(174) How do I challenge diet talk? (with Cara Harbstreet)

Latest Love Food Podcast Episode features guest expert Cara Harbstreet

While on your Food Peace journey, are you feeling powerful fighting diet culture yet deflated every time someone else brings up diet talk? Wonder how to best handle verbalized fat phobia? Let’s huddle to help you decide what your next steps look like in this latest Love Food Podcast episode with special guest Cara Harbstreet.

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Looking for more Food Peace? Want to help support the Love Food Podcast? Check out my new After the Letters Project on Patreon. I have exclusive weekly mini-episodes for $29/month and other freebies. Find more at Patreon.com/LoveFoodPodcast

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

We’ve had a complicated relationship for as long as I can remember. I have always felt guilty when eating you and blamed you for my oversized body (according to society’s standards). My guilt and shame turned into a full fledged eating disorder, which I was entrenched in for years. I was diagnosed with anorexia in 2015 after years of restricting, over exercising, and hating myself. I finally agreed to get help from professionals, which meant having to eat a lot of you food. I was forced to eat what I considered my “bad” foods or “off limit” foods and refrain from exercise. It took years to restore my weight and countless appointments with my dietician, doctor, and therapist. It was and still is the hardest battle I have ever had to fight.

Here I am now, in 2019, and still have a difficult time with you. I still overthink you and I worry that you will always have control over my life. But I have also come a long way in understanding our relationship and the distorted thoughts I have about you. I have recently felt a strong desire to fight against diet culture. You see food, I am about to enter the field of professional counseling and my hope is to help people understand you better and become less fearful of you. I want people to enjoy you and honor the body they live in, without being on a diet. I want that for myself and for others. 

Though, as empowered as I feel, I am stuck. I have a hard time listening to people talk about you, diets, and weight. It makes me cringe and I don’t know how to address you in conversations in a respectful and knowledgeable manner. Unfortunately, the conversation of you and weight occur far too often. I usually just ignore what I am hearing and don’t get involved because I am scared of how others will react when I tell them I am on your side and that you are not the real problem. What do I say to them? How do I enter a conversation about you, body image, and scales when I am against the norm? How do we as Food Peace soldiers push back on diet culture on a daily basis? How do we respond to our family and friends when they sit and talk about you and restricting you? How do we help people understand that diets are so harmful to our bodies and that we deserve so much more? How do we help people see that Food Peace is possible and it does not include restriction or being on a diet? 

I want so badly to tell the world that everything they have heard and learned about diets and you is a big lie. I want to help people find body acceptance and break free of the shame and guilt they feel around you, but I don’t know how. HELP! 

Yours truly,

Stuck and Fed 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!

(144) This is scary.

Do you have a complicated relationship with food and fear what it will take to move away from diets? Listen to this week’s Love Food podcast to hear a letter from someone who can relate and ways to move through.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 

Sometimes I’m really scared of you. I’m not even sure why but when I write those words I cry. I’m scared. I’m scared you will make me fat–I already am and pretty much always have been. I’m scared you won’t help me with my PCOS. I’m scared you’ll take over my body and not feed my soul. I’m scared if I eat healthy I’ll never get to taste the good stuff. I’m scared. I’m scared if I don’t have you I won’t have my friend. I’m scared you’ll abandon me. I’m scared you’ll leave me–what does that mean? That the medication factor will be gone and I’ll be left hanging with no security blanket.

Dear Body, I love you, let me feed your soul, let me feed you. I want to take care of you. Dear Body, let me be gentle and kind. Let me love you as I learn to let others love me. Let me accept you. Dear Body, let me find joy.

Love,

Scared of letting go.

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!

(141) I feel powerless around food.

Does food have power over you? Do you find you can’t stop eating certain foods? Do you connect with shame every time you soothe with food? Listen to the latest Love Food podcast where we dive deep into what’s going.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

I’ve just discovered the Body Love Box and it looks like a fantastic resource for people who live in large bodies or anyone who wants to improve their body image. It’s a monthly subscription box that gets mailed to your home and it includes things like body-positive stickers and pins as well as deeper resources on body acceptance, health at every size and intuitive eating. Each box includes items from fat and marginalized creators, and pays them a living wage for their work. 
The monthly subscription can be found at www.thebodylovebox.com, and use the code LOVEFOOD for 15% off your first month.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Chocolate Covered Peppermint Oreos,
Why do you have so much power over me? Why can’t I just eat one or two of you? Why do I wake up in the middle of my sleep and eat you? I know an entire box isn’t good for me, but yet I keep going. The same goes for chips or any snack. Why can’t I eat an acceptable amount? When I’m tired, stressed, lonely you are always there to comfort me. But after I’m done, I hate myself.  Our relationship has reached a scary place. I’m ready to break up but scared I’m not strong enough.
Sincerely,
Powerless and Unacceptable

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!

(140) Is not dieting backfiring? (with Vincci Tsui)

Are you trying to unlearn diet culture yet feel out of control on a roller coaster to who-knows-where? Making steps toward Food Peace can be exciting and oh sh*t so scary. Looking for compassionate direction? Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast with guest expert Vincci Tsui author of The Mindful Eating Workbook.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,
Oh my, I just don’t even know where to begin.  When I was around 13 years old my mother told me that I needed to watch out because too much more of you would take me from the regular sizes to the misses sizes – which in that day was more like plus size.  If I ate more of you, which was always intensely scrutinized and monitored by her, than she felt happy with, she would give me a look of disappointment and shame around you and my body set in.  I would sometimes whip up a bowl of cookie dough while she was out of the house for a brief time, scarf you down, and then clean up as fast as possible.  You were associated with shame at home and then freedom when I was out in my car alone.  It was then the roots of “thin means worthy, beautiful and acceptable” and “fat was unsightly, made you worth less, and would negatively affect your life in so many ways from getting a man, to getting a job, to embarrassing your teenagers.”  What is so crazy now is that pictures of me still living at home show a healthy, not even chubby, girl.  I do not know what my mother was seeing!  Anyway, so from there I restricted and binged you.  I went from diet fad to diet fad.  Of course, I would get so many compliments from people when they observed my eating less of you, even when I was nearly starving myself.  But those never lasted, I’d always come back to you, so much so that you would make me so sick I’d swear never to binge on you again, which I did.  Then floods of shame and embarrassment and failure would overcome me as I regained all my weight plus some.  My ups and downs with you have cost me so much money Food!  Between all the diets, special ingredients and clothing…oh my…I cannot even imagine how much money I’ve wasted over these years trying to get to that size where I would be acceptable to my mother and therefore, myself and others.  I was once again failing at keeping weight off from my most recent diet and I started searching podcasts for food related subjects.  I came across your podcast three months ago and was introduced to Intuitive Eating, Diet Culture and Peace with Food for the first time – wow – totally new concepts for me.  I love them and I want to incorporate them into my life.  I so want peace with you and with myself!  I want to accept where I am right now, at this moment!  However, I am discouraged and feeling confused.  As I have given myself freedom with all foods and as I’ve tried to eat only when hungry and stop when full, a skill I have A LOT of work to do to figure out, I have just gotten fatter and that scares me.  I need to know what is the normal process.  I want to set my expectations of how my newfound relationship with you is going to look.  I feel like as I have said no to more dieting and seeing all food as permissible – this way of doing things is back firing!  Is this how it works? Is my body holding on to everything thinking I’ll starve it again?  Does it get worse before getting better?  I would love to know as I want my journey towards loving you to be free and peaceful.  Thanks for keeping me alive Food.  We just need to figure out how this relationship is going to pan out!
Love,
Time to DTR (define the relationship)

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!

(139) I fear everyone judging what I eat (with Jenna Hollenstein)

Picture this: you are in a restaurant and really craving a burger. Or a salad. You freeze. Will people judge what you choose? Do you judge what other’s choose? And how does this get in the way of your Food Peace journey? Listen to this latest episode of Love Food with special guest Jenna Hollenstein RD author of Eat to Love.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I have recently been on an uphill battle to try and fix our relationship. After countless years of living a secret life with an unacknowledged eating disorder- consisting largely of restricting and bingeing- I made the change to recognize and treat my disordered eating patterns. I have since been diagnosed with an eating disorder and am currently adventuring through the recovery process with a support system of professionals and loved ones.

Although I can feel and appreciate the changes that I’ve made and the growth that I’ve experienced, there is one recurring thought I cannot let go of. I feel that it is keeping me trapped in my eating disorder world. Currently, I am gradually increasing my food intake and attempting to diversify the types of food that I consume. However, I’m finding this to be a painfully difficult experience because I cannot stop thinking that everyone is constantly judging me for what I eat. Essentially, whenever I eat something, I believe that other people are thinking to themselves, “wow, look at her eating that…she is eating that because she is fat”. This thought is strongest if I were to ever eat food that is constructed as “unhealthy”, but is also present if I were to eat food that is constructed as “healthy” but consume a lot of it. For example, when I eat a restaurant, I fear finishing my plate because I assume that the wait staff will judge me for eating all of the food and will judge my body.

That being said, I understand that this is an illogical believe to have. I have countless pieces of objective evidence (e.g., from doctors, the number on the scale, the size of clothing I wear) that indicate that I am not fat, I am not overweight. Yet, this evidence doesn’t override my internal belief that my body is too big and that others are in agreeance with me. Throughout my recovery process, I have come to understand that I hold a strong core belief that my worth comes from my body and that I should always strive for a smaller body. I know this belief is problematic, but I can’t stop agreeing and believing it.

To add one other layer to this puzzle, this thought- where others judge my body and believe that I shouldn’t be eating because my body hasn’t achieved the thin ideal it has been striving for- is particularly difficult for me to let go of because I hold this judgment on others. I find myself judging others for what they eat and I tend to, in my mind, idealize those with small bodies and not hold them to this same judgment. This has been a difficult piece for me to accept because it makes me feel so sad and ashamed to think that I am doing to others what I fear others are doing to me. This fear has fueled so many problematic behaviors and I know it is so unfair for me to hold this judgment on others.

I am wondering how I can overcome this. How do I remove this judgment that I place on myself and on others? How do I let go of this tiring, inaccurate mind-reading game I am constantly playing? Will I ever accept my body and accept the fact that it deserves to eat food- and a variety of foods?

Sincerely,

A life of judging and judgment

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!