(139) I fear everyone judging what I eat (with Jenna Hollenstein)

Picture this: you are in a restaurant and really craving a burger. Or a salad. You freeze. Will people judge what you choose? Do you judge what other’s choose? And how does this get in the way of your Food Peace journey? Listen to this latest episode of Love Food with special guest Jenna Hollenstein RD author of Eat to Love.

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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.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I have recently been on an uphill battle to try and fix our relationship. After countless years of living a secret life with an unacknowledged eating disorder- consisting largely of restricting and bingeing- I made the change to recognize and treat my disordered eating patterns. I have since been diagnosed with an eating disorder and am currently adventuring through the recovery process with a support system of professionals and loved ones.

Although I can feel and appreciate the changes that I’ve made and the growth that I’ve experienced, there is one recurring thought I cannot let go of. I feel that it is keeping me trapped in my eating disorder world. Currently, I am gradually increasing my food intake and attempting to diversify the types of food that I consume. However, I’m finding this to be a painfully difficult experience because I cannot stop thinking that everyone is constantly judging me for what I eat. Essentially, whenever I eat something, I believe that other people are thinking to themselves, “wow, look at her eating that…she is eating that because she is fat”. This thought is strongest if I were to ever eat food that is constructed as “unhealthy”, but is also present if I were to eat food that is constructed as “healthy” but consume a lot of it. For example, when I eat a restaurant, I fear finishing my plate because I assume that the wait staff will judge me for eating all of the food and will judge my body.

That being said, I understand that this is an illogical believe to have. I have countless pieces of objective evidence (e.g., from doctors, the number on the scale, the size of clothing I wear) that indicate that I am not fat, I am not overweight. Yet, this evidence doesn’t override my internal belief that my body is too big and that others are in agreeance with me. Throughout my recovery process, I have come to understand that I hold a strong core belief that my worth comes from my body and that I should always strive for a smaller body. I know this belief is problematic, but I can’t stop agreeing and believing it.

To add one other layer to this puzzle, this thought- where others judge my body and believe that I shouldn’t be eating because my body hasn’t achieved the thin ideal it has been striving for- is particularly difficult for me to let go of because I hold this judgment on others. I find myself judging others for what they eat and I tend to, in my mind, idealize those with small bodies and not hold them to this same judgment. This has been a difficult piece for me to accept because it makes me feel so sad and ashamed to think that I am doing to others what I fear others are doing to me. This fear has fueled so many problematic behaviors and I know it is so unfair for me to hold this judgment on others.

I am wondering how I can overcome this. How do I remove this judgment that I place on myself and on others? How do I let go of this tiring, inaccurate mind-reading game I am constantly playing? Will I ever accept my body and accept the fact that it deserves to eat food- and a variety of foods?

Sincerely,

A life of judging and judgment

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!

Weight loss is a seductive fantasy…here’s why.

Last week I wrote about body respect beginning with no longer pursuing weight loss. You may recall I mentioned weight loss is a seductive fantasy.

If you’ve been told your whole life your body is unacceptable, I appreciate this first step away from weight loss will feel like a deal breaker. I beg you to hold on and hear me out.

One thing is for sure: what you’ve learned so far about food and weight has brought you to this chaotic relationship with food. If you keep reading and apply this information to where you are now, I think it will empower you differently. Plus, you always have the diets to go back to in case you no longer want to pursue Food Peace (although I am hoping you don’t choose this!).

I think the pursuit of weight loss is a seductive fantasy. The weight loss quest gives you hope. Prior to the official start of every diet or food change, you make your food lists and your mind may feel clearer. The idea of starting a diet may even feel safer than moments before. I believe the start of a diet engages your mind in a daydream filled with hope, happiness, acceptance, and peace.

This is the fantasy.

This is the reality: we all are not meant to be thin or with a body mass index of 20 to 25. Your body prefers you to weigh a certain amount, your set point. From genetics and past behaviors, your body will be inclined to experience certain behaviors in order to get back to that set point after gaining or losing weight.

Do you experience cravings, binging, or food obsessions?

These behaviors occur after the body has been without consistent nutrition and not from you failing another diet.

It is you being a successful human.

If your weight is higher than some recommend, I bet you have focused on weight loss most of your life. What if the diet is promoting your weight gain, food obsession, and poor health?

What if the diet was to blame not you?

I hope this note helps you hold off on starting a diet in 2019. More on why soon.

Warmly,

Julie

(138) I keep eating out of anger and spite. Will I ever eat intuitively?

Have you decided to ditch diets and rely on hunger yet stuck? Maybe you are like many other people and find yourself so angry, always rebeling, and eating in spite of the false truths you’ve been told: diets will fix you and your body is not acceptable. Oooooh the lies you’ve been told! Pull up a chair and let’s discuss what to do next on this latest Love Food Podcast episode. This episode covers the 6 keys to Food Peace.

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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.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I’ve been through ED treatment, which allowed me to have MUCH less stress in my life about food and dieting.

But now, I have so much freedom, but I’m not one bit interested in eating intuitively.

I’m almost eating in spite of everything I used to believe: I’m bad, I’m too fat, I’m unhealthy, I’m rebellious, I’m holding myself back from so many opportunities by being so large, etc.

Eating intuitively is hard when you’re SO angry.

Is this “eating whatever I want when I want” ever going to become normal? I just wish i didn’t have to think about this.

Sincerely,

Training yet Confused

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!

It’s not body love or acceptance that’s first, it’s respect.

“If diets work for you, why do you keep going on them?”

If you are considering making 2019 diet free, let’s gather important intel to help you get through January aka The National Dieting Holiday.

When was your first diet?

Do you remember how you got the idea to start eating less, focus on weight loss, and exercise more?

Did someone say your thighs were getting too big?

Were you teased on the playground as the fat classmate?

Did the pediatrician tell your parents to stop giving you seconds?

When were you taught how to hate your body?

How long have you considered your body unacceptable?

Appreciating how body hate and rigid dieting started will help you begin your journey toward Food Peace. This first part of your healing will feel emotional and challenging yet I encourage you to stick with it. I see how the diet industry and health care providers have pushed you to lose weight and with each diet ending you felt (and feel) like a failure. This cycle is not your fault because you were given faulty tools. And these tools hurt your body and the way you relate to it.

In order to heal, take a step back and acknowledge these faulty tools. Consider how they were not respecting your body. Instead of dieting in 2019, I encourage you turn your focus to body respect.

What is body respect?

Popular social media memes tell you to love and accept your body. Most people I work with say they cannot love their body because it is unacceptable. Caring health care providers, parents, and friends have ingrained the idea that fat is unhealthy. Schoolyard bullies taught you your body deserves to be mocked and ugly. Insurance companies and employers blame you for increasing health care costs.

Every aspect of your existence has taught you your body needs to be fixed. The message has been clear: the only way to be acceptable is to eat less and exercise more. And you have spent your whole life trying and failing and trying and failing.

Body respect challenges these messages.

Your body is not unacceptable, ugly, or unworthy. Your body does not need to be fixed.

The messages are wrong not your body. It is time for you to know the truth about how you’ve learned to take care of your body and how cultural messages have harmed your relationship with food. Learning this key tool of Respect sets the foundation for your journey toward Food Peace. It provides the reasons why diets don’t work, how they contribute to your diet rock bottom, and how to start healing.

The Food Peace journey begins with its first steps: deciding to stop pursuing weight loss.

Because weight loss is a seductive fantasy.

I will share more on this seduction next week.

Warmly,

Julie

(136) Can I stay vegan and recover from Binge Eating? (with Jennifer Rollin)

You appreciate that not eating enough can trigger your binges. Does that include your vegetarianism or veganism too? This week’s letter writer has connected the desire to eat with friends and later binge eating. Have you? Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast episode with special guest Jennifer Rollin where we discuss eating disorder recovery and veganism and vegetarianism.

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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.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

My complicated relationship with you began when I was 13. I had become obsessed with body image and thought all my problems would be solved if I could just be smaller. So I began strict dieting, and was eating less than XYZ calories a day. On this journey my brain became obsessed with food much more than body image. I became anorexic. I wanted to be able to stop restricting but I didn’t know how. I was scared and worried I would lose control.

My recovery began when i started seeing a dietitian, who gave me the book “intuitive eating”. If it weren’t for that book, I don’t know where I would be today. I began to eat more normally and gradually gained the weight back, although my mind was still very fixated on food for another year. Once I finally started caring about more things in life than food (about 3 years later) I developed binge eating disorder.

Now for a little more than two years I have been struggling to make peace with my body and have spent many nights crying wondering if I will ever be able to eat normally again. I know that binge eating happens when there is a restriction, which makes me afraid that my veganism is getting in the way of me being able to have a healthy relationship with food.

I went vegan a few months into my strict dieting phase at 13, after watching a documentary promoting it, but that was mainly for ethical reasons as well as health. Now I know that I’m not doing it for my health or anything body related, but my veganism is a very important part of my belief system, and I don’t feel like I could/want to give it up. It’s been five years since my initial eating disorder, parallel with the amount of time I’ve been Vegan. It doesn’t really feel like I’m restricting myself, since I’m so used to doing it and there are plenty of vegan alternatives that I enjoy. However every now and then I’ll be in a situation where everyone else is eating meat/cheese and part of me just wishes to indulge for that moment. I worry that when those feelings are left ignored it triggers a binge.

Love,

At a crossroads

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!