Dr. Glenn Livingston, psychologist and author, joins Kristin Maxwell to explore his unusual method for sticking to a diet. Dr. Livingston’s book, Never Binge-Eat Again, is a #1 Amazon best-seller in numerous categories with thousands of 5 star ratings. Listen in to discover the process that Dr. Livingston and thousands of readers have used to quiet the voice of the “lizard” brain and to gain control over cravings and binge-eating forever.
Hey everyone, welcome to Your SuperPowered Mind. This is your host, Kristen Maxwell, and in this show we explore the process of transformation and give you tools and strategies you can use to transform your own life. Today, we’re gonna be talking about how to own your power and never binge eat again. Our guest today is Dr. Glenn Livingston and I think this gonna be fascinating. He is the author of Never Binge Again, which is a book that has thousands and thousands of five star ratings on Amazon. In the past, before he wrote this book, he was a psychologist and long-time CEO of a multimillion dollar consulting firm which serviced several Fortune 500 clients in the food industry. He spent decades researching the nature of binging and overeating with work with his own patients and a self-funded research program with more than 40,000 participants.
His book, which we’ll go into, outlays an unusual psychological method to stick to the diet of your choice. So I am intrigued to hear more. Welcome, Dr. Glenn Livingston.
Please call me Glenn. It’s so nice to be here. Thank you.
Okay. Thank you. Thanks. So my first question is always, what superpower did you uncover as a result of mastering your mind?
You know, I think it’s a superpower that we all have but it’s obfuscated by some cultural myths and it’s minimized by the advertising industry and a lot of what goes on in the big food industry. So that superpower was deciding how to choose what I could put in my mouth or not. When I finally realized that I was in control of my arms and my legs and my hands and my mouth and my tongue and my throat and that it was only me that could get out the car keys and walk to the car, open the door and start the car and drive to the store and take out the package and walk up to the counter and hand the lady the money and count the change, put the junk in my bags and walk into the car and open the car again and start the car and go in the corner of the parking lot and open the bags and put it into my mouth and chew and swallow.
When I finally realized that, that was actually me and that I had all those opportunities, every little step along the way was some place that I could intervene and change, I suddenly realized that I could decide on the kind of person that I really wanted to be around any food regardless of how powerful the cravings were, which are stimulated by the food industry and lizard brain, that I really had the ability to decide the kind of person that I wanted to be and that we all did, we all did all along. Because of what’s going on in our society it required more focus and clarity and a little bit of upfront thinking work to make it happen. Did I ask you a question?
Well, it sounds like you have discovered the superpower of well, you said it, deciding on whom you wanted to be and I think a lot of people don’t necessarily understand that they have that power. Or if they think they can pick it they don’t know how to do it.
It’s the superpower of self-control as a matter of character but not character in the religious sense or in the sense that someone else defines for you. Character in the sense of how you habitually respond to a tempting situation no matter what, no matter what, no matter what. And even if it’s not something that you can do right away, character in the sense of something that you can cultivate and the kind of person that you can become. So, for example, I decided at some point that I’ve had enough of binging on chocolate and at first I tried six ways to Sunday to become the kind of person who only had chocolate on the weekends and only had chocolate after a thousand calorie workout or only had chocolate when he was at a major league baseball game or something like that.
And that helps a little bit but eventually I realized it never was lot easier than sometimes for me personally and if I just became the kind of person who didn’t eat chocolate then all of my chocolate decisions were made for me and I didn’t have to continually wear down my will power every time I was at a Starbucks looking at a chocolate bar at the counter thinking, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” Because all the research on will power says it’s a fatigable muscle that’s worn down by decision making. There are only so many good decisions you can make over the course of the day. So if you have thought through these very well defined rules that distinguish healthy eating from unhealthy eating and just thought through when you do what, then suddenly you have a lot more will power to spare because you’re not making decisions all day long.
And then that superpower, to become the person that I really wanted to become, it left me with a presence of mind where I suddenly felt that I could connect to people even better than I ever had. And I spent a lifetime learning how to connect to people as a psychologist and it was the most important thing in my life to me was to be able to connect to people and help them with their issues but the food was in the way. And once I stopped binging, my binging usually started with chocolate but it’s not only thing that I would eat but usually started with chocolate. Once I stopped, once I was able to stop, I was suddenly so much more present and I felt like everyone was smiling at me and truth is that those smiles were there all along, I just was looking down or I was so busy recovering from the bloat and the pain of overeating that I wasn’t noticing them. But it’s the power to be who you want to be and the power to be present for your life. That’s the biggest superpower that I discovered.
That’s great and that is a superpower that I think all of us, whether we know it or not, that we would love to have. And you said a lot in there because I know that there are plenty of people out there and they have been something I’ve grappled with too in the past. You said you just became the type of person who didn’t eat chocolate and when some people hear that, that’s like, “Are you kidding me? I just did that. That is crazy.”
It wasn’t quite that simple.
I spent 30 years trying to figure it out. I come from a family of psychologists and I discovered when I was about 17 that if I exercise really hard every day for three hours I could eat whatever I wanted to and then when I got older I couldn’t do that anymore. I didn’t have three hours a day to work out. I had maybe three minutes to work out as I was married and seeing patients and commuting two hours a day. So I spent 30 years going to psychologists and psychiatrists and Overeaters Anonymous and I even conducted a 40,000 person study over the course of five years and it was a very soulful journey. I would characterize the whole thing by saying that I was going on the theory that I had a hole in my heart and that if I could figure out who to fill that hole then I would stop overeating, as if it wasn’t what I was eating it was what was eating me.
But eventually, when I stepped back and it all came to a head when I talked to my mom about the results of the study. One of the results of that study was that people who struggled to control chocolate like I did, they tend to be lonelier, broken hearted and I asked my mom, I said, “Mom, I’m not in a great marriage and I’m kind of lonely and broken hearted but what is it in my history that would have set up this pattern?” Because she’s a therapist and she raised me.
And she got this horrible look on her face and she said, “I’m so sorry.” And I said, “What is it?” And she says, “Well Glenn, you know, when you were about one my father, your grandfather, had just gone to prison. And I adored this man, he was my whole life. He was the only thing I held onto and he was guilty. He was really doing these things and my whole world came apart and I was horrible depressed. At the same time, your father, my husband, was a captain in the army and they were talking about sending him to Vietnam in 1965. And I thought I was gonna be a single mother, maybe a widow and I was gonna have another kid on the way and my father was in jail and I was just so depressed. So I’m scared and I sat and stared at the wall most of the time. And when you would come running up to me and you wanted a hug or some love or you wanted to play or you wanted some food, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to take care of you.
“And so I pointed you to a refrigerator that I kept on the floor where there was a big bottle of Bosco chocolate syrup all the time. And I’d say, ‘Go get your Bosco.’ And you’d go running over and you’d suck on the bottle and go into a chocolate sugar coma.” And so Kristen, if this were the movies then at this point mama and I would have a big hug and a big cry and I’d never have trouble with chocolate again. But what actually happened was my chocolate problem got worse because there was this voice in my head, which is a voice of justification and it said something like this, “You know what, Glenn? You’re right. Your mama didn’t love you enough and until you can fill that big chocolate sized hole in your heart you’re gonna have to go around binging on chocolate. Let’s go get some more right now.” And that was the first clue to me that maybe I didn’t have to solve all my psychological problems before I could stop overeating.
Maybe the problem was this voice itself. Maybe it was like suppose there was a big fire in a fireplace inside the house and I’ve been spending all these years trying to put out the fire or trying to understand the fire. What if it was okay that there was a fire and the whole problem was that there was this illogical voice that was poking holes in the fireplace and letting it get out to burn the house down? And that what I really needed to do was to challenge the logic of that voice so I could hear it more clearly, so I could know when it was attacking and so I could either ignore it or disempower it right away.
Wow. You know what? I want to hear so much more about how you get started with that but I just stopped you right there because we have to go to a break before we can really dig into how it is that you do own your power and never binge eat again.
And so can you tell people where they can learn about you because you have tons of great, great material online to help people with this. Where can they find you?
You can go to neverbingeagain.com and click the big red free bonus button. And you can sing up to get a free copy of Never Binge Again in Kindle, Nook or PDF format along with a set of food plan starter templates regardless of what dietary philosophy you’re on. There is a set of rules that you can customize for yourself and a set of recorded coaching session because the technique I’m going to tell you about to accomplish this is really, really weird and it sounds really harsh. When Kristen and I talk about in theory you’re gonna say, “What is wrong with this woman? Why does she have this doctor on her call?” But if you hear me actually coach people through it you’ll say, “Oh, now I get it. This is a life giving, esteem enhancing, hope enhancing process and I want to learn more about it for myself.” So neverbingeagain.com, click the big red button.
Great. Thank you. Definitely, you’re gonna hear more and you’re gonna wanna look this up. So let’s take a quick break and hold on.