(155) F*ck off diet culture.

Diet culture is literally everywhere: in safe spaces, sacred spaces, and progressive spaces. How do you break up with diets when the world celebrates their worth and demands their adherence? Listen to the latest Love Food podcast episode to give you mojo as you radically reconnect with your body.

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 want to share the work going on within Decolonizing Fitness. The person behind it, Ilya Parker, is a trans person of color Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Exercise Coach with over 13 years of rehabilitative and functional training experience. He is a social justice advocate and educator whose work centers gender, racial and healing justice.

He decided to merge his love for restorative based movement practices and community advocacy to create Decolonizing Fitness, LLC; which is a social justice platform that provides affirming fitness services, community education and apparel in support of body diversity. Check out www.decolonizingfitness.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I am not sure if you and I can ever have a peaceful relationship. Lately, I am exhausted with recovery and the daily struggles of trying to eat intuitively, feeling like I am failing, and wanting to change my body. It feels like there is too much stress in my life that I do not have any energy left to try to go against the mainstream’s ideas on food and dieting that on bad days I wish that I had never heard of intuitive eating and embarked on this journey.
I realized that we had a complicated relationship after reading Intuitive Eating for the first time. I bought it on a whim, looking for an end to the food and exercise tracking madness, but still desperately wanting to change my body. I wanted to teach myself the “right” way to eat. I thought I was doing well, eating intuitively, and generally feeling at peace. This was until it was pointed out to me that I was following the “intuitive eating” diet, and this realization launched a pretty steep decline in my recovery. I know that the behaviors I had were not healthy and that at one time I realized that I needed help with them. But since I am not able to separate Intuitive Eating with the “intuitive eating” diet, I am so confused and apprehensive to try to re-learn it. Was everything I had learned the last 3 years completely wrong and how could I have missed the mark so much? Part of me wants recovery and the other part of me knows it will continue to be very challenging and I do not feel like I have it in me to stay on this path. I don’t think I can go back to how I was before, but I continue to be in what feels like a half-recovered space. Working through my disordered food behaviors illuminated that I have a lot of personal trauma and feelings that I was using disordered behaviors to cover up and deal with. As I work through those, I notice the disordered food behaviors creeping back in like an old friend, wanting to help me cope.
I realize diet culture is everywhere. And because it is everywhere, I feel exhausted by constantly defending my position to people and not giving in to the allure of what I know now to be another diet. My extended family gatherings that involve food consist of comments about amounts of food, “good/bad” food, needing to “work off” the food, or some special ingredient that will save us all from disease. Yoga has been a refuge but walking into the studio I might read a flyer for a weight loss cleanse, overhear conversations about diets, hear body negativity from other yogis and even some of the teachers. I attended a yoga teacher training informational session, thinking it would be a good challenge for myself to take my yoga practice to a new level and left feeling completely defeated after learning that one of the training modules was around “how to eat like a yogi”. Sharing my own baked treats with co-workers inevitably invites a litany of body and diet comments as well as their own personal justifications for eating or not eating the food I brought. I created an Instagram account for my dog because I thought it would be a fun way to share the funny things he does. Do you know how much diet culture permeates instagrams about dogs? A lot. I cannot shut off the continuous diet culture that is everywhere in my life. Something has to change.
Perhaps I am not fully on board with Intuitive Eating and HAES and that there are still pieces of diet culture I am hanging on to. All I know right now, food, is that I am mad. I am mad that I know that my food behaviors aren’t healthy for me but that I want to keep doing them because it felt like I was in control. I have so much shame for having this problem at all that I can hardly admit it to myself. I justify this by fully embracing that I hate my body and that, of course, then the disordered eating makes sense. I am so tired of starting over with different therapists, finding yet another book that I put my salvation into, hoping that, yes, maybe this one will click and I will magically love my body and I will become a true Intuitive Eater. Will I ever feel normal around you, food? Will I ever want to take care of my body instead of punishing myself for making a mistake at work, getting into an argument with a loved one, or accidentally reading a diet message on a magazine cover and feeling self-loathing? Can I enjoy you, food, without feeling an intense desire to want to exercise or restrict later? Can I trust you, food, knowing that my IBS may cause days or weeks of intense intestinal pain and fear of you, food? Will I be able to go to my doctor and not be completely obsessed for weeks after accidentally seeing my weight (and shame for feeling good that it was lower than what I thought)? It all feels too much, and I feel entirely un-grounded. I realize that this letter is even contradictory, stating that I wish I could have my old food behaviors back and also knowing that I have learned and made progress. I am just not sure, food, that I am on the right path, or even what the right path is.
Sincerely,
Wanting to Check Out

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!

(153) I have made peace with food yet still emotionally eat. Why?? (with Heather Caplan)

Have you done the Food Peace™ journey for some time yet still find yourself emotionally eating? Are you frustrated that food still soothes you like nothing else?? Does it feel as though you are doing Intuitive Eating incorrectly because you can’t just eat when hungry? Well, we have a podcast episode made just for you. Listen here now with special guest Heather Caplan RD from Lane 9 Project.

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 want to share the work going on within Decolonizing Fitness. The person behind it, Ilya Parker, is a trans person of color Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Exercise Coach with over 13 years of rehabilitative and functional training experience. He is a social justice advocate and educator whose work centers gender, racial and healing justice.

He decided to merge his love for restorative based movement practices and community advocacy to create Decolonizing Fitness, LLC; which is a social justice platform that provides affirming fitness services, community education and apparel in support of body diversity. Check out www.decolonizingfitness.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 

I feel like I am at a crossroads with you. For years I restricted you and then binged on you, part of me struggling to give myself enough of you and part of me demanding that I get my needs met. I know so much more now than I did when I first started struggling with you; I know about trauma, dissociation, how bingeing can’t be “fixed” with restriction, that my weight and my body and even what or when or how much I eat are not the problem. I know that, nowadays, when I use you to numb my feelings or try to escape them, you don’t provide me the true comfort and relief that I long for. I also know that, nowadays, I can enjoy you so much more than I did in the past. I can be flexible about when and what I eat, I can sometimes articulate what of you I’d like to eat, and I can sometimes say when I’ve had enough of you. 
 
I no longer binge as often as I used to, and I don’t binge on the quantities of food I used to. But there are still lots of evenings when I turn to you and eat more of you than I’m hungry for, or I eat something that I don’t even truly want to eat. I don’t think this is the same as bingeing, but it still feels like I’m trying to use you in ways that you can’t help me, and this behavior is keeping me stuck in a place I want to grow out of. I feel like I turn to you when I simply WANT—want more of a good feeling, or want less boredom, or exhaustion, or frustration from the workday. Why do I keep turning to you when I know you can’t give me what I need? How can I connect this knowledge that you can’t fix my feelings or take them away with the part of myself that still depends on you for . . . everything? I’m ready to take the next step, yet at the same time I feel like I am holding myself back.
 
From,
Caught in Between

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!

(152) What if my recovered body is too big? (with Caroline Dooner)

When did you learn that certain bodies were more valuable? When did you start your first diet? Recovering from chronic dieting or an eating disorder can’t all be independent and individual. Culturally we must change together to help support your recovery. Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast episode and hear from Caroline Dooner, author of the book The Fuck It Diet.

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 want to share the work going on within Decolonizing Fitness. The person behind it, Ilya Parker, is a trans person of color Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Exercise Coach with over 13 years of rehabilitative and functional training experience. He is a social justice advocate and educator whose work centers gender, racial and healing justice.

He decided to merge his love for restorative based movement practices and community advocacy to create Decolonizing Fitness, LLC; which is a social justice platform that provides affirming fitness services, community education and apparel in support of body diversity. Check out www.decolonizingfitness.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 

You are my best friend and my worst enemy. You are as familiar to me as my own backyard, and yet as foreign as the deepest realms of the ocean. I taste you and smell you and manipulate you with my two hands every day. I read about you. I peruse photographs of you on Instagram. I am obsessed with you. And yet, I hate you. 

Currently, I work as a baker. I graduated last spring with a BS in nutrition. I’ve learned through my career how to meld delicious flavors and bake a custard to perfection. I’ve learned through my schooling how to teach others about ‘balanced’ eating. However, I don’t know how to eat. I’ve cycled through patterns nearly my whole life. Restriction, bingeing, purging, exercising and always compulsively weighing myself. I’ve probably spent at least $200 on bathroom scales. Once, in Italy, I pretended to tour a gym in interest of their membership, just hoping to find a scale. My weight is the center point of my life. Therefore, you are at the center point of my life. 

My childhood was…interesting – as said in a negative, classically Minnesotan matter. I also don’t have the best memory of those days, but I can place pieces together. I ate for comfort, and my high weight quickly became an issue I could not escape. I don’t remember when I was first placed on a diet, but the on-again, off-again dieting cycle started some time in elementary school. My step-mom took me to doctors for weight loss medication. I’d take it, but with limited results. I remember shopping for clothes Old Navy. I remember my embarrassment having to purchase the XYZ T-shirts. I remember my step-mom telling me “if only you could lose some weight, your face is so pretty.” I remember when I was 11, my mother brought me to a plastic surgeon to consider liposuction. Thankfully, he advised us not to take this route because my body was still changing. At school, I was bullied. I remember a child in middle school telling me I was the cause of world hunger. I remember a girl at a birthday party asking me why I was invited. I was ‘too fat’ to sit in the hot tub. 

Everything changed when I was 13. As a bit of background, my father had custody of me during the summer. Most children coveted summers, but I dreaded staying with him. He was almost always working and traveling – leaving me alone with only my stepmom. I felt lonely, isolated and, eventually, angry. I decided to take control: I stopped eating. Between the beginning of eighth grade and the beginning of ninth grade I lost over XYZ pounds. I could finally wear clothes designed for people my age. Boys finally noticed me. My mom finally told me I was pretty. I was also very hungry. I carefully watched my food intake. I obsessively counted calories. And I’d weigh myself every day. In high school, I started hiding my scale because my mom had realized it was an issue. At age 14, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. 

Since this diagnosis, I have been in and out of recovery. My eating disorder has shifted all over the board. I identify most closely with bulimia, but I also have restrictive tendencies. I still weigh myself compulsively. I hate myself on the days the needle hasn’t budged – I hate myself even more if the needle budges in the wrong direction. Some days I cry to myself in the mirror because I hate what I see. I pinch my fat rolls and tell myself over and over that I am fat and useless. Throughout the tougher battles, I’ve sought out treatment. But when I initially step out of the grip of my eating disorder, that hideous monster wraps his hands around me and draws me back. He convinces me I don’t need treatment. He convinces me I should have an abusive relationship with him instead of a healthy relationship with you. I am fortunate in that I have gone through periods of more mindful eating. Typically, this lasts only for a few months, but those months have always brought freedom and joy. Unfortunately, you’re so entangle with the eating disorder that he never leaves completely. He always finds his way back to me. 

At the same time that I struggle, those around me don’t notice a thing. They praise me for my dedication to working out. They commend my healthy eating. “Oh, what’s for lunch today? A salad? Classic.” My co-workers don’t feel my isolation when they’re enjoying a staff lunch of barbeque while I quietly eat raw vegetables. My family doesn’t understand my pain when I’m the only one to deny dessert. They love my self-control. I tell them I’m a baker and I get sick of sweets. Really, I’m denying myself the current satisfaction only so I can secretly eat to no end later. As a baker, though, I still find enjoyment in you. My friends and I are fanatics of the restaurant industry, and I do admire you as a work of art. The eating disorder likes to deprive me of this adoration and leave me only with desperation. 

Food, you make me so confused. I don’t know if I want to work with you full-time. I don’t know if my joys for cooking and nutrition are true, or if they only stem from the grips of my disorder. I am confused with my path in life, and my relationship with you is blocking my view. I want to remedy our relationship so I can navigate my future, but my self-hatred and fear of weight gain keeps me from full recovery. Although treatment has helped, I still feel trapped and terribly alone. Will I ever find my way out of this terrible maze?

Sincerely,

The Broken Baker

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!

(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!