If you’ve only know me as an adult, you may not know about my lifelong struggle with food. When I was 11, I stopped eating meat and became a
vegetarian carbotarian. My diet consisted mainly of pasta, bagels, pizza, with salads and stir-fries. I had dessert every night: cookies, brownies, ice cream. It was basically the refined carbohydrate diet. I was an athlete in high school, but was still carrying around an extra 10 to 20 pounds.
After college, when I entered the healing arts, It wasn’t until my 30s that I realized how many reasons I overate. I was eating healthy food, but taking in way more calories than my body needed every day. Here’s why:
1) I ate quickly. It takes time for the body to register that you’ve eaten: 20 minutes or so. Because of my lifelong habit of packing way too much into my schedule, scarfing down food in the car on my way from one activity to the next, or before running out the door, I habitually overate at every meal out of sheer speed, never giving my body the opportunity to tell me that it was pleasantly satisfied. This is still something I need to be mindful of: putting down my fork between bites, reminding myself that the stomach does not have teeth.
2) I ate way too often: three meals a day, plus a snack or a dessert meant that I was activating my digestive system 4-5 times a day. This gave my body little opportunity to burn fat, as there was always plenty of easy fuel available from whatever I just ate a few hours ago.
3) I was afraid of fat. Like everyone else who grew up in the ’80s, I absorbed the conventional wisdom that fat is bad. The processed food industry was saving money by taking fat out and replacing it with sugar and carbs. But fat is dense, heavy, and satisfying in a way that sugar isn’t. You also can’t eat very much of it before the body says it’s had enough (ever try to binge on butter?) Feeling satisfied by food depends primarily on 3 factors: protein, fat, and fiber.
4) I was using food to regulate my energy. I would never give myself permission to rest during the day (there’s work to be done!), but I would give myself permission to stop and eat meals. Not only did eating legitimize resting, I also believed that food (and coffee or tea with sugar and milk) would help me power through. How much struggle and shame could I have saved myself if I just gave myself permission to do a little less?
5) I ate for reasons unconnected to nourishment. I was among that 43% of people who eat for emotional reasons, often overwhelm, sadness, and loneliness. I’d do great all day long, but cruise the cupboards for sugar at night, and then hate myself for undoing all my effort to eat healthy. I hated my belly because it was evidence that I wasn’t walking my talk. I heaped loads of self-judgment onto myself, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.
I know how painful that whole cycle is, so it pains me to hear my patients blame themselves for their dietary “failures,” citing lack of discipline, motivation, or willpower. This is sorely missing from our cultural conversation around eating and weight loss, which is why when I was invited to speak on the Beyond the Food summit, I jumped at the chance to participate. If you struggle with emotional eating,you won’t want to miss this episode of A Healthy Curiosity, and this free online event that includes 21 health experts of all stripes, from MDs, NDs, to psychiatrists to yours truly.
91% of women are unhappy about their weight and resort to dieting, and 95% of dieters will regain their weight within 1-5 years. There’s more going on here than accidentally eating too much. And the answer is not doubling-down on restriction, or more skillfully slapping your hand away from the cookies.
All of this is the subject of The Going Beyond The Food Project. I hope it will help you learn that what has been holding you back from achieving your goals has little to do with calories and macros, and why our bodies struggle to be healthy and balanced naturally. This learning opportunity is FREE and starts Nov 1 2017.
Bottom line is this, our current approach to weight loss is clearly not working. The solution is not about more food control and restriction.
The Going Beyond The Food Project will teach you 21 different ways to find YOUR solution that has nothing to do with food and dieting.
It’s everything the weight & fitness industry isn’t talking about: moving beyond calories, macros, and food to understand the real reason why we eat.
It’s about understanding why sometimes we overeat or binge. It’s about finding our individualized solutions to our food cravings and emotional eating.
It’s about being inspired by real-life people who went Beyond The Food to find their happiness and health.
The Going Beyond The Food Project is free and accessible from anywhere with the internet from November 1st-8th 2017. Register here to ditch the diet mindset, transform your relationship to food, and feel good for good.
Yay! You passed the 1-minute test!
If you like what you're reading, subscribe to get my latest self-care advice by email a couple of times a month.