(143) How do I control my emotional eating?

Do you refer to yourself as an emotional eater? Do you feel shame whenever you feel soothed by food? Listen to this latest Love Food Podcast episode exploring the normal side of emotional eating and how to redefine your next steps toward 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.

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’m 32 and I’ve only just started listening to my thoughts/emotions and how my eating patterns are effected.

If I’m not feeling good enough, when I’m dumped by a boyfriend, ignored or shut out by a person then I binge eat. I’m so sad that I go straight for the whole tub of ice cream and a whole bag of chips etc…

If I’m worried or stressed then I have no appetite and forget, or just cannot physically eat.

I would love to take charge of my emotional eating as it causes me to feel sluggish, heavy, I don’t know why I do it because it doesn’t make me feel better. I would really like to take control of my emotional eating. As I understand it I have to tackle my emotional connection to food which is triggered by not being good enough.

I’m early in this and looking forward to learning more about other people’s journeys which will support me on my own.

Many thanks,

Trapped Emotional Eater

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!

(141) I feel powerless around food.

Does food have power over you? Do you find you can’t stop eating certain foods? Do you connect with shame every time you soothe with food? Listen to the latest Love Food podcast where we dive deep into what’s going.

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 Chocolate Covered Peppermint Oreos,
Why do you have so much power over me? Why can’t I just eat one or two of you? Why do I wake up in the middle of my sleep and eat you? I know an entire box isn’t good for me, but yet I keep going. The same goes for chips or any snack. Why can’t I eat an acceptable amount? When I’m tired, stressed, lonely you are always there to comfort me. But after I’m done, I hate myself.  Our relationship has reached a scary place. I’m ready to break up but scared I’m not strong enough.
Sincerely,
Powerless and Unacceptable

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

A life of judging and judgment

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

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.

The Worn Out Caregiver Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday pressures lead many of us to rely on mile long to-do lists, with attendant feelings of inferiority rather than attending to self-care. Don’t you just love the warm fuzzy holiday feelings of peace and joy?!? (Sarcasm intended.)

Many caregivers feel the month of December is all about providing experiences for everyone else, and typical self-care strategies just don’t fit in. This month, many people put themselves on the bottom of the priority list. While this may help your family attend more holiday parties or have more decorations around the house, ignoring self-care has its consequences. For example, attending your regular weekly yoga class may be tough to squeeze in, yet doing so will help you feel less stressed, sleep better, and be more present this holiday. Remember, self-care is not selfish.

In order to promote health and mindfulness, consider these three sanity saving pointers:

Have One Hot Meal Sitting Down Per Day

I remember that, when my children were infants, I rarely sat down. As the primary caregiver, I was constantly attending to their needs. I have memories of changing diapers, feeding them, keeping them from pinching the dog, keeping them out of the cat litter, and otherwise protecting this fragile new human. I was sleep deprived, and constantly ate on the run–with one hand. If I couldn’t eat something with one hand, I didn’t eat it. And I wondered why I felt like a chaotic mess!

I read a recommendation from Geneen Roth that changed a big portion of my self-care. She wrote that we all need to sit down and eat one hot meal on a real plate each day. The food choice wasn’t important; rather, it was the time spent sitting and focusing on the meal that was important. This recommendation spoke to me, because I connected with this being an opportunity to nurture and nourish my mind, body and spirit. And, oh boy, I needed that!

Even during chaotic holiday schedules, be sure to give yourself at least one eating opportunity each day to eat mindfully, focusing on just that. You’ll find that it calms you and reenergizes you– so you can continue to keep your little human from sticking metal into electrical outlets or eating the dog food.

Stay Off Pinterest and Other Ways to Avoid Comparison

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I think this quote by Theodore Roosevelt needs to be on the Pinterest disclaimer page. Holiday traditions and activities involve limitless options for creativity. This is cool–for those who love hodge podging or baking decadent desserts–yet it can lead the rest of us down the dark dreary place of comparison and perfectionism.

Instead of looking into what everyone else is doing, consider the holiday traditions that give you the most joyful feelings. What do you remember as a kid that you want to pass on? Give yourself permission to pick the ones, if any, that you have the mental bandwidth for this holiday season. Resist the urge to search online for what you should be doing. Focus on what you want to do, and practice being okay with limiting the choices. To do this, you may want to avoid some social media, like Pinterest or Facebook, until the urge to compare goes away.

By the way, I love this recommendation so much that I’m deleting the Pinterest app from my phone as I type this! Wheee, that felt good!

Move Your Body in a Way that Feels Good

Human bodies are meant to move, and I don’t mean on treadmills in the “no pain no gain” fashion. Our bodies are designed for movement to promote health and well-being.  Our body also has ways of letting us know that the movement we’ve chosen is one worth repeating by the pleasure it gives us.  By staying aware of your body’s response, you’ll know what your body needs and wants. You’ll know that you’re moving in the right direction (nice pun, right?!?) when the movement feels good.

As you experience the holiday, notice what your body is craving. Do you want to dance to your favorite holiday songs? Take a nighttime stroll to admire the lights? Do you crave stillness? Attend to your body’s desire to move or not, and you’ll notice more connection to the present–and less chaos with what life throws your way.

Happy holidays friends!