(174) How do I challenge diet talk? (with Cara Harbstreet)

Latest Love Food Podcast Episode features guest expert Cara Harbstreet

While on your Food Peace journey, are you feeling powerful fighting diet culture yet deflated every time someone else brings up diet talk? Wonder how to best handle verbalized fat phobia? Let’s huddle to help you decide what your next steps look like in this latest Love Food Podcast episode with special guest Cara Harbstreet.

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Looking for more Food Peace? Want to help support the Love Food Podcast? Check out my new After the Letters Project on Patreon. I have exclusive weekly mini-episodes for $29/month and other freebies. Find more at Patreon.com/LoveFoodPodcast

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,

We’ve had a complicated relationship for as long as I can remember. I have always felt guilty when eating you and blamed you for my oversized body (according to society’s standards). My guilt and shame turned into a full fledged eating disorder, which I was entrenched in for years. I was diagnosed with anorexia in 2015 after years of restricting, over exercising, and hating myself. I finally agreed to get help from professionals, which meant having to eat a lot of you food. I was forced to eat what I considered my “bad” foods or “off limit” foods and refrain from exercise. It took years to restore my weight and countless appointments with my dietician, doctor, and therapist. It was and still is the hardest battle I have ever had to fight.

Here I am now, in 2019, and still have a difficult time with you. I still overthink you and I worry that you will always have control over my life. But I have also come a long way in understanding our relationship and the distorted thoughts I have about you. I have recently felt a strong desire to fight against diet culture. You see food, I am about to enter the field of professional counseling and my hope is to help people understand you better and become less fearful of you. I want people to enjoy you and honor the body they live in, without being on a diet. I want that for myself and for others. 

Though, as empowered as I feel, I am stuck. I have a hard time listening to people talk about you, diets, and weight. It makes me cringe and I don’t know how to address you in conversations in a respectful and knowledgeable manner. Unfortunately, the conversation of you and weight occur far too often. I usually just ignore what I am hearing and don’t get involved because I am scared of how others will react when I tell them I am on your side and that you are not the real problem. What do I say to them? How do I enter a conversation about you, body image, and scales when I am against the norm? How do we as Food Peace soldiers push back on diet culture on a daily basis? How do we respond to our family and friends when they sit and talk about you and restricting you? How do we help people understand that diets are so harmful to our bodies and that we deserve so much more? How do we help people see that Food Peace is possible and it does not include restriction or being on a diet? 

I want so badly to tell the world that everything they have heard and learned about diets and you is a big lie. I want to help people find body acceptance and break free of the shame and guilt they feel around you, but I don’t know how. HELP! 

Yours truly,

Stuck and Fed Up.

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!

(173) Can someone have too much Food Peace?

Stacks of colorful donuts with blue background on a wooden table with the words in white: Can someone have too much Food Peace?

Ever wonder if someone can have too much peace with food? That being so laissez-faire can mean too many foods that can have detrimental health effects? Where are the limitations? When has it gone too far? Listen up because this has more to do with the questioner than meets the eye.

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Looking for more Food Peace? Want to help support the Love Food Podcast? Check out my new After the Letters Project on Patreon. I have exclusive weekly mini-episodes for $29/month and other freebies. Find more at Patreon.com/LoveFoodPodcast

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 am so happy to be embracing you again. After months, years even, of tight, stifling restriction I have welcomed you back with much more open arms. I have defined and then found ‘healthy enough’ for me. The thing is, I am concerned now with something completely different. My partner of 10 years who on the outside looks the picture of health is choosing types of you that I can’t help but worry about. 

He sends me to the shop most days to buy cartons and packages of you that I know, while they have a place in a balanced diet, aren’t the best for him when eating so regularly and without the fruit and veggies, etc.

This puts me in a tricky place, food. The very last thing I want to do is restrict him in any way or be even a little bit judgemental. I don’t think he’s got disordered eating of any kind. I simply think he doesn’t prioritize his health as much as I do. Which is fine. Bodily autonomy. But I can’t help worrying. He has a family history of diabetes and I think because he is in a socially accepted body, I think he thinks he’s protected.

This letter makes me sound like a horrible girlfriend. Maybe I am. What I really crave is a long and happy and healthy life together. How can I approach you, food, in relation to my relationship? Is it possible for someone to feel so much peace with food – too much peace – that they just don’t care? How do I help him care? Can I help him? Should I mind my own business?

Love, Dreaming of his health.

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!

(172) I am a parent struggling in secret (with Rachel Goodman)

Let’s dive into the complex experience of raising children while trying to walk the Food Peace journey. Does the question “What’s for dinner?” feel like nails on the chalkboard? Pull up a chair and let’s sort this out with special guest Rachel Goodman from the More Than What You Eat Podcast.

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Looking for more Food Peace? Want to help support the Love Food Podcast? Check out my new After the Letters Project on Patreon. I have exclusive weekly mini-episodes for $29/month and other freebies. Find more at Patreon.com/LoveFoodPodcast

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 worst question my children can ask me is, ‘’Whats for dinner?’. It’s a daily assault on my desire to avoid thinking about you altogether. For me to answer my children’s question, I need to have thought about you- what would be tasty, what my children would like, what will nourish them. And then when I have thought about you, I then have to prepare you. I find this utterly overwhelming  and exhausting down to my bones.


Did you notice I don’t ask myself, what would I like to eat? I don’t know the answer to that question. I am so divorced from you that I don’t know what I want when I feel hungry. And Food, so you know, I have felt hungry for as long as I can remember. 


Here’s what I do know about you Food: I know that it’s not my fault I am fat and it’s not your fault either. I just feel like we got off on the wrong foot. My mum was scared of you Food, and did the things women do to keep you at bay. She did the best she could with what she had, but it’s left its mark.  I watched, and I felt constrained and angry. So I very angrily and defiantly ate what I wanted, but eating because you’re angry doesn’t lead to food peace either.  I talk about you so positively with my kids, and I put on such a cheerful, food neutral voice at dinner and lunch and breakfast and snacks and all the times that we seem to talk about food. My children will never, ever know that you and I don’t really get on, that is a promise. But, truthfully I want to not think about you, you make me so anxious and demoralised. 


Do you think you and I might be able to make peace? 

Sincerely,

Mom Secretly Searching for Food Peace

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!

(171) How do I explore Food Peace after weight loss surgery? (with Kirsten Ackerman)

Have you gone to drastic measures to heal your relationship with food? Wonder how to move away from diets after stomach surgery? Can you access Food Peace too? There is space for you in this conversation. Listen as I discuss this with fellow dietitian Kirsten Ackerman from Intuitive Bites podcast.

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Looking want more Food Peace? Want to help support the Love Food Podcast? Check out my new After the Letters Project on Patreon. I have exclusive weekly mini-episodes for $29/month and other freebies. Find more at Patreon.com/LoveFoodPodcast

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 am a former MS, RD who gave up my credentials due to diagnoses of major clinical depression and EDNOS. That was over a decade ago, but I think that at least a part of me may still grieves that decision. (As an aside to Julie: I know you can appreciate the loooong road, dedication and hard work it took to earn those credentials!) 

I had a major weight gain when I began taking prescribed psychiatric medications as an adult. Prior to that, I had no history of “added” pounds as a child or  young adult.

I’ve had two weight loss surgeries: a sleeve gastrectomy a little over a year ago and the lap band before that. I dropped some pounds (~100 with the lap band) prior to the sleeve but the band was removed due to complications of pseudoachalasia. 

I work in group and individual therapy, times many, many years, regarding HAES and intuitive eating. I am healthy, no HTN, diabetes, but I do have severe bilateral knee osteoarthritis that limits my mobility. 

I have questions on several levels. First, how can I be more gentle with myself regarding my professional history? My pride prevents me from sharing my full educational and training background in my group. 

How can I be more gentle with myself regarding my weight loss surgeries? I feel that the sleeve was a mistake, but there is no turning back now…. I haven’t lost any weight since the surgery and, of late, there are times when I binge (having not done so in many years.) 

How can I be more gentle with myself about exercise? I’ve not found my “joyful movement” as an adult just yet. It’s a strain to walk due to my knees. 

Although I want to continue along the road of slowing down my eating and being more mindful at meal/snack times, I find myself just “not doing it.” How do I balance feelings of giving up with the desire to tune into my body? 

Also, my body is large, with hanging flesh. I have a desire to live in a smaller body, thinking that my movement would be less constricted. That said, I realize that “desire” itself may be my actual impediment….     

Your thoughts, feelings and feedback are most welcome.

Sincerely, 

 One of Your Most True Lovers

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!

(170) I cannot have food around me and resist it.

Welcome to the Season 4 premier of the Love Food Podcast! I am so glad you are here. Let’s dive into exploring a history of complicated family dynamics, genetic ties to eating disorders, trauma, and feeling stuck in binge cycles.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Looking want more Food Peace? Want to help support the Love Food Podcast? Check out my new After the Letters Project on Patreon. I have exclusive weekly mini-episodes for $29/month and other freebies. Find more at Patreon.com/LoveFoodPodcast

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 don’t really know exactly when my relationship became complicated with you, or quite how it came to control my life. I remember when I was in my early teens, being the one to say diets are bullshit, and not thinking about what I ate. Being anti-diet culture was practically a part of my identity, and such is where my values sit today, but I live in complete contradiction.
At some point in my teens, I started restricted and using my vegetarianism to always choose the salad option at school. But it wasn’t controlling, it wasn’t overwhelming; it felt more like a natural reaction to being at an all girls school in the society that we live in – an image-based thing. Sometimes, it was reactionary, in spite of my (well-meaning) mother who would always tell me that ‘soup is a starter not a meal’, and check if I was eating enough despite her smaller portions. (I later learned she had a struggled with anorexia for years, and would still struggle to eat in times of stress.)

I developed anxiety and depression by age 16, which ruled and ruined my sixth-form life. Perhaps it was the exam stress, the family troubles – growing up with a drug abusing brother who was in and out of school, in and out of home, in and out of hospital (not that I was always told straight away). We had a complex relationship with my father, who always vied for my brother’s attention and allegiance against my mother. I tried to be always neutral, always loving of all parties – because I was, and couldn’t not be. But with this came a lot of pain, a lot of confusion, and the earnest desire to always tread this precarious, and often punishing line.  Of course, when I couldn’t – and can’t today – there is guilt. I was a straight A* student until the slump during my sixth form years, when my energy broke, and I scraped my way through the last 2 years. I used to be, and still feel like I should be, the person who was able to succeed at anything and everything without dropping the ball – but suddenly I could do nothing, and have struggled ever since. Around this time I realised there was probably something wrong – a cause. Through an explosive conversation with my mother, I was pushed to a consultation with a therapist and given the diagnosis – anxiety and depression – but didn’t receive further help.  

In my first year of uni I tried to access help myself, but was turned away by the uni counselling services after a few sessions, saying they didn’t know how to help me as I had already thought everything through so much myself. It was in this year I had a few episodes of bingeing and purging. This continued around occasional periods of stress, such as exams, but not as a regular method of coping.  

In second year, my mental health worsened. Restricting, binging and purging became a secret indulgence, but never something I saw as a problem as it was so sporadic. I had difficult relationships with my flatmates, though I had stronger friendships elsewhere, I felt alone. I became so ill I had to defer my exams. I worked towards the summer session, hoping I could somehow manage. But two weeks before I was due to take them, I was raped. 

Utterly broken, I moved back in with my parents for a few months, during which time I tried to use food to console myself while I tried to process what happened. But when a close family member was admitted to hospital with terminal cancer, I began majorly restricting. When they passed away and my family fell apart, I moved back to my uni town and started a new job, trying to get my life back on track. Pretty much all the friends I thought I had were no longer there for me. I managed to access CBT for 9 weeks, but developed bulimia in an dramatic way, binging and purging at least 3 times in a day, at one time losing a stone in a month. This continued through another exam deferral, and another. 

I fought for a year to access treatment, being passed from waiting list to waiting list, rejected for being too symptomatic, too complicated or not fitting criteria. Along the way, I met someone who truly loves me and cares for men and helps me through these struggles. When I am with him, I eat normally and don’t purge, but will find myself in tears most evenings because of food. My weight is stable at a healthy BMI, but I am miserable in my skin, mentally exhausted, and absolutely terrified: of this relationship with food that dominates my life. I cannot have food around me and resist it, regardless of whether I am hungry – I am so anxious about when I might need to eat, that I am constantly aware of a hunger, and I cannot discern the emotional from the physical. I know I use bingeing and purging as both a means of occupying myself when I am alone, as an emotional control and as a form of self-harm. And what started as a tool has grown like a weed to something that I am constantly aware of, and bothers me even when I am happiest. I love to cook, and often cook with my boyfriend, but cannot enjoy a meal without resenting myself and being overwhelmed with frustration as a result.

In a month, I will finally be starting treatment (psychotherapy with a trauma focus), but I am worried about managing my relationship with food during this time, as I know it will be a gradual process, and not the focus of my treatment. Additional private treatment isn’t easily an option for me. I am also worried about the strain I place on my boyfriend, who is always there for me, but who cannot fight the battle for me, no matter how much he may want to try. 

I am trying to keep the willpower to fight for myself, to maintain the relationships I have left and succeed in my final chance to pass these exams in just a few months. I desperately need peace with you food, so that I can have more energy to make peace elsewhere in my life. 

Yours, 

Terrified & pleading for a truce

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!