(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.

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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 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!

(144) This is scary.

Do you have a complicated relationship with food and fear what it will take to move away from diets? Listen to this week’s Love Food podcast to hear a letter from someone who can relate and ways to move through.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

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

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 

Sometimes I’m really scared of you. I’m not even sure why but when I write those words I cry. I’m scared. I’m scared you will make me fat–I already am and pretty much always have been. I’m scared you won’t help me with my PCOS. I’m scared you’ll take over my body and not feed my soul. I’m scared if I eat healthy I’ll never get to taste the good stuff. I’m scared. I’m scared if I don’t have you I won’t have my friend. I’m scared you’ll abandon me. I’m scared you’ll leave me–what does that mean? That the medication factor will be gone and I’ll be left hanging with no security blanket.

Dear Body, I love you, let me feed your soul, let me feed you. I want to take care of you. Dear Body, let me be gentle and kind. Let me love you as I learn to let others love me. Let me accept you. Dear Body, let me find joy.

Love,

Scared of letting go.

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!

(137) Does set point mean I will always be fat? (with Stefani Reinold)

What does your body want to weigh? Have you heard of set point theory and wonder what it means for you and your body? Will it always look the way it does now? Or will it get smaller or larger? Listen to this latest episode of Love Food with special guest Stefani Reinold MD from the It’s Not About the Food Podcast.

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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 began my intuitive eating journey recently with a non diet dietician who specializes in treating ED and PCOS. According to her you are not the enemy and once I get my PCOS under control and reject diet culture my body will return to my setpoint. I am oversimplifying but you get the point.
My problem is that for as long as I can remember I have always been fat so I don’t know that I trust that knowledge. Could it be that there are people whose set points are in the “morbidly obese” range?
Well I guess I was a normal weight once until about age 5. At 5 I was the tallest girl in class. Taller than all the boys even and yes heavier. I wasn’t overweight just much taller than all the rest but adults would comment when they went to pick me up I was too heavy. I was too tall at my 8th birthday for the ball pit my parents had paid so much to reserve for my birthday. I was so “big”. They meant tall but I thought they meant fat.
I started gaining weight because my main abuser didn’t like fat girls and found them unattractive. Back then you were my friend because you protected me from him and most men and cat calls. Now I see I built my own prison and am left wondering if some people don’t have a healthy set point?
Sincerely,
Confused in Cleveland

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.

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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,

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!