The Love Food Podcast Episode 57

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Do you live with so much body shame that you’ve contemplated stomach surgeries such as gastric bypass? Are you someone who has already undergone this surgery? Has this surgery only made things with your body more confusing? Do you also deal with PCOS or other complicated health conditions that push weight loss for health? Are you a professional within the dietetics field who also deals with food and body issues? Listen now for some solutions on how to navigate with these various challenges.

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Key Points:

  • Exciting announcement! In September I will be launching my very first online course, dedicated to people who are trying to find food peace while living with PCOS. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates!! And if you deal with PCOS and struggle with food and your body, I want to hear from you! Send me an email at, and let me know what you’d love to see in the course.
  • Dealing with all of these issues related to food is exhausting! Struggling with shame, acceptance, an eating disorder, and much more takes so much energy.
  • You are not a sham, but bariatric surgery as a solution to food peace is a sham.
  • Bariatric surgery is a stomach amputation. It does not have any documented long-term health outcomes, and we do NOT have enough data at this time to suggest that this surgery is a choice that will enhance personal wellness.
  • In any health profession it’s important to have size diversity! Fat dietitians, fat gym teachers, and fat healthcare providers are important. If you want to hear more about this topic, check out Love, Food Episode 8 with Glenys Oyston.
  • Many people who choose to study nutrition that have an eating disorder background pursue it because they hope it will help them learn more about food for the sake of their eating disorder, not because they actually want to be dietitians.
  • Recovery from an eating disorder requires a great recovery team!
  • It is so, so common for dietitians and dietitians in training to seek out their own dietitian. If privacy is an issue, many practitioners work online now as well!
  • Question whether or not being a dietitian is for you! It’s possible that when you find recovery, it may not be something that speaks to you anymore. This can be a hard decision, but you will get through it!
  • Research and data on how to help people who have had bariatric surgery recover from an eating disorder is sparse because it’s a new experience, but it is becoming more common, and there are definitely practitioners out there who can help.
  • REJECTING weight loss is going to be an essential part of the healing process! One cannot heal from an eating disorder while they pursue weight loss!!! When you seek out treatment, make sure your support team is weight neutral. You may even be able to find a Health at Every Size practitioner!
  • People are more likely to experience an eating disorder if they have PCOS.
  • It really isn’t about food… it’s about stigma, shame, and food lies.
  • Don’t give body hate more power!!

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 Taste of Green Mountain – Weekend Program Green Mountain at Fox Run is excited to announce a one-time opportunity to newcomers – an all-new A Taste of Green Mountain weekend program! Key strategies for mindful eating, mindful movement, self-care, and stress management will be introduced to help participants to eat, move, feel, and LIVE in the moment…to #BeHerNow! This opportunity is only open to new guests of Green Mountain.

Binge & Emotional Eating Weekend IntensiveThe Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating is offering its foundational one-week Pathway™ program in an intensive weekend format. Participants will explore personal barriers and how to counter them with evidence-based strategies to prevent eating in response to stress and emotions. Dates are scheduled monthly throughout 2017 although capacity is limited, so visit  for more information.

TAKE TIME TO INVEST IN YOU.It’s time to shine the light on yourself and make YOURSELF the priority. Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, we’re all about embracing and supporting yourself through self-care. Through powerful tools such as mindfulness techniques, stress management skills, and movement that is customized to your body and fitness level, you’ll learn to practice self-care in your daily life. Visit for more information.

Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Foundational Guide to Reaching & Maintaining Your Healthy Weight

Download Green Mountain’s free healthy weight foundational guide to learn how to embrace healthy (and pleasurable) eating strategies, cultivate a fitness practice you enjoy, and use mindfulness to overcome stress & emotional eating


My Big Fat Fabulous Life – Season 2 Wrap-up: Reaction from Whitney’s Dietitian

Season 2 of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” just wrapped up with a special interview with Whitney Thore and TLC execute producer Mike Kane. Did you watch it? If not, check for reruns on TLC. This show is hysterical, and highlights the best parts of this season, including keys to finding health with PCOS and pre-diabetes.

*Spoiler Alert* We know that Whitney was able to decrease her blood sugar, because her A1c (a graduated 3-month average of blood sugar) went from 6.4% to 5.4%. How did Whitney move toward health? She moved away from fear as a motivator, stopped using weight-loss as progress, and looked more into behavior change.

My favorite moment from the show: Whitney said that she moved toward health because she approached change differently. When the show started, she saw herself as a “fat woman with a good weight loss story”. Now she sees there is so much more to life than just losing weight. I’m grabbing tissues just thinking about it!

I reacted to a lot of the conversation between Whitney and Mike. Here are some of my thoughts.

Diabetes is not a death sentence

In my first 6 or 7 years in nutrition, I specialized in diabetes, becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).  The education and experience showed me diabetes is, indeed, NOT a death sentence. Our society has long held beliefs that a diabetes diagnosis means losing limbs and blindness. Of course, this can and still happens, yet the frequency has decreased significantly. Why? Because diabetes research has helped us understand how to control blood sugar via food, self-care, movement, and medicine. Also, we no longer wait until someone has fasting blood sugars in the 200 and 300s to call it diabetes before we do something about it. Instead, we use a blood test called an A1c, which provides a longer-term picture of blood sugar levels than daily testing.

Fifty percent of women with PCOS develop diabetes or pre-diabetes by the time they reach forty years of age. Don’t let this statistic paralyze you — let it keep you informed. Before Whitney met with me during season 2, she was frightened by her pre-diabetes diagnosis and ready to cut out just about every food choice. Whitney is not the only one who’s tried to change her eating habits quickly because of health fears. Many move toward fear as a motivator, something that ends up hurting people in the long run. Fear tends to promote impulsive decisions, fad diets, and the seeking of quick results rather than health.

There’s another way fear keeps people from controlling blood sugar. Because of the stigma that comes with living in a larger body, many of my clients with PCOS feel too much shame to get regular medical check ups. I wish more health care providers communicated empathy and health solutions instead of just harping on weight loss. I’m working on that, and so are many others. In the meantime, no matter what your size, get your A1c checked each year, so you’re kept in the loop. Knowledge is power!

Get away from the number on the scale

If you and I had just one conversation about healthy eating and weight, I would want you to know these two secrets: 1) stop pursuing weight loss and 2) instead focus on behaviors that energize your body and you enjoy.

While viewing the MBFFL season wrap up, I had tears in my eyes hearing Mike say words like “get away from the number on the scale” and the number “doesn’t dictate your health”. Let me say ⎯ AMEN!

During our first session together, I told Whitney that “weight loss is not a behavior”; it’s a result of our behaviors. Behaviors are the foods we choose, the way we move our body, and our self-care habits. How our body reacts to behavior changes is dependent on an immeasurable number of variables, which may not show up on a scale as we had hoped.  Even more, if you experience PCOS, multiply these variables by 100. High testosterone and insulin levels, left untreated, can make the scale not move or go up.

There’s more to this than just behavior change. The more we focus on changing the scale, the more long-term health-markers worsen and weight goes up. More on this here.

Make health changes via eating, movement and sleep

When someone tells me that they’re going on a diet, I respond, “Oh, are you trying to gain weight?” I know I’m being a jackass with a comment like that, yet recent research supports the notion that dieting predicts weight gain.

How do we move away from high blood sugar, without focusing on weight loss or dieting?

  • Eating choices: Move toward mindful and attuned eating practices. I have written on these, extensively, in relation to people who have PCOS and those who don’t.
  • Movement: Instead of no pain / no gain, consider how your body enjoys moving. Whitney loves dancing. Do you? Or, do you enjoy walking, swimming, kick boxing, yoga? Or is it a mystery? Here’s more on finding the movement your body enjoys and helps improve health.
  • Sleep: I have two young children, and I’m obsessed with sleep. From what I hear, I’m not the only one who’s sleep-deprived. This sleepiness is hurting our health. If you’re affected by PCOS and sleep deprivation, this may be greatly contributing to blood sugar and insulin abnormalities. Here’s more on this.


Thank you for welcoming me into your living rooms!

Thinking about all the kind words you’ve emailed, tweeted, or written to me about my time with Whitney on MBFFL fills my heart with gratitude. I’m energized knowing that speaking about weight stigma empowers you to advocate for yourself and reconnect to a healthy relationship with food.

I’m also thankful for the not-so-kind words, letting me know your disagreement with telling Whitney, a large woman, to not diet or cut out food groups. Both groups have motivated me, even more, to spread the message of body positivity and food peace. I hope that you’ll check out my podcast, coming soon. It’s the Love Food Podcast series, and I’ll bring to you these same messages I brought to Whitney. Check it out!


Want to be the first to know the podcast launch date? Sign up here for my newsletter! Subscribers will be the first to know.

Take care friends.




Food Peace Newsletter 11.10.2015



Can a sharpie be the missing link to body positive living? Read the behind the scenes experience for TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life Whitney LIVE special and curated finds to promote food peace.

My weekly Food Peace Newsletter is out! Subscribe if you’d like me to virtually hand deliver one right to your email inbox each Tuesday. No spam ever! The subscribe button is on the right (desktop) or bottom of page (mobile). There’s a subscribe button on the top left of the newsletter too.

Click here to view this week’s window to food peace and body positivity.

Your eating lessons from My Big Fat Fabulous Life: The trap of all or nothing thinking

FullSizeRender-4When I met with Whitney and her dad Glenn Thore during episode 6 of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, I pointed out a common family eating experience.

Both lived in a world where food was labeled good or bad and eat less or nothing was always better.

Labeling food this way sets anyone up to fail. Foods can’t be fit into two simple boxes.

Even more, folks that keep foods locked up as good or bad will more often than not experience disordered eating. What does this look like?

All or nothing thinking leads to periods of deprivation or starvation. And, we know not eating enough leads to bingeing.

During the episode, I shared a handout on this process. Here it is for you:

All or nothing thinking leads to bingeing and other disordered eating.
All or nothing thinking leads to bingeing and other disordered eating.

All or nothing food rules are normal and this makes me sad. I discussed in this post how nutrition science is a fluid science. It is never black and white and always changing.

Your Aunt may say with much conviction to stop eating carbs because “we all KNOW how bad they are.” Before you etch that in stone keep in mind some examples.

As a youngster growing up in the 80s, I learned eggs were bad because of their cholesterol content. Fast forward to 2015 and the US government declares Eggs Are Officially OK to Eat: eating high cholesterol foods doesn’t affect most of our cholesterol levels. Diner establishments everywhere rejoiced!

What other foods experienced this? Carrots, bananas, avocados, nuts, meats, beans, and coffee are just a few.

Next time you hear about a new diet craze or nutrition research in the news, consider how it fits in the continuum of nutrition science. No foods are so incredible we must have them everyday. And, no foods are so horrible that consumption today will make diabetes or weight gain.

Food just doesn’t have that much power.

How do you eat when food is no longer all or nothing? How do you choose?

Ask yourself. You have the answers.

We all have hunger, fullness, and satiety cues helping us to know how to eat. More often than not, when I bring this concept up, I see puzzled looks. Eating in accordance with body cues is considered novel, foreign, new, or strange.

Does the idea of eating without all or nothing thinking sound scary or silly? If so, please come in. I want to share a different way.

You were born knowing how be a competent eater including how much, when, and which foods. Even cooler, your body was born knowing this in a way to promote health.

It never needed good versus bad lists or portion sizes. Your body didn’t and doesn’t need to be controlled. Your body was made to experience a rhythm with food looking at the bigger picture.

It doesn’t get all out of sorts when calories consumed are a lot more today because of little activity or vice versa. Your body considers the bigger picture (think week or month not day) and can deal with mistakes.

Sort of like viewing your town from a mountain, your body considers your total needs and communicates future needs via hunger, fullness, and satiety signals. It will adjust accordingly to promote health and keep your body at the weight it wants to be at.

Did you eat more than usual on the days around Thanksgiving last year? Me too. If you did, your body let you gently know it needed to eat a bit less afterwards.

Don’t recall this happening? If you didn’t experience this gentle communication, I am guessing messages of “I was bad” or “I shouldn’t have eaten that” or “I am disgusting” may have been clouding your view to your innate wisdom.

And your body let you know its hunger and fullness adjustments whether you were looking or not.

Here’s another way to think about it:

Have you ever gone camping or somewhere a great distance from town and been in awe of the nighttime sky? I live in a town with enough light pollution that country stargazing can take my breath away.

Does this mean the stars only exist out-of-town? Of course not, but it does take intentional distancing from the chaos of town to really see what’s already there.

Black and white food rules are the city lights, smog and skyscrapers. They are keeping you from seeing and experiencing the mechanisms your body has to provide health naturally. And, to experience this you have to distance yourself from all the pollution.

Diets harm not help. Time to take a diet detox.
Diets harm not help. Time to take a diet detox.

I want October to be the month you take a diet detox. That means no rigid lists, no good vs bad, no depriving.

Letting go of this pollution, you will be able to breathe again and heal your relationship with food. It can help you reconnect with your body’s metaphorical stars: your innate food wisdom.

Your eating lessons from My Big Fat Fabulous Life: Food as punishment

Whitney and Glenn Thore on My Big Fat Fabulous Life meet with Julie Duffy Dillon dietitian discussing food myths and truths.

I sat down with Whitney Thore and her dad Glenn Thore of TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life. The session was filled with laughter, tears, and a loud grumbling stomach. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the show and information on this episode 6, The 5K.

The 90 minute session edited down to just a few minutes allowed you to hear lessons important for everyone. Over the next few weeks I will explore key points and teach you how to incorporate them into your own food experiences.

When I work with someone with pre diabetes or PCOS, food reward concerns come up quickly. Clients feel ashamed of eating experiences that feel out of control or binge-like. They believe this behavior is hurting their insulin levels and causing further disease.

Do you experience this too?

I think it is natural to blame the food rewards or bingeing yet I disagree. I told Glenn Thore he appeared to be using food as punishment. His cycles of starvation PRECEDING the food rewards were the cause. In order to change the cycle, he needed to stop starving. He needed to stop dieting and stop focusing on weight loss. More on this process here. If you have PCOS, here’s one especially for you.

Whitney mentioned her dad used food as a reward and culturally, this type of system ran through their family. It does for many of us! She and Glenn went through his typical routines ignoring hunger and waiting to eat until the work is done.

I find many of our nutrition problems are rooted in what we don’t see. The Thore Family saw the food reward system and thought that was the source of disease (pre diabetes).

I disagree. The point of disease inception stems from food avoidance and self-care neglect.

The times Glenn and any of us neglect hunger we are punishing ourselves. I find this especially to be true for those who are in fat bodies (or bodies thought to be fat). Our society speaks:

Fat bodies take up too much space. They need less food. Even if that hurts. Less is better.

I petition we help society do a 180.

As humans we are designed to need food for fuel. This includes fat bodies too. Human physiology doesn’t include earning rights to the metabolic equation. We need food to live.

Everyday. Many times a day.

Our bodies constantly churn and process to keep our noggin clear and our muscles moving. Even when we sleep, our muscles and brain need fuel.

How cool we can know how much fuel we need just by this nudge of hunger. And how perverse our world is teaching us to ignore or worse, distrust it!

Here’s the secret: the more we punish ourselves and restrict/diet/starve, the more we will reward ourselves with food. The food reward is not the cause nor the problem. This is just the human body being a successful human.

Next time you binge, emotionally eat or overeat take a step back.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • When did you last eat?
  • Was it enough?
  • How much food have you allowed yourself today?

Most binges start by not eating enough earlier in the day. More on this here.

Have you neglected hunger like Glenn? Do you even notice hunger anymore?

If relying on hunger sounds scary or impossible there’s a way. Consider experimenting with info here.