intuitive eating

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

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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.

How “Feeling Your Feelings” May Help Improve Your Relationship with Food

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At the root of many eating difficulties is the inability to experience or feel our feelings. While I agree with this, I will say that most don't know how that translates or integrates into their every day lives. In addition, even if they know that feeling their feelings is “good” for them, they don’t really know or understand how doing so may help in their recovery from these eating difficulties.

I came across this image How to Feel Your Feelings by bestselling author, artist & speaker Amber Rae @hyeamberrae a few weeks ago and posted it in my No-Diet Sisterhood group and a lot of members really loved it!

In this illustration, once you’ve determined that you’re “feeling off”, take time between the following questions to move through your feelings. Notice how feeling your feelings involves going inward instead of searching for something outside of ourselves to “fix” the problem just like intuitive eating does.

  1. What am I feeling?

  2. Where do I feel it in my body?

  3. If it could talk, what would it say?

  4. What might this be teaching me?

  5. What do I need right now?

  6. What tiny step can I take to meet my need?

I know first hand how painful it can be to feel unpleasant feelings. I also know there are significant benefits to doing this but I didn’t always know or understand what they were. I have included three primary reasons why below and hopefully they will encourage you to try something different the next time you try to escape into unhelpful, self-destructive behaviors like restricting food, abusing alcohol, drugs, chronically "emotionally" eating, busyness, compulsive exercising, or a variety of other self-harming behaviors.

Here are three reasons why it is important to allow yourself to process and experience your true feelings.

  1. Numbing feelings may dull happy emotions
    When we habitually numb our challenging emotions, we also risk the ability to experience other feel good emotions. As humans, we're designed to feel a wide range of emotions, not just the pleasant ones. When we allow ourselves to experience uncomfortable emotions like sadness or anger, it intensifies emotions like happiness and joy even more.

  2. Fighting the emotions blinds you
    Acceptance is tough pill to swallow when you're dealing with painful emotions but without it, we are blind to seeing the possibilities the emotion has to offer us. The less we accept, the less energy and mental space we'll have to discern why the feelings surfaced in the first place! If we begin to change our mindset around unpleasant emotions and start to see them as messengers which signal something important that we need to pay attention to, the better off we'll be.

  3. Processing emotions leads to a healthier relationship with food
    Allowing ourselves to feel emotions is part of life and when we allow it, we are deepening our connection with ourselves and with our bodies. By doing this, we inadvertently strengthen our intuitive eating practice too! The more we get acquainted with what our bodies need, the more often we will likely honor them by meeting their needs. In the end, this will lead to a fuller more satisfying life and a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and body.

The next time you're confronted with uncomfortable emotions, take a look at the How to Feel Your Feelings image I've included with this love note. In fact, download it to your phone so you can reference it whenever you need to. Doing this will help to process the emotions and help you to see what important lessons are likely hiding beneath them.

I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to respond to this love note and share how this image landed with you. Do you think this could be helpful for you?


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 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.