(140) Is not dieting backfiring? (with Vincci Tsui)

Are you trying to unlearn diet culture yet feel out of control on a roller coaster to who-knows-where? Making steps toward Food Peace can be exciting and oh sh*t so scary. Looking for compassionate direction? Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast with guest expert Vincci Tsui author of The Mindful Eating Workbook.

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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,
Oh my, I just don’t even know where to begin.  When I was around 13 years old my mother told me that I needed to watch out because too much more of you would take me from the regular sizes to the misses sizes – which in that day was more like plus size.  If I ate more of you, which was always intensely scrutinized and monitored by her, than she felt happy with, she would give me a look of disappointment and shame around you and my body set in.  I would sometimes whip up a bowl of cookie dough while she was out of the house for a brief time, scarf you down, and then clean up as fast as possible.  You were associated with shame at home and then freedom when I was out in my car alone.  It was then the roots of “thin means worthy, beautiful and acceptable” and “fat was unsightly, made you worth less, and would negatively affect your life in so many ways from getting a man, to getting a job, to embarrassing your teenagers.”  What is so crazy now is that pictures of me still living at home show a healthy, not even chubby, girl.  I do not know what my mother was seeing!  Anyway, so from there I restricted and binged you.  I went from diet fad to diet fad.  Of course, I would get so many compliments from people when they observed my eating less of you, even when I was nearly starving myself.  But those never lasted, I’d always come back to you, so much so that you would make me so sick I’d swear never to binge on you again, which I did.  Then floods of shame and embarrassment and failure would overcome me as I regained all my weight plus some.  My ups and downs with you have cost me so much money Food!  Between all the diets, special ingredients and clothing…oh my…I cannot even imagine how much money I’ve wasted over these years trying to get to that size where I would be acceptable to my mother and therefore, myself and others.  I was once again failing at keeping weight off from my most recent diet and I started searching podcasts for food related subjects.  I came across your podcast three months ago and was introduced to Intuitive Eating, Diet Culture and Peace with Food for the first time – wow – totally new concepts for me.  I love them and I want to incorporate them into my life.  I so want peace with you and with myself!  I want to accept where I am right now, at this moment!  However, I am discouraged and feeling confused.  As I have given myself freedom with all foods and as I’ve tried to eat only when hungry and stop when full, a skill I have A LOT of work to do to figure out, I have just gotten fatter and that scares me.  I need to know what is the normal process.  I want to set my expectations of how my newfound relationship with you is going to look.  I feel like as I have said no to more dieting and seeing all food as permissible – this way of doing things is back firing!  Is this how it works? Is my body holding on to everything thinking I’ll starve it again?  Does it get worse before getting better?  I would love to know as I want my journey towards loving you to be free and peaceful.  Thanks for keeping me alive Food.  We just need to figure out how this relationship is going to pan out!
Love,
Time to DTR (define the relationship)

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.

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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!

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.

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.

Feeling out of control around Halloween candy? Consider the science of eating behavior.

Did you binge on the Halloween candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more Food Peace™ in the upcoming holidays.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat.

Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods.

Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it.

On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint:

Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Halloween candy binge, consider the science behind the experience.

Are you around this food often?

And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it?

If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help.

Listen to the Love Food Podcast now here or through your favorite pod catcher app.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it.

How often are we actually around Candy Corn or Tootsie Rolls? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience?

This is the basic law of food deprivation.

When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bit to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

To feel safer during Halloween and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened.

When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead.

Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

I want to show you how!

(133) I am embarrassed I still struggle with food.

How long have you struggled with eating? Do you remember when it first got complicated? What if you have struggled your whole life after years of abuse, shame and fear? Is there a way to heal in our current diet focused and fatphobic world? Listen now for possible tools to promote your Food Peace journey.

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,
Dear oh dear food, you have been the bane of my existence since I was born. I started
with diary allergies that took time to diagnose so from a newborn, my food relationship
has been difficult. That difficulty has morphed into many different things, anxiety
soothing with food, fear of food, restriction, bulimia, anorexia, binge eating and so on.
I’ve struggled to understand you.

When I was young, about six years old, my life changed a lot because of an abusive
homelife, then at seven, it turned to shear torture due to physical and sexual abuse. I
coped by stealing food (at home, other people’s houses, stores and so on), hiding and
eating it. I learned to eat until sick, then purge to make myself feel better so I could eat
some more. One very traumatizing event, I remember hiding multiple PB&Js behind the
trashcan in the cabinet for later and once the event was over, I hid where I thought I
belonged, behind the trash and ate them all, at seven years old… The trauma (really
torture) went on and on and I ate and ate, and I gained and gained. I was also tortured
in school for my weight and lack of social skills. Through all of this, I was caring for my
younger sister since no one taking care of either of us and was also caring for my
parents who could not care for themselves.

As I grew into a teenager my body started to change, but it was changing differently
from others. I didn’t know at the time that it was PCOS at the time, but it was. I was
growing hair on my face, I started shaving my face at about 12 or 13, my body shape
was different, and my weight was going up at what I was told an alarming rate. By 6 th
grade, I was “obese”. Once the torture stopped at home (not in my mind), I was 20, I
kept on eating, doctors kept telling me to lose weight, my mother kept telling me how
terrible I looked, and others would tell me “you would have such a pretty face and eyes,
if you’d just lose some weight…” I kept eating and purging. I had two stays in a mental
health facility and they tried to work on my relationship with food, but that was not the
major reason I was inpatient, there was a much more intense reason I was there. They
tried but I was not ready.

Eleven years ago, at 28, after trying to conceive for about a year, I was diagnosed with
PCOS. It took us three years to conceive the first time which ended as an early loss. I
had six more losses and then no other pregnancies. I ate through all the losses and was
told, had I not been so fat, I would not have gotten PCOS and would also be able to get and stay pregnant by a doctor. I ate some more until I didn’t. I started restricting about
six years ago and lost a very significant amount of weight. I was restricting so much I
would pass out due an inability to my keep my blood pressure high enough and could
not keep my body temperature stable to the point where I wore winter clothes in the
summer. I kept this going for two years then the binging started again. I was never able
to get my weight low enough to alert any doctors of an eating disorder, but I would
guess that is from the PCOS.

I have since been working with a wonderful therapist for seven years and an amazing
eating disorder and HAES registered dietician for almost two years. I still struggle to this
day with the thoughts that go along with an eating disorder. Dear, oh dear Food, will I
ever “get” you? Will I ever “understand” you? I know none of this is about you, but it is
just a way to cope and control one small part of my life when I was unable to control
anything but morphed to lack of control around you. I want a relationship with you Food,
but, it is oh so embarrassingly hard. I do have hope Food, that someday, there will be
calmness and no charge between you and I. Someday I can enjoy you…
Love,
Frustrated but Hopeful

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!

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!