(239) Getting partner and family support on your Food Peace Journey rejecting diets with guest expert Ashlee Bennett

The journey can feel isolating at times so communicating with your partner, family, and friends will support your path toward Food Peace. But how does one do this? You’re in for a treat: guest expert and therapist Ashlee Bennett, author of the upcoming book, The Art of Body Acceptance, shares her insight.

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This episode of The Love Food Podcast is brought to you by my Pop Up PCOS Podcast—Live only through the month of April.

It focuses on how to live with and manage PCOS cravings. Get access to this private podcast here.

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Dear Food,
Wow, where to begin. I guess would be first telling the story of how you’ve been such a huge part of my life. My first memory of you taking over my head was when I was 9, wanting desperately for my prepubescent body to be flat like my friends, restricting my food because I thought that would make me better, but then bingeing on sleeves of cookies before school and flushing down the evidence so my parents wouldn’t see. And thus, what feels like a lifetime of disordered eating began. Restricting, binging, purging, I’ve tried it all, from the age of 9-22. And food, I gotta tell ya, I love you just as much as I hate you. I mean, you taste damn good! But I am obsessed with thinking of you, and how you affect my body and my mind. Now, everyday I work so hard to eat a balanced three meals, let myself indulge here and again all while you’re constantly on my mind. Add in a diagnosis of PCOS and a constant weight gain even though i eat healthier than pretty much anyone i know? This is hard. Something else that is hard- communicating all of this to my partner. My incredibly loving and supportive partner. The smallest phrase of “wow you ate that fast!” Or “I need a salad tomorrow after the pizza we ate today” can throw me off the handle. The shame placement on you, food, means so little to others but so much to me. The diagnosis of PCOS makes me feel so out of control of my body that i have to work everyday to like (notice I didn’t say love.) his offering of help sometimes feel like an intrusion on my own efforts. How do I keep my ED recovery strong, my nutrition as a top priority without grieving my PCOS diagnosis and symptoms, my ability to eat a huge juicy burger, and communicate all of this funk to my partner without making him feel like he’s harming me. It feels like it’s all just too much. My eating disorder history is mine, not his… but how can he best support me through this? Oh and food – did I mention that I hate and love you?
Sincerely,
Craving Partner Support

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!

PCOS and Intuitive Eating

Can you move away from diets while living with PCOS?

Can you find ways to feel better physically and emotionally without PCOS diets?

Can you logistically recover from your eating disorder using Intuitive Eating while living with PCOS?

That’s what this blog post is all about.

Cliff Note version: YES you can practice Intuitive Eating while living with PCOS.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, both dietitians, wrote Intuitive Eating now in its 4th edition. Someone handed me the book in 2002 as I was ready to quit being a dietitian. I was starting to see diet’s destructive power and barely starting to name my own anti-fat bias. That year I took a leave from dietetics to pursue a masters degree in counseling. While I wish I would have really read Intuitive Eating then I didn’t until I finished grad school and started my first job as a dietitian and behaviorist.

There I was helping people recover from eating disorders while also working as a weight loss dietitian. It took me just a few months to feel the ethical pull and the cognitive dissonance. How can I help people recover from eating disorders while also teaching disordered eating to fat clients?

Reading the book Intuitive Eating was the nudge that pushed me through that cognitive dissonance. I quit that job and have been trying to unlearn my own anti-fat bias since. While Intuitive Eating processes take a certain level of financial privilege and access, I credit it to helping me name a new way to practice and not quit dietetics.

Intuitive Eating centers healing from diet culture and reclaiming your expert role of your body. While many people talk about Intuitive Eating in regards to promoting weight loss, centering healing while centering weight loss can’t be held together. Centering weight loss discriminates against millions of people, futile for most, and increases risk for worsened health.

Intuitive eating has over a hundred studies published to support its use to promote recovery, health, and alternative way to relate to food without dieting.

People with PCOS deserve access to healing from diet culture and eating disorders too. Even though diets have been pigeon-holed as the end all be all PCOS solution, I beg to differ. Rather, diets harm most people with PCOS long term.

Why Intuitive Eating and PCOS?

Most people I talk to with PCOS were told they have to diet in order to manage their PCOS. Early on as a anti-diet dietitian learning Intuitive Eating, I knew I had to find another way.

I am so grateful mentors taught me alternative ways to help people manage their PCOS without diets. Those mentors taught me important lessons that helped me really fight for anti-diet treatment.

Consider these reasons to explore Intuitive Eating while living with PCOS:

Hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS make diets a short term solution yet harmful long term. 75-95% of people with PCOS experience higher circulating insulin that makes dieting an easy answer to this problem. What we know: higher circulating insulin decreases short term via any modified diet or restriction. Unfortunately, our long term diet research has found that dieting of any kind, whether continued or not, causes higher insulin. What do you think happens when someone already has higher insulin then diets long term to manage it? Unfortunately, dieting only makes it worse.

PCOS is associated with a chronic pro-inflammatory state. Long term dieting is too. People with PCOS experience a chronic pro-inflammatory state that can predict diseases like diabetes. This is often used as the reason to suggest a diet to lower inflammation markers. Just like with insulin, any diet decreases inflammation markers in the short term yet worsens it long term. If you are seeking for a long term way to lower inflammation, Intuitive Eating work is an option.

Weight cycling predicts binge eating for those with PCOS. A 2016 study reported that 39% of people with PCOS in their study met full criteria for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and 60% met at least one criteria. Recovering from BED takes on average 7 to 14 years (!) so its vital to find ways to live with PCOS without triggering an eating disorder. This same research pointed to something interesting: binge eating behavior was predicted by weight cycling. In essence, the more one went on and off a diet (weight cycled) the more likely they also experienced binge eating. Helping you to connect with tools to avoid weight cycling will help you avoid experiencing binge eating. Intuitive eating is associated with less weight cycling.

How is Intuitive Eating Different for Those with PCOS?

  1. Diets harm people with PCOS more so give yourself longer to recover from them. Recovering from diet culture and disordered eating takes time for everyone yet hormonal imbalances from PCOS means that diets took more away. It also means that diets are pushed on you more so it may take longer for you and your brain to rewire for trust, satisfaction, and permission.
  2. Carb cravings will be intensely constant at first. This is from the high circulating insulin levels. Gentle nutrition–a part of the Intuitive Eating framework–can be woven in to help lower insulin levels without restriction.
  3. Find non-diet tools to help lower insulin levels and this will help you feel more typical hunger, satisfaction, and fullness. As you connect with tools to do this, the cravings will lesson and Intuitive Eating will start to look like how it looks for others without PCOS.
  4. You probably need more protein. Not less carbs. Not less sugar. Not less calories.
  5. Once you have found tools to lower insulin, carb cravings will guide you to what you need more of or less of. Trust them.
  6. People with PCOS can do Intuitive Eating. You don’t have to diet. You don’t have to punish yourself with exercise.

Intuitive Eating can be different with PCOS and that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

It can be possible for you too.

You don’t have to diet to live with PCOS and manage the symptoms.

You can use tools like Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, Anti-Diet, and Health at Every Size.

You can experience PCOS and Food Peace™ and I would love to show you how.

Check out my free PCOS Roadmap here.

 

(235) I am struggling with the weight gain that has come with Intuitive Eating while living with a chronic condition like PCOS, high cholesterol, diabetes.

Are you getting a message that weight gain means you are doing it wrong?  Diets preach weight loss for health and then tell us that if their rules don’t work it is on us not them. You are not a failure if or when you gain weight. If you struggle with moving away from diets and need more insight to fuel your Food Peace Journey, you are in the right place.

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This episode of The Love Food Podcast is brought to you by my PCOS + Food Peace Course:

Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘LOVE2021’ starting Valentine’s Day through the end of February. Grab details at PCOSandFoodPeace.com. 

Thank you for you supporting the Love Food Podcast!

Dear Food,

For probably my entire entire life I have used as a scapegoat to avoid my divided and toxic family life, my fear of relationships and men, and the excuse as to why I can’t keep the weight off. 

After my brother passed unexpectedly this year and after mindless eating to numb the pain of his absence I seeked out some help from a therapist. I am still in therapy and I was able to unblock myself with the numbness. This is where you came in Food. I was no longer using you as a source of comfort anymore. Alongside this journey I decided to read the Intuitive Eating book that Julie Duffy Dillon put on her must reads syllabus section. I read it slowly and realized even more that you don’t really bring me that source of comfort anymore or really the satisfaction. In fact I had face so much without you in just a matter of 3 months. I had to face the reality that my brother is no longer here, that I used you to numb myself to the point where I didn’t know what I was feeling, and that I fed myself the wrong foods to keep myself fat so men would leave me alone. I say this because when I have been at a lighter weight I did not feel comfortable at all with the attention. I felt vulnerable in my new body. Fat is all I have ever known. I was a wallflower and invisible to men. Once I wasn’t I was back at the binging and the weight crept up, although on a conscious level I was so upset about this. 

I know all of this sounds crazy but I had such a huge insight in such a short amount of time. I began to take care of myself, but I am really struggling with something: PCOS. I really want to build a strong and healthy relationship with my body. My body is completely out of balance because I feel it at a cellular level. Because I had gained almost 15 lbs from the loss of my brother my PCOS symptoms came back. I don’t weigh myself anymore but I do want to lose some weight so I can get off medication and re-stabilize my hormones. I just feel like all the information out there about nutrition and PCOS is so contradictory. I don’t know where to start. I find myself getting into diet mentality and I fight myself mentally constantly, especially lately. I don’t feel at peace and this concerns me. I have stopped exercising because of this mental stress too. 

I ask you Food, what am I really supposed to do? Am I supposed to be ok with the fact that maybe my PCOS Is always going to wreck havoc on my health? Am I supposed to be ok with being large and constantly fighting to stabilize my hormones. I’m only 26, and I am so fatigued. I really don’t care what the scale says anymore, what I want to know is: what exactly am I supposed to do? I honor my hunger but I noticed some days I barely eat. I logically do not think this is ok since I have PCOS. Idk if I can trust my body fully because of the PCOS. Instead of going around in circles, does intuitive eating really work for PCOS? Are carbs really what is making my hormones insane or gain a few extra pounds? I just feel so lost. I want to get out of this. I want to heal my body and my soul. I want to heal my PCOS naturally and I want to be ok with you Food. I just hate how healing PCOS equates to weight loss. I think this may be the issue. I just feel like I am always going to lose when it comes to PCOS. 

Sincerely,

Lost Cyster. 

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!

 

(226) How do I live with body changes? (PCOS series with Shira Rosenbluth)

We are concluding the PCOS podcast series with a letter from someone moving along their Food Peace Journey in a different body. Things feel different–they can’t cross their legs and breathe differently. Therapist and fashion blogger Shira Rosenbluth joins as a guest expert to share her clinical wisdom and lived experience in her own recovery–both that will give you insight on your path.

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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.

Grab your free download here.

New Podcast alert!

Be sure to check out, support, and SUBSCRIBE to the Demystifying Diversity Podcast with hosts Daralyse Lyons and AnnaMarie Jones. The trailer has me hooked and can’t wait to hear more. I have a feeling you’ll love this podcast too.

Thank you for you supporting the Love Food Podcast!

Dear Food: 

Are you feeling as numb as I am right now after our years’ long fighting bout against each other? Numb but also a peace and calm in our relationship since we called this truce and I decided not to be afraid of you anymore. And while that absence of fear brings an empowerment, it has also left me confused. Throw in PCOS and hypothyroidism and my confusion doubles. Because I still feel like I need to lose weight. I don’t have crazy aspirations. I recognize I will not ever be society’s definition of “skinny.” And I’m okay with that. I’ve always been okay with that. What I’m not okay with is the physical limitations being fat brings to my life. I don’t like that my bra cuts into my skin. I don’t like not being able to breathe when I bend over. I don’t like the battle it has suddenly become to cross my legs. One day I could do it and the next day I couldn’t! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that drastic of a change but it felt that way. In the past, I have limited you from my life when these physical queues surface and it’s worked. But it’s never worked long term and I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to do that anymore. But I do want to do things like cross my legs, not to look pretty or demure or because that’s how people think women should sit but because I want to be able to have that physical ability. I want to be physically able! I don’t want to be “skinny” or fit into a certain size dress. I just want to lose weight to avoid physical limitations. Isn’t that a good thing? So food I feel you and I are in the “well, now what” phase of our relationship. It’s as if we just broke up and are trying to navigate how to just be friends. And I don’t quite know how that’s done. 
Hoping for the best,
Just friends

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!

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

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.

Grab your free download here.

New Podcast alert!

Be sure to check out, support, and SUBSCRIBE to the Demystifying Diversity Podcast with hosts Daralyse Lyons and AnnaMarie Jones. The trailer has me hooked and can’t wait to hear more. I have a feeling you’ll love this podcast too.

Thank you for you supporting the Love Food Podcast!

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!