Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from a Binge Eating disorder? Or are you like me when it comes to certain foods you just eat it all even if you don't really feel like it anymore? This episode is for you!
This week I had the pleasure of being joined by Dr Glenn Livingston, who has a fascinating story and a tremendous amount of expertise when it comes to binge eating recovery.
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 out of obesity and food prison to a normal, healthy weight and a much more lighthearted relationship with food.
We are talking about many things; he takes us through his journey and his recovery, about working on the other side of the aisle and now having had a million readers of his book.
How his system works; What is the "inner-pig" and how do you beat your food demons?
Basically he tells us how you can recover PERMANENTLY from a binge eating disorder, and it's NOT by going on yet another diet!
You can find Glenn, and his system, on all forms of social media;
On his website; https://www.neverbingeagain.com/ where you can also get a FREE copy of his book!
In the news this week This interesting little article on the BBC website talking about saturadted fat in dairy not being as bad as some thought it was. This won't exactly come as news to those who pay attention to diet (and cultural habits around the world) so I talk a bit about the issue with studies into food and health related issues and the amount of time it take them to filter through into the mainstream (including the NHS). Here is a link to the study BTW>
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Playing us out this week; "Angels we have heard on high" by Dreamlamp
Hey, welcome to the Healthy Postnatal Body Podcast with your postnatal expert Peter Lap. That my friends, as always, would be me. This is the podcast for the 26th of December. You know what that means? The 26th. So that means Christmas is gone. Christmas Eve has been done, Christmas day has been done. It's Boxing Day today, but it's the end of Boxing Day by the time this comes out, and that means it's all over with for yet another year. I hope everybody's happy. I hope everybody had a great time. I mentioned the date before the music starts. So, you know, I have a guest on and of course, because I promise you last week that I would have this guest on Dr. Glenn Livingston, who is a psychologist and was a long-time CEO of a consulting firm which serviced several clients in the food industry.
And, you know, the guy had some overeating issues himself, some binge eating issues, and he resolved them in a rather fascinating way. I really liked this.
He wrote the book, Never Binge Again. Stick around and get a free copy from me, because that's the sort of guy he is. It's a wonderful interview. I think you'll get a lot from this. If you have a problem with binge eating, I suggest you listen to this one because he shares some insights that I think are really, really valuable without further ado. Here we go.
So you've gone from having your own issues with food to being a clinical psychologist. And from working for the food industry to now being on the other side of the fence. Could you tell us a bit about your journey?
Yeah. Well, I was a clinical psychologist while I was having my own issues with food actually, and I didn't solve it until I was two or three decades into that.
So I guess; when I was about 17, I figured out that if I worked out for a couple of hours a day, I could eat whatever I wanted to; a whole pizza, box of muffins, box of doughnuts, half a box of chocolate bars, whatever I wanted to. And when I got a little older and I'm 22-23 years old, I was married. My metabolism slowed down a little bit, and I'm commuting 2 hours a day in each direction to see patients and go to school. I just didn't have the time. I could barely work out a half hour a week.
And I found that the food had a life of its own. It just kept calling to me. And I didn't get fat right away. But what did happen right away was that I would feel obsessed with the food. I'd be sitting with a suicidal patient and thinking, what kind of get the next pizza. And that really bothered me. I'm from a family of 17 psychologists and psychotherapists; Yeah, the standing joke is that if something breaks in the house, everybody knows how to ask it how it feels, but nobody knows how to fix it.
But all kidding aside, it was really important to me to be a good doctor. It's the most important thing to me.
And being a good doctor involves lending your soul to people. It's really not just an intellectual endeavour. It's more like you have to get them to love and trust you enough to reach out of their comfort zone. So even if you do know what's wrong with them and you have the solution, they won't take it until you are really there and present and connected to them. And this is really interfering because I'd be obsessing about food.
I then started to get a little heavier, and I was bothered by that because I'm kind of an athletic person, and I decided to go try to get some help.
And being a psychologist, I figured it must be a psychological problem. So I tried to “love myself thin”, for lack of a better term, I went to see the best psychiatrist and psychologist in and around the New York area. I took medication, I went to Overeaters Anonymous for a couple of years. Everything was a journey I don't regret taking, because it made me a deeper, more spiritual, whole person. But I get a little better and a lot fatter, a little better and a lot fatter. And it just wasn't working. It just wasn't helping.
Eventually, through a series of events, I came to the conclusion that I had the wrong paradigm. That I couldn't really love myself then because I was trying to heal the hole in my heart so it wouldn't heal the hole in my stomach. Right?
I decided that doesn't really work. And what I really needed to do was to become more of the Alpha dog of my own mind. And if an Alpha Wolf is challenged for leadership, it doesn't say, “oh my goodness, someone needs a hug”. It says, it growls on it snarls; “Get back in line or I'll kill you”, right?
Glenn; Here’s what convinced me of that. First of all, my ex-wife was traveling a lot for business, and I didn't have a commute. I worked at home, so I had a lot of time on my hands.
I didn't have kids, so I had a second career. I started doing consulting for Fortune 500 companies. It's kind of on the wrong side of the warrant to tell you the truth, I feel guilty about it now, but they were paying me an awful lot of money.
And I was like a hidden persuader. I was doing these psychological research studies to figure out how to sell more sugar and also pharmaceutical drugs. They were very effective also. But because of that, I saw what was happening inside the corporations and how they were spending millions, if not billions of dollars, to engineer these hyper palatable concentrations of starch and sugar and fat and excito-toxins. And it was all designed to hit the reptilian brain, to hit the bliss point in the reptilian brain without giving us enough nutrition to feel satisfied. And that's relevant on several levels. First of all, if you don't have enough nutrition to feel satisfied, you're creating an addiction. Secondly, the reptilian brain does not know love. The reptilian brain looks at something in the environment and says, Do I eat it? Do I mate with it, or do I kill it? Eat, mate or kill like a bad college drinking game? Right, Peter?
It's the mammalian brain of the neocortex that say, before you eat meat or kill that thing, what impact will that have on the people that you love, on your tribe and your family? And it's really up in the neocortex that says, “Well, before you eat meat or kill that thing, what impact does this have on your long term goals, like weight loss or health or fitness?” Right?
So the reason that was relevant to me in flipping my paradigm was because these are two very strong outside forces that have nothing to do with whether my mom loved me enough or not or whether I was in a bad marriage or not. It's billions of dollars in the big food industry targeting the reptilian brain that doesn't know anything about all this love and psychology stuff.
Peter; Yeah, of course.
Then I realized that the advertising industry was equally at fault, and they were capable of convincing you that you needed this stuff. So people think advertising doesn't affect them. But advertising affects you more when you think it doesn't affect you because your sales resistance is down. So they've got you right where they want you.
And I saw all kinds of things going on. For example, I was friendly with the VP of a major food-bar manufacturer, and he told me the most profitable insight. As he was leaving the company he said this, “the most profitable insight was taking the vitamins out of the bar and putting the money into the packaging instead”.
So it's profitable to fool us into thinking it's healthy because they had a multi cart coloured, vibrant, diverse coloured package, which in nature, when you encounter diverse, bright, multi colours, should be an indication that there are diverse micronutrients available.
That's why we say to eat the rainbow. Green lettuce, red tomatoes, blueberries, purple cabbage, you eat the yellow carrots, you're getting a diversity of micronutrients. But in this case, they were faking us out. And it's not just the food bar manufacturers, it's across the whole industry.
None of these things had anything to do with my personal psychology. So I said, that's interesting. Then I looked at some biological parallels, and I got this from Jack Trimpey. He wrote a book called Rational Recovery, and he works with black and white addictions, not so much food and more drugs and alcohol. Although I think he does have a book on food now.
And he pointed out that the requirement that we manage our impulse is inherent to civilization. So if you really, really have to pee and you're in the middle of a business meeting. You don't just pee on the floor because we're part of a civilization. You repress, or supress, that impulse, you tell your bladder. “I hear you. I know we're going to have to take care of this in an appropriate way sooner or later, but I will dictate the time and the place in the matter in which we express this impulse”.
So it's not damaging. So it's consistent with my goals in civilization. Same thing with our reproductive organs. If you see a very attractive woman on the street, you don't run off and kiss her right away. You approach her in a particular way at a time and appropriate manner, our civilization has norms for that. Otherwise, you get in a lot of trouble.
And actually, I don't approach them at all because I'm kind of shy.
I'm running the other way, but that's another story.
And here's what I did. There was a study involved also, but just in the interest of time: what I wound up doing was something a little crazy.
I wasn't going to publish this. I was not trying to be a famous psychologist. I was just trying to get better. And I decided that I had an inner pig inside of me.
I was going to call my reptilian brain my inner pig. I'm a sophisticated psychologist and I am on all types of TV and radio shows and everything like that. But I decided for my own purposes that I was going to call my reptilian brain my inner pig.
And then I was going to draw very clear lines between healthy and unhealthy behaviour so that I would know when the inner pig was active. So I decided that, for example, I would never have chocolate on a weekday again. That was the first line that I drew. That way, if I heard a little voice inside of me after a really hard work, I think, Glenn, you just worked out so hard, you're not going to gain any weight. Go ahead and get that chocolate bar on the counter with your coffee. It will be just as easy to start tomorrow. That's starting it tomorrow. Let's have it right now. I would say that's not me, that's my inner pig, chocolate on a Wednesday is pig slap. I don't need pig slap. I don't let farm animals tell me what to do.
I know it's ridiculous, but I needed something that primitive to wake me up, apparently, and it would give me those extra microseconds at the moment of impulse to make the right choice. If I wanted to. I didn't always make the right choice, so it wasn't a miracle. What was a miracle was that it wiped away all the confusion, all the thoughts about, like, maybe I haven't worked out my emotional complex, and maybe I have to work on my communication. And maybe I need more love…. which maybe all those things were true, but they didn't have anything to do with why I was overeating. It wipes all that out.
I no longer felt powerless and confused. I felt like I was in control. Sometimes I decided that I wanted to make the wrong decision anyway.
So fast forward a couple of years of experimenting with this and experimenting with different kinds of rules, recognizing that it was silly for me to make rules that I wanted to break. Why don't I make rules that I won't break? So I started making kind of easier rules.
But ultimately, I recognize that the activation of the binge mechanism like a switch that flips in your brain that says, dislodge your jaw and empty the delicatessen tray into it. It most likely is misfiring of the emergency response system inside of us.
We have two nervous systems. We have the sympathetic nervous system and a parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is designed to take action. It's the emergency response system, right? Feast or famine? Fight or flight. Yeah.
And what probably is happening in the binge situation is that we have not taken care of ourselves well enough. Maybe we've been on a diet for too long or too severe a diet, and we've signalled the brain that we're in an environment of scarcity. And if you think about it from an evolutionary basis, if we lived in an environment where calories and nutrition were scarce, as soon as you came upon calories, you'd have to hoard them, get as many as you could. And so probably that's what's happening. And you can fix that, in part by flooding your body with nutrition at a cycle or deficit to lose weight rather than trying to get it all off on a crash diet.
But because I knew that this was an activation of the emergency response system, I then also knew that the things that you could do to activate the other nervous system and deactivate the emergency response system would be helpful.
One of the first things that works to deactivate the emergency response system is breathing. It sounds kind of trite, but hear me out for a second. If you breathe in. If you breathe in for shorter than you breathe out, you're signalling your brain that you're not in an emergency situation.
If you were being chased by a hungry bear, you would have to get as much oxygen as you could as quickly as you could, because you go right. But if you take a breath in for a count of seven and a breath out for a count of eleven, and you do that consistently, your brain knows that you're probably not being chased by a hungry bear.
Glenn: So the moment I would hear my pig squealing. “Hey, Glenn, it's okay. You worked out hard that’s enough. You might as well just start tomorrow, which is easy.” I would say: that's not me. That's my own pig squealing for pig slop.
That means the emergency system is activated. I have to do something. So I take a breath. Maybe I take three breaths, 3nr 7-11 breaths, like that. Once I was a little calmer, I would write down what the pig was saying. Writing is an upper brain activity. Binging is a lower brain activity. If you were being chased by a hungry bear, you wouldn't have time to write.
Peter: That makes sense.
Glenn: Yeah. So I would write it down in full, and then I would look for the ….I'm sorry….. Then I would take another 7-11 breath. Because writing down what the pig is saying reactivates the emergency response system a little bit. So you want to take another little breath? Not a little breath, but another 7-eleven breath or two.
And then I would look very carefully at what the pig was saying. And I'd ask myself, Where is the logical fallacy?
How is the pig wrong? Because the pig usually wins by telling a half truth, so it's deductive, with a bigger lie so that it gets what it wants. So in this case, the half truth is; if I were only to have one chocolate bar, I probably would not gain weight after working out. That's probably true.
The likelihood of me having one chocolate bar is infinitesimally small. If you know me and chocolate, anybody that's really a binge eater, there's no point in just having one chocolate bar. Some people want me to teach them how to do that, and I do. I'm not judgmental: if you want to keep having chocolate, that's fine. But for me, no. The other thing that the pig was lying about in this instance was that it's not actually just as easy to start your diet tomorrow. Because by the principles of neurology, there's this thing called neuroplasticity. It says what “fires together, wires together”. So if you have a craving today and you indulge that craving today, you're going to make that link even stronger, which means tomorrow your craving is going to be stronger.
Not only will you make the craving stronger, but if you have a thought of justification today, it's just as easy to start tomorrow. And then you reinforce that thought of justification. You're more likely to have that thought tomorrow.
So if you reinforce it with sugar or flour. So when you actually eat today, when you have the chocolate today, you're digging a deeper hole. If you're in a hole, you got to stop digging. You're going to be more likely to binge again tomorrow. The only time that you can be healthy is now. You always use the present moment to eat healthy, and then you'll be okay. That's an example of disempowering those lies that the pig was telling me. I kept a journal about this for about eight years. It's full of all the different things that pig told me, that's what eventually became the book, and I got relatively thin. I used to be like somewhere between 280-300. I stopped weighing myself, so I don't really know. And I’m hovering in the low 200s now.
But about eight years down the road, I was back to the right weight again, and I was healthy and I felt like I was in control. And this really worked.
It was just my private secret, this little crazy journal that I kept. And then I had a minor stake in a publishing company. Given all the business deals I've been in and the CEO happened to call me and say, “Glenn, we need to write our own book and publish our own book instead of going after other authorss, because we need to prove that we know what we're doing and these other offers are not going to stay in it for the long run. And they're not going to do all the marketing tests we want to do. So let's write a book and prove that we know what we're doing”. And I sent him this journal. He said, oh, this is amazing. Trying to get into a book, turn it into a book. I sent him the book. He calls me back, and he says: Glenn I don't need Pigslop. I don't let farm animals tell me what to do and donuts and pigslop. I don't eat Donuts. I don’t let farm animals tell me what to do.
He proceeds to lose almost 100lbs over the course of about 18 months. And so along the way, we published it. I had no idea how well it was going to do.
I've been in marketing for 20 years. So has he. But we kind of sort of knew what we were doing, but it kind of makes sense. There's just this thing that I discovered that actually worked, and I was being just kind of disclosing what actually happened.
And it took a lot of time. And I kind of wrote it over eight years.
Now we have a million readers, and people don't quite recognize me by name, but they will often point at me in a bookstore and say, Pig Guy, so that's my story. That's what I do.
Peter; I like an awful lot about this, because obviously, before you came on, I had a look at everything, and it's interesting how the world responds to, let's say, a different approach. You'll have come across this: a lot of some reviews, which is one of the reasons I thought, yeah, I need to have this guy on my podcast. Some reviews were like: “He calls it the Pig and that's offensive.”. And I immediately thought, yeah but wait a minute. I bet you almost any money. (And that’s before I'd gone through the book. And before I read that.) That he calls you a pig, it's the fight or flight monkey. It has to be inner-primate, because nobody out there is saying, you have to shame yourself thin because loving yourself and shaming yourself in also kind of doesn't work.
But what I really loved about your thing is that, obviously I’ve read through the book and all that, and you talk so much about taking personal responsibility for your diet. So pick what works for you, and then own that! Rather than going, I believe it's a straight up passage from the book. Rather than going: “I pick a diet. So keto, or I buy a diet book, and I follow the rules of the diet book because your approach is saying that that gives you an out and that’s why the diet fails.
Glenn; The pig will eventually say that diet Guru's book is no good. We're going to have to just keep binging until we find another one. And it will go from book to book to book to book.
I would say my program is diet agnostic. I have a particular philosophy that I follow, but most people know what it means to eat healthy for them. Maybe it's not the objectively 100% healthiest diet, but it's better to eat 75% of the right thing and stop binging than to keep binging while you're trying to follow someone else's diet that you're not going to follow.
Binge eating is a really discreet entity. There are ….People do so much damage. It takes days to recover from every binge. They're losing half their life to sitting and sweating and feeling bloated on the couch. They're risking diabetes and strokes and all kinds of horrible end of life scenarios. And I just want to get people to stop binging.
Peter; Because that's the thing, isn't it?
Binge eating is completely different from almost normal …air quotes because it's an audio only podcast. I have to do the air quotes thing. Normal overeating that we in the west especially are very guilty of just overconsumption of calories because calories are more abundant and more easily accessible. Binge eating is really a different psychologically. Is it completely different?
Glenn: It's proven to be a discreet entity now. In the DSM five, there's a very specific set of criteria which isolates a group of people who are qualitatively and quantitatively different in the frequency with which they over-eat by mass quantities, in the feelings of self loathing and depression and anxiety go along with it. In the types of foods they ingest and the physical after effects. It's a discrete clinical entity. That doesn't mean by the way, that you can't make serious trouble with normal overeating.
Peter: Of course.
Glenn: I mean, 42% of the culture is obese, but 2.8% of the culture is a binge eater, and they seem to respond more specifically to a particular type of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy. So it is a discrete entity. This technique works for anybody who's eating beyond their own best judgment.
But the best way I could describe binge eating is once in a while, this thing comes over you and it feels like someone's put a gun to your head and said, “you've got to eat everything in sight”.
That's what it feels like. It's not like, well, I had an extra piece of cake at dinner or I had an extra meal at midnight. I've got to open my mouth and eat everything in sight until I just can't take any more. And that's what binge eating is.
Peter: Yeah. So it's different. I did a podcast interview during the week with somebody where we were discussing certain things.
And we were discussing trigger foods and not foods that are like, “oh, this brings an emotional eating response”. But just like I was saying to them, if I start my day by having bread for breakfast.
Which never happens, which is why I don't have bread for breakfast. I will finish the loaf that day. That will happen. This is why I do not buy the bread. Now, if I have a sandwich at lunchtime, I don't have that issue. Right. So I know that if I have it for breakfast.
And one of the reasons I like your book, I'm not like a problem binge eater or anything like that. I weigh about 94 kg. I don't think about food too much, but there are certain foods that on a much more “primal” if that is the word for it, if I'm not awake yet, so to speak. And the first thing through my mouth is a piece of bread. It's like that part of my brain has woken up and I just go, “oh, boy, you've got bread in the bread bin”, and then it becomes exactly like that half justification that come on, you trained hard today. Carbs are good for you after doing a long run. Bread is carbs. This is what you don't want to throw it out.
I think a lot of my generation's problems come from the “waste not want not” sort of thing. “You don't want to throw it out”. “The kids starving in Africa, so eat all the bread”.
And the reason I like your book is just go, it's not me talking. I am in control of the choice that I make, but it's not me telling myself..
Glenn: it's this thing in your brainstem. Yeah. And your neocortex is trying to make sense of it by assigning words to it. But it's this thing in your brainstorm.
Peter; Yeah. And it's insane when you think about it, because I'm a fairly intelligent guy. I like to think so. I've been to school, so to speak.
Glenn: You seem like a smart guy.
Peter: Thank you very much. I've been doing this for a while. I've been in the industry for a while. I know all the things, all the games where you're talking about advertising and labelling and all those. I know this stuff. And yet a lot of this stuff still works on me even a little bit. Therefore, I think when you're talking about ownership, taking personal responsibility for your diet and not in a “you are to blame if it goes wrong”. But more of me, the human is in charge rather than me.
Glenn: Yeah. And it's antithetical to the disease mentality because the mentality in our culture that says that addiction is a disease, that there's no human defence against these impulses.
And that the only treatment are the twelve step programs, which there's not really evidence that works, actually. So it's antithetical to that.
In our culture world. We're taught that to say, “the devil made me do it” like I'm not really responsible. There's just this overwhelming, mysterious force inside of me, and it's not so mysterious.
It's a bunch of fat cats in white suits with moustaches who are laughing all the way to the bank. Right? When you're looking for love at the bottom of a bag or a box or a container, it's not so mysterious. You need to erect a defense against it. It takes a little bit of work. You construct some rules, you teach yourself some breathing techniques. You put the hard work of taking that 10 or 15 minutes.
When you're going through the first couple of weeks of cravings and feeling a little torture, you put the hard work in to stop the train in its tracks and redirect it and build yourself a set of logical understandings of the way you typically fool yourself and why it's wrong.
And you practice that, you rehearse that and then you're free.
Then you don't have to live with this torture anymore. So I'm trying to convince people to take responsibility and do the work and at all cost, avoid saying that the devil made me do what I can't help myself. Because while that relieves you of a sense of guilt or shame, I don't really want you to feel guilt and shame.
But while it relieves you of a sense of guilt and shame, it does so at the expense of removing your personal power. And it leaves you feeling helpless and powerless and confused. And that's why I spent decades with my face buried in a box of Poptarts.
Peter: Yeah. Because the last thing you need when dealing with something like this, it's a sense of powerlessness, right? I mean, the powers you're fighting are huge. Like you said, you're fighting advertising companies. You're fighting Doritos company, which has a £40,000 machine sitting in their production line to make sure that it crunches just right. So you can just hit your bliss point as you're crunching on the thing. And that's £40000 on every single production line, and they spend millions on designing the thing. So those are the things you're fighting. And if you then say,” I am powerless over this”. I think you're right. You can say, okay,” it's going to be difficult”, sure. But you're up against very powerful things. The message that targeting what did you say? The inner pig. So your primal self is a very powerful message, and we can't switch the television off and Facebook and all that sort of stuff, right? We will always be subjected to it, especially with the packaging and all that.
And again, I was talking to someone earlier on a different podcast. And what we were saying that supermarket routing is an interesting thing in this as well. When I was growing up 20-30 years ago, you're probably the same when you walked into a supermarket, the supermarket opened with the fresh fruit and vegetable section. That was it. That was the first thing you walked into because they were convincing people to shop in the supermarket instead of the local market, and they still wanted that market feel.
What I find now, if I walk into Tescos, is first we have the ready made sandwiches with the crisps and the chocolate, so I can quickly grab some of that.
Glenn: That's a really good point. I didn't know that. Actually, that is true.
Peter: It's because we've now been trained already to shop at the supermarket anyway. So at least in Edinburgh, where I stay we do, we don't shop at the local market anymore. So they don't have to train us to do that. It now takes effort to go to the fruit and veg first, and then,
Glenn: Yeah, and it's more profitable for them to sell all the package goods. Oh, yeah.
Peter: And it looks so much tastier because don't get me wrong. I like an apple, but it doesn't look as nice as one of those peanut bars or something.
Glenn: And the reason for that, somepeople say they don't like fruit and vegetables, so they feel like it's hopeless. But there's a very specific process which can be reversed that will make it not so hopeless. It's called down-regulation. And if you present a super-sized stimulus to the nervous system, like a chocolate bar every day, every day, every day, then your taste buds and your dopaminergic pleasure system is not going to respond with the same intensity that it's supposed to to the natural sugars in an apple or even in lettuce or celery.
And so you're not going to enjoy fruits or vegetables and you're kind of dead in your taste. But the same way if you sleep underneath the subway after a couple of weeks, you don't hear it anymore. Now, the good news is… I just want to finish the bad news. Another piece of this bad news is that you can down regulate so much that it starts to feel impossible to experience pleasure from any food. And then it kind of extends to life as a whole.
And so people feel like the only pleasure in life comes from these bags and boxes and containers that you have to have the chocolate bar just to feel normal. That's true addiction.
The good news is that if you stop eating the chocolate bar every day, or you seriously restrict, it that your taste buds will start to up regulate and your dopamine systems will start to up regulate and faster than you might think in the course of about two months, they probably double the sensitivity.
And it feels like life comes alive again. For that period, you're going to feel like life is too boring. It's to be expected. It's supposed to feel too boring because you’ re removing all of the stimuli. We live in a society, not just with food, but with car crashes and naked women and scene changes on television. Fast, fast. We're constantly stimulated. We're living in the screens, we're living in our phones. We're on Facebook all the time. We are way more stimulated than nature intended.
And so when you're trying to break free of the addiction, you're going to go through a period of anhedonia where you feel like you don't have any pleasure in your life, and then you're going to feel bored for a period of time. Stay with that. Let your system regulate. And the other thing that will happen is that the natural energies in your psyche, instead of being sucked to the food sucked to the food sucks to the food, sucked to the food all the time, they'll start to shift towards things that are more meaningful to you as long as you don't pick up another addiction.
So on the other side of that boredom is a sense of purpose is the sense of meaning is the feeling of presence and mindfulness in life. But the only way out is through.
Unfortunately, because you have to let your system up regulate again.
Peter: Yeah. And that's fascinating, because that reminded me of one of my clients was very ill for a long time, one of those chronic illnesses that no one really diagnosed.
So she started cutting things out of her life. One of the things being sugar, as in highly refined sugars. All of them. And that was obviously, as you can imagine, it's quite a tricky thing to do in today's world. And she then started: basically when she was baking, when she was cooking, she just started using natural sugar. So when she bakes a cake, there will be figs or dates or something like that in it. And it's interesting. The reason I bring it up is because I absolutely love her cakes. I can't have a store bought sort of thing. They are too sweet for me because I don't tend to have much sugar in my life. And therefore a store bought things too much of a hit. It's almost just an overload.
Peter: So I like her cakes. The fun thing is that her kids also love her cakes. Yet when she has other children visiting on sleepovers and all that sort of stuff, they tend to leave half the cake, they tend to have a couple of bites, and they just cake is not very tasty. And I suppose we are really with what you're talking about. We are really setting our kids up with that sort of stimulus overload. I'm guessing 10 to 15 years from now, you're going to have a lot more people buying your books, but they'll be a lot younger readership.
Glenn: Not only that, I think we're going to have a phenomenon where children have never experienced what fruit and vegetables are supposed to taste like.
Glenn: right. We'll have never experienced it, and I'll have no interest in experiencing it. And then probably we'll develop medications and injections and pills and potions to..
Peter: As long as we can keep selling the sugar stuff.
Glenn: Yes yeah. “We sell the problem and sell the cure”, right?
Peter: Yes. Exactly. But it's an interesting one that when you mentioned loving yourself in and all that sort of stuff because your approach being so, it's not really radically different, because it reads it. But you're not abandoning self-care, and you're not abandoning self-love. If anything, you preach more of it by taking responsibility.
Glenn: because every food choice you have the opportunity for self-harm or self-love. And when you take control, you're actually loving yourself more.
Also, children, when they gain control over their bodily functions, their self-esteem increases, it doesn't decrease. When they become potty trained it’s “Mummy. Oh, what a big boy. What a big girl you are.” And now all of a sudden, their radius of locomotion goes up because they can go farther from home now, they can go to school. They couldn't really go to school before they were potty trained. And so we get more responsibilities and more freedom because of the discipline. Freedom rest on discipline. Self-esteem rest on discipline.
The idea that I was calling myself a pig or that I want people to call themselves a pig. It reflects a cursory reading. Just a really quick reading of the book.
What I'm really doing is teaching a form of frustration, tolerance and impulse control in an allegorical form. Where you're personifying the evil part and the good part, and you're able to very carefully and completely separate the constructive from destructive thoughts.
And when you do that, you can pull away from the destructive thoughts and identify yourself more with the constructive thoughts. Also, at the moment of impulse, it's a very powerful drive that's taking over.
It's the emergency response system. And if you go at it with a very soft, loving approach, you're unlikely to lull it back into complacency.
You need something aggressive to wake yourself up, so you don't pay attention to this, right. So that's why we do that. You don't have to call it a pig. This works just..It’s what I called it, because I don't know. I'm a nut. It reflected my intense frustration with myself.
It reflected me being utterly sick and tired of all the years that I spent obsessing about food and carrying around more weight than I should have and feeling “less than” and ashamed. And it reflected all of that and the shame lifted once I separated from that.
Peter: Yeah. Because it is exactly like what you said. It is not you making those choices.
Glenn: but you can call it a food monster. Don't call or a wild boar or a junkyard dog or your little Gremlin or Goblin. Don't call it something that you think is a cute pet.
Peter: Yeah, I actually caught that in the book as well
Glenn: ..Because by definition, what you want to do is define your food monster or your pig as all the thoughts and feelings that suggest that you'll ever break your best laid plans from now until the day you die. Right?
That's what the pig is. By definition, that entity is sociopathic. It's got no concern for your wellbeing. It's got no concern for your loved ones. It's got no concern for your health or your fitness or your best thoughts or contributions. All it wants is to get pig slop. All it wants is to have you break the lines and feel bad about yourself. So why do you want to treat it? Well, why do you want to nurture this thing?
Peter: It's a very abusive relationship, isn't it?
Like you said, I find.. that if I were to give into that sort of thing once. It's like you said, “start the diet tomorrow”. But I'm not in control of tomorrow.
Glenn: This thing is your mortal enemy. This thing will kill you over time. People will make jokes about it. And we live in a society that passively agrees to slow-suicide with food while everybody laughs about it. But this thing is killing you, will kill you. This is life and death stuff. And so I'm trying to wake people up and say, “Pull yourself apart from these thoughts”. Get control. Get yourself eating healthy.
Peter: Yeah, because this is serious business, because I said this, the food industry is the only industry that I know, really the only industry that I know. that is actively telling you you do not have time to decide what you eat. Right, to decide what to buy, to decide to take care of yourself. There is not another industry, maybe the tobacco industry, but at least they switched to vaping. They found a different way to make money of people making bad choices. But there isn't really an industry that isn't judged that is actually lauded in the same way that other industries are as saying, “this is wonderful. They're doing wonderful work. They're throwing money at the problem”. but it's actively trying to make their customers make bad decisions on a daily basis.
I always say the decision what you put in your mouth, what you eat is probably the most important decision you make for your health every single day.
And yet you have the industry that is selling you that stuff is telling you “don't think about it too much. Just buy what you want and don't think about it too much”.
Glenn: It's not even just don't think about it. It's fooling you into thinking that you're supposed to have their stuff impulsively.
Peter: Yeah, that's right.
Glenn: There's a story that Robert Childini tells about. He's teaching a marketing lesson, but it's very relevant to what the food industry is doing.
There are three fish; fish A, B and C. Fish A is a big fish, tends to get a lot of seaweed and stuff caught in its teeth. Fish B is a little fish that likes to eat seaweed and the little fish.
Fish B has learned to do a dance that puts Fish A in a trance. Fish A opens its mouth and Fish B comes and cleans out its teeth. Right? It's a symbiotic relationship is developed over millions of years. The fish B gets a meal. Fish A gets his teeth cleaned. Everybody wins. Along comes Fish C.
Fish C is a predatory fish. It mimics the dance that Fish B does and puts Fish A in a trance. Except when Fish C sees Fish A in a trance, it goes in and it eats Fish A lips.
It bites them and pulls them apart. Fish C wins. Fish A loses.
That's what's going on in the food industry, in my not so humble opinion. When you take the vitamins out of the bar and you put them into the packaging, you're being like Fish C putting Fish A in a trance, tell you; “don't think about it. Just this is where all the good stuff is”. Except it isn't.
Right now. Fish C gets your money. Fish C wins. Fish A gets nothing, right? Fish A does not get the meal it was supposed to get. That's more of an analogy of what the food industry is doing than just telling you. “Don't think about it too much”.”I want you to believe this is good for you”, that's what they're doing. I'm going to get sued sooner or later.
Peter: But then again, they'd have to publicize what they're doing. That's the thing I think we are all and I hammer the point about labels a lot. As in read the labels, don't read the slogans and even read the labels, know what you're looking for. As in know what certain phrases on the back of a pizza box actually mean.
Just because something says it's artisan made or homemade. There's a brand in the UK. I won't name them because then I will be in trouble. But there's two very healthy looking boys at the front of the packaging that said “Oh we started making this in our local shop” and all that sort of stuff. Yeah. But then you sold that to a big multinational. You have nothing to do with business anymore, right? But they're still selling it as those two guys. No, we're still making it in the back of the shop with all natural ingredients. It would be the back of their vegan pizza box. And there's 70. I counted them, 70 ingredients on there. And that's a pizza Margarita. Now you live in the New York area. Am I right?
Glenn: I grew up in the New York area. I live in Florida.
Peter; Right. So then your somewhat familiar with good pizza. (jokingly)
Glenn: Only a few thousand boxes.
Peter; Exactly. So you know how many ingredients go in a pizza and it's not 70. It just isn't. There aren't 70 ingredients in a good, well made, nice tasty pizza. Right. And definitely not in a healthy version of one, but they're still selling it that way.
Glenn; What I call that is the predation on the consumer's desire for plausible deniability, because what the consumer really wants, they don't really want healthy food.
I mean, some of them do, but most of them they want an excuse. They want to plausibly be able to deny that they're eating something bad for them. And so they'll say to themselves, Well, at least it's vegan, right? Well, I had a pizza, but it was a vegan pizza.
It doesn't matter that it came with 70 carcinogens at the same time, but at least it was a vegan pizza. Or I had these potato chips made with avocado oil. It doesn't matter that when you heat the oil and become carcinogenic or the Acrylamide or the Glycemic index or anything like that, it's made with avocado oil.
That's why I say that the people in these companies are not necessarily evil because this is what the market really wants.
The solution really is a thoughtful, introspective, well considered look at what actually is healthy and then figuring out how you're being convinced to eat otherwise and talking yourself out of it.
Peter: Exactly. And then, like you said, write your stuff down. I think that is if you have any of this sort of stuff when you start any of this sort of journey, any sort of dieting journey. I always tell people this be mindful of what you're doing, and that's very much. That what I got from your book is just be aware of every single stage that you do. So slow yourself down when the urge hits you, start your breathing, write stuff down. What causes this? What am I doing? What is it telling me and all of us? It sounds like an eight year journey of just extreme, almost awareness of you
Glenn: . But it doesn't take eight years to get better anymore.
Peter: Because you've done the work, and that's the nice thing about the book. So on that happy note because I know you're a ridiculously busy man on a ridiculously busy schedule. Is there anything else you wanted to touch on other than telling our listeners where they can find the book?
Glenn: I'm good. It's not as complicated as it sounds. Okay. I'd like to give you all a free copy of the book in Kindle look or PDF format.
Glenn; Go to NeverBingeAgain.com and click the big red button. When you do that and sign up for the written bonus list, you'll get that free copy.
You will also get a set of Food Plan starter templates. The program is Diet-Agnostic, so we set up a set of sample rules you can modify for yourself no matter what your dietary philosophy is. Whether you're ketogenic or macrobiotic or high carb or low carb or point counting, you’re calorie counting or whole foods plant based or whatever you are. You'll get a set of templates you modify it for yourself. And then I also recorded a whole bunch of full-length sessions because I know this sounds weird.
Like, why does Peter have this doctor around with a weird pig inside of him? It doesn't make sense. It sounds abstract. It sounds harsh.
But if you listen to the full-length coaching sessions, you'll see that it's a very empathic loving, self-esteem enhancing process that takes people from feeling in utter despair, hopeless powerless about ever overcoming their food problems to feeling confident, enthusiastic and hopeful in just one session. Never BingeAgain.com. Click the big red button.
Peter: Awesome. Thanks very much for that, Glenn.
Glenn: Thanks, Peter.
Peter: And that, my friends, is where we ended our little chat. Thanks very much to Glenn for giving up his time. Giving up a free copy of the book. I will link to all this stuff. And like I said, I think ….I've gone through the book. I've read it. I think there's a lot of good stuff in there.
I know some people might have a different approach to diet and all that sort of stuff. This is really not targeted at someone who's just looking to lose a few pounds and, you know just say, overeats a little bit every day. This is how to stop binge eating.
It's a good read for people that are like that sit down and that can't stop eating. That can’t stop, like he said, that can’t stop thinking about food that can't get out of the habit.
It's an interesting approach. I like it. Like I said, I highly recommend you read this if you are falling in that category of eater, of overeater, or even just if you're like a normal person. You know, like me. Like I said in the interview, if I start my day on bread, I'll be basically eating bread all day. It's like my body calls out for that. And that is not something I particularly enjoy. And I think this book kind of holds some truths. So I'm going to go over it again, have a little read through.
Like I said, he gives away the book for free to everybody listening. So that's much appreciated.
Right? What else do we have? Is there any news this week? Well, I think there is indeed there is.
As you can tell, that bit was pre-recorded. I did a bit already. And now it's Friday afternoon as I'm recording this bit. Two days, two days. I'm getting two days off.
So I'm just recording this bit, smashing this out the park. And that means I have Christmas Day and Boxing Day off. Two days in a row, which for me, is unheard of everybody who knows me knows that's unheard of. I won't even look at a computer. It'll just be me, my wife, the dogs, the cats, Christmas food it will be amazing. And we'll just slow right down and get some stuff done.
Right on the BBC website. They had a little story asking “is some saturated fat better for our health than we think now?”.
Of course, this is one of those headlines that is not really that accurate, but it's the BBC, so we kind of have to make do with any sort of news website.
It links to a study that was done in Sweden where researchers tracked about 4000, I believe, Swedish 60-year-olds for more than 16 years and found people with the highest intakes of dairy had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those with low intakes. And it didn't find a link between high intakes of dairy and increase the risk of death. Now the Swedes consume a tremendous amount of dairy. And to be fair, they didn't look at the kind of dairy that people took here.
But this is one of those sort of things that a lot of people, as my chair creaks, a lot of people already knew.
We already knew that milk isn't that bad for you, that certain cheese and all that sort of stuff, aren’t actually that bad for you. And Dutch people will, of course, be delighted to hear this.
Because we're born drinking milk and we continue our entire life drinking copious quantities of milk. I basically have full fat, the Graham’s Dairy gold top bottle. I drink some of that every single day just because I like it, because, like I said, I'm Dutch and it keeps my bone healthy. That's how we were raised. That's how we're all six foot three, six foot four and British people are all midgets.
But we already knew that this stuff wasn't really that bad for our cardiovascular health, right? Because it's the same as what it was like with cholesterol and eggs. The assumption was made that all cholesterol was the same and the assumption was made for saturated fats as well.
And we know this isn't accurate. Saturated fats are not all created equal. So we know having too much red meat isn't great for us. But again, that's nothing to do with the saturated fats found in red meat.
Highly processed saturated fat. Yeah, that is horrifically bad for you. That is horribly bad for you.
But something that is relatively not too highly processed and easily digested is likely to be fine. That's all I'm saying.
So this entire study, like I said, Swedish study, I will link to it because, of course, in the UK, the UK agency is also conducting a review into all this sort of stuff.
What did it used to be called; the Public Center for Public Health or something Public health England!. That’s the one. The replacement for that or whatever they call it now.
It's the same thing, but they just call it something different, is looking into this as well. But this is the sort of thing that takes 20 years to change. Right?
This is where health advice generally, especially diet advice. While dietitians are much more on the forefront of research than, say the NHS is and than say your GP is. Right? A good dietitian, and that's not necessarily a given dietitian. That is a good one, but a good dietitian kind of does what I do for post-natall health and constantly reads studies and they'll know this stuff. So this is why I like working with experts because they are much more up to date than generic information is.
And even generic information. If you look at things like the NHS, they will take an age. Even if this comes out turns out to be 100% accurate. This will take 10-15 years to filter through to the NHS on all levels. And even then you have to deal with a lot of the myths surrounding this sort of stuff.
Anyways, it's great news if you like cheese, as I always tell my wife, because always I try to be on the ball with this sort of stuff; “When you have cheese, try not to go for the stuff that is ridiculously high in salt and buy good quality”.
That is kind of what you're looking for. Any sort of dairy: Just buy the good stuff. Who wants to drink red top milk? You have to be out of your mind.
I think it was Tom Kerridge that said, “if you're cooking”, I'm sure it was Tom Kerridge. You know, the two Michelin star chef, and he knows what he's talking about when it comes to flavour and all that sort of stuff. “Go full fat. Go for the double cream rather than the single cream, but use less of it”.
Go high quality food. Just take less of it. If you buy meat. If you're a meat eater, buy good quality meat and just have a bit less, just accept that you're going to have a bit less.
Don't buy the cheap shitty chicken. Buy a nice, or at least medium, good quality chicken. Pay a bit more for your meat, but get the good quality stuff. You'll taste the difference and it's one of those less is more sort of deals, right?
You already likely get enough calories in. You get enough protein in anyways, so you can maybe eat a bit less meat, but make it good quality. The same with cheese, the same with almost anything. So just what I'd highlight that one. I'm not going to go over the studies. There's nothing to suggest that there's any issues with it.
Basically, there were some issues. Like I said, they didn't look at the types of dairy people were consuming.
But it's an interesting find, which again, a lot of us already expected them to find. To be honest.
That is it for this week. Like I said, I'm just smashing it out. Apologies if the audio quality wasn't great on the Zoom interview, I have no idea what happened at my end.
It is just one of those shitty shitty situations sometimes that I spend a lot of time fixing sound quality and all that sort of stuff and I do my best, but it's just little of me anyways. Peter@healthypostnatalbody.com. Have a tremendous Christmas or I hope you have a tremendous Christmas. Have a great New Year. Obviously the next one will be 2 January. And hope you enjoy yourself. If you struggle with food. Download a copy of Dr. Glenn's book. It's free for all you good people. Right? New bit of music. Take care of yourself. Bye now,