All posts by Isabel

Getting our priorities straight around food…

Recovery from “feeling crazy around food,” really begins the moment we decide that we want sanity & freedom

more than we want thinness; more than we want our food to look a certain way.

there will no doubt be triggers towards restrictive thoughts and behaviors along the way; there will no doubt be struggles with body-image, diet-culture, or a desire to control;

but when we decide that our mental health is more valuable than trying to control our food and bodies at all costs; when we prioritize our mental health and well-being over whatever rationalization for dieting/body-hatred that our fear-brains have come up with that day,

that’s when we can finally do honest, effective work towards healing our relationship with food—that’s when we’re really on our way.

Every moment that we make a choice to put our recovery first—over our compulsive desire to control—is a moment that we stand for and move towards our own liberation.

This is the “the work” in a nutshell.

Click here for more reminders.

Rejecting Dualistic Thinking in Your Pursuit of “Health”

Understanding the “non-diet” approach, means understanding “health” on a spectrum basis,  and rejecting over-simplified, dualistic (aka “black” and “white”) interpretations of health in our culture.

In reality, there is no such thing as “100% health” or “100% un-health,”
but rather, we are constantly bouncing around between these imaginary endpoints,
falling on different points on different days, depending on a million factors.

The word “spectrum,” in fact, may itself be misleading,
as health (and health choices) do not fall on one two-dimensional line,
but rather, on a multidimensional matrix—a collage of intersecting realms of “health”
(e.g. physical health, emotional health, and evermore subsections beyond them).

In essence, “health” is not binary

it is not something we “do” or “don’t do,”
it is not something we “have” or “don’t have,”
and it is certainly not something at which we can “fail” or “succeed.”

Health is an ebbing, flowing, living web of choices and experiences,
that we navigate differently from day to day, depending on
our ever-changing priorities, environment, and personal circumstances.

More on this in my video series here.

A note about Intuitive Eating & “Health”

Let it be known, that choosing not to eat something that makes you feel physically unwell in no way conflicts with the non-diet approach.

In fact, this is what traditional descriptions of Intuitive Eating are all about…listening to how your body feels physically, and consideringits needs in your decision making process around food.

If there’s any confusion about this, read this book.

That being said,

“considering” my body’s needs is the operative word here.

As a practical matter, if I choose to eat something “unhealthy” (e.g. my desire to eat something my body doesn’t love outweighs the consequence of not feeling so hot later), it is fully within my right to make that decision.

My mental health and liberation require that I be empowered to make such decisions for myself, because—while diet culture tells us that our life’s “success” or “failure” with food depends exclusively on our BMI, waistline, or our physical health status

I choose to consider my holistic needs,

the complexity of my human experience,
my emotional state,
my desire for soothing,
my pleasure, my fun, my celebration,
my schedule,
my stress relief,
my demands at work and at home,
the physical and emotional resources available to me in any given moment,
which can never be compared to those of anyone else,

right next to my desire for “physical health,” however that may be defined.

And I know what you’re going to say… “but I shouldn’t get my pleasure or soothing from food—I should go to therapy or write in my journal instead!”

To which I say…therapy and journaling are great ways to pursue self-care! Give yourself what you need girl!

AND let’s acknowledge that we don’t live in a perfect world with every self-care option available to us at every moment, nor are our emotional circumstances so one-dimensional that journaling will always feel like an equal substitute to a bowl of ice cream and an episode of Friends.  

Sometimes a bowl of ice cream will be the best that we can do—it all depends on our personal circumstances, complex emotional needs, and what feels most holistically nourishing to us given the resources we have available to us in a particular moment in time.

Trying to “gain control” of your food? Roll with the punches instead.

There is a myth that overcoming binge-eating is about “gaining control,” 
or that being “out of control” is the problem to be solved. 

This myth encourages people to grasp for control in any way they can think of—
restricting, dieting, trying the new this or the new that; 
anything that affords us the illusion of certainty,
the illusion of
“this time I’ve got it,”
the illusion of
“this time things will go my way.”

But this way of thinking about food is a trap; 

when things inevitably don’t go our way,
when something unforeseen or out of our control
hits us in the face and affects our food,
we binge—
unwilling or not knowing how
to roll with the punches.

Considering the wide array of factors that affect our eating,
(things like instincts, hormones, emotions, environmental triggers)
it’s safe to say that full control over our food is unlikely. 

But we can learn to roll with the punches. 

Overcoming binge-eating is not about “gaining control,”
but about being able to work with and adapt to 
our fundamental out-of-control-ness.