I’m a food addict. I will never make peace with you. (Episode 117)

Have you ever described your relationship with food as an addiction? Do you think that Food Peace™ will never work for you because you’re addicted to certain kinds of food? Listen now to get my take on this Food Peace™ challenge.

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The transcribed episode can be found here.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Your feelings about being addicted to food are valid… BUT, it’s important to investigate WHY we feel that way, and to dig deeper.
  • We live in a world where controlling our food and having a certain body size are thought to go hand-in-hand. We think that if we eat less, we’re going to weigh less, and that people in larger bodies just don’t have “discipline” when it comes to food. But this just isn’t true!!
  • Internalized fatphobia and the desire to find acceptance in our thin-obsessed culture can drive us towards dieting, and the desire to restrict our food. It can also push us towards removing pleasure from our lives, whether it’s about food, sex, or anything else!
  • If we were allowed to embrace pleasure, I think that the feeling of addiction around food would change.
  • If we aren’t giving ourselves PERMISSION to have pleasure, we are going to subconsciously restrict and deprive ourselves of food.
  • This is not your fault! Our body pushes us to be preoccupied with food when we deprive ourselves of food. Restriction keeps the food-preoccupation going!!
  • Compassion and permission are key, not keeping ourselves “under control.”
  • Name the moments when food has too much power!!
  • Our bodies and our brains just want us to stay alive, and the feeling of food addiction is actually how our bodies continue to try and stay alive.
  • Remember, your needs aren’t a burden. You are NOT too needy! Redefine your expectations around meeting your needs.
  • Consider how thin privilege plays a role in feeling like we need to fix ourselves. Put the anger and the burden where it belongs! Not on us, but on the fatphobic society in which we live.
  • Strive for embodiment, pleasure, satisfaction, and compassion.
  • Patients with PCOS often experience even more intense feelings about being addicted to food, especially because most doctors encourage people with PCOS to cut out carbs. But carbs are not the enemy! By removing them from your diet, you just increase the need for them, and the feeling of being out of control around them.

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.

I’m poor and fat. Now what?? {Ep 96}

Are you struggling to make peace with food while simultaneously grappling with food scarcity? Is poverty and food insecurity contributing to feelings of deprivation? Listen now for ideas on how to navigate this food peace challenge.

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This episode is brought to you by my online course, Your Step-by-Step Guide to PCOS and Food Peace. Sign up now to get on the waitlist for the next enrollment period in January 2018, and receive my FREE road map: Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace with PCOS. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • I just got back from BEDA! I had the honor of presenting at the conference, as well as meeting previous Love, Food guests and listeners!!
  • Lack of food access is a real food peace problem! When our body doesn’t have consistent access to food, food gains a lot of power in our lives.
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Only once our basic needs are met (food, shelter, oxygen, etc.) can we can reach higher levels.
  • The Hierarchy of Food Needs by Ellyn Satter: If someone doesn’t have access to food, you can’t work on changing eating patterns to support health.
  • Living in poverty causes oppression, and oppression physically harms our health.
  • PCOS is connected to many health markers that we KNOW are connected to oppression and poverty (high blood pressure, insulin issues, high triglycerides etc). Struggling with both simultaneously exacerbates the problem!
  • Poverty, living in an oppressed body, and experiencing chronic microaggressions sets us up for living in a fight or flight response. This can make conditions like PCOS MUCH worse!
  • Being pushed to diet long-term ALSO causes these negative health outcomes due to increased inflammation.
  • Most people who diet and lose weight with regain that weight in the long run, and most people who regain weight will actually regain more weight than they lost initially. This means that weight loss efforts are actually weight cycling… and weight cycling ALSO contributes to inflammation, high blood pressure, high insulin levels, high triglycerides, etc.
  • PCOS, poverty and discrimination, dieting, and weight cycling ALL contribute to inflammation, high blood pressure, high insulin levels, high triglycerides, etc. in the long term!!
  • You probably aren’t addicted to food… your body is just telling you after years of chronic dieting that you need food!! Make sure you’re eating enough, especially if you’re in a larger body and people are shaming you for your food intake, and that feeling of addiction will likely decrease.
  • Access to healthcare is also a problem here… we need equal access to health for ALL bodies!! 25% of health is determined by behaviors, and 75% of health can be attributed to genetics and the social determinants of health… this means that poor access to healthcare, food, and resources will impact your health negatively. So we need to promote health EQUITY if we want a healthy population!
  • Practice permission and cast aside shame.

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.

I’m a food addict. {guest Marci Evans}

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Would you consider yourself a food addict? Do you find yourself trying to abstain from certain foods so you don’t “lose control?” Are you unsure if food addiction is the right way to describe what you’re experiencing? Listen now for some expertise on the latest research and find out more about the truth behind the food addiction model.

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This episode is brought to you by Pursuing Private Practice Masterclass.

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Episode’s Key Points:

  • Holidays like Easter and Passover can bring foods out of the woodwork that we don’t usually eat! (Think: chocolate bunnies, Peeps, jelly beans.) When these foods resurface, because we haven’t learned to make them “neutral” yet, it can feel like we’re addicted to them when they’re finally around.
  • Our bodies don’t need to rely on dieting to find health. In fact, dieting HURTS us, and it can lead to bingeing and an OCD experience with food.
  • Eating is just like peeing!!! When you gotta go, you gotta go, and how much or how little you pee doesn’t matter. But with hunger, there is so much JUDGMENT attached to it. So what if we took that judgment away? What if we treated eating just like peeing? They’re both bodily functions that do just fine on their own without outward policing. So stop judging when you’re hungry, or how much or how little you need to eat to feel satisfied! Eating is like peeing.
  • Marci Evans joins to talk about her expert knowledge on food addiction research!
  • Food doesn’t need to have so much power!!
  • You are NOT alone… your pain is individual, but your experiences with food are so common.
  • What are the first steps to making peace with food when dealing with these problems??
    • Compassion!
    • Challenging food addiction in and of itself
  • The food addiction model is problematic and has many limitations!
    • The term “food addiction” is very poorly defined in the research community.
    • Most 0f the research has been done on animals, not humans, and the research that has been done on humans has had a LOT of mixed results.
    • It fails to consider alternatives to the biological response to food that mimics drug use, such as pavlovian conditioning, the fact that food is meant to be rewarding, or the impact of restraint, restriction, or previous dieting on our pleasure reactions.
  • Food is meant to be rewarding!!
  • The pattern of restriction and restraint that then swings to bingeing can lead someone to think they’re addicted to food… but that might not be the case! Bingeing is often a reaction to deprivation!!
  • Current food addiction research does NOT account for restraint, restriction, or dieting history.
  • Our natural biology REBELS against restraint!!
  • So how do we move beyond the food addiction model?
    • Remember you are not alone!
    • Consider what “healthy” means to you, and make sure it’s BALANCED and SATISFYING.
    • Use resources to support your journey.
    • Notice what’s happening in your body instead of what’s happening in your brain.
  • Once we take the judgment away, we can really listen to what our body actually needs.
  • Our body craves balance!!
  • Remember, healthy eating includes satiety and pleasure! If you deny these parts of eating, you won’t find a peaceful relationship with food.

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 science behind that post-Easter candy binge

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Did you binge on the Easter candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more food peace in the future.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat. Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods. Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it. On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint: Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Easter candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Are you around this food often? And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it? If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really “Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it. How often are we actually around jelly beans, peeps,  or peanut butter filled eggs? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience? This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bite to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will. To hear more, check out this Food Addiction episode of the Love Food podcast.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Hear from Evelyn Tribole directly on this episode of the Love Food Podcast. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

Healing Hint: To feel safer during Easter and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened. When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead. Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.

julie_lovefood_secondary_rgbDo you enjoy listening to podcasts and want to ditch diets? Check out mine: it was made for you!

When relying on hunger is too scary

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Does the idea of relying on your hunger and fullness cues freak you out? Seem waaaay too scary? Please hang on. This post is for you. And, be sure to know you are not alone.

I can’t stop thinking about food!

Attuned eating is letting go of distractions and relying on your hunger, fullness, and satiety cues to guide eating instead of rigid diets. Some people also call it Intuitive Eating (check out the brand new workbook edition here it is fabulous). If your brain thinks about food, eating, and their rules most of the day, attuned eating will feel a bit premature. We often call this way of thinking food preoccupation. I see it as food rules have taken your brain hostage. The way out of this crisis is to retrain your brain to not think about food. All. The. Time.

Before you look into brain surgeons, know we have tools outside of the operating room. And, all you need to do the work includes a way to know time (either your watch, cell phone, or the sun), a shelf stable snack of your choice, and patience. Bring lots of patience.

Disconnecting from hunger makes us think more about food

We get disconnected from our hunger cues because our brains have been distracted by food rules, not prioritizing self-care, and emotional dysregulation. If you are disconnected from hunger, there was a time when you were not. There was a time when your body consistently provided the information you needed to eat adequately. Diets and other means to learn food rules disconnected you. So does a chaotic life with little self-care. If you are running around like a chicken with a head cut off, then you are not stopping to eat when hungry nor pee when need to pee. (That’s for all my nurses and teachers…talking to you!)

You also get disconnected if you are used to feeling certain emotions and reaching for food. Emotional eating is a touchy word in my book because everyone emotionally eats. It is human and part of cultural connections. And healthy. What I am talking about though is when a person feels an emotion, whether uncomfortable or warm fuzzy, and the brain automatically feels connection with certain foods. I like to call this symbolic hunger discussed in another post.

How do we rewire our noggins?

Diets, lack of self-care, and emotional dysregulation can all disconnect your hunger and make your brain over think about food. To retrain your brain, practice these steps over the next 2 to 4 weeks:

Pick your check in times.

What time do you wake up? Now set an alarm on your phone for every two to three hours after this time throughout the whole day. If you don’t use a smart phone, pencil it in your calendar. These times are your check in times.

Go through the check in routine.

Within the first hour of being awake and every check in time, go through this routine: take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself: “What do I need right now?” By what do I need I am referring to anything. If nothing surfaces ask these:

Do I need to pee?

What am I feeling?

Am I hot or cold?

Do I want or need to eat?

What to do about food at check in times?

At each check in time, give yourself permission to eat outside of physical hunger. If you are not feeling hunger cues, you need to eat at some point (hello, you are human!). By doing this, you will reset your circadian eating rhythms which will gradually reset your hunger cues to be consistently noticeable.

What to do about food outside of check in times?

When craving to eat or binge outside of check in times practice gently saying: “I am craving food right now. It is symbolic hunger. I can have as much as I want or need at the next check in time.” If you find yourself not able to wait, please forgive yourself and move on. Those who are successful at this part of the process are folks who keep trying. So dust yourself off and look to the next check in time. It will get easier after more practice.

What to expect

Practice these check in times over the next 2 to 4 weeks. Remember to be extra kind to yourself and forgive when making mistakes. Everyone does during this process. After a few weeks, your brain will start to get used to a rhythm from the check in times and eating times. More space will occur outside of eating and hunger cues will begin to percolate to the surface. And when they do, welcome them home. Let hunger know you won’t be ignoring it anymore rather wanting to get to know its purpose.

Let me know when you start to experience the hunger cues coming back. It is an exciting reuniting process!

 

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Want a guide to partner with you on your Food Peace journey? I want to help. Check out my podcast and I hope it illuminates the direction you want to go.