when you’re not being calm and collected and centered around food, what does it end up looking like for you? What’s your experience?

Sarah I become irrational. I’ll grab for things that I know won’t make me feel good. Maybe they’re easy, or I’m looking at what other people are eating. And then I go into this whole conversation in my head about; “Look at the size of their body, they’re eating that. I should be eating something like that. Is this going to be good for me?” It’s just a lot of internal dialog that is stressful. It takes a lot of my energy.

Marc: How long has this thing been going on for you, would you say?

Sarah: Probably since I was a teenager. But I don’t remember it being as bad as I was teenager. I feel like it’s just slowly gotten worse since then. Like it’s just progressed throughout the years.

Marc: How old are you now, Sarah?

Sarah: 32.

Marc: 32. Are there times that you end up overeating, or binge eating, or emotional eating?

Sarah: For sure.

Marc: Uh-huh.

Sarah I for sure feel like I binge eat from time to time. I feel like I did a lot in college. Because it seemed like it didn’t have consequences. I didn’t really gain weight from it. Nothing really happened from it. I don’t feel like I binge eat as much now. But yeah, there are certain times when I feel out of control when I’m eating. And I think, “I’m full, this doesn’t feel good any longer.” But I continue eating.

Marc: Mm-hmm. When does that usually happen? Does that happen for a particular meal? Particular time of the day? Could it be any time?

Sarah: It might not be for weeks, or it might be 2 or 3 times a week, but generally it’s going to happen in social settings. And usually if I’m doing it not in a social setting, it’s at night time. I’ve finished dinner, and I just kind of keep going back. I’ll either have two helpings of dinner, even though maybe I’m full from the first time, I can’t tell. And then I want to eat a sweet. And then I can’t even tell; “Am I actually craving a sweet?” I don’t know. I just feel the need to keep eating. But it’s usually after dinner.

Marc: Got it. And have you noticed times when you don’t do that. When your relationship with food seems pretty good, and you’re not having any issues. Are there periods like that for you?

Sarah: For sure. And it seems like the longer I have periods of that, it’s like that consistency makes me feel like I don’t need to binge. It’s like the longer I go without binging, the more I feel like I don’t need it. And if a random slip up comes, then it’s like, overanalyze. Why did this happen? But yeah, I for sure will have weeks. Maybe even months at a time where I feel like my relationship with my body and food is really healthy.

Marc: Mm-hmm. So when it’s healthy, how is life different? How are you different? What’s different, overall? Other than the fact that you’re not obsessing, that kind of thing. Is anything else noticeably different?

Sarah: I feel calmer. I feel like I’m in a better mood. I feel like I have a better disposition. Usually I’m in a good workout pattern; not too much, not too little. I’m meditating more regularly. It just seems like I’ve got a skip in my step and life just feels good and calm.

Marc: Mm-hmm. And then something happens; you get thrown off the horse a little bit, and you might go, “Ok, why did that happen?” Do you ever notice a pattern or an, “Oh, I’ve slipped up because umph.” Or. “I tend to slip up when this happens in my life. Or that happens.” Or you can’t really notice?

Sarah: It can be different things. Like I said, social settings are big triggers for me. I feel like there’s a lot of comparison between me and other females. I’m doing it in my head. I assume that my fiancé is doing it; comparing me to other people. And he’s probably not. So if we have several social times out, I feel like something like that could trigger it. Recently I’ve had a hip injury that has kept me from working out, and I felt like I was in a really good place until that happened. And I was fine for a few weeks into it; even a month. Telling myself I’m going to get better, I just need to rest it. And then two and three months of it, I can’t accept not working out. I have to also overeat, and eat bad. It’s like once I jump in and know that one wheel of the bus has fallen off, it’s like, “Well might as well just toss in the towel and start eating unhealthy too.” So that’s what’s thrown me off the past couple of months.

Marc: Got it. So you’re engaged?

Sarah: Newly engaged this year.

Marc: Congratulations.

Sarah: Thank you.

Marc: When do you guys get married?

Sarah: Spring of next year.

Marc: Yay! Good for you.

Sarah: Yeah, we’re really excited.

Marc: You going to want kids?

Sarah: I don’t know. We’re both kind of on the fence about that. So it’s something we’re just going to have to figure out and see if the urge strikes us in a few more years.

Marc: And is he local to where you are right now?

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: Alright. That helps.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: So, do you diet?

Sarah: I used to. I haven’t dieted probably in 2 or 3 years. Actually, since I found out about the Psychology of Eating. I found you guys online. I kind of threw out dieting and threw out the scales many years ago. I try to go by what feels good. But yeah, I used to be on a strict diet. A different one every couple of months in my 20s. I don’t do that anymore. It doesn’t serve me. It’s too much energy.

Marc: And how does it feel now that you don’t do that anymore?

Sarah: Amazing.

Marc: Oh, good for you.

Sarah: It feels like I just dropped a 20-pound weight I had been carrying for forever and just, it feels so good not to be on a certain diet.

Marc: Have you ever had a direct conversation with your fiancé about; wait, let me ask this a different way. Does your fiancé have a decent understanding of what you go through in your relationship with food? Does he get it at all?

Sarah: He can listen. But I think because he doesn’t experience it, he just has a sympathetic ear. But I don’t think he gets it.

Marc: Sure. Sure. That makes sense. It’s hard for guys who aren’t really in the field, or who haven’t really taken the time to study this. It’s hard for them to understand what a woman can go through. Or a man can go through. Unless they really explore it. Have you had an honest conversation about how he feels about how you look and what your weight is and what your shape is?

Sarah: He’s always over the top. “I love you, I love your shape. You could be 300 pounds fatter. You could be any shape you are.” And it seems genuine, but it’s almost like the voice in my head is much louder, you know.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. But that’s good to know. It’s a good piece of information. Are you close with your parents?

Sarah: I’d say the relationship with my mom is a bit strained. I mean they’re 1000 miles away. We talk on the phone here and there. I love them. They love me. They’re not a daily part of my life.

Marc: Three sentences or less; why my relationship with my mother is strained is because…

Sarah: I find her to be judgmental and manipulative.

Marc: Mm-hmm.

Sarah: And toxic in my life.

Marc: Got it. Is she judgmental about your body, or your diet, or food?

Sarah: I briefly modeled as a teenager. Nothing big deal, but enough. I lived in Italy briefly. We flew around the United States a little bit for a few years, and she got very involved in it. I remember one time she signed me up for Weight Watchers and didn’t even tell me. And she took me. And I remember walking in, and I was actually underweight for my height. And the lady was so; “Sweetie, I’m sorry. Your mom has already left. Do you want to say that you’re shorter?” I remember that conversation, her asking me if I wanted to make my height shorter so that it would even out and make me weigh more for that height. So that I would be appropriate to be there.

I think they were very proud to say that their daughter was modeling. And for me, I felt at the time I just got to travel the world and meet cool people and go do cool stuff. I didn’t want to be on a diet. None of my friends were on a diet. So I don’t remember her being on my weight before then. Obviously, the modeling was a catalyst for her, and my dad, to monitor my weight. Because you know, sometimes I would get sent back from jobs, they’d say that I was too big. And my parents would be mad, like, “We flew you there.” Or, “We paid a lot of money for this portfolio.” Or, “We’re not going to fly somewhere next time if you can’t drop the weight that your agent tells you to drop.” So yeah, there was a lot of focus around my weight as a teenager. And I was thin; I look back now, and I’m like, “I was skinny!” I was a skinny teenager. I just wasn’t bone thin.

Marc: Sure. So when did all the modeling stop?

Sarah: 18, before I went to college. It was a really great job I had gotten. I remember I was flown to Cabo, and they wanted to send me back. My hips were too big. They were always very specific. My hips were too big, and they sent me back home. It was embarrassing. All my friends knew I was supposed to be out of town for this shoot for a month, and I had to come back for that. And I knew I was going to college, and not going to keep pursuing modeling, so that was it. After getting sent back. It was embarrassing to fly halfway around the world to get sent back because they told me my hips were too big. So I said no more. I’m like, this was just a fun thing. I traveled around. I didn’t have a career with it. So it stopped at 18 right before going to college.

Marc: And then how did your parents respond when you raised your hand and said no more?

Sarah They were fine with it. I don’t remember there being a lot of talk about it.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. How is it for you right now with me asking you questions about this particular part of your life? How is it landing for you?

Sarah: It used to be really uncomfortable for me. It’s not anymore. Now I can talk about it like it was a past time in my life. In my 20s, it was very shameful. Like, “Oh god, I can’t even pretend like I modeled. I didn’t actually model. I wasn’t a big deal.” So I didn’t want to talk about it. And I thought immediately if I threw that word out that people were immediately sizing me up. “Is she pretty enough? Is she thin enough?” And something clicked in me in my 30s that I have kind of let go of a lot of insecurities that I had. Turning 30 was kind of a magic age for me. And this is one of those topics, I’ve probably talked about it with less than 5 people in my life, but it’s not uncomfortable for me now.

Marc: Mm-hmm. That’s great. So, what do you think holds you back from having the relationship with food and your body that you want to have? This is just an opinion question. There are no rights or wrongs here.

Sarah: Yeah. I feel like because I stay hung up about comparing my body to other girls. I think if I could just be smaller, I would just feel more normal. I don’t feel normal. I’m taller. My hips are larger. I have wide shoulders. And then that relates to food. Then I feel like there’s a direct correlation to, I’m larger than 90% of women that I come into contact with. I’m physically larger than them, and that doesn’t feel good to be an outlier everywhere you go. And then my head makes sense of that with, if I can control my food, maybe my body could be smaller and I wouldn’t have to feel like this.

Marc: Mm-hmm. Got it. Got it. Got it. Makes perfect sense.

Sarah: Yeah, I think that’s kind of how it comes full circle and my brain explains it.

Marc: Mm-hmm. Understood. So tell me what you’re doing work-wise these days.

Sarah: I travel a little bit. I actually work for a medical device company. I teach people how to use cardiac monitors.

Marc: Nice. So do you get to travel internationally, or just in the country?

Sarah: Northeast.

Marc: That’s still good.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s fine. It’s meeting a lot of people, not doing the same thing every day. It’s stimulating. I enjoy it.

Marc: Do you get self-conscious about your body when you’re in your professional zone? Coming into a new situation, you go, “God are they going to think I’m this, or that, or too big, or too whatever?”

Sarah: Sometimes. Oddly, I find I get more insecure around the people I’m closest too. It seems like those are the people I should be the calmest around, but it’s people I don’t know. When I meet someone that I don’t know, like in a business setting, it’s like I can fake a confidence. Or it feels real. I feel like have more self-confidence around those people. Maybe I’m faking it and they can’t hurt me because I don’t know them and I’m going to be off this site in a week and I’ll never see them again. I don’t know if that’s what’s going through my mind. But I feel it more with people I’m more familiar with, actually.

Marc: Mm-hmm. So, here’s a thought. I just want to kind of play with this thought for a moment. I’m going to put it out here, and just see how this lands for you. The thought that I had is, there’s a part of you that hasn’t quite decided yet if this should be your body.

Sarah: For sure.

Marc: As if we have the decision. But just overall.

Sarah Yeah.

Marc: “I’m not so sure about this thing. I’m not so sure A) I like it. B) If it’s mine. Let’s look at hers. Let’s look at hers. Uh-oh; hers is this, mine is that.” It’s almost, it’s like you just haven’t decided if this is ok for you or not yet.

Sarah: That’s exactly right. Or I feel like it’s unfair. Why do I have to go through life that I always have to look for the largest size when I go places and they may or may not have it? That’s not fun. This girl over here, she might actually be overweight, whereas I’m not; but they’ll have her size. Because I’m structurally larger. Yeah, it’s like, I’m like, “Is this mine?” It’s like I’m still in denial that this was my lot.

Marc: Mm-hmm. Yeah. That to me quite honestly is where the action is for you. You know? I think at the end of the day, Sarah, it’s going to come down that at some point, you’ve just got to have a reckoning. It’s kind of like saying, “This guy, I’m going to marry him.” Technically speaking, there’s a lot of guys you could probably marry. Technically speaking, maybe you know them, maybe you don’t. Maybe you know a few other guys you could have married. I guarantee you there’s a lot of guys you could marry, but you picked that one. So you made a choice. You chose. Now when you choose something like that, “That’s my guy.” That’s it. Granted, not going to be perfect. There are other guys who are taller, shorter, richer, smarter, this or that. But that’s your guy. That’s your horse that you’re going with. That’s who you’re betting on for you. It makes perfect sense.

There are some certain choices like that in life, where we’ve got to choose. There are also these choices where we have to choose something that we already kind of was chosen for us in a weird way. Meaning this. I remember there was a day when I first realized, “Oh my goodness. I have these parents I’ve been bitching and moaning and complaining and judging them, and I’ve never actually chosen that, ‘Ok, you guys are my parents. I agree.’” The day that I said, “OK, these are my parents. I’m choosing them.” They’ve already been given to me. They’ve already given birth to me. I’m already in my teens. But I’ve been resisting it. So the day I chose, “Ok, these are my parents.” Everything shifted. The day that I chose, “This is my sister.” Everything changed. Because all of a sudden, I’m not fighting it. It’s kind of what life is doing anyway. I could resist that these are my parents. I could resist that this is my sister. But that’s kind of silly. On the one hand because it completely takes me out of reality. It takes me out of the game.

So all I’m saying is, here there comes a time for me and you and us when you’ve got to choose. You’ve got to choose, “This is my body. This is my size. These are my hips. This is my shape. This is my thing that I’m going to go through every time I walk into a clothing store. And that girl over there, she’s got 25 more choices than I do.” At some point, you’re going to have to choose that, and go, “I’m cool. I’m cool. Could be worse.”

So, easier said than done, I know that. I’m just telling you just as your older brother here on the journey; I’m just raising my hand and saying, given my experience in this realm, that is what is going to need to happen at some point for you to get where you want to go. And it’s that reluctance that we all have to choosing the body that we’re given. To choosing the parents, the whatever it is that we’ve been given. Is that reluctance that puts us in the pain and the suffering zone. So in a way, you will never be comfortable in your body. You will never be able to let go of, “All of a sudden I’m obsessing about food. I’m obsessing about dieting. Or I’m comparing myself to her.” You’ll go through times, like you’ve been, where it’s not going to bug you. Things are good. And then all of a sudden, there it is. And it creeps up on you. And it grabs you again. Because it’s reminding you. So your challenges around food and body are reminding you something; it’s pointing to something. It’s not like there’s something wrong with you. No. I’m looking at it as your relationship with food and body is here to teach you. It’s a great teacher. It’s a brilliant teacher. One of the lessons it’s here to teach you, and many of us, is at some point you’ve got to choose.

Sarah: You know, it’s a scary lesson, as well. Or an ugly thing to have, because it spills over into other areas. It spills over into intimacy, right? So if I’m not feeling good in my body then that affects that area, as well. It seems like it kind of doesn’t just sit in one box.

Marc: 100%.

Sarah: It spills over to other boxes.

Marc: And it will spill over into every box in some way shape or form, because the message you’re living with internally is, “I haven’t chosen myself.” You know what that would be like? That would be like if you were with a guy. If you were marrying a guy who was basically saying, behind the scenes. “Yeah, I’m marrying her. But I don’t really know. If I find something better I’d take it.” That would suck. Right? You would not want to be with that guy. You would not want your best girlfriend to be with that kind of guy.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: You would tell your best girlfriend; you would tell any woman that you care about, “Be with a guy who is choosing you.” You would tell your best guy friends that. “Be with a woman who is choosing you. Who is not saying behind the scenes. ‘I don’t know, there could be better. I like that one better.’” So in a sense, you’re saying that to yourself. You’re saying, “I don’t really choose me. I’m not really owning this. There’s better. I wish I had that. How do I do that? What’s she eating?” So that keeps us small. It keeps us, in a sense, it keeps you back to being a 15, 16, 17-year-old girl. It keeps you in that zone. Where you’re kind of a young teenager who doesn’t have herself yet. And right now, you’re not that teenage girl anymore. You’re in your 30s now. Tell me how old you said you were again?

Sarah: 32.

Marc: 32. So you’re in your 30s now, and this is the time to own yourself. This is the time to start to say, “There’s my guy. Here’s my profession. Here’s the work I’m doing, for now. Here’s where I’m going to live.” You’re defining yourself. Part of the self-definition that wants to happen is you choosing you. And this is going to be one of the hardest marriages you’ve ever done. But I promise you once you do it, you’re going to be very happy that you did. Because you’re being tentative about you.

Your fiancé is not tentative about it. He’s clear. Granted, you said, “Yeah, I hear what he says. He loves me no matter what. But my voice drowns out his voice.” That makes perfect sense to me, because that voice is loud. Here’s what I want to say to you. And I’m putting myself in his shoes. And I’ve been there. I’ve been with women who their primary relationship is with their eating disorder or their body image disorder. And they’re not sleeping with me, they’re sleeping with their disorder. So I come second.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: And it’s hard. It’s hard. It’s understandable, so there’s no blame there. But what I’m saying is that you will not be fully available to him, to you, or to life as long as this package is not what you’re choosing and you’ve got your eye on thinking you can choose her body, her body, or her body. Like that’s a possibility. So what you’ve gotten, what you’ve figured out is dieting sucks, so that didn’t work. It’s a miserable undertaking. It doesn’t really get you where you want to go. And if it would have worked, it would have worked.

Sarah Speaking of dieting. Like I said, I had tossed it many years ago until I had spoken an Ayurvdeic doctor for acne about a year or two ago. I’m sure you know all the Ayurvdeic doctors; they have lots of rules around dieting. Two things I took away, though, to treat my acne that I got in my late 20s that I still battle with. No dairy, and no gluten. And it works wonders for me. I feel better. I look better. My acne is gone. I loved it for a year, but then it’s another rule. It’s another thing that; “Look how clear her face is. I bet she doesn’t have cut out dairy. Why am I dealing with this?” The diet was fun at first, because I saw the results. And then it stopped being fun because it’s a new set of rules.

Marc: Yeah.

Sarah: But they need to be followed. I’ll sit down with myself, like on an adult level. You can resist it all you want, and then you can look in the mirror and look at the results, of eating dairy or not eating dairy. I feel like I’m arguing, as we talk about it, with a teenager.

Marc: Yeah. And you are. So that’s a great observation. We have different people inside of us, for sure. So you are wife-to-be. You’re a fiancé. You’re a daughter. You’re a professional. You’re all kinds of things. And one of those things you’re also a teenager. And you’ve also got a little kid in there. And your young teenager is extremely rebellious, and she wants what she wants and she doesn’t like rules. That makes sense to me. I’ve got the same thing. There are certain rules I don’t like. And at the same time, what you’re also getting is there is a negotiation involved because life doesn’t care about your argument.

Sarah: {laughing}

Marc: It could care less. It’s like, “Oh, ok Sarah. We’re sorry. You want to eat gluten and dairy? Ok, we won’t make that cause acne for you anymore.” Is it a weird thing that you have to give up these two really great foods that comprise pizza and Italian food.

Sarah: Right.

Marc: Right? That sucks. I get it. I totally get it. And this is called life. It’s called adulthood. It’s called growing up. It’s called learning to live with restraints and parameters in making evolved choices for ourselves. Because you said it yourself. Sure, I could resist. I could fight myself. And then I just look in the mirror, I see the result. So it becomes a choice. You’re free to eat whatever you want. Anything. You can eat whatever you want. Or not. It’s literally up to you. That’s the beautiful thing, you have choice now. And choices have consequences. You can marry whoever you want to marry that wants to marry you. Whoever you marry, that choice has consequences. If you don’t get married, that has consequences. You just date; there are consequences to everything that we do, positive and negative and otherwise. So you’re learning how to mature into that experience. You’re learning that, yeah, there’s a rebellious teenager inside me. And if you want to let her drive the car, then there’s going to be some interesting results. So this is you growing up. Really. I mean, that’s what it is.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: This is you stepping into your womanhood. Your adulthood, in a whole new way. There’s nobody to fight here. There’s nobody to blame. Your parents aren’t making you do this. Nobody is making you do anything here. So the power comes from owning your choice. The power comes from saying, Ok. Here’s my lot in life. Here’s this body. Here’s this skin. Because the beauty of it is; yeah, maybe that stuff gives you acne. I promise you, if it’s giving you acne, it’s affecting your body on a deeper level. Over time, over many years, that can then impact your health in a deeper way. So what is skin deep now, years from now can become a different kind of issue. So all I’m saying is, there’s a wisdom to it all.

Sarah: Right. For sure. I just see it as inflammation. It’s just inflammation in the body. So right now it’s on my face, but that could be anywhere. Joints, organs. Anywhere, worse.

Marc: Yes. Here’s what I also want to say about acne. Especially as it relates to the face. I’m not saying this is true for everyone. But for a majority of people, when a human has acne on his or her face, there’s a natural level of shame and/or embarrassment. If it was on my chest and you couldn’t see it, fine. Ok, I take off my shirt; then I can feel embarrassed. But when it’s here, that’s not easy.

Sarah: No.

Marc: It’s not easy walking into the world in that way. So what we have to contend with is a sense of embarrassment. What I want to say to you is, I like to explore when that’s happening for somebody just how that particular person in general relates to embarrassment. What I’m meaning here for you; I’m going to be more specific for you. Let me just say it. Another way to language what we’ve been talking about; another way to language kind of how I see you, is there’s a place, not only where you haven’t chosen your body, but you’re a little embarrassed by it. And that embarrassment grabs you, and it gets you, and it has you doing thoughts and behaviors that don’t serve you. And you’re also overcoming that. So changing your diet is actually a form of empowerment. It’s like saying, “I’m going to empower myself to do something about this. I’m empowering myself to do something about something that embarrasses me. So wow. I’ve done something difficult. I’ve let go of wheat and dairy. And my skin cleared up.” That’s empowering. But at the same time, on a deeper cut, you have not graduated from embarrassment about your body yet, and that’s a target I want you to have in your sites. I want you to know that what we’re shooting for. What I would love to see you shoot for is the day when you’re no longer embarrassed by your body; quite the opposite. It’s like, “Here I am.” I was talking to somebody else; I keep thinking about Beyoncé.

Sarah: {laughs} Yeah.

Marc: I look at Beyoncé; I watch her attitude. I watch how she moves. I watch her body type. And I’m thinking; she couldn’t own it any more than she does.

Sarah: {laughs} Yeah. Very true.

Marc: Just watch Beyoncé. That’s an empowered woman. She’s a big girl. People are paying attention to her. She is charismatic and attractive; in large part because she owns it. She owns it. And it works. Such that, just at the pure level of sex symbol. She’s an international symbol of that, with a body type that isn’t traditionally a tiny, anorexic thing. That says something to me.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: That’s an interesting role model for you. Not to be rich and famous, so to speak, but to look at a woman who doesn’t have shame in her game around that. And she’s owning that.

Sarah: When I hear you say that, it’s like a double-edge sword. Because one part of me feels empowered to get this right, and then the other part of me feels a lot of pressure to get this right. Especially being engaged. Right? I don’t want to bring this into my marriage. So it’s like, the pressure of it can either motivate me or it can make me want to crumble and not do anything and feel self-defeat.

Marc: Got it.

Sarah: I don’t know which side of the sword I’m going to pick up each day.

Marc: Ok. Let’s figure that out right now. I want to handle this piece right now. You just said something to the effect of, “I don’t want to bring this into my marriage.” Let’s change that. You are bringing all of you into the marriage. And all of you is wonderful and beautiful and imperfect. He’s imperfect. I’m imperfect. Find me a perfect person; ain’t going to happen. So you’re bringing all of you. And all of you is worth it. Yeah, you’re bringing your challenges too. So is he. You’re going to stand by him. You’re not going to abandon him because he has this challenge, that challenge. He’s insecure about this, he’s insecure about that. That’s not what love is for.

So you’re bringing this into the marriage. And what a beautiful thing. Because then you have the chance to grow. You have the chance to watch yourself deepen. You have the chance to watch yourself heal. You have the chance to watch yourself become more and more empowered about who you are. So please, bring it into your marriage. Feel good about that. I really want you to feel good about that. And I would love for you, at some point, to have, if you haven’t done this, have a little bit more of an open conversation with your fiancé. Like, “Hey, I just got off this podcast session with Marc. He suggested to me I speak to you. Here’s what’s going on for me. I’ve got some nagging little things that sometimes just get me. I’m afraid to bring in some of my insecurities into this marriage, but this is me. I want to love my body more, and I’m on that path. And I want to own who I am more. I’m not in the perfect place right now. Do you still love me? You still want to be with me?” I want you to hear his answer. Because I’m going to bet a lot of money he’s cool.

Sarah: Yeah. For sure.

Marc: But it would be good for you to hear him say that, and it would be good for you to own that insecurity so you can hear how wrong you are, thinking that that’s not ok. It’s perfectly ok.

Sarah: And I think there would be some relief in just admitting that that is a source of pressure for me.

Marc: Yeah.

Sarah: Not that I’m questioning the marriage, or him. That’s not what’s giving me pressure. It’s these issues about me. And I don’t know that I’ve probably put that into words for him.

Marc: I would love for you to put that into words in what I’m asking you to do in the big picture, is take the pressure off. 100%. Because this is something you, we, all of us are dealing with for a lifetime. Which is how to be better people. How to be more empowered. How to love ourselves. How to own ourselves. And you’re going to be doing it more and more. And at some point, you’re going to be owning your body and loving your body. And then you’re going to have to own and love some different part of you. And it’s going to get more specific and more elegant. And you’ll just keep growing.

Sarah: And I want to do that. Like, what a waste. I’m 32 now. I don’t want to be 42, 52, 62. It just seems so futile to go through the day in such a stupid way to spend your energy hating the vessel that you came into. It’s just; I can spend my energy elsewhere. And to me 32 years and one day is too long.

Marc: And the reason why it’s so hard to love the body that we’re given is; by the way, nothing you’ve ever done wrong. This is unbelievably common amongst women and men. Well over 9/10 women are dealing with what you’re talking about, and more and more men are dealing with it. It’s just less socially acceptable for a man to talk about it. But it particularly grips women. It is being fed by the world. By media, by culture, by images, by movies. Since you’ve been a little kid, you’ve been drilled. Not just by your parents. So we’re always give the message in a very subtle and not so subtle way that you should be looking like this, not like that. And so it’s difficult to overcome because it’s constantly in front of us. And, that’s the work that we have to do. Nobody said; there were no guarantees that the world was going to be all nice, and sweet, and easy. So you have to choose a world that ain’t always on your side about these kinds of things. Not always super supportive. So this is a place where you have to find support and find your own path. And understand that the task is a difficult one. Loving your body in this world as a person, as a woman, is an extremely difficult task. Because we are taught to not love it. And we are taught to buy things that help us love it better. Not loving your body is a big business. It’s a huge business. It’s a $500 billion dollar a year industry when it comes to weight loss; let alone, I’m not even going to talk about makeup and self-help books. And everything else that gives you the subtle message, “Here. Do this. This will make you acceptable.”

So your task is hard. Let’s admit that. It is very hard. But. The benefits are freaking huge. What’s on the other side is a rare person who is empowered, who is owning herself, and whose energy is going into being a creative human and not being a self-destructive human. So you already know intellectually. “Wait a second. I don’t want to waste all my time hating my body.” So you know that intellectually. That’s step one. Step two, you’ve been taking actions over the years as best you know how. And now you’re getting better at taking actions. And now you’re getting better at introducing and finding new concepts that help you move forward; new distinctions. That’s what this conversation is about. It’s all about the next step, and the next step, and the next step. So I guess what I‘m saying to you is, I would love for you to take the pressure off because you’re actually moving as fast as you can. You’re moving as fast as you can in this. And for most people, fast looks like slow here. Because there’s no one thing to do that’s going to snap us out of it overnight and all of a sudden, we love our body. This kind of love, it’s a courtship. You are courting your body. You’re dating it. You’re not quite sure if you’re choosing it yet. And what I’m saying is, you’ve got to choose it at some point. Keep dating it. Keep checking it out. But you’ve got to choose it.

Sarah: Once I choose it, I wonder, what does that picture look like? What does the picture of health look like? Will I still have bad days? How often? If I do have a bad day, do I think, “Oh god, I’ve slipped back?” What does it look like, I wonder?

Marc: Great question. What does choosing a guy to marry look like? Will we have arguments? Or will we live happily ever after? Of course. It’s going to be intense at different times. It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be wonderful. It’s going to everything. So choosing this body doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have challenges. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have days when you look in the mirror and go, “I hate you.” It just means you’re choosing to stay in the commitment and stand by yourself. So when you and your future husband get into an argument, the agreement is, I’m not going to just run out the door because we got into an argument. We have a commitment here to work through stuff. So when you choose your body, you are committing to work through the bumps in the road. So I meet people who, you and I would think, “Wow. You should be the happiest human in the world with that body, and those looks.” You’ve met them too, probably. Men and women who have the perfect this, that, and the other thing. And they’re as uptight, and unself-secure as anybody else might be. So looks don’t guarantee anything. So all I’m saying is, when you choose you, what it looks like is you no longer abandon yourself.

“Ok, now I’m going to hate myself for the next 6 weeks. Now I’m going to judge the hell out of myself.” No, because of your commitment. You’re going to rebound faster. Will you go into self-hate? Probably. Will you go into self-rejection? Probably. Will you bump into somebody on your travels, when you look at that woman and go, “God, I wish I looked like her.” Yeah. Probably. But you’re not going to give it that much energy.

Sarah Right. I don’t want to not enjoy my honeymoon because I’m in a bathing suit the whole time and I’m comparing myself to other women. I don’t want to do that on that week. It’s not how I want to spend it.

Marc: No. I don’t want you to do that either. So that’s where you have to help yourself graduate. It’s a self-graduating experience. Nobody. No one can give you a thing, pill, concept, thought, anything that’s going to get you to that place where you’re going to go, “Ok. Cool. I feel comfortable this week with this body in these clothes in this bathing suit.” Nobody can give you that but you. You grant you that. By you choosing you. It’s no different than choosing him. You made a choice. And it’s choosing that. And then taking actions that speak to the choice. So if you say to him, “I love you. And I’m going to be with you.” Then you demonstrate that love in different ways. You each have different ways that you demonstrate your love. How do you know he loves you? He probably demonstrates in ways that lands for you. He says things. He does things. He does actions. You feel things that are tangible for you. That’s how you know he loves you.

Same for you with you. When you are choosing your body, you then have to do tangible things that prove to you that you’re choosing it. It might not be easy in the moment. Example, tangible things that prove to you that you love your body. You look in the mirror and you go, “That looks good.” You look in the mirror, and instead of going, and judging; you go, “I like that.” You go, “That’s sexy.” You find that place in you. What it means is, I’m going to pamper myself and go get, I don’t know. A foot massage. A pedicure. A manicure. What makes you feel beautiful? I’m going to go buy that piece of clothes because that’s going to make me feel good. You know, when I go shopping, I’m going to go with this girlfriend because she loves me and so supports me and is so going to help get me out of my head if I go. That’s a tangible act.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: So whatever small tangible acts you know will register in your system as self-love. You practice those. Because then you start to give yourself the message. “Oh. I’m actually my words and my choices congruent with my actions and the things I say to myself.” So it means monitoring your dialogue. And when you start to go into comparison and self-hate, you catch yourself.

Sarah: Do you think that when I find more acceptance around that realm, do you think that other things will chip away and I will start to feel more calm around food, as well?

Marc: 1000%. Because the problem is not with food; the challenge is, there’s the part of you. And it’s an old part of you from way back when. There’s a part of you that still believes, and understandably so because that’s what you’ve been taught by the world. That food can help me fix all this.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Marc: So you haven’t let go of that yet; which is understandable. So because there’s still a part of you that believes “food can help me fix all this” that you’ll get sucked into that every once in a while. All of a sudden, “Ooh, maybe I should eat this. Maybe I should eat that. Oh my god; I shouldn’t have eaten this. I shouldn’t have eaten that. I don’t’ want to limit myself, but I do want to diet, I don’t want to diet.” So that all gets generated because you still think that can save me from this challenge that I have called, “I don’t approve of this body fundamentally. I don’t want it. You gave me a bad hand, god, give me something different.”

So what I’m saying is we’re going underneath. If you go to a typical counselor or therapist for food issues, they’re going to focus on the freaking food and changing your behavior. Yeah, there are always little tweaks you can do. But it’s not ultimately where the action is.

Sarah: Right.

Marc: So will your behaviors around food change as you are able to step into some of the places we’re talking about? You bet. In a big way. In a big way. So what I’m going to ask of you is, first and foremost, be patient. I really mean that. See if you can, and I really want you to remind yourself of this. Take away the urgency. It doesn’t mean you don’t work diligently. You work every day. I’m going to guestimate that you work 40 hours a week. Is there an urgency around that? I don’t know. You wake up, you do your work. So every day, you’re going to do your work around this. You’re going to notice when you start to go into negative self-talk. You’re going to notice when you do loving acts that demonstrate love for your body, and you go, “Oh, good girl. Way to go.” You’re going to notice when you say something kind to your body. You’re going to notice when your fiancé is loving on you, and you’re going to take that in.

Sarah: That’s hard. That piece.

Marc: I know. Yeah.

Sarah: It’s really hard.

Marc: And what a good freaking problem to have.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: Of all the problems; check out this problem. “I’ve got a man who is wanting to marry me, loves me, attracted to me. I don’t love my body as much as he does; but man, would he love me to just relax into that so we could both have a good time together.” What a good problem. May you have problems like that throughout the course of your life. What a good thing. All problems should be that cool. So yeah, you’re right, that’s a challenge. But what I’m asking you to do is be in school. Be in the school of life in a slightly different way. That’s why I said patience; take the pressure off; be a beginner. And start to enjoy this journey a little bit more. Because you’ve already progressed. You’re already getting to a better place. If you look at your progression, you will prove to yourself that you’re moving forward. So a part of this conversation is me reflecting to you, “Hey. Job well done so far!” You focus on where you’re not at. You focus on the imperfections. I get it. I’m focused on, “Wow. Good job. Wow. You’ve grappled with some interesting stuff on your journey. And wow, you’ve created a good life for yourself. Wow. You’ve overcome some interesting challenges. And wow, you have some interesting challenges ahead of you, but you have the tools to get where you want to go.” It’s just a little more trust, a little more faith, and you’re going to get there. You don’t know how, 100%, but that’s ok. So, a little bit of forgiveness. Self-forgiveness, you know.

Sarah: It’s funny how some of the simple things you’re saying are so profound. I guess I’m in the mindset right now that I needed to hear it, but hearing the word “choice” was very powerful. I can already hear myself saying that to myself during the day. I choose you. Maybe just self-talk like that to my body. “I choose you.”

Marc: Yeah.

Sarah: And talking about the urgency and pressure. Sometimes I think the urgency and pressure are worse than what it is I’m actually battling.

Marc: Bingo. Because there’s no urgency and pressure. And as soon as you take away the urgency and pressure, what’s left is possibility.

Sarah: Yeah.

Marc: What’s left is these beautiful materials called your life that you have to work with. And that’s a good thing. You know? So it’s like, you’re going to learn self-love. You’re going to learn how to love more, and how to receive love more. That’s a damn good undertaking. And you have a willing partner to do that with. And you yourself are willing. You’re just a little scared; understandably so. But you’re willing. What a great thing. And it is the simple things. That’s also what I’m here to remind you of. We try to look for all these complex answers, and these complex diets, and we get distracted away from the real higher truths. The more powerful truths. The aspect of this that is more of a spiritual journey for us. And this is about us learning how to love what we’ve been given. Because you’ve been given what you have for good reason. And we can’t always understand and know. And sometimes it’s just about being a little more humble. It just humbles us. The body humbles us.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Marc: So I super appreciate how you’ve shown up, and how you’re dealing with this. I’m very impressed. Honestly, I’m just impressed. It’s not that I’m hopeful for you, I just totally believe in your journey. So I know you’re going to get where you’re going. Where you want to go. And you just have to keep doing what you’re doing. And you’re tweaking. It’s like, oh, ok. Take a little pressure off. Oh, relax a little bit more into this. Start to choose myself every day. And you know, I don’t always believe in what I’m about to say, because it’s not always good. But a lot of times it really works, and it’s “Fake it till you make it.” This is a good place of fake it till you make it of just going, “Hey. I choose you.” And even though you might not feel it 100% in the moment. Even if you feel it 20% or 80%, that’s good enough. Because you’re feeding yourself something good and healthy. Which is, you’re reminding yourself of a mantra and a belief and a choice that’s been the opposite of what you’ve been doing. Because what you’ve been doing subtly is, “I don’t choose you. I don’t choose you.” In fact, you’ve been saying, “I reject you. But I like her. I like that. I want this. I want that.” And by you starting to choose you; whoo. That’s going to gain momentum and only good things will come from that. I promise you that.

Sarah: It seems so simple. I wish it wasn’t so hard. It seems like something so basic that humans get dropped into this world and you start day 1 hating what you got put into. It seems so odd.

Marc: Yeah.

Sarah: I do think I’m on the path. Like you said, I don’t feel lost. I don’t feel completely scattered. I feel like I’m on the right path. And I feel like people like you, that come into my life, and other things and journaling and putting my mind in the right place. I know I’m going in the right direction. I’m just being impatient.

Marc: Yeah.

Sarah: You hit the nail on the head.

Marc: Yeah. And it’s fine to be impatient. It’s a smart thing in a lot of ways. Impatience is good. Why? Because it inspires us to get stuff done quicker. So there’s a useful reason for impatience. Sometimes impatience is the right response to things. What I want to say for you, in this case, it’s not.

Sarah: It’s just not.

Marc: In this case, impatience ain’t going to work. In other cases, absolutely. Nothing wrong with impatience. But in this case, patience is your friend and it is your ally. Because I know you’re going to be diligent. Because you have been diligent. So that’s super clear to me. It’s just giving yourself more space to be human, to be imperfect, and to be lovable who you are right now. You’re imperfect. I’m imperfect. And we’re still lovable. There’s still people that love us. What a good thing.

Thank you so much. Thanks so much for being such a good sport. Thanks so much for jumping in and sharing your world and your journey. It’s very beautiful and it’s very inspiring. Again, I just want to say I think you’re in a great place. I really do. And you’re going to get where you want to go.

Sarah: I think so. Thank you so much for your kind words and your encouragement. You have a big heart. And it does not go unseen. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Marc: You’re welcome. God bless. And we’re going to follow-up in a bunch of months and just kind of see how it all rolls out. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks.

Marc: And thanks everybody for tuning in. I always appreciate you, checking us out and tuning into the podcast. More to come my friends. Once again, I’m Marc David. On behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. Take care.

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 Eating, dot tips, 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, mind, body, and health.

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All You Need to Know About Cleansing With Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper can help cleanse the body. Cayenne pepper on a wooden spoon.

Cayenne peppers have long been held in high regard for their powerful health-boosting properties. Popular cleanses, like the Master Cleanse, use cayenne because of naturally occurring compounds, like capsaicin, which help cleanse and detox the body at a cellular level. These cleansing effects can have a significant impact on your entire body, promoting a healthy heart, weight, and gut. Sustaining overall health is where the actual cleansing benefits of cayenne lie, helping you live healthy, longer! Here are the top benefits of cayenne.

Cayenne Pepper Cleanses the Body

Cayenne is well-known for its pain-relieving, weight loss, and metabolism-boosting properties, but it’s also a detoxifying spice that works on many different organs and tissues. It owes its detoxifying health benefits to the actions of capsaicin, the natural compound that gives chili peppers their stinging bite.

Enhances Waste Removal From Cells

Capsaicin triggers the production of a powerful vasodilator called nitric oxide.[1] This compound causes your arteries to relax, which encourages normal blood pressure and improves circulation, especially to tissues that are woven through with delicate capillaries.[2] These tiny blood vessels sometimes become clogged with white blood cells and clumps of blood platelets, but loosening their walls gives them the flexibility they need to keep your blood flowing.[3] Adequate blood flow allows your cells to properly dispose of waste and take in fresh nutrients and oxygen.[4]

Going one step further, capsaicin also prevents platelets and red blood cells from clumping together, or clotting. This thins your blood so that it can flow through all the tiny vessels that supply organs like your heart and skin.[5]

Clears Sugar and Bad Fats From Blood

Insulin is the hormone that helps draw glucose to your heart and muscle cells where it’s used for energy. If your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, your blood sugar can climb perilously high. This condition, called hyperglycemia, comes with complications like increased oxidative stress, cell damage, slowed tissue repair, high blood pressure, excess fat in the blood, cardiovascular disease, and fatty deposits in the liver.[6]

Eating cayenne pepper increases your insulin sensitivity and response, helping you avoid the consequences of insulin resistance.[7] One study found that capsiate, another compound found in red peppers like cayenne, was even more effective than capsaicin in this respect.[8]

Cayenne has a similar effect on the fats in the blood that contribute to heart disease, but it works a little differently. One animal study found that, rather than decreasing the overall fat content in blood, the antioxidants in cayenne specifically reduced the amount of oxidized fat. This is the bad kind of fat that clogs arteries and deteriorates heart health.[9]

Helps Recycle Old, Damaged, & Malfunctioning Tissue

Damaged tissue that lingers in the body can lead to many different organ- and tissue-specific health concerns. Capsaicin triggers apoptosis, the normal cell recycling process that helps your body naturally clean up cellular waste in organs like the prostate.[10,11,12,13] In breast tissue, cayenne also impedes the production of malfunctioning tissue from the start.[14,15]

Purges the Liver

The capsaicin in hot peppers activates a process called autophagy, the healthy degradation and recycling of cells, in the liver. In an animal study, researchers discovered that frequently eating cayenne pepper promotes the breakdown of fat stored in the liver. It boosts the synthesis of certain enzymes called lipases that metabolize fatty tissue.[17]

Facilitates Nasal Drainage and Opens up Airways

You’ve probably noticed your nose tends to run when you eat spicy food. It turns out that cayenne and other hot peppers are an effective decongestant and bronchodilator, which means they help clear your respiratory passages of mucus and soothe the swelling that accompanies congestion.[16]

Induces Sweating

When you sweat, you lose essential minerals like sodium, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and copper.[18] These minerals, most of which are electrolytes, need to be replaced daily. But you can also sweat out toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury if you’re exposed to them in sufficiently high quantities.[19] If you’re not a big fan of running or hot yoga, cayenne can help activate this natural detoxification process.

Importance of Cleansing

If you want to cleanse your body in these ways and more, then adding cayenne pepper to your daily diet is an excellent start. From the cooking spice to different cayenne supplements, it is an inexpensive and easy way to cleanse your body. If you have serious toxin build up, then taking cayenne with a more comprehensive cleanse might do even more for your wellness.

Global Healing Center has been helping people cleanse their bodies of toxins for nearly 20 years, and along the way, we have learned what works and what doesn’t. Our Health Kits offer a variety of targeted cleanses that focus on detoxing your liver, kidneys, and colon.

Do you add cayenne to your meals for the benefits or the heat? Tell us about your preferences in the comments!

The post All You Need to Know About Cleansing With Cayenne Pepper appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Psychology of Eating Podcast: Episode #245 – Ready to Heal Her Relationship with Food

Jo, almost 40, starts off this episode by letting us know she truly wants to heal her relationship with food. We learn that it has been a life-long struggle to look a certain way. Her mother would hint that she needed to be skinnier, and she started dieting at age 11. From a nutritional standpoint, she has also noticed some shifts her body is calling for when it comes to diet. As a vegetarian for 20 years, she has recently been thinking she should re-introduce fish into her diet, and has become sensitive to some vegetarian staples, such as avocado. Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, gives her some practical changes to experiment with in her diet. Jo also comes away with new insights on how to continue celebrating her successes along the way, and grow into her queen by accepting herself with love and confidence.

Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:

Real people. Real breakthroughs. This is a Psychology of Eating podcast where psychology and nutrition meet to uncover the true causes of our unwanted eating concerns. Your relationship with food will never be the same. Now, here’s your host, eating psychology expert and founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Marc David.

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 Jo today. Welcome, Jo.

Jo: Hello.

Marc: Hello. Let me say a few words to viewers and listeners, and then you and I are going to jump in. If you are a returning visitor to this podcast, as always, thank you. I really appreciate you coming by. And if you’re new to this podcast, here’s how it works. Jo and I are meeting officially for the first time in this moment, and we’re going to spend 45 minutes to an hour together and see if we can move things forward for you Ms. Jo.

So if you could wave your magic wand and if you can get whatever you wanted to get from this session, tell me what that would look like for you, young lady.

Jo: What I would like is to heal my relationship with food, and what that means for me is being more relaxed around food and being able to regulate my appetite naturally so that I eat when I’m hungry, not when there’s food around. And I’d like to lose some weight as well because in the last 12 months or so I put on probably about eight kilos, and I would like to go back to the way that I was 12 months ago. So mainly so that I don’t have to buy all new clothes.

Marc: Yeah. Got it. So the weight that came on in the last bunch of months, why do you think that weight came on, if you had to guess?

Jo: See I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot because I don’t think I’ve changed the way I eat all that much. But as I’ve been reflecting on the past 12 to 14 months, I think quite a lot happened in my personal life, and whether it’s me not processing those emotions, I don’t know. That’s the only thing that I could think of.

Marc: So diet hasn’t changed for you much then?

Jo: Not really. No. I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for now three years, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing.

Marc: So when you say plant-based diet, are you vegetarian? Are you vegan? Can you be more specific?
Jo: Yes. I’m mostly vegetarian, so I eat eggs. I eat very little dairy. Very occasionally, I will eat some cheese, but generally I don’t. I still eat honey, but I don’t eat meat or fish.

Marc: And you’ve been eating like that for you mentioned three years?

Jo: So I’ve been vegetarian for 20, and then I dropped dairy about three years ago.

Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. Okay. And can you tell me how old you are?

Jo: I’m turning 40 in February.

Marc: Yay! What a great marker. What a great transition.

Jo: Yeah.

Marc: Yeah, it is. So vegetarian for about 20 years. So you started when you were 20 years old.

Jo: Yeah.

Marc: What inspired you?

Jo: I’ve never liked meat is the honest answer. Ever since I was little, I would always say no to meat—obviously, I ate meat when I was growing up when you’re fed by your parents and you don’t really have much control over what you eat. But as I was growing up, and I was able to choose my meals better, I would always say no to meat and I would just eat salad and whatever else there was.

Marc: Interesting.

Jo: And then later on, I think I stopped eating fish maybe 10 years ago, maybe seven years ago. So it was gradual as well.

Marc: Got it. So how long have you been trying to lose weight?

Jo: I’ve been trying to lose weight probably ever since I was a tiny baby. But in the last sort of three or four, maybe five years, my thinking about the whole thing shifted, and I turned more into like healthy eating and learning more about nutrition. And that’s where my focus has been. And it’s worked for me really well up until the last few months when I gained a lot of weight. Like 12 months ago, I was at a really comfortable weight. Like most women, I still would probably say that I wanted to lose another five kilos, but I didn’t have to. I felt comfortable. I felt confident. My clothes fit well. And then the weight came back.

Marc: So you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time, since you were young. What got that in your head? How did that start?

Jo: I grew up with a belief that in order for me or any person to be liked or loved or successful you have to be skinny. And my mother, bless her, she tried to make me skinny like really hard. I think from an early age I never knew when I was hungry. If there was food in front of me, I would eat as fast as I could and as much as I could. Because anytime I would say, “I’m hungry. Can I have some food?” My mom would say, “No, because dinner is in like two hours.”

So I basically learned to eat as fast as I could and as much as I could. And then the whole dieting started. I’ve been prescribed some diet pills when I was I think 11 or 12 as well. So I was on that for some time. That didn’t really work that well. And then I got older. I was like in my teens. Then I would do all the diets I could get my hands on. So I tried the powders, the meal replacements, one egg for breakfast and then salad for dinner kind of thing. I tried everything.

Marc: I get it. What country did you grow up in?

Jo: Poland.

Marc: Grew up in Poland. Got it. And you’re living in England now, correct?

Jo: Yeah.

Marc: How long have you been living in England?

Jo: It’s going to be 14 years in January.

Marc: Wow. I have Polish blood in me.

Jo: Oh, do you?

Marc: My grandmother spoke Polish. Yes. Yeah.

Jo: Really?

Marc: Yeah, she was from the old country for sure. She spoke Polish. She spoke English. She spoke Yiddish. She spoke Russian.

So 20 years of vegetarian. Do you know what your blood type is by any chance?

Jo: Yeah, it’s group A, A+.

Marc: Yeah, that makes sense. By the way, for people tuning in, I ask that because in the blood type diet system, which is actually a very useful system for understanding some general nutritional proclivities, tendencies, needs. Oftentimes, people with blood type A, they seem to very naturally lean towards a non-meat or a vegetarian diet. It’s fascinating to watch, and they tend to fare well on that kind of diet compared to, let’s say, a type O who they seem to be more the natural meat eaters.

So, so, so. Are you a fast eater these days?

Jo: I’m a recovering fast eater. I have to make really conscious effort to eat slowly. It’s a process for me, and I basically learn this with every meal I have. I could say now that I’m probably moderate-to-fast. I’m still not moderate to slow, but it’s progress.

Marc: Sure, sure. That’s great. So you mention in the last year when you’ve had some of the weight gain here, yeah, there’s been some emotional challenges. Put the emotional challenges said. Put it to the side for a second. Has anything changed in this last year? Have you moved? Have you switched a job? Have you gone on any prescription drugs?

Jo: Yeah, I’ve changed jobs. I work as a contractor, so I work on interim contract. So I finished my last contract this time last year and then started new contract in March this year. But it’s pretty much the same job, just a different place.

Marc: Sure, sure, sure. Can I ask if you are on any kind of prescription medications?

Jo: Yeah, very recently, maybe for the last two or three months, I’ve been prescribed anti-reflux medication. But that’s because for a couple of years I felt like I had something stuck in my throat, so I went to the ENT doctor. And she looked in and she said, “I think it’s inflamed from the reflux.” So she gave that to me, and I don’t know if it’s making any difference. I’m going back to see her in January.
Marc: Got it. Got it. Got it. Okay. Give me a quick idea of a typical breakfast for you.

Jo: I’m very much a savory person, so usually I would eat a couple of slices of bread with eggs, with like a fried egg, or I would have it with hummus. Yeah, that’s pretty much usually. Sometimes I’ll have some porridge with like peanut butter or some hemp seeds and maybe a few slices of a banana. But that’s pretty much what I would do Monday to Friday, and then on weekends we would maybe have an omelet or something like that.

Marc: And how about lunch?

Jo: Lunch, I usually bring in with me. So I take my lunches to work, and I would usually have some sort of greens. So like now, I eat a lot of kale or cabbage or whatever is in season. Then I would usually have maybe like a sweet potato or a little bit of black rice. And then I try to have some protein, so I would have lentils or maybe beans, also maybe some tofu or something like that.
Marc: And dinner?

Jo: Dinner is challenging because I find that I do quite well during the day with my meals and how I eat and what I eat. And I find that oftentimes when I come home in the evening, that’s my time to like, “Aah,” like relax and unwind. And I think I tend to overeat at dinner, but I would probably tend to eat pretty much the same that I would for lunch. So I would have some greens, some starches or some carbs, and some protein.

Marc: And if you overeat, you would just overeat. You would eat more of any particular thing?

Jo: No, if I overeat, I just tend to eat whatever is there until it’s gone.

Marc: Alcohol?

Jo: I don’t drink that much. Like I would have a glass of wine maybe if we go out to dinner maybe a couple of times a month.

Marc: How’s your sleep?

Jo: It’s good. I usually wake up a couple of times a night, but I don’t have problems going back to sleep.

Marc: Are you under a doctor’s care? Have you had any blood tests in the last year?

Jo: Yeah, I’ve had quite a lot of actually blood tests because a couple of years ago I think I did like a blood check-up. And they found that I was low on my white cells. So I’ve been going back every few months for a check-up. So they do all sorts of tests. And I’ve also done, on my own, I’ve tested for vitamin D. This time last year my vitamin D levels were literally on the floor. They were like so near to zero. So I’ve been on supplement for the last 12 months, and I got it re-tested a couple of weeks ago. And it’s still not within the good range, but it’s much higher on the bad range.

Marc: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Jo: Yeah.

Marc: Okay. That’s good to know. Did they talk about your blood sugar or your thyroid?

Jo: So I’ve done blood sugar last year as well, and it was normal. And I’ve done the thyroid hormones as well. And I’ve done one test that it came a little off. And then I had those repeated and it came back normal.

Marc: How’s your energy level?

Jo: It’s generally okay. I sometimes feel a little run-down. What I’ve noticed as well for myself when I’ve been playing with the food and experimenting with the food, I don’t do that well on wheat or like if I have… And I don’t do well with sugar. So I have no sweets pretty much whatsoever. I don’t eat cakes or cookies or anything. But I’ve been noticing it for years now that I don’t even eat that much fruit because I find I get that high for the first few minutes and then I get real lows even after I eat an apple.

Marc: Sure. So, interesting. You mentioned we. Are you in a relationship?

Jo: Yeah.

Marc: How long?

Jo: So four and a half years.

Marc: Married, living together?

Jo: No, we’ve been living together. We’ve been engaged for a couple of years now. We’ve been living together.

Marc: Congratulations.

Jo: Thank you.

Marc: How long did you know each other beforehand?

Jo: We didn’t. We just met and then we started dating and we went steady. So, yes, it’s four and a half years.

Marc: Do you guys have similar—how should I say—approaches to food and health? Is there a lifestyle match there?

Jo: So, no. My partner’s name is Tony, and he’s completely differently to me like totally. He’s your potato and meat kind of man. He’s Irish as well, so like all he wants is just potato and meat. He’s got such a sweet tooth as well. When we go out and we order dessert, that dessert always ends up in front of me because everyone thinks it’s the woman who’s going to eat chocolate. I’m like, “No, thank you.”

Marc: So how does he feel about your body? Does he care about the fact that you might’ve gained a few kilos? What does he say?

Jo: He doesn’t care. He keeps telling me that I’m beautiful and he loves me and he loves my body. He always says it like, “You need to put on more weight.” It’s like, “Nah.” He’s not bothered.

Marc: Are you close with your mom?

Jo: No.

Marc: Okay.

Jo: Not really.

Marc: How is her relationship with her body and her weight?

Jo: My mom, she is super skinny, like super skinny. I think where it started for her, I found out only recently when she was in—I think it was in high school. She was told by one of her teachers that she was too chubby or something, and then she went and lost a lot of weight when she was maybe 17. And she kept that weight off, and she is very controlling when it comes to food. And she’s very restrictive. Yeah.

Marc: Got it. So when are you going to get married?

Jo: Well, we were meant to get married September gone, so three months ago we were meant to get married. But then Tony got really sick November last year, so we had to postpone it. So we don’t have a new date yet.

Marc: Mmhmm. Understood. So is that part of the emotional challenge of this past year?

Jo: I think so. I think it was one of the big things that was meant to happen and didn’t happen.

Marc: Got it. Anything else you want to share about the last year that would feel good and okay and safe to share now about what’s been happening for you?

Jo: So, yes. We had to postpone the wedding. Tony got sick. He’s okay now. He’s on treatment and everything. But it was scary at the time. And then my best friend broke up with me. So one of the relationships in my life fell apart. I think the other thing that has been quite big in my life in this year is that I think I came to realize that I’m not going to have kids because I am hitting 40 and Tony’s older as well. With him being on treatment, it’s unlikely that it would happen. So I think, for me, it’s a big part of what I need to process or let go of or grieve maybe even.

Marc: Had you planned on having kids in your mind?

Jo: Oh, yeah. Like in my mind, I was married and had two kids by the time I was 30. So not hitting that target.

Marc: Yeah. That’s big. That’s a big life let-go, for sure. Okay. I could keep going, but I think I’ve got a lot of good information. And I appreciate you answering all of my questions. I really do. So I’d love to put together some of my thoughts here, and we’ll take it from there and see where we get to.
I’m going to start with big picture first. And I’m going to say to you that usually in conversations like this I’ll have a pretty good idea of why I think a person has extra weight on their body or they put on weight. Usually, it’s not that difficult to kind of narrow down. I’m not so sure for you. I’m really not so sure for you. And that’s not a bad thing, by the way. It’s not a bad thing. I’m going to mention to you some possible factors that I see going on.

Here’s a possible factor number one. You’re turning 40, and you’re 40-ish.

Jo: 39-ish.

Marc: 39. Okay. You’re turning 40. Got it. So that’s a big transition. It’s a big transition emotionally. It’s a big transition personally. Physiologically, I’ve noticed the same thing. I have no research to back this up other than observation, but I am convinced that especially when people turn 40 there’s a physiologic shift. There’s an internal shift. And whatever that shift is, for sure the inner shift that I’ve noticed is that there’s a part of us that incarnates at 40. There’s a part of us that’s born at 40. It’s sort of like the adult in us. It’s sort of like our voice comes through like never before. Who we really are starts to come through like never before.

It’s also a change place because you’re not in your 30s anymore. There’s something about the 30s. It’s a certain kind of youth. And 40 marks a different phase. It’s a different adult phase, and it’s also this thing where arbitrarily we say, “Whoa, if I’m hitting 40,” then for a woman it’s clearly like, “Wait a second. Is that too late for kids?” It’s right at that moment, really. And it is a big transition for you, given what you’ve been going through, given your partner’s health scare, given that you had big plans for a wedding. That’s huge. And also seeing that, “Whoa. Wait a second. Given the situation, my age, his age, where he’s at, where we’re at, it doesn’t look like kids are going to happen.” So that’s a lot.

It probably feels like a lot to you or maybe not, but I’m saying from over here, from outside looking in, that’s a lot. That’s a lot of life to digest. So to me, it would not be unreasonable for the body to gain weight for no apparent reason. If you tell me I’m eating the same and this weight comes on, usually what that means is that there’s a physiologic change happening in somebody’s body. Like, “Wait. I’m doing everything the same,” and now here’s this weight gain or, for some people, weight loss. Like, whoa.
So usually, it’s a physiologic shift in the body which happens. Sometimes we just change. The body just changes, and it doesn’t let us know. It doesn’t give us an email in advance. It just shifts. That’s a possibility for you. But also, when we have powerful life transition, sometimes the body responds by putting on weight. It’s a way to help us ground. And it’s just what the body does. It grounds us. It protects us. It keeps us more here in a certain way.

There’s another piece of the puzzle that I want to put into the mix that I don’t know if it’s true for you or not. Oftentimes, what happens is for a vegetarian diet, let’s say, for most humans a vegetarian diet, it tends to be what I call a genetic experiment. And I’m not knocking being a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for many, many years. You don’t come from a lineage of vegetarians. Your ancestors were not vegetarians. So when you become a vegetarian, you are taking a genetic hard right or hard left. You’re going in a whole different direction.

Sometimes the genetic experiment works and sometimes it doesn’t. Again, this is with any kind of diet, whether you become a vegetarian or raw food, a meat eater. I don’t care what it is. Anytime you do something different than your genetic history, it’s an experiment. And it’s fine. I love experiments. So oftentimes, what can happen is certain diets have a timeline on them. And a diet might work for us for five years, 10 years, 20 years, however long. And then all of a sudden, body shifts, body changes, and we change.

So that’s a possibility. Do you ever find yourself craving more meat, more protein?

Jo: That is so interesting what you just said because I found in the last few months, maybe a year even, I’ve been really thinking of going back to eating fish. And I’ve been really thinking or feeling that I’m struggling with protein sources. So, yeah. So I’ve been considering going back to eating fish.

Marc: Yeah. So what I would say… And again, if you’re tuning in and you’re listening into this right now and you’re a vegetarian, don’t be mad at me. I love vegetarians. I love meat eaters. I love everybody when it comes to food and diet. I might not like what they eat all the time, but it’s all about what works and what doesn’t. And we have to be smart scientists. We have to be smart clinicians. We have to be smart observers, plain and simple. So I understand all the great reasons why one would be a vegetarian. They’re awesome. In fact, my bias is that the world eats too much meat. That’s my bias.

And for you, given what you’re saying and given that you’ve been thinking about this and considering it, that tells me that it’s your body wisdom kind of talking a little bit potentially. So from the standpoint called, “Huh. Maybe she’s having a physiologic shift,” which happens to people. We change. We get older. At different age group, at different times in your life, you could be all of a sudden more sensitive to foods you were never sensitive to.

Jo: Yeah, that happened to me as well because there are three foods that I really can’t eat which is avocado, poppy seeds, and pineapple that I’ve never had problems with them. And then, I suddenly started having problems with them. So eating a plant-based diet and not being able to eat avocado is a lot of times it’s difficult.

Marc: That’s too bad. That’s my favorite kind of like substantial food. When I was a vegetarian, I probably had six avocadoes a day, so I understand. So this is telling me more and more that your body is shifting. So from that evidence, from that data that you’re presenting to me, I’m considering this an experiment. I’m considering your life an experiment, our nutrition as an experiment. It’s useful to say, “Okay. Well, here’s what’s happening. Oh, my goodness. Yeah, I can’t eat avocadoes anymore. I can’t eat pineapples. Can’t eat poppy seeds. Huh. Some weight is coming on. Huh. I’ve been thinking about going back to fish. Huh. I’ve been having problems with protein sources.” And then when I know your lineage and I know Eastern Europeans were—we ate meat.

Jo: That’s so true.

Marc: I would be interested to see you as an experiment for six months having more fish in your diet if that feels right for you. See if you could do it once a day. And start to notice what the difference might be. I’m also wondering where fat in your diet comes from. Where would you say you get fat from?
Jo: I get fat from olive oil. I use olive oil on all my salads. I use coconut oil for cooking. I eat probably too many, but I eat nuts as well. I snack on nuts.

Marc: Okay, great.

Jo: So nuts and seeds as well.

Marc: So I’m interested for you to start doing fish once a day and just begin to see if that makes a difference. If I was getting paid 10 million dollars to help you lose weight sustainably, I’d probably want to focus on increasing the amount of protein in your diet and, ideally, introducing a non-plant source base of protein, either meat or bird or fish. That’s what I would experiment doing. Just for the heck of it. Just because it makes sense. Just because it can work. It’s a good bet.

So I’m going to guess for you—and this is an educated guess—that there’s probably a number of factors going on for you that’s contributing to the weight gain. And I think part of it is personal. Personal, emotional. What you’ve been going through is a lot. You’re in a major life phase transition where you’re letting go on one level of a lifelong dream. You said, “Wow, I thought I’d be married and have a couple of kids by 30.” So that’s a big life dream to let go of.

Sometimes when we’re going through challenge, the body just wants to hang onto more weight because that’s what the stress response does oftentimes in the human body. Some people lose weight. Some people gain it. Some people, nothing. So I’m going to guess it’s a combination of that, and I’m going to guess it’s probably also your body shifting. Your metabolism is shifting, so we have to shift a little bit. That’s why I’m interested in for you experimenting and following your hunch, following your intuition here.
I would especially like to see you eating protein in the first kind of half of your day as opposed to just at dinner. I’d want to see you get more protein in during the day because that will kind of signal your body that there’s protein in my system as opposed to waiting at night when it’s our—kind of evening time is not as much of our nutritional part of the day. We’re winding down. We’re not out there hunting and gathering and doing all our activity.

Those are the pieces I would love to see you focus on. I think it’s also good to continue in the vein you’ve been working in and become a slower eater. Really, what that does and I don’t always explain this fully because it takes a little while. You’re training your body to take in food in the optimum state. When we take in food in the optimum state which is relaxation when there’s nobody chasing you, when you’re not running for your life, if I’m eating fast I’m sending the signal to the brain that I’m not safe while I’m eating.

At the same time, there’s a reason. It’s usually habit for many people, but the habit is driven by something. So the habit of fast eating is driven by, “Oh, my God, there’s not going to be enough food,” or, “Oh, my God, I’ve just got to eat this fast. Some other creature’s going to take it.” Or, “Oh, my goodness. I’ve just got to get this over with because food is really not good for me. Food kind of makes me fat, so let me just eat it quickly.”

So there could be a lot of information going on in your head that then causes this habit. But as we change that habit, you change your physiology. Literally, how we eat is just as important as what we eat. So I want to see your physiology getting finer and finer. Now, the challenge is as you and I get older things fall apart. So we have to work smarter and do the things that seemingly can make a bigger difference.

So even though the body gets older, we can train it in certain ways so that it functions finer. When you’re young, you could throw food in your body. You could eat a lot of junk and your body can recover. When you’re older, it takes longer to recover. So what I’m saying is we have to be smarter with the body as we get older because then the body functions smarter. So I think you’re at a point where—and I think you’re good at this because you’ve been paying attention to your diet. It sounds to me, from what you’ve said, your body talks to you. You listen to it. You notice, “Oh, this food doesn’t work for me, so I don’t eat it.” Even when you overeat, you’re not overeating junk.

Jo: No. Yeah.

Marc: So what I’m saying is you have trained your body to be smarter. Not everybody does that. What you just said to me, most people who complain about overeating or binge-eating, they’re eating things they know they shouldn’t be eating. Do you follow me? So I’m saying that you’ve been, to me, progressing well in this realm. And all I’m saying is you’ve got to get better and better in order to keep your body where you want it to be.

So with the weight gain, I’m going to say this is a bit of a mystery. We have some good ideas. We have good ideas, meaning there’s a good chance that it’s connected to what you’ve been going through personally and emotionally. There’s a good chance that it’s related to the experiment called “be a vegetarian for 20 years” now wants to shift a little bit. Because genetics talk to us.

Genetics will eventually catch up to us I find when it comes to diet. I’ve just noticed that over the years. So I think there’s a little bit of genetic pressure happening for you. And I also think your body is just changing. And when the body changes, we have to change along with it. If, all of a sudden, my elbow hurts, I’m probably going to not play as much tennis. That’s all. I’m just listening to my body. How’s this all landing for you so far, what I’m suggesting and what I’m saying to you?
Jo: I’ve got a practical question that I’ll park for now. But in terms of how it’s landing, it’s almost like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders because what you just said to me sounds like it’s okay. I’m not a total failure. I’ve not been doing everything wrong. Yes, there are potentially things that I need to tweak. But it’s okay.

Marc: Yes.

Jo: And yeah, in that sense, I feel like, “Okay. Marc gave me permission to experiment or to do whatever it is.” I can relax and I can be even kinder to myself and take another step on that. I said earlier I stopped dieting and being on a diet a few years ago, and I think maybe old habits die hard. And every now and again, I would go back to self-attack or self-hate and everything and all that.
That’s another thing that I think I have been getting better over the years, and what you just said as well reinforced for me, it’s like, “Okay. It’s fine. Maybe you’re just 40. Maybe you’ll need to buy new clothes, but whatever.”

Marc: You mentioned another piece of the puzzle which is for most of your life you’ve been carrying around the belief that I have to change this, this whole thing. When we’re told, “You’re chubby. You’re fat. You need to lose weight…” When we’re young, even when we’re older, we don’t hear, “Oh, you just need to lose a bunch of body fat.” What we hear and what we’re really told is, “You’re not okay. You’re not lovable like this.”

Jo: Yeah, you’re a bad person.

Marc: Yeah, you’re a bad person. You’re a bad fat person. And that lives in us. And it’s an awful insult. It’s awful. And it’s a terrible thing to carry around. It’s a poison. It’s a toxin. It doesn’t belong in the system. And what often happens for people is we reach a point when we realize, enough. This doesn’t work. Carrying around such a belief and such an insult in our system which you didn’t invent. It was given to you by the world. It was put in your mind.

When we carry that around, it’s a burden. It’s a stressor. Stressors impact us physiologically. They impact our metabolism. They impact our digestion. They impact our calorie-burning. It might not affect a person in a great way, or it may. And it might not affect us in a big way physiologically until a certain time when the body just—the nervous system, it’s too much.

So I think what is also happening right now for you is you’re stepping into your womanhood in a different way, and it’s time to accept yourself.

Jo: And I do feel the change, the energy shift. I do notice that I feel differently. Even when I talk to my mom, I’m having different conversations. I’m not allowing it to affect me as much at least consciously. So, yeah, I do feel the shift. Yeah.

Marc: Yeah, that’s a great thing. It’s important. And here’s the paradox. Jo, here’s what I want you to remember which is on the one hand, I want you to lose weight if there’s weight that your body wants to lose, absolutely. Absolutely. But I really would love to see you relax into this like never before and make it not that big of a deal. Meaning, “Oh, okay. Huh. This extra weight came on. Huh. Maybe I shift my diet. Huh. Maybe I eat slower. Huh. Maybe I just kind of pay attention a little more to myself and see where I can just be letting go more. Oh, maybe I’m going to eat more protein.”

It’s having that goal but, at the same time, not making it like our religion that we worship every moment of every day and make it the most important thing in our life. Make sense?

Jo: Yeah. And that’s another thing that has shifted for me very recently because I’ve always wanted to be slimmer so I can be liked. In the last, I don’t know, maybe couple of years or maybe last year, it started shifting for me. As I said to you in the beginning, my goal now is to actually heal the relationship with food and be relaxed around food. And if that means me not losing that weight that I put on, I’m okay with that now.

And that has been probably the biggest shift I’ve had in the, I don’t know, however many years.

Marc: Good for you. Good for you. As part of moving in that direction, I’ve just got to tell you the thought would’ve never entered my mind, “Huh. If only she would lose about eight kilos, I’d really have a much better time in this conversation. I’d like you better.” I would never think that. Who thinks like that?

Jo: I have been told that if I was slimmer or skinnier I would have found my partner earlier. And because I am fat, I had to wait until I was 36 to meet him.

Marc: I see. I see. Well, let me tell you something. I know a lot of skinny girls, and they ain’t any better off at age 30 or 40. It doesn’t matter. So all I’m saying is, yeah, it’s kind of silly on the one hand. And if there’s anybody that is not interested in you because they think you should be skinnier, if anybody doesn’t want to be your friend for that reason, which you’ve probably met few people like that in your life, you don’t want them as your friend. That’s a god-awful friend to have. That’s like you saying, “I don’t want to be in a relationship with somebody who’s going to get old and get sick,” because those people are going to get old and get sick. Whatever.

So you’re in a big transition here. You’re in a big life shift. There’s a lot happening. Again, I’m going to say—I want to be super clear with you—I think you have made so many smart decisions along the way. And the way this conversation has gone, you’ve really demonstrated to me that you’re paying attention to yourself. You’re listening. You’re tuning into your body wisdom. Yeah, it’s not all perfect. But whose life is perfect? Whose work is perfect? Whose relationship is perfect? Whose eating is perfect? Nobody really.

So the goal that you want, which is to love your body, that goal is the kind of goal we work at every day. It’s not the kind of goal where you win a lottery ticket one day, and you go, “Oh! It’s all gone. I got the winning lottery ticket,” and it disappears. It’s the kind of goal that is daily effort. And I think you’ve been doing that, and it’s not easy. If it was easy to love ourselves and have an easy relationship with food, we’d all do it. It’s very hard because we get programmed with absolute nonsense from a young age.

So we’re on a journey of reclaiming our power. We’re on a journey of reclaiming who we are in this world as human beings. Our power gets taken away from us in many different ways. We get many messages that tell us we’re not good enough and we’re not loveable as we are. It happens with food. It happens with body. It happens with money. It happens with size, shape, height, skin color. There’s a million things. At some point, we detoxify.

So you’ve been detoxifying all that. And so far, so good. So far, so good. I think you’re in a very good place. I really do.

Jo: Thank you.

Marc: I really do. Yeah, I think you’re in a really good place, and I would love for you to think of this time in your life as you’re embarking on a new path of your womanhood. Age 40 to 50 I call it queen-in-training. You’re not a princess anymore. You’re not a young lady anymore, but you’re not yet a queen. But all of a sudden, your womanhood is more present. It’s born. It’s here. And you’re learning how to be more and more of a woman, of a queen. A queen sits in her throne. A queen knows who she is. A queen is giving to the world. She gives her gifts.

She’s not sitting there saying to her subjects, “Do all you guys love me? Am I okay as who I am? Should I be eating peanuts instead of almonds? Will you like me better if I lost a pound or two?” A queen doesn’t say that. She doesn’t care. Of course, she cares about her looks and her dignity, but they don’t define her. And for that reason, she has a different kind of beauty that moves from within.
So you’re on that program right now. And I really want you to look for evidence that life is calling you into your womanhood because I think it is.

Jo: I think so too.

Marc: And I think you’re rising to that occasion. I think you are. And this is one part of it. So you’re looking to take care of your body. I think this conversation is perfect. You’re like, “Wait a second. My body’s doing something. This doesn’t make sense. I want to understand this more. I want help.” That makes perfect sense. A good queen will turn to her allies and turn to her advisers for help.

And then she takes in the information and she goes, “Okay. That was useful information to me. This piece wasn’t. I’m going to try this. I’m not going to try that.” That’s what a good king or queen does when they get advice. They measure it. Does that work for me or doesn’t it? Whether it’s something I say to you or anyone says to you. Because you’re the authority of you ultimately.

How are you doing?

Jo: Good. It makes so much sense what you’ve been saying. Thank you. So, thank you for that. It really means a lot. I think it’s one of those things that I probably will be thinking over the next days, weeks, and months and probably get more insights. It’s like, “Aah.” Yeah.

Marc: Yeah. You have been consistently living in the message that “I’m not good enough.” That message is a lie. It’s not true. Most humans live with that for different reasons. So that’s starting to leave your system. One of the ways we help it leave our system is instead of fighting that negative message we simply look to the other side of the coin which is, “Wait a second. Where am I good enough? Where can I celebrate my efforts? Where can I celebrate my successes? Where can I acknowledge myself?”

If you’re going to push yourself—and, Jo, this is for you. This is for anyone listening in. If you’re going to push yourself and push yourself and push yourself and try to make yourself better, fine. But you’ve got to balance it out with celebrating your successes. Otherwise, when you get a success, you’re not even going to know you’re there. And then people who get their goal, they hit their goal, and then they’re onto the next one. And we never relax. We never enjoy. We never feel the victory. We never allow ourselves to have the feeling that we think we’re going to have when we get where we want to go.
That’s just me saying to you it’s time to start celebrating some of the successes that you’ve had. And really, I think that means acknowledging yourself because you’ve worked hard in this realm. You really have. And you’ve done well for yourself.

Jo: Thank you.

Marc: Yeah. Good job, young lady. I’m pretty proud of you.

Jo: Could I have a question?

Marc: Of course.

Jo: Just going back to what we talked about earlier about me experimenting with eating fish. Do you have kind of any practical advice or thoughts on me transitioning into…? My concern is that I’ve not eaten meat for like 20 years and probably not eaten fish for seven or more. And the reason I haven’t done it yet is that I’m worried that I’ll eat that fish and then I’ll have digestive issues and get sick. If you have any advice on transitioning, that’d be really helpful.

Marc: Sure. Sure, sure, sure. I would look to eat, A, the kind of fish you’re most attracted to. See what literally you’re attracted to. What are you drawn to? I would start out with a small amount. I don’t know how to measure… Two ounces. Half the size of your hand would probably be two ounces. And start out with a small amount with the kind of fish that you’re attracted to. And take it from there.

What I will say to you is I will bet you that you’re not going to have a bad reaction especially with that amount. Most of what you’re going to probably feel is more the emotional piece of like, “Oh my God, I’m eating this thing that used to swim and move that I haven’t eaten for so long.” So I think it would be useful to be aware of if there’s any personal, emotional, moral piece happening for you to do whatever ritual you need to do to make good with planet earth, to make good with the fishes and the animals.

Like whatever ritual you need to do, whatever prayer, whatever affirmation, whatever it is for you to get clear that you’re not eating a fish because you’re a murderer or you don’t care. You’re eating this because we live on planet earth, and everything eats everything. There is not a single thing that is not eaten by another single thing, at least in its death. It’s like a whale dies, and fish are going to eat it. And bacteria are going to eat it. And sharks are going to eat it. Everything gets eaten. Your body dies. The worms are going to eat it. We get eaten. And we eat. And it’s how life works on this planet.

So we have to get good with that. Is it a sweet and pretty thing all the time? Absolutely not. It’s like whoa. It’s a crazy experience. So we have to understand this is what planet earth is and how do you make good with that? How do you participate in that so you can feel good about yourself, so you can feel empowered? So those are the pieces I think are important. Start out with a small amount, the kind of fish you’re attracted to. Eat it more either at breakfast or lunch as opposed to late in the day.
Jo: Mmhmm.

Marc: And figure out what you need to do inside your own self to ritualize this experience so it feels like you’re stepping into it with more authority and more dignity, as opposed to eating the fish and going, “No! I really shouldn’t be doing this. This is bad. Oh, no, I have to. But, no, I really shouldn’t.” I want you to find a way to do it so you’re doing it. So that you’re getting behind your choice and getting behind your decision. Does that make sense?

Jo: That makes perfect sense. Yeah.

Marc: Yeah.

Jo: Thank you.

Marc: Yay. Did you have another question?

Jo: No. I just wanted to say thank you because I’ve been following you for some time. The work you do in the world it’s lif-echanging, and it has been for me as well. Thank you.

Marc: I so appreciate that, Jo. I really do. And I appreciate our conversation, and I have a ton of confidence in you. I really do. I think you have everything you need to get where you want to go. I’ve got no doubt in my mind.

Jo: Thank you.

Marc: Yes, you are welcome. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. I so appreciate it. I so appreciate you being on this journey with us. Please, if you enjoyed this, share it with a friend. Let other people know about it. Find out more about what we do and lots more to come, my friends. I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. You take care.

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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The Health Benefits of Sleeping Naked

Quality sleep is one of many benefits of sleeping naked

Insomnia is a bigger issue in the United States than most people think. More than a third of all American adults aren’t getting enough sleep. That’s enough to be considered an epidemic. Sleeplessness doesn’t just make you yawn; it has a significant effect on obesity, diabetes, blood circulation, muscle health, heart health, the immune system, and cognitive behavior.[1]

Because of our sleep crisis, more people than ever before have resorted to sleeping pills. In 2015, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids. A 2013 study concluded that nearly nine million Americans use sleeping pills, and that figure continues to rise.[2] This is cause for concern as sleep aids can have severe health consequences. They may lead to dependence, addiction, and a host of negative side effects.[3, 4] Fortunately, there’s an all natural (and au naturale) trick you can try to sleep better tonight.

Simply sleeping naked has a host of health benefits including better sleep, balanced mood, better sex life, weight loss, and sexual health for both men and women.

1. Sleeping Naked Gives You Better Quality Sleep

Temperature has a tremendous effect on your sleep patterns and quality. While your body temperature is usually somewhere around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, studies have found cooler ambient temperatures support better sleep. A slight drop in room temperature signals your body that it’s bedtime, causing your brain to release a sleep hormone called melatonin. An ideal room temperature for sleeping is around 65° F.[5, 6]

Ambient temperature, pajamas, sheets, blankets, down comforters, the body heat of a sleeping partner, and the family cat dozing on your feet can all add up to make things uncomfortably warm, causing you to wake up. Shedding your pajamas and sleeping in the buff is a fantastic way to cool yourself down and enjoy your rest. Since nudity is free, it’s also significantly cheaper than cranking up the AC.

2. Napping Nude Supports Your Mood

Chronic insomnia drastically increases the risk of anxiety and depression.[7] Even partial sleeplessness can put you in a cranky mood. Fortunately, a good night’s sleep can quite literally clear your mind. We’ve always known that sleep helps support brain health, but only recently have we begun to understand why.

During your waking hours, your brain tissue gradually accumulates beta-amyloid, a protein that is toxic to nerve cells. When you sleep, your body signals the glial cells in your brain to open up and flush away these toxic proteins. With the better sleep you’ll get from going au naturale, you should be able to drain your brain and feel refreshed the next morning.[8, 9]

3. Sleeping Stark-Naked Sparks Your Sex Life

Frequent nudity leading to more frequent sex may seem like a no-brainer. However, there’s a little more to it than just easier access. Skin to skin contact triggers your pituitary gland to release oxytocin. Often called “the love hormone,” oxytocin promotes feelings of attachment and emotional closeness. In other words, sleeping naked will put you in the mood for love more often.[10]

4. Going Commando Promotes Sperm Count

Not only does sleeping nude help with the aforementioned increase in sex, it can help improve sperm count as well. The ideal temperature for sperm production is just a few degrees cooler than body temperature. Tight undergarments leave the testes too hot. A 2016 study investigated the effects underwear choice had on men’s sexual health. It found that men who slept sans undies had a higher sperm count and better sperm quality than those that wore boxers or briefs.[11]

5. Nudity Supports Vaginal Health

Sleeping naked isn’t only important to men’s health, women can get the benefits of sleeping in the buff as well. The vagina is a resilient, self-cleaning organ, and sleeping nude helps it maintain balance and regulate PH levels. Constricting clothing traps heat and moisture. Warm, moist conditions encourage the growth of yeast and bacteria, possibly leading to vaginitis. Fresh air is the enemy of infection. Letting things air out by leaving your body uncovered at night can help prevent yeast infections and leave you feeling fresh.[12, 13]

6. Lose Weight by Losing Your Pajamas

No, you probably won’t be able to just sleep yourself slim, but when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, proper sleep can help support metabolism and encourage weight loss.[14]

Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your hunger hormones, leading to weight gain and obesity. Your hunger hormones are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin decreases your appetite, while ghrelin increases it. Your body produces leptin naturally while in the stages of deep sleep. Fitful sleep prevents your body from producing an adequate supply of leptin, while overproducing ghrelin.

This imbalance in your hormone levels leads to an abnormally elevated feeling of hunger, causing you to eat more than you should. A study by the University of Wisconsin confirms that poor sleep patterns are closely associated with high Body Mass Index (BMI) and obesity across all ages. Stripping before bed allows you to get better sleep and normalize your hunger hormone levels.

7. Sleeping Bare Helps Skin and Hair

Beauty rest is absolutely a real thing. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that your body produces in response to stress and low blood sugar. Studies have found that missing sleep can also cause a surge in cortisol levels. Unfortunately, elevated cortisol levels suppress growth hormone and disrupt your system, damaging hair growth and degrading skin. Keeping your cortisol levels low with the right sleep schedule will help keep your hair strong and your skin beautiful.[15, 16,17]

Try It Tonight

Proper sleep is critical to your overall health. Sleeping nude won’t cure all sleep disorders, but it could may help you rest a little better. It’s fun and free in more ways than one. Give it a try tonight and see if you feel the difference.

The post The Health Benefits of Sleeping Naked appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Natural Beauty & Wellness in Oslo – My Personal Army

Coming from the eco-beauty and wellness mecca of Vancouver, Canada, it is needless to say I was at a total loss when I arrived in Norway a few years back without a new army of natural beauty and wellness stops in Oslo. Need a colonic? Forget it! Want to get your eyebrows done? Wait until Summer holidays in Canada…

For years, I continued getting my eyebrows and hair done on every trip home to Canada – I simply hadn’t found where the right fit in Oslo yet. Not only that, every trip home (and every work trip to NYC), I’d arrive to a room stacked with boxes from my favourite shops in the US and Canada and dutifully fill up my suitcase (or in some cases, “suitcases”) with my favourite superfoods, beauty finds and eco-chic accessories.

I’ve finally started to feel a bit settled when it comes to getting my hair done, and taking care of my health and wellness in the city that I currently call home, so I thought I’d share with you all my Top Places for eco-beauty and wellness in the city of Oslo. This post also comes as an inspiration following my beautiful colleague who suggested it – and is new to Norway, thus facing a lot of the same trials I had when I first moved here.

And so, without further adieu, here’s my Oslo Personal Beauty Army list.

Green Beauty Shops in Oslo & Online in Norway

For online and offline shopping, my green beauty go-to’s are growing.

Right now, my favourites: is one of the best when it comes to stocking my favourite skincare from around the globe. For example, they’re the only one in Norway carrying my fave Plume Science’s Lash & Brow enhancing serum.

Heaven Scent Eger

Down in the beautiful department store Eger, you will find a beautifully curated Heaven Scent, which carries a tonne of green beauty finds that you will love and admire as much as I. Think RMS & Tata Harper, just down the block from you!

Gimle Parfymeri

In the fancy streets of Frogner, you’ll find the Gimle Parfymeri, which has an “organic” side, stocked with wonderful brands that have been carefully curated for your green shopping pleasure. Check them out here.

Best Hair Stylist in Oslo

For hair, I trust one man, his name: Andrés Klovstad (don’t forget the accent on the e – you’ve been warned, hah!). He’s a talent to say the least, and knows how to turn my long hair (lovingly referred to by my mother as “amish style”) into something with a banging body.

Find him at Gevir Salon in Oslo. Find Andrés at Thorvald Meyers gate 15, and book ahead. I don’t do colour, so if you’re seeking out natural colouring, please bring your own (and discuss with Andrés first)!

Natural Brows Shaping & Hair Removal in Oslo

I don’t let anyone but Khushi Chawla do my facial hair – she does it out of her home (and also does sugaring / threading and facials). She is my hair removal favourite in this city and threads “seamlessly.” I prefer threading on my brows as it doesn’t stress the delicate skin around the eyes (which can lead to unnecessary stretching of the skin). She also does natural sugaring to remove the hair, so you’re never using toxic artificial waxes on your skin.

Everything is super sanitary and she uses a new pot of sugar for the “sensitive areas.” You’ll need to call and make an appointment in advance, since she operates out of her home (Trelastgata 21). Email her at

Natural Facials in Oslo

My facialist is only in Oslo for 2 weeks / month, so you need to make an appointment in advance. Shirley of Sund Hud is amazing, and uses only the best natural products, as well as the bio-peeling machine. You can read more about that on my Instagram. She is between Copenhagen and Oslo each month, so you can also find her when you’re across the pond. She ends the treatment with lovely ISUN products.

Natural Healing & Wellness

I am a big fan of healing ailments naturally (big surprise?). Healing what’s going on, on the inside has everything to do with what is going on, on the outside. Acne, weight gain, psoriasis and the likes all start beyond the surface of the skin. Here are my favourite Oslo healers:


For acupuncture when I’m having a difficult moon cycle, or any other health issue that’s tough, my go-to is Katharina Nes at Akupunktur Huset.

Energy Work

Mesedeh Dakini is a healer. She works with cupping and energy healing. Find her via her Instagram. She works out of her home, and she fills up fast (especially around full or new moons). The photo above is a few days following a treatment with her. It doesn’t hurt, rather, it relieves pain.


For when something is out of alignment, Morten Berg at Oslo Osteopati is your go to – again he books up fast, so you will need to get your first appointment several weeks in advance.


Working with something more emotional? Like a breakup or other big life transition? Meet Anne Grethe from InnerLife Senter, who works in unorthodox ways to help you heal. She also runs workshops around mindfulness and stress reduction. Contact her directly here.

Energy, Shamanic Healing & Astrology Chart Reading

I recommend a dear bestie, Tonje Naess, who works with natural healing – specifically she works with energy and shamanic healing as well as reads astrological charts. She’s not in Oslo often but can offer many of her services online. Find her here.

Homeopath & Reflexology

For homeopathic doctors, who works with functional herbs and homeopathic remedies, I seek out the advice of Helene Moxheim from Balderkliniken. Find her here.

Colonics & Cleansing

Every 6 months, I head over to Tveitan Klinikken for a cleanse. This is great for ridding yourself of toxins and helping clear the skin. Try to get in with owner Marianne, who always has a good story to tell.

Float Tank

Yes, there are float tanks in Oslo, and you will find them at BareFlyt. It is pure relaxation for 1 hour, where you are silently immersed in a salt water pod that feels kind of like.. well, the womb. Chill out and drop the mind clutter. Check them out in Sagene, and online here.



Most of you know I’m a certified yoga teacher, so I’m partial (of course) to the studio I teach at: Leela Yoga. Come down and take a class with me in Grunnerlokka – find the schedule here.

Hope you enjoyed this follow up to my outdated, but popular post “Natural in Norway“, I bring you my Norwegian green beauty & wellness army. I suppose I should probably also write the same post for Vancouver, LA, NYC and Paris…

Oh, and if there is something I’m missing and need to check out – post below!!! Who is in your Person Beauty Army?



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