(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!

(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.

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.

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!

6 Keys to Food Peace™

“With every diet ending, I failed three times: the diet didn’t work, I’m a quitter, and I’m still fat.” ~A quote from a woman at diet rock bottom

Have you been dieting for as long as you can remember and hate your body?

Do you feel addicted to food?

Do you binge or emotionally eat and tried everything to just eat normally?

This is diet rock bottom and there is hope. While most nutrition books teach you quick fix diets, Food Peace™ takes you on a journey.

This post serves to give you the basic framework to heal your relationship with food and eat normally without binging and without dieting. I write this post after 20 years working with people at diet rock bottom looking for another way to relate to food. They didn’t want to hate their body anymore and they knew diets weren’t working. After witnessing what it took for them to take these brave steps, I have gathered 6 key strategies to make the Food Peace journey.

This post is designed to read from beginning to end because the 6 keys build upon each other. The keys are also designed to be revisited when your Food Peace journey becomes bumpy and challenging. It can help you gather more healing tools by reading the parts you need in the moment.

Respect

If diets work why do you go on them every year? Dieting is a 61 billion dollar industry and an estimated 45 million Americans diet each year. The public is taught to need diets. Health professionals are taught dieting is a sign of self-care. You trust the diet industry with your life, but are you actually healthier? No.

Food Peace shows you how dieting is behind the weight changes, bingeing, and negative body image. Instead of improving your health, diets fuel your unhealthy relationship with food and promote body hate.

But if you have dieted your whole life, how do you eat? Every time you try to stop dieting, the binges begin. Eating without a diet plan feels scary and out of control.

Food Peace begins your journey by teaching you the first key, how to Respect your body. The teaching is more like unlearning the oppressive rules that dictate how you eat and move. You may not accept your body the way it looks today, and learning how to respect it by unlearning can help you step away from diets with less chaos.

Acknowledge your diet history. How many times have you tried to lose weight? You have pushed, tortured, cut out, abstained, and hungered long enough. Respect as it relates to Food Peace acknowledges that diets have only harmed and failed to produce long term results. You weren’t weak or lacking character. Diets didn’t work because you are a successful human that through evolution have been wired to survive famine.

You don’t have to love this part. Or love your body. You don’t even have to accept your eating or body.

Rather, let’s gently acknowledge that the tools you were given were flawed. They weren’t the right tools. They will never work.

Diets didn’t work for you because they don’t work.

Try with compassion to opt out of diet culture and the pursuit of weight loss. Keep in mind you don’t need to be fixed and it is ok if you don’t believe me yet on this.

Explore more within this first key, Respect:

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

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

You’ve been lied to and here’s the proof.

Am I letting myself go?

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

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

Sometimes Food Peace feels sad.

 

Release

I appreciate the shame you are holding onto because diets didn’t work for you. It’s not your fault since diets are a shitty tool. You’ve been manipulated by big oppressive systems and massive rich corporations to believe you are to blame.

Because you’ve been successfully manipulated, you are wearing a very heavy shame cloak. I want you to identify shame’s role in your complicated relationship with food. Bingeing and food addiction experiences connect to diet culture’s manufactured shame and lack of permission for pleasure.

You haven’t fallen off the wagon all these years. It is time to burn that wagon down.

Connecting with who is to blame usually brings on a flood of anger. Ouch it can hurt and be uncomfortable especially if you don’t have permission to feel anger. I encourage you to experiment with permission for anger.

This pissed off rage makes up the second key Release. It is a vital part of fueling the Food Peace journey. It gives you the direction and places the blame where it belongs: off you and onto cultural systems like white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. And wow, is that heavy.

Food Peace in this place may feel scary and exhilarating. It won’t feel like you are connecting with hunger or fullness because this Release takes up so much space. You may literally feel as though you are full of anger that hunger and fullness cues will be miles away.

Many wonder how long they will be in the space of their Food Peace journey. Many long to connect with their body in a more neutral way and the anger is draining. There is no way to answer this because it is so individual. It depends on your lived experiences, your support systems, and the systems you must navigate to live your life. I hope you give yourself compassion while navigating this part of the journey.

Repair

Diet culture has been unkind and violated your human rights. I encourage you to experiment with giving yourself permission to be where you are in your relationship with food. This permission is a major part of repairing your relationship with food.

There is healing to be found in permission.

Altering your view of eating behaviors happens within the third Food Peace key, Repair. Harvest compassion, mindfulness, and nonjudgmental curiosity to your thoughts about food.

What does this look like?

When feeling rebellion while connecting to diet culture’s trauma, notice the craving to rebel and give permission (even if the permission feels experimental or awkward) to eat. If or when that permission twists into shame, notice this. Call it out. Remind yourself that shame is from conditioning and doesn’t belong to you.

Does this all sound too tough? Too much? That’s ok too. Permission belongs in that space too.

Repair work tends to allow for slowing down so you can connect with what your body is saying and needing and practicing a nonjudgemental response. This key is NOT about eating only when hungry and stopping only when full. That is not part of permission rather a perverse twist making Food Peace into a diet.

Healing is the most important part of Food Peace and vital for the Repairing.

Rewire

As you start to heal while repairing, you will gather the diet culture artifacts: food and body rules. The Rewire key helps you unlearn those rules and decide what you would like to believe instead. Going rule by rule, you build an arsenal, rooted in permission, of compassionate nonjudgemental responses to ingrained diet culture rules. Over time, this takes you from thinking about food nonstop to mostly when you need to eat normally, when you want to, and to promote health. I mention the word “mostly” here because no one is a robot and only eats when hungry and stops when full. Further, depending on your access to food and/or levels of marginalization this can change.

Do you have certain foods you always binge on? Do you have certain foods you can never keep in the home because they are too tempting? This Rewire space will help you have comfort and ease around these foods again.

For many people I work with individually, this is the place where studying Intuitive Eating often begins.

Reconnection

How do you know your body is hungry? How do you know when your body is satisfied? Are you meal hungry or snack hungry? Or panic hungry?

These are questions that can only be answered once respect, release, repair and rewire work have been done. Reconnection begins the process of relearning you how to rely on your body’s own ability to know how much to eat and what to eat. This step is simple yet not easy (a quote I first heard from Evelyn Tribole). Looping back to the other keys allows Reconnection to take place using hunger, fullness, and satisfaction guides.

Recommend (Advocacy)

Advocating for others not home in their own skin allows you to add power to your Food Peace journey. After learning these keys, you will want to spread the Food Peace message. This helps others not go down the path of diet rock bottom and helps you with your eating recovery. Picture a community circle allowing connections to the keys and permission. Let’s join together to allow more people to take this journey toward healing and make the world a better place for more bodies.

 

I have hope there are possibilities for you to heal your relationship with food and your body. You can learn to eat without dieting and hating yourself.

You can experience Food Peace.

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