Do you TRUST yourself?

Do you trust yourself?


On the surface it's a fairly straightforward question, but very few people have a straightforward answer.

Some responses I commonly hear to that question:

"It depends"

"Sometimes..."

"I want to say yes, but if I am honest, probably not"

"Around somethings but not others"

"Kinda.. I really want to but I am not sure if I do"

"No, I am convinced I am broken"


Trust, especially self trust, may sound like a woo-woo, super spiritual, psychobabble term that couldn't't possibly contribute to better physical health or with healing our relationship with food and our body image.


But I am here to tell you that is is the most ESSENTIAL thing.

Trust, especially self trust, is the key to living healthier, happier, and more peaceful lives.



Currently I am re-reading "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown.

In chapter 2 Brene explains that vulnerability emerged from her data as THE key to living more resilient and wholehearted lives.

She defines vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure"

And what is the biggest obstacle to vulnerability? Trust.

More accurately, a lack of trust.


It's kinda the-chicken-or-the egg situation... because we need a foundation of trust in order to be vulnerable and yet we also need vulnerability in order to build trust.

Hmmmmm.....

So IF we want more joy, love, happiness, fun, ease, peace, connection, and pleasure in our lives THEN we must accept and practice vulnerability.

And in order to embrace and practice vulnerability, we need to work on re-building trust.

Brene explains that the biggest way we erode trust is by disengaging.

We stop caring as much, slowly stop paying attention as much, and stop doing the day-to-day hard work of maintaining relationships.

So if we want to re-build trust with ourselves we must take the steps to re-engage with ourselves!

  • Tune IN and get honest about your needs and desires.

  • Practice FEELING sensations in our body.

  • Spend quiet time with ourselves.

  • Daydream.

  • Journal.

  • Go to therapy.

  • Have hard conversations with those we love.

  • Experiment with various forms of movement and creativity.

  • Practice self compassion.

  • Rest enough.

  • Eat enough.

  • Play.

  • Dance.

  • Be-friend our bodies and our minds.


If on our quest for healing we are driven by fear we cannot rebuild trust or practice vulnerability.

Fear causes us to armor up and seek out short term safety instead of true belonging... if we are living numbed out, disassociated, externally validated, over-busy, over-stimulated, pain and risk averse life, then we can't rebuild trust with our body.

I invite you to be-friend yourself. To do the hard work of re-building trust with yourself and others. Be brave and lean into vulnerability.. and see what happens?

As always, I love to hear from you... feel free to reply with thoughts and updates. And remember, I trust you!

XOXO,
Linda

My Ultimate Take On Halloween Candy.... Trick? Or Treat?

Halloween is my favorite holiday season, but for many people Halloween has one aspect that can be super SCARY and cause a lot of FEAR.

No, it's not the haunted houses or slasher flicks, it's actually the sudden influx of Halloween candy.


What is it about Halloween candy that feels so dang terrifying?


I honestly believe that your perspective

on Halloween candy is directly

correlated with your overall

RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.


*Note to all the parents out there: while this email is written for adults, the insights can pertain to your children as well.


So let's talk about Halloween candy!

How we can we better help ourselves, and our kids, have a healthier and more joyful relationship with food (including candy)??

By understanding and practicing the tools found within Intuitive Eating.


FACT:
Intuitive eaters are FAR less likely to experience anxiety, fear, and guilt around food, including foods like Halloween candy, than those who are actively engaged in dieting, diet mentality or diet culture.

ANOTHER FACT:
Intuitive eaters also experience fewer bouts of 'binge eating' and less feelings of being 'out of control' or 'addicted' towards certain foods.


Why is this?


Intuitive eaters are less likely to be physically or mentally restricting food.


So, what is physical restriction?

Physically restricting food is intentionally limiting the quantity or timing of food (or certain foods) for the purpose of weight manipulation OR as an attempt follow a pre-determined "health and wellness lifestyle".

It can also include tracking points, calories, or food via an app/website for the intention of weight manipulation OR as an attempt follow a pre-determined "health and wellness lifestyle".

How does it set us up to fear, obsess, or 'binge' food??

Biological hunger and physical restriction is one of the biggest reasons why we are drawn to (sometimes in a very anxiety-producing way) higher carbohydrate and calorie foods.

Because intuitive eaters are less likely to be intentionally restricting food, we are less likely to get ravenously hungry, and therefore we are more likely to experience the benefits of a calmer, more consistent eating style.

Intuitive Eaters tend to eat more regularly, experience deeper satisfaction when they do eat, and respect their cravings, appetites, and biological needs for food.


Got it, OK so what is mental restriction??

If physical restriction means we are literally limiting the food we physically eat, MENTAL restriction occurs when we are allowing ourselves to physically eat food but internally we are feeling or thinking deeply uncomfortable emotions and thoughts before, during and after eating, emotions and thoughts that are rooted in fear, guilt, and shame.


How does it impact our ability to be at peace with food?

The unfortunate side effect of mental restriction, even in the presence of physical allowance around food, is that we often double down on being "better" tomorrow... which just leads to more physical and emotional restriction.. and the cycle continues.


To boil it down, the seemingly 'magical answer' as to why intuitive eaters are less likely to fear, obsess over, and 'binge' on Halloween candy is:

A: We don't intentionally physically restrict our food

B: we don't internally judge and/or moralize our food choices.


Intuitive eaters give ourselves full permission to eat in any way that help us feel and function well.

And eating a crap ton of candy, usually without the balancing effects of a big ole meal, probably won't make me feel well. So I'm gonna do what I can to avoid it, thank you very much.


And it's not just about feeling physically well, but even more importantly, it's about feeling emotionally well, mentally well, socially well, and spiritually well... because that's what HOLISTIC HEALTH really means ;)


Here are some common ways I help people identify mental restriction, re-frame it, and find more peace with food:

Candy and sugar aren't 'bad' they just ARE. While it's completely valid that certain foods have different nutritional profiles, and they may interact with bodies in different ways, there is no 'good or bad' food. Just like YOU aren't 'being bad' or 'being good' when you eat, or don't eat, certain foods.

Food is not a 'guilty pleasure', rather it can be a source of actual pleasure when we allow it to be.

Halloween candy (or any food) doesn't have the power to 'tempt' me if I ultimately believe that any food choice is permitted and morally neutral.
Using a terms like "I have to hide the Halloween candy from myself" and "I can't trust myself around (fill in the blank) food" are good indicators you are physically restricting food and/or assigning moral value to your food choices.

We don't need to 'earn' our food because we are always deserving of eating enough food.

Using exercise, 'portion control', or fasting as a way to feel 'OK' about eating certain foods is a sign of disordered eating.

Terms like 'cheat days' or 'cheat meals' reinforce the idea that restriction is inherently helpful or healthy. In fact, quite the opposite is often true. Cheat days are just a fancy, socially acceptable term for the restrict --> binge cycle.



Want to learn more? Check out these resources!

Want to hear a podcast where Isabel Foxen Duke, who introduced me to the idea of physical vs mental restriction, discuss this idea even more? CLICK HERE

Ellyn Satter (THE child feeding expert) on the STICKY topic of Halloween Candy

Be Nourished, a nutrition and therapy center in Portland says "We'd like to encourage parents to calm the F*%$! down about Halloween candy"

Why you diet beliefs and behaviors are actually the source of your candy binges by Alissa Rumsey

What is the "Wellness Diet"?

Beware of the "lifestyle change" diet.

AND it's super sneaky cousin,
the "wellness diet".


Often when we think of the word "diet" we think of counting calories, weigh-ins, and packaged meals/shakes.

But that kind of dieting, while still very alive and well, is also very out of fashion in our current wellness obsessed culture.


MOST of the people I work with don't really identify as a traditional "dieter".


They use language like "clean eating" or "paleo" or "cleanses" or "detox" or "low carb" or "My Fitness Pal" or "Whole30" or "FitBit" or "eating the right things" or "weight watchers, it's not about weight anymore" or "Beach Body" or "wanting to eat healthy food" or "avoiding unhealthy food" or feeling "addicted to food" and wanting to "eliminate" this food and that food or are in fear of the dangers of "junk food" and wanting to "reduce sugar" so I can "eat to heal myself".


The above phrases and words highlight the nuanced, complex, and shades-of-grey area of the mainstream food/body ideology.


Enter in the "wellness diet"!


The term "wellness diet" was coined by Christy Harrison who runs the Food Psych podcast. She noticed a vocabulary void while trying to describe the phenomenon she was seeing in her coaching practice, and in her own life.

She noticed people were not necessarily dieting, in the overt and obvious sense of the word, but rather they were controlling, manipulating, and hyper-focusing on food as a way to control their health, anxiety, and body shame.

Using external input like Instagram, wellness gurus, food-related books, and their well intentioned health practitioners as a way to "bio hack" their health to find the ideal way of eating to give them the RESULTS they want.


No, most of these people didn't want to do their mom's version of dieting; instead they wanted to find the healthiest diet to solve their body and health-based struggles. They use things like elimination diets to reinforce the fear-based information they read/see/hear.


Even the term DIET needs to be unpacked. I love how the Intuitive Eating philosophy invites us to "reject the diet MENTALITY" and it's that language distinction, the addition of the term MENTALITY, that is hugely important... because dieting BEHAVIOR is an outward and somewhat tangible thing. It's things like measuring and weighing food and counting calories and using books or charts or programs to tell us how or what to eat.

But what about when we aren't doing those things but we are still mentally judging, counting, avoiding, justifying, or fearing foods or eating behaviors?


Isabel Foxen Duke defines the term "diet" as any way of eating to which you are emotionally attached.

Essentially what she is describing is the overlap between diet behaviors and diet mentality. I think most of us here can agree that cutting out carbs to lose weight is a diet, but what about when we eat the carbs but feel guilty and shameful afterwards?

That is still a a diet. That is the "eat what you like but judge yourself for it" diet.


Want to hear more on this?

Check out my podcast episode of Food Psych where I share my story of trying to heal my chronic health issues with using "clean eating" (while also trying to control my weight in the process).

And my dear friend Katherine Metzelaar's episode where she talks about her experiences falling into, and then recovering from, Orthorexia (the obsession with healthy or clean eating) and using that wisdom in her private practice as a Registered Dietitian.

Both are great (if I do say so myself!)

Lastly, I invite you to follow @immaeatthat on Instagram who provided the illustration I shared up top.


My Biggest Turning Point For ACCEPTING My Body and REJECTING Diet Culture

The term "body positive" was always hard for me.

While I agreed with the social justice movement behind it, and I admired the fierce body positive activists I saw online, the term never really resonated with me, personally


I didn't want to pose in a bathing suit and take selfies, and I still had/have days I want to lose weight, dislike a part of my body,  cringe at a picture of myself, or get frustrated that my clothes didn't fit.

On an intellectual level I KNOW that women's body/beauty ideals are all bullshit.

 But on an emotional level I couldn't imagine how to stop playing the "young, pretty, and thin" game. It seemed too unrealistic and hard to stop. 

I felt trapped.

I could see the other side, the "radical body acceptance" wonderland, yet there was a vast distance between where I was now and where I wanted to be.

So I asked for help. 

I knew that those people living in the body acceptance space weren't just whistling Dixie... I knew that they really, truly believed these things, so I trusted their advice and counsel.

And I did what they did.

I started reading books like The Beauty Myth and began to see how the 'diet culture sausage' was made. I started to learn how the beauty/body ideals I accepted as "truth" were actually manufactured as a way to keep women preoccupied and distracted... while those in power kept benefiting from our work and overwhelm.

I completed the FANTASTIC online course by Beauty Redefined where I learned how women have internalized these manufactured and objectifying messages (that younger. thinner, and prettier are always better) and NOW we don't even need the big, bad marketing machines to spread the word... 
Now we do it on our own! We happily preach to ourselves via our harsh inner critic and to one another via social media, mothers to daughters, friend to friend, and sister to sister. 

This made me angry.

I am angry at the lies I've been told and that there are people getting rich and powerful off of my suffering.

I am angry that I shared these lies with good intentions but without fulling understanding their harmful impact.

I am angry that I was participating in my own oppression and the oppression of other women. 

I don't blame or shame myself for buying into the "beauty myth" because I know I was just doing what I needed to do to survive in the current culture. I didn't know what I didn't know.

I forgive myself for buying into the lie of "I'm not good enough".

But NOW that I know more I can choose to DO more.

I understand that NO good can come from a world of women not feeling good enough: not pretty enough, thin enough, fashionable enough, busy enough, happy enough, or fill-in-the-blank enough. 

My breakthrough moment came when I finally understood:

 When I don't see myself as enough
it’s hard to see other women as enough. 


When I think my body isn't good enough I am buying into a lie.

When I buy into the lie about myself, I easily buy into the lie about you too.


This is all very subconscious of course. I don't rationally or consciously make this choice. I've been conditioned since I was born and these deep neural pathways don't change overnight. 

But they do change! With the media I consume, the language I carefully use, and the inner dialogue and I choose to participate in. 

I don't have a daughter of my own but I do have nieces, sisters, a mother, best girlfriends, and a teenage girl I mentor. I never want to look at them and believe that they aren't good enough.

So I choose another reality.

I choose to believe I am enough. And what I believe about myself often becomes what I believe about them.  And visa versa.

This has changed everything. No, it doesn't take away ALL the negative thoughts ALL the time but it DOES give me the strength and insight to push back when they pop up because I see them for what they really are: lies that cause harm to myself and others.