self-compassion

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.

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.


Navigating Life's Uncertainties During Middle-Age

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I don't talk about this a lot, but I'm smack in the middle of middle-age. And, in full transparency, I don't always like it. Sometimes it makes me feel really insecure and frightened. Other times I celebrate it because someone with less life experience will come to me asking for advice (or just to confide in or hold space for them in a non-judgmental way) when they're struggling and I can usually help them.

One of the most challenging parts of middle-age is that we become more aware that life is uncertain. The truth is, life has always been uncertain but many of us don't wake up to this fact until later in life.

In my effort to feel more comfortable with uncertainty, sometimes I ponder about the things in my life that are certain. You know, the things I can count on no matter what.

Here is my short list of things that make me feel better when things feel a little out of control and I need something to ground myself. I've shared many of these things during client sessions, when it seemed applicable, and my clients have gotten some relief from them. Perhaps you will too. Here goes:

  1. Honoring our bodies - The more often we tune-in to ask our bodies what they need, the better they are likely to function physically, emotionally and spiritually.

  2. Be mindful - The more we live in the moment and stop lamenting over what was (specifically about our weight, size, foods we ate and/or didn't eat), the less stress and regret we'll experience in our lives now.

  3. Compassion - The more self-compassionate we are to ourselves, the more likely we are to adopt healthier behaviors.

  4. Permission - The more permission we give ourselves to be who we are (at any shape or weight), eat what we truly desire to eat, wear what we like wherever we like, and share time on Earth with people we love, the more fulfilling our lives will be.

  5. Movement - The more we move our bodies in ways that feel good instead of for reasons that may just make us look "good", the more sustainable and joyful the movement will be.

  6. Boundaries - The more healthy boundaries we establish, the more often our needs will be met, which usually translates to less overall frustration.

  7. Comparison - The less we compare, the less we'll despair.

  8. Purpose- The more we acknowledge that our presence on Earth is necessary and that we serve a higher purpose, even if we don't know what it is right now, the easier it will be to discover what our true purpose is.

  9. Acceptance - The more we accept life on its terms and stop trying to change and/or manipulate the outcomes (including weight, size and shape) the more at peace we'll be.

  10. Gratitude - The more grateful we are, the more things we'll notice we can be grateful to have.

I'm curious, what kinds of things help to ground you when you're feeling uncertain about your life?

How do life's uncertainties affect your relationship with food and body?


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.