Controlling Your Weight—A
Light At The End of the Tunnel
On Video 1, we explored how—as individuals and as a nation—there is a dark cloud rumbling over us. When you examine the grim statistics, it is clear that we are in the midst of a silent epidemic when it comes to eating and weight issues—from overeating to body image concerns.
We also examined how traditional ‘one size fits all and calorie counting approaches have failed us miserably. And despite a 500+ billion weight loss industry throwing ‘solutions’ at us left and right, the number of people struggling unsuccessfully with their eating challenges spirals upwards. But I strongly believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel…
And the first step perhaps is to approach the problem from a different angle.
Instead of talking about nutrition as a linear problem (i.e. calories in vs. calories out) let us try a holistic approach.
Because food is not some inanimate, disconnected object. It’s not just a numbers game. It is a life game as well. If many of our life challenges are played out through food, it stands to reason that we need to treat our problems with food in a context. We need to embrace the idea that an individual’s personal and internal world is just as important as nutrition in solving their food challenges.
And in that spirit, we need to reject the notion that food is the ‘enemy’—a dragon to be slayed at all costs. Or the idea that we are ‘failures’ or ‘weak’ when faced with challenges related to eating. Instead, let’s embrace the notion that our relationship with food is our best friend and teacher—really our guardian angel with important messages for us — if we chose to listen.
These are big ideas. Exciting and dramatic conclusions.
But you may have been left wondering — how do they really apply to you?
So in today’s video, that’s exactly would we would like to share. I’d like to show you how these concepts work in real life — how they can transform lives.
Like they did mine.
And like they did Sarah’s.
And while we’re at it, I want to introduce to you two incredibly key concepts that are at the core of everything we do at the Institute—concepts I hope will help you grasp the strength of our Dynamic Eating Psychology approach.
But first, I would like to turn the stage over to Sarah, the Director of the Institute and someone who has not only personally battled her own food demons but–by applying many of our principles—has experienced a phenomenal transformation in her own personal life.
Truth be told, I’ve had a pretty tumultuous journey with eating. You see, for over 10 years, I struggled with a variety of eating disorders. You name the issue. I’ve had it. I’ve dealt with weight gains and losses of over 80 pounds up and down, intense food restriction, chronic dieting, overeating and binge eating—even anorexia and bulimia. I put my health in a perilous condition dozens of times and was literally at death’s door
I share this journey because I know so many out there have felt lonely and crazy and isolated. When we suffer with food challenges, there is often so much shame. So much feeling completely out of control.
And I want the people that I help to know that I get it. I want them to know that I’ve been in the trenches. And that there is something on the other side.
Here’s my story…
I guess it all started out innocently enough.
At 15, I decided to go on my first diet.
Crazy when you think about it. My body hadn’t even finished forming itself and I was already trying to reshape it. Mold it into something I thought would be better or ‘perfect’.
And frankly when I started down this path, my dieting had nothing to do with me taking care of myself or being ‘fit’. It was much more about fitting in.
After having been homeschooled my entire life, I found myself in a ‘real’ high school and was ill-equipped to deal with the social dynamics. I desperately wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to be worthy.
Worthy of my parents’ love. My teachers’ approval. And the girls at school whose companionship I so desperately craved.
And, like millions of other teenage girls, I was convinced that the only way I could be ‘worthy’ was if I looked a certain way.
But things fell apart so fast. By the time I graduated from high school, I had a full-blown eating disorder. I was anorexic. Every day I deprived myself of nourishment because my “fat” body wasn’t worthy of food.
To make matters worse, there was a boy. He was a poet. Sweet. Brooding. Brilliant.
I knew he had a bit of a crush on me, but I was absolutely terrified of that. I had never even kissed a guy. I had so much anxiety about him and his feelings toward me. Plus I hated my body. He was very, very slim. I was not. In any event, I was consumed with so much self-hatred and condemnation that I kept wondering, “How on earth could he like me?”
So I pushed him away. I kept thinking if only I could ‘fix’ myself I would be worthy of his love. So, I went off to college determined to do just that always secretly believing that we’d come back to each other one day. Him, the brilliant writer and poet and me, determined to be the most famous and committed artist in the entire world. Together, we would bring beauty to the world through our art.
But that was never to be. A few months into my freshman year, I received the news that my beloved friend had passed away.
He was gone forever. News of his death shattered me. I was utterly and completely devastated.
And that’s when things got really bad.
I found myself sitting in my room eating packet after packet of dry oatmeal and washing them down with water. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I would binge eat for hours. I would purge and purge and purge. And eat and eat and eat.
I spun completely out of control. My life became, frankly, a living hell. I was in a battle—no a war—with my body, my appetite and ultimately myself.
I was broken and powerless.
I was in such a dark place. But I vowed I’d find a way out.
I devoured everything I could find about nutrition. I went to workshops and therapies. The good news was that I was so inspired by everything I learned that I felt eager to share it. I began to coach and teach and got an amazing position in a children’s camp as a nutrition and culinary director.
I noticed something else quite remarkable. The more I engaged with others and shared the valuable information I knew, the less I was obsessed about food and my body.
Without a doubt though my biggest breakthroughs happened when I was introduced to the Institute and Dynamic Eating Psychology.
Through applying the tools and teachings I learned, I experienced a transformation that I frankly never imagined could be possible for me. Today, I finally feel empowered in my relationship with my food. I no longer struggle with digestive issues. I enjoy food like never before. My appetite has normalized and I have tons of energy.
Of all the things I learned, there was one concept that stands out from all the rest that really turned things around for me.
This concept (which I like to think of more as a magic formula) is…
Personal power = metabolic power.
This is so important.
What it means is this: when we empower ourselves—when we start to make shifts in our personal lives and inner world—we will see a corresponding change in our physical, metabolic world.
This is profound.
At the end of the day, while good nutrition and sound health practices contribute greatly to your metabolic health and potential, they are simply not enough. To access true metabolic power, you also need to be empowered personally. When we become the best we can be, it means our body can do the same.
Simply put, who we are as biological beings is inseparable from who we are as people.
Food issues are rarely ‘just’ about food or calorie counting. Food issues always run deeper. Our eating challenges take us inevitably on a journey to other areas of our lives where our real issues originate: work, relationships, money, sexuality, career, fulfillment or spirituality.
This is why it’s just as important to pay attention to emotional metabolism as it is to nutritional metabolism…Just as we can walk through life eating junk food and unknowingly harm our health, so too can we go through life constantly generating and taking in ‘junk food emotions’- constant worry, jealousy, judgment, fear, unwarranted anger, self-attack,disappointment…
And this is not just some ‘pie in the sky’ notion. It is rooted in biochemistry. The late great scientist Candace Pert wrote a fascinating book called Molecules of Emotion. She demonstrated that every thought and feeling has a chemical equivalent in the body. Which makes sense. We are biochemical beings. And all chemicals in the body are involved in the overall process of metabolism. Examples of molecules of emotion include serotonin, dopamine, estrogen and endorphins
When we hold back our emotions—mask them—whether it’s our anger, grief, fear love or desire, we essentially become emotionally constipated. The result? A sluggish emotional metabolism. A buildup of emotional content and stress in our system that needs an outlet.
And often we try to alleviate the stress and discomfort with something that makes us feel better.
So, for many people including myself, overeating, binge eating, and emotional eating—is actually a way for our emotions to ‘call out’ for attention. And when we give those feelings the attention they deserve, the result is often not just a better emotional metabolism but a happier relationship with food.
Real breakthroughs only happen when we work on both the nutritional and the personal dimensions of life. When the two dance together, they create far more potential for transformation that either could do on their own.
(SIMON) I have another story that I believe beautifully illustrates this concept of Personal Power=Metabolic Power.
It’s a story about a woman I worked with called Rebecca.
Rebecca was 45 when I met her.
She was married and in an extremely close, loving relationship with her husband and her two kids—aged 15 and 17.
Rebecca was super smart, too. A stay at home Mom, she boasted a Master’s degree in education that she was hoping to use one day.
Super nice to everyone, Rebecca was a people pleaser. Always trying to resolve conflict and bring people together.
While she was in an ‘okay’ relationship with her body, people were constantly saying things to her like, “Oh my gosh. You have such a pretty face if only you could lose some weight’.
And that’s the shifting sand upon which Rebecca had built her self-image over the years. If only was her mantra… In the back of her mind, she was always thinking, “Everyone thinks I’m so sweet and so smart but if only I could lose some weight…” Then I’d be better…I’d be loveable.
When I met Rebecca, she admitted she had been dieting basically her entire life. She ‘only’ wanted to lose 20 pounds—but those 20 pounds had basically been haunting her for over 30 years!
And in her effort to exercise the unwanted weight, Rebecca went to extremes. She would torture herself with Draconian diets and grueling exercise regime, sometimes up to 2-3 hours a day.
And while she would actually succeed in shedding those 20 pesky pounds, she never managed to keep them off. That’s because her extreme dieting and exercise were impossible to sustain over the long term. So eventually she would stop the diet, start the binging and the weight would inevitably pile back on. Like clockwork.
Rebecca was on some kind of evil, infinite see saw. Heavy to light. Light to heavy. And with each cycle, this lovely woman would lose just a little bit more of her sense of self.
When I first met Rebecca, she was incredibly frustrated, fed up –and worse- losing hope.
While she knew what she’d been doing for 30 years was CLEARLY not working, she didn’t know where to turn. She came to me looking for counsel…and relief.
Rebecca had what we call ‘body heat’.
What this means is that she had been attacking her weight (and her body) for a very long time through all the extreme dieting and exercising.
We know from our work here at the Institute that when you heat your body in the way she had, we create stress chemistry. Specifically, this means that we spike our insulin and cortisone levels. And increased levels of insulin and cortisone are almost always a signal to the body to store weight and fat rather than to get rid of it. In other words, ‘heating up your body’, sets up a metabolism that is precisely the opposite of what we want!
So Rebecca and I got to work on four distinct things.
The first thing we did was examine her relationship with her body. For Rebeccca, her body had never felt like home; instead she felt extreme shame about it.
After several sessions, I asked her point blank, “You live in a constant state of apology for how you look and how much you weigh, don’t you?” She laughed nervously. Paused. And then whispered, “Yes. I do”.
And as gently as I could, I said to her, “Do you realize that this is another way of saying you live in a state of conditional love?” She looked up at me—puzzled… I explained, “On the one hand, you’re saying, “Yes, I like myself. I feel good about who I am. As a mother. As a wife. As a member of the community. But on the other hand you’re saying “But my body is not okay. I don’t love it and I won’t love it until it’s ‘perfect’.”
In effect, Rebecca had a huge toxic belief about herself that was holding her back.
Second, in terms of her day-to-day routine, we knew we needed to do something COMPLETELY different. For starters, she and I both agreed that it wasn’t worth trying to do what she had already done. We weren’t going to embark on any extreme diet or exercise regimes — she’d been doing that kind of nonsense for 30 years and it just hadn’t worked!
So I put Rebecca on a 4 month ‘no-diet’ diet. That meant NO dieting of any kind for 120 days. No scale. No weighing. No mental goal of losing weight. NOTHING.
In fact, the 4 month no-diet diet was kind of a Trojan horse. I was asking her to let go of all the diet nonsense. But what I was REALLY doing was inviting Rebecca to be herself. I was inviting her to step into her personal power. I was inviting her to STOP trying to change her physical form in the hopes that would ‘fix’ everything and everyone would start loving her. And to start being true to herself.
Third, I asked her to stop the people pleasing.
I asked her point blank “Are you a people pleaser?” She laughed and said “Probably not. But after all of these years of playing this role, I don’t even know who the real me is anymore!”
I said to her, “You’ve been a people pleaser because that’s what happens to fat kids. They want to be accepted. They want to be loved. They get teased and put down because of their body weight so a lot of fat people end up becoming ‘people pleasers’ to compensate. “
I added, “For the next 4 months while you are on a no diet, diet I want you to ask yourself, who’s the real me? How would the ‘real you’ respond? What would the ‘real you’ (not the ‘people pleaser you’) say?”
I saw her visibly relax. When I mentioned I noticed her looking more peaceful, she responded eagerly, “Yes, it feels good. I love the idea of 4 months of no dieting. For 30 years all my energy has gone to constant dieting or constant exercising. Or constantly thinking I should be dieting or exercising and hating myself for how much I weigh. It’s such a relief just to STOP!”
And last but not least, I asked Rebecca to do was to SLOW DOWN her eating. She was a very fast eater. Fast eating is a problem because the brain fails to register taste, pleasure, aroma—all the sensual cues of a satisfying meal. When the brain ‘misses’ the eating experience, it de-regulates your appetite… Eating fast is also a stress response; it signals to the body there is a problem and shuts down the digestive system, causing stomach upset.
So I told her to slow down and eat regular meals. I told her to relax as she ate, enjoy her food and embrace the sensuousness of the experience. To relax her system and take deep breaths so that she could optimally assimilate and digest the food.
In effect, I was asking her to STOP fighting her food and to instead welcome it as the sustainable, vibrant, life-giving nourishment that it is. I was asking her to STOP seeing food as the enemy (something to ‘skip’ or to ‘hurry through’) but to enjoy and celebrate it —as a friend.
So with four (deceptively) simple steps—reviewing toxic beliefs, going on a non-diet diet, avoiding the ‘people pleasing’ tendencies and slowing down her eating—Rebecca emerged a renewed woman.
After only a couple of months, the binging stopped… So did the extreme dieting and grueling exercise regimes.
The little people pleasing, fearful 13 year old girl who was convinced that she would only get approval if her body was perfect had been replaced by an empowered, beautiful and relaxed woman.
And not surprisingly — her personal empowerment was accompanied by a physical, metabolic change.
Within 4 months she had lost almost 10 pounds even though she was eating more food, more meals and taking in more calories than ever before.
She felt great.
She looked great. Radiant, really.
She had finally ‘let go’ of the relentless fight. She was finally free.
Rebecca had reset her metabolic thermostat by grabbing her own individual power—a living breathing testament to our magic formula “Personal Power = Metabolic Power”
But it gets better!
Rebecca was so inspired by her own personal transformation, that she became inspired to help others experience the same. She approached me about how to become a Certified Coach through our world-famous Eating Psychology Certification Program which fully trains people from all walks of life to embark on an incredibly fulfilling, lucrative career helping others with an array of food challenges.
Rebecca’s story—from plump and people-pleasing to being an empowered Eating Psychology Coach helping others—brings me to the second concept I want to share with you in this video today. which is a cornerstone of our work at the Institute.
Personal Transformation = Professional Excellence.
This win/win formula simply means that the more headway you make into your own evolution and growth—the more you improve your own relationship with food—the better equipped you will be to help others experience positive transformation.
I know for me this was HUGE.
I was so moved by my own healing around food and body that I was compelled to share what I had learned with others. It has led me here to become the Director of this Institute and the work I’m currently doing…
When I think that I can actually help others let go of a long held eating challenge or an unwanted eating habit, it’s like a miracle. To be lucky enough to facilitate people’s journey into freedom and self-empowerment—to help them let go of their eating challenges and struggles so they can finally realize their full potential– is a gift that just keeps on giving.
I promise you I know what it is like to suffer around food, body and health. I know how crippling and damaging and lonely can be. I know what it’s like to be lost, out of control and in the deepest depths of despair.
Applying the principles of the Dynamic Eating Psychology was like a life raft, helping me to turn around my life in miraculous ways. And the best part, is I have been able to use my own personal journey—my own transformation—to become a much better coach, to serve others so they too can experience miracles in their lives. This is hugely beautiful.
And I don’t just think—I KNOW—that we can help people break free from their struggles so they can move on to do bigger and better things with their lives. So they can share their lives and their gift and their love—just as they were always destined to do.
If I could I’d like to close this video with a quote and a question.
The quote comes from my favorite song in the world by Bob Dylan, “The Answer My Friend is Blowing in the Wind”
The refrain reads…
The answer, my friend,
is blowin’ in the wind;
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
To me this states a simple metaphorical truth. The answers are all around us and easy to perceive if we simply try. Sometimes they aren’t always easy to grasp (just like things cast upon the wind) but certainly never impossible.
The food challenges that millions of us face are huge. But the answers are there—for you and perhaps all the people out there whom you are destined to touch.
So are you wondering…?
How can I do this—how can I become part of this exciting new movement? Stay tuned because we will be showing you how in Video 3. See you there!