Undiagnosed Eating Disorders

Undiagnosed Eating Disorders

It occurred to me the other day that I probably had an eating disorder through most of my life. It never occurred to me that that was my problem because I always thought my problem was being the wrong size.

And since I thought that trying to change my body was normal, and because I never got thin enough to concern anyone, I never realized that I could have gotten help for my suffering much earlier than I did.

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One Cherry

One Cherry

I am not an expert in feeding children. But I am a parent who has to feed her children every day.  I want to offer a few resources on how to feed children from those who know more than I, plus some perspective from someone who has heard countless stories about how a person's eating experience as a child shaped their relationship to food and their body as adults (and not in a good way).

This post was inspired by one cherry.

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Elizabeth and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Body Day

Elizabeth and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Body Day

Elizabeth woke up and immediately thought of the things she didn't want to do that day. The obligations, the chores, the work. Ugh. There is nothing I want to do today, she thought.

She got out of bed and noted that her feet hurt when they touched the floor and her back was sore. Great. We are off to a wonderful start today - she thought sarcastically. Maybe if I weren't so heavy my back wouldn't be sore.

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The Problem with Body Positivity: A Rebuttal

The Problem with Body Positivity: A Rebuttal

My client sent me a certain NYTimes opinion piece article that I wanted to respond to right away because it was driving me crazy.  The original article is called "The Problem with Body Positivity" and the article is indeed causing a problem with it's mis-information, damaging healthism, contradictory points and lack of understanding of what a true Health at Every Size® and body positive approach even means. So let me clarify a few things if I may. 

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I Still Have Fat on My Body

I Still Have Fat on My Body

I have been practicing Intuitive Eating for several years. Before that, I was your typical American dieter who thought that her biggest failure in life was not being a size XYZ. I thought dieting was simply what you were supposed to do and I thought everyone thought about food as much as I did. 

Then I discovered Intuitive Eating. Like many people who start out on the road of IE, I had the secret hope that when I healed my obsession with food, my weight would settle at a place that not only felt good but "looked good" based on society's standards and cultural conditioning.


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What I had to Say About my Company Fitness Challenge

What I had to Say About my Company Fitness Challenge

When I am not working as a mind-body eating coach, I am a health actuary in my spare time. For the last few years, my company has had a fitness challenge. The point of this challenge is to count steps (or convert other fitness activities to the number of steps) so the company can get to a certain number of steps as a firm wide goal. There are teams and prizes from all expenses paid trips to gift cards.  This activity has always bothered me and this year I decided to speak up.  So this morning, I sent the organizers this letter. 

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A Reader Asks About Health and Weight

A Reader Asks About Health and Weight

This week I had a reader pose this question:  "If extra weight is not health-neutral AND dieting and beating yourself up and depriving yourself, etc. is not the path towards health, what do you suggest?"  This reader had decided for herself that she would rather "carry extra weight then the emotional baggage of poor body image / chronic dieting".  She also shared that embracing this "paradox" (weight is unhealthy but so is dieting)  has been an important part of her journey in her relationship with food. 

In addition, this reader shared an article that suggested, among other things, that people should remain the same size into adulthood that they were when they were 20.  I'll comment on this as well.

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They Know Not What They Do

I was just reading a beautiful and remarkable blog post about loving our bodies so we can model that love for our daughters.  It got me thinking about how there is a certain level of body hatred that most people can agree is not healthy. But what about the subtle body hatred?

In the understandable body love scenario, there is a middle aged woman who has been fighting her weight all her life and has been on more diets than she can count.  Her weight has gone up and down in the process and she has put off doing things in her life based on how she feels about her body.  Everyone can agree that this is not healthy, and get on board with helping this woman accept herself. 

The ones I worry about though - are the ones who don't know they are struggling.  They are the ones in naturally thinner bodies who think that what they eat and how they move is keeping them in those smaller bodies. They are wearing their Fitbits and eating their grilled chicken but they are not dieting in their minds even though they have anxiety around food and body. 

They fit in to the ideal that society has created and they agree on all levels that being healthy is imperative and that what they are doing is exactly what has to be done.  Secretly, or not so secretly, they think that bigger people just need to work harder to look like them and doesn't everyone want to look like them?

It makes me really glad that I have had to think twice about my weight.  If my struggle to make my body smaller in the past were not so pronounced, I'm not sure I would have ever woken up to the ways I was tethering myself to a societal expectation.  If I had continued to fit in or had ever fit in to the expectation as naturally as others do, I'm not sure I would have fought the status quo. 

I would have gone on to my dying days thinking I had achieved the pinnacle of success.  I was thin and I looked how people expected and wanted me to look. I was admired for my appearance and who needs anything more then that?

This is not to say that for all naturally thin people, that this is all they aim for in life.  I am not calling them out as being shallow and vain, but possibly they are a bit brainwashed.  Because as I move about the world, I find it's often the people who fit the norm that don't know they are still being held hostage in some way. 

They don't know how they are perpetuating the myths that all you have to do to be thin and healthy is what they do AND that that is the most important thing - to be thin and healthy. 

I can't think of anything more freeing and rewarding than to have a physical trait like fat - that forces you to go deeper and to experience life on a richer and more complex level and to realize what is really important in life. 

A woman who fits in might have nothing to awaken her to become aware of what is happening to other bodies, genders and colors around her. A woman who fits in might not know what she is passively accepting by fitting in and seeming to play by the rules.

In ways big and small the woman who fits in will work to maintain that status quo without knowing what she is doing.  By going to the gym, declining dessert, having some botox, or buying all the latest products to fight aging.  She might feel pangs of panic if the scale goes up a pound or two or the clothes start getting a little tight or if she has a cold and can't go to the gym. 

Without being consciously aware, she is imprisoned and she is doing it to herself.  It's these people that I feel for because they don't know what they are missing.  I often see these people and remind myself "They know not what they do."

So today I am considering myself lucky for having a reason to examine my surroundings.  I am grateful that I have been able to see that for many years I had actually been trying to hold myself back.  I am grateful that ultimately I failed to do so. 

Instead, I had an awakening. I have also since realized that this is actually a part of our adult development. To realize that the internal is more vital to our peace and happiness than the external.  To question what we always used to believe was true. To move from the black and white into the gray. 

To that end, I am humbled and honored and grateful for my what I have learned and how I have grown while on this quest to make peace with food.

Learning Intuitive Eating is much more than exploring what to eat, it's exploring how to live and I am eager to keep practicing.

Photo by Sam Austin on Unsplash

Why Can't I Be More Consistent?

Why Can't I Be More Consistent?

One thing I hear quite often is that people are frustrated by their inconsistent routines.  They want to eat healthier and move their bodies more and then they don’t. 

Sometimes they do, and they feel great, but they can't figure out what is blocking them from going to this imaginary "next level" of consistency. People do "well" during the week and then poorly on the weekend or vice versa.

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My Non-Diet Path Milestones

My Non-Diet Path Milestones

I was wondering if it would be helpful to share some milestones that I have crossed following the non-diet lifestyle. There have been many aha moments and many small but equally important realizations along the way. 

It all started when I realized I was really focusing on food ALL THE TIME.  Like many others, I thought I was addicted to food and sugar. And I was focused on food because I thought my body was a problem and I thought food was the solution.  

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How Do I Eat Healthy Without Dieting?

How Do I Eat Healthy Without Dieting?

I had a friend ask a question this week which I think will help many people put something in perspective.  She asked, "If I don't follow a diet plan, how do I eat healthy?  When I have "junk" food in the house, I eat too much of it.  I've tried Paleo and that worked for awhile and now I am considering the Whole 30, what do you think?"

I asked her if she wanted my honest opinion and she said yes since we have been friends for 30 years. So I said "NO NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!".  (Check out this blog post by Be Nourished for more on what happens after the Whole 30.)

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The Game of Life on a Diet

The Game of Life on a Diet

I was thinking the other day about creating a board game for middle school and high school students called "The Game of Life on a Diet".   Yeah - weird I know - but those are the kinds of things I think about. 

You start out with your player, riding a bike (because kids can't drive). At the fork where you are supposed to choose between going to college or getting a job, the player can choose, "Go on First Diet" or "Live Free". 

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Don't Let Weight Watchers Get Your Teens Too

Don't Let Weight Watchers Get Your Teens Too

Weight Watchers has announced that it will offer teens free memberships this summer. This is like a dealer offering free drugs to teens in order to get them hooked for life and keep them coming back for more.

Dieting is like a drug.  When you begin, there is a surge of excitement and a high.  You find your plan, get your materials, set your goal weight and begin.

You lose weight and ride a wave of ecstasy as the praise and adoration floods in and your spirits soar. This shit is awesome, you think. 

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There is No Such Thing as a Fattening Food

There is No Such Thing as a Fattening Food

I know this sounds like a particularly bold statement so bear with me. People are often concerned with having fat on their bodies and then eating foods that people associate with being fat. One way to handle this concern is to not give a flying fuck (sorry mom) what anyone thinks of your body or what you eat.  For people who are not quite there yet (and it's ok - it can take awhile), they can be caught in a bit of a catch 22.  They want to relax and eat foods they enjoy, but they are still worried that these foods might be responsible for their size. The good news is, there are no such thing as fattening foods!

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Decoding a Fat Feeling

Decoding a Fat Feeling

Did you know that fat feelings are not actually about fat? Fat feelings are an expression of discomfort about something going on in your life. Yet, we are so conditioned to feel like there is something wrong with our bodies that we blame all the discomfort we are feeling on our bodies.  Then we make a plan to change our bodies. This plan is a distraction from the real issue. It is also a way to feel like we are bringing control and certainty into life situations that feel chaotic and scary.  So it's a brilliant coping mechanism, but it doesn't address the real issues.

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