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.

(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.

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 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!

(129) I can’t love my body because I hate it.

You know diets don’t work. Do you gravitate toward the body positive message yet hung up on one thing…

You don’t love your body because you want to lose weight. You find your body unacceptable.

There is a way through this. Listen now for insight.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Key Points:

  • Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help. Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com.
  • If you feel like a failure because you can’t lose weight or keep it off, know you are not to blame. Diets have failed you.
  • Dieting predicts weight gain.
  • Dieting promotes the idea of body hate and conditional acceptance.
  • Does a deeper understanding of diet culture, its toxicity, and manipulation make you angry? Stay with it!
  • It’s ok to not accept your body.
  • You are acceptable the way you are today. The end. Your body is acceptable no matter what.
  • Oprah Winfrey joined weight watchers and Julie’s mind was blown to see diet culture and its reign make one of the most amazing women also feel not enough.
  • First step: work on RESPECTING your body.
  • Challenge the false truths.
  • Claim your space and find those who agree with body positivity.

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!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series. Give me feedback via Twitter @EatingPermitRD.

Which PCOS type are you?

People with PCOS share many similar experiences, yet there is quite a bit of variation among the PCOS experience.

Why do people with PCOS have different symptoms? 

Why is there body diversity among the PCOS community if we all have the same condition? 

Will the same medications help everyone? 

The questions are endless!

Research has demonstrated people with PCOS can be separated in four different categories depending on three basic PCOS symptoms:

  • inconsistent and/or lack of ovulation (oligo/anovulation),
  • increased male sex hormones (hyperandrogenism),
  • and the presence of cysts on ovaries (polycystic ovaries).

Yes, you read that correctly, having cysts on your ovaries is not a requirement to having PCOS. One study identified the following four types of PCOS, and these four types have built the foundation for understanding the general differences between people with PCOS:

Oligo/

anovulation

Hyper-

androgenism

Polycystic

ovaries

Classic polycystic ovary PCOS                X                X              X
Classic non-polycystic ovary PCOS                X                X
Non-classic ovulatory PCOS                X              X
Non-classic mild PCOS                X              X

Since these types of PCOS were identified many researchers examined what other symptoms vary between the types.

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

Grab a FREE download from Julie here.

 

The classic polycystic ovary PCOS is the most prevalent type of PCOS, and, unfortunately, it is associated with the most negative health outcomes. People with this type of PCOS are more likely to experience more severe insulin resistance (more on that here). They are also at an increased risk of having unhealthy lipid panels.

All three types of PCOS that have hyperandrogenism are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

There are also hormonal differences between the types. One study found that people with classic polycystic ovary PCOS have higher testosterone levels than the other types.

There have been some studies that compared the body sizes and shapes between the types of people with PCOS. Most studies find that people with the Classic polycystic ovary PCOS are most likely to have larger bodies and carry more weight around the midsection.

Although the research on body diversity and PCOS is super scarce, this is such a great indicator that people with PCOS should not be expected to have a particular body type. I have heard so many people suggest that if there are thin people with PCOS then all people with PCOS should and can be thin. This is false for any population- especially for people with PCOS.

Differentiating between types of PCOS gives me hope for the future of PCOS research. So many people with PCOS feel disappointed with the quality of healthcare of treatment options available.

I hope that by better understanding different PCOS experiences, future treatment options will be more individualized.

Let’s continue this conversation in the Facebook PCOS Support Group. Click here to join! Which type are you? Did that keep you from getting accurately diagnosed?

References

Aziz, M., Sidelmann, J. J., Faber, J., Wissing, M. M., Naver, K. V., Mikkelsen, A., . . .

Skouby, S. O. (2015). Polycystic ovary syndrome: cardiovascular risk factors according to specific phenotypes. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 94, 1082-1089. doi:10.1111/aogs.12706

Clark, N. M., Podolski, A. J., Brooks, E. D., Chizen, D. R., Pierson, R. A., Lehotay, D. C., &

Lujan, M. E. (2014). Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Phenotypes Using Updated Criteria for Polycystic Ovarian Morphology. Reproductive Sciences, 21(8), 1034-1043. doi:10.1177/1933719114522525

Hayek, S. E., Bitar, L., Hamdar, L. H., Mirza, F. G., & Daoud, G. (2016). Poly Cystic

Ovarian Syndrome: An Updated Overview. Frontiers in Physiology, 7. doi:10.3389/fphys.2016.00124

Jamil, A. S., Alalaf, S. K., Al-Tawil, N. G., & Al-Shawaf, T. (2015). A case–control

observational study of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome among the

four phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome based on Rotterdam criteria. Reproductive Health, 12(1). doi:10.1186/1742-4755-12-7

Jamil, A. S., Alalaf, S. K., Al-Tawil, N. G., & Al-Shawaf, T. (2015). Comparison of clinical

and hormonal characteristics among four phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome based on the Rotterdam criteria. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 293(2), 447-456. doi:10.1007/s00404-015-3889-5

Pehlivanov, B., & Orbetzova, M. (2007). Characteristics of different phenotypes of

polycystic ovary syndrome in a Bulgarian population. Gynecological Endocrinology, 23(10), 604-609. doi:10.1080/09513590701536246

Sahmay, S., Atakul, N., Oncul, M., Tuten, A., Aydogan, B., & Seyisoglu, H. (2013).

Serum anti-mullerian hormone levels in the main phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 170(1), 157-161. doi:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2013.05.019

Help me make peace with food while losing weight.


Are you trying to make peace with food, but still trying to lose weight? Do you want to know if there is a way to pursue weight loss AND heal your relationship with food? Are you struggling with what you see as an addiction to food? Listen now to hear my insights on this complicated food peace issue.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my PCOS summer series: Empowering Your PCOS Journey. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. This series and our Facebook group will be with you every step of the way.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • The pursuit of weight loss CANNOT be combined with making peace with food… so now what??
  • Thinking about food addiction leads to issues with food preoccupation. We NEED food to survive and thrive! We shouldn’t pathologize the desire for food.
  • There isn’t ONE diet that, for most people, can help maintain weight loss for more than two years. In fact, most dieters regain all their lost weight, plus more, within five years. Dieting predicts weight gain!!
  • Ancel Keys’ Minnesota Starvation Experiment: strong and fit men were fed half of the amount of nutrition they needed. Eventually these men became depressed and food preoccupied, and experienced a decrease in libido and in interest in extracurricular activities.
  • Weight loss pursuits promote restriction, and restriction leads to food preoccupation… so we can’t pursue weight loss without it resulting in food preoccupation.
  • Remember, even if you decide to leave dieting and intentional weight loss behind, it will still take TIME to end your struggles with food preoccupation. Make sure you have a team behind you to support your healing!
  • We live in such a fatphobic world! It’s important that we break down our own internal biases related to fatness, and face our own fat discrimination.
  • What is really behind the fear of fat? Explore that to figure out what’s really behind the obsession with weight loss, and to discover what’s keeping you stuck in disordered eating patterns.

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!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.