UNpodcast 096: Emotional Puberty

UNpodcast 096: Emotional Puberty

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast where Ito and I answer YOUR questions:  I’ve stopped bingeing, but my “bigger” body makes me uncomfortable. How do I make peace with it?  (35:30) I know a “paleo style” diet better for me, but how do I eat healthily without restricting and obsessing? (43:55) I am recovered, but I find myself automatically thinking about food, nutrition, and my eating disorder. How do I change my “mental screensaver?” (51:13) And now, onto today’s post:  There is nothing harder than taking responsibility for your own happiness. This is why most of us don’t do it. Instead, we come up with excuses for why we don’t have the things we want and yet feel we deserve. We make happiness a conditional thing—“I’ll be happy when…” instead of accepting happiness now.  This faulty thinking is what makes it possible for destructive habits, like dieting and extreme exercise. This faulty thinking becomes another addiction. In fact, this faulty thinking becomes our baseline. We become so accustomed to telling ourselves the story that “I’ll be happy when…” that when we get to “when” and we’re still not happy, we find ourselves setting new conditions. For example, before I relapsed with my eating disorder and was living with my then-boyfriend, I started feeling anxiety about my weight (because I knew I wasn’t thin/strong/lean/sexy enough for him). I started weighing myself every single morning. I had a goal weight in mind, and I knew that I’d be happy when I reached it. And when I reached it, I still wasn’t happy. So I chose a new goal weight. And I said, “When...
How to Handle Triggers during Holiday Conversations

How to Handle Triggers during Holiday Conversations

As we hit the end of the holiday season, the part where the bulk of the parties and get-togethers and family gatherings start to give way to New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to handle triggering conversations. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed eating disorder, conversations about changes in your body size, the way you eat, the way you exercise, the way other people eat and exercise, body shaming, and New Year’s Resolutions are crazy-making—and inevitable. Apparently, no body is free from scrutiny—or compliments…both of which can mess with your head, if you’re already in your head about your body image and your health. So here’s the thing: at the end of the day, nothing that I or anyone else says is going to make this easier if you approach these triggering conversations from a place of hurt. Because you can’t trust Aunt Sally not to comment on how much weight you’ve gained, your sister not to ask why you’re not eating another helping, and your coworkers not to talk about the January inter-office weight loss challenge, you have to be proactive and stand up for yourself, even if it’s just internally. Yours is the only opinion that matters—not your mom’s, your best friend’s, not the voice of ED in your head. Your body is YOUR body. So that leaves YOU with a couple of different options for handling these situations—because YOU have the power to react, YOU have the power to educate, and YOU have the power to make healthy decisions about YOUR body this holiday season—and every other season. Option...
UNpodcast 078 & Why It’s Time to Let Go of Your Belief Systems

UNpodcast 078 & Why It’s Time to Let Go of Your Belief Systems

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast with Erin Goon! There are few philosophies in this world that start with “maybe.” A true philosophy has hard edges—a definition, an explanation. And that’s because hard edges are much easier to grasp onto than soft ones. “Philosophy” is more than just a liberal arts requirement—philosophies are belief systems that explain our understanding of a fundamental nature of reality. Philosophies underpin our lives and inform the way we act in the world. But here’s the thing about belief systems and philosophies: once you’ve grasped a hard edge, it’s hard to trust the idea that you can let go and land without injury. For example: as a vegan, the idea of never eating meat again was a non-issue. It was a hard edge that helped me make decisions not only about what I’d have for lunch today or what I needed to buy at the grocery store tomorrow, but also the kind of people with whom I felt comfortable interacting, the way I wanted to exercise, the online communities I joined. Eating meat wouldn’t just change my diet, it would fundamentally change who I was as a person. As a wannabe figure competitor, my belief system was not just about meal timing and specific macronutrient requirements or where and when to exercise, but also what a female body was “supposed” to look like, whom to judge for being different from me, and why I was justified in doing so. My belief system gave me a way of feeling superior while also striving to fit in. If I let that go, I’d be no better...
Your Body is Not a Calorie Counter (and Other Podcast-y Thoughts)

Your Body is Not a Calorie Counter (and Other Podcast-y Thoughts)

I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but I had to share this with you. Recently, I was on the Rebooted Body podcast, which is hosted by Finding Our Hunger podcast guest Kevin Geary. It was, quite honestly, one of the BEST conversations I’ve ever had about health, nutrition, exercise, body image, and how we talk about weight with ourselves–and with others. I really, really hope you’ll give this one a listen. Even if you don’t think you have disordered eating or exercise behaviors, it’s really worth your time. Listen to “Healing Our Thoughts Words and Actions” on the Rebooted Body Podcast now! (You can also tune in on iTunes or Stitcher radio) And, if you’re interested in learning more about why we can’t measure our health in calories, check out Kevin’s “Definitive Guide to Calories.”  AND if you haven’t already, go listen to the Finding Our Hunger episode with Kevin! Happy Saturday! Stay hungry, @MissSkinnyGenes...
Cover Your Mouth!: Disordered Eating is a Communicatable Disease

Cover Your Mouth!: Disordered Eating is a Communicatable Disease

The seasons are changing, and it’s that time of year when we have to start being extra-careful about our immunity. And I’m not just talking about the flu–I’m talking about body image issues. In case you weren’t aware, disordered eating is a communicable disease–or, perhaps I should say it’s a communicatable disease. It’s not the kind of disease that’s spread by hugging–on the contrary, hugs are an essential daily vitamin that can help you build your immunity. It’s the kind of disease that spreads from person to person through negative self-talk, marketing ploys, and cultural habits. Every year during this time our attention turns to America’s favorite past time: coming up with an excuse for eating and then coming up with an excuse for punishing ourselves for eating. And every year during this time, our TVs, radios, blog feeds, and social media networks turn into a giant discussion about how to binge, how to stop bingeing, and how to make up for bingeing once the season is over. This is the time of year when it seems like you can’t have a conversation about anything without bringing up who’s eating what, where, and when, and how you’ll be doing penance for it. It’s in the national media, and it’s also close to home. For example, just two days ago, during my 2 minute savasana at my yoga studio, one of the newer yoga teachers said in her soothing “savasana” voice (and I’m loosely quoting, because I wasn’t taking notes while lying in corpse pose), “The holidays are coming. And you’re going to eat a lot. But you will come...
5 Ways to Start Letting Go of Food Rules

5 Ways to Start Letting Go of Food Rules

Back when I was training to become a figure competitor (aka during my last and worse relapse with ED), I thought I had it all figured out: The carefully researched broscience in my muscle magazines told me that I was supposed to be eating small meals six times per day, and that they should include lots of lean proteins, veggies, and complex carbohydrates. Beyond the crutch of the leaning out meal plans included in many issues of said magazines, I found myself fairly comfortable in the knowledge that, as long as I was eating some combination of the same types of foods every day in small quantities, I would be able to achieve my dream of making my fat* disappear. But when I finally came to my senses–when the body building dream came crashing down around me due to injury, sickness, and amenorrhea–and I had to return to eating real food, I was at a complete loss. The problem was that I had been conditioned to believe certain things about how and when it was “right” to eat, and anything that conflicted with that belief was unimaginable as an option. Needless to say, when I realized that protein powder pudding and chicken breast with broccoli in 250 calorie portions at 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm were not really options anymore, I was in trouble: I realized that not only had I forgotten how to eat, but I was also afraid to eat.  [source] Afraid to miss a meal, even if I wasn’t hungry. Afraid to eat outside of the three or...