What Does “I Feel Fat” Really Mean?

I know, this is a very provocative question, right? 

I cannot tell you how often I hear my clients say, “I feel so fat!” (and fat isn’t a bad thing) 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’s much less often now, but when I realized that all of that hating was just a distraction from looking at the underlying emotions that were really causing the lack of body acceptance, things began to change for me.

To help my clients with this, I’ll weave intriguing questions like this one into our discussions to uncover what could be going on beneath the surface. When we dig a little deeper we’ll discover, for example, that they’re feeling discomfort about establishing boundaries with a family member or friend; they’re lacking confidence in a particular area; or they’re feeling unworthy or “not enough” in some capacity of their lives. Or, if they’re still entrenched in diet mentality, they could also be feeling guilty about a food(s) they recently ate and it’s masquerading as body dissatisfaction. (HINT: This is why it’s so important not to ignore body image issues.) Asking these questions helps my clients experience a shift in perspective or belief. When this happens, the proverbial light bulb goes off in their minds which creates space for new thoughts and behaviors to begin developing. This is where the seeds for real growth are witnessed. 

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, we will continue to be dissatisfied and frustrated with our current weight, body and life. On the contrary, when we are willing to translate what these harmful messages are really trying to tell us, 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 website for other great resources. Click here to download your help sheet.  

How is this concept landing for you? Do you believe that your constant or occasional body dissatisfaction could be an indication that there is something deeper to explore? 

The Importance of Faith in a Diet-Free Journey

One of the most important things that has helped me in my Intuitive Eating and body acceptance journey has been faith. Not necessarily faith in terms of God/Source/Universe or a Higher Power, although it doesn’t hurt to have that too if that’s your thing, but to believe and have faith that things could be different.

I’ve always been honest and said that when I first read the Intuitive Eating book, I was skeptical that I could experience the kind of freedom and peace that they described. After all, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (the authors who I later trained with) didn’t know the depths of my disordered eating.

They didn’t know that I had suffered for years with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

They didn’t know how ashamed I felt about my binge and emotional eating.

They didn’t know how embarrassed I felt about expanding and shrinking my body.

In my mind, I was the most disordered eater on the planet! Most days I believed that I was beyond help and that my life with food and body would never change. However, after reading a good portion of the book and nearly convincing myself that it was all BS, I could hear a little voice inside of me said Yeah, but what if it could work for me?”

That little voice was telling me to have faith! Faith that…

  • My life with food and my body could be different.
  • My obsessive thoughts around food could one day subside.
  • That I could find comfort in my body regardless of what I weighed.
  • That I might be able to experience a magical transformational like others I had read about.
  • That I could eat one or two cookies (if that’s all I desired) without feeling compelled to eat the whole darn dozen!
  • That I could feel less guilt and remorse around my food choices.
  • That my relationship with movement could be more balanced and less focused on just burning calories and/or punishment for what I had eaten.
  • That all of this might be possible if I tried Intuitive Eating.

So, I tried it.

At first, I was excited to be free from dieting. However, shortly after the excitement came the fear and feelings of overwhelm. It sounded kind of easy when I read about it, but putting it into practice was a different story! That’s when I hired my first coach. I believed freedom could be mine, but I knew I needed help, so I got it.

It’s true that, at first, I was a little overwhelmed by all ‘mechanics’ of Intuitive Eating. She helped me with that, but what I really needed support navigating around was all the emotional stuff that surfaced when I stopped using food as my only coping mechanism. And, she also helped me to see one of my biggest blind spots which was my lack of consistent self-care. No, I’m not just talking about the occasional manicure and pedicure! I’m talking about big girl panty stuff like:

  • Learning to establish boundaries with friends, family and co-workers.
  • Starting to embrace that body acceptance wasn’t giving up but was a step toward true contentment.
  • Understanding that to heal, I had to approach my disordered eating with curiosity instead of judgment.
  • Understanding that self-love included all of me…even the emotions and behaviors that we’re so pleasant.
  • Acknowledging that my chronic ‘comparisonitis’ was linked to my profound feelings of unworthiness. Gulp!
  • Recognizing my own prejudices about people in larger bodies.
  • Forgiving myself and others.

Like I said, big girl panty stuff! 

Discovering food and body freedom is a journey that never ends. Based on my personal experience, and the experiences my amazing clients have had, faith needs to be an essential part of the journey. To succeed, you’ll need to have:

Faith in yourself.
Faith in the process.
Faith in your body.

So, if you’re in a precarious place right now in your journey, perhaps sprinkling in some faith may help to change your perspective. Holding a vision for what you want in your life is one of the most powerful ways to create it. Without faith, it’s too easy to give up and return to disordered eating behaviors (diet mentality, food policing), abusing movement, engaging in chronic negative self-talk, etc. 

Remember, dieting is much easier than Intuitive Eating. Those who are courageous, open to change, and prepared to live a new life will likely come out on the ‘other’ side transformed. It doesn’t happen overnight, but being consistent, having reliable support measures in place, and remembering to have faith in yourself and the process most often yields freedom! I’m living proof!

I’d love to hear from you. How has faith been a part of your no-diet journey? Feel free to share with us in The No-Diet Sisterhood

Got digestive issues?

Do you struggle with bloating, indigestion, constipation or any other unpleasant side effect after eating certain foods? Well, I do and I’m coming clean about it! 

Even after all these years practicing Intuitive Eating, it’s hard to come to terms with foods that no longer serve me. There’s almost like a mourning period. I’ve recently admitted to myself that red meat and onions don’t agree with me (alone or separate). I’m okay with poultry and fish, but red meat, doesn’t digest well in my body. When I’m honest about this, I believe that I’ve known this for some time, but because I was a vegetarian for nearly four years, and for the last year denied myself animal protein because I was hoping my cravings for them would subside (which they never did), I felt that denying myself red meat was depriving myself again. That didn’t feel good to me at all!

Coming to terms with foods that don’t agree with our bodies isn’t easy. 
I know many people who have food sensitivities (which is not the same as food allergies) or just experience discomfort but still cannot give them up because it kicks them into “deprivation mode”.

I want to be clear that food deprivation is never the answer. When we’re depriving ourselves of foods because of their calorie, fat or carb content (aka afraid of weight gain) we will fall victim to that diet/binge cycle and that never has a good outcome!  However, minimizing or eliminating foods that no longer make our bodies feel good (regardless of their macro content) seems to make sense when we do this in a self-compassionate manner. In fact, when we view it through the self-compassion lens instead of the deprivation lens, it doesn’t seem as scary, right? Since I began thinking about it in these terms, I now feel this is a form of SELF-CARE and not food deprivation.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Just because I know that eating red meat and onions doesn’t agree with my tummy, that doesn’t always mean that I’m never going to eat them again. I’m not striving for perfection, but I am striving to feel good as often as possible without going to extremes. So, yes, I will limit these foods because I prefer to feel good and not have the uncomfortable burping, bloating and gas all day long. But, if I do choose to eat them, I will not beat myself up about it either. Remember, one of the best things about practicing Intuitive Eating is that it allows us to be flexible and kind to ourselves around food. Also, just because we have unconditional permission to eat all foods, that doesn’t mean that all foods will feel good in our bodies. Learning to distinguish which foods feel good in our bodies and which foods don’t is part of the “tuning in” process.

I also want to add that sometimes taking a good probiotic or digestive enzyme helps with digestive issues. I’ve also found that sometimes food combinations need to also be considered. So, in your quest to getting to know your body better, consider these things before completely eliminating foods from your diet.

If you’re struggling with certain foods because they don’t make your body feel good, I hope you’ll consider what I’ve written here so you can find a solution that works best for your body.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re new to Intuitive Eating, it’s not uncommon to have some digestive and/or other physical challenges because you’re likely eating foods that you haven’t eaten in some time. If that is your case, be patient and continue be mindful if a particular food(s) seems to be consistently causing you difficulty. Or, if you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, always discuss these types of issues with your practitioners before minimizing or eliminating foods as it may impact your recovery.

HELP…this clutter is making me want to binge!

Day 1 – Three bags

Day 2 – Six bags in SUV ready for donation

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above pictures capture the six (6) bags of clutter I cleared from my spare closet, sweater shelves, bedroom closet and laundry room this week. I was getting tired of looking at the overflowing shelves in my bedroom, the dusty clothes on the shelf in my laundry room and having stuff spill out of my office closet whenever I opened the door! Every time I did laundry and tried to put the clothes back on the shelves, I had to strategically move the other clothes because there was nowhere to put them all! A girl can only tolerate so much! So, I took a few hours over a span of two days and purged!

During all of this, I was thinking that this project might help me stop feeling like I wanted to move to a bigger house with more closet space. I was reminded of the words I often say to my clients in the most loving way, “If you cannot find happiness at your current weight, you will not find happiness when you lose weight.” We need to find happiness and satisfaction where we are, not when ________ happens or when we lose _____ pounds. I knew in my heart that rather than continuing to complain, I could do my part to maximize our space by purging all the crap that wasn’t serving me anymore.

I’ve never been a fan of clutter and I’ve done massive purges before, but somehow, I still had stuff lingering in my house. Ugh, I’m sure you can all relate. Well, this week I decided to turn my frustration into action and do something about it. That action resulted in packing six (6) bags of sweaters, old dresses, belts, shoes, and workout clothes for the needy. All the items are in great condition but for one reason or another (style, fit, color, etc), they no longer serve me.

This all started last week when I asked the women in my Facebook group if having clutter in their lives affected their eating. The answer was a resounding YES!! Some even said that clutter makes them binge!! Thanks to my ongoing internal work and practicing Intuitive Eating all these years, this wasn’t affecting my eating but it was affecting my mood, my energy levels, and some other areas of my life that I wasn’t even aware of until now. These are some of the realizations I had once I decided to let go of this stuff.

Holding on to things that no longer serve me is like an anchor.

These anchors weigh me down.

These anchors make me feel like I’m stuck.

These anchors don’t allow me to make room for the new things the universe is trying to teach or show me.

These anchors make me realize that there is still some shame around what was and what no longer is.

These anchors don’t allow me to truly express who I am today but express who I was years ago.

I now see that even though I thought I had released many of these things on an emotional level, until I released them on a physical level, the circle of healing was incomplete.

These anchors also reminded me that if I cannot be happy and content where I am than I won’t be happy anywhere.

These anchors helped me to see the importance of periodically assessing our lives to see what is and what isn’t serving us anymore.

So, now it’s your turn. If you have clutter in your life, how does it make you feel?

Here are some other reflective questions to ask yourself that may help you tap into those emotions.

Do you think you have things in your space (dwelling, office, car, etc.) that need purging?

Do you think that holding on to some of these things may be stunting your growth?

What do some of these things that you’re holding on to symbolize or represent?

What can you do today to minimize clutter and disarray in your space?

How do you think you’ll feel once your space is free of clutter?

If you choose to donate clothing, etc, who might benefit your generosity?

Feel free to leave a comment if this blog inspired you to take some action and release some of the things that are no longer serving you. I cannot tell you how much lighter, freer, and peaceful I feel now that this stuff has been released from my life.

Want more support? Join my online Facebook group the Diet-Free Sisterhood for daily inspiration, connection with other like-minded women, and giggles.

You Cannot See the Color of Your Eyes

First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR, lovelies!!

It’s a new year and I’m seeing a lot of people posting their 2017 resolutions and /or goals for the year. I’ve also noticed some beating themselves up for not following through already! Ugh!

While I’m a firm believer that setting goals is important, I think it’s equally important that we realize that it takes time to build ourselves up to meeting these goals. So, my suggestion is to take realistic actions to see these goals come to fruition. So, if your goal is become more fit in 2017, but you’re not fit right now or don’t have a consistent exercise regime currently in place, formulate actionable steps to make that happen. For example, instead of taking the elevator at work, take the steps more often. If you belong to a gym and want to get to the weight room or group classes more often, put your clothes in your car so you can get to the gym right before/from work, etc. Simple shifts like this are what will make your goals become a reality.

If you’ve tried these suggestions before and still have not had any luck achieving your goal and they’re still important to you, I urge you to look at the reasons why. Based on my personal experience and my time with clients is that even though they know what would help them achieve their goals, they cannot get out of their own way. In other words, they’re stuck in their old sh*t or old story! They want change but something in themselves is holding them back from moving forward.

I’m no stranger to this because I’ve been there before and know the myriad of ways that I would say one thing and do another.

I get it.

I understand the pattern and the frustration.

I empathize with the negative emotions this kind of behavior conjures up.

I remember how easy and often I would beat myself up when I would continually and yet unknowingly self-sabotage myself.

I now know that my self-sabotaging behaviors were just trying to protect me from my underlying beliefs that I WASN’T ENOUGH…strong ENOUGH, resourceful ENOUGH, perfect ENOUGH.

I NOT ENOUGHED myself into inaction.

I cringe when I think of all the time I spent trying to do it all alone.

I got tired enough of living my life in so much discord, so I got help.

Are you tired enough of living your life in pain, with frustration, and not achieving your goals?

If you are, read on.

If not, don’t waste your time because you’re not ready to receive what I have to say.

One of my mentors often says, “We cannot see the color of our own eyes.”

She is so right. It’s not possible for us to see all the ways in which we are limiting ourselves and getting in our own way! No, we cannot take a selfie on our own BS. It’s just not possible. We need someone to help us identify, in a loving and compassionate way, the places in our lives where we’re putting up road blocks so that we can consciously and bravely move them out of our way.

I have identified the six primary road blocks that used to trip me up and often do the same for my clients. This is not to say that I’m 100% free of these behaviors now, but I’m able to recognize them and have kick ass tools in my toolbox to help me overcome them so I can keep moving forward instead of staying stuck and dissatisified.

They are:

  • Not Enoughness
  • Emotional Triggers
  • Perfectionism
  • Comparisonitis
  • Self-sabotage
  • Forgiveness

If any of these areas speak to you, I feel you! Remember, I used to be a slave to this kind of stuff and know how debilitating it can be. Freeing myself from that place took a lot of introspection, guidance from grounded professionals, lots and lots of courage, and learning how to be compassionate and forgiving with myself.

My Going Beneath the Surface: A Masterclass to Claim Your Enoughness is an intensive, loving and all-encompassing masterclass to help you finally claim that you are enough as you are. I taught this class in the fall and the women raved about how their lives changed and how much more aware they were in discerning their own NOT ENOUGH BS.

This master class will give you the tools, tips and awareness you need to move forward in your relationship with yourself which will have a profound impact on your relationship with food and body. No, it will not solve all your problems, but it will give you a great jump start on making significant transformations in your life. 

Early Bird pricing of *only* $227 is valid through 1/9/17. Regular price is $297. The masterclass experience begins on 1/16/17. To ensure that everyone has the proper attention, SEATING IS LIMITED. For all the details, click here.

Fabulous Diet-Free Holiday Tips

The holidays can be a joyous time. However for people that have been struggling all year with their weight and to feel good in their body’s, it poses some anxiety. For many, the holidays are filled with stress about spending too much time with “challenging” family members, eating excessive amounts of food, and insecurities about putting on weight. Of course, there is also the stress about money! I so get this because I used to stress to the max about these things, too. I’m happy to say that I don’t anymore and I’m going to give you some tips so you don’t have to either.

Tips to thrive during the holidays:

1. Send love. I don’t know any family that doesn’t have at least one “challenging” family member. You know the one who points out in a room full of other family members and friends that you’ve gained weight. Remember your secret weapon when dealing with these people is always love. So, instead of diving into the nearest chocolate cake because you’re feeling embarrassed, ashamed and angry, pause before “defending” yourself and then send them love. Believe it or not, they think they’re helping you by pointing out what you likely already know. Sending love can diffuse negative emotions within seconds.

 

2. Stop controlling. Instead of trying to control your food, give yourself permission. I know it sounds crazy, but restricting is what is making you want the food even more. When we think that something is off limits, this intensifies our desire to have it. So, stop with the rules and restricting. There are no prizes given out at the end of the year for how often you restricted food only to binge later! Also, understand that 99% of the population overeats during the holidays, so know that you’re not alone. That’s not an excuse, but it’s important to understand this so you don’t feel isolated.

 

3. Focus on the insides. If you have gained weight this year or since you last saw your family, understand that your awesomeness, authenticity and lovely personality are not defined by your weight. In fact, this is true for everyone. So rather than focusing on how much weight a person lost or gained since you last saw them, instead focus on how much you’ve missed them, how good they make you feel when you’re around them, and being mindful about your time together so you can intensify your experience.

I hope that these tips help to ease some of the stress you may be feeling about the holidays. If you need more support and tips like this, hop on over to my Facebook group Intuitive Eating & Body Loving Rockstars.