Est 4 min read
Do you know when you've had enough?
Do you feel satisfied when you have eaten to a happy level of fullness? Do you find yourself eating beyond fullness on a regular basis?
Often, we are not eating enough during the day. Many times clients say they overeat and then send me a list of what they've eaten and it's not enough nutrients/energy in a day.
It could be a result of primal hunger. Often what's happening is you're getting primally hungry, because you've been either mentally restricting or you're in the habit of not eating during the day because you're in a state of fight or flight, sympathetic arousal, and you are go-go-go and putting everything else above yourself, prioritizing other things. You feel like you can’t stop and eat because your stress level may be really high and suppress your appetite. For example, if you have a job interview, you don’t feel like eating, then after the job interviews is done, you have time to decompress. You're driving home, you're like, oh my gosh, I need a burger, fries, and a large milkshake. I need all the food, right? Because you've come down from it. That can be a contributor to not feeling like enough, because what happens is, when you're primally hungry, your body is actually going to increase your hunger signals and decrease your fullness signals so that you will make up for that deficit in energy demand during the daytime.
The other thing that can sometimes happen is that you may be using food to come down from that fight or flight. The amount of food you need to come down from that isn't necessarily going to be the amount that allows your stomach to feel happily full. You might have to go beyond that to feel like it was enough.
Tools That ACTUALLY Work
Est 4 min read
I was thinking about this concept because I'm living alone for the first time in my life and trying to renovate a 1910 craftsman house and am solely responsible for the house and the yard. I was getting conflicting advice about what kind of lawn mower to get and I finally came across a blog discussing electric mowers, which is something I'm interested in for environmental impact and ease of use in terms of being able to plug it in and not having to get gas all the time. The blog was talking about how lightweight they are, easy to start, and they're actually much better for most women because of the lightweightness.
For me, I've had back injuries and don't like the idea of having to struggle to get a mower started, so I was really intrigued by this idea. I started thinking about tools in general. Power tools and such are not typically designed to work for women or folks who have a smaller stature or less strength, they're designed for typical bodied men- or people who have a stronger stature, bigger hands, and who maybe want something that is more powerful rather than something that's more functional, lightweight, and easy to use. When I was looking at ladders, for example, a lot of the ladders are super heavy and for me, that's not going to be easy to carry around which would be a big barrier to using it.
I started thinking about this in terms of other applications. We know that:
This is really problematic.
Est 5 min read
Today, we're talking about how the medical system is likely gaslighting you or someone you love, if you or someone you love has a fat/larger body. By larger, I mean a size that is considered bigger but can even be someone who is an average body size. But for the purpose of categorization for this blog post, in terms of the people who are likely to get treated poorly in the medical field due to weight stigma, the categories of BMI called overweight or higher; overweight, obese and beyond. Remember, we know that the BMI is bogus, and it's harmful. But when you go to the doctor, they're still going to put you in the BMI categories, either by being weighed that day, or if you refuse, which you're allowed to do, the weight that was already in the system, or simply by looking at you…even though they can't measure your BMI by looking at you. But they'll still put you into that category mentally.
This categorization leads to weight stigma and Anti-fat bias in healthcare. The BMI is the standard measure of health because of systems of oppression and the BMI categories were created by pharmaceutical companies who were trying to sell weight loss drugs.
These are the systems of oppression that contribute to this stigma. It's a problem because you're not likely getting the kind of medical care that you actually need or deserve.
Food is NOT optional
Est 3 min read
I want to talk about one of the ways that our systemic culture of capitalism adds to challenges with food and your body. One of the ways that this capitalist culture manifests is through this idea that food is optional, eating is not necessary, that if you need to take breaks to eat, if you need to have lunch, or snacks, or any of those sorts of things, somehow you're weak or weird; You should be able to just drink coffee, push through, and work the whole time you're at work. How damaging that culture is!
I have a client who works for a software company and we were talking about how challenging it is to actually break away from the team group work that they're doing, and go have a lunch break, and how no one else seems to think that food is necessary.
This is something that really makes me angry because food is absolutely necessary!
Are You Overriding Your Body?
Est 4 min read
How often do you override or ignore it when you're hungry?
Do you even know what it feels like when you're hungry? Or, do you have to wait until you get hit over the head with hunger?
When you're thirsty, have to go to the bathroom, or working, and you want to just push through and keep going? There's probably a lot of ways that you do this all day long. Most of us do this because our systems of oppression condition and encourage us to do this.
I love the book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski. They talk about being a human giver versus being a human being; how human giver syndrome is designed to make you feel your value and worth is dependent on serving the human beings. This dynamic is tied up in all of these systems of oppression, patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy, diet culture, and ableism. All of these systems of oppression want to keep you overworking, busy, ignoring yourself, feeling small, and just terrible, so that you don't do anything you really want to do, and so that you can't speak up about things or fight against any of the terrible things that are happening.
Let's talk about cake!
Est 5 min read
Cake is my very favorite, I love cake. So, so much! Prior to intuitive eating, I would restrict food and I would do this for a lot of reasons:
For all of these reasons, I restricted food. Cake was always collateral damage. And, my love for cake really made this a struggle.
After doing a restrictive diet for a while, it would be my birthday or a special occasion, and I'd think, I'm going off of my diet and I'm going to eat all the things. I would get a cake and I would be so preoccupied with it. Typically, I couldn't pass the kitchen without going in and eating at least a few bites of it. I would eat a much larger slice than what actually would feel good to me and feel really bad. And then I would eat more. I would constantly think about it until I would either have to finish the whole cake or it would have to be taken out of the house. Basically I couldn't stop thinking about it until it was gone. Sometimes I would give it away because I'd think, I can't trust myself with this. I’d literally say to people, please don't leave that cake here, take it away from me.
Willpower isn't helpful
Est 4 min read
When it comes to health, willpower is not helpful. It is not a good way to try to change your relationship with food and your body. Here's why…
Willpower isn't helpful because when your attempts at change don't work, you will tend to think things like…why can’t I stick with it? I know what I should be eating, I know what I should do, I just don't have any willpower. It reinforces this idea that there's something bad or wrong with you because you're not eating perfectly or following the “plan”. It sets you up for failure, like somehow you're defective because you don't have enough willpower. That mindset increases shame.
I just wrote a blog about shame and how shame based motivation does not work. In fact, it works against you in your relationship with food and your body. When you tell yourself that you need to have more willpower, that is saying, there's something wrong, I don't have enough, I'm somehow deficient and that increases feelings of shame. It increases preoccupation, anxiety or anxiousness about your relationship with food and your body, and it causes you to try to control, manage or fix. Those just don't work. You cannot control your way to balance, peace, ease, joy or satisfaction and you cannot control or manage your way to a secure attachment with food and your body.
Est 5 min read
In the diet culture world, there are so many mantras like ‘no pain, no gain’. They are designed to give you the false idea that to finally accept yourself, all you have to do is try harder, push more, have more willpower, push through, or keep going (at all costs).
Unfortunately, that messaging increases preoccupation and anxiety around food in your body. Pushing harder will never lead to balance, healing, joy, satisfaction, or ease in your relationship with food and your body. Control will never lead to peace. What works is moving toward secure attachment, being in relationship with food and being in relationship with your body.
When people come to work with me, they are very worried that they don't have the bandwidth, willpower, or that they don't have what it takes to do this, because they've tried so many things in the past and none of them have worked. They've internalized those diet culture messages that tell you that if it's not working something is wrong with you and that it's your fault.
First off, let's redefine what works. To me, the most important thing is how you feel about your relationship with food and your relationship with your body. Is your relationship built on connection and trust? Is it nurturing and supportive of you- where you're at in any given moment? It needs to be flexible and fluid because different things are going to feel nurturing at different times in your life.
It's time to redefine success to having a good relationship with food and your body versus thinking that weight loss equals success.
Shame Based Recovery
Est 3.5 min read
When you are in recovery from anything, typically the foundation is shame focused. There's something wrong with you, you're broken, you need to use your willpower and turn your life around, get your shit together, so to speak. Unfortunately, that paradigm has likely deeply influenced your relationship with food and your body.
Have you ever said to yourself… I know what I should do, I just can't seem to do it, I'm a sugar addict, there's something wrong with me, I'm out of control, I can't trust myself, or I'm broken? This is internalized diet culture and anti-fat bias in play. You got the message that if you are struggling with food or your body image, there is something wrong with you. Those messages create shame wiring.
For example, typically what happens when you eat in a way that feels out of control or you soothe using food, you “eat emotionally” then you will beat yourself up and feel like there's something bad or wrong with you. Or if you are not what you or society considers an ideal weight (don't forget the BMI is bogus), a lot of times you'll internalize the anti-fat bias around that and beat yourself up. The whole of these experiences creates more and more shame.
Sex life confession...
Est 5 min read
Confession: My sex life is soooo much better since I have healed my relationship with food and body.
I wanted to talk about this because most of my clients are not satisfied with their sex lives, and feeling like they're not getting enough pleasure and satisfaction in their lives. An enjoyable sex life seems so far away for some people.
I was blessed to have always been relatively neutral about sex in terms of not having a lot of shame or feeling stigma around it (if you do, you might want to consider getting support to work through it). Still, I was really not satisfied in my sex life for most of my life. And it was hugely impacted by my food and body image issues.
There were long periods of time when I was not feeling good about my body, and even though I have a relatively high sex drive, I did not want to be touched by my partner. I didn't feel confident in my body’s appearance. It was tough for me to relax and enjoy sex and receive pleasure. I was also malnourished and wasn't getting enough food so I didn't have much energy for sex. I wasn't feeling very frisky or in the mood. I was also so preoccupied with food, my body, dieting, and just obsessing about all of that. Sex and pleasure took a backburner and were not a priority. I also stayed in relationships that weren’t ideal, and didn't know how to ask for what I wanted, another aspect of not trusting myself or listening to what my intuition was telling me.
Now, I've healed my relationship with food; I eat in a way that feels easeful and brings me joy, satisfaction, pleasure, feels nurturing, and nourishing. I feel comfortable in my body; I'm attuned to my body. I honor the sensations, signals, messages, and emotions that are present for me. I care for myself on a deep level.
How has the healing I’ve done impacted my sex life?
Download your free hunger scale now!
The first step to healing your relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals your body gives you. One of the ways to do that is by checking in with your hunger before you eat. Here's my spin on the traditional hunger scale..