Love Food Podcast Episode 27: How do I stop dieting with diabetes??

Ep 027 Image

Do you think your chronic conditions make you a slave to rigid diets or chained to the scale? Do you have a long history of coping with your emotions via food and now want to find other ways to survive?? There is a way for you to heal your relationship with food AND find health. Listen now for insight.

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Key Points:

  • Hoarding, bingeing, and other related behaviors are the most common experiences from childhood dieting/restriction.
  • I am sorry on behalf of all health and medical professionals for the oppression.
  • You don’t have to choose health OR healing. Working on healing your relationship with food will help you promote health long term.
  • Healing is not passive or giving up or weakness. Healing is an active process never passive.
  • Fat on the body didn’t CAUSE the problems. Eating sugar didn’t CAUSE the problems. Being shamed in your body and not teaching you how to tolerate feelings caused the problems.
  • Healing from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) takes on average 7 to 14 years.
  • Restricting nutrients or calories may show favorable outcomes in short term yet worse in the long term especially if affected by BED.
  • Keep the data! You need proof that you’re bingeing less as time goes on.
  • Diabetes is a chronic progressive disease. It is always changing and slowly getting worse even if you do everything you can.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to 

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

Your eating lessons from My Big Fat Fabulous Life and Whitney Thore

I sat down with Whitney Way Thore of My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I am honored she trusted in me to guide her toward health. Plus, we got to share the visit with you during episode 2.

Whitney Way Thores's dietitian Julie Duffy Dillon.
Laughing and crying with Whitney Thore during season 2 of My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC.

I found Whitney to be a kind, genuine, charismatic woman who got me in stitches with her goofiness. Do you know why Whitney is so captivating to watch on TV? She is like all of us: afraid for her health, feeling the pressure, and not wanting to lose herself.

I gave Whitney pointers and here are ways you can incorporate them into your life.

Are you afraid for your health?

Whitney tearfully described her fears of diet prison. She was terrified of the all too familiar head space where she’s afraid of anything she eats, a slave to the gym and chained to the scale. Whitney is not the only one who has tried to change her eating habits quickly because of health fears. Many move toward fear as a motivator. I find this type of motivator hurts us in the end. Fear tends to promote impulsive decisions, fad diets, and quick results over health. If you have walked in Whitney’s shoes and experienced that same terrifying head space, read on.

Weight loss is not a behavior

When My Big Fat Fabulous Life premiered, the cast got together to celebrate. I met a fabulous young woman named Samantha. She described doctors refusing to treat her medical conditions until she lost weight. That would be fine and dandy if weight loss was really calories in calories out and a proven method to work. BUT it is not. Surprised? Read more herehere, and here.

I told Whitney “weight loss is not a behavior” because we cannot control what the scale does in reaction to eating, exercise, and self care habits. Behaviors = the food we choose and the way we move our body. How our body reacts is up to an immeasurable amount of variables. Even more, if you experience PCOS multiply this by 100. High testosterone and insulin levels left untreated will make the scale not move or go up.

When Samantha told me doctors refuse to treat her medical conditions UNTIL she loses weight I wanted to scream. Doctors, I appreciate you have good intentions, yet you are keeping this young woman from finding health. And, this practice is discriminatory.

Say NO to the Food Police

Black and white thinking, in the psychology world, is referred to as a cognitive distortion. It is distorted and pathological because not much lives on opposite sides. Rather, our world has continuums and shades of grey.

Sadly, society losses sight of this concept with food. We categorize it as right or wrong.

Good or bad.

All or nothing.

Black or white.

This is a trap my friends.

When we set up food as ____is good and ____ is bad we are setting ourselves up to fail.

Here’s why:

  • Nutrition science is a fluid science. This means it is always changing and never exact. Most nutrition research is based on correlational methods. This can only suggest a relationship NOT cause and effect. Next time you read “Eating sugar causes diabetes” or “Eating fat causes a heart attack” note the error. And send the author a Research Methods 101 textbook. I will pitch in.
  • Good versus bad food ideas relate to morality. I teach my children and my clients the only bad foods are the ones we steal. If you pay for it, it is good. I think it is easy to call a food good or bad yet it is inaccurate. Stop using lazy terms and go for accuracy.
  • Relating food to morality harms our ways of relating to food. This is especially true for children. Those genetically predisposed to eating disorders learn this cognitive distortion and can find an eating disorder waiting eagerly around the corner.
  • Using all or nothing thinking about food sets up a perfectionism that does not exist in nature nor is necessary. Eating one Twinkie or Donut will not cause diabetes or kill us.

Eating less is not better!

Eat less often or fewer calories has been twisted to equal healthy for everyone. As I mention in My Big Fat Fabulous Life, eating too little is harmful. Keep in mind:

  • Every binge starts with not eating enough earlier.←Tweet this Don’t blame the “tempting” food or a lack of willpower. Binge eating starts with a diet and overly restrictive eating habits.
  • Eating infrequently stresses out our body. I explain to Whitney that it makes our body go into a starvation mode. This means it taps into primal brain communication demanding us to eat and EAT NOW! This will feel out of control or binge like. It isn’t in reality. It is just being human. More here.
  • Eating infrequently sets up the body to want to binge which then pummels our body with glucose then insulin. These spikes are exhausting to our physiology. Insulin and blood sugar spikes hurt body systems like blood vessels. And, the more insulin spikes, the more weight goes up since insulin is a growth hormone. So if you aren’t interested in gaining more weight, stop dieting. Restriction/dieting predicts weight gain. Tweet this Skeptical? That’s ok. Learn more here.

Your body has the answers

Burn your diet books. Walk away from boot camps. Stop looking outside of you for the food and exercise answers. Each of us has our voice inside letting us know how to eat for health and pleasure. Don’t hear it? Doesn’t matter because whether you are looking or not your body is still communicating. Before you eat your next meal or snack pull up a chair. Listen. Open yourself to the options.

Warning: saying no to diets may feel wrong. It may even feel neglectful. Many people tell me it feels like letting yourself go. It’s not letting yourself go. It’s letting yourself Be.←Tweet this



Stop the Yo-Yo! Diets Behind Weight Cycling Negatively Impacts PCOS

Have PCOS? You can make peace with food too. Let's navigate this.
Have PCOS? You can make peace with food too. Let’s navigate this.

This week’s blog is doing cartwheels around the possibility of PCOS and food peace. This is the third of five posts. I hope you find this information invigorating and revolutionary. If you have PCOS, please know you don’t have to punish yourself anymore. You can find health without diets!

Weight loss, Weight Regain Hurts Health

PCOS weight loss often includes drastic measures that are impossible for 95% of the population to continue. Because of our human physiology, weight loss is followed by a period of rapid eating and weight regain. Have you ever lost weight only to regain more? I have heard many women with PCOS describe losing 50 to 100 pounds only to regain 100 to 150 more within the next few years.

If this is your history: it isn’t your fault.

On behalf of medical and health science, I apologize that we gave you the wrong solutions. We don’t have many good ones yet, regretfully. We do know that continuing the weight loss weight regain cycle will only make you sicker.

Because weight regain is the rule not the exception, weight cycling studies–the research word for yo-yo dieting–come in handy. Weight cycling studies suggest this process ends up making a body with more inflammation and higher insulin levels 1, 2, 3, 4. Remember, PCOS already includes astronomically high insulin levels. Why contribute to this?

Even more, the higher insulin levels rise, the more intense the carb cravings. When I say craving, I don’t mean a lurking thought. I mean an experience where every cell in your body screams: EAT CARBS AND EAT THEM NOW! Carb restricting may seem like a good idea yet please reconsider. We have neuropeptides that release messages to cells when carb or calorie intake is low or perceived to be low that further enhances this screaming. Carb abstinence only enhances binges. This hurts in 3 ways:

  • Further increases insulin levels from high carb binges
  • Places the woman at higher risk for eating disorder pathology
  • Contributes to weight cycling insulin and inflammation increases

If you have PCOS and want to lower insulin levels, do not diet. Don’t even think about it.