Healing Your Relationship With Food

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Take a minute and think about your relationship with food…. Is it something you have struggled with your whole life? Or maybe the relationship took a turn recently.  Is it negative or positive?  Do you have a food disorder or maybe just disordered eating?  Whatever your struggle may be, you can overcome it, YOU CAN HEAL that relationship you have with food and start living a happier, more fulfilling life without restrictions and rules and dieting all the damn time!   

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It is time to throw out those old ways of thinking about how our bodies should be, and how our diets “should” be, and that we are not good enough in our own skin, because those old playbooks need to be thrown out and my girl Tracy Brown is here to help you figure out how to make life and nutrition work for real people!! 

Growing up, Tracy Brown had a pretty normal relationship with food.  Lower middle class lived on a farm with a garden and had fairly normal eating habits.  But as we all know, as we grow, especially 30-40 years ago, things begin to change, and most people start to experience the women in their families being sucked into this diet culture.  And so many of us didn’t know diet culture was a systemic thing and that it was something they had to do it!  

And on top of this diet culture that our moms and their moms and sisters were getting sucked into, they were pushing it onto their children without even realizing it.  Fortunately, this generation won’t ever experience it as much as previous generations, now we know that it’s not okay to say, “Hey, Honey I think you are putting on a little weight.”  When we were younger, no one thought that it was going to scar their children for the rest of their lives. 

After Tracy experienced years of this and dieting and struggling with her own relationship with food as she got older, she decided that she wanted to become a dietician and REALLY HELP PEOPLE!  She wanted to help them feel better about themselves physically and emotionally, and she wanted to help them heal their relationship with food and stop all of this dieting nonsense.  And with this, she literally had to unlearn 50% of what she had learned about people, what they eat, their relationship with food, their history, their image of food, and the cultural history of food in our family systems and how this all affects what we eat every single day.  

This may sound familiar to you, but let’s look back to when dieting really became a thing shall we…   

In the 70’s and 80’s we started to see an ever-expanding body size.  Which is when our moms and grandmothers really started getting into this diet culture, and like I said before, forget about them not saying things to us that ultimately had an effect on us growing up and our relationship with food as we got older, because it totally did!  They told us something was wrong with our body and we should change it, and then began the spiral of dieting.  I say this because I do think there is a correlation between when dieting became normalized and people started getting bigger. 

This started because we think that the solution for every emotional health problem is to diet and that will make things better, but it really just makes us bigger.  And soooo many of us believe that the other side of the diet is whatever the heck we are looking for within ourselves.  ItsIt’s this feeling of glory, my life will be effortless and easy, but instead, all you get is a smaller body and your mind is STILL full of stuff. You CRASHED your way into this body with this particular diet and now there is absolutely no way to sustain it.  

A diet is like set it and forget it, right?  You get to this goal size you wanted, BUT THENNNN you can go back to regular eating and you think your body isn’t going to go back up again! WRONGG!!! Sorry but that is wrong, wrong wrong 

You cannot limit your body to minimal calories to keep your body just moving and functioning every day, you cannot diet this way and expect to stay that size forever when you try and go back to eating more calories.  With dieting, now your body has to deal with how to sustain life, or it has to eat more, or you are a perpetual dieter probably crossing the line towards having an eating disorder or disordered eating.  

And I get asked a lot what the difference between eating disorders and disordered eating and for me, it is a fine line.  An eating disorder is more of abnormal or disturbing eating habits and disordered eating is about having rules about food that only you understand, and they only make sense to YOU!  Both of these are huge reasons to try and get help from someone like Tracy.  ( Both of these can be very serious and possibly life-threatening, so if you need help, please reach out to myself or Tracy.  We want to see the healthiest and happiest version of you, and we want to help you get there!)   

Tracy went through her own food issues and she had to heal before she could help anyone.  She had to get better, so she got herself renourished.  She had to make sure she was eating enough, even if she didn’t feel like she was hungry.  She had to give herself FULL PERMISSION to eat anything, and by doing this her hunger signals from within the brain and body started to come back.  Once things come back, you eat when you are hungry, and you don’t when you are full.    

And you CAN be heavy and still be malnourished. And listen up magic makers, we are 100% asking you to eat MORE OF THE FOODS that you restricted for a while. Because diet culture doesn’t care about your preferences or nutrition, it looks to omit food groups. 

How to get better: 
  • Renourishment and regularity of eating.  
  • Look for your food signals and start to feel them.  Are they biological hunger stuff, mental hunger, or are you have a somatic thing, feeling sad and feeling tightness in your throat and can you be with it? What is the sensory experience and what is the hunger experience?  
  • Try and figure out if there Is anything going on inside of you that is impacting your life and your eating habits?  
  • Get uncomfortable with making smarter choices sometimes and not always going for the easiest choice.  
  • Start to build trust within yourself.  
I want to mention something called DIET TRAUMA.

It is a term I had never really heard of, but I love it.  And I can totally see this in me.  Foods that have taken legit almost 10 years to eat again. And random weirds food like white fish!  I see this in my clients a lot that they get part trauma, part safety without the safe landing pad. To me, I think a lot of people fall into the category of not having this or not having that. And absorbing this from the world and not taking the opportunity to say hmmm is this for me?     

Diet Trauma is not an overnight thing, the rules and trauma didn’t start on Monday and end by Friday. This may seem cliche, but it is a process to know what edges you can push faster.  Whether food, movement, body image, whatever,  you go at the pace of the slowest person you can go so that it actually sticks.  That survival strategy stuff is not where your value lies. This is a character strategy you created to help you survive in those times, but it’s 2020.  We need to get in line with who you are and what your values are.  You have to be forced to ask yourself what your identity is and are those behaviors and identity serving you?  

For me, I had this identity after I stopped doing fitness competitions for 10 years and only knowing how to work out for aesthetics.  I still liked going to the gym to exercise, but how the hell do normal people do this for only an hour a visit! 

How do you become that person that is this new person and is no longer on a diet? 

  • Being willing to be uncomfortable to not abandon yourself. To try different things and make mistakes.  
  • Then you might bump up against other things that you forgot about or didn’t know was an issue and you now see it was.   
  • This brings up the trauma piece and what Tracey does and what she helps with.   
  • This is also a stair-step process.  You get over one thing and have to work on another. You will always be working on something, there is no finish line. But when it comes to your body you have to have the patience.  

As much as diet culture wants you to believe, buy this book and all problems will be solved, it’s a little more nuanced. It’s multiple steps, it’s experimental, and we are playing off different scenarios that have been going off in your brain and try and break those down. A lot if don’t want to look under the hood, we want it to be a green smoothie and cardio and call it a day and all is good.  We have to build a new solid smooth foundation of this internal structure of being able to be in the world and be around dieters and remember it ain’t about you. You are not going to be triggered.  

You have to make the choice of how you want to live.  Do you want to have a happy, healthy, fulfilled life eating whatever you want responsibly OR do you want to live in a life of extreme dieting just to fit this mold off your “ideal weight”? I would rather you have a life that you enjoy vs giving up all the things that can make you hit this weight number that you don’t really need to be at!!  I want you to have the power to stop living this diet culture and take YOUR LIFE back.  Eat and be happy, love yourself and your body and everything that comes along with it.  You CAN push past the life you were living and break past the trauma, obsessions, disorders or anything else holding you back from truly living your best life and being happy!   

What is one thing that makes you feel magical? 

“I feel like I have been given this gift to be able to see all the different tendrils of what is happening and help people unpack the stuff in a really pragmatic way towards who I see, and see who they really are, like here is the end results how life might be and who it might be and what they have the mojo to do. And here we are starting to break all of that down and be like, these are just the things and we have to be really patient to get there.  

 I tend to see who the people really are under this anxiety, under all this fatphobia, the shame and worry, I know that is not who you are. The food, body image and trauma all points to this protective strategy protecting who I was too much. It’s really about learning how to see and hear people. 

LINKS  

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FabFitSquad 

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fitgirlmagic/ 

Website: https://www.kimbarnesjefferson.com/ 

Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fit-girl-magic-healthy-living-for-women-over-40/id1476883661 

www.tracybrownrd.com and https://www.tracybrownrd.com/intuitive-quiz/
She provides trauma informed training and supervision to health professionals as well at www.embodieddietitian.com

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