(157) I am terrified of my body changing (with Barbara Birsinger)

Are you ready to ditch diets…yet not ready? Does the thought of another diet seem intolerable yet so does losing control? Does it feel like you will be just letting yourself go??? Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast that dishes on just that with special guest Barbara Birsinger.

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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.

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 so complicated. We used to have a good relationship. It wasn’t that long ago. At first it wasn’t even about you. Then I went through that period of incredible stress. I felt so lost and physically couldn’t eat you. I think that’s when the problem started. I lost some weight. That wasn’t a plan. I don’t know if it became a way to cope, to feel (or not feel), a way to control something, a way to become invisible.Now it is definitely intentional. I like the smallness. I’m so afraid to let go of that. I want health. I’m sure this is not full health. My brain knows it is time to heal. So many days I go to bed and promise that I can heal, that I won’t think about you and will just take care of my needs. But it doesn’t last long. I get scared and can’t eat you again.I know where to find all kinds of resources. I seek them out, I fill my head with all the reasons to heal. I want to be better. But I’m terrified. I am terrified of admitting to anyone what’s going on. I am terrified of the body changes. I am terrified that some people will think I let myself go. I feel at the same time so ready for change and health but not ready to take the hard steps. How can I convince myself that it is time?Yours,
Ready, Not Ready

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!

(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!

(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.

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,

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!

(135) Bingeing was my biggest fear, now its my constant reality (with Nicole Cruz)

Has your relationship with food been through the ringer? Listen as this letter writer describes her initial restricted relationship with food yet now bingeing is a daily part of her life. Have you experienced this too? While there is shame in this for many it is a predictable and vital part of nutritional rehabilitation on your Food Peace journey. It doesn’t mean you are weak it means you are a successful human staying alive. Listen now for more and learn from guest Nicole Cruz.

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,

The high school version of me would have been the last person on this Earth to ever believe that my relationship with you would end up causing me so much heartache and pain.

I was fine until college. Backtracking to childhood, I always loved you. I was a foodie, never overthought and wasn’t obsessed with the idea of what I would eat next. Food was wonderful, especially “treats” or “junk-food” type items that I didn’t get to eat often. I know there were times when my eyes were bigger than my stomach, but maybe this is a thing that many young kids also experience?

High school was normal. I was active playing a sport that I loved, busy with school, and spending time with family and friends. Senior year, I found myself with more freedom than ever. A lot of it was spent watching tv or cooking and eating with friends.

Then came college. After a particularly sad and confusing breakup with a boy and betrayal by a friend, my college friend group disintegrated. In retrospect, I think I may have retreated into TV and snacks, and there was no one to tell me to do differently. Then, during Thanksgiving break, I realized that I had been too free with you, food, and my “cute little body” was quickly becoming something I was ashamed of and disgusted by.

I’d never had anything but a small body and lived in a family of small people. I decided I would pay more attention to what and how much I was eating. I figured this would help get myself under control. And from the moment I became aware of your presence and your power in my life, things really have never been the same since.

Fast forward through five months of increasingly difficult and dreadful exercise regimens and an increasingly restricted intake of food, I left school early to move home and enter outpatient treatment.

My junior year, I finally transferred into XYZ College. I was ecstatic, but the restriction started almost right away. This time, though, my body was far more resistant to restriction, and it was increasingly difficult to not give in and binge. I returned home after only 3 months, and didn’t return to school until the next summer.

Now, my 4th year of college is almost over. That means I’ve been binging for a year now. It’s hard to believe that I ever was able to restrict at all, because binging is such an everyday part of my life now. Over these past years, I have had consistent therapy, and have also met with dietitians, but it seems like nothing is able to help me. In fact, the binging seems like it’s getting worse and worse – in the past two months alone, I have gained X pounds.

I think I’ve lost hope in ever being normal with food or body image. I feel so abnormal and wrong. In recovery, binging was always my biggest fear, and now it’s my constant reality. I have all the tools and resources I should need to help myself and change, but I’m still doing this.

How did we get this far?!

Love,

Secretly Broken

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!