I have to diet with PCOS…right?!? Let’s explore PCOS + Food Peace.

What is Food Peace™ in the context of struggling with PCOS? Listen now to hear my PCOS and Food Peace Manifesto.

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This episode is brought to you by my online PCOS and Food Peace course.

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Episode’s Key Points:

  • What IS Food Peace™ and PCOS anyway? What if we’ve been told to eat this, not that, in order to manage our PCOS? How do we move away from that kind of thinking?
  • Do some of us end up engaging in anorexia nervosa trying to manage our PCOS? Yes! Especially if we’re in larger bodies.
  • People in larger bodies are urged to practice eating behaviors that we diagnose as disordered in smaller bodies… this is a problem! It also points to how fatphobic our society is.
  • Dieting increases inflammation, which is one of the biggest issues with PCOS.
  • At least one in ten women suffer from PCOS, but there’s minimal research funding for it. We need to get more information on this condition!
  • So what’s Food Peace™? Food Peace is coming to terms that diets don’t work for you, and understanding that diets are the failure, not you.
  • It’s time to find a new way to eat, and listen to your bodies for the answers! Women with PCOS have a different kind of communication with their body, and it’s my job to guide you through learning that mode of communication.
  • If you’re in a place where you’re struggling to manage your PCOS, you may feel like you’re ALWAYS hungry. The Food Peace process is about reconnecting with your intuitive self and learning what that feeling of being always hungry really means.
  • Dieting predicts weight gain and eating disorders, and intuitive eating leads to positive health outcomes. So really, which one is better for our health?
  • Here’s my PCOS and Food Peace Manifesto:
    • You didn’t cause your PCOS!
    • Diets failed, not you! Diets are a form of restriction, so it’s no wonder you feel like you can’t control yourself around food.
    • Your weight doesn’t define your health or your worth.
    • Your PCOS has its own language.
    • Notice what helps energize you, and what doesn’t.
    • Self-care matters, and so does advocacy.
  • 25% of our health is due to behaviors, and 75% of our health are determined by social determinants of health and our genetics… this means that stigma and discrimination have a HUGE impact on our health! Specifically, weight stigma contributes to inflammation and poor health due to the fight or flight response.
  • There are SO many of us out there ready to help you fight weight stigma in PCOS healthcare. Come join us!

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!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

The Love Food Podcast Episode 53

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Do you have a history of addiction to substances, and also have a difficult relationship to food? Have you ever been involved in a 12-step program? Are you trying to experience connection and joy with your body and others, and attempting to reach out to support groups for help, but find them to be a hotbed of diet culture rather than a healing place that cultivates self-acceptance? Listen now as we break it all down, and help you find food peace.

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Key Points:

  • The pursuit of weight loss will only keep us from connecting with our body and others, and keep giving food power over our lives.
  • Have you worked with a support group that you like? If you have, let me know by shooting me an email at LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com!
  • Love, Food is one year old, and I’m not stopping anytime soon!! Leave a rating and review on iTunes to push us up in the rankings, help other people find the show who need support around food, and make my day!
  • Overeaters Anonymous: Good? Bad? Useful? Does abstinence from “trigger foods” work? Is using food to cope with emotions the same as using drugs or alcohol? Are OA’s original intentions reflected in the current programs?
    • No matter what our personal opinion, anyone who has improved their relationship to food through the program is valid and their stories are their own!
  • You are not alone! Many people who deal with addiction to substances also deal with difficult relationships to food.
  • OA and abstinence: Many people who went to OA wanted to find abstinence from dieting, but instead were told to be abstinent from certain food groups (e.g. sugar, flours).
  • “The pursuit of weight loss is part of that powerlessness that we feel over food.” – Julie
  • When we pursue weight loss, we inevitably focus heavily on food choice and become obsessional. But this isn’t a failure, and this doesn’t mean you are addicted to food! Instead, it is our body’s way of making sure we don’t starve it. Once we have unconditional permission to eat, the addictive feeling of food tends to dissipate, and the feeling of being powerless around food becomes less of an issue.
  • The spiritual component and group support of OA can be super beneficial and healing for some people.
  • Eating Disorder Anonymous (EDA): no abstinence required, but also incorporates the group support and spiritual components that many people find fulfilling in OA! There are also other dietitians out there who provide group support through online intuitive eating and eating disorder communities.
  • Tapping into our wisdom and allowing it to guide you is so key to figuring out if certain things are right for you in your path to recovery!
  • Trust your instincts!!

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!

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


This episode is sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.
A special promotion for Love Food listeners:
Join Green Mountain at Fox Run for their Binge & Emotional Eating Weekend Intensive (January 20-22, 2017). Participants will explore personal barriers and how to counter them with evidence-based strategies to prevent eating in response to stress and emotions. For more information or to register, please visit https://www.fitwoman.com/therapy-services-eating-disorder/offerings/binge-eating-intensive-weekend/.


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The Love Food Podcast Episode 44 with Fiona Sutherland


Do you have a hard time eating without worrying about “good” and “bad” food labels? Do you feel like food is your enemy? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the nutrition info out there? Join Julie and fellow dietitian Fiona Southerland to start unpacking this issue!

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Key Points:

  • Our bodies have lots of different methods, including our brains and our intuition, to help them figure out what they needs in terms of food in order to feel satisfied and full.
  • Healthy eating includes PLEASURE!
  • Fiona Southerland joins to help answer this week’s letter!
  • Self-compassion and kindness is super important when we confront our beliefs related to food rules.
  • We are not alone… so many of us feel this way.
  • It’s impossible to follow every single food rule!
  • The more we try to follow rules and live in our heads (intellectualizing!), the less we listen to our body and intuition (innate wisdom!).
  • There are so many crazy things going on in the world… why are we focused on whether or not something has gluten in it?!
  • Even the professionals don’t know everything about nutrition… it’s confusing!
  • When we try to control things that weren’t supposed to be controlled (like our food intake) we go haywire.
  • Our culture is confusing health with our appearance (like our body shape).
  • Our expectations about the female body inform our opinions of health.
  • Fiona’s “Build up and let go model:” build up our skills of inner awareness, which will allow us to let go of rigidity.
  • We need skills related to our intuition in order to drop the food rules and stick to it!
  • How do we find a stable place outside of food when we feel out of control with our body?
  • The wise parts of us are not perfect!
  • Intuitive eating can become another set of diet rules… don’t let it!
  • The foundation of intuitive eating is unconditional permission to eat.
  • We must help people build long-term resilience against the cultural crap! Self-care and personal connection are super helpful for our wellbeing, and we have to return to our well of wisdom and call upon a stable place of self-compassion to take care or ourselves and move past cultural expectations.
  • Intuitive eating is s different way of BEING with food. It’s peace. But it’s scary, and that’s okay!
  • Perfectionism and the all-or-nothing approach can get in the way of healing around food.
  • Fiona says, “Reassurance without assurance”… we will support you through the confusion!
  • Although knowledge is important, it can take us away from living. It’s time to slow down and hone in on our intuition.

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!

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


This episode was sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.
A special promotion for Love Food listeners:
VIP Upgrades at Green Mountain at Fox Run
On stays November 6 – December 17, 2016
Green Mountain at Fox Run is offering special upgrades for one+ week reservations through the end of the year. Receive a free room upgrade and $250 credit towards amenities and professional services.
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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