(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!

(144) This is scary.

Do you have a complicated relationship with food and fear what it will take to move away from diets? Listen to this week’s Love Food podcast to hear a letter from someone who can relate and ways to move through.

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, 

Sometimes I’m really scared of you. I’m not even sure why but when I write those words I cry. I’m scared. I’m scared you will make me fat–I already am and pretty much always have been. I’m scared you won’t help me with my PCOS. I’m scared you’ll take over my body and not feed my soul. I’m scared if I eat healthy I’ll never get to taste the good stuff. I’m scared. I’m scared if I don’t have you I won’t have my friend. I’m scared you’ll abandon me. I’m scared you’ll leave me–what does that mean? That the medication factor will be gone and I’ll be left hanging with no security blanket.

Dear Body, I love you, let me feed your soul, let me feed you. I want to take care of you. Dear Body, let me be gentle and kind. Let me love you as I learn to let others love me. Let me accept you. Dear Body, let me find joy.

Love,

Scared of letting go.

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!

Can you relate: “I don’t want to diet but I don’t like my body.”

I have been writing a lot lately about the dangers of diets, how seductive and manipulative they can be, and how diets don’t work. I am wondering if I just heard you say, “But…..”

Maybe you are with me on how diets suck the life out of you and food has too much power, “but” you still want to weigh less. And diets are required for that.

If this describes your current way of being around food, I encourage you to experiment with putting this dieting desire on the back burner for the next 3 to 6 months.

Taking a break from diets and the pursuit of weight loss will help your body take a break from this harmful yo yo dieting. Ending the diet chaos and weight cycling, even temporarily, will be a great investment in your mental and physical health. Stepping away from weight loss pursuits will give you the opportunity to feel less craving to binge or “emotionally” eat.

Remember that hopeful clear feeling a diet brings? This seductive fantasy is how the vicious cycle BEGINS not ends.

Do you feel chaos around food when not dieting?

Don’t blame yourself or the food, blame the dieting and the diet industry.

Blame the pursuit of weight loss.

You will find bingeing has less of a hold only after you stop dieting for a period of time.

Saying goodbye, at least for now, to diets will help you begin this journey toward Food Peace™.

Diets have violently assaulted you for too long. They are disrespectful to your body.

Eating, without dieting, is the Food Peace step of Respect. It is respecting your biology, physiology, and needs. You are not to blame for the diet’s disrespectful treatment of your body and you can be a part of turning things around.

This next steps are tough and oh, so worth it.

(142) Food is all I think about (with Tonya Beauchaine and Tracy Vazquez)

Are your thoughts always on food: what you will eat, why did you eat it, and how to not eat it? Do you want more control yet can’t seem to get behind the wheel? Listen to the latest Love Food podcast where we explore the tough parts of eating disorder recovery, the nuance of making it work for you, and how to step into your power.

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.

I’ve just discovered the Body Love Box and it looks like a fantastic resource for people who live in large bodies or anyone who wants to improve their body image. It’s a monthly subscription box that gets mailed to your home and it includes things like body-positive stickers and pins as well as deeper resources on body acceptance, health at every size and intuitive eating. Each box includes items from fat and marginalized creators, and pays them a living wage for their work.
The monthly subscription can be found at www.thebodylovebox.com, and use the code LOVEFOOD for 15% off your first month.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear food, 

I hate you; and I love you. You are all I think about. You dominate my sense of self worth. Sometimes I restrict you, sometimes I overeat you, a few times I have gotten rid of you. I worry that I will never be able to free myself from you.

I recently began eating disorder recovery and it is harder than I had ever thought. How are you supposed to recover, when there is still a part of you that enjoys your eating disorder? How are you supposed to change, when disordered eating has been your way of life since middle school? How are you supposed to make peace with yourself, when you look in the mirror and hate what you see?

I tell myself that I am faking it; that I only do these things for attention. I eat in secrecy, lie about what I have eaten, and want people to look at me as “the girl with the eating disorder”. I find it hard to eat around other people, for fear or judgment and embarrassment. I tell myself there is no way I can actually have an eating disorder, because people with eating disorders aren’t able to feel normal any time food is involved. But sometimes, for me, I don’t have a problem eating. I’ll give myself “free days” or “free meals”, in which I can eat what I want and not feel guilty about it. Usually these days consist of me eating unhealthy, feeling bad about it afterwards, and then just continuing to do it, saying I will “make up for it tomorrow”. And then there are days where I will eat once, or twice, and that is all I get for the day. I’m allowed one meal, or X in the morning and Y and Z later, often with a workout in between. Sometimes food is around me and I eat it just because it is there, even if I am already full. Sometimes I am so hungry that I can’t focus on anything else. (Omitted sentences followed.)

I wonder what it would be like to have a good relationship with you, food; to not spend all of my time thinking about you. I wonder what it would be like to eat three meals a day and not feel guilty afterwards. I wonder what it would be like to wear the types of clothes that everyone else wears, but I am too ashamed to put on my body. I wonder what it would be like to go on a shopping trip alone without having it end with me staring at myself in the dressing room mirror, wondering why I even left the house that day, and vowing never to eat again. I wonder what it would be like for my friends to see me as someone other than a weak, hopeless, mess whom they have to worry about daily. I wonder what it would be like to EAT when I am hungry and STOP when I am full I wonder what it would be like to not have food control my life. I wonder what it would be like to eat well, have desert if I want to, exercise because it’s fun, love my body, and be happy. I wonder what it would be like to be free.

Love,

Your greatest enemy and your best friend

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!

There’s a reason why you feel chaotic around food.

How did the diet industry aka the weight cycling industry get so powerful?

Most products that do not provide long-term results fail to make it in the market place. Imagine if you had a car that drove fine yet after 12 weeks stopped working even after trying to repair it. Would you blame yourself, the driver? No, you’d go back to where you purchased the car and demand a refund.

What if you bought a microwave that after just a few months stopped heating food? You would probably contact the warranty and they would send you a new one. What if the next one did the same? I have a feeling you wouldn’t blame yourself you would never buy that brand of microwaves again.

The company making these microwaves would eventually lose business for a poorly made product. They might even go out of business.

The market would demand them to fix it or face the consequences of losing customers.

The diet industry has eluded this marketing regulator. Instead, the diet industry has designed diet pills, meal replacements, plans, calorie counts, gym memberships, etc that fail for the majority long term.

Instead of failing in the marketplace, the diet industry has found a way to blame the product’s failure on the user rather than the product. Rather genius yet this point of blame is the foundation of your negative relationship with food.

Why did this happen? How is the diet industry getting away with this?

This certainly would be a glorious area of study and I have a feeling their magical marketing powers are rooted in evil like white supremacy, patriarchy, misogyny, and other oppressive systems.

Makes sense to me that our relationship with food can feel so chaotic and draining: we blame ourselves for each fumble yet gaslighted to believe we just aren’t smart enough.

We need to call this out for what it is.

And it is time for you to reclaim your power.