What Does "I Feel Fat" Really Mean?

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I know, this is a very provocative question, right?

I cannot tell you how often I hear my clients say, "I feel so fat!" or "I just hate my _______ (fill in the body part)". I get it. There was a time when I would often say things like this too. It rarely happens now, but when I realized that all of that hating was just a distraction from looking at the just unprocessed emotions that were bubbling up, things began to change in a positive way for me.

To help my clients with this, we’ll tease apart some of their concerns so we can get beneath the surface. When we compassionately explore more we often discover, for example, that they're feeling discomfort about needing to establish boundaries with a family member or friend because they fear it may end in an argument; that they're lacking confidence in a particular area and that’s causing anxiety; or they're feeling unworthy or "not enough" in some capacity in their lives which is causing them to feel shameful. Or, if they're still entrenched in diet mentality, they could also be feeling guilty about the food(s) they’ve recently been eating because they’re afraid they’ll gain weight. (HINT: This is why it's so important to also explore internalized fatphobia.) Asking these questions helps them to see that their concerns aren’t about their body but about wanting to avoid or control a situation that is in need of attention. When this happens, then they can choose to deal with the situation head-on or table it for another time. Either way, the body dissatisfaction they were previously experiencing diminishes so they can move on to figuring out ways to manage the real issue instead of continuing to feel negatively about their body. This awareness eventually leads to growth and more joyful living.

Fostering this awareness can be a game changer in relation to improving relationships with food and body acceptance. If we continue to believe that having X type of body and/or seeing X number on the scale will make us happier and/or feel fulfilled and continue pushing away or resisting these important growth opportunities, there will likely continue to be dissatisfaction and frustration with one’s weight, body and life. On the contrary, when we are willing to translate what the “I feel fat.” is really trying to teach us, and when we are willing to feel the feelings associated with it, the possibilities for healing grow exponentially.

I've attached a free resource for you to use the next time you find yourself saying "I feel ______ (insert negative word here)." This image was created by Me and My ED . I encourage you to check out their Instagram or Etsy shop for other great resources. Click the Download Now button below to gain instant access.

How is this concept landing for you? Do you believe that your body dissatisfaction could be an indication that there is something deeper to explore?


If you're tired of battling with your weight, fed up with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, and yearning to be free from your obsessive thinking about food and your body, schedule your complimentary Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session.

We’ll get clear on where you are now, what you want instead, and what might be getting in the way of your success.

I’ll also share some powerful recommendations and resources to get you started on creating a peaceful relationship with your body and food.

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Mindful Eating (Video)

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We hear a lot of talk about the benefits of mindfulness, especially as it relates to eating. While I don't deny that mindful eating is a wonderful practice, there is an important piece of it that many people leave out (I discuss this in the video below).

I'll add that the diet industry has bastardized the original intent or meaning of mindfulness to include weight loss. While it's possible that engaging in mindful eating may lead to weight loss, when I talk about mindful eating, it's not for the purposes of weight loss. When I talk about it, it's mostly to help heighten your awareness around the foods you're eating which, over time, will help to improve your intutive eating practice.

While the idea of mindfulness stems from Buddhism, one of the people that ushered it into mainstream language is Jon Kabat-Zinn. He defines mindfulness as:

Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.

Notice the text in red in the sentence above. In this live video I recorded yesterday in the No-Diet Sisterhood, I talk about one of the primary benefits of nonjudgmental eating and how it can help to transform our relationships with food. I'll add that what I talk about in this video can be a game changer for anyone practicing intuitive eating, especially newbies. I hope this gives you a fresh perspective. Watch it now.

Think You're Too Old to Try Intuitive Eating?

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There is mounting evidence that a no-diet approach focusing on improving self-care and listening to one's body is much healthier in the long-run than dieting could ever would be, regardless of weight and/or size.

I want to be clear that this approach is available to people of all ages (and genders, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, etc.). What I've learned from my own personal experience, and from coaching my clients, is that anyone who is open to change can reap the benefits of this approach. The expression "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" needs to be challenged. It's stereotypical and disempowering. Change is possible for women of all ages. While I recognize that some people are more privileged than others, I still believe that with some tweaks, this can work.

After being caught in the snares of an eating disorder, coupled with mountains of body dissatisfaction for several decades, I discovered intuitive eating when I was approximately 45 years old. As I've written about many times, intuitive eating changed my life in unimaginable ways. While I realize this is my personal journey, my clients have also had similar positive experiences and they range in age from 30 to 65 years old.

To be honest, this work isn't easy for most to adapt to at first, regardless of age. Why? Because it goes against nearly everything we've been taught about weight, bodies, and diets. It also challenges the way we look at bodies and invites us to explore the reasons why we believe that one body is "better" or has more value than another.

I don't think anyone would refute that there are many, many layers and challenges in doing this work. After all, we are all swimming in diet culture 24/7 and it’s very alluring! As challenging as peeling back those layers can be sometimes, doing so helps us to grow in ways that will undoubtedly bring about more peace within ourselves and in many other areas of our lives.

If you're more seasoned (age 45+) and/or have a very long and challenging relationship with food and think that you're too entrenched in your "old" ways, think again. If you believe you won't be able to successfully practice and/or embody intuitive eating into your life, understand that this is a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs, left unchallenged, could hold you back from experiencing the freedom from food and body satisfaction that you're seeking.

Are you willing to take that chance?

Takeaways:

  • Self-care is the answer, not dieting.

  • Unlearning is possible at any age.

  • Diet culture is relentless.

  • Body dissatisfaction is learned.

  • Limiting beliefs are dream killers.

  • Support usually makes the journey easier and more manageable.


If you're tired of battling with your weight, fed up with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, and yearning to be free from your obsessive thinking about food and your body, schedule your complimentary Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session.

We’ll get clear on where you are now, what you want instead, and what might be getting in the way of your success.

I’ll also share some powerful recommendations and resources to get you started on creating a peaceful relationship with your body and food.

The Missing PIECE To Discovering PEACE

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I'm so thankful that I have clients and friends who often reflect back to me exactly what I need to hear and see so that I can recognize that I'm not alone. The fact is, right now a lot of people are struggling. I'm not certain if it's related to the moon phase we currently in or moving from, the start of Daylight Savings time, or because we're beginning a new season, but dozens of women I'm connected to are feeling a serious down shift in their mood causing indecision, profound discomfort, and lack of joy.

I don't know about you, but even hearing the word UNCOMFORTABLE makes me uncomfortable! You know, that pit in the stomach kinda feeling that comes on suddenly when something triggers you. Ugh! That prickly kind of feeling you want to promptly squelch and/or avoid as soon as you recognize it's invaded your personal space. Do you know the feeling that I'm referring to? In full transparency, I know it all too well!

In the past year, I noticed that my attempts to squelch and avoid discomfort were no longer effective. Yes, indeed, YIKES! What can be done when we realize that something we've doing to help us cope isn't "cutting" it anymore? I can think of at least two things we can do when this happens.

1) We can continue trying to resist the feelings hoping that we'll get lucky again and experience a different result (kinda like the definition of insanity - trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result)

OR

2) We can open our hearts and explore other possible ways that might be effective.

In my extensive studies on this topic, I discovered that the way to find peace with discomfort is through acceptance. Yes, you heard right, ACCEPTANCE. You know the popular AA/OA/NA phrase "What we resist persists", well, it is the truth. When we stop trying to resist/avoid/ignore the feelings, that's how we can actually relieve our discomfort.

As Karyn Hall Ph.D. says in her Psychology Today article, "Accepting reality is difficult when life is painful. No one wants to experience pain, disappointment, sadness, or loss. But those experiences are a part of life. When you attempt to avoid or resist those emotions, you add suffering to your pain. You may build the emotion bigger with your thoughts or create more misery by attempting to avoid the painful emotions. You can stop suffering by practicing acceptance."

My immediate thought to this theory was "NO WAY!" How could I accept something that makes me feel so awful? Wouldn't that be like giving up and losing control? But, the more books I read and listened to, the more I was faced with the fact that it was true. The way to discover peace was through acceptance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still not BFFs with acceptance, but I now accept that acceptance is the answer that will help to alleviate my occasional suffering. Whether or not I'm able to cozy up to acceptance in the moment is another thing, but I know now that I always have that choice.

Lastly, it's important to understand that this is a PRACTICE and not a one and done solution. Becoming aware of the places in our lives where we may be resisting and not accepting is a life-long process with many peaks and valleys. So as always, sprinkling in more self-compassion and patience is a great idea. :-)

Reflective questions to consider:

  1. Where in your life are you consistently suffering?

  2. Are you willing to open your heart to being more accepting?

  3. How does your lack of acceptance for X (your body, your eating, etc.) affect and detract from your life?

This message tumbled out of my heart and into this love note. I hope you can feel that and I pray it brings you some relief, especially if you're suffering today.


If you're tired of battling with your weight, fed up with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, and yearning to be free from your obsessive thinking about food and your body, schedule your complimentary Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session.

We’ll get clear on where you are now, what you want instead, and what might be getting in the way of your success.

I’ll also share some powerful recommendations and resources to get you started on creating a peaceful relationship with your body and food.


How to Stop Eating Past Fullness All the Time

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I often hear my clients struggling because many of them find themselves eating past a comfortable fullness. In my Intuitive Eating Workbook Club and during our sessions with clients, I hear them saying things, "I don't understand why I just cannot stop eating when I'm full." While it is important to understand that part of normal eating is "overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable" doing it more often than not could be an indication of a few things.

Before I go further, I want to say that most newbie intuitive eaters often eat past a comfortable fullness. This is especially true if you had been restricting your food for a long time before you started practicing intuitive eating. The longer you had been restricting, the longer this phase generally lingers. This is all part of the attunement process.

Other reasons why you may be eating past a comfortable fullness:

  1. Not eating enough or consistently - Not eating enough during meals or snacks or not eating consistently throughout the day is likely the primary reason why people are frequently eating to an uncomfortable fullness level. When our bodies are not adequately fed throughout the day and they finally do finally get a chance to eat, they will do with intensity (referred to as primal eating). When this happens, even with the best intentions, they are not usually able to eat consciously or moderately. Has this ever happened to you?

  2. Not honoring your body - If you are not allowing yourself to eat all foods (barring an allergy or food sensitivity or other medical reason) or you are not eating foods that are satisfying to you, this may also cause frequent bouts of eating past fullness. For example, you may not be dieting per say, but you may still have rules (even if they subtle) around how often and how much of certain foods, like carbs, you will allow yourself to eat. This is often due to fear of weight gain. While there are other reasons why people frequently eat past fullness, these are the two main reasons I often see in my practice.


Notice any similarities in these two situations? The common thread is that the body's needs are not being met. It is important to understand that the longer and more frequently our bodies needs are ignored, the more we erode our bodies sense of trust.

The ironic thing is that the freedom and peace that intuitive eating promises will not develop unless trust exists. But, since many do not trust themselves around food (which is usually due to their perceived sense of “failure” due to yo-yo dieting) because their internal food police are often telling them that they are "eating too often" or “carbs are fattening” they do not have this needed sense of trust.

This is quite a conundrum, right?

In order to experience this freedom and peace that you so well deserve, you will need to start eating more consistently. And, not just eating consistently, but consistently eating a variety of foods that your body is calling for (including carbs, fats, and refined sugars, if so desired = full permission) and foods that you believe will satisfy your body. Once your body knows that it will be fed again when it is hungry, it will not feel the need to eat past a comfortable fullness as often because it knows food will be available again when it is needed.

Reflective questions to ponder:

  1. Are you eating often enough and eating foods that satisfy you throughout the day?

  2. When you do eat, is it under ideal conditions so you can eat mindfully so you can experience greater food satisfaction?

  3. Are you giving yourself full permission to eat or are you still subtly restricting certain foods or foods groups because you fear weight gain?

This message tumbled out of my heart and into this love note. I hope you it is helpful in some way.

If you're tired of battling with your weight, fed up with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, and yearning to be free from your obsessive thinking about food and your body, schedule your complimentary Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session.

We’ll get clear on where you are now, what you want instead, and what might be getting in the way of your success.

I’ll also share some powerful recommendations and resources to get you started on creating a peaceful relationship with your body and food.


If you're tired of battling with your weight, fed up with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, and yearning to be free from your obsessive thinking about food and your body, schedule your complimentary Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session.

We’ll get clear on where you are now, what you want instead, and what might be getting in the way of your success.

I’ll also share some powerful recommendations and resources to get you started on creating a peaceful relationship with your body and food.