(249) How do I return to food as a source of comfort?

Did you use to have a comforting relationship with food until diet culture told you that it was all wrong? What happens when we feel betrayed by the comfort of food? In this episode of the Love, Food podcast, our host Julie Duffy Dillon walks us through how shifting our mindset towards community and radical change can help us with our individual food practices. You can listen here now.

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Dear Food,

I have had a complicated relationship with you for most of my adult life.  Growing up you were part of celebrations and parties or could serve as comfort during the loss of a loved one.  When I got out on my own, you definitely shifted to comfort as I was in a complicated situation and food seemed to soothe me/make me feel better.  What I did not like was the weight gain that came with all that “comfort”.  I got married, joined a commercial weight loss program and lost a significant amount of weight-felt good about myself, others validated me and my efforts.  But it was freaking hard to keep up this new found body that I was in-so many unhealthy habits crept up in an effort to show up on the scale and see what I deemed to be the prized number at the time.  I yo-yo’d over the years, and if we fast forward to now, I have put on weight and weigh more now than I have ever weighed in the past.  I saw a counselor for a few sessions and they introduced me to the book Intuitive Eating, but it never really took off for me.  I love one of the authors, I watched and listened to so many interviews with her, she is fabulous and that laugh is contagious.  I don’t know if it was because the counselor was not well versed in Intuitive Eating or if I wasn’t ready for it at the time?  I don’t know.  But I can tell you that I’m super unhappy in my current state-I’ve had to repurchase my wardrobe to accommodate my bigger self.  I get frustrated during some workouts as I have to modify some of the moves, but I’m also humbled because I used to do this in the past with no problem.  I love to scrapbook, but do not have many pictures of myself for the past year OR if I do, they are creatively cropped to not show how much I have gained.  How do I balance you?  I’ve tried restriction in the past or putting limits on myself and that did not go well!  How do I get back to a place where I am comfortable around you and ultimately with myself?


Struggling with 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. 

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PCOS and Intuitive Eating

Can you move away from diets while living with PCOS?

Can you find ways to feel better physically and emotionally without PCOS diets?

Can you logistically recover from your eating disorder using Intuitive Eating while living with PCOS?

That’s what this blog post is all about.

Cliff Note version: YES you can practice Intuitive Eating while living with PCOS.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, both dietitians, wrote Intuitive Eating now in its 4th edition. Someone handed me the book in 2002 as I was ready to quit being a dietitian. I was starting to see diet’s destructive power and barely starting to name my own anti-fat bias. That year I took a leave from dietetics to pursue a masters degree in counseling. While I wish I would have really read Intuitive Eating then I didn’t until I finished grad school and started my first job as a dietitian and behaviorist.

There I was helping people recover from eating disorders while also working as a weight loss dietitian. It took me just a few months to feel the ethical pull and the cognitive dissonance. How can I help people recover from eating disorders while also teaching disordered eating to fat clients?

Reading the book Intuitive Eating was the nudge that pushed me through that cognitive dissonance. I quit that job and have been trying to unlearn my own anti-fat bias since. While Intuitive Eating processes take a certain level of financial privilege and access, I credit it to helping me name a new way to practice and not quit dietetics.

Intuitive Eating centers healing from diet culture and reclaiming your expert role of your body. While many people talk about Intuitive Eating in regards to promoting weight loss, centering healing while centering weight loss can’t be held together. Centering weight loss discriminates against millions of people, futile for most, and increases risk for worsened health.

Intuitive eating has over a hundred studies published to support its use to promote recovery, health, and alternative way to relate to food without dieting.

People with PCOS deserve access to healing from diet culture and eating disorders too. Even though diets have been pigeon-holed as the end all be all PCOS solution, I beg to differ. Rather, diets harm most people with PCOS long term.

Why Intuitive Eating and PCOS?

Most people I talk to with PCOS were told they have to diet in order to manage their PCOS. Early on as a anti-diet dietitian learning Intuitive Eating, I knew I had to find another way.

I am so grateful mentors taught me alternative ways to help people manage their PCOS without diets. Those mentors taught me important lessons that helped me really fight for anti-diet treatment.

Consider these reasons to explore Intuitive Eating while living with PCOS:

Hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS make diets a short term solution yet harmful long term. 75-95% of people with PCOS experience higher circulating insulin that makes dieting an easy answer to this problem. What we know: higher circulating insulin decreases short term via any modified diet or restriction. Unfortunately, our long term diet research has found that dieting of any kind, whether continued or not, causes higher insulin. What do you think happens when someone already has higher insulin then diets long term to manage it? Unfortunately, dieting only makes it worse.

PCOS is associated with a chronic pro-inflammatory state. Long term dieting is too. People with PCOS experience a chronic pro-inflammatory state that can predict diseases like diabetes. This is often used as the reason to suggest a diet to lower inflammation markers. Just like with insulin, any diet decreases inflammation markers in the short term yet worsens it long term. If you are seeking for a long term way to lower inflammation, Intuitive Eating work is an option.

Weight cycling predicts binge eating for those with PCOS. A 2016 study reported that 39% of people with PCOS in their study met full criteria for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and 60% met at least one criteria. Recovering from BED takes on average 7 to 14 years (!) so its vital to find ways to live with PCOS without triggering an eating disorder. This same research pointed to something interesting: binge eating behavior was predicted by weight cycling. In essence, the more one went on and off a diet (weight cycled) the more likely they also experienced binge eating. Helping you to connect with tools to avoid weight cycling will help you avoid experiencing binge eating. Intuitive eating is associated with less weight cycling.

How is Intuitive Eating Different for Those with PCOS?

  1. Diets harm people with PCOS more so give yourself longer to recover from them. Recovering from diet culture and disordered eating takes time for everyone yet hormonal imbalances from PCOS means that diets took more away. It also means that diets are pushed on you more so it may take longer for you and your brain to rewire for trust, satisfaction, and permission.
  2. Carb cravings will be intensely constant at first. This is from the high circulating insulin levels. Gentle nutrition–a part of the Intuitive Eating framework–can be woven in to help lower insulin levels without restriction.
  3. Find non-diet tools to help lower insulin levels and this will help you feel more typical hunger, satisfaction, and fullness. As you connect with tools to do this, the cravings will lesson and Intuitive Eating will start to look like how it looks for others without PCOS.
  4. You probably need more protein. Not less carbs. Not less sugar. Not less calories.
  5. Once you have found tools to lower insulin, carb cravings will guide you to what you need more of or less of. Trust them.
  6. People with PCOS can do Intuitive Eating. You don’t have to diet. You don’t have to punish yourself with exercise.

Intuitive Eating can be different with PCOS and that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

It can be possible for you too.

You don’t have to diet to live with PCOS and manage the symptoms.

You can use tools like Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, Anti-Diet, and Health at Every Size.

You can experience PCOS and Food Peace™ and I would love to show you how.

Check out my free PCOS Roadmap here.


Different Ways to Access Food Peace Resources

Do you want to buy the PCOS + Food Peace course yet cannot afford it? I hope this post outlines different options for you moving forward. The course price has allowed these options to be possible.

Payment Plans

There is an option to pay for the course over 3 payments or one time per month for a year. Currently there is only a 10% surcharge to spread out the payments over a year. As I become more efficient with processing and keeping track, I hope to bring that surcharge down more.

Flex Spending/HSA/FSA

I use Stripe or PayPal to run payments and other course members have successfully processed their payment with their flex spending HSA or FSA credit cards. A big but though is that it could still be rejected on your HSAs/FSAs end. Others have been able to pay for the course this way yet I always encourage people to get the ok from their HSA/FSA company first to be sure they are not hit with having to pay a fine or whatever penalty yours has. No one has told me their HSA/FSA was rejected after the fact yet that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened of course.


For every 10 courses purchased, we provide at least one course to a person with PCOS wanting non-diet education and experiencing financial hardship. BIPOC and people with other marginalized characteristics will be prioritized for the scholarship spots. You can apply here.

Blog posts

Over the last 20 years I have written extensively on non-diet ways to live with PCOS. Click here to get started.

The Love Food Podcast

Get audio education and support from me for free every week via my podcast Love Food. There are over 230 episodes! I often weave PCOS into the episodes. You can listen wherever you listen to podcasts or here.

PCOS Body Liberation Support Community

Laura Burns and I started this support community in 2020. It is an inclusive PCOS community designed to promote friendships that aren’t rooted in diet culture, body shaming, and negativity. While this community is not the same as my course, it provides twice monthly Food Peace lessons, twice monthly yoga classes, and a place to find support. We intentionally kept the price low at $20 per month. Learn more about the community here.

PCOS Body Liberation Community Monthly Giveaway

Every month we give away a lifetime membership to one winner. We prioritize BIPOC, trans, and non-binary folks for this. The giveaway is posted on our Instagram page @PCOSBodyLiberation on the first of every month.

PCOS Body Liberation Community Accessibility Fund

The PCOS Body Liberation Community Accessibility Fund is provided by donations from our community members and matched by the PCOS Body Liberation founders. Here is the wait-list form. Access is first come, first serve. As funds become available, we extend membership to the next in line. Membership is lifetime access.

HAES + PCOS Facebook Communities

While I am not associated with these communities, many others have highly recommended them and they are free:

Body Love Experiment group for those with chronic illness

PCOS Health at Every Size group


Values and Beliefs

Hey there. This is an evolving document that allows me to capture my values and beliefs. These values and beliefs are important to me because they inform how I work, live, parent, and move through this life. These values may be informative to you as you decide if our values align and whether you will like to work with me in any way.

Values + Beliefs

  • I do not teach people how to diet. I hope to teach people how to recover from diet culture, feel at home in their body, and promote health (if that is what they are seeking). I use evidenced based practice and practice based evidence.
  • I believe diets don’t work and are inherently racist. I have come to appreciate that white supremacy has infiltrated all areas of our lives and in the air we breathe. I believe white supremacy is the founding father for misogyny, capitalism, and diet culture. I support Black Lives Matter. My anti-diet work is rooted in anti-racist education, unlearning, listening, and restitution for my role in white supremacy.
  • I strive to be an ally to higher weight/fat people. (Please know I am using the word fat as a neutral descriptor rather than to disparage.) I value body size diversity in the past, present, and future. I aim to speak up for access, advocate for comprehensive medical care, and step aside when asked to teach about body size diversity.
  • I believe in body autonomy. This value drives my framework foundation and practice. What does body autonomy mean? You get to decide what to do with your body, how to eat, how to move, if at all. I am against diet culture not the dieter. I may not agree with a person’s decision to diet and I will always respect it. I appreciate access opens up with thin privilege and that is not something I have ever had to struggle with.
  • I want to be a part of increasing access to fat positive anti-diet resources. At the same time I ask to be paid what I believe my resources are worth. My PCOS and Food Peace course is expensive on purpose: it packages up 20 years of training, practice, resources and support while funding access for others experiencing economic hardship. At least 10% of course members get free access. The course also funds my free podcast episodes, blog posts, free or low cost supervision for BIPOC dietitians, and donations to anti-racist anti-diet organizations.
  • I value feedback. I appreciate I harm because of my unearned privileges and I am starting to appreciate I will always harm. Because of this, I appreciate feedback people have given to me to let me know when I have harmed. These critiques help me grow to be a kinder more just human so selfishly I appreciate when people give me this information. Those who have given me feedback in the past or will in the future: thank you for being so generous with your time and believing that I can do better.

Unearned Privileges

I am white, married, straight, small-sized, able-bodied, cis-gender woman raised as a Christian.

I have unearned financial privilege that helped me access my dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. I believe dietetics is inherently racist and toxic for people with marginalized identities.

I am committed to lifelong anti-racist work yet appreciate my lived experiences will mean I am not always a good fit or safe. I acknowledge I harm and will always harm because of my unearned privileges. I benefit from white supremacy. I aim to be an ally to LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals and to people of all faiths, ethnicities, documentation status, abilities, races, and genders.

That’s all for now

Please know this will evolve over time so if you come back it may be different. Grammar and spelling are not my gifts; there probably are typos here. If you can still decipher what I am saying then I am ok with the mistake. I hope you can tolerate that imperfection while I am trying to tolerate it too. If the grammar or spelling keeps you from understanding my point–please let me know. That I would like a chance to clarify! My email is julie@juliedilonrd.com.



Provider PCOS + Food Peace Course Details

Hey there fellow provider,

Thank you for trusting me to learn how to help people with PCOS. A few things have come to my attention that has lead me to decide to retire the Provider PCOS + Food Peace Course in June 2021.

You may be reading this because you want to purchase this course and I hope this helps clarify for you whether that is your next best steps.

I want this post to help you understand why I am making this decision and what steps course members are to take before it goes in the digital course creation vault.

On June 25th, 2021 my CDR approved continuing education CEUs expire. This means I will need to reapply and this process is not simple and quite time consuming. I started to connect with the overwhelm of this task, wondering how I will find the time to do this–the pandemic is no where near over and my two kids are still schooling from home.

I have a feeling you can relate to starting a new year reevaluating your time and resources. We all need to be sure we are working to not burn out and get enough rest. When I evaluated how much time and resources I have now (and probably until August 2021–my guess for the return to school), I need to remove some tasks from my plate.

It became clear to me that I could no longer provide what this course needs after June 2021.

This makes me sad honestly yet relieved that I won’t be burning the candle from both ends.

What does this mean for us now? Here’s a breakdown:

  • I will continue to host monthly consultation calls on the third Thursday of the month at 1 pm US EST through June.
  • Dietitians: be sure to complete all your CEUs before June 25th 2021. After you finish all the modules, you automatically get an email from me that includes course test questions. Submitting these questions as instructed in the email allows dietitians to get the CEU certificate.
  • I will be removing the course from the platform on June 26th 2021. Be sure to download all the content so you can access it after that if you like. I will be checking to make sure all the content is downloadable this month. The only items that will not be available to download include the consultation calls.
  • If you are a provider with PCOS, I want to extend free access to my consumer course. I will send an email at a later date to see who would like this option.
  • Everyone who completes the course and practices as a fat positive provider has the option to be listed as a PCOS + Food Peace Provider. I give this list out daily when people ask for PCOS provider recommendations. I would love to have you on the list.
  • I am adding more coaching calls to my consumer PCOS + Food Peace course. Would you be interested in being a part of this? It would be a paid opportunity to meet with my course members, teach them something you enjoy teaching, and answer any questions. You can apply here.

Current course members–thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me over the last 3 years teaching you how I help people with PCOS. I am impressed with you and your expertise. Please know you have taught me so much and I am grateful.

Take care,


p.s. ICYMI–Would you be interested in leading a PCOS + Food Peace consumer coaching call? It would be a paid opportunity to meet with my course members, teach them something you enjoy teaching, and answer any questions. You can apply here.