Great Neck, Long Island
|“Three months ago… I would wake up at noon and eat breakfast and breakfast would turn into, ‘oh shit I’ve eaten 2000 calories in one sitting without even trying because I can’t think of doing anything but food’ and then spend the rest of day sleeping off the food hangover and canceling any plans that did come up because I felt like so disgusting. [Today] the idea of eating cream cheese frosting or cookies just doesn’t seem [appealing] anymore. My brain feels like it’s in such a happy state now that I’m not constantly obsessing about food. I’m finally starting to have faith in my eating habits again. I’m no longer AFRAID of food.”|
San Francisco, California
| “It used to be that I couldn’t enjoy exercise because I would spend the whole time agonizing over how I looked. I couldn’t sit still because I couldn’t stand feeling fat in my own skin. I spent every yoga class flinching at my reflection in the mirror or at my stomach during a forward bend. I used to compulsively place any purse or jacket on my lap when I sat down to hide my stomach. I would get annoyed instead of happy when my best friend wanted to take a picture with me because I knew I would hate how I looked.|
I have a hard time believing that I spent so many years stuck like that, because it feels like a different lifetime to me now.
These days I sleep naked, alone, FOR FUN. I put on my makeup naked, for fun. I actively seek out rather than flinch at my reflection when I go out with friends and wear a skin-tight dress. My kitchen is full of delicious food that I eat whenever the hell I feel like it. Sometimes I come home at night and make an english muffin with Nutella for absolutely no reason other than I feel like it and I wake up feeling like a badass, not a failure.”
| “Before I started working with Isabel, I just felt CRAZY—if I had brownies in the pantry, I would find it difficult to focus on anything else; I’d be forced to stop a few times every hour to eat tiny pieces off the edges. (Because everyone knows that if you eat mini molecules of brownie at a time, the calories don’t count).|
I would gain weight and lose weight, gain weight and lose weight. Fat pants, skinny pants; fat pants, skinny pants. It had been years since I bought a bathing suit, and even at my thinnest, I didn’t love my body. I still felt like I wasn’t good enough.
At some point, I gave up traditional dieting, but I didn’t know where to go from there, because I still hated my body and felt out of control around food. I’d done other programs that promised to teach me to eat only when I was hungry and to stop when I was full (often called “intuitive eating”), but I couldn’t stick to them long term. Isabel explained why my previous attempts at ‘intuitive eating’ didn’t work for me in the first week of working together. She helped me down a path of listening to my body in a sustainable way.”
Wilmington, North Carolina
|“I have struggled with emotional eating since I was 16, and maybe even before then. I tried EVERYTHING to end it. The summer before I found Isabel I was in Overeaters Anonymous and felt more depressed than ever. I thought I had an incurable disease that called me to food and that would plague me for the rest of my life. Deep down I knew there had to be another way and I could live a life free from food obsession.|
After going through Isabel’s program, something major shifted. In the past, I would eat or snack non-stop during work, but I just haven’t even had the desire to lately! I’ll go out to get frozen yogurt with colleagues and legitimately not want any. What!??!?!?! I’ve been leaving food on my plate and throwing stuff away. I’m getting more comfortable with being hungry, satisfied, and stopping before it gets to be too much…mindblowing. AND I know longer have anxiety around food. My body finally trusts me. It knows I will feed it when it is hungry and treat her well. Food is food and life is life. I’ve free up so much space in my brain to think about REAL LIFE instead of food.”
| “When I started working with Isabel, I had the beginnings of zen brain with food that was still mixed with diet brain. As a health and fitness coach, I had begun to learn and teach the principles of mindful eating, enjoying only what you love and listening to your body, but no one ever taught me about how to make peace with food fully in mind — i.e. true legalization.|
There is always a concern for me when I’m about to invest a large sum of money, but I thought to myself: I want the kind of peace around food Isabel talks about; I want to forget about the bread sitting on the table without thinking about it throughout the meal; I want to be a ‘normal’ eater. If she knows how to do that and can teach me, it’s worth the price of admission.
As a result, I still have a bag of partially eaten Oreos in the pantry from over 10 weeks ago (I should probably throw those out now LOL). My FAVORITE food — chips — can stay in the pantry and I forget about them, and I feel a general sense of ease around food.”
Las Vegas, Nevada
| “Before I started working with Isabel I was a slave to food. I would avoid social situations where there was food or drinks because I didn’t want the temptation. I had to have absolute control over what I was eating at every moment, until eventually came the days of laying on the couch, crying, surrounded by empty chip bags. I came across Isabel in an article a friend had posted online. After reading one blog, I immediately put myself on her client wait list.|
Today, eating is a pleasurable activity, not a necessary evil. Although I expected my relationship with food to change after working with Isabel, I hadn’t counted on gaining as much self confidence as I did. I am much more relaxed and able to go with the flow of life; I don’t feel the need to control everyone and everything. The extreme mood swings that came with the diet/binge cycle have vanished. I believe all of this is possible because I feel so much more secure in myself. It is amazing what the mind has room for once the constant food thoughts have gone and I am able to focus my attention onto important areas of my life. My husband is also very appreciative in the improvement of my mood!”
Los Angeles, California
| “I only built trust in Isabel because I knew she had been through the exact same issues with food that I had, and had come out on the other side. Every morning used to begin with a weigh in and tears, but today numbers don’t control me.|
Today I am able to have “trigger foods” in my home
San Diego, California
| “I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to sign up with Isabel because of the cost. In fact, I’d already decided against it. Then I was taking a walk and I had this sudden thought, “What if the program actually worked?” I signed up and never regretted the cost once.|
Isabel taught me the real information I needed to live a full life, not the fake information I thought I needed, like whether or not gluten or protein or kale is good for me.
I remember my mom turned to me once and said, “If I’m still not allowing myself to eat cookies at 70, will you just remind me that it’s time?!” Thank goodness that won’t be me.”
| “Before I met Isabel, I had tried lots of diets, read lots of books, and worked really hard with various professionals to figure out what the root cause of my food behaviors and weight gain were about, and I never was able to. I was beginning to lose hope that I would ever get any answers for myself.|
Of course, I had tried ‘intuitive eating’ before and much like other diets, it “worked” for a while and then stopped working. So when I heard Isabel used an intuitive eating approach, I wasn’t sure her program would be worth it. What ultimately changed my mind was that she was clear this program wasn’t really about intuitive eating — intuitive eating was only week one.
The ‘sanity’ I found through her program feels more than anything like ‘calm.’ I know everyone always thinks they’re going to ‘find the answer’ like it’s some video game quest, and when they “win the prize at the end” they’ll have this really big “sparkles and unicorns” awakening moment where the sky will break open and the whole world will suddenly feel dazzling and all sugar-spikey-joyfilled, all the time. But it’s not really like that. Instead it’s been…quiet. And I’m here to tell you, that is the most powerful fucking thing of all — finally finding ‘quiet’ around food. Imagine all those food anxieties and body-hating voices in your head just…stopping. It’s a peace I never even imagined was possible.”
| “Before working with Isabel, I was constantly trying to mold my body into something it was not. I was actually pretty thin, but my relationship with my body was toxic. I was constantly restricting and binge-ing. During the day I was back on the wagon of “being good” and by night all my will power would be gone and I’d end up eating a whole jar of cashew butter and dates.|
Now I eat whatever I want, and that usually results in healthy stuff… not because I have to. But because I want to. I don’t binge anymore. Occasionally I’ll ‘overeat,’ but I’ve dropped all the pain and judgement around my food not looking perfect, so it’s not a big deal and doesn’t turn into a full-blown binge. In my 20-year diet history, this is the only approach to food that actually feels sustainable.”
|“Before I started working with Isabel I was trapped in a mental prison of my own making. The prison walls were made up of scales and food. Scales because of my intense fear of weight gain. Food because I was so obsessive about every bite that went in my mouth. And since I was restricting sugar so much I would binge eat desserts to the point of being sick.|
The most important thing Isabel taught me was how not to be afraid of food. Now I’m relaxed and comfortable around food because I truly allow myself the freedom to eat. I can eat one dessert, calmly, sitting down, and be done with it. On my husband’s birthday I actually didn’t even finish my piece of cake. I can’t remember ever doing that before.”
|“Before I found Isabel, my days usually went something like this:|
What am I going to have for breakfast? Ok, a green smoothie. Now if I include protein powder, I can probs make it until about 11am before starvation sets in, but that’s too close to lunch to eat before I eat, so I better bring almonds just in case. Lunch has to be a healthy salad. But I always get it from the mall and it’s too big, but I eat it anyway and then I’m mad at myself for over-eating, which then throws me off all afternoon and makes me want to nap. And then I’m going to eat dinner late, which everyone says is how you gain weight… AHHHHH!!!
Finding Isabel was like finally finding the confident, sane person I knew I wanted to be and could be, some day. I knew she was in there; she had to be in there! I had reached a point where I just couldn’t live my life like this anymore. I was drawn to Isabel in that way when life hands you something and you don’t always know why, but you know you have to go towards it. It was some cosmic shit and I just went with
| “Isabel taught me how to finally trust myself with food. Prior to working with her I would always eat a lot of food right before I would start a new diet because I couldn’t have it on the diet. I would weigh myself multiple times a day; and how I felt about myself that day was 100% tied to the number that I saw. I felt shame every time I “cheated” on my diet and once I started eating non-diet food it would snowball from there and I would just keep binge-eating. I felt like such a failure.|
Today, the binges are gone. If I want a piece of cake, I can sit down, eat it, and be done with it. I haven’t weighed myself since the beginning of Isabel’s program and it is one of the best things I have ever done. I don’t let a number tell me how I should feel about myself. I no longer plan meals out for weeks at a time because I am trusting myself to choose foods in the moment. I feel like I know and love myself more!! My husband has also noticed I’m happier and that is a huge victory!!”
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
| “From the first moment I heard Isabel interviewed on a podcast, I knew that I wanted to work with her. I loved the fact that she had gone through her own moments of insanity around food and could totally understand what I was going through — binge-eating, thinking about food every waking moment, compulsively planning the next weight loss strategy, binge-eating more, etc.|
Isabel knew what I thought only I struggled with, and thankfully, she knew what I needed to do to come out of it on the other side. I’d tried so many other ways to overcome this ‘food issue’ before I found her, but none of the other “experts” really understood. Other programs I’ve done implied that there was something inherently wrong with me and that I needed to figure out what that was, then gather up my motivation and be determined enough to change it. Isabel showed me the opposite was true: that I am ok, right now, just the way that I am and that in believing that, food will lose it’s power in my life. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I had the ability all along, I just needed Isabel to show me the way.”
| “Before working with Isabel I was constantly ping ponging between binge-eating (total shame spirals!) and detoxing and extreme dieting. Always, always, always focused on weight loss. Food was ALWAYS on my mind. I hid food and ate it with such speed that I never really tasted it. I always ate while watching TV or reading or driving. Basically, I was hiding from myself while eating – I felt out of control and just gross.|
Today, I never feel shame about what I’m eating. I have permission to eat whatever the hell my body wants whenever it wants it. I recognize that I have a choice in what I eat, and that my body knows what it wants. It’s ok to listen to it. It’s ok to be working through things. Basically, it’s ok to be me. To look like me. To not feel like I need to look like someone else in order to be a better version of me.”
Client & Founder of Wellness Wonderland
|“Isabel’s work has profoundly changed my life and dramatically healed a very broken relationship with my food and my body. With her no-nonsense, grounded approach she sheds light on the daily intimate battle most people go through daily in their twisted relationship with food and their bodies. In her blogs, interviews, and telecasts she’s unafraid to speak to topics everyone is thinking about, but no one is brave enough to talk about. Even if you think you don’t want to get over your food issues, you just want to lose weight, if you just have the slight willingness of believing there’s got to be a better way to live than the endless diet-binge cycle, Isabel will guide you out of the “crazy around food” once and for all.”|
Managing Editor, Everyday Feminism
|“Isabel Foxen Duke is a force to be reckoned with. In the world of body-positivity, it’s rare that I find a colleague who completely alters my sense of what body image is and how it works, leading me to a whole new way of understanding myself. Isabel’s work is touching the lives of dozens of people across the nation and around the world, but that doesn’t just apply to her clients — she’s a necessary voice in the movement. Her down-to-earth, emotionally reflective content takes complicated concepts in food psychology and makes them accessible to a general audience, and the way that she wraps her mind around issues in body image discourse is inspiring. If Isabel can help someone like me — a body image activist myself — reevaluate my relationship with my body and spirit, then the capacity for what she can do for her clients is mind-blowing.”|