March 29, 2022

Why You Need An Alpha Wolf to Defeat Your Inner Pig and Finally Lose Weight with Glenn Livingston

Why You Need An Alpha Wolf to Defeat Your Inner Pig and Finally Lose Weight with Glenn Livingston

Our guest is Glenn Livingston, psychologist and author of the book “Never Binge Again.”


Dr. Glenn Livingston is a veteran psychologist and longtime CEO of a multi-million dollar consulting firm that has serviced several Fortune 500 clients in the food industry.

Disillusioned by what traditional psychology had to offer overweight and/or food-obsessed individuals, Doctor 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.

In this episode, Dr. Livingston teaches why Binge Eating and Overeating are such common problems, and how there are two factors that combine to form the perfect storm in our culture and have created a horrendously difficult mountain to climb for anyone who wants to stop overeating.

(a) the food industry’s billions and;

(b) the addiction treatment industry’s message of powerlessness.

What We Discuss with Dr. Livingston:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 06:13 Glenn’s personal weight-loss struggle
  • 10:36 The Food Industry’s predatory tactics
  • 15:58 Controlling our biological impulses
  • 17:27 The creation of “the inner pig”
  • 22:11 Self-love isn’t enough
  • 29:58 The feast and famine roller coaster
  • 34:26 Using the present moment to eat healthily
  • 36:43 Why your failures mean you’ll have success

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​How to Heal Your Hunger and End Emotional Eating with Tricia Nelson


[00:00:00] Jeremy: You've tried and failed. Dozens of times. A lifetime of struggle has told you that losing weight is something that will never work and never stick long. 

[00:00:08] Zach: But our guests this week says that your trail of failure is actually leading you to 

[00:00:12] success 

[00:00:13] and that there's more than just the voice in your head conspiring against you to keep you overweight. 

[00:00:17] Jeremy: Our guest is Glenn Livingston. He's a psychologist and author of the book. Never binge again, he'll share how you can become an alpha Wolf that can defeat what he calls your inner pig. 

[00:00:27] This is the fit mess conversations with world-class experts in the fields of mental, physical, and emotional health. And this episode 

[00:00:36] Dr. Glenn Livingston: I think we have it back words, to say that you have to solve the emotional problems first and you have to love your inner wounded child. , you got to take control, man. , this'll go on forever.

[00:00:46] If you're trying to work at that in therapy work at, at work at all this stuff in therapy anyway, but this is gonna go on forever. 

[00:00:52] Now, here are your hosts, Zach and Jeremy. 

[00:00:55] Jeremy: INTRO

[00:00:55] Zach: Welcome to the fit mess brought to you by athletic greens. Thanks for listening while you're doing whatever it is that you're doing right now. I'm Zach, he's Jeremy. We've been through all kinds of struggles and ended up 

[00:01:05] stronger because of them. And we want to help you do the same. So if you're sick of your own shit and you're ready to make a change, you are in the right place. 

[00:01:13] Jeremy: This week, we're talking not only about weight management, but specifically about binge eating and the role it can play in derailing your fitness goals. Zach, I know you struggle with this as much as I do

[00:01:23] Zach: Why do

[00:01:24] you think that? 

[00:01:25] Jeremy: well, some something about, uh, I remember conversations about potato chips at 

[00:01:30] Zach: Oh, right, right. Yeah. No, 

[00:01:32] Jeremy: uh, stress, stressful weeks leading to piles of pizza, things like that.

[00:01:37] Zach: you're absolutely right. , I stress eat. I totally stressy, like if I'm having a bad week, if I'm, if I am stressed out about anything, , it's food in the mouth and that's my comfort, but always has been, I feel like it always will be, but to a lesser extent,

[00:01:54] Jeremy: Is it just 

[00:01:54] dress? Cause I know like for me it's a, it's a schedule thing. If I get out of routine, it's way harder to get back on weekends are totally 

[00:02:00] my downfall. Like Friday nights are typically movie night, which means candy popcorn the whole day. If you're going to do movies, you got to go in with the snacks.

[00:02:08] Right. And then that turns into, well, I ate my 

[00:02:10] crap last night and we've got some pastries, so, or, you know, some sort of pancake or something for breakfast in 

[00:02:15] the morning on Saturday. Then you got to go run errands until you swing by the fast food place. Cause he didn't pack a 

[00:02:20] lunch ahead of time. And then at that point, the weekend's shot.

[00:02:22] So screw it. I'm starting over on Monday and then you sort of wedge your way back in on Monday, but then 

[00:02:28] you kind of fail in the after. It's just like the 

[00:02:30] cycle happens for me every week and it 

[00:02:31] starts with

[00:02:32] that Friday when I let 

[00:02:34] Zach: well, I mean, I say it all the time. I, I use the 80 20 rule and I eat for meeting good. 80% of the time. I'm okay. Okaying like shit, 20% of the time. That's not sustainable for everyone though. And I do fall into it myself but like, you know, on Friday I started eating like crap. the next day, I feel like crap and your body naturally gravitates to eating more shitty food to give you that instant feeling better.

[00:03:02] So just recognizing the fact that like those cravings come because you ate shitty food the day before, and you'll continue on that train for as long as you can. And just recognizing that you can, you can pull yourself off of it better, but when you don't recognize that the train will keep going and you'll continue to split. 

[00:03:22] Jeremy: and the 

[00:03:22] 80 20 rule is fine if you're tracking it. But if you're just kind of in your head like oh, well, I've, I've done pretty well for a couple of days and went to the gym 

[00:03:29] a couple of times I can do, I can have this pizza, I can do whatever, but if you're not keeping track of it, 80 20 is just this thing that you tell yourself that you're doing and hope that it's going to work, 

[00:03:41] Zach: Not necessarily. I mean, you have to track it.

[00:03:43] to a certain extent, But if I find Monday through Friday. and I have. Two of my meals over the weekend, be Like off, off The rails was 20%. Like that's that's as that's as much as you have to track it. 

[00:03:59] Jeremy: Right, but that's, but that's disciplined, you know, I'm giving myself two meals, but if you just kind of go into the weekend 

[00:04:05] with, well, it's the weekend, take the gloves 

[00:04:08] off, then, then your host. Cause you're just gonna just keep shoveling food in your face until, you know, you go to bed. 

[00:04:14] Zach: But to bring it all full circle. We're recording this on a Friday. I've had a pretty shit week, , all around, like just very stressful. Like nothing I'm happy. The weekend is here. I'm happy the week is over, but it has been a lot. And all I want to do is order a pizza. 

[00:04:34] So I'll tell you the pizza that I'm going to eat tonight is not going to have the

[00:04:37] nutritional, needs , that my body requires , I've been hitting the gym a fair bit this week. 

[00:04:43] So my body actually needs to be refueled and pizza. Ain't going to do it. , that's why I take my athletic greens every morning. 

[00:04:53] I started taking athletic greens because I really needed to have a sufficient. That tasted great, gave me all the things that I needed. , and I didn't want to have to take 10 pills a day or, spend all of my time cooking all the meals.

[00:05:07] I try and get my nutrients from food, but let's face it. We don't get everything we need every day from food. So athletic greens was a great solution for me. It tastes great. Gives me everything I need for more energy, better gut health optimized immune system. 

[00:05:21] It has less than a gram of sugar and there's no nasty chemicals or artificial anything. And it actually does taste good. And for what you get, it's less than $3.

[00:05:29] and right now is the time to incorporate better health and athletic greens is a perfect start to make it easy.

[00:05:35] Athletic greens is going to give you a free one-year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athletic mass. Again, that's athletic Mess to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

[00:05:55] that link will be on the show notes and it's plastered all over our 

[00:05:59] Jeremy: Was That you've obviously already given 

[00:06:01] into what our guest refers to as your inner pig. We talked to Glenn Livingston, he's a psychologist and author of the book. Never binge. Again, We asked him about the 

[00:06:08] work he does to 

[00:06:09] help people manage their weight and why this 

[00:06:11] is so personal and important to him. 

[00:06:13] Dr. Glenn Livingston: if you were ever. In Woodbury, New York. And you stopped with the Woodbury country deli and you were unable to get pizza or chocolate cause they were all out. The odds are that I was there just before you, I am not just a doctor that works with weight loss or overeating problems. I'm a guy who had a very serious problem myself.

[00:06:37] I used to be probably my top was between two 80 and 300. I stopped weighing myself at 2 57. I float in the low shoe hundreds these days. , I started when I was about 17 and I discovered that if I worked out a lot, because I'm six, four, and I'm modestly muscular, I could eat whatever I wanted to.

[00:07:00] I mean, you know, boxes of muffins, boxes of donuts, 6, pop parts, whole pizza, sometimes more, whatever was it, nailed down. I could do it. I did not think it was a problem. Um, like Doug Graham says, I think it was a super. And I spent a lot of time eating and going to the bathroom and sleeping and exercising.

[00:07:22] And I thought that was cool. I was pretty thin and handsome and, , was able to date girls and life as a teenager was pretty good. But when I was 22, 23 years old, I got married and it was getting a little older and my metabolism was slowing down and I found that the food had a life of its own. I didn't have time to do the workouts anymore because I was committing two hours away to graduate school and to see patients.

[00:07:48] And, um, I would come home. I'd be doing the bookkeeping for the business and I am, God forbid, my wife wanted to talk to me at the time. And. I couldn't stop thinking about food anyway. So I'd be sitting with a suicidal patient and thinking, when can I get to the deli and dislodge my jaw? , I be, working with a couple right after they're discovered an affair and like very high.

[00:08:14] Very high risk situations and I couldn't be a hundred percent present. And it was really important to me because I'm from a family of psychologists. There are actually 17 therapists in the family and, and, um, joke is that we all, if something breaks, we all know how to ask it, how it feels, but nobody knows how to fix it.

[00:08:33] Um, which is funny, but it's also not because there's some practicalities about life that I, I never. But being a psychologist was the most important thing to me. And so the fact that I wasn't present and it's, it's about a lot more than an intellectual, , puzzle that you're figuring out. It's more like lending people, your soul to be really good as a psychologist so that they love and trust you enough. , change their life. It's not about pointing out what they need to change, but getting them to feel comfortable, leaving their comfort zone. And I just wasn't there. I mean, I, thankfully I never lost anybody and out of hundreds of couples, I saw only one of them ever got divorced. But, , my goodness, I just really wasn't there.

[00:09:16] That bothered me. , I went about it. In what I now believe was the wrong way. We're in about trying to fix this in the wrong way, because they come from a family of depth psychologist. I figured there must be a hole in my heart, metaphorical hole in my heart. And if I could figure out how to fill the hole in my heart, I wouldn't keep trying to fill the hole in my stomach.

[00:09:38] So I had this attitude that I would love myself fan or a nurse, my inner would a child, something like. , but that's not really what solved the problem. And in the long run, I, you know, I went to the best psychologists and psychiatrists. And you can imagine from the family I was in, in New York that I knew them.

[00:09:55] And I took medication. I went to Overeaters anonymous and I, I had a very soulful, spiritual. Okay. I learned a lot about myself. I don't regret taking it, but with every step I would take forward, I would take two steps back and I'd get a little thinner and a lot sadder, a little fender and fatter and five believe there were three things that convince me, but I had the wrong paradigm that I had to do.

[00:10:18] Things completely be opposite of the way that I thought and be more like an alpha Wolf of my own mind. , as opposed to trying to love my inner wound child back to health. The first one is. Because I didn't have children and I didn't commute. My, my ex-wife traveled for business all the time. So I had a lot of time on my hands.

[00:10:36] I developed a second career as a consultant for big corporations. , a lot of people, a lot of companies in the big food industry, some of the big pharma industry and. I saw what they were doing progressively more of was engineering. These hyper palatable concentrations of starch and sugar and fat and excitotoxins and salt.

[00:11:00] And it was all designed to hit the bliss point in the reptilian rain without giving us enough nutrition to feel satisfied. And I said, that has nothing to do. With, whether I'm in a bad marriage, which I was, or whether, you know, my mama didn't love me enough, or I had a hole in my heart. This was an external force, , with probably billions of dollars behind it targeting these evolutionary buttons with pleasure.

[00:11:26] We were not prepared to handle, right. So this is something totally different than psychology. Then I read a little more about The neurology of the brand. You can only have neurology. I crack myself up,

[00:11:40] Jeremy: The neurology of the foot is a very different book. It's.

[00:11:46] Dr. Glenn Livingston: a little more about neurology and I discovered that binge eating seems to stem or overeating seems to stem from the. Activation and misdirection of a survival response and those survival responses, a fight or flee feast or famine. , they tend to be in the primitive brand. The first part of the brain that evolved the lizard Brant.

[00:12:13] And what's interesting about the lizard brain is that. Evaluate something in the environment. When I see something in the environment, it says, do I eat it? Do I meet with it? Or do I kill it? It's like a bad college drinking, drinking champ, eat Mader, kelp. Th there's no love there. Right? It's the SF, this is the reptilian brain, the lizard brain, the mammalian brain kind of layered on, on top of that. And people don't believe in evolution. You can still say, God put it there. But however it got there, it's layered on top of that. And it says before you eat mate, or kill that thing, What impact is that going to have on the people that you love on your tribe and your family, then on top of that, there's any cortex which says before you eat made or kill that thing, what impact is that going to have on the type of person you're trying to become in the world?

[00:13:04] What impact is that going to be have on your character and your contribution to society on your long-term plans, which include, for example, , diet and health and fitness. The neocortex has the capability of inhibiting action to make those decisions. But if the survival drive is too strong or really perceives there to be an emergency, it says just hand over the chocolate and nobody gets her, right.

[00:13:29] It just overtakes your best thinking. And this is why everybody has this experience of reversing their intent on a Monday afternoon, when they read a diet book over the weekend is whether we're going to follow it a hundred percent, but then you're standing in Starbucks and there's. , chocolate bar in front of you, that's calling your name.

[00:13:45] So I said, okay, this is a very strong external force. Then there's the advertising industry, which. at hitting these evolutionary buttons also to convince you that this is where the good stuff is, and this is why everybody is looking for love at the bottom of a bag or a box or container.

[00:14:05] It's basically a bunch of fat cats in white suits with mustaches that are laughing all the way to the bank. Every time. , we go to the wrong thing, , and being a little sexist there, but you know what I mean? 

[00:14:15] Jeremy: Sorry.

[00:14:17] Dr. Glenn Livingston: And I remember working with a vice president of marketing at a major food bar manufacturer, and he was leaving the.

[00:14:27] And we become kind of good friends by then. And he said, um, I got to tell you where I'm going. And, and he sang his head in shame. And he said, we figured out that the most profitable thing to do was to take the vitamins out of the bar and put the money in the packaging. And. I said, wait a minute. So you made the packaging diverse and multicolored and vibrant to fool the brain into thinking that this is where you get a diversity of micronutrients.

[00:14:53] You've heard eat the rainbow. 

[00:14:55] Jeremy: Yeah. 

[00:14:55] Dr. Glenn Livingston: there's there's a reason we look for a diversity of colors is because there's a diversity of nutrients available. And he said, Yeah.

[00:15:02] you put the money into that. And that seemed kind of predatory to me. But then I looked around the industry and there were all kinds of things like that , that were going on.

[00:15:10] And I said, that's another external. But it's nothing to do with, , my internal depth psychology. And I came across an alternative addiction treatment leader named Jack trampy and he wrote a book called rational recovery. And he was actually talking very aggressively about needing to separate your cons.

[00:15:32] This is not how we put it, but your constructive thoughts and the neocortex from the discharge of thoughts and the, in the lizard brain. , and he worked with. Black and white addictions, alcohol drugs, , things you could quit entirely as opposed to food where you've got to take the line out of the occasion, walking around the block, or a couple of times a day.

[00:15:49] Right. , . And he was saying that it was more like an assertion of your superiority. And he pointed out that it's not without parallel. We have other biological organs, which we have to dominate. For example, if I really had to pee right now, I would tell my bladder that I'm the boss. I'm going to finish this interview with Jeremy and Zach and we'll take care of it later.

[00:16:13] , It's like, I'm asserting myself as an alpha Wolf. I'm taking care of the pack, but I'm in charge. I decide how that impulse is going to be expressed if there was a really attractive woman on the street. And my testicles wanted me to run up and kiss her. I would not do that. First of all, because I'm shy.

[00:16:32] But secondly, because there are certain expectations in society of how we approach women and, um, 

[00:16:38] Jeremy: Those pesky laws. Am I right?

[00:16:42] Dr. Glenn Livingston: Yes. I, I'm more likely to go hide in the 

[00:16:44] Jeremy: Yeah, me 

[00:16:44] Dr. Glenn Livingston: Um, but you know what I mean? It's not without parallel. This is just a very strong biological urge. And I said, well, why can't I control this in this way? So when people hear my credentials, they think I'm going to have some like crazy scientific, ,

[00:17:01] air. You died theory about how this all works, but how I actually got better is a little embarrassed.

[00:17:07] I said, Okay.

[00:17:08] this is by the time I'm like 40, 41 42, when I've been struggling with overeating for 25 years. And my triglycerides had gone, , to the point the doctor said I was going to die when I hit 40 and. I had all kinds of medical problems, but I said, what do I have to lose? Let me try it. So I decided that I was going to call my reptilian brain, my inner pig.

[00:17:32] I was not going to teach this. This is just an experiment that I did for myself. I'm going to call my rebellion brain, my inner pig. And I'm gonna say, uh, I'm gonna draw a very clear line in the sand so that I recognize when the pig is squealing for pig slop. So the first thing I did, as I said, I'm never going to eat chocolate on a weekday.

[00:17:53] Again, my binge has always started with chocolate and they progressed to pizza and pop tarts and everything else, but it was always starting with old, just a little piece of chocolate so that I'm never going to have chocolate on a weekday again. And if I was at that Starbucks and there was a chocolate bar on the counter, as I was about to buy my coffee and I heard a little voice in my head, That's You know what Glenn, you worked out hard enough today. You're not going to gain any weight and it will be just as easy to start tomorrow. Go ahead. Have that. You have that chocolate. I'd say, wait a minute. That's not me. Chocolate on a Wednesday is pig slop. I don't eat pig slop. I don't let farm animals.

[00:18:26] Tell me what to do. I know it's like ridiculous. It's ridiculous. But what would happen is it would wake me up at the moment of impulse and I get those few extra microseconds to, , make the right choice. If I, if I wanted to, I didn't always want to, , that required some more work to kind of develop my motivation, but, but I found that. Why is miraculous. So I didn't totally recover immediately. Once I realized that I had a pig inside me and you don't have to call it a pig, you can call it a food monster where this was just what I did. I didn't totally recover right away. What happened right away. Was all the confusion melted away. I no longer felt powerless and confused.

[00:19:11] You know, when I was in the 12 step programs, they were telling me I had a chronic, progressive, mysterious disease that was doing pushups in the closet. And, , you know, that there was no defense, there was no human defense against the same policy. And I was going to have to turn over my life and my will to et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:19:27] And then I was. And I had to admit that I was powerless and I said, wait a minute. I'm not powerless. I don't have a disease. What I have is a healthy appetite. That's been corrupted by industry. And what I need to do is take charge. What I really need to do is to take charge. And so I started experimenting with different rules.

[00:19:47] I found that for everything you took away, you had to add something. So I have to say, I will always start my day with a healthy green smoothie. If I was taking away the. Right. , I found that often the cravings were driven by some authentic biological need. Like, um, if I was craving something really salty and I got myself to have a lot of greens, like half a pound of greens in a blender or something that the salt cravings would go away and I talked to different nutritious and that richness and everything, and this is not my expertise.

[00:20:18] It just. That part, , I'm a psychologist, not a medical doctor, a dietician, but slowly but surely I put it together. I experimented with different roles on over the course of six months or a year. I was really in control. , my weight came down over a couple of years and, um, You know, my medical conditions resolved.

[00:20:36] And then as I was getting divorced, I was actually doing something totally different. I wasn't working with eating disorder clients. I was doing something totally different. , but I was going to have to close down all my businesses and I. Uh, as, as, as a by-product of the business connections that I had, I wound up as a minor partner in a publishing company, and I was talking to the CEO and he said, you know, we really need to publish a book of our own so that we can prove how well we market and attract better offers.

[00:21:08] And I said, well, this would be a good time for me to write a book, you know? Cause I'm. Getting the divorce. So I take my journal that I kept for eight years and I turned it into a book and I sent it to him over a couple of months. He calls me back two weeks later, he says, Glenn doughnuts or pig slop. I don't need donuts.

[00:21:24] I don't let farm animals tell me what to do. And he proceeds to lose a hundred pounds over the course of the next 18 months or so. , and so we pumped. And before I know it, I mean that wasn't a miracle either. We did all the right things and I was in marketing for a long time, so I know how to get the word out.

[00:21:41] but before we know it, we got a million readers and now I run around as a person telling I'm telling everyone they might have a pig inside them. And it might be a good thing. To work that out. So, um, and people don't quite recognize my name, but in a bookstore, there's usually someone who might usually half the time, someone who comes up to me and kind of points at me and goes pig guy, pig guy.

[00:22:08] must make you feel wonderful. Oh. Especially if I'm on a first date. That's, 

[00:22:11] Jeremy: Oh yeah. That's good stuff. I want to ask you about the pig because, uh, part of, part of that, and maybe I'm misunderstanding the concept, but. A lot of the folks that we've talked to about body image and about weight loss. So many of them point to the idea that in order to be successful in any, uh, journey like this weight loss, whatever it has to come from a place of self love, not self hate.

[00:22:34] So you shouldn't go into it. Um, I'm so mad at myself for letting this get out of hand. I shouldn't have eat that ate so badly for the last 20 years, whatever. And so they go into it with this really negative thing. And so it was interesting to me to hear your perspective where you, you name sort of this, this inner.

[00:22:51] Uh, a pig, like you put sort of a negative connotation on it, and that works for you. And that works for the people that you, that you, uh, coach with this. So how, how do the two mesh, does it work that way for some people and not for others? Or am I just completely misunderstanding the concept

[00:23:07] Dr. Glenn Livingston: well, first of all, I think you can tell I'm a compassionate person, just the way that I talk and relate to people. , and I will tell you, if you listen to some of the recording sessions, I'll tell you yours, where to get them for free later on, you'll see that this is actually a process that builds people's self-esteem that destroys it.

[00:23:26] , When an alpha Wolf is challenged For leadership in the pack, it doesn't say, oh my goodness, someone needs a hug. Right. It growls. And it snarls and it says, get back in line or I'll kill you. It asserts its superiority. 

[00:23:41] Jeremy: I dunno, that might be a good Disney movie. We might want to pitch that.

[00:23:44] Dr. Glenn Livingston: I I'm in I'm totally I'm. I want to play myself. Um, the key isn't understanding. But the pig really isn't you, it's this thing. That's this, this bottle, the organ. And so taking control of this. Bodily impulse. It's really no different than taking control of your bladder. And when people take control, their self-esteem goes up when, when a child is finally able to use the potty and doesn't go in a diaper anymore, their world expands their capacity expands, mommy and daddy say, oh, what a good boy or what a good girl.

[00:24:20] You're such a big voice, such a big girl. And they beam with pride and their whole life is different. , it's kind of the same way with this. What I find is necessary. The reason that loving yourself well doesn't work, even though there is an intimate relationship between. Emotional conflict and overeating.

[00:24:40] And we can talk about that in detail. If you went to Africa, Africans, it's kind of important, even though there is that relationship. The problem with that, because this is a survival drive because it's designed to take care of us and emergencies and it perceives it's made a biological error. The feast and famine response has made a biological error and says, we really need this for our survival.

[00:25:05] We will. But because of that, we need something very aggressive. The separate are to recognize it immediately. Cause most people don't recognize immediately when it's happening and then to separate our constructive thoughts from our disruptive thoughts, once you're awake and once you've intervened with the behavior, then I fully support the endeavor to figure out why this all happened in the first place.

[00:25:32] You know, what's hurting them. My, my mom, when I was one year old, she, her, her, her husband was being threatened. We'd go into Vietnam. He was a captain in the army. My sister was on the way. She was terrified that she was going to be an army where there with two little kids, her father had just gotten out of prison and he was guilty and she didn't know it.

[00:25:52] And she was devastated. So when I came running into her for love or healthy food, she. We're sitting and staring at the wall, depressed and anxious all the time. And so she kept a big bottle of chocolate Bosco syrup in a refrigerator in the floor, and she said, go get your bicycle, Glen. And I go crawling over to the refrigerator and suck on the bottle and go into a chocolate, sugar coma.

[00:26:14] That's where it all came. Right. And if this was a movie, once I figured that out my mind, I would have a big hug and a big cry and you know, then I would never have trouble with chocolate. Again, I had a good conversation with mom about this. I learned a lot about her. I learned a lot about myself. I stopped hating myself so much, but when I learned that I wound up over eating chocolate more.

[00:26:39] And the reason I hate chocolate more was because it was like, there was a. Th there was this little voice inside me that said, you know what, Glenn you're right. Our mama didn't love us enough. And she left a great big chocolate sized hole in our heart. And until we can get out of this marriage and find the love of her life, we're going to have to go binge on chocolate.

[00:26:57] Let's go do it right now. Get me, get me some, right. It became a voice of justification at that point. I. I flipped the way that I thought about emotions and over reading, I said, emotions are kind of like a fire, right? And you could have a roaring fire in a well-contained fireplace in the living room. And that's an asset, not a liability.

[00:27:20] It's only if the fireplace is. If the ashes can get out and burn down the house that you're in trouble. So I said maybe the problem is if people don't have a well enough contained fireplace, maybe I don't have, well enough continued fireplace. Maybe I have all these little crazy justifications, like. You know, you can just as well start tomorrow, it's still big deal.

[00:27:41] Um, you worked out hard enough and maybe that's what I need to work on. Maybe I have to disempower this grease shoot that.

[00:27:47] lets the ashes out of the fireplace. I'm on. I found that to be true. I also found. Once you do that, it becomes safer to look at the fire. And so there's all kinds of emotional growth that proceeds from there.

[00:28:00] But I believe That we have it backwards backwards. Am I 

[00:28:05] Jeremy: That works. That works. No, 

[00:28:07] I swear. All you like.

[00:28:09] Dr. Glenn Livingston: I think we have it back back words, um, to, to say that you have to solve the emotional problems first and you have to love your inner wounded child. Um, you got to take control, man. You, you can't, this'll go on forever.

[00:28:23] If you're trying to work at that in therapy work at, at work at all this stuff in therapy anyway, but this is gonna go on forever. I could, I could go on forever about the relationship between the bushes of reading, if you want to know more about it, 

[00:28:33] Zach: personally, I think I struggle with that.

[00:28:35] I think, uh, Jeremy and I talked one day and I found myself, I was having a very emotional day, very stressful. I found myself with potato chips in my hand at like 10 o'clock in the morning, which, uh, I usually wait till like 7:00 PM for, for those. So I can just disturb my sleep later on. , and I love, I, I do love the analogy of the fireplace that that's, that's true. It's got my brain thinking of like, you know, okay. What, what are the things that spit calls out and get the rest of the house burning down? And I'm right with you, right? Like I worked out today so I can do this. Or, you know, it was a stressful day. I deserve it. 

[00:29:13] Dr. Glenn Livingston: , or chocolate crows on a cocoa bean, which is in the plant and therefore. 

[00:29:18] Zach: Exactly.

[00:29:19] I love it. ,

[00:29:19] Once somebody starts thinking like that and kind of says, oh, okay. I, I see that thought was, , a coal coming out of the fireplace. Is it enough to recognize that? Or what's the next step? 

[00:29:32] Dr. Glenn Livingston: How do you sometimes, sometimes, yeah.

[00:29:35] So the process we take people through is you start with one simple. One simple rule. Most people live by the old nursery rhyme when it comes to food, which is when she was good. She was very, very good. When she was bad, she was hard. So most Overeaters are also very good dieters. And what happens is they actually keep themselves on this feast and famine, roller coaster.

[00:30:00] So they're not just addicted to overeating. They're addicted to restricting. 

[00:30:04] Jeremy: Hm.

[00:30:04] Dr. Glenn Livingston: the reason that's trouble, the reason we believe that stimulates the binge and your response is that if we evolve where periodically there are environments where food was scary, Calories and nutrition were scarce. Um, and then all of a sudden you come upon the calories and nutrition.

[00:30:22] It would make sense from an evolutionary perspective that our brain would tell us to hoard it. And this, this is the only reason I can think of the only explanation for why people overeat when they get too full. Most people said they have to be careful about getting too full, but because it's a signal to them that all of a sudden, a flip switches in their head and they feel like they have to eat more.

[00:30:42] So what you need to recognize is you need a way to wake up and disempower , the survival drive. So what we tell people is to come up with one simple, very clear role so that, you know, there's a potential for the calls coming out of the fireplace, , when it happens.

[00:30:59] So if I say, have. I'll never have chocolate in the week. I'll only have a pretzel and a major league baseball game. Then the moment I have a thought that says, Hey, it's, you know, w I know we're at home, but the press was around the shelf and we should get them. Uh, we know that that is potentially the lizard brand and what you need to do once you recognize that it might be, there is take active steps to disempower that emergency response system inside of you.

[00:31:28] So that emergency response system is driven by. one of our two nervous systems, the sympathetic nervous system, which gets you all revved up and prepared for action. And one of, one of the ways that you can disempower it is by breathing out for longer than you breathe in, in the wild. If we were being chased by a hungry bear, we wouldn't have time to read out for twice.

[00:31:55] As long as we're breathing. Right. W we would have to take up as much oxygen as we could. We have to be breathing in more than we're breathing out. So we have a procedure, we call a seven 11 breath. I got that from Lori Hammond, where you breathe in for a count of seven. And you've read that for kind of 11.

[00:32:10] I'm not going to do it right now. Cause it takes quite some time. Um, want to just describe it? You take a couple of those. Okay. Now your body is starting to move into the parasympathetic nervous system that says it's okay for rest and digest and think about things. So now there's not really an emergency.

[00:32:29] Then what you want to do is write down the. My character, carry around a pen and paper or a, you know, a smartphone and write down what your pig is saying. It'll be just as easy to start tomorrow. You might as well go get some and binge right now. You'd be hippie, right? Then take another few breaths because you will have re excited the sympathetic nervous system with the pigs thoughts.

[00:32:55] So take another fruit dress and get yourself back up in your right frame. Writing is more of an upper brain activity than a lower brain activity. So writing also moves you into the neocortex. So we're going through a series of activities to really get into our right mind. Then you went to. What specifically is wrong with what the pig is saying?

[00:33:18] How was it lying to me? The pig usually wins with a half truth and a bigger lie. So if it says I've worked out hard enough, I'm not going to gain any weight. If I have one chocolate bar or a half a chocolate park, um, and it'll be just as easy to start tomorrow. Part of that's true. Probably if I only had a half a chocolate bar, I would not gain any weight, the odds of me having a half a chocolate bar or, you know, kind of like the odds.

[00:33:43] Buddy Hackett winning a GQ competition. Um, it's just not going to happen. So it's not, it's not just going to be a half a chocolate bar. The second lie that pig was telling me is that it's just as easy to start tomorrow. Well, we know from neurology that if two things fire together, they will wire together.

[00:34:04] So if I have a craving for chocolate and I have the thought that says. It's just as easy to start tomorrow. And then I reward that with chocolate. Most of the things are more likely to happen tomorrow and there'll be stronger. The craving will be stronger and the thought will be stronger. So basically the only time you can eat healthy is the present moment.

[00:34:25] You always have to use the present moment to beat eat healthy. The only thing you can eat healthy is right now, if you're in a hole, you have to stop digging. So what I've done is very specifically exactly. The logic to pick is using to make that reshoot and a disempowered. It it's like I've thrown, you know, saw Dustin sandpaper on it.

[00:34:44] You can still go down and if you want to, but your bus is going to get scratched up. Um, then you're taking another breath out and this is like a little more advanced part with these people later on. But if you go through an extra, you would do this beforehand. You go through an exercise where you say.

[00:35:01] Well, what would it mean to me to follow this rule for a year? I know my pig says it's impossible. It's never going to happen, but what if it did what would be different in my life? When I feel calmer, when I be 20 pounds thinner, what I have more energy to play with my kids, would I be able to be intimate with my spouse again?

[00:35:20] What, what would it mean to me and why do I want that? And that's the kind of person you're trying to become with food. And so once you know what that is, After you've disempowered the logic of this pre-shoot then you ask yourself, why would it make me a happier or better person to avoid the chocolate right now, notice to comply with the rule right now, why would it make me a happier, better person?

[00:35:44] And that starts to link that positive future into the moment to pull you forward. Yeah.

[00:35:50] , and then you, you kind of keep a record of the. Of these, , we call them reputations, the pigs logical fallacies and the right answer to it, the correction to it. And you finally ask yourself, do I have an authentic biological need?

[00:36:05] Maybe I need energy right now. Maybe I really do need something to eat. Maybe I need a smoothie. Maybe I need a salad. Maybe you need an apple biologically, what do I actually need? And I know, I know I don't really need the chocolate bar. I don't think there's a nutritional need for me to get the chocolate bar right now.

[00:36:21] But. 

[00:36:22] Jeremy: Yeah. 

[00:36:23] Dr. Glenn Livingston: That's what we do. 

[00:36:24] Jeremy: So I'm imagining people listening to this who have tried every diet failed. Every diet tried every exercise program given up after three days. Cause it's hard. And as it turns out, going to the gym sucks. So what do you tell that person who has tried over and over for two, three decades to 

[00:36:42] lose weight?

[00:36:42] Yeah. 

[00:36:43] Dr. Glenn Livingston: a couple of things. First of all, your pig says that the sheer number of attempts you've made. In the past is predictive of failure in the future, but that's not really true. Um, When you look at people who finally lost weight and kept it off for five years or more versus people that are continuing to yo-yo one of the major distinctions between them is that the people who successfully get it off for good, have more attempts behind them.

[00:37:14] So I'm not going significantly more. So it appears that the path to success runs through failure. So the more failures you've had in the past, the more likely you are to succeed in the next. attempt Right now. And the pig says just the opposite. You've always failed So you always will, which is cruel. Can you imagine talking to a kid like that is trying to learn how to walk?

[00:37:36] Just stay down already. Come on. Crawling's not so bad, right? The other thing I'll tell you is that there's a lot of cultural mythology about the way to go about this. Most people think they're supposed to eat well, 90% of the time and indulge themselves 10% of the time. And, well, that's a good idea. In theory, it's more like a north star to point to the problem is you don't know, which is the 10% and which is the 90%.

[00:38:06] And the problem with that is that. Decisions where we're down your willpower. We only have the ability to make so many good decisions every day. You look at the resection willpower. so a little bit of controversy, but mostly they say that willpower is a fatigable muscle. It's not like this person is willpower or this person doesn't, we all get up with a certain amount of willpower and throughout the day, Decision-making whereas it down, not just decisions.

[00:38:35] , about food, but decisions about, um, math. People have trouble resisting marshmallows. If we make them do math problems, first decisions about email. Do I put it in spam? Do I defer it for later? Do I delegate this to, I send us here to our reply. Every little bit of decision making is wearing down your willpower.

[00:38:56] You can restore it during the day a little bit by taking some decision free time. You can, you know, Walk out and get some fresh air. You can go into the bathroom without your phone. , five minutes, twice a day seems to make a difference for, for our clients. But if you're living with the idea that I'm going to eat well most of the time, and it goes once in awhile, but you don't know specifically.

[00:39:17] When that once in a while I was going to be, then every time you're in front of a chocolate bar, you have to make a better decision. Whereas if I said, let's say I want to not have chocolate 90% of the time. Let's say, I would say I am only ever going to eat chocolate on the last three days of the calendar month and only two answers for calendar day.

[00:39:35] Well then my chocolate decisions have been made all month long. I don't need willpower. The rest of them. I, I just, the rest of them, I'm just the kind of person that doesn't need. Hmm. So we tell them those things. We tell them that you haven't had this understanding. You've probably been trying to love yourself.

[00:39:52] Then you didn't understand the level of, , aggression and assertiveness that was necessary to wake up at the moment of impulse. , we tell them they probably were trying. Diets that were too hot, too hard when they were dieting. So they were over restricting when they were dieting. And then of course they would binge when they, when they broke the seal.

[00:40:14] , so you kind of combine all those concepts and it gives people hope again. 

[00:40:20] Zach: I love that. , I'd love for you to, you know, just spend a minute, tell people where they can find you, where they can find the book and then any other last thing that you want our listeners 

[00:40:28] Dr. Glenn Livingston: to hear.

[00:40:29] So I've got a couple of things for you. If you go to and never binge again, doctor. And then click the big red button when you sign up for that reader's bonus list, you'll get a free copy of the book in Kindle nook or PDF format. Totally free. We do have audible. We do have paperback with there's charge for that.

[00:40:47] I will also give you a set of recorded full length coaching sessions, because I want you to hear that I'm not just a weird doctor, Right.

[00:40:56] You know, Zach and Jeremy show, who's got a pig inside of him. This is actually a very well thought through systematic process that takes people from feeling hopeless and powerless and confused about food, to having a clear plan that they feel hopeful and excited about.

[00:41:11] And just once. And then finally, I've got a set of food plan, starter templates. The program is diagnostic. You choose any philosophy that you, that you know, reasonably can flood your body with nutrition. Um, so we have starter templates for, um, KIBO for, you know, macrobiotic for point for calorie counters for high carbon, low carbon, whatever, a new diet, your sisters, cousins, parakeet recommends this week. 

[00:41:40] Jeremy:

[00:41:40] follow 

[00:41:40] her on Twitter. She's got all kinds of information.

[00:41:44] Dr. Glenn Livingston: Never binge again. Dot com click the big red button. 

[00:41:46] Jeremy: Uh, all amazing stuff. I have so many more questions. I'd love to have you back to talk about them. Thank you so much for your time. This is a fascinating and a really great work. Thank you. 

[00:41:56] Dr. Glenn Livingston: Fast guys. It was fun. 

[00:41:57] Jeremy: That was Glen Livingston, psychologist and author of the book. Never binge. Again, you can find all the links he referenced in the show notes for this

[00:42:07] Zach: Some of it's upbringing, some of it's trauma, but I really like how he suggests and, you know, we say all the time on the show that sometimes you just have to decide that you want something different and commit to.

[00:42:19] Jeremy: Certainly when it comes to habits. I mean, there can be medical things that need to be addressed, you know, by a doctor and all of that. But when there are things just like habits, like binge eating, like stuffing your face with a pizza on a Friday night, cause he had a rough day. Those are decisions you make.

[00:42:32] Those are things that you go into it going, I'm actively doing this and I've talked myself into it because I worked hard. I went to the gym, I whatever. But if that's getting in the way of what you say you want or what you believe you want for your. That's when, what he talks about can really come in handy and really changing the conversation with yourself and making a decision to take action toward a

[00:42:52] different 

[00:42:53] outcome. 

[00:42:53] Zach: Yep. And to be clear, I'm not going to have a pizza because I had a bad day. I had a bad week. Does that, does that, does that change?

[00:43:02] Jeremy: sounds like the 

[00:43:03] Zach: That changes the equation a little bit. It doesn't it,

[00:43:06] Jeremy: It's Jeremy and the pig now it's not Jeremy

[00:43:08] and Zach it's completely 

[00:43:09] changed. 

[00:43:09] Zach: but I worked out six times this week.

[00:43:13] Jeremy: All right. Find the fear. Now, now I'm giving in because

[00:43:17] I'm tired of 

[00:43:17] arguing with the pig. I've been arguing 

[00:43:19] with 

[00:43:19] Zach: would it help if I got a white broccoli pizza instead of a regular pizza, it's got vegetables on it.

[00:43:26] Jeremy: Whatever negotiations you need to make to feel good about it, you know, go for it. Uh, one important thing that I think was really revealing, that we don't hear enough of is how the food industry really is. For you to fail and he's had firsthand knowledge of the tactics and the strategies that these companies are using to make you not only eat complete garbage, but to crave it and to keep coming back for more of it.

[00:43:52] So these habits are hard enough just from a willpower and, and, you know, trauma and all the stuff that we deal with. But then when the machine is just forcing it down your throat with its advertising tactics and the way they alter the food and the way they alter the. It's just, it can be such a, a D difficult fight to fight and certainly one to win.

[00:44:15] So it's not completely your fault, but like he, you know, he describes developing that alpha Wolf. You just got to work every day to make

[00:44:21] it a little bit 

[00:44:22] Zach: Yeah. And, and just remember, you know, compassion and self love in this, right? I mean, I am joking about the pizza for myself. I'm not, I'm totally going to eat it, but I am totally going to eat it. And I'm going to give in for a little. 'cause I've had a lot of good habits throughout the week. And this is my, this is my routine.

[00:44:44] Like on the weekend I have achievement and I'm okay with that. That might not work for everyone, but just remember to have compassion and self love because you will fall off the wagon, you will eat the thing you didn't want to eat. You'll have a bad day, but just remember that one moment, doesn't define the whole journey and, and be really compassionate with.

[00:45:04] Jeremy: And we say all the time, too, when, when some of this stuff is just too much to take on a loan, it might be worth pursuing a coach or somebody who can work right alongside you and support you through this struggle, because this is a struggle for so many of us. So you're not in this alone and you certainly don't have to stay that way.

[00:45:20] There are people that can. 

[00:45:22] Zach: And if you're interested in actually seeing the people to that I'm going to eat tonight, I will post it in the fitness community, Facebook group, where you can go and join other fitness listeners and connect with us from monthly challenges and accountability to help you reach your goals and a supportive community.

[00:45:39] And part of that supportive community is helping with that. Self-compassion and when you do eat the pizza, it's okay. You didn't fail. You had one weak moment.

[00:45:49] Jeremy: That's right. You can find the link to that Facebook group on our website, the where we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks for listening. 

[00:45:58] Zach: Yeah. 


Dr. Glenn LivingstonProfile Photo

Dr. Glenn Livingston


Glenn Livingston, Ph.D. is a veteran psychologist and was the long time CEO of a multi-million dollar consulting firm which 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. 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.