(148) Are you feeling hopeless about your recovery? This episode is for you.

How do other people recover into a world that hasn’t recovered from its own eating disorder? How do others binge less and love their body more in this thin obsessed world? Listen to this Love Food episode featuring words from a previous letter writer who wants to share the steps they’ve taken.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I wrote you back in episode #64, and so much in our relationship has changed since then that I wanted to write you again. I was so terrified when I wrote that letter, so scared of what lay ahead and unsure of whether I could do what needed to be done to recover from a lifetime of disordered eating that had left me at rock bottom.

But I write you today saying that I am on the other side of that mountain, and sometimes I still can’t believe it. It’s not perfect, and never will be. But that is the beauty of life, we will always struggle, and there is beauty and meaning and so much learning in that struggle.

So I wrote you, and Julie and Judith Matz discussed the contents of my letter with such care, kindness and compassion. It meant so much to me, and I felt more validated that my struggle was real, and that I needed help. I ended up finding a wonderful eating disorder therapist in my hometown. She was a huge support during the really hard parts of my recovery, and helped me to challenge my beliefs and made me realize – or at least begin to digest the fact – that my worth
as a woman and a person in this world does not depend on the size of my body. I have to say that when I wrote that first letter, I never thought I’d be able to internalize that as truth. I wanted to share the three pivotal parts of my journey. And my intention here is to try to speak to
those who feel as I did back then: that there was no way I could ever stop dieting, and there was
no chance that I could accept my body if it was not thin.

For those who feel as scared as I did, I want to let them know that it is possible, and there truly is freedom on the other side. It involves taking some big risks, lots of trust in the process, as well as grit, patience and commitment.

  1. The first part of my journey involved letting go of all rules around food – which was
    terrifying – literally like jumping off a cliff and hoping that I’d be okay on the other side. I
    would say for me, this took a few years, and the beginning was so rough. It felt out of
    control and so awful at first, and I just had to keep going and trust that I would be okay.
    Over time, things slowly started to shift, to the point where today, I literally eat whatever I
    want. I no longer question my food choices, and rarely feel regret over what I’ve eaten. I
    crave healthy food a lot more than I ever thought I would, and when I want treats, I don’t
    think twice. I have ice cream and chocolate and cookies in my house all the time, and
    often don’t even think about them. My hunger and fullness signals are so much stronger
    than I ever knew they could be, and it feels so good to see foods that would have once
    sent me over the deep end, and now if I want them I eat them, and if I don’t feel hungry or
    don’t feel like eating them, I just say “meh” and leave them for others to enjoy. I can
    honestly say I never thought I’d have that freedom.
  2. The second part of my journey was body acceptance work, which involved beginning to undo the beliefs that I had about a woman’s value, and really questioning why people in my life do value or love me, and eventually realizing that it truly has nothing to do with how I look. That took time – but I continually remind myself that since I stopped dieting and my body changed, not one relationship has been negatively impacted by it. I still have wonderful friends, laugh my head off, have a great marriage, have sex, go to parties, spend time with family. Changing my social media feeds was super helpful with respect to body acceptance -seeing strong, smart and incredible women of all shapes and sizes owning their shit and unapologetically living their truths – that continues to be so helpful and inspiring. Doing this work also got me thinking about how I would want to be remembered after I’m gone. And I asked myself, do I want people to say, “Oh she had such a great body! Such small, tight thighs and she worked out so hard!” I can say with 100% conviction that that is not the legacy I want to leave behind on this earth. I would much rather it be that I truly loved and cared about those around me, and tried to live a life true to who I am and to my values.
  3. The third important part has been self-compassion: This was another critical part, because we can be so cruel to ourselves, and we would never talk to others the way we speak to ourselves. Self-compassion means that in times of trouble and inner conflict (which is basically all the time), that we talk to ourselves as we would speak to someone we love – a good friend, a child. So as I let go of food rules and my body inevitably changed, instead of using words like gross and disgusting when I looked in the mirror, I worked on being more neutral and accepting. Changing that inner dialogue to a much kinder one was a real shift for me and I continue to work on that every day. This doesn’t mean I look in the mirror every day and think I look beautiful. What it means is, I can now look in the mirror and even if I don’t like what I see, I can say, “Ok. I don’t love how I look today. But…oh well. I am still gonna go to work, hopefully accomplish something productive, have some good talks or laughs with colleagues and friends I cherish, and then come home and share a meal with my family, and love and be loved. How I look today will have no impact on any of those things.”

So there you have it. No more food rules, accepting my body, and practicing self-compassion. So
many big hurdles, so much change. And here I am on the other side of it.
When I wrote you back in episode #64, I never thought I’d be where I am today. I know that this
journey will be lifelong, and I am completely okay with that. I can’t and won’t ever go back to that
way of life, to those values I had internalized that were never really my own, to a world of body
shame and unrealistic beauty standards. I am committed to the ups and downs of the road ahead
of me, now that I know that my beauty and value lie within. I choose freedom, I choose to live my
own truth, and I choose to honour all people and all bodies, including my own.

Sincerely,

Previously Stuck and Scared and Wanting to Charge

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

(147) My sport demands I stay at a lower weight (with Kristie Amadio).

Are you into a sport while trying to move away from diets? Does your sport demand you to keep your weight low?  push you into a weight class that is not consistent with your body wants to weigh? Have you been told you will be better at your sport while at a lower weight? Listen up because this episode of the Love Food Podcast explores this topic featuring Kristie Amadio from RecoveredLiving.com.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear food,

I have written and re-written this letter so many times, but we need to talk.

Our relationship has always been rocky, coming from an americanised easter-european family, and after flirting with several eating disorders I thought I had finally broken free from restricted eating.

But then I became a boxer. Not just a lunchtime class, fitness, instagram boxer, but a fighter.

I love boxing, I love fighting and the sense of ultimate conquering I get from coming out on top and training so hard; but my relationship with you has been abused and almost destroyed in my quest to become a champion.

Within the combat industry there is a prevailing, toxic undercurrent of weight loss and diet culture expectations; crystallised in the dangerous ritual that is the weight cut.

Cutting weight is often a combination of severe restriction, forced dehydration and over exercise; and in my fight history I have done all to the extreme. This has caused not only our trust to erode, but also extreme weight cycling by about 20lbs a cut.

I am now trying to engage with intuitive eating and the HAES community after a big scare where my last cut almost landed me in the hospital. I have just started to see a anti-diet dietician who was blown away by the sheer volume of HAES resources I have consumed in my quest for health and pleasurable eating.

I am slowly increasing the amount and variety of you that I consume, but I am still stuck on true eating permission due to my fear around my club and my coach.

I am heavy, food, and I always have been. I am stocky and short for my weight and to make matters worse my family has a history of having great bone density; which probably means that I can never lose as much weight as I need to for the “fight advantage.”

While working overseas I was able to train on the fight team of a female coach. It was a mind blowing experience as far as food freedom and body positivity goes; I felt so free and proud to be my size!

I was allowed to fight very close to my walk-around weight, and even though I was 4 inches shorter than my opponent I felt fit, and fuelled, and strong.

Now back in my home country I am back at my home gym, and although I love and respect my male coach and my almost all male teammates I am so scared and anxious about the thought of gaining weight!

I don’t know if he will let me fight close to my walk around weight, but even if he does I am scared that permission to eat sweets will skyrocket my weight upwards; forcing me to undertake another dangerous weight cut.

I’m scared, food. I wrestle with guilt every time we’re at the table and you are in a regular portion size or contain “bad” carbohydrates.

There are bountiful resources for your average Jane looking to undertake the intuitive eating journey, but there are precious few for serious athletes of size like myself.

I am sick and tired of compulsively moving all day, over training, and under fueling and undernourishing my body so everything hurts when I do the smallest things like climb the stairs or pat my dog.

I’m the fittest and strongest I’ve been in my life, but I’m scared about losing that again just to make a stupid weight I’m not supposed to be.

I want to fully engage with you again, food, and have a healthy relationship where I can fuel my training and have eating competence and satisfaction!

My fear of perceived judgement from my ringmates and coach is holding me back.

How can I feel better about my bigger body in a room of lean athletes? How can I stop comparing myself to my sole female training partner who is as skinny and shredded as they come? How can I stay off the scale and retain my food choice autonomy without feeling guilt towards my coach? And how can I be proud and confident of the amazing things I can do, and my size, despite falling outside the norm of today’s media “athletes?”

Love,

fighting diet culture.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

(146) My eating disorder is at the wheel and I don’t know how to take back control (with Whitney Catalano).

Do you find yourself reliving certain polarizing food memories over and over again in an exhausting loop? Curious why they have so much power? Do you feel like your chaotic eating has all the control and you just want to be the one driving the bus for once? Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast with special guest Whitney Catalano where we explore some possible next steps.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 
 
I hate you. 
 
I think about you every second of every day, and I think of all the things I’ve lost and can’t get back because of the power I’ve given you. 
 
Growing up, I was always bigger. Actually, the biggest. The bigger sister, the bigger cousin, the big friend. I was a quiet, sensitive, and curious little girl, always the observer. I also had a difficult home life, which was the best kept secret in town. My dad was a volatile alcoholic, which led to a great deal of anxiety, fear, and chaos, and a mother who was in too much pain to really be there for us girls. I compensated for all of these things by attempting perfection in almost every other part of my life. 
 
Straight A’s through high school, studied abroad for a year, president of the international club. I wasn’t much of an athlete, but it wasn’t because I didn’t like sports. It’s the classic big girl dilemma – they’ll judge me if I don’t, they’ll laugh at me if I do. Instead, I was a musician. Principal cellist of five different ensembles, and the only high school cellist in the college symphony. But it always came back to my size, and no matter what I achieved I felt like losing weight was the only thing that would make me belong or be truly loved.
 
The busy schedule I designed for myself meant that I didn’t “have time” for food most days. Really, what I had was a rock-solid alibi for my absence in the school cafeteria. I had tried everything under the sun before I had even reached junior year. Skipping meals, eating frozen grapes because they took longer to eat than regular grapes (logic where???), you name it. To my perpetual shock and devastation, nothing worked. 
 
When I was a senior in high school, I was on a diet and my family knew about it. It was probably not a safe, healthy diet, but I was overweight so they encouraged the behavior. My dad, especially. He was big his whole life, and had just dropped a significant amount of weight. 
 
This particular night, I had been at school since 7:30 AM, and didn’t get home from college orchestra practice until close to 9:30. I was exhausted, and, quite literally, starving. I grabbed a can of Lite Progresso Soup for dinner. My dad made a condescending remark, something to the effect of “You should be careful, that has a lot of sodium in it.” 
 
I completely shut down. I put the soup back in the cupboard, and walked upstairs unable to speak or look anyone in the eye. Once I got to my room, I started to sob. I remember hearing my mom say something like, “What’s wrong with you?” to my dad. 
 
As I write this, I’m in one of the deepest holes I’ve ever experienced with my binge eating. I feel like I’m on a runaway train, except I’m the driver and I can’t get it together enough to take the wheel (don’t think trains have steering wheels, but you get it). I haven’t been able to shake this memory for a few weeks, and I can’t exactly articulate why but I know this was an impactful moment in my life, and there were others like it. I know my dad came to talk to me after, but I don’t remember what he said because it didn’t matter. He couldn’t unring the bell, in my mind. I don’t remember if they were able to get me to eat that night, but I remember feeling the emotional pain overcome the hunger pains, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating. 
 
I’m 25 now, and I can feel that I’m in a nosedive, and I feel absolutely powerless. I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last year, and my preoccupation with food and my eating disorder is negatively affecting my job, my social life, and my health. I eat to soothe my psychological pain, but my psychological pain stems from my inability to control my eating. My eating disorder is definitely at the wheel right now, and I don’t know how to take back control. I don’t even feel that I’m strong enough. 
 
From, 
Runaway Train

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Must I love my body to move toward Food Peace. No, you don’t.

Respect does not require body acceptance or body love.

It is ok if you are not in a place where you love everything or anything about your body.

Rather, what if you focused on treating your body as worthy of healing?

I believe in time acceptance will come and body love will happen as more people experience this same body respect.

I have been blogging the last 2 months on the first step toward Food Peace™, Respect. The next few months I will be blogging on step 2: Release.

Keep in mind, our Food Peace journey is not linear nor on a timeline. I see the journey more like layers that need tending to. The layers build upon each other yet our fat phobic culture will try to break the layers apart. The layers are at even more risk if you live in a body that is marginalized in today’s world. This part of our existence means that we need to be attending to all the layers, even those which we may feel we already “completed” to be sure our needs are met.

I hope you become more gentle with your need for patience and compassion on your journey.

When you are ready, it is time to move on to the second step: Release. If you are not ready, keep rereading my blog’s discussions on diet failings and size acceptance. Click here to re-read my blogs on Food Peace’s first layer, Respect or here to re-read the 6 keys to Food Peace.

Another note: If you still do not feel ready, you may not be at diet rock bottom and need more time to experience diets to know they don’t work for you. My blog will always be there when you are ready. It is ok to take a break and revisit later. Until then, I will wait patiently.

Sometimes Food Peace feels sad.

There’s something I want you to know: even if you are feeling unprepared or scared to give up dieting, you are still ready for Food Peace. I will be continuing to write on how to make these next steps and my hope is the writing provides some guardrails along the way.

A gentle heads up: as you move forward, be prepared for some emotional reactions.

First, you may feel different from most people. Dieting is normal eating these days. Connections are made over meal planning, fad diets, and boot camps. You may find giving up diets will make some relationships shift or feel strange.

I encourage you to surround yourself with as many non-dieting normal eaters as possible. If you can’t find them in real life, consider joining a support group whether live or virtually. Work with a counselor and dietitian to help you make these steps. Just be sure they ascribe to a Health at Every Size approach and trained to not focus on weight loss.

Eating according to your own body’s messages may feel odd, novel, or strange. It may sound exciting and scary. Soon after the excitement, most people I speak with grieve.

They grieve for all the years wasted on dieting and the seductive fantasy diets had in their life. Moving past this space can take time so I invite you to take all the time you need.

Notice the anger along with the sadness.

These feelings will be tough to sit with yet aid in your Food Peace journey. Notice them and welcome them in if you are ready.

I am here with you.