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Is Feeling Seen the Missing Part of Your Midlife Story? With Dr. Jody Carrington

body image burnout menopause menopause health midlife self-care self-compassion

2024 is here! It’s a new year and maybe you have the hope of a “new you”. You might be thinking thoughts like this will be the year that you find that magic diet you’ll finally stick to. All the advice this time of year is about leaving the past in the past and forging ahead. 


But what if the real solutions were found by looking into the past and asking, “how did I get here?”. In my one-on-one work with clients, answering this one question unlocks so much of the wisdom needed to heal and make peace with our bodies. 

My guest in this episode is author, speaker, and psychologist, Dr. Jody Carrington. She believes that finding the courage and the safe places to tell our stories is what we need most as we navigate a distracted and disconnected world. It was her own bathing suit story that she shared on her podcast, (Everyone Comes From Somewhere) that challenged me to ask myself -how did I get here? 

Throughout the episode, we dive into the narratives we've woven about ourselves over the years. We talk about why exploring the context of any of our negative memories related to body image can help us start to get unstuck.

 The majority of us can identify one (or more often many) instances of being criticized about our body size and we’ve been carrying those moments for decades.  Jody points out that sometimes the most difficult battle is the one that takes place in our own minds. The feelings we develop about our bodies are usually just a result of our ideas of what our bodies “should” look like. They were based on unrealistic standards that we assumed we had to accept. 

 Jody emphasizes how these stories impact our well-being and stresses the power of deep, meaningful connections to support and sustain us through seasons of change. Fostering these connections not only provides comfort but also builds resilience. Having witnesses to what you’ve overcome in the past is powerful when the feeling of defeat surfaces again. 

In a society that often prioritizes youth and overlooks the wisdom of age, the episode challenges listeners to redefine the concept of growing older. We explore practical strategies for staying present amid media distractions and daily chaos, including practicing gratitude and exercising agency. Jody also highlights the reality that all of us teeter between “I so totally got this” and “I’m falling apart” at any given moment. 

 If you take nothing else from this episode, let it be Jody’s reminder that the key to thriving in midlife is choosing to do life in proximity to those who make you feel seen. Then she adds “choose wisely and sit with them often”. 

To learn more about Jody and her work, connect with her on her website at www., or follow her on Instagram @drjodycarrington.


Jenn Salib Huber: 0:00
Hi and welcome to the Midlife Feast, the podcast for women who are hungry for more in this season of life. I'm your host, Dr. Jenn Salib Huber. I'm an intuitive eating dietitian and naturopathic doctor and I help women manage menopause without dieting and food rules. Come to my table, listen and learn from me trusted guest experts in women's health and interviews with women just like you. Each episode brings to the table juicy conversations designed to help you feast on midlife. And if you're looking for more information about menopause, nutrition and intuitive eating, check out the Midlife Feast community, my monthly membership that combines my no-nonsense approach that you all love to nutrition with community, so that you can learn from me and others who can relate to the cheers and challenges of midlife.

Hey everyone, welcome to this week's episode of the Midlife Feast. So my guest this week is Dr Jodi Carrington, and I'm just going to warn you there is a lot of swearing in this episode and they are all well placed and well deserved, but just to let you know in case you have little kids around. But what we're talking about today is so, so important and it is about the stories that we tell ourselves, where those stories come from, how we use tools that help us to emotionally regulate so that we can show up as the best versions of ourselves. But we just talk a lot about some of the real life moments that we encounter as people in midlife, including some very relatable stories about bathing suits and being in bathing suits but I think what I love about Jodi and the work that she does is that she really just drives home that it's connection that we need in however way that we can make it happen in our lives. We need more of it. So I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did and, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Welcome, dr Jodi Carrington to the Midlife Feast.

Dr. Jody Carrington: 2:02
Oh my gosh, jen. We've known each other for 30 seconds, but I feel like look out, it's going to be, this is a good one.

Jenn Salib Huber: 2:11
So I'm going to tell a little bit of a backstory before I get you to introduce yourself about how I heard about you. So I'm from Nova Scotia. You did some training in Nova Scotia. You have some super fans in Nova Scotia. I'm going to shout out to Nat, because I don't know if you know a Nat who is a big fan of yours. She always shares your stuff with me. But, as I connected with the work that you were doing, and especially with your new podcast, someone comes from everywhere, or what did I get that wrong already?

Dr. Jody Carrington: 2:43
It's okay, everyone comes from somewhere.

Jenn Salib Huber: 2:45
Everybody comes from somewhere. I realize that we have a lot in common, so you had a similar experience as I did about finding out that your family structure changed. So that was the first episode of yours that I listened to. So I found out at 41 that I was donor conceived and I went from only child to bonus family with many siblings. I also have three kids, including a set of twins, and was part of that three kids under three club, but it was the bathing suit story. The bathing suit story.

Where Jody Comes From

Dr. Jody Carrington: 3:20
The connector of all stories.

Jenn Salib Huber: 3:23
I've shared that with everybody who will listen and just to say what an amazing story that was to share. So thank you for sharing that with the world, because everybody who listens to that feels seen, which I know is your mission. So, anyway, tell us about who you are and what you do.

Dr. Jody Carrington: 3:41
Oh my gosh. Okay, well, first of all, that's the greatest intro of all time. So I'm currently on Treaty 7 land here in central Alberta, canada, and I grew up in this province in a little town and really privileged, had everything you could imagine, and my parents then got divorced and I knew, based on the relationships that I learned in that little town, that it was all about that connection piece, even when hard things came, and I decided I was going to be a psychologist and my dad was really excited because what you do in small town in Alberta is you drink excessively in a gravel pit and you try to find a husband and then, if you can't get one, then you go to the next town and look in their gravel pit and then, if you exhaust all the ground, then, generally speaking, you go to college. And so that was my plan and I decided that I was going to be a psychologist.

But I ended up doing an internship with the Royal Canadian man of Police, which is our national police force in Canada, and I fell in love with I fell in love with trauma, but mostly I fell in love with people who are committed to do really hard things and then what it looks like when their organization doesn't look after them. So I have a massive love for first responders across the world and we do a really poor job across the world looking after our first responders and the people who hold them. There's not any nationally recognized program for spouses and internationally recognized program for spouses, and I know this to be true. You're only as okay as the people who hold you. And so when I left that organization, I decided I wanted to become a police psychologist and so I did my master's, my PhD, in Regina and I did a residency in Nova Scotia, which is where our connections begin, and I ended up doing a in my residency. I had to do a rotation with kids, because all I really wanted to work with was adults and I, because I always say I'm not a huge fan of kids, despite the fact that, as you know, I have three of my own, so I'm kind of coming around, but I'm still not a huge fan of kids. I really like the big people.

And so when I did this residency with kids, I realized we knew even less about kids in trauma than we know about adults in trauma. So I did a bit of a post-doc in child psychiatry and my first job back in Alberta was on a lock psychiatric and patient unit for kids and for 10 years I sunk into the most remarkable stories of the hitters, the kickers, the bitters ones, to tell you, to fuck off, I love those babies. And what we ask all the time and this is so similar to your work is we ask all the time what is wrong with this one, what is wrong with this one, what, what is wrong with this one, and we forget to ask all the time what happened to this one. And when context is a prerequisite for empathy, your story is where it all begins. And so people say to me all the time like does it always come back to your childhood? As a psychologist, does it always have to do with your relationship with your parents? And you know, no, no, no, yes, yes, it does. That is a necessary understanding of the way your body has been scripted to deal with the world and food and how people see you and whether your body is important or not, and what happens to the world and how people the heartbeat of the human race treat each other. That is a story that is in your bones. It doesn't need to define you. But if you don't have any capacity to reflect on that or make sense of that story. It becomes really difficult because it continues then to fuck you up in adulthood and you don't really know why.

So I think that some of the greatest work then for me is when I left there. I decided you know, I found a husband finally and we then had all these children very fast, and because we just talked about this, but I got it so right with the first one, then I got twins. On this five foot fuck all Ukrainian chassis, I got twins. I was so great at 38. Anyways, I still love them now, but they're 11 and I'm still in this moment I have two sets of Spanx on, okay, which I don't know why. Oh, jodi, I'm on it. Take those off, I'm on it. Fuckin' black, who cares? But look at this. Anyway, it's fine. It's fine. So that is when we moved to this little town, because after we had these three kids, we were living in a city named Calgary and my husband was like well, you're really struggling, I know what'll help you. Let's move closer to my mother. So how did that go? Oh my God.

So I love her desperately now. And so what happened is it was the best move of our lives and really I speak often now about proximity and connection and the necessity of looking at each other on purpose, because we've never been this disconnected and I'm just so very grateful for this decision to raise our babies in a small community. I think it will remain one of the most sacred places where sometimes, even when you don't want to, you can't get lost, and I really love that. And so all I wanted was a private practice and I was gonna coach hockey because hockey's in my bones, and so we started those things. And then I started to consult with kids, because I had this expertise of working with psychiatric patients and so, you know, non-for-profits and schools and all of those things would be like, holy shit, what do we do with this kid? What do we do with this kid? And so I started going, you know, telling the stories of these babies, and then I started to speak about it and people, you know, could you speak to the superintendents?

Could you speak to, you know, this board? Can we bring you into this organization? And that's how the whole speaking thing started. And now then I wrote a book and it became a national bestseller. It's called Kids these Days. And then I wrote another one and it did well. And then Harper Collins approached me and we just wrote a book called Feeling Scene. It's almost a year old now and it became a national bestseller. And now I speak anywhere, like usually 150 times a year around the globe.

Why We've Been Asking the Wrong Question the Whole Time

Jenn Salib Huber: 9:38
Oh, my goodness. And I think that the message that you're bringing the one about us being disconnected, the one about us needing to be seen and especially the one about needing to understand our stories and where we come from is such a breath of fresh air, because so much of, I think, of the advice out there is just like look ahead, move forward, keep going, try harder, and without taking that pause to say, wait a minute, how did I get here? Like what has happened. So when I'm talking to women about their story with food, when I'm talking to them about the stories that they tell themselves about their bodies, the first thing they always say to me is just tell me what to do, just tell me how to fix it, just tell me what to do.

How do I get out of this? And there's often this kind of resistance at going back and saying well, tell me about when you first remember feeling bad in your body. Or when do you first remember somebody commenting about it? Or how old were you when grandma said that you would look cuter if you lost 10 pounds? And it's those stories, right, that first moment of feeling like there's something wrong and spending the rest of your life chasing feeling. Ok, that leads us to this point. So can we talk about the bathing suit episode without giving all of it away?

Because I think people should listen to it, because it's hilarious. I've listened to it no less than five times and I laugh just as hard every time. I'm not joking Because it is so hilarious, because you're hilarious, but also it's just so relatable. So give us the coals note so that we can kind of dig into the meat of why I'm so fixated on that episode.

Understanding What's Really Happening in a Moment of Body Shame

Dr. Jody Carrington: 11:19
I think what's so critical about it, like a couple of things of what you just said, there is and let's dive into this after I tell you about the story but there's a difference between experiencing or remembering what happened to you and then remembering, more importantly, where you felt it in your body. And I think that that is where because you could, grandpa could say to you or my grandmother could say to me, you should lose 10 pounds, you'd be cuter, and it might, depending on my story, not mean a fucking thing. I'd be like, listen, faddy, maybe you should lose 10 pounds.

Now you, on the other hand, when you got that story because you also have been compared to your sister your whole life, because you just didn't nobody's been asking you to go on a date, but everybody else around you is going on a date. That is the soul crushing moment right Now. Context is the prerequisite to understand what those individual experiences mean, and I often find in therapy, people are trying to find the experience that fucked them all up, but it actually has nothing to do, generally speaking, with experiences per se. It's what happens inside your body when any given experience happens. So it could be as benign to me as a comment and I mean I can tell you these feelings in my body. Like the first time I remember really noticing this was like at a hockey rink and like an older hockey player, like who you know, I'm a whatever, a 12 year old girl and you know, and somebody said to me commented about like oh, big bazookas, you have big bazooka.

This is a very benign like Viking, alberta, canada, probably a Thursday at seven o'clock. I am physically safe in my body, I am all of those things are happening, but that has stuck in my memory as being so unacceptable in that moment right, so for the rest of my life, you can imagine. Then there's lots of kind of covering of big sweaters and doing other. Now that is as benign, as people often in my office are like, okay, where was the time that I got traumatized? Like why do I feel this way? What is that about? Like I don't think I've ever experienced abuse, or maybe I did and maybe I'm trying to like taking it away from the cognitive place, which is what many of us have been trying to do in the world of therapy and taking it into this somatic experience Because as we navigate the consumption of food or nurturing our bodies or feeding our bodies, whatever that looks like, it's often done so unconsciously, and when you can bring those two things into connection, then that's often where, like, you don't have to change your behavior at all. It is often about just the awareness of that then subsequently makes your body respond differently to the world around you.

And so the bathing suit story was really about bringing some of those internal unconscious thoughts into the world, and my biggest point was that you know, we took our babies and this happens, I think, all the time, so often to maybe women more than men, but we took our babies to the West Edmonton Mall, which is like the world's largest mall and it has a stupid water park in it.

The Bathing Suit Story Retold

Okay, and my children love it, and I like two things that I have to put this body in a bathing suit and then jump in a pool of where everybody else have put their respective orifices. It's just not like, not a good time for this mom, okay. And so, of course, the children. I'm frolicking, I wanna go for the children and I ended up buying all the kids had matching bathing suits they look so cute and then I threw my bathing suit in that I had just gotten and I had never tried it on, and so we were like on the way to go to, of course, the pool and the kids are yelling because I'm late and I tried to put on this bathing suit that doesn't fucking cover a lot of real estate and I panic and I have this huge diatribe in my head because we think the road from self confidence to self loathing is long, like when you look at somebody who you believe is confident right, if you look at somebody like I don't know Taylor Swift, you're like, oh my God, she's so confident.

If you look at somebody who maybe you're you know, the hockey mom on your team who just like always seems to have it together and she looks so confident, it is such a misunderstanding, because the road to self loathing and then you look at somebody else who you think is like always negative, always whatever, whatever you think, oh my God, those are two so entirely different people. No, we are often straddling the line between I fucking got this to, I'm a piece of shit. And going back and forth between those things is almost more like a teeter totter than it is necessarily like a sprint or a run from one side to the other, and so the episode was really just about demonstrating what can happen when you know you strap on a bathing suit and it, you know your cheek is hanging out one side and your nips are flying out the other, and you got to try to keep all together. And then your kids are like, mom, nobody cares. And you're like, yeah, nobody cares. I'm look at me, I'm a healthy, I'm amazing, and I'm strutting. And then all of a sudden I'm like, oh, for fuck's sake, I'm so sorry kids, I'm sorry. I should have told you, you should have told somebody else. You got the fat mom.

And then you know anyway. So the story goes on. And then I just try to hide in the waves and then somebody recognizes me and they want to take a picture. And I'm just, I'm mortified. And then my daughter I just say you know, babes, I'm going to just stay in the wave pool like up to my neck for the rest of you guys, go, go, go, go, go go. My daughter says to me we really need to go in this tube slide. And I'm like, no, actually we don't you go. Mommy's going to stay here. I'm going to watch you at the bottom, I'll cheer you on. And she's like you don't even love me as much as you love the boys, or she says something like this that always crushes my soul.

She's a very expert at that. And so then I'm like, fuck it, let's go, and I grab the tube and I get up there and I just about die, mostly because I have an interaction with the pool boy who is trying. I'm so many times I think I still got it Like you know what I mean. Like those are the moments when I'm in my head where I'm like man, fucking right 45 and ready to rock, and all grace in there remind me, or whatever, logan, whatever his name was that maybe, indeed I didn't, because he started calling me mam, and then I got stuck and my cheek got stuck on the slide and I had to buck myself to the front of the line and fuck, and then there was this.

Jenn Salib Huber: 17:35
I loved your advice in that episode about tubes. It's like don't sit down until you're ready to go.

The Power in Sitting in Hard Emotions

Dr. Jody Carrington: 17:41
Oh, my God, there's so many helpful water park suggestions there that, if for nothing else, you will get some of those. So anyway, to all of that to say so often is we hold that in our bodies, and when I can think about the first time that I experienced that sense of self-loathing, like I hold it in my chest, it makes me wanna bring my shoulders forward. I mean again the concept around just like you're too much, you're too big, your body's too big, like could you try to get smaller, and desperately sort of wanting to be that, but just knowing that I needed to take up space because I didn't wanna be objectified. And so, although I desperately wanted to be objectified, and so like how do you then sort of just draw awareness to that and just give it some space? You don't have to do anything with it. And that's often the thing, right, is that? Like?

There's not necessarily oftentimes when people say to me you know, like I feel it in my chest, right, and it's just this big, you know. For example, somebody yesterday said to me it's like a big, heavy black ball, like a metal ball, and it just rolls around in there and I carry it with me all the time. And so I would say to them okay, they're like I just want it gone, all right. So what happens if we just notice it? What happens if we give it full permission to be there? Oh, I don't want to do that because I don't want it there, I know. So, just for this moment, you're safe in your body, you're here with me. Let's just approach it and see if we can just let it know. It's fine to be there, but where are you here? What are you here to tell us? And then, oftentimes, what we notice is that it relaxes, it dissipates, it starts to melt, it gets smaller, and the whole point is that you can't address what you won't acknowledge.

And so much of it is. We just try to stuff it, our emotions, the pieces of us that we don't love. When people are sad, when our kids are unhappy, we just want them to be happy and we're like it's good, it's good, it's good, everything's fine, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine. And that's probably the biggest mistake we make in the system is always wanting to get back to the state of emotional regulation. And the definition of emotional regulation is calm, right. How not to lose your friggin' mind? It is probably the single most important skill you will teach your children. But the trick with emotional regulation is the chaos is necessary to learn the calm. You actually have to be unhappy and sad and feel rejected and get bullied and feel like you're not acceptable and then address it Because you can't practice. Oh, my goodness. Yes, yeah, right, you can't practice.

Why You Can't Learn Resilience Without the Chaos

What is it gonna feel like when you get anxious? What is it gonna feel like when you do these things? It's like I want really big biceps, okay, so I'm gonna learn. I'm gonna read all about pushups. I'm gonna read every book that Arnie ever wrote on pushups. I'm gonna look at the body mechanics of pushups. I'm gonna do all these things, but I'm not gonna do any of them, right. It doesn't fucking matter, I'm not gonna get bigger, right? So the chaos is necessary to learn the calm. I need to feel rejection. I need to feel futility, sadness, all those things, which is why I just really hate the whole anti-bullying rhetoric. It's not that I don't care how many pink shirts you fucking wear. Kids are assholes and our job they don't have a script. They don't have a script, so the job of big people is to walk them through, it Is to say, when your kid is an asshole. Look at me when your kid says this kid was so mean to me today, all right, tell me more.

And then you understand, obviously, that there's a diatribe and your kid has a role in that, and your responsibility is to have a conversation about how you respond and what happens when people say things, and how all of those stuff happens in the relationship that we sort of guide our babies with. And the number one problem we face these days is that we've never been this disconnected. We've never had this much of a a paucity of opportunities to walk each other through big emotions and regardless. I mean it is estimated that our great grandparents looked at their children 72% more of the time than we look at our babies today. And people say what is the consequence of that? It's called a mental health crisis, because the only way you deal with big emotions is somebody has to walk you through it. You can handle your shit on your own for a little while, but see, we're neurobiologically wired for connection.

We Are All Wired for Connection

We were never meant to do any of this alone. And when it comes to wondering about you know, am I fat, am I skinny? Am I good enough to have this glass of wine, or oh, I just had a cheat meal. And now I like I'm a fucking idiot, like why did I do these things? And I mean, as I am telling you all these things, this is the exact conversation that's been in my head for the last 48 hours, or the last. I mean the last 48 years, right? So it's not that, once you know it, that it just goes away. It's so much about the awareness of it that matters.

Jenn Salib Huber: 22:35
The awareness and knowing that you're not alone in it. Because in that moment and what so many of the people in my community have said after listening to your episode is they felt so much safer being able to sit with those emotions, knowing that they weren't the only ones who have felt that way. Because in that moment, with the bathing suit, we feel like it's us. We feel like I'm the problem, my body's the problem, I've done something wrong, I deserve to be in this shithole of emotion and it's so shame filled. And as soon as you start to talk about it, and when you can talk about it with people who are also sitting with it, that they're not chasing the next diet, that they're not chasing the quick fix that they're actually willing to like, sit with that feeling and see what that looks like.

It's a game changer, like to feel seen and to feel like you're not broken is a game changer in how you manage that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that I just had an aha moment about why I've connected to your bathing suit episode so much, because my first moment of feeling body shame had to do with a bathing suit when I was 12. It was, I'm sure you remember, sears catalog. Fellow Canadian we're all, and I grew up in small town, northern New Brunswick, so like the Sears catalog was where we got literally every thing. If it wasn't in the Sears catalog and we couldn't make it to the next big city to go to consumers, distributors or whatever it was, we didn't get it. So and I don't know if you remember from the 80s yeah, it would have been the late 80s, early 90s the color blocked neon bathing suits that were in the Sears catalog. There was like a black and orange, a black and green, a black and pink. So I ordered the black and the green to piece and I ordered it in the same size that I had had been wearing the summer before.

But I had gone through puberty and when it arrived and I put it on, it was like trying to dress a sausage. Everything was just like poking out all the places. And I can remember standing in front of my white dresser with the mirror also from the Sears catalog, looking at it and thinking what the hell is wrong with my body, why doesn't this fit? And that is the first time that I really connected to that feeling of where do you feel it in your body. My belly. I remember feeling it in my belly. I've done a lot of work to not feel it anymore, but I do remember for a long time it was in my belly, interesting Just the tension, like the twisting of a knot, that even just the thought of putting on a bathing suit and looking at myself in the mirror would have sent me into the spiral to end all spirals. It's interesting.

Dr. Jody Carrington: 25:26
And it's so interesting that it was just an experience with you and Amir. It was the expectation of. Oftentimes we talk about our biggest traumas happening at the hands of other people, but we carry with us, even in our own expectations of looking in Amir, all the expectations of the universe, because you had just looked in this year's catalog and the girl that was wearing that didn't look like that. And so we have this inundation of social media images that for the first time in history. I mean we didn't grow up with this. Our kids grew up with social media, but we as middle-aged women didn't grow up with it. And so now, not only just as the year's catalog do that to us, we are constantly inundated, as menopausal women too, about like, okay, can you keep your shit together?

Can you still, I mean at 50, what? Can you suck and talk and do the things and get the stuff to get to where you can still look like maybe 39? And I think about how powerful that little girl experienced that year's catalog image because she had to go to it and search it out and find the bathing suit that was cool, because she had seen that in maybe your best friend or on the cover of a magazine somewhere. You think about how much now the experience of our kids spend a lot of time on social media and we spend a lot of social like.

If you charge your phone beside your bed, you increase your level of cortisol for the run of the day exponentially, because you don't even get out of bed before you're comparing yourself to somebody else. And so you think about from a neurophysiological perspective. What happens is you've just been in sleep and then, in an effort to sort of like get ahead of your day or just we think it's sort of like a chill out kind of a thing I'm going to check my email or I'm going to just check the news, as my husband says all the time, I'm just writing the news. Okay, so what's that doing to you before you even pee Right, and my mom didn't have that opportunity.

Now she might have been with her own self-loathing thoughts, but she didn't also have the added issue of then comparing yourself to 50. Oh fuck, she already got up for she's drinking collagen, son of a bitch. We need family pictures. God damn it, erin, wake up, you know. And then we wonder why we're shitty, you know, in the morning, or why we're chippy with our kids or why like. Then we choose to have something for breakfast and we're like God, I've already thought about you know how good I'm not. So it's either like, fuck it, I'm not eating breakfast, or it doesn't matter, I'm going to have 57 cinnamon buns Like I'm so mad now. So we lose the disconnection between what's happened there.

Jenn Salib Huber: 28:16
Totally. Let's talk a little bit about. You mentioned earlier like the story of we go from being OK to not OK. We think it's a long road, but it's not. And this is one of the things that is, I think, hard for people to understand when they're thinking about how they feel in their bodies, because they're like, some days I'm OK and I think, oh, I look kind of cute, and then in the span of 30 seconds I can think, oh, my god, what was I thinking? How could I possibly think that?

How could I possibly feel that way? And really, kind of, what this bathing suit story shared was that it's the emotional dysregulation that influences that story, so, so much. And so if you have external stressors, pressures, expectations, other things that are taking away your capacity to regulate, it's also going to take away your capacity to speak kindly to yourself 100%. So how do we recover? So how do we go from? How do we try and stay a little bit more in the I'm OK not perfect, but I'm OK versus the I'm going down that other road that is just awful and not comfortable? Can we recover? How do we recover?

Discovering the Habits that Keep Us More Present

Dr. Jody Carrington: 29:27
in that moment. I don't know. I mean just kidding. I kind of feel like it isn't an end game, which is, I think, the experience that many of us have. Right, how do we get there? What is the fix? And I think the first rule of the Fight Club here is that you don't arrive. So give yourself so much grace. Will you hate your body after you go on a big binge drinking night out? Will you be disappointed in yourself when, if? Will you be overjoyed with yourself if you've restricted for three days? Those stories are in our bodies, and so I think just giving yourself some grace, first of all, is the first thing. The other thing that I know to be true and we can reverse engineer this, for however it works but what I know to be true is that you have access to the best parts of yourself, your best version of yourself, when you're emotionally regulated.

So if that is the truth, then the answer for me lies somewhere in what are we doing in the run of the day to stay as present, as regulated as we can be? And historically, then, if we jump to what people have always told us right, move your body, drink your water, get outside all of those things are intended to get us to a place of being present. They've been touted as self-care sort of rhetoric, but I want to be clear about why you would choose to do those things right, and it's not necessarily because you're going to try to get your exercise in so that you can have another 500 calorie window, which is sort of the story all the time for many of us, or for me anyway. And so the story so much more for me these days is how do I stay as present as I can? And Dr Paul Conti talks a lot about this, and I was just listening to this on the Huberman podcast a little while ago and he said it so clearly to me. He said the two cornerstones of mental health are agency and gratitude, and agency requires you to be internally focused and present.

Right, what do I have control over in this moment? Right, what in this moment do I have control over? And so you don't have control over your mother-in-law's perception of whether you're looking after your kids well enough. You don't have control over whether the world thinks that at 48, you should be whatever. So I have control over what I put over in my body, who I surround myself with today, whether I move my body or not Doesn't mean that I have to, but I have control over that right. And then the switch to that. The second piece which I really think is like sort of in a sequential model that's on a loop, is then this idea of gratitude. And what gratitude does is it really gets you into a state of emotional regulation. It's almost like a trick to get you there, because you need your prefrontal cortex on to practice gratitude, which means I have to.

I can stay in this place of fuck. I wish I was skinnier, because now it's Christmas and, like god, I know I'm going to probably gain 10 pounds. You know what I mean. Like I wish I would have tried harder and I'm like shit, I should have. You know, all of these things happen, which is so true. Ok, good, give yourself the space to do that. What do I have control over in the season? I have control over what I put in my body. If I choose to drink every night during the holiday season, that's my choice. You can do that. There's your permission. If you want to have a glass of wine every second night, that's also your choice. And if you know you're going to feel better in your body. Ok, well, so I have control over that. And what am I thankful for? When I step into that piece, the self-loathing melts. Because when I stay in this self-loathing place I'm like, fuck, I don't have this, I don't have that, I'm too fat, I want to know. And then when I switch into gratitude, I can say things like Jesus, in this moment I am physically healthy.

You can have a million problems, and then when your health becomes a problem, you get the cancer, or you get the illness, or you hear the news or whatever the deal is. Then you only got one problem. And when I step into gratitude, I start to think about the babies in Gaza this morning, or I start to think about the fact that our children have so many presents under the Christmas tree already. It makes me feel shame and that's a whole other thing you can go down. But I mean it's like agency and gratitude become if I were to simplify it into really basic concepts, become the loop that is probably the cornerstone to the healthiest amongst us, because it almost by trickly it's a very good word gets you into the state of emotional regulation and then back to the best parts of you, and that's really the whole point of feeling seen when you are seen by another.

You truly are in a state of emotional regulation and you have the capacity to do that for other people every single moment of every single day, if you choose to do that. And for me, that's really where the purpose in this lifetime lives is understanding my power in that regard, that when I am present, I am best for my children, for my partners, that I can actually single-handedly change the world.

Because when I am present, when I have access to the best parts of myself, I'm remembering to do things like wave at my neighbor or give somebody a compliment. Or last night I was going through the co-op lineup and I've had this $50 bill in my wallet for a very long time and I don't know like somebody paid me for something. Something happened, something happened. Something happened. Something happened, I don't know. The other day I tried to find it and I couldn't. I was going to give it to somebody as I was in the lineup. Last night there was a mom, a single mom, who I know sort of in the community and I don't know why. I'm telling you this story so you can take it out of this when I'm done.

But anyway, and I just thought in that moment like how lucky I was to be able to buy groceries for my baby on a night where it's snowy, and I could see them navigating exactly what they were going to take in their cart and when I opened my wallet the $50 was there and so I paid for my groceries and I said to the clerk could you just use this for whatever it would help for their groceries behind me? And I left and in that moment you get to practice. I really reflected on the fact that the only way I got to remember the beauty of the things that were in my world is that I practiced. The gratitude brought me there right of like how lucky I was in that moment, and then our ability to give it away to allow somebody else to feel seen in that moment Whether she felt seen or not, I don't know, because I didn't. I mean, I left fast and I did all those things, but I again. So not about me in this place, it's really about how do we have access to the best parts of ourselves and that is where the best things live. Then, when I went to pick up my daughter from hockey practice after that she's in a shitty mood I got it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 36:26
I know Hockey practice is so important. Oh yeah, we can handle so much more. We can support people. We can see people, yes, and describe them In the way that they need to be seen, when we're in our best place and, quite honestly, this is so selfish because it is really about me.

Two Tools For Staying Present in Midlife: Agency and Gratitude

Dr. Jody Carrington: 36:41
I am in the best places in my life and then able to give the people I love and I lead and I teach the best parts of me. But it all comes back to agency and gratitude, that place of emotional regulation. And if nobody's ever taught you, if you haven't had a lot of regulating others around you, this will be harder, because emotional regulation is a privilege. Somebody has had to show you how to do it. And if most people around you have been emotionally just regulated your whole life you come from multiple generations of abuse, neglect and trauma it will be much more difficult, which is why the experience of marginalized people struggle most typically with emotional regulation, because you need people to be able to show you how to do it.

You can't give away something you've never received. Now it's not to say, if you have experienced marginalization in any capacity, that you are emotionally just regulated. That doesn't go hand in hand, because oftentimes it just takes one, one teacher, one hockey coach, one loving neighbor, which is again back to our whole purpose. In this lifetime, you never underestimate your power to give somebody a compliment at the 7-Eleven, the kid with the hoodie on and the hair down and the 67 piercings.

Do not forget to stop at Tim Hortons and be like thank you so much. Or I don't know what happens in the Netherlands but like when you're buying yogurt or something Cheese, eat, a lot of cheese, yes cheese To be able to say to the cheesier guy this is the most amazing, incredible cheese I've ever had in my life. You must be so proud of what you've created because this just makes my family happy every time I bring it home. You don't even change your life. You save it. That's beautiful, right? You save it. Listen, one in four people have a plan right now to end their lives. What are you doing? What are you doing with yours? Get out there and remind yourself. Your children are watching. You can't tell your kids how to be kind and anti-racist and inclusive. You have to show them.

Jenn Salib Huber: 38:42
Agency and gratitude. Those might just be my two words for 2024. Right, because I love that. Thank you, paul Conti. I know I love about. So agency really resonates and will resonate with my audience, because I talk all the time about how permission with food is what we need to feel like we're in control. When we step into restriction with food, we will never feel like we have enough. But permission is permission to say yes or permission to say no. It's the agency, right, and the gratitude is how we step into body neutrality. I don't have to love my body to treat it with kindness and respect and to be grateful for it. Right, I can be grateful for my strong, wide thighs and legs. They do some pretty awesome things, even if they don't fit into a bikini in a traditional way. So I love, love, love. Agency and gratitude yeah, isn't it good? Oh, my goodness. Oh, jodi, I feel like we could have like 18 parts to this, but I feel like that's a lovely place to wrap this up for this episode, and so I cannot thank you enough for getting up early on the morning of a snowstorm in Alberta to come and talk to me today.

Dr. Jody Carrington: 39:57
I'm so grateful. Before we wrap up.

Jenn Salib Huber: 40:00
I'm sorry, before we wrap up and you tell people where they can find you, which we'll also have in the show notes, here's the question I ask all my guests what do you think is the missing ingredient in midlife?

The Missing Ingredient in Midlife According to Jody

Dr. Jody Carrington: 40:11
It is absolutely comes down to one word Proximity to people who make you feel seen, choose wisely and sit with them often.

Jenn Salib Huber: 40:28
Beautiful Thank you. So where can people learn about you? Because I know, like I said, we're going to have all these links, but we're. What are you doing lately? What do you have?

Dr. Jody Carrington: 40:35
on that? Oh my gosh. Okay. So Dr Jodi Carrington dot com is where everybody lives, or all of our website and shit lives, but I we spend some time in social media. We're launching a new course in January called feeling scene, and it comes out on the anniversary of the book, which is going to be a year old on January 19th, and I wanted to create a place where, like people, it was like therapy in a bottle, right? So like when you feel overwhelmed in January and you're like, what the fuck am I going to do with my life, which is many people like, get to this place.

It's this like little series that I take you through in the book and you could sort of do the work, because everybody always asks this question right, have you done the work? And I don't even know what, like that means. And so we created a little place where we can do the work together. So that's the thing that's launching in January. And, yeah, then we just have so much the podcast. I'm just starting in this podcast world. We've only been out for a few months and it's it's been so fun. I love it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 41:31
You've had some great guests. Well, here's a fun little serendipitous fact Even without knowing that you were launching this course, we have this episode scheduled to come out January 15th, so that feels very serendipitous.

Dr. Jody Carrington: 41:43
Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, go check it out. I would really love that. I would really love that, and I'm sure there's going to be all kinds of things when we launch it, so it'll be like widely available to your people. I would love your audience to be a part of mine.

Jenn Salib Huber: 41:57
Thank you so, so much, Jodi. I know that this is going to be a well loved episode. Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of the Midlife Feast For more non diet, health, hormone and general midlife support. Click the link in the show notes to learn how you can work and learn from me. And if you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, please consider leaving a review or subscribing, because it helps other women just like you find us and feel supported in midlife.

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