Are You Trying to Control Your Weight to Control Your Life?


Like it or not, we cannot control our lives or the people in our lives. Many of us have likely heard this repeatedly, but knowing this on an intellectual level and living it are very different, right?

One of the aspects of our lives that many attempt to control when life feels out of control is to try to control their bodies (their shape), weight, food intake (by restricting or overeating), and by over/under exercising. While this is very common among a large majority of the population (Thank you diet culture!) it's even more commonly seen in women who struggle in their relationships with food and body.

This is understandable since on some level many still believe they can control their weight. In fact, they insist on it so they continue to diet, restrict, eat "clean", compulsively exercise, or do detoxes and/or cleanses, etc. And you know what, they may have some success with that if they try hard enough but even then, it's likely not sustainable long-term.

No matter how hard we try, at some point we need to accept that our bodies are not meant to remain the same throughout our lives. I know, it's not an easy pill to swallow! I get it. At 53, I've been through all the menopausal phases and I've seen and felt how my body has changed. I've also experienced fears around aging that I never could have imagined possible until now.

How are you managing these kinds of changes and fears in your life? Are you white knuckling these life phases by trying to control your food in hopes of maintaining your weight (which you believe directly corresponds to your health)? If you are, know that you're not alone!

I want to share a secret with you...

The more we try to control our food and weight, the more likely we are to experience binges, overeating, emotional/stress eating, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction.

On the flip side, the more we allow ourselves to eat nourishing (and enjoy "play" foods too) foods that make us feel good most of the time, move our bodies in ways that help us to feel energized and increase our stamina and strength, learn to appreciate and respect our bodies as they are, the more freedom and satisfaction we're likely going to experience in our lives. And, as an added bonus, following this advice will also very likely improve or maintain metabolic health too!

So the next time you find yourself white knuckling your way through a meal because there are too many ________ in it or restricting food with the insidious goal of losing weight, think of how that may be affecting your relationship with food, body, your health (metabolic, physical, emotional and spiritual) and your overall happiness.

Some questions to ponder if you're feelings resistance or fear about this message,

  • What could you be missing out on by attempting to control your eating and weight?

  • How could these behaviors be affecting your relationships?

  • What else could you be using that emotional energy for instead?

I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to reply to this love note, join my No-Diet Sisterhood group, or drop me a message on Instagram.

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.

10 Tips to Manage Anxiety About Weight Gain

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Whenever anyone quits dieting (defined as intentional attempts to control weight and size) and decides to practice intuitive eating, their body and mind go a through significant transition. While it is often a relief that they no longer have to follow strict rules around food and movement, removing them can be anxiety producing for a variety of reasons. Many will wonder, “What is going to happen to my body now?” or “Won’t I just keep gaining weight if I do not have any rules in place?”. The truth is that no one can answer these questions with certainty because each body may respond differently based on its dieting history, current health status, genetics, medications, socioeconomic status, etc.  We do know with certainty that one of three outcomes may happen: Weight remains the same, weight loss, or weight gain.

While the focus of intuitive eating, which is a practice that teaches ex-dieters and previous food restricters to tune-in to their bodies innate cues related to hunger, fullness and food satisfaction, among other things, is not to focus on weight loss but instead improving ones relationship with food, sometimes weight gain does occur as part of the recovery process.

I will stress that if you are one of the people who gained weight while practicing intuitive eating, it does not mean that there is something wrong with you or with your intuitive eating practice.

Understanding that weight gain is sometimes the body’s response to periods (sometimes decades) of restriction is important. Continuing to practice intuitive eating is the best course of action even though the weight gain may be uncomfortable both emotionally and physically. After all, we cannot ignore the fact that weight stigma is real and can have profound negative effects on our overall health.

To help my clients, and others who ask me, manage the discomfort from weight gain, I offer them the following suggestions.

  1. Cultivate self-compassion – While this is often the furthest thing from most people’s minds during life’s ups and downs, it is often what is needed most of all. The first step to being more self-compassionate is acknowledging the discomfort. So, take time to lean into the discomfort even though that may seem challenging some days. Acknowledge that anyone who breaks up with dieting and no longer allows the unattainable nonsense of diet culture to ruin their lives, undergoes a period of transition, so you are not alone. Be kind to your body as it gets used to this new way of living knowing that the transition is temporary but well worth it.

  2. Trust – Realize that during this transition, you are learning to trust your body again and your body is learning to trust you. One of the many things that dieting and/or food restriction does is strip away that trust. When we practice intuitive eating, we are re-learning how to listen to our body instead of following external rules and self-imposed restrictions. On the flip side, our bodies are learning to trust that they will continue to be honored and cared for by consistently getting enough of the foods that nourish and satisfy them. Rebuilding this trust takes time and patience, but it will happen.

  3. Know there is an end in sight – While it may seem like the weight gain will never end, believe and trust that it will. Understand that the body is sorting itself out by trying to find its ideal weight. It will draw a line and you will need to do your best to trust that your body can and will to do that. Caring for yourself by taking time to educate yourself about the mechanics of weight science can be very helpful and empowering. A great resource for this is the book Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor.

  4. Rethink your old beliefs - Challenge the mechanical thinking and belief that weight is as simple as calories in vs. calories out. Unlike what we are told by commercial weight loss programs, TV, and social media ads, weight science is very complex, and many things may impact a person’s weight. The belief that fat and larger bodies are “bad” is the problem, not the weight itself. A paradigm shift is needed for healing not another diet.   

  5. Dump the scale – Do not step on the scale because that disrupts months of progress and may even lead you back to restrictive eating again. For those who have used a scale to control their food intake or assess their self-value based on their weight, stepping on the scale can be even more detrimental to them.

  6. Reduce body checking – Do not get caught up in obsessive mirror gazing, clothes checking, feeling for bones, etc. as that is detrimental to progress also. When the urge to body check surfaces, think of an affirming statement to get yourself back on track like, “May I trust that my weight is working itself out and doing its best to take care of me.” or “May I be kind to my body as it transitions and heals.”

  7. Practice patience – Remind yourself often that normalizing food and eating behaviors after years of dieting takes time and patience. There is no shortcut around this. Just keep noticing your shifting beliefs and observe them non-judgmentally.

  8. Keep your dieting memory green – Remember why you broke up with dieting in the first place. Make a list of the consequences you suffered as a result of dieting and make it accessible so you can re-read it often. The Intuitive Eating Workbook has some great exercises related to this that I recommend doing.

  9. Let go of the illusion – Let go of the illusion that you can control your weight long-term. Yes, while dieting you probably lost weight (most did this repeatedly), your long-term experience maintaining the weight was fleeting. Understanding that continued attempts to lose weight will do more harm than good because they will just put you back into the restrict/binge cycle.

  10. Mourn what was – Acknowledge that you may feel grief about the changes your body is experiencing. Make room for this grief while doing your best not to judge yourself for it. Repeatedly make room for the grief because it will continue to resurface from time-to-time. This is not easy when diet culture continually reinforces that smaller bodies are better, healthier and more attractive. Be aware of who is gaining financially when you are feeling negatively about yourself and your body. Understand that while it is natural to feel pressured by the demands of diet culture, continuing to practice intuitive eating and learning more about how manipulative diet culture can be will eventually help you to feel more confident, satisfied and joyful in your body. This will finally allow you to live your life to the fullest without the constant preoccupation with food and body dissatisfaction.

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.

Have You Ever Tried a Self-Love Diet?

I believe that nourishing and caring for our bodies, in whatever way we deem appropriate for ourselves, is an act of self-love. However, more often than not, when I hear people speaking of self-love as it relates to their relationships with food and body, it’s often in a restrictive, rigid, guilt-ridden, and judgmental manner.  

For example, phrases like, "I love myself too much to eat _____ because it’s X (processed, fried, etc.) or has too many X (calories, sugars, etc.). While some may not eat _____ because it doesn’t make them feel well, most of the time it’s because they fear it will make them gain weight and/or get fat(ter). Or, because they believe they’re “addicted” to the food and won’t be able to stop eating it. And some won’t eat ________ because eating _______ isn’t “healthy”.

Others will say things like, "I don't emotionally eat anymore because I love myself too much for that.". And, when people do eat for emotional reasons (which the majority of us do from time-to-time) they usually feel ashamed and judge themselves harshly because they believe if they loved themselves enough, they wouldn’t need to use food as a “crutch” to cope with life’s ups and downs. 

Before I discovered intuitive eating, I used to believe that relating to food this way was an act of self-love too. Now I see that I was just following a Self-Love Diet

I feel it’s appropriate to call it a Self-Love Diet because a diet is when we are purposely trying to lose or control our weight by eating and/or exercising in a certain manner. This is done by physically restricting food or calories and/or by using exercise to compensate for additional calories eaten. When the rigid rules of diets become impossible to follow (which is inevitable), we’re left to feel guilty and shameful about our perceived dieting failures and about our food choices, lack of exercise, and “emotional” and/or binge eating, etc. Of course, research indicates that it’s the restrictive eating behaviors that are causing the majority of these eating difficulties in the first place, but most don’t realize this fact.  

It’s not surprising that many people are on a Self-Love Diet because on the surface, it seems like a nice idea, right? After all, love is one of the strongest human emotions. So, if we could harness it for the purposes of having the body that we’ve always wanted, we should be able to love ourselves thin, maintain our weight throughout all the phases of our lives, and/or finally get our eating “under control”. In theory, it sounds like it would make sense, but the reality is that diets aren't successful long-term which is why over 85% of people who diet gain the weight back, plus more, within 3-5 years. 

The truth is, in this case, self-love is being conflated with control. Self-love is supposed to make us feel good and uplift us. A Self-Love Diet is having the opposite effect because it’s nearly impossible to follow long-term, causes self-judgment, guilt, and shame. None of these emotions make us feel good about ourselves so how could that be self-love? 

I don’t think self-love is a lost cause for caring for ourselves, but I would like to redefine self-love from a weight-neutral, anti-diet perspective.

  • Self-love is learning to listen to your body and honor it as often as possible.

  • Self-love is letting go of harmful beliefs that eating needs to look a certain way or it's wrong or harmful.

  • Self-love is trusting that your body will work its weight out on its own without trying to manipulate or control it.

  • Self-love is sometimes eating even when you're not hungry.

  • Self-love is moving your body in a way that brings you joy and isn't used to punish.

  • Self-love is knowing that we don't need anyone to define the parameters around what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. ⠀⠀

  • Self-love is eating satisfying foods whenever you're able.

  • Self-love is sometimes eating for emotional eating reasons without feeling shameful.

  • Self-love is caring for your body in a way that is sustainable and defined on your own terms.

  • Self-love is acknowledging that you have individual and unique needs and you can decide how to best satisfy them.

Now that's the kind of self-love that will make us feel good about ourselves and take better care of ourselves. And, this redefined form of self-love is more sustainable and will likely result in a peaceful and flexible relationship with food.

If after you’ve read this message you realize that you are following a Self-Love Diet and want to change that, you can! Remember, it’s never too late to look at things from a fresh, new perspective. Now that you have this awareness, you can start moving toward a peaceful relationship with food by practicing intuitive eating! 

I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever followed a Self-Love Diet?

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.

Will the Calorie Counting Ever End?


One of the questions I often hear from my clients is, “Will the calorie counting ever end?” Before I continue, I will say that if you were accustomed to counting “points” or macros or any other tallying (like number of daily starches or fruits, etc.), this blog will help you too.

First, for ex-dieters, counting is a very common behavior, so please know that you’re not alone if you’re still doing this. Second, changing this behavior is definitely possible, but it will take time because it is an automatic mental habit.

Why is it important to change this behavior?

Changing this behavior is important because counting disconnects you from eating intuitively. Intuitive eating is about moving away from reliance on external cues to guide our food choices and instead relying on our body’s internal cues. When you’re counting, it’s very likely influencing your food choices based on the number of X (X=calories, points, macros, etc.) and that will prevent you from listening to your body’s internal cues. This is just another form of deprivation and likely still an attempt to control and/or manipulate your weight. Again, all normal and expected ex dieting behavior, but not intuitive. Continuing with these behaviors will prolong your suffering and prevent you from healing your relationship with food.

How to stop it?

Simply willing yourself to stop the behavior isn’t enough to stop it. Like using willpower to stay on a diet, it may prevent you from eating _________ for a little while, but it’s not sustainable. The way to stop counting is to continue practicing intuitive eating.

What can you expect during this process?

As you begin to ease into intuitive eating, you’ll likely worry that you’re still counting. In fact, you may even be annoyed or irritated by the constant counting because you know that counting is a dieting tool and you’ve given up dieting! You may even feel shameful about this but there is no need to. Just because you’re now practicing intuitive eating, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to give up old behaviors so quickly. This is a process that takes time, patience and copious amounts of self-compassion.

Manage your expectations by acknowledging that you’ll still make some choices based on this tallying. Take comfort in knowing that the more you start to rely on your body to gauge your eating, such as hunger, fullness, and satisfaction, the more you’ll see that the tallying begins to dissipate. Start to notice how different your body feels both physically and emotionally when you honor it by eating what you truly desire.

Next, you’ll probably still notice the tallying but you won’t make your food choices based on that information. Begin to notice how much more relaxed you’re starting to feel around food as you listen to your body more. Are foods that used to be off limits due to high/low counts no longer seem as intimidating to you now?

Lastly, continue to assess how you feel after you eat. Consider the following questions:

Are you feeling more satisfied with your food choices overall?

Are you feeling less distracted during the day because you’re nourishing your body with the amount and types of food that your body needs to function at its best?

Are you trusting that your body knows what it needs and that by listening to it, you will feel better?

If you’ve answered yes or mostly yes to these questions, my guess is that the tallying has likely become less important to you or has stopped entirely. If it hasn’t, keep flexing your intuitive eating muscles by continuing to tune-in and listen to your body. The stronger your intuitive eating practice gets, the weaker the tallying will be until it eventually drifts off entirely.

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.