The Psychology of Eating – Ep #015 Interview with Marc David

Marc David, M.A. is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. He the author of the classic, groundbreaking and bestselling books Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. For over 3 decades, Marc has been delivering his non dogmatic, positive and inspiring messages about food and metabolism. He shows us how to heal and transform our food, weight and body image challenges by addressing the emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives. Marc’s wisdom speaks to that deeper hunger in all of us. Get ready for an empowering conversation that reminds us that true health is a journey of self evolution.

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Podcast Transcript

0 (1s):
Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you’re so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie.

Christine Okezie (23s):
Hello, and welcome to soul science nutrition. I’m Christine Okezie. Thanks so much for being here today on today’s show. I am so excited and blessed to have one of my most influential teachers in my own personal journey of healing around food. I have Marc David here. He is the founder and primary teacher at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I completed my certification at the Institute to become an eating psychology coach back in 2013 and the knowledge and the skills I acquired from Marc became the foundation for my mind, body nutrition, coaching practice.

Christine Okezie (59s):
So you can’t believe how excited and over the moon I am to have him as our special guest today. So in case you don’t already know, Mark David is a visionary teacher and consultant in nutritional psychology. He’s the author of the classic groundbreaking bestselling books, the slow down diet and nourishing wisdom. And for over three decades, Mark has really been an innovator in eating psychology and nutrition. You’ll see how his non dogmatic positive and inspiring messages about food and our metabolism have made him a nationally recognized teacher and a well loved presenter.

Christine Okezie (1m 39s):
His talks, articles and interviews have been featured on countless media outlets. Marc shows us how to explore our food, weight, and body image challenges by addressing the emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives so we can give ourselves the true nourishment we need to heal. Marc invites us to cultivate an exploratory relationship with food. This is powerful medicine for transforming our habits. He reveals in fact how our relationship with food reflects our relationship to life itself.

Christine Okezie (2m 16s):
Mark’s wisdom speaks to that deep hunger in all of us. Now, before we get started, I want to let you know about a special giveaway that we’re going to be having related to this episode. It’s a contest it’s called the Mind Body Nutrition with Marc David Podcast Review contest. And so by doing three things, you can win personalized, signed copies of Mark’s two bestselling books, the Slow Down diet and Nourishing Wisdom.

Christine Okezie (2m 46s):
The link to enter the contest is on my website, as well as in the show notes on my website for this episode. And there are three ways to earn points, to be selected, win these amazing prizes. Number one, leave a podcast rating and review on Apple podcast. Number two, follow me on Instagram @energeticnourishment and three, like my Facebook page at energeticnourishment.

Christine Okezie (3m 17s):
The contest starts today and a winner will be drawn randomly seven days from now. And so once again, the prizes are a personalized autographed copy of Marc’s the Slow Down diet and Nourishing Wisdom. You won’t want to miss out. These are absolutely gifts of gold that will empower you so much in your journey. So get ready for an empowering conversation that reminds us that true health is a journey of self evolution. Hello, Marc David, and welcome to the podcast.

Christine Okezie (3m 49s):
It’s such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for being here.

Marc David (3m 52s):
Thanks Christine. Thank you for the invite.

Christine Okezie (3m 56s):
Oh, it’s really my pleasure. So you’ve played such a significant role in my journey and I’m excited to share the principles of eating psychology, which really, you know, dives into relationship with food, you know, and the understanding that it goes so much more beyond the eat this and eat that. And I think people are really looking for freedom, you know, in that relationship with food. And I think you offer a beautiful path and a set of tools with that. So, but before we dive in, I just want to understand if you could kindly share, you know, your journey, you know, can you describe the journey you’ve been on to create the Institute for the psychology of eating?

Marc David (4m 33s):
Woo. What a great question. What a big question, you know, I think like so many people who get into health and, or personal growth as a profession, it’s, it’s often driven by our own journey. Our own needs our own challenges. And for me, I came into this world, sickly asthmatic immune challenge had all kinds of health issues, and this was during the, I was born in the late fifties.

Marc David (5m 5s):
So this was at a time when it was all, you know, infant formula and TV dinners and everything artificial. And, you know, at some point I was so desperate for health. As a young child, I asked my mother to change my diet. I was about five years old and I had heard a rumor that fruits and vegetables were good for you. So I asked her to get apples and peas and carrots in a can because somehow that was my concept of fruits and vegetables, coincidence or not.

Marc David (5m 41s):
My health started to change. And I became a bit of a food fanatic in a positive way, from a very young age, I started experimenting and that led to a love of nutrition, which led to studying nutrition in college and school. And eventually, you know, that led to coaching and counseling. Other people, you know, back in the back in the early eighties, I was in my twenties and nutrition was there.

Marc David (6m 13s):
Weren’t many nutrition books out there. You can, you can read all the sort of holistic nutrition books in a couple of weeks. There just wasn’t a lot. And at some point working with clients, I noticed that, you know, I tell people, okay, here’s your problem. Got it. You want to lose weight or you want to do this, or you want to get healthier, you know, eat this and don’t eat that. And people would come to me a few weeks later and say, I know what you told me to do. I know what I’m supposed to do.

Marc David (6m 43s):
I just can’t do it. And I remember thinking to myself, huh? If I don’t begin to understand the psychology of eating, then I actually can’t help people. All the nutrition knowledge in the world does not serve me. So I say to myself, well, let me go read a book on eating psychology and there wasn’t any, let me go and take a course. There wasn’t any, let me even go back to school and learn it somewhere. There wasn’t any.

Marc David (7m 13s):
So at that moment, I decided to write the book that I wanted to read. But in order to write that book, I had to do a lot of studying and a lot of living and a lot of trial and a lot of error. And so eventually went back to school, got my psychology degree, started testing out different things on people. And eventually after many thousands of client hours, I started to gain some proficiency. And that’s, that’s when I started the Institute when I was ready to teach other people, things that I thought, huh, this should be, this should be out there because when it comes to eating psychology, it used to be either eating disorders or bore or nothing.

Marc David (7m 60s):
You have anorexia and bulimia and yeah, you can go get help, but that’s, that’s 2% of the population or less. What about the other 99% of us who have a relationship with food who want to lose some weight? Who overeat, who Bingy to emotionally eat or stuck in a food prison? That’s a hugely underserved group of people. So that’s what inspired me to just do something different and help people.

Christine Okezie (8m 26s):
That’s amazing. Yeah, no, I it’s. It’s you filled a very, very, you know, big gap in the whole conversation around food and health and weight. And in the book, one of your two books, the, the Slowdown Diet, was really quite revolutionary because what it said is yes, food, what you eat is important. And all of the nutritional components are actually really, really important, but we need to look at your role as the eater. We need to look at the relationship that we’re bringing to the table, as you’d like to say.

Christine Okezie (8m 58s):
And you started to look at these things called pleasure and awareness and relaxation, which again, flies in the face of the conventional, you know, diet mentality, which is restriction and deprivation. And it, and I am so with you on that, because that in of itself, being able to have that be the conversation. And when it comes to someone who’s struggling with food is a game changer because the person, all of a sudden gets to go, wait, you mean I don’t have to live in fear and shame and hate myself to, into health.

Christine Okezie (9m 29s):
And right there, you’re on a path you’re on a completely different trajectory. So what are some of those key, you know, eating psychology principles, let’s talk about relaxation.

Marc David (9m 40s):
Relaxation. On the one hand, it might sound so simplistic, but there is a very powerful physiologic component to relaxation as it relates to eating, as it relates to nutrition, as it relates to metabolism. And really it’s sort of the simple science that we’ve known since the 1930s, which is that when a human being or any organism for that matter is in a stress response is in a fight or flight response.

Marc David (10m 16s):
So that’s, the stress is, is really a brilliant adaptive mechanism to help protect me and you, when that big gorillas chasing us, you know, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up. All your energy is rerouted into arms and legs for fighting and fleeing blood rushes to your head for quick thinking. And when you were running or fighting for your life, your digestive system completely shuts down because you know, you, you want all your metabolic energy going into survival.

Marc David (10m 47s):
So in the stress state, which is also called sympathetic nervous system, dominance digestion is literally shut off in a full blown stress response. Our appetite is deregulate. Simply put, you don’t need to be thinking about chocolate or your next meal when you’re being chased by the gorilla Yes. Now what happens is a lot of us human beings because of life where walking around in some stress and some anxiety and some fear and some discord just because of life and the brain does not distinguish between a real or an imagined threat.

Marc David (11m 29s):
So when you and I are simply experiencing, Oh my God, this is a rough day. I don’t like myself. I don’t like this person. I’m too fat. I’m too. This I’m too. That whenever the brain registers stress, all of a sudden, even if it’s not a full blown stress response, stress is a graded response. Meaning even mild to moderate stress will signal the, to diminish digestion and as well, deregulate appetite, which can mean you lose your appetite, or you become extremely hungry during stress.

Marc David (12m 4s):
One of the two and in a prolonged stress response. Meaning if you feel stressed all week long because of a work project and a prolonged stress response, you’re going to produce more cortisol and insulin. Those hormones signal the body to store weight store fat, not build muscle, which is the opposite of what so many people want. So what’s happening in the opposite when you and I are in a relaxation response, parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

Marc David (12m 36s):
That’s when the body knows, Oh, I am ready to eat. I am relaxed. I’m not running from a gorilla. My life is safe. So all my metabolic energy can go into digestion, assimilation, believe it or not calorie burning to the calorie burn best on a day in day out level in a relaxation response. Yes. People think if I’m all wired and stressed, I’m burning more calories in the hour that you’re exercising.

Marc David (13m 8s):
Sure. You burn a lot of calories, but you’re only exercising an hour a day, 23 hours a day is when you’re burning the majority of your calories. So the point is the body is literally designed. It’s designed to do its best digestion, assimilation, appetite, regulation, and calorie burning in a relaxation response. So that should be headline news, the front page of every newspaper and every health magazine and every nutrition book, because what happens is everybody’s taught well, if you want to have good nutrition and good health, what should you do eat the right foods, donate the wrong foods, which is true, but it’s only half the story of good nutrition, because if you and I are not in the optimum state of metabolism, then you could eat the healthiest food on the planet, but you’re not going to get the full value from that meal.

Marc David (14m 4s):
We will literally excrete nutrition, excrete, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, et cetera, in a stress response.

Christine Okezie (14m 11s):
That’s awesome. Yeah. I mean, we have to get the body in the proper setting, which I love, because what that does, that means that you actually have the power, you have more power to create the kind of metabolism and the kind of functioning that for are too long. Everybody’s been told you is out of your control, right? But you are actually get to step into the full capacity of, of, as you said, this beautiful design that we have, we just need to, you know, it’s like getting a toy at Christmas. We need to know the, the right settings. Otherwise we don’t get to get all the fun parts working in our favor.

Christine Okezie (14m 43s):
So I love that. And one of the things that you talk about is, and there’s so many studies now to back this up, which is without changing anything, the nutritional components of our meal, right? If we change how we eat the meal, in other words, how we get our body in that parasympathetic nervous system setting, the metabolism of that meal is completely changed. That’s again, should be headline news

Marc David (15m 11s):
It is remarkable. And like you say, it puts the power back in our hands. We tend to give food all the power we think, Oh, this food is what’s going to make me healthy or make me ill. And, and again, yes, there’s a certain truth to that. But it’s our inner world that is driving our metabolism constantly, even, even a stressful thought, a self attacking thought.

Marc David (15m 44s):
Now think about that. A self attacking thought, I’m no good. I’m too fat. I’m not lovable. Nobody’s going to like me. If I look like this. So that attack is literally perceived by your brain as an attack. And we will literally go into some degree of stress response, which creates a physiologic change. It creates a cascade of fascinating stress chemistry, again, which for most people ultimately signals the body to store weight store fat, not build muscle.

Marc David (16m 17s):
Don’t digest your food again, which is the opposite of healthy.

Christine Okezie (16m 22s):
There’s a lot of emotional eating going on right now in particular, given the pandemic, the quarantine, the rapidly changing world that we’re living in. And there’s a lot of panic and there’s a lot of stress around this. How can we advise, how can we inspire people with some, with this knowing of what you do with your internal world is really where your focus should be.

Marc David (16m 47s):
Lovely question. Let me start by saying, I love emotional eating. Most people when they hear the term emotional eating, they want to run, or if we have ever found ourselves emotionally eating, or if we label ourselves as an emotional eater, we generally look at it as, as this terrible thing. And the reason why I say I love emotional eating is because humans are emotional. We’re emotional creatures.

Marc David (17m 18s):
Everything we do just about has emotion attached to it. If you go back to your primal experience on earth, you pop out a mama’s womb. And here’s a moment where you’re crying and you’re screaming and you’re complaining. And all of a sudden you get mama and you get the bottle or you get the breast. And within less than five seconds, we go from crying, screaming, little infant to relax, to happy to content, to safe.

Marc David (17m 51s):
Because in that moment, you’re being held. Touch love, sung too. You feel safety. You feel food. It’s all one experience to an infant. So we remember in our DNA, we remember in ourselves, we remember from our earliest memories and from every ancestor before us feel bad, eat food feel better. So everybody has that wiring to be a serving human being crawling through the desert and come to an Oasis of food.

Marc David (18m 22s):
Feel bad, eat food. Feel better, have a bad day at work or school, feel bad, eat food, feel better. So when you eat, you go to your favorite restaurant and makes you feel good. You, you go to somebody’s house, you love to eat with them. It makes you feel good. Okay. Yeah. And there’s other times when we sit down and we eat and we’re stressed and we’re nervous and we’re using food to relax ourselves. My whole point is that let’s get on board with the fact that we’re emotional creatures.

Marc David (18m 56s):
Yeah. And you know, what would be the opposite of emotional eating and emotional eating? That doesn’t sound interesting. No. So part of it is first being on board with this is how we’re wired. We are wired to love food. We are wired, physiologically, neurologically to relax. When we experience food, that’s even neutral to us.

Marc David (19m 26s):
If the food pleases you, it relaxes you even more. So that’s how we’re wired. What a good thing. Now that gets out of hand sometimes. So sometimes we can use food as a way to relax ourselves and it starts to become problematic. Oh my God, I’m eating too much food. So great. There is a beautiful opportunity to grow to me.

Marc David (19m 56s):
That’s why we’re here. We’re not here to, we weren’t born on this earth to lose weight. We weren’t born on this earth to become a perfect eater. Were born here to learn and grow and expand and become our truest self. And one of the ways that we do that is we learn through our challenges. And one of the places, many of us are challenged is our relationship with food. So here I am, I’m turning to food to suit my emotions.

Marc David (20m 27s):
Oh my goodness. I don’t like this. It’s not serving me. I feel guilty afterwards. I feel full, but my body doesn’t feel right. Every part of me knows I don’t want to be doing that, but I still do that. Anyway. Now we have our classroom. We know this is the place I’m going to be learning and learning is not always. So our relationship with food in this instance is asking us to grow. It’s asking us to better learn how to regulate my emotions, such that I don’t always have to reach for food.

Marc David (21m 6s):
What else regulates my emotions? Is it walking my dog? Is it talking to my best friend, talking to my partner, going out in nature, playing some music? What is it that helps relax me? So these things aren’t necessarily easy to quickly do, but that’s our practice. Our practice becomes how do I become a better person and learn how to regulate my emotions better and better. So it works for me.

Christine Okezie (21m 35s):
I love that. Thank you. So self-acceptance right. It really kind of dissolves the, the, the, the demonizing of our habits, even if it’s an unwanted habit, right? So we, we stop blaming and shaming ourselves and we recognize, so our emotional eating becomes an opportunity for self observation and self reflection, right? Stepping into that observer role, as opposed to the drill Sergeant or the judge when it comes to how we do food, right? And that, like you said, is this beautiful invitation to work with it, right?

Christine Okezie (22m 8s):
And to transform it, as you said, looking at, looking for the gold, looking for the lesson, looking for the opportunity to evolve. And I love this because this is really core to the wisdom that you’ve shared in, in your, in your teachings is that there’s gold in every challenge. And what better opportunity, you know, to talk about that, you know, in this time where most of us, as you said, are, are struggling with food one way or the other. But it’s really curious that we need to, to embrace, I guess, is what you’re saying.

Christine Okezie (22m 43s):
Really embrace the difficulty and the challenge, which is so hard to do. It goes really against our nature. Isn’t it?

Marc David (22m 50s):
Yes, it is hard to do because we somehow make food the problem we make my appetite, the problem, my hunger is the problem. My I’m somehow I’m broken because I can’t stop myself. And that’s a problem. No, it’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity to grow and expand. You know, another way to languages is to say that our relationship with food is simply a great teacher.

Marc David (23m 25s):
And it’s our job to listen to the lessons that it’s asking us to learn. And sometimes life’s lessons are not easy for us. Sometimes there’s lessons that just come natural to me. And you sometimes, you know, you, you pick up that tennis racket and, Oh my God, I’m good at this. That’s fun. Or you jump in the, and you go, wow, I love swimming. I can do this. And there’s other things we struggle and food is at this time for much, for so much of humanity food and our relationship with it is a struggle.

Marc David (24m 2s):
And all I’m saying is great. It’s a struggle. Let’s, let’s lean into that struggle a little bit and let’s see, what can I learn? How could this make me a better person? How can I use the very challenge, emotional eating at a time when I’m staying home or I’m not working, or I have a lot of stress, how can I use this time to really look at, okay, how else can I really take care of myself?

Marc David (24m 32s):
Yeah. And it’s, it’s an act of really self evolution where we’re, we’re calling ourselves to grow. We’re making efforts, we’re practicing and we’re not going to be perfect every day. And I think that’s what gets in the way for a lot of people. We think we need to be perfect either. I need to hear exactly what I say. I want to eat and I need to eat exactly what I think I should eat. And I shouldn’t overeat.

Marc David (25m 2s):
I shouldn’t emotionally eat. And here’s the thing. Humans, overeat, humans, emotionally eat humans binge eat. And probably one of the greatest things we can do when we do those things is to forgive oneself first and foremost. Yes. If your, if your child was overeating, would you smack them and punish them and constantly berate them and tell them how bad they are?

Marc David (25m 32s):
If they were crying? No, you give them a big hug and say, it’s okay. And we as adults, we need that same sense of self care and self nurturance to not beat oneself up. When you do something that doesn’t fall under the headline of perfection.

Christine Okezie (25m 54s):
Yeah. Okay. So another gift in this is self-compassion right. So the self compassion and, and we are, we are our, you know, our own worst enemy sometimes when it comes to food and weight and body image, it’s part of the conditioning, almost in the culture that how do you help people? Cause I, I notice this a bit and it’s a good place to work where there’s this belief that if I’m nice to myself yet alone accepting myself, that I might just be fat and lazy and broken forever.

Christine Okezie (26m 27s):
Right? It’s, it’s really, it’s a lot of resistance around being kind and gentle around our food and weight.

Marc David (26m 35s):
Yes. And that’s people have a fear that if they’re kind to themselves around food, that all heck is going to loose and I’m going to just get so fat that it’s it’s, my life is ruined. And that’s the voice of fear. That’s the voice of the part of us that absolutely doesn’t trust our own body. That doesn’t trust our own incarnation.

Marc David (27m 7s):
That doesn’t trust the wisdom of this existence. You and I were designed to be eaters. The body is brilliant in what it does the mind and the emotions are brilliant and how it all works together. And you know, why would we want to eat really good food? Why would we want to have the ideal weight or the ideal shape and the ideal hell? Well, the chances are, we want that because we imagine that’s going to make me feel happy if I do all those things, right.

Marc David (27m 42s):
I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be the real me. I’m going to have energy. I’m going to be confident. I’m going to just step out there and say, Tut our world here I am. Well, that’s true. And I believe that’s what people want from eating healthy and, and, and having their ideal body. Then how could we think that if I punish myself along the way, I hate myself, I shouldn’t have eaten that. I’m a bad person. I’m too fat. I’m this I’m that? How could a journey filled with self hate and self attack possibly end up in a destination of self love?

Marc David (28m 17s):
It’s impossible.

Christine Okezie (28m 19s):
Interesting. It’s impossible. Physiologically. As you point out it, it puts the body again under attack, right? So we’re in the wrong setting. Once again, as he tried to do all the right things, we’re in the wrong setting, but it’s impossible also, as you said, because it’s nonsensical, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t motivate our children that way. At least I hope we don’t or teachers don’t motivate their students that way. At least we hope we don’t, right? Yes. Yeah. But we have this habit of doing that around food and our inner chatter, I guess.

Marc David (28m 51s):
Right. And that’s what needs to change because that, that habit, you didn’t invent that your friend didn’t invent that it’s been around and it really lives in the world. It’s truly, to me, that’s a real virus, meaning it’s a, it’s a viral belief. We catch it and we don’t realize we catch it. We catch it at a young age because our TVs and our movies and our magazines, and these days, our websites and our internets and our YouTube, everything is constantly filled with reminders of beautiful images of people that we are not, I am not that Photoshop person.

Marc David (29m 38s):
So we’re constantly seeing those images. We’re constantly those, those images of people, those people being glorified and worshipped, Oh, if I want to be loved, I need to be that. Yes. And then we are given solutions. Well, because I’m not that person. I don’t look like that. The only possible way I can move in that direction is through diet and exercise. So if I diet like crazy and exercise like crazy, I can, I can then be lovable.

Marc David (30m 9s):
And the way we’re taught to diet and exercise is in a very disembodied self hating way, because you’re trying to heat away your fat. You’re trying to hate away your body. This is no good. I’m not going to hate this away by restricting calories, restricting food, restricting pleasure, re trying to control my appetite. And we’re going against biology. We’re going against our own soul thinking that we can hate ourselves into a place where we live in ourselves.

Christine Okezie (30m 42s):
Thank you. I love that. So deprivation ,shame, self-loathing goes against our biology and goes against the voice of our soul. That’s so powerful. Now you mentioned that we approach our struggles with food and weight in a very disembodied way in a self-loathing way. So you talk a lot about in your work disembodiment and how that’s a real obstacle to getting where we want to go.

Christine Okezie (31m 15s):
You know, for example, I work with many clients who really don’t want, have anything to do per se, with their bodies, being in their bodies, feeling their bodies, having a relationship with their body, looking at their body yet alone, contemplating the potential or possibility of befriending. Their bodies is really, you know, a very challenging mindset to have and to embrace, but it really becomes that problem when we’re living disconnected and disembodied. So you teach a lot about that and I’d love for you to kind of explain more why we actually need to shift that to perspective.

Marc David (31m 52s):
Yes. And, and you know what I mean, when I say that and what I think you’re meaning is what often happens for us just being alive on planet earth. The body is oftentimes a place of a lot of pain. Our bodies literally experienced physiologic pain. I felt I hurt myself. That’s there. So there’s pain. Sometimes there’s a lot of pain. Sometimes the pain is I was harmed. I was abused.

Marc David (32m 23s):
Sometimes the pain is somebody said something very critical about me, a very unkind about me. And we take those unkind criticisms and we make them our own. And all of a sudden we repeat them to ourselves. So if you’re told you’re no good, you’re not attractive, not going to be loved. You’re too fat. We take those. And we turn them into our own mantras that we repeat to ourselves. Yes. And what happens is it then becomes painful to be in my body because this is not a good place to be.

Marc David (32m 56s):
It’s the wrong body. This is not my body. So what do we do? We, we strangely step out of it. We exit it. We’re not really in it. I’m not moving it. I’m not loving it. I’m not nourishing it. I’m not sick to it. I’m not walking it. I’m not taking it out in nature. I’m not pairing for it. I’m criticizing and I’m judging it. And I’m trying to beat it into submission. And we bargain with the universe. We say, but if I have the body that I want, then I’ll get inside.

Marc David (33m 28s):
Then I’m going to step in and say, here I am world. I’m now the real me. So people think when I look a certain way, then I will inhabit my body. Not true. I find for most people who’ve lost weight. If one has not sought to embody, and it doesn’t matter how much you weigh. It’s it’s, you know, in classic anorexic humans, they’re not in their body. They’re very disembodied.

Marc David (33m 58s):
They’re floating above everything else. They’ve kind of left their body. We all have ways that we escape the body and it’s not bad. You know, sleep, you escape the body. Sure. You let it go hard day at work. You come home. Maybe you sit down and watch a movie. You’re just kinda leaving the body. That’s okay. Yes. But we need times where we enter it and it doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter what you weigh. If you want to shift your body, if you want to shape shifting, if you want to change it, then definitionally, you gotta be in it.

Marc David (34m 36s):
If you want the car to go somewhere, you gotta be in the car.

Christine Okezie (34m 40s):

Marc David (34m 41s):
Your body. Then you have to enter it. You have to learn what, what, well, how does this thing like to move? What does this like to eat? What feels good? Let me begin to taste to notice my sensations. Oh, that food out. That doesn’t feel so good. That’s embodiment. We’re listening to the body.

Christine Okezie (34m 57s):
Oh my gosh. That’s huge. Yes. Thank you. So bringing this new paradigm of, of how to see our bodies, how to work with our bodies in a friendly, in a, in a healing way, I find you we’re one step away from the, you know, exploring the realm of spirit, exploring the realm of the soul. Because a lot of this where we’re working, it’s so paradoxical. We’re working with the physical body when it comes to diet and exercise, right. But all the places where we can actually affect change.

Christine Okezie (35m 29s):
And as you said, you know, create lasting evolution is on the inside, on the nonphysical on the more subtle aspects of our being, you will, right? So you talk about the metabolic power of the sacred. Help me through that a little bit. There’s some really, there’s a lot of gold in that, in that transformational component.

Marc David (35m 49s):
Well, there’s so much to say there. I have noticed that everything about who we are impacts the body, your relationships impact your body. If you are with a friend that you love and you’re, and you feel safe with, and you feel a sense of trust, you relax. And in the state of relaxation, that is where all healing, maintenance and repair of body tissue happens. So if you and I literally just want to heal my physical body, I need to be in a state of relaxation in order to do healing, maintenance, and repair of any body tissue.

Marc David (36m 27s):
So that which relaxes us, promotes healing. That which yes, relaxes us. Remember also promotes digestion, assimilation, natural calorie, burning ability, promotes health on every level. So what else relaxes us? Yeah. Music relaxes me having a sense of trust in life. Yes. Talk about the ultimate relax or in any moment, because you can have some really people have difficult challenges.

Marc David (37m 3s):
We all go through very emotional times in life. And those times often call for faith and trust. Faith and crushed are other ways of saying a really deep relaxation response blacks in the face of, Oh my God, how am I going to get through this? Oh my God, how am I going to get through this pain? Or this challenge? Sometimes we have to simply have faith in something greater than ourselves. And that faith literally creates the deepest relaxation response in the body.

Marc David (37m 38s):
Faith is I would consider it more of a spiritual or a soulful or a religious quality or a sacred quality. However you want to name it. If I am walking around believing, you know, you’re born eat a bunch of foods, you gather a bunch of toys and then you die. Now. Then Ellis matters. You know, life is meaningless. We’re just a bunch of random molecules slammed together. That’s a very pessimistic outlook and that will color one’s life.

Marc David (38m 11s):
That will not alive in us. That’s not going to make you happy. That’s not necessarily going to engender a lot of pleasure in one’s life. It’s going to Rob us of a certain place that we go to when we feel meaning. Because when you and I are feeling meaning and purpose, we feel, we feel lighter. We feel relaxed and meaning and purpose in my life. Like, why am I here?

Marc David (38m 42s):
Why the heck am I bored? What’s my life about if I don’t have a meaning and a purpose, guess what? It doesn’t matter what I eat. You have a guy anyway, why should I take care of myself? First time I realized this distinction, Oh my goodness. I was in my early thirties, I was counseling. You know, I had a bunch of older men clients, and I started to notice an interesting similarity with my male clients in their fifties and sixties. I noticed a lot of them were coming to see me because their wives told them to come and see me and their wives had told them, you need to take better care of yourself.

Marc David (39m 20s):
You need to lose weight. You eat like crap. You need to go get help. So here they are. They’re in my office and I’ll ask, why are you here? My wife told me to be here. Hmm. Interesting. You know, I need you to help me is what they’ll say. I need you to help motivate me to eat better and to take care of myself, I’ll ask, well, you want to meet a motor? Like, so what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to stand on? Stand by your side? Every time you didn’t come on, you could eat that food.

Marc David (39m 50s):
So what I started noticing was that this particular group of men that I was seeing, they’d already raised kids. They already did the family thing and they already did their career thing. And they didn’t have a purpose in life anymore. They didn’t have something good to live for. And because they didn’t have a dream, they didn’t have a vision. They didn’t have a purpose.

Marc David (40m 21s):
I started to see whatever I want. Why should you eat good at that point? Because there’s no reason to. So we have to have a reason, a purpose to eat healthy. That’s more than just, I look good. Yeah. You know, looking good is great. That’s fine. But when we move into the sacred to the spiritual, that is about meaning and purpose. And from that place being healthy, serves the purpose of you being alive.

Marc David (40m 53s):
So you can nourish your loved ones so you can care for your children. So you can do your good work in the world. That’s why we should be healthy. There’s a lot of people out there that exercise and eat well, and they’re doing everything great and there, and that’s all they do.

Christine Okezie (41m 11s):
You know, it’s, it’s your com. I call it the come from, you know, it’s like, if there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a good body and look good and feel good, there’s nothing inherently wrong. It’s not a hundred percent, you know, egoic in that, in that negative sense. But it’s your why. And it’s, and what’s the energy you’re bringing to your goal sending around that, right. As you said, is it just so that you can, you’re, you’re more concerned about you’ll be judged the right way. You know, I’ve met the Mark and it’s this kind of superficial cosmetic, why, when it comes to setting, you know, health and weight goals.

Christine Okezie (41m 46s):
Right. And, and what you’re asking is we need to dive deeper, not just for esoteric, philosophical reasons, but the truth of the matter is we’re looking, we’re all looking for inspiration and motivation, right? We need to get to the root of what truly inspires us. And that root I find is purpose and connection to this life. That’s right here. Right. And as you said, we’re not here to, you know, on my gravestone. Wow. She really controlled her calories, you know, or she stayed a size six, you know, for 80 years.

Christine Okezie (42m 16s):
Great. You know, so, but the idea is to, as what I’m hearing is to really understand that any nutritional goal set or, or way that we are around food is to help us connect with the most expressed or the most authentic version of ourselves, right. Or the most authentic way to step into a life that we can really thrive. You’re getting to, you know, a very interesting place to work with people because it’s, Oh, I’m not inspired. Oh, it’s just, I have no more motivation.

Christine Okezie (42m 47s):
Right. So how do we light that spark? It’s helping

Marc David (42m 51s):
People correct. And hang in there with me. When I say this, it’s helping people correct their religion. And what happens is people will make weight loss, their actual religion. And when I say their actual religion, meaning they’re worshiping it, they put their weight loss goal up on their altar and it becomes their DD. It becomes their God. It becomes their goddess. And they’re thinking about it every day. They’re praying to it every day, they’re getting on the scale every day where I’m dieting, I’m counting calories, whatever I do, people create their rituals and they create their religious kind of words and conversation.

Marc David (43m 33s):
You can do this or you’re no good or whatever it is that we’re telling ourselves, but we make it our everything as if, when I have that perfect body and that perfect diet and that perfect weight, then Tut off. I am. I am this me, I’m this great creature. And meanwhile, we’ve put aside our life, who do I want to be? How do I want to conduct myself? How am I doing in of course, people, people who say, well, I’m not inspired about my diet.

Marc David (44m 6s):
I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that. Really. What they’re saying is I’m not inspired about my life. I don’t have places that I really want to live into. I’m not, I haven’t found where my passion is, where my interest is, where my purpose is. I not feeling connection. I’m not feeling intimacy. I don’t the love that I want. That’s more interesting to me. That’s, that’s really what’s happening when somebody says, Oh, I don’t know how to motivate myself to lose weight.

Marc David (44m 42s):
Well, because weight is not your problem. Yes. It’s just the extra weight. Yeah. If you want to lose it. Great. But it’s oftentimes not all the time, but oftentimes for people it’s really just a symptom

Christine Okezie (44m 56s):
Hmm or an hour kind of an, an, a way to avoid working with, you know, what really needs your attention.

Marc David (45m 6s):
Bingo. Absolutely. Yeah.

Christine Okezie (45m 8s):
Yeah. Oh my gosh. Thank you. So one of the things you talk about is we never arrive. And I, and I love the way you talk about, it’s never a today moment. There, there are a few Ta-Da moments, but they’re not the, there’s no final to dominate when it comes to health and transformation and, and all of it. So we never fully arrive. However, what I’ve found is that there are some qualities that you can look for when it comes to mastering this whole relationship with food. And what I think is, you call it the expert eaters in your book, and you say, these are the qualities of the expert eaters, or they haven’t figured everything out, but they figured it quite, quite a lot.

Christine Okezie (45m 47s):
And by the way, being an expert eater has nothing to do with body shape, body weight, or your food choices, and has everything to do with, again, all this kind of internal mindset. So one of the things you talk about is they eat with, without, with freedom, without fear, worry, and guilt, and they eat with joy and they accept that the body is always changing and therefore my food will evolve accordingly. And I can tell you in my journey that came, you know, after a lot of inner work, because that was, I thought to be a masterful eater once, especially if you learn all the nutrition and everything, right.

Christine Okezie (46m 22s):
As well, I’ve got my omegas and I’ve got my B vitamins and look at all the greens than I’m eating. But then I started to realize it’s actually so much more than that. It’s so much more relaxed, you know, it’s so much more like, okay, it’s food. You know what I mean? So, so what I’m getting at is there’s this obsessive quality that, or this fixation quality energy that I’m trying to work with people to just relax. It’s, it’s good to have the details. It’s good to know all this stuff, but can we bring a whole different energy to your issues around food, right?

Christine Okezie (47m 1s):
I mean, isn’t that kind of what, it’s the energy that you bring to the work around our food and weight issues?

Marc David (47m 8s):
Yes. It’s, it’s helping people see, where are you coming from in your efforts to want to eat? Well, when you’re coming from. And oftentimes people are, what’s motivating them is fear of disease, fear of fear of getting sick, fear of not being healthy. I don’t want to get cancer. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to. So, yeah. Or eat healthy.

Marc David (47m 41s):
I find that that’s not so healthy for people. I would rather people be inspired Because they’re, they love how good health fields. Mm. Yeah. I love the feeling of good health. That’s what motivates me. That’s what inspires me. I am not eating the way I eat so I can avoid disease. Is that in near shore? But I so love the feeling of feeling good. That that’s an inspiration. So I’m coming from a love of feeling good.

Marc David (48m 14s):
So consequently, there’s more love in my experience of eating.

Christine Okezie (48m 20s):
Isn’t that interesting.

Marc David (48m 21s):
Many people are motivated to eat how they’re eating, because they’re afraid of body fat and secretly food is actually the enemy. So I have to figure out how do I eat a meager amount of food, or how do I avoid fat? Or how do I avoid protein? How do I make myself eat more salads? Because everybody knows salad is the holiest of all foods. So, but really what’s motivating them is I want to lose weight, or I want to maintain this weight.

Marc David (48m 58s):
And if I don’t lose this weight or maintain this weight, then all heck is going to break loose. So it’s fear, that’s driving our behaviors. And whenever fear is driving our behaviors day in and day out, then that’s what we’re growing. That’s what we’re creating. That’s what we’re nurturing. We’re just creating a fear garden and that’s not going to be so good.

Christine Okezie (49m 24s):
Yeah. I mean, not fear of disease or fear of not looking good. That can’t be the core motivation, which unfortunately the diet industry tells you it is right? Yeah.

Marc David (49m 33s):
Yes. And then we take our marching orders from that. Not even realizing that that’s what we’re doing. And part of our job is to become independent thinkers and to become original within ourselves. Meaning, let me for a moment, put aside everything I’ve learned about what’s good for my body. What isn’t, what I should do, what I shouldn’t do.

Marc David (50m 3s):
And start to gather my own information. What feels good in my body? What doesn’t feel so good when I eat it? How much feels good? How much doesn’t feel good? Yes. I know you’re not supposed to eat this and shouldn’t eat that. How does what shows up when I eat these foods? So it’s beginning to question that. Yes. I want people to rely and lean on the knowledge that they’ve learned. But if the knowledge we’ve learned is confusing our minds.

Marc David (50m 34s):
If it’s making us more upset, more distorted, this expert says this and that expert says that, which is the field of nutrition. By the way, it’s a field of hundreds. If not thousands of dueling experts who are all saying various things that are different. Yeah. There’s some similarities. And once people understand, once we understand that that’s where the science is at right now. It’s not a bunch of guys in white coats, standing around all nodding their heads in agreement about what you do.

Marc David (51m 7s):
Then we are free to become nutritional explorers. I heard a vegetarian diet is good for you. My girlfriend’s on a vegetarian diet. She looks good on them. You know, I want to try that. Great, go try it, try being a vegetarian. Oh, you’re your sister’s paleo. And she’s loving it. And she’s eating all this meat that you wish you could try that. And then tell me how you feel. Yeah. And it’s all a worthy experiment.

Marc David (51m 41s):
And we do that with the joy of a true Explorer. Let me try this and see what happens. And then you come to your own conclusions. That’s beautiful and what feels right? That’s, that’s a fascinating way to go about it because then you’re free.

Christine Okezie (51m 59s):
You’re free. And again, you’re you step into your own agency again, and when it comes to your health, right. And that’s really what the name of the game is, is that freedom that we all really want. I hear that a lot. You know, well, what do you really want? I want freedom. And the only thing that’s standing between you and freedom are your beliefs. You know, and the thoughts that in the narratives that you believe are true and immutable, and this is so true around food. So thank you. I love this. So I want to ask you Mark, you know, so what makes you feel inspired these days?

Christine Okezie (52m 34s):
Speaking of inspiration and motivation, what makes you feel like your best self these days?

Marc David (52m 39s):
You know, what’s really been consistent for me in my life. That that inspires me is nature. It’s very faithful for me in that way. It could be the mountains. It could be the jungle. It certainly is the ocean. It’s a stream, it’s a river, it’s quiet. It’s, it’s just being outside and letting nature, speak to me and let it move me. And let me feel like a natural being without all the noise.

Marc David (53m 13s):
And, you know, I, I nature doesn’t lie. It is what it is. It’s very simple. And it’s not asking a lot from me other than to be aware and pay attention and notice. So that inspires me the most. I’m inspired by people who are thinking for themselves and coming up with new ways to see the same things that we’re always looking at through the same eyes.

Marc David (53m 49s):
So anything or anyone that helps me see the world differently in a way that expands me. I’m very interested in that. I find that to be very nourishing and I get inspired when I see other people growing and opening up. That’s why I do the work that I do because I get to see people become more open, become more free, become more of themselves, let go of baggage that they just didn’t need.

Marc David (54m 27s):
You know, so much of what we really need to do is not more things. Oftentimes this is actually doing less things or letting go of certain things that aren’t serving us. So I get inspired when I see people having their own openings, however, they’ve done it.

Christine Okezie (54m 46s):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s a beautiful place to work when you’re in, in the realm of, you know, self evolution and, and personal transformation because there’s just always more and there’s always so much newness to it and it’s yeah. And I can get, I get the nature part because it’s, you don’t feel that separation, I guess, you know, that our 3d selves oftentimes are, you know, the labels and the identities and the roles and responsibilities nature really is that fluid kind of field where all of a sudden you recognize, Oh, I’m just part of this, you know, and that kind of freedom, I think allows us to, especially when it comes to these physical bodies, it just lightens us up.

Christine Okezie (55m 32s):
I mean, literally from the inside out so that I totally get that. Thank you. So what, what are your best tips right now, I guess for helping people navigate this changing world and their health,

Marc David (55m 45s):
You know, I think one great thing to do is to, as best we can consistently surround ourselves with people who are doing the kinds of things that we wish we were doing, or people that inspire us or people that we see are navigating the world in good ways, surround ourselves with good company, surround yourself with people who are, who helped you grow, who help you let go, who help you expand to help you feel more love, help you see the world in a different way, in a better way.

Marc David (56m 28s):
So I’m always looking to spend time with people that make me feel like, Oh, this is why I want to be alive because of people like you

Christine Okezie (56m 41s):
So important right now. Right. And to be discerning with who we come in, who we allow into our, our, our journey essentially. Right. Yeah. I love that. Yeah. Thank you. Picky picky with food picky with people picky with how we spend our time picky with our thoughts. Right. Again, getting back in the driver’s seat of recognizing everything we bring into our life is either nourishment, nourishing or depleting right.

Christine Okezie (57m 11s):
In our lives. That’s really what it is so awesome. Okay. Well, I’ll like to close with Mark. Do you have a favorite mantra or motto or something that you know is playing on the radio station, your head every day that, you know, gets you up and loving life?

Marc David (57m 29s):
Hmm. favorite mantra, you know, these days as strange as it might sound because life in these interesting times often feels a little bit like a battle for me and I, because it feels like a battle. Sometimes I just like to remind myself that I am victorious on all fronts, meaning in any part of my life, I can feel a sense of success.

Marc David (58m 3s):
I can feel a sense of victory by my actions, by my behaviors, by my words, by my thoughts. So just to remind myself then in any part of life, I can feel a sense of victory. I can feel a sense of accomplishment just by how I bring myself to.

Christine Okezie (58m 22s):
Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this has been lovely. And is there anything maybe that I didn’t ask you that I should have any upcoming program or late breaking news at the Institute that you’d love to talk about right now?

Marc David (58m 38s):
Well, you know, just my plug for what we do. We have a professional training where we train people to be mind, body eating coaches or eating psychology coaches. And our next enrollment starts in the fall. So, you know,, that’s our website and just check us out. And yeah, it’s a great coach training program.

Christine Okezie (59m 3s):
It is the most amazing coach training program. It is life changing. You will never be the same. I can testify to that. Thank you, Mark. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks Christine. Take good care.

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