The Love Food Podcast Episode 47


Have you worked really hard to stop hating your body but feel like your family keeps holding you back? Do you find yourself dealing with the food police within your own family, even after you’ve begun to make peace with food yourself? Do you have family that encourages fat shaming and diet culture, even when you feel like you’re doing your best to rid yourself of the mindset?? Listen now as Julie tackles this family-oriented topic and introduces some solutions.

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Key Points:

  • What is the experience of finding peace with food while family members surrounding us stay stuck in the diet mentality?
  • Fat shaming can come from people we care about!
  • Setting our own boundaries is SUPER important in trying to protect your own recovery.
  • The world that we live in isn’t one of body-positivity, HAES, and size acceptance. This means that when we pursue recovery, we are going against the vast majority of society, and sometimes that means our families. This makes the work harder to do, but it is that much more important!
  • Going against family dynamics is super hard, and when we actively follow our own path, it is common to feel pressure to go with the flow and back off of our own personal work in order to appease the family.
  • When we RECOGNIZE any emotion we are having, it automatically diffuses it and breaks its power.
  • How to beat body comparison: recognize the emotion, remove its power, and counteract with readily available responses of self-compassion.
  • How do we connect with our self-compassion?? We must actively find ways to support self-compassion for the moments in which we feel vulnerable.
  • Remember, our feelings and experiences are not going to last forever!!
  • Have some ready-made comebacks to assert your recovery, either by facing it head on or by changing the subject.
  • Surviving the Holidays and National Diet Month : #SoAnyway
  • How do we empower ourselves to connect to peace and health and feeling comfortable in our own skin?
  • When we provide new visuals for ourselves that are more size-diverse, it provides another option for our brains to think that OTHER kinds of bodies are beautiful too!
  • We should spend our energy on keeping ourselves safe, setting our own boundaries, and focusing on ensuring that we are providing the best modeling for our own family in terms of having a healthy relationship with food.
  • Embrace self-compassion, boundaries, and self-care.

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.


This episode is sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.
A special promotion for Love Food listeners:
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3 Reasons to Ditch that Halloween Switch Witch

On my Facebook page, a community member asked:

 What do you think about all these Switch Witch shenanigans?

I have been living under a rock lately and looked it up. If you have been a recluse too, this popular Switch Witch wants to rid kids of terrifying candy (boo!).

Candy Loot
Joyfully sorting and tasting the candy.

The witch hangs out with the family starting October first and disappears on Halloween, candy in tow. When the kids awaken the next day, the candy is gone yet they are all smiles with shiny new toys. Parents do not have to deal with the food fights. Everyone wins.

Sounds like a great solution, right?

Uh, no. Let me explain.

1.) Allowing Halloween candy helps your child practice how to be around all foods.

Like it or not, we live in a world with many different foods. Children are limited by what parents allow into the home and the structure they provide. We are required by law to feed our children and that makes them grow up. They leave us for college or trade school or when we get tired of each other and they move out. And the world will be their oyster. Or candy bar. They get to decide which foods they will have in their dwelling. Seinfeld speaks this awesome truth here:

If a child was never taught how to experience highly palatable (*I won’t use the word junk here*) food, he will learn later in life. A young adult never exposed to fun food will have a tough time eating them without shame. Shame never promotes health. This food relationship produces an adult who feels out of control around certain foods. For many, this develops into bingeing and secret eating. These are typical eating disorder behaviors. Oh what a web we weave.

2) Keeping Halloween candy out of the house has more to say about the adult’s inability to be around the food than keeping a child healthy.

Fun foods taste gooooood. And that is why we adults yearn for ideas like the Switch Witch. We don’t trust ourselves around the food and feel shame when we can’t stop eating them. So we avoid the candy or other yummy treats. Our solution: keep it out of the house. Then, when a special holiday food comes around (helloooo candy corn!), we feel guilt free enough to “indulge” and curse the candy when we succumb to the tummy ache alarm to stop noshing. This is not the food’s fault. This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we are around a novel food, our brains light up with interest. Sometimes even obsess. ¹ When we finally allow a bite, it is always hard to stop.

Allowing Halloween candy to remain around models how we as grown ups can navigate different types of food. Too scary? You are not alone.

There is a way to heal this. It is 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 is the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

Trick or treat!
Trick or treat!
  • 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 Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch. Life changing work is done within its framework. I encourage you to check it out for yourself and your children.

3) Keeping the Halloween candy around will teach your children to not let food have more power than it deserves.

Imagine if you took your child into a room full of toys and said, “Play with any toy you like….except this one.” Even if the toy is a smelly old shoe, it will cause a 30 minute temper tantrum until the child is allowed to play with it. Go ahead try for yourself. I dare you.

Deciding which Halloween candy she enjoys.
Deciding which Halloween candy she enjoys.

Having a witch magically steal your child’s candy let’s them know these foods are forbidden. And a house that forbids food gives that food 100 times more power than it deserves. My clients affected by eating disorders spend too much time and energy thinking about forbidden foods. To the point they will not go to parties, or on dates. Their social life suffers. Some won’t even leave the house in fear they will have to face a forbidden food. I appreciate this is a strong statement and my work with eating disorder clients allows me to believe it: making candy a forbidden food is setting children up to experience disordered eating pathology. And, yes, that is very serious.

Where can we find help navigating the parental decisions around Halloween candy? Ellyn Satter has the best recommendations. I reread them every year. Spend time reading her recommendations here. And ditch that witch.

Footnote (i.e. best part of any blog post) ¹ This may bring up food addiction for many. You don’t have to send me articles or scholarly journals on food addiction since I am keeping up with the research. Until they control for food deprivation, the research means nothing unless you are a robot without free will.