Hope, Self-Compassion & Food

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Transcript


Announcer:
Irreverent, entertaining, cool, you’re listening to LA Talk Radio. You’re listening to the Dr. Nina Show, with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin only on LA Talk Radio.

Dr. Nina:
Hi there. Welcome to the Dr. Nina Show here on LA Talk Radio and Instagram. I am your host, Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, and I am here to help you stop counting calories, carbs and fat grams, stop dieting, so you can easily get to a healthy weight and get on with your life so you can wake up and think about your day, not your diet. Today is a big day. Today is a very, very big day. First of all, it is my best friend Ella’s 40th birthday, “Happy Birthday, Ella.” I am so sad that I cannot be with her today. She is turning 40 and we can’t be together, but I am really looking forward to sometime in the future being able to celebrate her birthday with her because of the other really huge thing that’s happening today.

I am speaking on January 20th, 2021, and we have a new president here in the United States. And I have to say that today I am feeling hopeful. I have been in a state of anxiety for four years. I know many of you have, many of you haven’t. I have four years of anxiety, four years feeling as if bad people were getting away with doing bad things. And where were the good people? Today I have hope. Today I have hope that there will be adults in the room, adults who care about our world, our society, our health, our futures. I have hope today that we will heal. That we will start to heal in every way.

And one of the main reasons that I see that I have hope is the compassion that I see in President Joe Biden. The compassion he has, and Kamala Harris, Vice President Kamala Harris, a woman, a woman of color, which shouldn’t matter, but somehow it does. And I’m so happy that she is there because she is a tough, fair-minded also compassionate person. And I wanted to talk to you today about compassion, because to me, President Biden, Vice President Harris, they show compassion. They show compassion and compassion is what we need more of, or each other on a social level, on a cultural level, and on a personal level. And I don’t just mean the compassion that we have for others.

I am talking about the compassion that we must have for ourselves. We must have compassion for ourselves. When people talk about, well, how do they repair their relationships to themselves? How do they stop binge-eating? Or any kind of eating disorder? Really changing your relationship to yourself is key. It is everything. Because when you can show up for yourself, and be with yourself, you don’t need food to distract, to express, to escape, to numb, to do all of the things that it does for you. And so today on this day of hope in which we can step into a future ruled by compassion, instead of cruelty, I want to share with you an article, I was, interviewed for this article.

Part of it you’re going to recognize, because I talk about something in the article that you’ve heard me say before, unless you’re new to the show, in which case, it’ll be new to you too. But there are other things in this article that I think will be very helpful. I want to say that Josh who called in last week, he said he recently ate when he didn’t feel hungry and it was very nourishing. I’m not sure what that means Josh, but maybe you can elucidate that later. This article is called, Silence your inner critic, a guide to self-compassion in difficult times. And by the way, if you would like to join the show, why is it that I cannot remember? I cannot remember the phone number to the show.

I’ve only been doing it from home for almost a year, and I can’t remember. I can’t remember. And now I don’t have my notes with me. I’m sure Ronan will tell me what… Oh, wait. Okay. If you would like to call in the number is 323-203-0815, 323-203-0815. However, I am going to ask you to not call in, until I speak a little bit about self-compassion because this is important. The article is called, Silence your inner critic, a guide to self-compassion in difficult times written by Elle Hunt. Is your inner monologue friendly, calm, and encouraging? Or critical and bullying? Here’s how to change it for the better.

“Tobyn Bell still remembers the precise moment when his self-compassion practice paid off, he had just arrived home from work and was turning over in his mind, the mistakes he had made that day. What he could have done, what he should have done, the kind of self-critical thoughts that he had had for years, and then unexpectedly, another voice piped up in response, a calm and steadying voice addressing him by a fun nickname from his childhood. While training to be a mental health nurse, Bell had learned tactics to counter and give context to his inner critic. And that otherwise mundane moment when his internal monologue leaped to meet cruelty with kindness, they were revealed to have been effective.”

He said, “Because I had really practiced this self compassionate voice, it just showed up and answered. I never thought that, that could be possible.” He was nice to himself. And guess what happens when you’re nice to yourself? You feel better. When you feel better. This is not the article, this is my commentary on the article. When you feel better, you don’t use food to feel better. Many of us may see self-compassion as akin to mindfulness or gratitude, a worthy goal that is hard to turn into habitual practice. But as Bell’s example shows, it’s possible to change our inner monologue.

With benefits for not only our individual health and happiness, but perhaps that of society. Self-compassion is really recognizing what it is to be human, what our basic needs are by fostering compassion for ourselves, we’re more rapidly able to feel it for other people. Meaning our kinder, calmer, more empathic approach can radiate outwards. With more months of lockdown looming, with all the uncertainty and unhappiness that it is likely to bring changing your inner monologue is one small and crucially free step towards looking after your mental health. Self-compassion is not self-care.

Not in the superficial chocolates and bubble bath sense, nor is it simply being kind. Self-compassion is best understood as turning towards suffering, whether it is in yourself or others, and then taking action to alleviate that suffering. Instead of finding fleeting ways to feel better, self-compassion is a readiness to engage with pain at its source. The aim is to be able to treat yourself as a doctor would, not only taking yourself your suffering seriously, but helping to relieve it. So one of the things that she puts me on, I’m going to quote myself first.

“Treat yourself as a friend. Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin Los Angeles based psychoanalyst,” blah, blah, blah, says, “Many of us learn to deny or smother our pain in childhood, leaving us with no idea of how to soothe ourselves later in life. She devised the vary acronym to inform her clients’ responses, validate, acknowledge, and reassure yourself. The first step is especially important. We tell ourselves when we are in emotional pain or distress, it’s not that bad. It’s going to be okay. Look on the bright side. But we really need to recognize within ourselves when we are hurting. So if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

Not using the attacking second person, voice or judgmental words, such as normal, ridiculous, or should in dialogue with yourself can also help.” So what is vary? Vary is you have to validate what you feel and acknowledge it. If something is hurting you, you have to say, this is hurting me. This is difficult. This is painful. I’m mad. I’m sad. I’m upset. I am feeling something deeply. I’m upset. Of course I am upset. This is what’s happening. This is how I feel. I’m feeling something for a reason. You first you validate and acknowledge it. And then you give yourself that reassurance, right? Then you say, but I can get through difficult things.

I’ve done it before, and I can do it again. Then you say, it’s not going to last forever. Things will get better. Then you give yourself the encouragement. And also, it’s not just what you are saying to yourself, it is how you are saying it. Speaking to yourself with warmth and kindness can feel like a verbal hug. And that is very important. So I just want to share that. I’m going to share another part of this article again, I encourage you to check it out yourself. But accept your tricky brain is another, and then I’m going to take calls. So Karlygash I know you’re eager to call. So one more, accept your tricky brain, negative self-talk is not evidence of something wrong with us that needs to be fixed. It’s a feature of being human.

We all have this kind of negative self-talk. Our propensity to cause ourselves anguish is an evolved function of basically our tricky brain let’s call it. Our complex cognitive system, which is able to imagine anticipate and conceive of an objective itself, is equally inclined to dwell on negative thoughts, such as if only I had, if I should have, and this triggers the same fight or flight, and I should add freeze or fun physiological response as an external threat. So basically the way we talk to ourselves can be traumatizing. We can traumatize ourselves with our thoughts. And if you feel traumatized, you’re going to, again, what is the experience of trauma? Fight, flight, freeze.

Food does all of those things. You can eat to go numb. It’s a form of freezing. You can fight with yourself, change your teenager fight into, instead of what you’re feeling into. I will not eat that, fight with yourself in that way. Or flight, flee into the kitchen, get away from the feeling. So our own minds, the way our minds talk to ourselves, is so important. You can traumatize yourself and then respond to trauma with food, all within yourself. So we have the power to traumatize ourselves, but we also have the power to speak kindly and compassionately to ourselves. Okay. So Karlygash I know you want to call.

Oh, Erica loves my shirt. Thank you so much. It’s my special inauguration day shirt. And I should also say that I am not alone. Look, Zane is also wearing a shirt. He’s wearing a shirt because he tends to bite himself, and our vet suggested instead of the cone of shame, have him wear a shirt. And so now he wears a shirt. He feels all cozy and contained and maybe he’s a little human. And there he is, asleep in his shirt.

Okay. Hi, Karlygash. Welcome to the show.

Karlygash:
Good morning Dr. Nina. Happy inauguration day.

Dr. Nina:
Happy inauguration day to you.

Karlygash:
Thank you. I was listening very, very carefully what you said about self-compassion and being kind to yourself. And it really helped me to understand that the fact that we’re cruel to ourselves to never have this human, sort of with our tricky brain. And for me, all this self love, self care and self compassion work is a really, really hard work. So I’ve been bingeing for the last eight months, but yesterday I was also listening to this book about how brain function. So yesterday-

Dr. Nina:
Karlygash, can I just interrupt? It is very important to remember that we have brains, but more importantly, we have minds. Our brains are our apt in relationship to our minds. When we change our minds, we actually change our brains. That you can’t speak of the brain without the mind, and you can’t think of the mind without the brain. But ultimately, when it comes to eating issues, our minds are more powerful than our brains.

Karlygash:
Yes, I agree. And also I would also add, I still think that in my case brain thing is very important because I’ve been vegetarian for nine years. My brain was underfed till the moment where I started losing memory. I couldn’t remember, I was not as sharp. But starting, I guess, August or September, I switched my diet or I included official supplements things which will help my brain.

Karlygash:
And thanks to that improved brain function, I could retain information a little bit more, which resulted in more understanding. I know that one work always manifests itself, but working on my brain, let me get this precious, tiny, tiny focus, which I could put together with my mind on this self-help work with declining brain, which I had [crosstalk 00:16:59].

Dr. Nina:
You can’t really think.

Karlygash:
I was hard.

Dr. Nina:
You can’t think. You can’t think with a starved mind, that’s right.

Karlygash:
No, you cannot. No, no. And even though if I’m going to, I cannot be surrounded by therapists 24/7. And if my brain is declining, that’s my responsibility to feed it properly. I’m talking about that. Which I also think, which is part of self care and taking care of yourself, taking care of your brain as well.

Karlygash:
As well as I would take care of my gut or any other part of my body. So yeah, when I say brain, I don’t want to put like the whole focus on brain function, but in my opinion, it’s very important because I am the one, I am the example who could see it from the end when it’s not working well. And it’s hard.

Dr. Nina:
So Karlygash what are you doing today for self-compassion? Because you’ve called the show and we’ve certainly talked about how you abandon yourself, or you talk to yourself in a very cruel, harsh way. And cultivating that self-compassion, and that wish to care for yourself rather than abuse yourself with words or with food is so important. So what are you going to do today? In fact right now, to cultivate a self-compassionate stance with yourself?

Karlygash:
Well, I’m thinking and acting differently today. Usually I plan, I just had my chiropractor’s appointment. And I planned it so I could start listening to your show when I’m already done, so I can have full focus and not be bothered that I’m still there. So I created this mental space for myself because listening to your show and calling to your show is very important for me. So I made space today. So the first step is listen to you and yeah, show up for myself. Second, when you were telling about this, reading this article, I picked up the phone to play mobile games to be half present, or how I usually do, but then I just put it aside.

Karlygash:
And I said, well, I’m devoting one hour of my life. And I went to be present, and I want to listen, and I want to take in and understand and incorporate those knowledge in my life. And I want to bring a change because when I’m like halfway on the phone, I’m just simply not listening, for whatever reasons, for whatever internal conflicts I have. So I put it away. It was honestly hard. It was an effort I did. And I was listening. Then I had all this conflicting that about like phrases, which were saying this negativity and harsh voices which say… it’s not going to work, blah, blah, blah.

Karlygash:
And then it was just silencing them. I was silencing them, and I was listening, and I was paying attention and thinking about your words. So I did that. Also I have some errands to run today, and they’re already not going as planned. And people are failing me, the people who promised to show up not picking up phones. And those are work-related things, [crosstalk 00:20:34].

Dr. Nina:
So first of all I just want to acknowledge you for having the wherewithal, the ability to recognize that you were half showing up, that if you’re on your phone and listening, you’re really not completely listening and there’s a part of you that isn’t fully there. You recognized it, and then you did something different. So I really want to acknowledge you for that.

Dr. Nina:
And I’m glad that [crosstalk 00:21:01]… And you have recognize what you do well, not just what you don’t do, right? Because so often we look at what we’re not doing, and we don’t register what we are doing. [inaudible 00:21:24] this is just the weirdest thing that just popped into my mind but did you ever watch Seinfeld? George, George who was this short pudgy, bald guy would always date these gorgeous women, but he would find some flaw in them like, man hands.

He would date these gorgeous women and he would find like, oh, I’m sorry, her fingernail beds, or just too short. Or some kind of crazy thing that he would find wrong, in which case he could pick for whatever reason. So we can do that with ourselves. We can say all these-

Karlygash:
I used to be that guy to myself, my whole life honestly.


Dr. Nina:
And the way that we react to ourselves, the way that we respond to ourselves affects the way we feel. And the way we feel, affects what we do. So if you are picking yourself apart and looking at all the things that are wrong with you in your mind, either perceived or real, I mean, we all have things we want to change and fix, or address physical and internal. But if we only look at that, we only feel bad because we’re only looking at perceived deficits. If we say, okay I want to look at what’s working. I want to look at what I like about myself. You’re going to change the way you feel. And when you change the way you feel, you feel pretty good overall.

Okay, I really like all these qualities about myself. I appreciate these things about myself. Maybe I want to change some things, or maybe these are just things that just are, but overall, I feel good about me. Guess what? You are not going to go bingeing on cakes when you feel good about yourself. And it’s easier said than done, I know. But that’s why self-compassion and cultivating self-compassion is so important. And that means really looking at what’s good about you instead of only looking at what’s wrong. How does this relate to the past? People in your life look at you and found was wrong. They did not find what was right for whatever reason. And you’re repeating that.

Karlygash:
You’re so right about everything and especially I want to say about this that I never noticed what’s good about me, but because of… I made my mind I think couple of days ago that, well at the end of the day it’s my responsibility and I need to be on my own side. And I need to be my own support because the only company of the person I am experiencing 24/7 is myself. And you know how we avoid those people who are negative, or people who are just not to be pleasant around, you just have this feeling like, oh, I wish I could flee right away. And you never come back to them.

And I’m like, geez, I’m not communicating with you ever. And you go to friendly, nice people. So I think the same. If in my head I’m going to be harsh and critical, and nasty to myself, well it’s not a good company. Although it’s all for me and part of myself, I’m going to feel bad as if after talking to a bad person in reality. So it’s in my own interest to develop this friend of mine and be my own friend. And also yesterday I woke up, I just decided, I don’t know how smoothly it’s going to go, but I decided to be my own friend.

So I woke up yesterday and before we came up and started thinking, what’s good in my life? What do I have good in my life? Let me say what’s good. And I was laying in my bed and I was looking at the left side of my room and saying, okay, what’s good in my room on the left side? And I started just saying that this is good. This is good. This furniture is good. And I said, I can focus on good, why am I always focusing on what’s not there or what’s wrong with me? Because it’s a path to nowhere.

Dr. Nina:
It’s a path to nowhere. Now the deeper question is, what keeps us in this place of being cruel to ourselves, critical to ourselves? It’s more than just, it’s familiar. If you’re treating yourself the way you are treated, on some level, this is the psychological unconscious part, you stay connected with those people. And again, it’s not logical. Why would you want to treat yourself the way they were treating you? It felt bad. It was horrible. But psychologically, it does do something for you. It gives you a sense of having a family. It keeps you connected to those people.

And so that’s what makes it especially difficult to disengage from these ways of relating to ourselves. That it’s not just logically. Logically of course, you want to be compassionate to yourself. You want to treat yourself well. And I’m really glad that you are starting to do that, but have compassion, word of the day, have compassion for the fact that there is something keeping that in place. That by giving up this abusive relationship to yourself, it feels like you give up your relationship to your family. That’s what makes it hard. And that’s what you want to challenge.

Karlygash:
And then how to do it just by acknowledging and understanding this connection. Just consciously choose myself and realize that it’s psychological way of being connected to my family, but it’s hurting me. And then eventually choose myself. Is that the way out?

Dr. Nina:
That plus coming to terms with working through, going through a mourning process for what happened, and what didn’t happen. Because the past is not in the past, it gets replayed and replayed, and replayed. What started as between you and other people, then becomes between you and parts of you. And until you really fully mourn and come to terms with or as fully as you can, those painful relationships, they get repeated. What is not worked through is repeated.

So it’s consciously making the choices that you’re making, and you’re doing a great job of that. And coming to terms with the original wound, healing, that original wound so you don’t feel compelled on some level to repeat it. And that’s not easy. It is so much easier to focus on food, than it is to focus on the pain, and rage, and emptiness, and whatever else that comes from having been an unwanted child, or an abused child or whatever. It’s not easy but it’s necessary and it’s possible.

Karlygash:
Especially when I was growing up such things, this mourning, whatever you had and whatever you didn’t. Well, I was born in difficult times when you got our independence and nobody likes… Everyone was busy surviving basically without clear administration. Everything was probably ruled by criminals and it was just pure survival. So I need to develop that, I need to see how this mechanism works of mourning. Because it’s something very new for me. So I need to develop it for myself. So I just basically admit and-

Dr. Nina:
Mourning is a process. It’s a process. It’s going through stages of grief really, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Not that you go through it in those ways, but to go through those basic steps. And denial is not where you are, your past denial. Denial is, it didn’t affect me. I’m fine. It’s in the past. Doesn’t affect me.

Karlygash:
I’m no longer there.

Dr. Nina:
That was in Kazakhstan. That was in my past. That was years ago… That’s denial. Anger is, oh my God, did this happen? I am so mad that they did this to me. Bargaining is, well, maybe if I would have been more this, then they would have treated me this way. Maybe if I lost weight, then people would like me better. Maybe if this than any when then. Depression is, damn, nothing’s going to change. They’re not going to change, the past’s not going to change, nothing’s going to change, only I can change.

And that’s the acceptance. So there you have a path towards mourning and healing, and you are already practicing, focusing on what you like about yourself, not just what you don’t like. So let me know next week how it goes. And if you turn to bingeing, if you turn to cakes, again, it’s not what you are eating that is the problem, it is why. So you have some work cut out for you Karlygash. I expect you to report next week.

Karlygash:
Thank you very much. I will work on the mourning part. That’s a challenge for me for this week. Thank you.

Dr. Nina:
I know. And when I say I expect your report, I mean, I’m kidding with you, right? Because you call every week and you give me, give us our report.

Karlygash:
No. But I take it as report. It’s like an everyday work for me. I keep focused only on this, honestly. Because it gives me results. And it’s just a serious thing for me. The thing I’m mostly engaged with to the point that I already cannot talk to people who are not aware of what’s going on in them. I just cannot. So I seek for people who at least are trying, making efforts to understand what’s going on internally.

Dr. Nina:
Keep up the good work Karlygash. You are doing it. You are doing the work. And I’m proud of you, and I look forward to hearing your update.

Karlygash:
Awww, thanks.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Bye Karlygash.

Karlygash:
Bye then.

Dr. Nina:
Josh is saying on Instagram that maybe he should call in and speak to me today. Yes Josh, I think you should call in and speak with me today. That would be wonderful. It’s a lot easier to speak with you then to have a dialogue on Instagram. So I welcome you to call. Again that number is 323-203-0815. 323-203-0815, give me a call. Another thing that is discussed in the article is to tune into your thoughts. Many of us have become adept at avoiding uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions, whether it’s because we are distracted by our busy lives, or simply unable to cope with what we might find. The first step towards self compassion is gaining awareness of our inner world.

Dr. Nina:
Hi Kavanna, my daughter who should be in school is now watching the show. Stick around honey, you might learn something. She could actually… She’s really good at being self-compassionate. So I should have her on the show sometime. She’s 13, but she’s pretty wise. The first step toward self-compassion is gaining awareness of our inner world. What triggers feelings of anger, disgust, or shame? How do we react to them? What is the content and tone of our inner monologue? What are the blocks or resistances that we may encounter? Now often, we get so good at going right to food that we don’t even know we’re triggered.

And that is why if you find yourself triggered by food, or you think that you are being triggered by food, you are being triggered by some situation, and food is the answer to it, whether you’re turning to it or from it. And so look at going to the kitchen or the drive-through, or wherever you’re going to get that food that you’re eating, look at that as the solution to the problem rather than the problem, it is you are not being triggered by food. You’re being triggered, food is the solution to it. So what comes to mind when you think about that? No call from Josh yet.

So I will just keep going. So we get so quick to go right to food that often we don’t know that we’re actually being triggered by the situation. And that is why I created my food mood formula, which I talk about in my book, which is if you are turning to a certain food and you don’t know why, because you’re so good at turning to it so quickly, then I developed a formula that helps you figure out what is going on with you. As an example, if you are turning to ice cream, anything smooth, anything creamy, that is associated with a need for comfort. That means that you need comfort.

And so rather than think about how you can not eat ice cream, think about how you can comfort yourself with words instead of with ice cream. Josh is saying that we can avoid eating because of some idea. Yes. Sometimes we want to avoid eating because people talk about wanting to feel empty, or feel clean, or feel as if they have no needs. And again, there’s a psychological experience that’s being expressed through food. Whether you’re turning to it or from it, or in the case of bulimia to and from it, something is going on that is getting enacted through food. And you want to be curious about what it is.

Instead of looking at the food part, what is the symbolism? Also food mood formula another one is anything with a crunch, chips. If chips are your go-to, and your eating crackers or chips or anything with a crunch, nuts, if you’re eating nuts, something is driving you nuts. If you’re eating something that causes you to crunch hard, that means you are probably angry. And when I say angry people often say, I’m not an angry person. I wouldn’t get angry. Not me. I’m not angry. I mean, maybe a frustrated. Well guess what? Frustration is a form of anger. Irritation is a form of anger. Annoyance is a form of anger. Rage is a form of anger.

That if you don’t allow yourself to express how you feel about a situation, then you are going to express it with food. And then that anger that you cannot feel towards other people or situations, or allow yourself to express, and I don’t even mean directly, then you’re going to take that anger out on you. I’m so mad at myself. I can’t believe I ate all those nachos. Oh my gosh. I ate the whole family bag of Doritos. I hate myself. So Josh is writing on Instagram, maybe we do not eat because of heartbreak. So last week, Josh called show and said that he realized he had had these powerful feelings of hunger, even though he had just eaten.

And thought about it, gave it some thought and realized that he was really yearning for love, yearning for some kind of emotional fulfillment. And that, that, we talked about how that yearning… By the way, Josh, if you want to call in, Ronen says he can call you back. I guess you called and couldn’t get through. So if you want Ronen to call you back so you can actually talk with me, let’s do that. But if today you’re saying you’re not eating, then it’s also a way of saying, hey, I not going to let myself want, I’m not going to let myself yearn. I don’t need love. I don’t need anything.

I’m fine. I’m good with emptiness. So understanding the symbolism either way, whether you’re eating to fill a void, or not eating to express that you’re okay with that void, has to be understood with curiosity. That’s why I often say, be curious, not critical. So developing-self compassion says doctor Dr. Deborah Lee in England, she says, “Developing self-compassion is developing insight. So you can see yourself, rather than be yourself. It’s an ability to feel safe as opposed to feel traumatized.” So a little bit ago, I was talking about how we can traumatize ourselves with our words.

The words that you speak to yourself can be abusive and traumatizing. When you tell yourself, oh, you’re so disgusting, or I’m so disgusting, or you’re a failure, whatever it is, you’re never going to lose weight. You’re disgusting, no one will ever love you. These are the things that I hear people tell me all the time that they say to themselves. That’s abusive. You’re being an abuser to yourself, and then using food to get away from your own abusive critical voice. When we change the way we speak to ourselves, we change the way we feel. When we become the voice of compassion instead of the voice of abuse, we feel differently.

And that’s why I often say, treat yourself as you would a friend. So often, people treat themselves either as they were treated, or as they learned to treat themselves in a very harsh way, or they treat others as they would have wished to be treated. And I used to see this in my group. I had a group and people would be so kind to each other. Someone would say, “Oh my gosh, I ate a whole pizza last night. And I’m devastated on it. I feel horrible about myself.” And the group would say, “Ooh, there’s a reason you ate it. What was going on? What was the emptiness you were feeling?

What was going on with you that… What was going on, what’s happening with you? It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. Let’s figure it out.” And then when it was their turn to talk, they would say, “I’m so disgusting. I eat a gallon of ice cream.” So they couldn’t treat themselves, the way they treated others. And the key is to treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness as you treat others. Because the way we feel, is directly affected by the way we talk to ourselves. Josh is on. Hey, Josh.

Josh:
How is it going?

Dr. Nina:
How are you? Nice to hear from you.

Josh:
Good.

Dr. Nina:
This is better than answering your Instagram texts.

Josh:
Yeah, exactly. And hopefully you can hear me better than last week.

Dr. Nina:
I can hear you perfectly.

Josh:
Okay, good. So what was interesting is last week, like you said, I thought I was physically hungry. And it turned out that I wasn’t. What I found in the last week is the opposite. I was not hungry. I didn’t feel like I needed food at all. And luckily, I had some food and I ate it and I felt really, really good. So it made me think that my mind doing both things, it’s making me hungry when I’m not hungry, when I actually am. In other words, I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I was hungry, that I needed something. So maybe we can talk about that.

Dr. Nina:
Yes. I love your insights. So when you’re hungry for love and connection, you feel a physical hunger last week, this week no hunger, again, that mind body connection is kind of saying you don’t need anything. I don’t need anything. I don’t need whatever food represents. I don’t have needs.

Josh:
Right. And I’m not sure if it’s bad or if it’s good. In other words, maybe I shouldn’t be eating like today, for example, because I associate food with something bad.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah. The idea is to separate, [inaudible 00:44:19] food. What’d be able to say, okay, I’m conflicted about wanting love. There is a part of me that wants it, and a part of me that is afraid of it. There’s a part of me that wants that connection, and a part of me that is anxious about that. And I don’t want to need it. To be able to talk about-

Josh:
And I think also the meaning of the food changes. It’s possible that the meaning of food to me, changes. In other words, initially, I could associate food with love and then I want love, but maybe later I associate food with being poison or disease, and I don’t want it when I really should. So it’s helping me to talk to you about this.

Josh:
Because I don’t think I would be able to figure this out probably on Instagram. But my guess is that food [inaudible 00:45:16] a negative connotation. I think food to me now is something like, I don’t know poison. I mean, food can be poison if you’re obese, [crosstalk 00:45:30] not for me I don’t think. In this case-

Dr. Nina:
Again, we want to look at the symbolism. Food is food. But if you’re saying food is poison, and food on some level represents relationship, then relationships can be poisonous. Relationships can be dangerous. Letting something in can be dangerous. And so to recognize symbolism of what food is telling you about your conflicts, about connection and relationship, is important. That way you can not talk about food, but talk about the conflict that the food part is expressing. Does that make sense? So in other words-

Josh:
Yeah. That makes sense.

Dr. Nina:
So the-

Josh:
I like how you… Go ahead.

Dr. Nina:
Oh, no, you go ahead.

Josh:
Okay. I like how you brought up a relationship because obviously that’s got to be there, right? An unhealthy relationship maybe is something that I’m associating to this food that I will not let myself have a mother or father or something like that. Is that what you were saying?

Dr. Nina:
Yes. What I was saying. Or any kind of relation and closeness, intimacy, anything that you… Last week it was expressing your wish for love and connection. This week, not being hungry is expressing your fear of connection and relationship. And that could mean on many different levels, whether it’s a wish for mothering, or a wish for a partner, or something like that, or a close friend, whatever it is.

Josh:
Yeah. I like how you sorted that out for me. I feel like you’ve sorted it out for me to be able to look at what I need to be looking at. And I think in both cases, it’s fair to say that the same thing is going on in a sense, because it is. Sort of two sides of a coin. On one side is this hunger that’s not really hunger, and the other side is this not hunger that really is hunger.

Josh:
I mean, maybe I’m making it more confusing than what you did, but I think both things are going on in me. Not just sort of the binge-eating quality, but also it starvation quality, or anorexic quality. It’s very strange.

Dr. Nina:
Well, when you look at it as symbolically, a part of you wants love, and a part of you is very anxious about that. And sees it as poisonous and dangerous to yourself. So then to be able to say, okay, forget the food part. The food part was just my clue, is being a detective of the mind.

Josh:
Yeah of course.

Dr. Nina:
The food part was the clue to discover the conflict. The conflict is the part of you that wants love, and the part of you that fears love. And to then process that conflict, so it doesn’t get expressed with food. So it’s expressed with your mind and not your body.

Josh:
Yes. And I think the last thing I would just say is it makes me yearn for a sort of a perfect balance, I hate using the word perfect, but a good balance between when we should eat and when we shouldn’t. And I remember something at a certain time I was at a gym, and someone was teaching me or telling me what I should be doing with my diet. And they said, “Sometimes it’s good to eat.”

And this is what he said, “Sometimes if you want to lose weight, it’s better to eat, because it changes the body to begin whatever it happens when food gets put into the system.” So it’s very possible that by not eating, I was doing as much damage to my body as eating when I wasn’t hungry.

Dr. Nina:
Absolutely. But I also want to point out how your mind keeps going to your body when the conflict is actually in your heart I guess we would say. The part of you that has this conflict. So it’s getting expressed with your body, but the conflict is in your heart, in your mind.

Josh:
that makes perfect sense. Yeah. And that resonates with me really a lot. So I thank you very much. Wow. This is good.

Dr. Nina:
You are very welcome. Thank you for calling in and for sharing your thoughts. And I’ve –

Josh:
Yeah. What would you say about the balance between eating and not eating? Do you have any thoughts on what a perfect balance would look like? If that makes any sense.

Dr. Nina:
I think you find that balance, ultimately you eat when you’re hungry, and you make good choices, and you stop when you’re full. But you find that balance when you’re no longer having this layer of expressing internal conflict through food.

Josh:
Okay. So when you’ve cleared it out where there’s no sort of… I look at it in terms of, I was a biochemist in training, but I look at it in terms of phenotype and genotype. Where it’s, the genotype matches the phenotype. What you’re feeling inside of you is something you’re at least aware of, and are able to see in your behavior. And I think for me, you helped me get another little piece of the puzzle today. So thank you very much.

Dr. Nina:
Well, thank you. Thank you for calling because when you call in and you share, other people believe me, other people can relate. Including Karlygash is on Instagram saying, “Josh, I totally relate.” And she’s not the only one. So thank you for sharing. And please feel free to call me anytime with any questions about what is eating at you. And that actually brings us to the end of the show, if you can believe it. So thank you. Thank you Josh. Thank-

Josh:
Thank you Dr. Nina.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Please call me back anytime.

Josh:
Will do.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Take care.

Josh:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Nina:
So as you can see talking to Josh, talking to Karlygash, my sharing with you, food is not the problem, food is like a clue. It is a clue, and when you look at it as such, instead of the problem, and you say, well, that’s a clue to what’s going on with my mind. That’s a clue to what’s going on within me. Then you can resolve it. When you resolve it, when you resolve your conflict over, in Josh’s case, conflict over love. Is it good? Or is it dangerous? When you can stop repeating the past, not abusing yourself, resolve conflict over the original abusers as in Karlygash’s case, then things with food, normalize.

Then food becomes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, you eat when you’re hungry. And it is not a total battleground. It is a battleground when it takes the place of or expresses internal conflicts. You get the idea. Thank you so much for joining me here today on the Dr. Nina Show. I am here every Wednesday at 11:00 AM Pacific. You can listen live on the LA Talk Radio app, or on Instagram. You can listen later on Apple podcasts or anywhere you can get podcasts. And again, please practice self-compassion for yourself. I guess self-compassion would be compassion for yourself, that is redundant. Practice compassion for yourself, for each other, and for the world. And may we all-

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You’re listening to the Dr. Nina Show, with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin only on LA Talk Radio.

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