(247) When you are afraid of letting go of the eating disorder, messy recovery, and Intuitive Eating with Katie Barbaro

Have you been doing the steps to move away from your eating disorder, trying to beat Diet Culture off with a stick, yet wonder if you will ever make it? Committed to recovery yet wonder if you’ll always be flailing? Pull up a chair and take a break. Katie Barbero, author of Fed Up: An Illustrated Guide to Food Freedom, has some insight. Listen here now.

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This episode of The Love Food Podcast is brought to you by Ovofolic–a new way trusted way to get Inositol to help with PCOS. 

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Dear Food,

Our love and hate relationship has been ebbing and flowing. It all started really innocently wanting to opt for “healthier options’ ‘ until it led me to an unhealthy place. A place where I feared you, a place where I felt guilty after eating you, and a place that took away all the pleasure and freedom around guilt.

I’ve been recovering from an eating disorder for almost 2 years now and although our relationship is relatively better, we could say that we are not in peace yet. Diet culture has made me believe that there are “bad” and “good” foods. That I should fear some of you. That some of you are evil. I really want to change that, I want to make peace with you.

I’m trying to unlearn all the lies and myth diet culture has taught me but it’s hard, you know?

I’ve been trying really hard to reject diets, the mentality of good and bad and surround myself with anti-diet, body positivity, and food freedom content. But I’m struggling to take action steps to have a better relationship with you. It’s easy to consume and motivate me with a lot of inspiring content but it’s overwhelming, you know? I mean… There are so many fear foods I need to face, unlearn diet myths, change my mentality around food, learn to brush off diet comments, relearn how to listen to my body and treat it with respect and so much more that I need to do… I don’t even know where to start. Also, I’m afraid, I feel alone and I am afraid of what will happen if I let go of control and food restriction.

I really want to have a better relationship but things like diet culture, fear of weight gain, or eating disorder thoughts get in the way?

I won’t give up food, I am positive I will get to a place where I no longer fear you but embrace you. I know I will get there one day,

This girl needs a little guidance!

Love,

Not Giving Up

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!

(243) Searching for Eating Disorder Recovery Even When You Have For Years With Daralyse Lyons

How long have you been trying to recover from your eating disorder? This episode is for those of you have tried everything and wondering if recovery is even possible. When a complicated relationship with food includes trauma, loneliness, and pain recovery may seem out of reach. Listen to this latest Love Food Podcast episode with guest expert Daralyse Lyons. She’s an activist, actor, and advocate and host of the Demystifying Diversity Podcast.

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This episode of The Love Food Podcast is brought to you by my PCOS + Food Peace Course. It is 30% May 16-24th using coupon code ‘birthday’ at check out. Grab the details at PCOSandFoodPeace.com

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Dear Food,

I don’t really know exactly when my relationship became complicated with you, or quite how it came to control my life. I remember when I was in my early teens, being the one to say diets are bullshit, and not thinking about what I ate. Being anti-diet culture was practically a part of my identity, and such is where my values sit today, but I live in complete contradiction.

At some point in my teens, I started restricted and using my vegetarianism to always choose the salad option at school. But it wasn’t controlling, it wasn’t overwhelming; it felt more like a natural reaction to being at an all girls school in the society that we live in – an image-based thing. Sometimes, it was reactionary, in spite of my (well-meaning) mother who would always tell me that ‘soup is a starter not a meal’, and check if I was eating enough despite her smaller portions. (I later learned she had a struggled with anorexia for years, and would still struggle to eat in times of stress.)

I developed anxiety and depression by age 16, which ruled and ruined my sixth-form life. Perhaps it was the exam stress, the family troubles – growing up with a drug abusing brother who was in and out of school, in and out of home, in and out of hospital (not that I was always told straight away). We had a complex relationship with my father, who always vied for my brother’s attention and allegiance against my mother. I tried to be always neutral, always loving of all parties – because I was, and couldn’t not be. But with this came a lot of pain, a lot of confusion, and the earnest desire to always tread this precarious, and often punishing line.  Of course, when I couldn’t – and can’t today – there is guilt. I was a straight A* student until the slump during my sixth form years, when my energy broke, and I scraped my way through the last 2 years. I used to be, and still feel like I should be, the person who was able to succeed at anything and everything without dropping the ball – but suddenly I could do nothing, and have struggled ever since. Around this time I realised there was probably something wrong – a cause. Through an explosive conversation with my mother, I was pushed to a consultation with a therapist and given the diagnosis – anxiety and depression – but didn’t receive further help.

In my first year of uni I tried to access help myself, but was turned away by the uni counselling services after a few sessions, saying they didn’t know how to help me as I had already thought everything through so much myself. It was in this year I had a few episodes of bingeing and purging. This continued around occasional periods of stress, such as exams, but not as a regular method of coping.

In second year, my mental health worsened. Restricting, binging and purging became a secret indulgence, but never something I saw as a problem as it was so sporadic. I had difficult relationships with my flatmates, though I had stronger friendships elsewhere, I felt alone. I became so ill I had to defer my exams. I worked towards the summer session, hoping I could somehow manage. But two weeks before I was due to take them, I was raped.

Utterly broken, I moved back in with my parents for a few months, during which time I tried to use food to console myself while I tried to process what happened. But when a close family member was admitted to hospital with terminal cancer, I began majorly restricting. When they passed away and my family fell apart, I moved back to my uni town and started a new job, trying to get my life back on track. Pretty much all the friends I thought I had were no longer there for me. I managed to access CBT for 9 weeks, but developed bulimia in an dramatic way, binging and purging at least 3 times in a day, at one time losing X in a month. This continued through another exam deferral, and another.

I fought for a year to access treatment, being passed from waiting list to waiting list, rejected for being too symptomatic, too complicated or not fitting criteria. Along the way, I met someone who truly loves me and cares for men and helps me through these struggles. When I am with him, I eat normally and don’t purge, but will find myself in tears most evenings because of food. My weight is stable at a healthy BMI, but I am miserable in my skin, mentally exhausted, and absolutely terrified: of this relationship with food that dominates my life. I cannot have food around me and resist it, regardless of whether I am hungry – I am so anxious about when I might need to eat, that I am constantly aware of a hunger, and I cannot discern the emotional from the physical. I know I use bingeing and purging as both a means of occupying myself when I am alone, as an emotional control and as a form of self-harm. And what started as a tool has grown like a weed to something that I am constantly aware of, and bothers me even when I am happiest. I love to cook, and often cook with my boyfriend, but cannot enjoy a meal without resenting myself and being overwhelmed with frustration as a result.

In a month, I will finally be starting treatment (psychotherapy with a trauma focus), but I am worried about managing my relationship with food during this time, as I know it will be a gradual process, and not the focus of my treatment. Additional private treatment isn’t easily an option for me. I am also worried about the strain I place on my boyfriend, who is always there for me, but who cannot fight the battle for me, no matter how much he may want to try.

I am trying to keep the willpower to fight for myself, to maintain the relationships I have left and succeed in my final chance to pass these exams in just a few months. I desperately need peace with you food, so that I can have more energy to make peace elsewhere in my life.

Yours,

Terrified & pleading for a truce

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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New Podcast alert!

Check out My Black Body Podcast hosted by Rawiyah and Jessica Wilson. Click here to support their show or learn more.

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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!

 

(230) Weight changes (Intuitive Eating Series)

Have you heard Intuitive Eating can help you lose weight if you do it right? Blech. NO. I know you’ve heard that yet it is sooooo off. That advice is steering you in the direction away from Food Peace. I want to help you get back on track. Listen to latest Love Food Podcast for insight.

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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 have been trying to make things right with you for a while now. I’ve been exploring intuitive eating for the last year, and we’ve had some successful moments together. Remember when I wasn’t able to keep ice cream in the house? Now I have multiple containers, which I eat when I’m in the mood and don’t think about when I’m not. That’s something I feel proud of. 
I still make mistakes when it comes to our relationship – I know there are times I eat past fullness, and there are times I eat when I’m not hungry. I am trying to be as compassionate as I can with myself, but then l I see myself in a mirror. 
I threw away my scale in October, and haven’t been on one since. But it’s pretty obvious I have gained weight. Mostt of my old clothes don’t fit, and getting ready for work and social events is fraught with anxiety. I have bought things in new sizes,  but  I cannot shake the awful feelings that almost paralyze me when I see myself.
I was not somebody who needed to be weight restored. What I feared would happen, happened. I gained weight. I always thought that if I binged less and practiced intuitive eating that I would somehow magically become thin. That didn’t happen for me. I know I can’t go back to dieting, but I also can’t seem to accept myself this way.
I know about body positivity, HAES, and fat acceptance, but I can’t seem to get there. Forget about body love – I’d be happy with body neutrality. It seems impossible for me to love my body at this weight when I know look better thinner.
 I don’t know what to do about us, Food. I will not diet again, but I second guess my choices a lot. Even when I hear experts talk about intuitive eating, they always say things like, “Don’t worry – you won’t always want to eat Oreos or pizza” as if those foods truly are bad. I  want to give myself freedom to eat whatever I want, but in exchange, I hate how I look. 
Where do we go from here, Food? 
Love,

Feeling like a failure

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.

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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.

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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!