(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.

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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, 

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!

(148) Are you feeling hopeless about your recovery? This episode is for you.

How do other people recover into a world that hasn’t recovered from its own eating disorder? How do others binge less and love their body more in this thin obsessed world? Listen to this Love Food episode featuring words from a previous letter writer who wants to share the steps they’ve taken.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I wrote you back in episode #64, and so much in our relationship has changed since then that I wanted to write you again. I was so terrified when I wrote that letter, so scared of what lay ahead and unsure of whether I could do what needed to be done to recover from a lifetime of disordered eating that had left me at rock bottom.

But I write you today saying that I am on the other side of that mountain, and sometimes I still can’t believe it. It’s not perfect, and never will be. But that is the beauty of life, we will always struggle, and there is beauty and meaning and so much learning in that struggle.

So I wrote you, and Julie and Judith Matz discussed the contents of my letter with such care, kindness and compassion. It meant so much to me, and I felt more validated that my struggle was real, and that I needed help. I ended up finding a wonderful eating disorder therapist in my hometown. She was a huge support during the really hard parts of my recovery, and helped me to challenge my beliefs and made me realize – or at least begin to digest the fact – that my worth
as a woman and a person in this world does not depend on the size of my body. I have to say that when I wrote that first letter, I never thought I’d be able to internalize that as truth. I wanted to share the three pivotal parts of my journey. And my intention here is to try to speak to
those who feel as I did back then: that there was no way I could ever stop dieting, and there was
no chance that I could accept my body if it was not thin.

For those who feel as scared as I did, I want to let them know that it is possible, and there truly is freedom on the other side. It involves taking some big risks, lots of trust in the process, as well as grit, patience and commitment.

  1. The first part of my journey involved letting go of all rules around food – which was
    terrifying – literally like jumping off a cliff and hoping that I’d be okay on the other side. I
    would say for me, this took a few years, and the beginning was so rough. It felt out of
    control and so awful at first, and I just had to keep going and trust that I would be okay.
    Over time, things slowly started to shift, to the point where today, I literally eat whatever I
    want. I no longer question my food choices, and rarely feel regret over what I’ve eaten. I
    crave healthy food a lot more than I ever thought I would, and when I want treats, I don’t
    think twice. I have ice cream and chocolate and cookies in my house all the time, and
    often don’t even think about them. My hunger and fullness signals are so much stronger
    than I ever knew they could be, and it feels so good to see foods that would have once
    sent me over the deep end, and now if I want them I eat them, and if I don’t feel hungry or
    don’t feel like eating them, I just say “meh” and leave them for others to enjoy. I can
    honestly say I never thought I’d have that freedom.
  2. The second part of my journey was body acceptance work, which involved beginning to undo the beliefs that I had about a woman’s value, and really questioning why people in my life do value or love me, and eventually realizing that it truly has nothing to do with how I look. That took time – but I continually remind myself that since I stopped dieting and my body changed, not one relationship has been negatively impacted by it. I still have wonderful friends, laugh my head off, have a great marriage, have sex, go to parties, spend time with family. Changing my social media feeds was super helpful with respect to body acceptance -seeing strong, smart and incredible women of all shapes and sizes owning their shit and unapologetically living their truths – that continues to be so helpful and inspiring. Doing this work also got me thinking about how I would want to be remembered after I’m gone. And I asked myself, do I want people to say, “Oh she had such a great body! Such small, tight thighs and she worked out so hard!” I can say with 100% conviction that that is not the legacy I want to leave behind on this earth. I would much rather it be that I truly loved and cared about those around me, and tried to live a life true to who I am and to my values.
  3. The third important part has been self-compassion: This was another critical part, because we can be so cruel to ourselves, and we would never talk to others the way we speak to ourselves. Self-compassion means that in times of trouble and inner conflict (which is basically all the time), that we talk to ourselves as we would speak to someone we love – a good friend, a child. So as I let go of food rules and my body inevitably changed, instead of using words like gross and disgusting when I looked in the mirror, I worked on being more neutral and accepting. Changing that inner dialogue to a much kinder one was a real shift for me and I continue to work on that every day. This doesn’t mean I look in the mirror every day and think I look beautiful. What it means is, I can now look in the mirror and even if I don’t like what I see, I can say, “Ok. I don’t love how I look today. But…oh well. I am still gonna go to work, hopefully accomplish something productive, have some good talks or laughs with colleagues and friends I cherish, and then come home and share a meal with my family, and love and be loved. How I look today will have no impact on any of those things.”

So there you have it. No more food rules, accepting my body, and practicing self-compassion. So
many big hurdles, so much change. And here I am on the other side of it.
When I wrote you back in episode #64, I never thought I’d be where I am today. I know that this
journey will be lifelong, and I am completely okay with that. I can’t and won’t ever go back to that
way of life, to those values I had internalized that were never really my own, to a world of body
shame and unrealistic beauty standards. I am committed to the ups and downs of the road ahead
of me, now that I know that my beauty and value lie within. I choose freedom, I choose to live my
own truth, and I choose to honour all people and all bodies, including my own.

Sincerely,

Previously Stuck and Scared and Wanting to Charge

Show Notes:

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

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

(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!

(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.

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,
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!