Stop Binge Eating
Dr. Glenn Livingston became interested in how to stop binge eating to help himself overcome an unhealthy relationship between his emotional challenges and how he used food to manage emotions.
Glenn Livingston, Ph.D. is a veteran psychologist and was the long time CEO of a multi-million dollar consulting firm that has serviced several Fortune 500 clients in the food industry. You may have seen his (or his company’s) previous work, theories, and research in major periodicals like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Indiana Star-Ledger, The NY Daily News, American Demographics, or any of the other major media outlets you see on this page. You may also have heard him on ABC, WGN, and/or CBS radio, or UPN TV.
Researching how to Stop Binge Eating.
Disillusioned by what traditional psychology had to offer overweight and/or food obsessed individuals, Dr. Livingston spent several decades researching the nature of binge eatingand overeating via work with his own patients AND a self-funded research program with more than 40,000 participants. Most important, however, was his own personal journey out of obesity and food prison to a normal, healthy weight and a much more lighthearted relationship with food.
Click here to learn more about his book: “Never Binge Again: Stop Overeating and Binge Eating and Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person…on the Food Plan of Your Choice!“
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Today’s episode of Recovery After Stroke podcast is brought to you by my personal website recoveryafterstroke.com. It’s where you can find out more about my recovery from three brain hemorrhages and brain surgery, where you can make a booking for a Skype session using the online calendar. It’s where you can find links to my YouTube channel, and information on my coaching packages, and details of my latest project.
Go to recoveryafterstroke.com and let me know if there’s anything I can help with. Today’s episode of the podcast is about binge eating. According to Web MD, you may have been binge eating if you eat more food than other people doing the same situation. You feel like you can control how much you wake up feel upset after you binge.
You ate much more quickly than normal. You ate enough to be uncomfortably full. You ate when you’re not hungry. You ate alone, so no one else will see how much your food you’re having. You feel guilty, disgusted or depressed about your eating. Being in eating is more common in women than in men. And in the US, about 3.5% of women and 2% of men are binge eaters.
People who are obese are more likely to binge eat, although people have so-called normal way may also binge eat. Binge eating is different from bulimia because people who binge eat will not throw up after overeating. And now it’s on with the show. Good everybody and welcome to another episode of Recovery After Stroke podcast. And with me, I have Glenn Livingston PhD.
And Glenn is a veteran psychologist. And was the Long Term CEO of a multimillion-dollar consulting firm, which has serviced several fortune 500 clients in the food industry. You may have seen his previous work theories and research in major periodicals like the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times and many more. You may have also heard him on ABC, wg AND and OR CBS radio or up in TV.
Disillusioned by what traditional psychology had to offer overweight and or food obsessed individuals. Dr. Livingston spent several decades researching the nature of bingeing and overeating via work with his own patients and a self-funded research program with more than 40,000 participants. Most important however, was his own personal journey of obesity and food prison to a normal healthy way and a much more lighthearted relationship with food. And that is exactly what I’m interested in hearing about. Dr. Livingston, thank you so much for being on the program. It’s great to have you here.
It’s great to be here, please call me Glenn and I just a simple introduction would be that the fat guy who couldn’t stop eating, I did a lot of consulting for big industry. I was a psychologist, tried to tried psychological methods, I wasn’t really happy with them, and I did some studies, applied my methods and figured something out. So that’s a short way of doing it. But please call me We’ll be happy to tell you whatever you want to go.
Alright. So you’re a fat guy. And my question is, now looking back, how was it that you became a fat guy because you weren’t born a fat guy.
I was not born. I wasn’t that guy. And as a matter of fact, I wasn’t really heavy during my adolescence or early adulthood. I had what you would call today exercises bolemia, I don’t think they had the diagnosis when I really had it. But what that means is that I don’t purge, I don’t stick my finger down my throat. But because I’m I’m six foot four, you can’t really tell because I’m sitting down right now, but I’m six foot four, and I’m fairly muscular.
And I figured out when I was 14 1415 years old, that if I worked out two or three hours a day, I could eat whatever I wanted. And I could have 7000 calories a day, and it wouldn’t gain weight, or, and that was really fun. That was really, really fun. Until about the middle of graduate school when I got married. And I had a whole bunch of patients that I had a really heavy workload, and I couldn’t find the two or three hours a day to work anymore. I think my bed hazal my metabolism slowed down a little bit anyway, because I was no longer a teenager, and all of a sudden I started gaining weight.
But more importantly, I’m a psychologist from a family of psychologists and I always really wanted to make a difference in the world and I didn’t become a psychologist to sit behind a cash register. I became a psychologist because I wanted to make more of a difference than a country doctor would. I wanted to get into secular education and marketing a little bit because I wanted to bring my message to the masses.
And I was not really helping the people as well as I could, for example, I would have couples that were coming to see me after an affair or sometimes were really depressed adolescents that were part of those families, they were the couples and family therapist and, and I wasn’t able to help people as well as I really wanted to because I’d be sitting there and all of a sudden, the third be these visions of a whole pizza dancing around in my head or, you know, how am I going to get to the delicatessen and dislodge my jaw and empty most of it into it.
I was just kind of obsessed with food and I felt like I wasn’t really present in the way I wanted to be from my life’s mission and that really bothered me. Wow. And because I’m a psychologist from a family of seven therapists take seriously my mom and my dad and my aunts and my uncles and my cousins and my sister and my stepdad and my stepmom, and my brother in law. They’re all everybody’s therapist, and everybody doesn’t ever opinion and you don’t want to them holidays.
Holidays are really interesting, yeah. You come over one day, we’ll figure it out. But because I’m so psychologically oriented, sometimes when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And I thought, this must be a psychological problem. There must be something in my childhood that I’ve missed, there must be some hole that I’m trying to fill, there must be some anxiety or depression that I’m trying to soothe.
And so I went to some of the best psychologists and went to some of the best psychiatrists, they got medication, I got to but Overeaters Anonymous for several years and all of it helped to a certain degree, just to a certain degree, but I didn’t really cure the problem. I was still gaining weight, I was still obsessed with food.
And I think the reason is that although there is a relationship between food and psychology, and I found this in the large study that you mentioned, also, there’s a relationship for example, I found that people who crave chocolate, like me, tend to have some aspect of broken heartedness or loneliness or feeling isolated in their in their character.
And they’re, they’re replacing that with the chocolate however, or they’re escaping from that with the chocolate. However, when I discovered that very real correlation definitely exists. When I discovered that I decided to dig really deep into my past and figure out what it was in my past about chocolate and loneliness that kind of fit together.
And I remember that my when I talked to my mom, she said, Well, you know, when you were little, when you were like two or three years old, your dad was a captain, the army and I was really worried he was going to be taken to Vietnam. He wasn’t around much. I was kind of unhappy. And I didn’t have the energy all the time to hug you when you wanted a hug. You always wanted to be hugged and cuddled.
And I didn’t have the time. So I kept this bottle of boska, which was chocolate syrup. And it was on the floor with a with a refrigerator. And, you know, you could just always go to the boss store if you want it to. I said, Wow. Wow. So that’s where I got that pattern, of course, when I feel lonely and unloved, and that’s where I’m gonna go. And by the way, my mom did a great job overall, and I absolutely adore her. Mom, if you’re listening. I love you.
Knowing this didn’t cure the problem, yeah. Because here’s what happened. Inside, there was this little voice demon that says, You know what, Glenn, you’re right. Your mama didn’t love you enough. When you get it. You’ve got this great big hole in your heart and until you can figure out how to still have that hole in your heart. We’re gonna have to go eat us a mess of chocolate, right. And so it actually became a justification for fruity more chocolate. And sooner or later, I figured out and I worked with patients in the same way.
And I kind of heard them saying these crazy things to justify why the emotional connection, justified them continuing. So it wasn’t that knowing the emotional connection stop them. It was kind of the reverse and knowing that the emotional connection, they said, That’s really interesting. I love that soul searching, but it gave them more justification to go further. People who tend to crave salty, crunchy things had more stress at work. They tend to pick and they were kind of working out their aggression with the crunchy was really interesting.
But then their little voice would say, you know what, that’s right. Our boss is a bastard and until we can get out from under that bastards thumb, then we’re going to have to just keep eating them pretzels. And so I finally figured out it must be that voice and I happen to cross a guide named jack trampy, who does work in the black and white addictions, the alcohol and drugs and cigarettes and the things you can just cut out of your life.
And put food is different. You have to take the tiger out of the cage, you walk around the block a couple of times a day. But but for alcohol and drugs, you don’t have to do that you can just give it up entirely. So I always warn people that if if the methodology that we’re about to talk about is for food, it’s not for alcohol and drugs, if you’re having trouble with alcohol and drugs, go to rational.org and work with jack trampy. He knows that much better than I do.
But the the essence of what he said was that the whole addiction treatment industry is doing this wrong. He said we’re all going about this trying to trying to love our inner Wounded Child back to health. As if we could nurture that inner inner child and then we would no longer have these cravings we would be okay. Let me say but that doesn’t really match the neuroanatomy of what’s going on. And I’m paraphrasing, and I’m incorporating some other work that I’ve done or people that I’ve read but, but essentially, you have a lizard brain.
This is like the brainstem, and it’s the lizard brain. It’s an evolutionary throwback. It’s part of our physiology. We need it to survive. But it only thinks at a very primitive level, what it thinks when it sees something in the environment is, do I meet with it? Do I eat it? Or do I kill it?
Sounds like most men doesn’t it?
But then, as we evolved, the mammalian brain came on top of that in the neocortex, the real human beings on top of that, and I’m seriously bastardizing this if there was a neuroanatomist in the audience, he’s going to have issue with me, but this is basically what it is. And, and so the mammalian brain starts to bring in the notion of tribe and family and relationships, right. And then the hierarchy Brain, really, and the mammalian brain can delay the loser brain and say no, don’t make eat or kill, let’s consider the people, the, the animals around us and the tribe, the herd, and, you know, the relationships that are important to us.
And let’s take that into the equation. And we have all these feelings and emotions that are really driven by the mammalian brain. And then there’s a neocortex above that. And the neocortex is really where we live more or less, it’s, it’s the seat of our aspirations and goals and, and dreams and it’s where this is where love lives. This is where the part of you that you think of you as your soul lives.
This is where art and music and you appreciate the sunset and everything that it really means to be a human in our society lives. And this later developed later evolved neocortex has the ability to inhibit the lower parts of the brain. Now what that means, first of all, is that you can inhibit any craving. You don’t have to act on any craving. So all this talk about while you’re powerless over your urges, you can’t resist the best you can hope to do as I’ve seen one day, it’s not true. It’s just not true.
Yes. Kind of a funny story. My mother had a relationship with the advertising executive who came up with that slogan in New York 40 years ago.
For 40 years, he’s been telling us to avoid that whole, you know, putting that into No, I’m not gonna do that. I’m gonna avoid it. And he’s been telling us no, you can, he’s been telling you. You have to eat the whole pack, and you have to probably get another pack. So I love what you’re saying about that. That’s a really important message for people that you know what the cravings don’t have to be, you know, followed through with you can actually stop and say no, no Is it a? Maybe we’ll talk about this in a moment. But is that something that we need to learn? Is that something that people need to practice?
Oh, god, yes, they well. It’s an inherent human ability. There are some things you need to learn to recognize when the lizard brain is taking over, so that you can jump back and jump back up into your right brain. And so here’s what Trump he said. He said, Look, this addiction treatment thing is going about it the wrong way.
You don’t want to love and nurture that lizard brain when the craving is there, like everybody’s walking around saying that craving is what’s responsible, that craving is your unloved inner child. First of all, it’s not true what we the conceptual notions of the wounded inner child, we’re really live in the neocortex. And maybe the mammalian brain really doesn’t live in the lizard brain. The lizard brain is eat meat or kill so it’s not even true.
But even so, if you’re going to send a message of love at the moment, the lizard brain is trying to take over it. Gonna go wow that’s right i need i want you know nom nom nom nom nom and and he said what you need to do I’m paraphrasing is cultivate a sense of disgust with this thing recognize your superiority dominate this thing overcoming overeating, serious overeating and even mild overeating is not necessarily like nurturing a newborn child back to health. It’s more like capturing and caging a rabid dog and potential.
It’s more like Adam and Eve in the cage. And it’s not that hard to do. You have to keep the cage close and you have to recognize when that Doberman is barking. So here’s what I did. I had to adapt a lot of things he was saying for food because the three times a day thing and they don’t have to three times a day, you could have all kinds of different food plans and I let people develop their own food plans.
But because because eating is a complex behavioral economy, I had to adapt this but essentially what I did was This thing here I’m not going to pull up my lizard. I’m going to call it my inner pig. And other people call it different things. Some people call it the lizard some people call it their inner bi tch some people call it their slacker. But this is my pig. I differentiate it from the real animal because real pigs are very sweet.
And you want to cultivate love for real pigs. But this thing here, you got no love for this thing. This thing just wants to ruin you. And I said when my pig I’m going to draw a real clear line in the sand For example, I will never eat chocolate again. I’ve had enough chocolate for the rest of my life. I eatle all of my quote of chocolate before I was 40 years old and was never going to have chocolate again. So I draw a real clear line in the sand.
And I want to get back and talk about why people objected never because that’s really important. But now that there’s a real clear line in the sand, when I hear a voice inside that says you know clen chocolate it. It comes from cocoa beans and cocoa beans growing a plant and chocolates and vegetable truck right here. Something like that can’t fool me anymore.
Because I know that any voice no matter how small that suggests I will ever eat chocolate again is the lizard brain. Now what happens when the pig the pig starts talking I say well that’s pig squeal, and the pig is squealing for slop. The chocolate is slop and I will never eat. I will never eat pig slop again and I don’t listen to farm animals tell me what to do.
And then I see your smiling but but um, it was really that simple. I mean, there was some sophistication in developing the rules and figuring out how to work with people about it and not making rules that were too strict and making them too simple and making sure you’re filling out your food plan with good nutrition and everything but but in essence, after three decades of suffering with this, I mean I mean really suffering feeling within refrigerator in essence over the course of a year or so, working with that, that technique, it was gone.
It was just gone and you know I lost 60 pounds or so yeah, that’s not too bad. Yeah, I have a 400 pound weight loss story or something, but, but the obsession was gone. And we published the book and it became a bestseller. And we got hundreds of reviews. We’re helping a lot of people now. So, no, that’s, that’s the essence, you asked me one question and I went, boom.
I love it. I love it. No, it’s great. We’ll get to the book. And what I love about it is that it’s your process, right? I can’t tell you, you know what, Glenn, you know what you need to do, mate, you need to stop eating chocolate and you need to stop eating it the way I stopped eating it every time I would eat chocolate, for example, you know, to something better to give you an associate that might not be for you.
And what I love about it is it’s your version of it. And the people that are listening hopefully understand that they can uniquely tailor a weight loss methodology to their own requirements and to what is comfortable for them. So if they’re going to see somebody about that, perhaps, you know, they can think about how they would best be able to succeed in getting the outcome that they want, which is for example, in your case, was to stop eating chocolate.
Now, I love what you said about also your mum, because a lot of people will go along in life doing things out of an emotional response and not realize that it was caused somewhere in the past. And now that’s been reinforced. And as a result of that reinforcement, they’re doing it and they’re not consciously aware of why they’re doing it.
So that’s really good to do a little bit of, you know, soul searching, or whatever you want to call it to allow people to go back and, and investigate, you know, like, what could it be that made me on this path where every time I see a chocolate bar, I, you know, I can’t resist it, and I have to buy one. And if it’s on special, if they’ve got a two for one deal, I’ve got to buy two because you know, it’s good deal. And I end up eating both of them instead of leaving one for later.
So I love the way that you went about that. I’m curious about is there an emotional component that we can pinpoint that sort of occurs around in the heart because when we talk about emotional connection, and food, the heart, in my mind is what comes comes up in that. You know, when I felt sad or something sad happened, I did sometimes go to mom. And you know, that made my heart feel better.
It made me sort of feel more connected to her or something like that. And if she wasn’t there, then I would have to revert to a surrogate version of my mom. And let’s say it was food. What do you know about how the heart and the emotional aspect of the heart and how does that get involved in this cycle with the head to keep us eating, when we’re not technically meant to be eating that piece of chocolate?
Well, it’s a very good question. And I just want to reiterate that there is a relationship and it’s, it’s good to study that because you can develop a more meaningful life. You can look to see the craving for chocolate in this example. craving for mom or craving for intimacy, and you can consciously choose to create to do things in your life to seek that intimacy instead. So it’s a good thing to know about yourself.
But you don’t have to wait until that happens in order to stop the eating. You can use this crazy stuff eating first Nice. Yeah, but but they’re certainly all of our addictive preferences. Like it’s a really interesting thing to ask, why don’t I go to chocolate as opposed to salami. And I think it’s really critical that people take ownership of their own food plans, because if you, if you don’t own your own food plan, your pig is going to say, well, gee, God, doctors food plan doesn’t really work. Perfect. It doesn’t really work.
We’ll just have to find another one. But, you know, in the meantime, we can binge for a couple of weeks until we get to read another book. So it’s really critical that you step back and ask yourself, what do you know and what plan Do you want to follow and why and own every single rule on it? But but there’s an infinite amount of soul searching you can do by stepping in your food behaviors. And I enjoy doing that with patients.
I enjoy doing coaching clients, I enjoy teaching workshops on that. I just no longer teach that it’s necessary for a lot of people out there bill, who are sick of therapy, and it’s just not getting them anywhere. And they, they’re sick of going to the 12 step groups and being told that they are going to have to keep ending until they figure this all out. And you don’t have to figure out you can really simplify it. So, but you know, I’m a psychologist, I’ll talk about fluid emotion all day long.
Yeah. And then we’ll split on like what you said, I think that’s really important as well is that you know what, there’s probably an emotional aspect to a lot of people’s addictions or whatever they might be, but in this particular case, we’re talking about food. And if they can just put a halt on it, on the eating part of the process, and if there’s so much if they so choose to continue that soul searching for Find out why they got to that point where they needed to eat food. Later on, they can do that independently of the addiction which they no longer have because they’ve got it and that makes it so much more powerful place to learn from, I feel.
And the other piece of that is that when you stop eating chocolate you can more fully experience the loneliness because a lot of these industrial products and there were no chocolate bars on this chart chocolate is not a natural naturally occurring thing cocoa beans are but chocolate, you know, chocolate bars are not naturally occurring them so that our nervous system loses the ability to efficiently conduct the emotions when the energy is going to digestion, the experience alone and getting yourself to change the behavior.
The emotions will bubble more to the surface and you’ll be able to if your goal is to fix the emotional problems, that’s the best way to do it is to stop stop the addictive behavior and experience the emotion so you can talk it through. Yeah. Well, well and there are a multitude of triggers for legitimate hunger in the body.
You know, there’s there’s blood sugar, how our body straight up strives to maintain homeostasis, the blood sugar, there is the emptiness and fullness sensation in the gut. And there’s also body heat. You know, we have to meet here certain body even we don’t we have a hunger signal triggered to get calories. So we can, we can do that. So there it’s a very complex system that actually triggers the sensation of hunger or sometimes the false sensation of hunger.
What’s important for this methodology is that the neocortex, particularly the prefrontal cortex, which is kind of part up here has the ability to delay that impulse so you can make a better decision and no matter what they find, that ability still exists. So no matter No matter what nuances of the physiological craving system that are discovered, I highly doubt they’re going to find we really don’t have the ability to control it.
Yeah, I don’t doubt that we have the ability to control After all, it’s our body and we should be able to control our urges, and we should be able to do all these things provided that we are, you know, normal, and that we don’t have any, you know, challenges physical challenges that stop us from being able to activate a certain part of the brain to you know, make a decision and follow through with that decision.
I think with coaching and with, you know, talking and with therapy of some kind, I think that most people can overcome what it is that they are being challenged by especially. It’s my sort of understanding of neuroplasticity is that it allows us to rewire our brain right? and allows us to actually create new behaviors and switch all behaviors off.
Wath fires together wires together and we can remake ourselves every day. Yeah, and every craving is an option. portunity to either reinforce or extinguish your addictions, you can welcome a craving because you say, Well, this is a chance to make it weaker. Up until this point, I’ve had a pattern every time I had the craving for chocolate or run out to Starbucks and get two bars right now I have a craving for chocolate and I do something different.
You’ve just reinforce a different pathway and slightly extinguishing everyone. And you can rebate it yourself like that and it takes a lot. Your pain will tell you that it’s going to be how on earth that it’s never going to happen. You’re gonna be tortured forever. The only thing is going to make you feel better to eat that chocolate but the truth is 2030 days later, your pig is not going to be throwing up such strong cravings and our bodies are wired so that if somebody moves the cheese, we go look for the cheese someplace else.
Wait, we would go to a different part of the maze. We don’t crave things we know we’re never going to get it’s we’re not set up to beat our heads against the wall like that. The beating our heads against the wall is reinforced by finding the Cheese, so to speak cheese, right? Yeah. And there are certain physiological conditions, which interfere with the neocortex is the ability to inhibit a craving.
I’m not sophisticated enough to know exactly which ones I think it’s a lesion of the ventromedial hypothalamus. I remember right from graduate school, but it’s just not something I’ve been specifically studying. But there are there are conditions that can prevent people from stopping. It’s exceptionally rare. Yeah. And I would give people that thought experiment. I’m sorry, do you want to go someplace different? Go ahead.
No, go ahead.
So here’s the thought experiment. Think of something that you feel like you absolutely couldn’t resist. I my mom told me she couldn’t resist Halloween candy and Halloween. She was really freaking out. This is just when the book was becoming a bestseller. And she wants to know if I could help her not to have a Halloween candy. And I said, well, Mom, you sure you absolutely can’t resist it. She says It’s been 50 years and every, every year I gained five pounds with the following candidates. Well, Mom, you know, who do you love most in the role?
She says, Well, I love my husband, but you know, I love you, sweetheart. And I say, well, Mom, suppose an evil dictator came over and said, you know, he’s got the resources of his entire country at his disposal. And he said, he’s going to be watching me and your husband, Michael, indefinitely. And if you haven’t, he’ll leave us alone, if you don’t have even one bite of chocolate, but if you have even What about a chocolate, not only is he going to kidnap us and bring us back to a dungeon in his country, but he’s going to torture us every day for the rest of our lives.
And it and it’s solely dependent upon whether or not you have that chocolate. She said, I guess I wouldn’t need the chocolate, right? It’s kind of a crazy analogy. But if you have a big enough why, then resistance becomes easy. And what that proves is the ability is there. My mom knew she was not going to have the Halloween candy if I was going to be tortured every day of my life. Yeah, she just wasn’t making it important. enough not to have the Halloween candy.
Yeah, it’s interesting, the big enough why and I never knew. I never understood what that meant, until I had to go through recovery of three brain hemorrhages. So, so it was back in in February 2012 was the first incident and then basically the doctors come along and say look, you know, you’re bleeding in the brain.
There’s a blood vessel that’s burst and part of the you know, working out what’s wrong with you and all that kind of stuff is go home do nothing. Don’t Don’t drink don’t work. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. And I wasn’t a big drinker. But that don’t drink to me in my mind meant that if I drink I could end up dead. So you want to see you know, you want to talk about the big enough Why? I’ve never considered a big enough why in my life before never ever until the doctor said you know what, you’ve just had a life threatening condition.
And now what you need to do is you need to stop drinking so that it doesn’t escalate further and you end up losing your life and becoming severely disabled. So, for me, it wasn’t even a consideration Doc, you know, whatever you say, you know what, I’ll stop there if you want me to stop jumping up and down on one foot as well, because that might save my life. I’ll do that as well.
So I suppose it’s not a lot of people don’t associate being overweight to a life and death situation but it does get there for some people with obesity. And I’m wondering for yourself, how was it that you got to that point where you suddenly one day looked in the mirror and thought this is not good? I’m not happy with who I am or how I feel or how I look what got you to that point so that your why then became big enough.
I’m gonna answer it a little bit differently than the way you pose the question because I was always unhappy with the way I looked and felt I was I was always miserable about it. But getting away from that misery was not really what did it for me. What we did it for me was hypothesizing what my life would be like if I couldn’t follow a rule indefinitely So for example, if I’d say I’d never eat chocolate again well what’s my life gonna be like in a year if I really do never eat chocolate again, my pig would jump up and down the screen and say that’s not possible.
But when I thought about it, I thought you know, I probably spend more time on top of the mountains because I love to hike and I hike to get to the top that’s that’s why I hike I just there’s something about a top of the mountain it’s incredibly peaceful. I used to not be able to enjoy it without pink sloppy stuff a big you know, big feedback with me when I when I went up. Yeah, well, but I’ve since gone up with just some, you know, blueberries and lettuce and just had a wonderful time. So I thought I won’t be able to get to the top of the mountain.
So I’ll go to the top of the mountains, what else would be different? Well, I’d be 200 pounds in strong and I’d be able to, you know, feel my body the way thought when I was a teenager, and that would be great. And I’ll be able to see my niece and my nephew, go to college and maybe get married and have kids. And I’ll be able to make a real difference in the world.
Maybe someday I’ll have a book, I actually thought that maybe someday I’ll have a book, maybe I’ll have some kind of a TV show or something and make a difference in the world and I will be free of the obsession I’ll be able to put my life energy into enjoying you know, our relationship with my wife at the time divorced now. enjoying my relationship, enjoying my sister enjoying the kids, and I just went on and on and on and I fleshed out what my life is going to be like in a year if I if I if I did this. And then when I went back and I said to the pig, okay, pig.
Give me a reason why I shouldn’t do this. And all pig could say was, well, it tastes good. That’s that’s all the pig could say. And Having that context, Janine Roth calls Janine Roth crew clued me in to the fact that there are two sides of deprivation. Our pigs always tell us that we’re going to be to deprived if we let go of something, or even if we conditionally control it like, I’ll never have chocolate during the week again, but only on the weekends.
We’re going to be deprived. But every choice has two sides. And what are you going to deprive yourself of if you do have chocolate, and if I kept having chocolate, I was not going to necessarily see the kids graduating my triglycerides were over 1100 at one point while Yeah, I was, you know, facing strokes and diabetes and being paralyzed and I was not going to get to go to the top of the mountains. I was not going to get to enjoy those hugs that I want to enjoy.
And and so when I really sketched out the two sides of that deprivation trap, then the choice is really easy. And I tell people look, the Hells Angels philosophy of life Fast and die young. Like I would fight for your rights to choose that if that’s what you want to choose. We fought wars for freedom in America. And I think everybody has the right to decide how much do they want to poison themselves for toxic pleasure if they want to do that, versus, you know, we’ll live with healthy and slowly but the more that I saw that that was actually a choice that I was making the more live fast and die young just didn’t feel like a possibility.
Yeah, wasn’t the right thing for you.
Wasn’t the right thing for me, right?
Yeah. I love that. I love that future pacing, seeing yourself in the future, having given up this, you know, addictive behavior or this chocolate and seeing a bit of version of yourself and making it exciting enough so that you could walk towards a future better version of yourself on top of a mountain overseeing all these beautiful things being in peaceful places. I mean, you know, who wouldn’t want that? So, that’s a really good tip.
I feel for the people watching and listening that if they’re going Stop going through a process of letting go of a behavior that doesn’t serve them around food, that perhaps they can also benefit from seeing what their life would be, once they, you know, lick of their addiction and that behavior and enable themselves to live without it. I think that’s a really powerful thing.
It’s part of what helped me in my recovery because I had to see myself with my family. I had to see myself back at work, I had to see myself in all those places to make rehabilitation. Much better when, when my leg wasn’t working, and I needed to, you know, learn how to walk again. I relate to what you’re saying.
Yeah, it’s helpful to if you can write it all down and in an index card or someplace that you can read it every day. I actually made a little essay out of mine and I read it into my mp3 player and I listen to it once or twice a day. Not so much because I need to anymore Just because I really like it, too. Remember all those reasons, it just paints a happy picture in the future. And I feel like it helps me to keep striving for that in, in more ways than just with food. You know, it kind of shapes the way I work with relationships. And, yeah,
Yeah, it’s nice. Now, you know, I’m a parent. And I have this motto. And the motto is that my kids are entitled to be messed up, screwed up, whatever you want to call it, but not because of me. So I don’t want to be the reason or the cause to them being messed up or or screwed up. Now, that’s my aim. I know that I’m not necessarily going to succeed 100% with what I hope, but I’m curious.
So mums and dads and parents did what your mom did allowed you to go to the bottom shelf in a cupboard and get that thing and I did the same thing for my children. What’s the like? How do we talk to parents now who have got younger children or parents to be a better When the child needs some love, and they can’t be the one to give it to them, how do we overcome? How do we not tie them into a life long addiction with something else for love? Like how do we do that? Is there any tips or techniques that you can share?
Well, there’s an understanding that’s really helpful. And Pathak failure and adversity can be the mother of growth. Also, if there’s enough, if there’s enough of an emotional connection, that the kid gets enough of what they need, then it’s actually necessary that sometimes they don’t. So parents that don’t make any mistakes would wind up with a child that doesn’t really grow?
What happened what happens is if the child has enough of a connection to you, and they want to maintain the connection is that if you’re if you’re not there in 100%, the right way, they’re forced to stretch their mind and bring back memories of being with you and therefore force to try to integrate. Well, what would mom do in this situation? What would dad do in this situation? And so you have to eff up once in a while you’re doing you won’t have a good kid if you don’t eff up once in a while. So, you know, stop driving yourself crazy.
When you realize that you use the present moment to be healthy, and you try to direct them towards what they need. And sometimes you can’t give a kid a hug when I use a hug. I mean, motherhood, fatherhood is overwhelming. I mean, I don’t have kids, but I treated a lot of families with kids and the one thing they all had in common was, they had no idea what they’re getting into. Knowing that getting into with children, it’s overwhelming.
You have to mess up sometimes. And just like you’ll My book is called never binge again because I want I want people to think of themselves like an archer aiming at the bullseye. When you stand up and aim at the bullseye, you’re not thinking to yourself, maybe you’ll hit it and maybe I won’t, and maybe I should aim just a little off to the side. In the totality of your being, if you want to win, if you want to hit the bull’s eye or anything near it needs to be focused on that bull’s eye.
And all of that doubt and insecurity and voices that say maybe you’re not going to make it, you person from your mind and you focus on the goal. Now, if you happen not to make it, you don’t say, screw it, I’m just gonna shoot all the arrows off the side, right? You just pick yourself up again when you shoot right back at the at the target.
And the reason that never binge again is different than all the other philosophies out there is that I’m telling people, I don’t want you to have guidelines. I do want you to have rules. Most people say have food rule cut food guidelines, that food rules. The food guideline is something like well, I avoid chocolate most of the time. If you say you avoid chocolate most of the time and your pig is going to say, Well, today is most of the time.
You know, yesterday was the most of the time. It has to be really really clear. And there has to be a never an always in there somewhere like I completely avoid chocolate during the week. Then you know where the bull’s eye is when you know when you’re aiming for the side of the bull’s eye instead of the bull’s eye. And then you can, then you can have an impact here. So it’s the same with parents, you simply parent and you figure out where the bull’s eye is. you aim for that as much as you can. And if you screw up, you screw up and you get up in there again. That’s all.
Yeah. And you apologize, I apologize a lot these days. I like that analogy with the arrow and with focusing on the target, because you’re going to miss and you know what, Everyone misses everything, something once in a while, and it’s okay to miss you know, and if you focus on the misses, then you’ll probably get more of them. But if you focus on the target, then you’ll probably likely to hone your skills and find your aim and allow for the wind and for the distance and all that kind of stuff and slowly start to get better at making that.
I mean, you can’t you cannot get better. Yeah, if you get up to the bull’s eye again, you cannot get better. Yeah.
Yeah, raise your left things. I’m also curious about Your path to being a vegan now not because this show is about being a vegan, or paleo person or anything like that, but did. So you’re a vegan now. But where? Did you ever consider it beforehand? Or was that something that you did to help you get to the place where you are with your food? So you’ve given up chocolate and that made it easier for you to, for example, give up something else and then continue that path. How did you get there?
I had the idea to become a vegan when I was in graduate school, mostly for health reasons. My mother had a precursor to ovarian cancer, which later became ovarian cancer. But she got herself a lot of years by eating a vegetarian diet. And so I was always taken with that idea. And so over the years, I read a lot about vegetarian and vegan diets and I kind of slowly made my way to it.
With periodic lapses, when I ran into a paleo nutritionist or something like that, I would try to go that direction. But as I discovered this philosophy, what I found was that every time that I made a mistake, if I had some leafy greens, I like some raw leafy greens in a blender. My body seemed to recover faster. And then the weirdest thing happened I started craving the leafy greens. And and I think it’s because I think what happens in addiction with food is that industry is hijacked, our survival drive.
And our survival drive is going towards these industrial foods. But really those survival drives are intended for other things like in this case, maybe chlorophyll. So it’s possible that behind my addiction to chocolate was really a craving for chlorophyll. Well, right. And so then once in a while, when I had the craving, I started say, Well, I don’t need pink slop. What am I going to eat? And I’d have the greens instead. And I go, Wow, this feels amazing.
And I don’t get all buzzed up. Don’t crash later, I don’t have to get more to stop me from crashing. And so I started eating more leafy greens and I started having more fruit. Then I read a little bit more about it and then I got involved with some vegan communities and then the ethical implications of eating animals started to kind of mean something to me, and I’m not a food Nazi in any situation whatsoever.
Sometimes, you know, sometimes I might go on and on a date and the woman has a steak and I don’t I don’t freak out politically like it but I don’t freak out. I don’t. But But, um, but it started to mean something to me personally to be someone that, you know, wasn’t contributing to the way that animals are tortured in the world.
And so I just kept following that path and my biological drive I felt better and better physically, that the more fruits and vegetables I ate, the better myself. I just kept on saying, I’ll have more than I don’t, I don’t really I just have a big salad. I really need to have protein and And then I read that there was really enough protein if you had enough salad and fruit and maybe some nuts and seeds, and it just kind of came together and I like it.
Sounds like it’s a really good personal choice that works for you. And, and I also appreciate that it’s a, it sometimes doesn’t work for everybody. And because everyone’s different so some people might need to eat protein and because they’re different than you physically and and that’s okay and the reason I brought this into the conversation was because I know a lot of vegans, and they all have similar philosophies that animals are very high on there. So in their awareness, and but a lot of them are very unhealthy.
And they’re very unhealthy almost at the opposite end of the scale where somebody who is obese is unhealthy because they all they industrialize then and whatever foods and they become vegan and they’re hungry and because they haven’t dialed in the diet. properly, they right ate processed vegan foods and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, right. And I’m like, you guys can’t be doing any good for yourself. So it’s when I when I come across a vegan who’s eating a junk food vegan diet, I said, I’m looking just ate a steak, you know, you’re gonna be better for it.
Maybe better off than eating a junk food diet.
Yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at. And then if you’re going to be a vegan, you have to be really good about it. Is there a lot of effort does it take a lot of effort to be what I, for lack of a better term, a good vegan in that you’re treating your body like a temple like and you’re respecting it to the extent that you’re expecting the animal that you’ve chosen not to wait?
At first, it requires a lot of effort. There are a lot of patterns you need to change. You have to keep an inventory. here if I walk you over to a walk over to my kitchen, it’s going to be a total mess. I just moved here and I’ve got all these packages and packing peanuts on the floor and everything but I’ll show you as long as we’re doing this. I completely do. So this is gonna be the right video. I love it. But that’s a case of organic bananas.
That’s a case of oranges. This is my this is my kitchen. At one point, I made a joke on Facebook every day that says I my bananas way more than I do. I don’t have bananas that weigh 200 pounds anymore but I did last week I got mangoes and lemons. And it’s just you know, it’s that’s how I live. I have to keep an inventory. I have to make relationships with the produce manager so that I get them less expensively. Yeah, you want to buy in bulk.
There’s a lot of learning you have to do I recommend people look at the 80 1010 diet if they’re curious about getting educated and that kind of stuff. But yeah, it was some effort at first, but you know what, the amount of energy you get back is disproportionate to the effort. Yeah, so if it took me an hour a day for a couple of months to figure it out, I got two hours a day of productivity out of it.
Because they didn’t quite need to sleep as much and I had all this extra energy and you just feel really, really clean. You’re not your mind works better you feel cleaner. And, you know, it’s it’s a big adjustment. So I didn’t do it all at once I hired a coach. Yeah, I went to some retreats. But yeah, it’s, it’s a very as you might imagine eating healthy is a really important part of my life. It’s almost the essence of who I am so I pay an awful lot of attention to it.
And, you know, that’s not that I never make mistakes. But, but I never will again, because that’s my perspectively you always have to be added to that you’re aiming towards the bullseye. And if you make a mistake, Can you forgive yourself? That’s what I wanted to say before. But I wanted to say before is one of the biggest problems people have with binge eating is the effort approach and the self hatred afterwards. And what they don’t realize is that the first of all, if you accidentally chip a tooth, that’s no reason to go get a hammer and bang the rest of them out.
But secondly, all of that self castigation is really the pig, trying to beat you down so that you are weak enough for the next binge. So you’re weak enough to say Screw it. And what you want to tell the pig at that point is, it’s a sign of strength, not weakness that I keep getting up after mistakes. So and Carol munter says she observed, she’s got a different eating philosophy. But she she observed that it’s almost impossible for people to binge if they refuse to yell at themselves. So refuse to yell at yourself after mistake and watch how much quicker you can get back up.
Yeah, self compassion. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I love it. So let’s talk a little bit about the book you Why did you write the book was a part of your process to help you stay the course. Stay off the habits have somebody to answer to so you’ve put it out there in the world. And now you’ve got to practice what you preach. Why’d you write the book?
No, I was practicing what I preach before I wrote the book, I kept, I was very motivated to solve this and I, I painfully practice it for a while and then not been so painful and then it got easy. I kept a journal for five years while I was figuring it all out. And I had all these talks with the pig and it was listening to all the things that the pig said and by the way, you want to learn to ignore it, not necessarily have to talk to it, but but I recently I had to talk to it.
So I had all these funny things that the pig was saying. And I happened to be a partner, a minor partner and a very small publishing company. And the CEO said to me, Glenn, you are we saying you want to make a big difference in the world. You are what you’re always talking about this really weird way that you control your eating. I think you should turn that journal into a book. And we need an example that we can publish and you know, make a bestseller. And it said, this is not going to be a bestseller. That’s ridiculous.
And so I took the journal I took a couple of months and I edited it. I got some got some clients And people I’ve been working with to read it and make some comments. And we published it. And six months later, we started to climb the charts. And then we started doing some of these podcasts and it kept climbing the charts and got to be the number one book in eating disorders for on Amazon for I think it’s still there, or it’s close to it.
We’ve got almost 600 reviews, it’s crazy. It’s crazy. It’s turning into a whole thing, which is what I always wanted, I it’s funny, I just didn’t expect that this was going to be the thing I thought I actually thought that I was going to be training coaches and that was going to be my contribution. And really, this thing took off but you got go where life leads you and this is this is actually more meaningful to me because it was my deepest pain.
And you know, like I have to charge for this but I would do it for free. I could I could just do it all day long for free because the gratification I get when people you see that light going on their eyes can they realize You mean this is what’s bothering me? I’ve got this crazy voice in my head and I can ignore it. Yeah. And it’s that simple and I know that some of them want to cry because they feel like they waste a lot of years are there others are just extraordinarily excited and it doesn’t hurt good really does my heart good.
Sounds like it sounds like a when you’re sharing it, I can just feel the passion and the love. It’s a really it’s been a real pleasure to get to know you and interview you but we will sort of start to wrap up in a little while but before we do, I want to give you a hug. Yeah, man. If we were like 20,000 miles closer, absolutely.
If you ever come to Australia, come to my place. I’ll cook you up a vegan face like you’ve never had before. Like a great version. You know you can do I’m not a vegan but my son was a vegan for a while, and a lot of his friends are vegan. So you know, and my wife is a vegetarian and I am not I am you know, closer to a paleo person, but I’ve got my reasons as well. My body’s different. I’m recovering from a brain injury.
So if you’re recovering from a brain injury, what seems to be more recommended than anything is a diet that is high in fats, good animal high quality animal fats, but also high quality vegetable fats, including avocado, including coconut oil, including all that all the amazing things that vegans eat. So I can have a vegan diet that’s full of coconut oil and avocados and I could just lap it up and feel amazing. And really, I know that it’s doing my body good.
You know, we’ll take out all the processed stuff, and about the only difference between me and my vegetarian wife is that from time to time, I’ll eat a piece of really high quality, you know, well raised pasture fed beef or lamb or something along those lines. And I’ve looked into the reason why, how I need to eat and I’ve done that as well. I’ve done what you’ve done, and I’ve understood How with when you’re recovering from a brain injury, you know, you need to re myelinate neurons.
And you need to support the growth of new neurons as much as possible. And because surgery created some complications, it meant that I actually really had to walk, learn how to walk again, and my left side is still numb, and my left side feels different to my right side. So, you know, I’ve got to really support my brain as much as I can for longevity. So sure, when vegans come over, all I do is you know, I leave the we have a vegan meal, like it’s cool, like I leave the, the meat in the fridge and we don’t go down their path.
So I’m very open to people sort of being able to express their version of how they want to be and, and I don’t have a reason to make them or tell them do to do what I do other than you know, if you’re going to be a vegan, like I said earlier, be the best vegan you possibly can. And take out all the junk. Because what you’ll end up doing is doing real, real good for animals, but you might be doing real harm to yourself. And if you can’t be around to support the animals, if you can’t be around to fight the good fight to make sure you go animals aren’t treated that way. Like, what is the point of being a vegan?
That’s a really good argument. I hadn’t heard that before. That’s a really good extension. I would I like to use that.
Yeah, please do you know what I mean? So and, and your book, like when you wrote that book, and you put it out there and people get to read it and they get to see your quirky version of it. And it’s not really this, you know, psychological the written kind of book it doesn’t allows for the layperson to pick it up and say, You know what, I can relate to that.
It’s written very conversationally, yeah. I mean, the pig.
Yeah, yeah. And I want to be similar to that guy. I want to overcome my food demons and I want to be better and I want to be healthy and I want to make a difference in one to contribute. So that’s what it’s really about. I feel when you’re saying that, to me, that’s what I’m getting from you. That’s the vibe that I’m getting. That’s the vibe. I’m loving it.
So one thing, one thing I want to share, which is something I never expected to be sharing, just before we did the end, you and I are doing this interview, I did an interview with a gentleman in Australia called Clint Patterson. And he he the topic of his interview was rheumatoid arthritis. And how he reversed his own rheumatoid arthritis where he now at 34 was given a diagnosis that he thought he was going to have the rest of his life.
And now, less than 10 years later, he has completely reversed his rheumatoid arthritis. Well, and what I want to share, and this is sort of something that I never expected to be sharing was that he did that with a plant based diet. Hmm. So for people who are going through obesity who are overweight, they’re very inflamed, a lot of them will be having problems with joints etc.
So what I wanted to do is sort of tie that previous episode into this by saying that when you go a plant based diet, or even a paleo diet for some people, when you get off of the industrialized foods, and the excessive eating of chocolates and sugars and all that kind of stuff, what you’re really doing is you’re supporting yourself and your health to come to come back to life and to support you in the way that was supposed to be.
So, you know, there’s a lot of benefits to going down this path of getting rid of that one thing at the beginning, which was for you the chocolate which leads to being able to let go of other things. And I remember when I first started my recovery to overcome my brain injury. My coach, my life coach at the time said to me, Well, if I’m ever going to work with her, and her name is Lily Gilbert Louise, if you’re listening, I love you.
Thank you for what you did. She said to me, You have to stop drinking Coca Cola. I was so upset with her. I swore. And I said, like, how could you make me stop drinking Coca Cola, I’m gonna pay you to coach me. You can’t tell me what to do. And then about a year later, after I overcame all of the Don’t tell me what to do things after I was putting this coach on to support me in my recovery.
She came back to me and she said, she did that whole look at you how far you’ve come looking back and see what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved what it’s how you’ve succeeded. And not only was she doing what you said, which was see yourself in the future, but now pay attention to how far you’ve come and what you’ve done what you’ve achieved. Hmm.
And now she said to me, You stop drinking Coca Cola. What else have you Stop doing that wasn’t good for your body that you didn’t think you could do. And I could rattle off about 10 or 15 things.
Yeah, you you don’t know what’s just beyond that first, the first decision, that’s great.
So I wanted to share that. And I wanted to really get people to share the benefit of what you’re saying about a vegan diet, because you know, there’s a lot of benefits to it. And if it’s not going to be a long term thing, but you need to do it to get your health back. It is one show fire way to really improve the quality of how your cells work in the short term is to just cut out all the junk and just go back to basics and eat what you would eat if you were in the forest.
And there was no animals around that day. And you couldn’t get any animals just ate what you found around you on the trees on the ground, etc. And I really appreciate what you’re doing and the way you’ve gone about it. It’s such a beautiful loving and gentle way to go about helping people overcome obesity. When so many people who are overweight, get Fat shamed get told that they know good guitar that, you know, they just have to train harder or run harder and all this kind of stuff, you know, did you experience any of that stuff?
Um, I mean, I have a lot of patients and coaching clients who experienced that I I’m six four and so children 60 pounds was very unhealthy for me, but nobody really said I was fat that they’re pictures of me back then I definitely look fatter than I do now. But nobody was ever really saying things segwaying into how you could lose 20 pounds but no one would ever say you know, gee, too bad. You have such a nice face or something like that. Yeah, I was I wasn’t at that level.
Yeah. Glenn, it’s been amazing getting to know you and talking to you tell me where Can somebody who’s listening to this or watching this go and get a copy of your book.
What What I want you all to do is go to never binge again, calm. Everything starts there. Click the big free red button is a big red button for the free bonuses. But if you sign up for the bonuses, you’ll get a link to the Amazon Kindle book into the into the notebook for for the Nook Barnes noble notebook. What you also get are a set of food plans starter templates.
So I took a lot of time and created a set of rules you could begin with I don’t want anybody to just adopt them willy nilly. I want you to really customize them for yourself. But we only talked about one rule today there are all sorts of different types of rules and it’s really good to see the different plans is one for paleo. There’s one for vegan there’s one for macrobiotic, what’s the calorie counters, etc, etc.
The last thing that comes with all this is I’ll distribute a set of full length interviews, where I’ve actually coached people on a recording to work with us. We’ve talked entirely in theory about how this works today, but it’s a whole other experience to listen to people go through the anxiety and depression and fear and then excitement about making rules for themselves and committing to them and That’s how you really get it is by hearing how other people do it.
So I distribute those for free. You can also find them on the blog. So go to and click the free Big Red reader bonus, but never binge again, calm and you’ll get all that good stuff and it’s all free. I look forward to getting to know you more and following. You know what it is that you’re doing. And I wish you I wish you well. Thanks, Bill. Maybe I’ll interview you a better story sometimes for my for my readers. Yeah, please do.
That’s it for this episode. Thank you so much for tuning in and sending me your feedback. I truly appreciate it. I love them. I guess I’m making a difference to you and that you are relating to their experiences, and that hearing how others have overcome adversity is helpful in your own journey of moving beyond life’s challenges. If you enjoyed this episode, and if you feel that it might be helpful to someone you know, to share it with them.
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