(232) My whole family diets with Megan Hadley + Laura Watson, Eating Disorder and Intuitive Eating Dietitians (Anti-Diet Series)

Did your family teach you to go on weight loss diets? Did they teach you distrust food and your body? The Food Peace Journey can be rocky when this is all new terrain. Let’s connect with guest experts Megan Hadley and Laura Watson–two dietitians at Simple Nutrition Counseling.

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Drumroll Please—here is this episodes letter.

Dear Food,
It has been a long, rocky road, hasn’t it? Since I was very young, my family warned me about you. They taught me to fear you. They taught me that if I got too close to you, you would hurt me, by making my body unattractive and unhealthy. That left me feeling afraid to let you in, and ashamed when I craved you. 

Now an adult and a mom in my thirties, I see how everything I was taught was so wrong. I see that you are not the enemy, and that it’s ok to enjoy our relationship. In my home, you are a welcome guest. However, my family of origin has not made peace with you. Most of them have figured out a way to control you- either through counting, or exercising too much, or keeping their distance from you generally. They see it as being strong and virtuous. They obsessively discuss their bodies and their food choices, and I can tell (although they can’t) that their need to control you takes up a lot of room in their minds and lives. As a result of their obsessions, most of their bodies look very different from mine. And while they don’t say it outright, I know they see my heavier body as a failure. They see me enjoying parts of you that they avoid, and it makes me feel insecure. They casually suggest exercising together, but I know what they really mean. 

We have come such a long way together, food, but I’m sorry to admit that when I spend time with them, I find myself jealous of their smaller bodies and questioning our relationship again. I can’t cut them out of my life, and although I’ve made it clear that their open opinions are not welcome, their judgment seems to seep in anyway. What can I do to preserve our truce and my determination to learn to respect my body? 
Daring to Recover 

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!

 

(231) How do I ditch diets for good (Anti-Diet series).

This episode’s letter chocked me up….

Welcome to International Dieting Month. Let’s Rally together to withstand the pressure from Diet Culture. This episode’s letter connects the dots on the pressure to diet, lose weight, and control oneself. Content Warning: this letter describes eating disorder behaviors linked to Bulimia.

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Dear Food,

or really, dear me 

for we are nothing without one another. 

Together we have navigated rocky terrain, 

a tumultuous relationship

full of more fear than love.

I have needed you, 

hated you, 

and in that 

needed and hated myself.

I have blamed you, 

restricted you

binged you

earned you 

burned you 

enjoyed you 

hidden you 

purged you. 

My Self is tied to you 

closely and painfully.

But as I have arrived 

at my 23rd year 

most of the previous 22 spent focusing far too much on you,

I am unravelling 

some of the tangled web we exist in together 

and realizing 

it is not your fault, food.

Ant it is not mine either. 

It feels cliché to say 

but I have seen the truth.

It’s society that has created all of this.

It’s all lies 

mirrors and smoke

illusions to suck away happiness and freedom 

and, most importantly, money and power.

It’s the patriarchy and capitalism 

two systems of oppressive power 

that taught me to worry about you 

about us

about my size and shape 

and the effect that you have on those parts of me. 

So young I felt for the first time like I took up too much space 

with this body of mine. 

That I needed to shrink 

so I could fit into tiny little premade boxes.

So young I cut you out 

I forgot the pleasure you could bring me.

I thought only of numbers,

trying to get you as small as possible 

so I could be that way as well.

The rush that success brought is tempting even now,

but I have learned since the first time 

that trying to make yourself smaller 

is a process doomed to fail. 

That in fact our bodies try to protect us 

by making us take up even more space after.

Because our bodies don’t believe the lies.

Our innate wisdom 

sees through the smoke and mirrors.

And if only I was better at balancing my body and my mind 

I would also be able to see the truth. 

Instead, I still look in the mirror 

and hear the voices of the systems 

whispering their poison. 

So insidious they are that I yearn 

to listen to them 

to try again to shrink.

But I won’t,

not anymore.

Because after years of finding myself with my fingers down my throat,

after years of having the most abusive relationship with you, food,

I’ve decided to save my own life.

I am unlearning the lies.

I am shouldering a lifetime of clearing away 

the darkness that has been put into my mind.

Because I realized that 

even when my body is not 

what the world tells me it should be,

I feel lighter 

When I can just see you, food,

As a friend.

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!

 

(228) I still want to lose weight (Intuitive Eating Series with Kirsten Ackerman)

Have you been walking your Food Peace Journey™️ for awhile singing anti-diet praises yet suffer in secret? Do you call yourself body positive yet find yourself fantasizing about losing weight? This is an isolating space yet you are not alone. We have options to explore. Listen as guest expert Kirsten Ackerman describes ways to navigate this part of your Food Peace Journey.

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This episode of the Love Food Podcast is brought to you by Jennifer McGurk’s Pursuing Private Practice programs.

Anti-diet dietitians: take business building one step at a time surrounded by community and support. I highly recommend Jennifer’s Pursuing Private Practice Programs. Check out her free resources for Love Food Listeners here: PursuingPrivatePractice.com/LoveFood

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Dear Food,

I feel like an imposter with you and with intuitive eating. I feel that I’m not truly anti-diet, truly in recovery for binge eating and anorexia, or that I am really past all the dieting. My relationship with you has been unstable since I was five. I remember being highly aware of my body at such a young age and knowing I was larger than everyone. So I started to diet. And the dieting cycle didn’t stop until two years ago when I found intuitive eating. I’ve worked so hard to unlearn my internalized fatphobia and diet culture that was ingrained in me from such a young age. But everyday I feel like I’m faking it. I tell myself that I don’t want to be skinny, but I do. I tell myself I dont want to diet anymore, but I do. I tell myself that calories and carbs count isn’t important, but I find myself still glancing at the nutrition facts on food labels. What if I’m not meant for intuitive eating? What if dieting is the only way I can manage my PCOS and my weight? And even as I say this to you, food, I know it’s not the truth. I know that dieting is a short term solution and that it will do more harm than good. But sometimes working against the system is so difficult. I constantly have coworkers, friends, and family that are so deep into diet culture that it’s easy to get sucked back into it. 
And then of course there’s the PCOS. There is so much misinformation about how to manage my symptoms with PCOS and much of the time it’s diet related. I want to be fully free with you, food. I want to truly feel free from diet culture and know that I am a good person, regardless of the food I consume. But it’s so tough. I know that nutritious foods feel so good in my body and that less nutritious foods exacerbate my PCOS symptoms. And in my mind that means I can only eat “healthy” and that I can’t have ice cream if I want it. That the moment I eat something, it will make or break my PCOS management skills. That I will do too much damage that can’t be undone. So what do I do, food? How do I feel free with you? Because I am an imposter, a sham, and I’m afraid that someone will realize that I’m not as anti-diet as I make myself out to be. 
Thanks for listening,

The Perfectionist

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!

 

(225) My coworker keeps talking about diets (PCOS Series with Laura Burns)

We see you exhausted trying to swim upstream against diet culture. Do you work or live with someone who is hard core into dieting and just won’t shut up about it? Have you told them to stop and they keep at it anyway? We made this episode for you. Join this latest episode of the Love Food Podcast with guest expert Laura Burns. We want you to keep swimming!

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This episode of the Love Food Podcast is brought to you by The Eating Disorder Trap book and podcast by Robyn Goldberg.

It is likely you have a close friend, client or loved one who is currently struggling with an eating disorder. Do you feel lost in a deluge of information? Are you unsure who to trust? Let this book be your guide.

Written by an expert with over twenty years of experience in the field of eating disorders, this book will give you the facts in a friendly and easy to read format. Get to know what you are dealing with and how it is taking a toll on your body and quality of life. Get rid of the myths “diet culture” has had you believe. Find out where to go and who to turn to for expert and compassionate care, maximizing your potential for recovery. A useful, inviting and all inclusive guide to eating disorders.

Also be sure to tune in to The Eating Disorder Trap Podcast, an expansive support and resource system for people struggling with eating disorders. This podcast is for clients, clinicians and anyone who wants to be able to support someone who is struggling.

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Dear Food: 

I’ve been a listener to this podcast for a while now and it has been a helpful resource as I’ve worked on my own recovery from bingeing and restricting along with repairing my own body image. This year I began teaching at a new school and a teacher on my team has been a big trigger for me. She’s a former gymnast/power lifter and she often talks about her body and fat people in a really disparaging way. It started in the beginning of the year when she wouldn’t eat meals. Then it continued as she would talk about how disgusting she thought her body was. This year she had a miscarriage and later shared her PCOS diagnosis with me and how frustrating it is for her that she gains weight so easily.
Since quarantine has begun she’s been heavily into weight loss and has dropped 25lbs in the 3 months we’ve been in quarantine. I unfollowed her on social media but I still have to attend video calls with her where she tends to bring up her weight loss and about how disgusting she was before in her already thin body. I mentioned my concern to work friends that have worked with her before, and it sounds like she’s lost weight really rapidly before using diet pills and not eating consistently. They did not seem as concerned as I was.
I recognize that I cannot change anything she does, and truthfully I consider her a friend outside of this issue. We’re all on a team together so it would be far more difficult to not get along with her. That said, being around her and having to do video calls with her where all she talks about is weight loss and dieting (even after I’ve  asked her not to) has been really triggering for me. 
At this point, I don’t think she’d be receptive to anything I have to say especially because I do have a fat body and I’m worried she’s going to only hear my concerns as jealousy of her thinness. At one point i asked her to not send me her weight loss updates anymore and she gave me a not so sincere sorry. 
How can I continue my own journey of recovery while I have to be in close contact with someone who hasn’t even begun to realize they might have a problem? Over the summer I can hopefully take a break but I’m still worried about maintaining the friendship I have with my team while also trying to avoid her? I see an eating disorder dietitian and I used to work with an eating disorder therapist, but this has been a new problem. 
I know I don’t need to be thin to be healthy. I’m really proud of the healthy relationship I’ve built with food and permission and I have made strides in finding non-weight related motivation to consistently exercise. I just worry continued exposure to her fat phobia and rapid weight loss will cause me to spiral back only focusing on losing weight. 
Thanks for reading. 
Sincerely,
Don’t Want to Go Back

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!

 

(197) You are not letting yourself go.

If your New Year resolution did NOT include diets you may be feeling a bit down. Many people tell me that a few weeks after moving away from diets they fear the worst: letting themselves go. I am here to tell you something different. Listen to this latest After the Letters Project episode in your Love Food feed now.

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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.

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!