• This episode is not what I had planned for today. Rather than go ahead with my regular recording schedule, I'm here to let you know that I'm going to be pressing pause on the show. This does not mean I'm closing my business! Intuitive eating is still the heart and soul of my practice, and I'll continue to see clients (and get ready to enroll more amazing women into my new membership program!).

    However, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed in my life at the moment (more on that below), and the podcast was on the list of things I don't "have" to be investing time into right now. If you've been feeling a little frazzled yourself, let this be your invitation to take a deep breath and see what you might be able to press pause on in your own life.

    Listen in to hear about:

    Life Update: The Boys Life Update: Lack of Freedom Pressing Pause Focusing On Growth Throw-Back Episodes Top 10 Teaching Podcasts & Top 5 Interviews

    Get the full show notes here:


    Get my free training here:


    Connect with my on Instagram here:


  • Holly Toronto is a body image coach and spiritual mentor who works with intuitive eating and spirituality. If you're curious, questioning, and or growing your own spirituality, this is a great episode for you! We discuss:

    The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back Giving Herself Time to Heal Intuitive Eating & Spirituality The Power of Knowing That Bodies Are Not Objects Starting The Spiritual Journey Trusting Your Body As Your Guide

    You can find the full show notes here:

    I'm on Instagram here: www.instagram.com/caitlinballhealth/

    Connect with Holly here:

    Free Body Gratitude Meditation: https://hollytorontocoaching.lpages.co/body-gratitude-meditation/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holly.toronto/

    Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/143221746427796

    Website: www.hollytoronto.com

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  • This past year had plenty of emotions, and navigating uncharted territory while dealing with lots of emotions can result in using food as coping mechanism. From boredom (hello quarantine!) to frustration to loneliness to feeling celebratory; if you use food to deal with an emotion, that's emotional eating. We all do it, and only we can decide if it's working for us or not.

    On this episode, we'll dive in to:

    Why Emotional Eating Isn't "Good" or "Bad" When It's NOT Emotional Eating 3 Tips For When It IS Emotional Eating Choosing the BEST Solution For Yourself And more!

    Plus, here are the links I reference in the show:

    TRAINING: www.caitlinball.com/training

    SHOW NOTES: www.caitlinball.com/2021/03/stop-emotional-eating/

    DESERT EVERYDAY: www.caitlinball.com/2021/03/dessert-everyday/

    FEEL YOUR FEELINGS: www.caitlinball.com/2019/03/episode-22-feel-your-feelings-instead-of-eating-them/

    RELEASE RESTRICTIONS: www.caitlinball.com/2019/09/intuitive-eating-101-letting-go-restrictions/

    IG: www.instagram.com/caitlinballhealth/

  • Wondering if you can eat dessert everyday? Experiment! Try some different kinds of desserts (I recently tried Oreos again, and realized I don't love them that much). Have them in different settings (your coffee shop patio, in the tub, at the table). Indulge with different people (your kids, while on the phone with your best friend, with your husband).

    What felt good? What did you enjoy most?

    At the end of the day, only you know what is right for you. You don't need to work off of some sense of "good" or "bad", and you don't need to get outside approval. This is a fun chance to get to know more about yourself and your body!

    Resources & Links Mentioned:

    Show Notes: www.caitlinball.com/2021/03/dessert-everyday/

    Free, on-demand training to help you ditch food guilt and shame and feel free: www.caitlinball.com/training

    For those who might be wondering if they have a sugar addiction: www.caitlinball.com/2018/12/episode-11-are-you-addicted-to-sugar/

    Instagram: www.instagram.com/caitlinballhealth/

  • So....my body isn't exactly "bouncing back" to what it was pre-baby. And you know what? That's okay! Part of my intuitive eating practice right now is really learning how to love and appreciate my body as it is. That's an ever-evolving journey, and I wanted to give you a sneak peak into how it's going. I also want to be honest about the reality that this is an adjustment, and there are struggles. I'm so glad this is a safe place to dive into those!

    We'll talk about:

    Not Weighing or Measuring Myself Bringing Whole Food Into Our Home Sleeping When Tanner Sleeps Decreasing Caffeine Increasing Movement Practicing Body Gratitude And more!

    SHOW NOTES: www.caitlinball.com/2021/03/bouncing-back-after-baby/

    INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/caitlinballhealth/

  • Today, I’m sharing an interview with lactation consultant, registered dietician, and author Jaren Soloff. Her book, The Postnatal Cookbook, offers simple and nutritious recipes that really encompass a post-partum, gentle nutrition approach. This interview has so much valuable information for expecting moms, new moms, and honestly….pretty much any mom or caretaker out there!

    Listen in to hear about:

    Eating Disorders & Women’s Health Vulnerable Times Post-Partum Gentle Nutrition How to Take Dieting Off the Table Post-Partum Cravings The Postnatal Cookbook Children as a Mirror And more!

    Full show notes: https://caitlinball.com/2021/03/post-partum-gentle-nutrition/

  • Alissa Rumsey is a registered dietician. She’s been in the intuitive eating space for years, and I’ve been following her for a quite a while myself. It’s a huge honor to have her on the podcast today. Alissa has a weight-inclusive nutrition practice, and recently published a new book, Unapologetic Eating. In this interview we talked about the unlearning you have to do as part of leaving dieting behind. Alissa has an awesome process for helping people become unapologetic eaters, and we get into that as well!

    When you grab my latest offer, you can get started unlearning your old beliefs and kicking dieting to the curb! I’m offering two lost-cost, drop-in coaching calls. These are for women who are ready to start loving their bodies (Body Image Call) and stop emotional eating (Emotional Eating Call). If you’d like to see what coaching could be like, this offer is for you! Feel free to take advantage of whichever call topic resonated most with you (or grab them both if you’re ready to really dive deep)!

    Becoming a Nutrition Therapist

    Although she’s officially a registered dietitian, Alissa prefers to use the term nutrition therapist because she feels it better encapsulates what she does with her clients. She’s also a certified intuitive eating counselor. Her weight-inclusive nutrition practice is located virtually, and she offers 1:1 guidance for those looking to liberate themselves from dieting!

    As a young kid, Alissa didn’t have many external inputs around her eating and body size. She didn’t experience shifts (and increased stressors) around eating and body size until mid-way through high school. She stopped playing basketball as she was going through puberty, and gained weight.

    Looking back she can see that the transition of puberty and the decrease in movement would have clearly and naturally led to weight gain. Living through it, however, she was concerned and started dieting. She also got a job at a gym, and became fascinated in health and nutrition.

    Ultimately, her career as a dietitian started from a very disordered place of eating and exercising. Her thoughts were often consumed about guilt connected to eating and movement. She found her identity getting wrapped up in being the “healthy” person, and she felt pressured to maintain a certain image.

    Shifting Perspectives on Diet Culture

    When Alissa started working in the ICU of a local hospital, she found it an interesting change of speed. She was used to focusing on ways people could decrease calories or size, but in the ICU the focus was often on ways to get people to consume enough nutrients. Their more urgent physical needs shifted the dietary focus in a positive way.

    During this time Alissa was also lucky to be surrounded by roommates and co-workers who had healthy relationships with food. Slowly her own perspective changed, and she found herself migrating towards intuitive eating naturally.

    A few years later, she discovered the official intuitive eating framework. After a bit more learning, she was sold. Intuitive eating made so much natural sense, and she knew she needed to incorporate it into her work. Weight stigma, size bias, and misleading information about the connection between health and weight captured her interest, and she knew she couldn’t simply look away.

    Thankfully, Alissa notes that many programs now have more information about intuitive eating and the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement. No one was talking about those things when Alissa was going through school. Now, they’re becoming more recognized!

    Unapologetic Eating

    Alissa’s new book, Unapologetic Eating, is available now!

    When you’re ready to let go of dieting, there is a lot of unlearning that needs to happen. Ultimately, unlearning diet culture is a huge part of being able to become an unapologetic eater.

    Alissa notes that everything we think we know about food, nutrition, health, wellness, and body size is something we’re taught at one point or another. That means we have a LOT of deeply held beliefs about these things! Because our culture is very anti-fat, that means we’ve been programmed to elevate certain bodies and devalue others.

    These are considered implicit biases because we don’t really think about them. They’ve just been instilled within us, and it’s key that we take the time to unlearn them if we want to become free.

    Alissa also reminds us that growth is often uncomfortable! She recognizes that she holds a lot of body privilege as someone who is white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, and straight sized. Readers may find themselves learning new information that challenges their perceptions of how worthy, valuable, or superior some of these culturally privileged indicators really are – and that can be unsettling.

    Read with an open mind, and be willing to explore new ideas and ask the hard questions!

    Unlearning Diet Culture

    Alissa had built a whole identify around being “a healthy dieting”. As she started unlearning diet culture, she had to realize that those identity markers weren’t as important as she had once made them.

    Releasing them, however, meant that she had find new ways of thinking about and understanding herself. She also had to confront a lot of old beliefs in order to begin to reconnect with her own body, needs, and feelings.

    That might require questioning old beliefs. You need to be willing to consider where your current beliefs have come from, and the impact they may be having on the way you’re living. Eventually, you’ll find yourself wanting to know: What can I do about this?

    Alissa thinks of that as the opportunity to go even deeper! There is so much to delve into when it comes to raising awareness, and it’s an ongoing process. Unpacking your own history with dieting, nutrition, body-love, and more yields all sorts of amazing information about who you are, what beliefs you hold, and how dieting may have contributed to your life as coping mechanism.

    It’s Not Linear

    None of this is linear! Start where you are, and lean into what you’re learning. As you deepen your awareness, you’ll find continual areas that you want to continue shifting and changing.

    Once you recognize a thought pattern or belief that you want to change, Alissa recommends trying the opposite and seeing what happens! Self-compassion is key here, as well as paying attention to your body and listening to the signals that are being sent.

    You have to get comfortable with sitting in things as well! The answers you find in the process of unlearning diet culture are rarely black & white or binary. Instead, there are many shades of grey, many ways of being, and many paths to understanding. The more you learn about yourself, your body, and your mind, the more ability you’ll have to build new patterns and create change!

    Alissa’s Intuitive Eating Framework

    Unapologetic Eating is set up in four sections: Fixing, Allowing, Feeling, Growing. Those sections mirror her intuitive eating framework as well.

    In Fixing, the focus is on understanding the history of dieting, nutrition, and body-acceptance. Unlearning these parts of diet culture are really foundational. Clients (and readers) are asked to consider how that information plays into their own experiences and lived reality when it comes to food, body-confidence, and so on.

    Once that is understand, they can move into Allowing themselves to begin creating changes. What will it look like to do something different? To reconnect to the self?

    The changes that occur during Allowing lead naturally into Feeling. As you start feeling into your body, you’ll often start to feel other emotions. Often, this is really uncomfortable. Self-compassion, honoring and respecting your body, and sitting with hard things are all key parts of feeling.

    Finally, there is a chance to really start Growing. Once you’re done trying to fix yourself, begin to allow yourself to be, feel your feelings and reconnect to your body….

    You get to grow into the fullest version of yourself. How do you want to eat? Who are you? What do you want to do? There is so much to dig into here – embodiment, self-expression, passion, desire – and it’s really powerful to explore it all!

    Food can be an amazing entry point to learning more about the Self! The journey is so powerful. You don’t need to fix yourself, and once you stop trying — so much in your life opens up!

  • Let’s talk about ways to stop food guilt! I recently talked to a client who was ready to dive even deeper into releasing her own food guilt, and it got me thinking about ways we could all do this. Before we start, I just want to say...

    Continuing with your intuitive eating practice, in general, is going to be the most helpful way to stop food guilt. Going back to the basics is a big key! So if your overall practice has been lagging, or if you’ve gotten a little off track with intuitive eating, I’d encourage you to do a refresh there! In this episode, I do have some valuable tips for before, during, and after experiencing potential food guilt. I’m super excited to share them — just want to be sure you remember that ongoing practice is the key!

    Footnote: I have a new opportunity for new clients! I’m going to be doing two “drop-in” coaching calls, and you have the opportunity to drop in. Just like gyms and yoga classes let you sample a class or two before you commit, I’m going to let you sample my Quit Dieting for Good coaching program! The calls are just $37, and you can sample either one, or both. They’ll be Feb 28th at 11am PST and March 14th at 11am PST. I’d love to see you there!

    5 Tips to Stop the Food Guilt Tip #1 — Before You Eat:

    Before you eat, consider what food will actually satisfy your wants and needs in that moment. When you make a conscious choice to eat a food you have a desire to eat, it’s easier to own that decision! You’re also more likely to choose a food that can satisfy both wants and needs. That includes how it tastes, as well as how it makes your body feels.

    You might also be able to recognize more clearly when you’re choosing “want” foods, and be more likely to balance them with “need” foods as well.

    I find that conscious choices decrease my guilt levels a lot! For instance, I’ve been having some guilt about my son’s screen time lately. I notice that if I consciously decide I’m going to let him watch during a certain time span, I can let him do so without feeling guilty. But if I let him start watching and I just let time pass while I’m doing other things, working on my business, or scrolling my phone, I tend to feel more guilty.

    I feel more empowered and less guilty when I know I’ve made a choice, versus feeling that it “just happened”.

    Tip #2 — Before & While You Eat

    Try a mantra either before you eat, or while you eat! Something like:

    + Food is food.

    + There is no good food, and no bad food.

    + I get to decide what I want to eat.

    We have so many food stories that we’ve internalized — it can be hard to NOT feel guilty when we go against them! Using a mantra that reminds you about your new food beliefs and stories can help you have more confidence and less guilt.

    Tip #3 — While You’re Eating

    Take the time to enjoy what you’ve decided to eat. Often we feel guilty when we just consume food with no real enjoyment or appreciation.

    When we consciously decide what we want to eat, and then allow ourself to really savor and enjoy that food, it’s easier to feel good while we eat. Taking that time to enjoy is a reminder that food can be really fun. And if guilty feelings pop up, knowing that you truly enjoyed it can give you the affirmation that eating it was a good choice that are empowered to make.

    Nothing to feel guilty about at all!

    Tip #4 — After You Eat

    If you feel guilt creeping in after you’ve eaten, ask yourself why.

    Is it because you don’t physically feel good after eating that food? Do you think you aren’t “supposed” to eat it? Are you afraid you’ll gain weight?

    All of those (and more) can be reasons that our minds trigger us to feel guilty about what we’ve eaten. Many women especially feel guilty about food because of the connection to gaining weight. If that’s you, I’d love to have you check out these two episodes:

    Body Acceptance and the Desire to Lose Weight and

    Three Tangible Ways to Love Your Body.

    Praciting body love can help you release the stress about losing weight, which is another big piece of the puzzle when it comes to releasing guilt!

    Tip #5: Before Next Time

    You can’t fail at intuitive eating. No matter how you feel before, during, or after eating, you can use that as feedback to help you next time you’re eating.

    And as for food guilt? When you feel it coming on, use it as a trigger to start the process of figuring out information can actually help you. Questions like:

    + What did you eat?

    + Why did you eat it?

    + How did it make your body feel?

    + What would you do differently next time?

    Can help you think through the kind of conscious choices you want to make when you’re eating. And remembering to really consider how your body feels is a chance to stay present and practice body-love, which is a super important component of intuitive eating!

    Asking these questions can also help you feel productive and channel your energy into something positive that feels good! Instead of wallowing in guilt or letting stress ruin your day, take positive action and reframe it as something you can use to know yourself even better! (Also, just a reminder that you can access this free training on-demand whenever you’d like: How to Ditch Food Guilt and Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free!)

    Intuitive Eating Questions?

    Have an intuitive eating question? You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram, or send me an email at [email protected] and I’d be happy to connect you with a resource or previous podcast that might be of help. (Or maybe I’ll even end up making a new episode!)

  • Today’s interview is with one of my clients – Katy! I know everyone enjoys a good success story, and I also want you to hear what’s possible when you have the success and accountability you need to make your goals happen! Katy first started dieting as a young girl, and today you’ll hear about her whole journey. The results? Well…the title says it all! This is a celebration of how Katy quit dieting for good.

    This is an amazing interview for anyone who might be currently dieting, testing the intuitive eating waters, or considering working with a health coach. (And if you’d like to join the Quit Dieting for Good program yourself, you can find that info HERE. I 100% believe in your ability to quit dieting for good — just like Katy!)

    Let’s Meet Katy!

    Katy lives in Philadelphia, and is a singer and voice teacher. She found me on Instagram (shout out to my amazing IG community!) right at the start of Covid, and joined the program not too long after.

    Before intuitive eating, Katy shares that dieting had been part of her life for about as long as she could remember. She was eating Smart Ones and dieting food since elementary school. At the time, she remembers being a little embarrassed about it….but also that her house was filled with dieting-related food because that’s what her mom was eating. And Katy wanted to eat that special dieting food too.

    She also remembers that she was bigger than all her friends. When a neighbor that was 6 years older passed on some clothes that were already too small for her, it was the last straw! Katy begged her mom to let her start dieting so she could lose weight.

    Finally, her mom agreed. She started with Weight Watchers, and throughout the rest of her school career her weight fluctuated a lot. She lost a lot of weight…and she’d gain it back and start again.

    Intense Pressure

    As a dancer and performer, Katy put a lot of pressure on herself. Her teachers did as well. She was told that she was incredibly talented, and her freshmen year of college was even told she had the talent to perform on Broadway. She was also told that if she wanted to make that happen, she had to lose weight.

    Katy already knew that. After forcing herself into through more dieting cycles, she left the dance/performance part of the program to focus on singing alone.

    Eventually she took up running, and added in calorie counting as well. With the advent of fitness apps she started tracking every single calorie she put into her mouth, until she realized it was becoming an obsession.

    How to Stop Binge Eating

    Katy found intuitive eating after another bad night of binge eating. In fact, she ordered her first intuitive eating books after googling “how to stop binge eating”.

    Although the principles were amazing….Katy’s first approach to intuitive eating was still pretty diet-based. She still wanted to lose weight, and she approached it from a place of wanting to change her body.

    Gradually she cycled through other things: weight lifting, keto, macro counting. The desire to lose weight, and the idea that controlling food was going to make her life better, were constant companions.

    Katy even tried to tell herself that she could do intuitive eating AND count macros. She tried to listen to her body’s needs while also following diet-based plans. And honestly…it just wasn’t working.

    How Katy Quit Dieting for Good

    Then, she found me!

    Katy wanted to feel better. She wanted to be done binge eating, and she wanted to have a good relationship with food. Deep down, she also knew that her first go around with intuitive eating hadn’t been a true experience. (She had still been treating it like a diet, and she knew that.)

    Watching her mom still counting calories while in her 70’s also felt profoundly sad to Katy. She was starting to see that a dieting-mindset didn’t ever seem to just go away, and that she was going to have to change something in her life if she didn’t want to continue obsessing over food into old age.

    She had also starting following more body positive folks on Instagram, and through that she came across my account. After one final check-in, she knew she was ready to quit dieting for good!

    How Quit Dieting for Good Was Different

    The community connections and guidance were a huge part of Katy’s success! Having others to lean on, talk to, and turn to were helpful parts of the program that enabled her to really succeed. The first time she tried intuitive eating she had done it alone, and that solitude had let her dip a toe in without really going all the way. She had never really released her dieting mindset, and she hadn’t had accountability or support to guide her into doing so.

    When she joined the Quit Dieting for Good program, however, she had both of those things! She had also decided to fully trust the process, even when it uncomfortable. That was a pivotal part of how Katy quit dieting for good. She was ready to believe in herself, and to build a relationship with her own intution and body.

    One of Katy’s biggest lifestyle transformations during the program has been allowing herself to bring any and every food into her house. Intuitive eating has taught her that she can enjoy any food….and that some of those things she used to binge on aren’t even that enjoyable. She had only eaten them the way she had because she had them up on a pedestal in her mind…and once they were just food that she was free to eat if she wanted it…she didn’t need to binge.

    How Quit Dieting for Good Was Hard

    Katy gained weight on the program, and that was HARD. At one point she had a total meltdown, and worried that she was going to have to count calories for her entire life. After her “fit”, I had her make a list of why she was doing this in the first place.

    Katy made the list….and it reminded her of why she had wanted to quit dieting in the first place. As she relfected, she was able to take herself to that next level of acceptance.

    She knew she was more than just a “size”…and that she could learn to accept her body as it was, instead of for what she had been trying to make it be. Katy shares that she started doing a lot of meditation. She also did an Instagram “clean”, where she unfollowed a lot of people she had been following that often made her feel she needed to change things about herself. She sought out accounts of women that were her size, and women that inspired her for no reason related to looks, and women she just found authentically beautiful.

    She’s Come So Far

    Looking back at how she quit dieting for good, Katy loves how far she’s come! She’s started taking guitar lessons, and also sewing. (Now, she makes her own clothes, and they don’t have a size on the label since they are custom made for her!) Journaling and mediation are also parts of her ongoing journey.

    Katy’s also learned that food doesn’t scare her anymore. She eats a wide variety of things, including little fun treats like cookie butter that she loves to keep in her pantry! Another change is being able to keep easy meals on hand, and she also knows the foods that give her constant energy throughout the day.

    She has a favorite ice cream that she keeps in the house — something she couldn’t imagine ever doing in the past!

    With a laugh, Katy said: “I never thought I’d be where I am right now.”

    When it comes to movement, she’s been looking for fun ways to feel strong and powerful. (Her gym is closed so weight lifting isn’t an option, even though she loves that.) She’s also been hiking, doing yoga, and listening to whatever her body wants and needs. Sometimes that even means doing nothing at all.

    Katy’s Final Advice

    If you’re going to try intuitive eating, find a community! Intuitive eating is amazing…but it’s also not easy. It takes time, but it’s definitely worth doing. Being free from diets and being able to enjoy her life (and body and food) is amazing!

    As far as self-care goes, Katy advises you to do your best to get enough sleep. She finds it’s hard to get strong signals from her body when she’s lacking sleep, which makes intuitive eating practices more difficult.

  • Today is the third and final episode about my intuitive eating journey! This one features my last three years of intuitive eating, and I’ll pick up from where I left off last week: right after I hired my own life coach!

    Parenting Comparison-itis & My Intuitive Eating Journey

    My coach helped me realize how much mom guilt I had been feeling as I entered into my journey as mom. The same sort of shame and guilt I had used to feel about eating….I was now feeling about parenting. From sleep schedules to nursing struggles, to what kind of stroller we had and whether I was finding a rhythm: there were so many things to compare. I found myself often noticing what everyone else was doing, and experiencing guilt and shame over what I felt I wasn’t doing “right” myself.

    I realized that, rather than comparing my body to other women’s bodies, I was comparing the way I was as a mom. As glad as I was that I had worked through a lot of food and body things as an intuitive eater, it quickly became apparent that there were other areas I was still struggling.

    The principles and tools I learned from intuitive eating helped me worked through a lot of the challenges I faced as a new mom. That’s what I love about intuitive eating! It’s a journey that starts with food….but it carries over into all parts of your life. Self-knowledge is so powerful, and responding to yourself from a place of love and compassion is such a good feeling.

    Between working with my coach and practicing my intuitive eating principles, I was able to increase my confidence and decrease the shame and guilt that parenting seemed to be stirring up. I’m so glad I had those tools at the ready. That experience really proved to me that intuitive eating principles weren’t just a luxury better enjoyed by my child-free (less sleep-deprived) self! They truly worked in every area of my life, even as I was evolving and changing.

    Intuitive Eating Principles & Business Building

    Speaking of evolving…

    I was also still starting my business during this time!

    There were so many insecurities and fears I found myself having to work through as an entrepreneur in the online world. For instance, going live on video was so awkward for me. (One of my clients even mentioned I had looked really uncomfortable during my first ever live. Aghh….the struggle was real!) But I also knew that the only way to get better and build my business was to stick with it and keep trying.

    Being willing to practice (even when I knew it was less than perfect) improved my confidence and ability. Now, so many things that used to be major stressors are easy and natural. Did I have to push myself? Yes! But I also know that getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is an important part of life (and growth).

    The confidence I gained through intuitive eating enabled me to have a strong foundation for getting out of my comfort zone! I already had so many tools for building my confidence, overcoming shame and guilt, and offering myself self-care and compassion (while also growing through uncomfortable changes). All I had to was apply them to my business.

    New Vision For My Family

    We were able to visit the US shortly after Cooper was born, and it was HARD! There is a 12 hour flight and a 9 hour time change from Zurich….and the effort it took to get an infant back into some semblance of regular sleep was extremely challenging. Our time back home with friends and family, however, was more than just a long flight and sleepless nights. It also ignited a new desire in my heart: to raise our kids close to family.

    Seeing Cooper held by his grandparents and enjoyed by his cousins, and having a chance to be surrounded by family in a place we had both grown up in….it made me realize that I wanted this for our future. If I could have gotten my whole family to move to Europe with me, I would have brought them all to Zurich! But that wasn’t an option.

    Choosing to come back to the US permanently was a huge (and really hard) decision. However, my intuitive eating journey had instilled so much confidence in myself, and in my ability to know my own desires and tap into my own intuition, that I was able to have peace in our decision.

    (You can listen in to how living in Switzerland changed my eating habits HERE, and read a short Instagram post on some ways in which food is thought about differently in Europe HERE.)

    Tapping Into My Passion

    Around this time, the yoga studio I taught for went through some changes. As a result, I had to make some decisions about what my priorities were. Ultimately, I chose not to continue teaching. I knew that my true passion was intuitive eating and coaching. Parenting was also bringing about new time constraints….and it ended up making sense to transition away from the studio.

    A few months later, I could feel the difference in my body. When I was teaching I was spending an hour or two doing yoga every day. And as much as I had loved that….it was no longer necessary to invest that amount of time doing yoga when I wasn’t teaching (and preparing for teaching).

    As I noticed the changes in my body, I evaluated how they made me feel. I could have chosen to go back to practicing more regularly, but at the time, I realized that working on my business and having more family time was what I desired. That came with changes to my physical body, but I was okay with that. Once again, intuitive eating gave me the tools to process who I was, what I desired, and what I wanted to have happening in my life.

    Being empowered to prioritize what I most wanted and needed was important to me, and I’m so glad I had those tools at the ready! I’m also glad I didn’t have to feel guilty about my body changing.

    Intuitive Eating Tools & Major International Moves

    Moving internationally is stressful! Jon’s job was in flux, and we had a lot of uncertainty. In addition, we were trying to get in lots of last minute travel and nights out with friends we would be leaving behind.

    During this time, I relied heavily on the ability to ask myself:
    What do I need today?

    Rather than getting into a binge/restrict cycle where I ate heavily for 6 weeks of chaos and then went on some kind of wild cleanse, I was able to tend to my body and her needs throughout the entire transition. Sometimes that meant eating out, and other times that meant enjoying something light at home. It never meant having to restrict myself, though, and I credit my intuitive eating tools with that!

    Even so, I still had to go through the process of having compassion for myself as I got into new rhythms after the move.

    From finding new workout and meditation classes to looking for a co-working space and finding new friends and connections — moving definitely takes a lot out of you! I truly needed to practice self-care, be gentle with myself, and stay in tune with what I needed on a day-to-day basis.

    (I also had to learn all about letting go of restrictions again as we transitioned to US culture!)

    Pregnancy #2 & Intuitive Eating

    I found out we were expecting on the first day of our Covid quarantine. I’ve already done a few episodes on the pregnancy, so we won’t go too deep on that here! (Pregnancy and intuitive eating actually have lots of similarities, which I talked about HERE.)

    Some of my biggest takeaways, as an intuitive eater:

    + Don’t stress about changing dietary needs. If you can only eat bread and pasta (that happened to me for a bit), then enjoy them! Eventually your taste for other foods will return. Listen to your body, and give her what she needs. (Read about my first trimester eating experience HERE.)

    + Get clothes that fit your body for whatever stage she is in. If you’re not feeling ready for maternity clothes quite yet, you can still size up in your favorite jeans. Wearing clothes that feel really good on your body is important, and there’s no need to force yourself into items that are too small, too tight, or too constricting!

    + The best thing you can do for yourself is to honor your needs and your body. If she tells you she needs something, do your best to provide it. You might have new hunger and thirst needs, new sleep-related needs, or all manner of other new changes. Check in with yourself often, and do what you can to take care of yourself!

    + You might still have difficult body image days. Intuitive eating doesn’t mean everything is easy and perfect all the time. It does, however, give you the tools to process what’s happening.

    My Intuitive Eating Journey Wrap-Up

    Intuitive eating about so much more than *just* food. It’s a progression of confidence, in both your body and your life. It’s a way of getting to know yourself, your desires, and your patterns. There is so much to learn about who you are, and intuitive eating is a way of honoring that process.

    You CAN feel good, find food freedom, and gain total confidence. I promise you that you can take care of yourself in a way that feels right for you; no shame or guilt attached! Intuitive eating is a process and a practice. It can push you out of your comfort zone, but in my experience….it never takes you anywhere that doesn’t ultimately serve your highest good. No diet could ever give you that!

    If you want to learn more, quit dieting, or get some support for your own journey — reach out! I’ve been there, and now I’m here for you.

    My clients get amazing results, and they report truly finding food freedom by the end our time together. They’re able to enjoy food, be more confident in themselves and their bodies, and consistency use tools that honor their ongoing needs. Intuitive eating works (whatever is happening in your life), and I’d love to see you grow your practice!

    Ready? Let’s go!

  • Welcome to Part 2 of my intuitive eating journey! We started with my dieting story, and last week I gave you Part 1 of my intuitive eating journey! I’m 7 years in, and I want you to know that intuitive eating can truly work with you in any and every stage of life. (I’ve lived internationally, had major moves, given birth to two children, and started a business….all while eating intuitively!) I’m all about taking care of myself from a place of love, and that’s what I teach my clients to do as well!

    If you want to get started, or could use a little refresher, go check out my free, on-demand training. You can ditch the food guilt and body shame and finally feel free around food! Ready? Grab your free training and get started today!

    Real Food First

    With my first program, I wanted women to know they can eat what they want and feel good. At the time, I was focused on whole foods that make you feel good. (Now, I no longer hold to the idea of “real” food. I’ve realized that sort of reframing isn’t really that helpful for women that have been dieters.)

    I was cooking a lot, eating a variety of foods, and sharing with others that they can enjoy food! I didn’t sell very many….which was probably a good thing. It was a great learning experience, and also helped me further shape my own vision for what my business would be.

    An opportunity to speak to a women’s group (where I shared my dieting story!) boosted my confidence in who I was and what I wanted to really do. That was a huge first step that really helped me grow as a person and leader. One of these days, I hope to be able to speak to in-person groups again…in the meantime, I love that the podcast gives me that opportunity every week!

    Intuitive Eating Learning Experiences

    6 months into my educational program I was able to start taking on my own clients. My 1:1 practice grew fairly quickly, mostly by word of mouth and via Zurich connections.

    During this time, I continued taking good care of myself. (I used to think that dieting was a form of self-care!) Part of that was acupuncture treatments to help me alleviate stress and feel really good. My acupuncturist asked me to create meal plans for clients of hers that were dealing with hormonal imbalances. Something interesting that happened with those clients was that NONE of them finished the 3-week meal plan I crated for them. Why? It was too strict!

    Even though it was meant to be healing, the rigidity made it impossible for them to really follow through. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about using intuitive eating principles, even when dealing with specific dietary needs. (For example, check out Julie Duffy-Dillon’s episode on PCOS, and Susie Garden’s interview on dealing with food intolerances!)

    My Intuitive Eating Journey & Pregnancy

    While we were traveling in Greece, I took a pregnancy test pre-scuba diving….and it was positive! (Needless to say, I didn’t go diving.)

    Intuitive eating was really helpful during pregnancy. I was really nauseous, so I was eating more bread than usual. I also had lots of other cravings, and even schedule changes (I HAD to eat within 5 minutes of getting up if I wanted to have a hope of avoiding throwing up).

    Rather than feeling guilty about what and how I was eating, I had the freedom to adapt as needed and honor my body’s needs. I also got to practice being curious about my body! I had major heartburn, so I got to consider how I could help myself feel the absolute best. Dairy (which often makes me feel not-so-great) worked better for me when I was pregnant, and my doctor helped me realize that my iron supplement was connected to my severe bloating.

    Our bodies are truly amazing, and pregnancy was a chance to really learn more about mine! Intuitive eating allowed me to let go of preconceived notions and pressure, and experience listening to my ever-changing needs.

    Quit Dieting for Good

    My Quit Dieting for Good program came into being in 2016. I worked with a business coach to build out the business side of things, and working with clients helped me see that THIS work is what I truly desired to do.

    I gave Real Food First one more go around….but I knew quickly that it was time to retire it for good. My intuitive eating journey has been a pivotal part of both my personal life and by business, which has been such a fun journey!

    Now, Quit Dieting for Good is almost at its 5 year anniversary! I’ve continued to grow and develop my programs and coaching, but the heart has stayed the same: a passion for body confidence and food freedom that is accessible to all women!

    Intuitive Eating & Post-Partum Bodies

    Being post-partum made me realize that I had more body image work to do!

    I had gained weight during pregnancy, and when I didn’t lose it all quickly after giving birth I was upset. After all, I had taught yoga the whole time, AND I had given birth early (Cooper was pre-mature). It seemed like things should have “snapped back”…and my intuitive eating journey involved diving deeply into everything that came along with those assumptions.

    I had to dive deep into body image, especially postpartum body image. I learned so much, and really appreciate that experience. It truly helped me grow as both a person and coach. (Jenn Green and I talk all about post-partum mindset on her amazing interview, and Brittany Woodard shares all about post-partum body confidence in her episode!)

    During this time, I purchased new pants that actually, really fit my post-partum body. (Good quality pants!) I also had an incident where I broke down crying pre-event because I went to get dressed and my clothes didn’t fit right! There are so many ups and downs (and hormones!) post-partum, and the self-care portion of my intuitive eating journey played a large role in my experience.

    Also, my second time around with the post-partum experience, I got a therapist in advance. I knew I was going to want the extra support, and I opted to arrange for that in advance (rather than waiting for things to get bad). My first time around was hard, and I wanted to give myself some extra love and support by taking care of my needs in advance.

    Getting Support in Every Area

    After realizing that motherhood had been a bit of a rough transition, I decided to invest in a life coach for new moms. She worked with women to help them shift their mindset around mothering, and it sounded like exactly what I needed. I missed my freedom, my hour and a half morning routine that was clearly not going to work with an infant, and the ability to sleep all night.

    Working with her, I learned more about setting boundaries, self-care, and building feel-good routines (even with children in the house). Reaching out for and then investing in support for a need I had was a big step in my personal journey! At the same time, I brought on a business coach to help with my business growth.

    Since my own program depends on women being willing to get professional help for needs in their lives, I think it’s important for me to do the same! Even though I could have tried to figure out motherhood while also growing my business on my own….getting support made the process so much better for me, my family, and my business!

    Investing in support is also a means of taking care of my whole self, which I love helping my own clients do as well! Next week I’ll talk more about ways I’ve continued to do that throughout my intuitive eating journey.

  • Last week I shared my own dieting story! This week, I want to share more about my intuitive eating journey. I especially want to share about the beginning phases; I’m spilling all the details! My intuitive eating journey spans two babies, an international move, starting a business and more. It has changed, grown, and come right along with me through it all. That’s one of the reasons I often remind people that intuitive eating is extremely sustainable! (Not always easy….but definitely sustainable.) Like any other self-discovery journey, there are good days and bad. Intuitive eating, however, remains the best way I’ve found to live my fullest life!

    Real quick: The Quit Dieting for Good program is open! I’ve been running it over 4 years now, and it’s changed the lives of so many participants. You’re invited to join us at any time. You can learn more HERE. This is for anyone — women who have already been on the journey solo, and women who are getting started!

    2014: The Start of My Intuitive Eating Journey

    In May of that year, I was sick of dieting. My husband and I had a ton of upcoming travel plans, and I wanted to be able to do it all and enjoy it! That meant I had to be able to eat sustainably (not binge on vacation and come home and do yet another juice fast).

    After a bit of looking, I came across an intuitive eating course and gave it a shot. As a result, I started to see it was possible to enjoy food and love my body without restrictions.

    An early experience I remember was having dinner and dessert with a friend, and then meeting up with other friends for drinks. There was a dessert at the table, and I was offered some. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE dessert. Normally I would have been all about it….but because of intuitive eating I realized I legitimately didn’t want more dessert in that moment. I was satisfied with what I had already had, and I just wanted to enjoy champagne with my friends. So I passed….something I would have never done before my intuitive eating journey.

    I also noticed that when I went out with my husband to an Italian place, I ordered pasta and enjoyed half of it. Not because I felt like I “had” to restrict anything, but because I felt full and was done.

    The Daily Bread

    During this time, I also started to enjoy a local bakery that I had avoided my entire first year in Switzerland! They were literally called The Daily Bread (in French), and obviously their main trade was bread. During my dieting years I had thought of bread as “bad” and was used to not allowing myself to enjoy it.

    My intuitive eating journey helped me come to realize that I can absolutely enjoy bread in a way that feels good for me and my body. No rules necessary! Little changes like this opened my eyes to just how restricted and guilt ridden I had been for SO long!

    My intuitive eating journey also gave me newfound confidence in myself and my intuition. Once I started trusting myself around food, I realized I could trust myself in other areas as well. It felt so good! In fact, I started literally standing taller. (A man in my yoga teacher training commented on it because he noticed the change in me.) Even though nothing major had changed about me and my body, my confidence and energy did change….and it changed how I stood and moved through the world.

    Sensitivity & Eating Rules

    Part of intuitive eating is about eating foods that feel right for your body. I was eating to fuel myself, and losing the guilt and shame that had long been wrapped up in food choices.

    Around this time, a number of people I knew were taking food sensitivity tests. Since I wanted to give my body the best and nourish her well, it seemed like a good choice, so I took one too. Although I took it from the right place….it also messed with my mind a little bit!

    The test said I was highly sensitive to eggs, pineapple, oats, gluten, and dairy. Because of that, I started almost cutting them out completely. I was pretty hard core (something I had done before with Whole 30). It was hard! Shortly after, I went back to the US for a wedding, and got a lot of comments about my weight loss. I told them about intuitive eating and yoga teacher training….and also my food insensitivity testing.

    In retrospect, I was still pretty steeped in diet culture. I was really excited my weight loss, and I was also still weighing myself pretty often. My worth was still too tied to the number on the scale, and I was more impacted by “rules” and restrictions than I realized.

    Eventually, I started to experiment more with “sensitivities”. What I learned from my body was that many of those foods were just fine in my body. (I have a friend who is a dietitian who has also shed a lot of light for how inaccurate they are!) Following my intuition and listening to my body was more accurate than the tests.

    2015: The Artist’s Way

    My early intuitive eating journey had a lot of connections to feeling good in my body. I was able to move, enjoy foods that tasted good, travel, and otherwise practice self-care. (Because of our international move I still wasn’t cleared for working, so I had lots of time for all that!)

    I also discovered The Artist’s Way (by Julia Cameron). It’s a 12 week program in the form of workbook and daily exercises, like Morning Pages. Every morning, first thing, you’re encouraged to write in order to bring out things you might not have been fully aware of. If you do it consistently, you really learn a lot about yourself!

    You’re also encouraged to do a weekly Artist’s Date. This could be anything enjoyable you wanted to do with yourself. It might be a walk in the park, a trip to a museum, or anything that might strike your fancy. (I did a whole episode on how to date yourself!) Learning to enjoy your company increases your self-confidence, which is amazing! I believe some of these practices gave me the self-awareness to know I wanted to be a health coach, and the confidence to pursue it.

    Getting Pleasure From Food

    With a few free days that fall, I was able to go to small hotel for a personal getaway. During that time, in addition to practicing tons of self-care, I was also reading French Women Don’t Get Fat. NOTE: Some of this is still a part of diet culture. However, it also focuses on learning how to get pleasure from food. One of the practices she suggested was sitting with your food with no other distractions. I LOVE that practice, and recommend my clients try it as well. (However, I do NOT recommend the “leek cleanse”!)

    I found myself getting more satisfaction from my food, and also being more aware of what it felt like when my body was full.

    My Morning Pages, self-care, and experiences of food as pleasure all led me towards the next part of my intuitive eating journey: becoming a health coach! I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), made some calls, asked my questions, and enrolled!

    While I loved the program, I would note that they also teach you about all the diets on the market. Although it was a holistic approach that focused on how unique each person is, it was still sometimes tempting to try to the various diets we learned about it. And of course, many of those diets focused on weight loss, which is almost always a topic of interest when discussing food plans and diets.

    In spite of some of the diet-focus, I did enjoy the program and all that I learned. (I’m also glad I continued my own intuitive eating education beyond that, however!)

    Real Food First

    My first coaching offer was a 4-week meal plan called Real Food First. However….in retrospect I realized that Real Food First was based on the end of my intuitive eating journey, not the beginning!

    I didn’t quite have the confidence to teach and share about the process, and meal plans felt a lot safer. Now, however, I love working with women on the process part of their own intuitive eating journeys. Although I’m glad that I took the chance to start something new, I’m also really glad that I pivoted into my true passion: intuitive eating!

    Stay tuned to learn more about that part of my intuitive eating journey has unfolded next week!

  • I’m re-airing my first ever Quit Dieting for Good episode today! This one is all about my dieting story. It’s a reminder I’ve been where you are; I dieted for 15 years! It is completely possible to begin intuitive eating at any time in your life, no matter how long you’ve been a dieter.

    I would love to help you apply intuitive eating principles to your life! Although I haven’t accepted one-on-one clients for awhile, I have a few openings now since I’m coming back from maternity leave. If you’ve been thinking about trying intuitive eating out, I’d love to connect with you and see if coaching might be the perfect next step. You can apply HERE.

    7 Years of Intuitive Eating

    I started my own intuitive eating journey in May 2014! I love intuitive eating, and have no plans to do anything else. Since this episode about my dieting story aired (115 episodes ago!), I’ve continued to grow my practice. Here’s a quick update on that before we rewind all the way back to my dieting days.

    Something I especially appreciate about this way of living is that it can transition with you through any age and stage. I’ve lived in two countries, gone through two pregnancies and births, and started a business — and intuitive eating has been part of my life through it all! The way I eat has changed over the years, because my body and life have changed. Intuitive eating has been a source of freedom and joy as I’ve navigated other parts of my life (through the ups and the downs).

    I’ve also found I’m passionate about teaching others about intuitive eating because it WORKS. It’s sustainable, it feels good, and it allows you to practice daily self-care. It’s the honest truth: there’s no reason you have to stay stuck in the dieting trap (even though it’s January!). You get to build the life you want, and you don’t have to diet to do it. Instead, you can learn about body confidence, self-care, loving yourself, and being free.

    Intuitive eating has served me well these last seven years, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

    A Few Updates Since Ep. #1!

    If this is our first time meeting, I’m Caitlin Ball! I’m married to an awesome guy, and we now have two adorable kids together. (If you’re a sucker for baby pics, you can see the newest little guy here.) At the time I first recorded this Cooper was just 19 months old, so our family has been growing! Also, since this episode Jon and I have moved back to the San Francisco area. As much I treasured our time in Switzerland, it’s wonderful to back near our friends and families.

    I have continued to work as a Health & Lifestyle Coach. In a nutshell, I help women learn to quit dieting and gain confidence in their bodies and selves. That includes 1-1 coaching, as well as a group coaching program called Quit Dieting for Good.

    My hobbies include yoga, baking, paint-by-numbers, and learning more about eco-friendly living. My favorite snack is chocolate – I don’t let a day go by without indulging! (Side note: the grocery store chocolate in Switzerland is better than any chocolate I’ve ever had in the US. It’s insane!)

    My Dieting Story

    I’ve always loved food! My grandpa used to tell this story that as a baby I would cry between bites of food because no one could feed me fast enough. Today, I still dream about food and love getting excited about my next meal.

    However….I also experienced a lot of discomfort in my body. I grew a lot faster than most other girls my age, which created an obvious size gap. In fact, in grade school pictures I was always placed next to the biggest guy in our class (who went on to become an NFL linebacker). On top of that, I was a little socially awkward. I was good at school, less so with the social stuff!

    By middle school, I started to think I was too chubby. Reading the magazines and seeing what others did inspired me to think I should start losing weight. My mom (who used to be a WW consultant) taught me how to count points. That summer, I lost 8 pounds. I was thrilled to show up for picture day with a new, slimmer face. The rush of confidence I felt about my weight loss felt so good.

    Starting the Yo-Yo Cycle

    Back at school, I gave up my dieting. I had slumber parties to go to, and pizza to enjoy! As you can probably guess…I gained back all the weight I had been so proud to lose.

    Even when I wasn’t officially dieting, calorie counting became a constant weight on my mind as well. Even when I was eating something I wanted to eat, I would feel tremendous guilt about eating things I knew I “shouldn’t” be eating. Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches became my passion…even though I had to eat 2-3 to be satisfied.

    Now, I realize that I was actually craving confidence. I had been uncomfortable in my body, and I wanted to be more social and confident like the girls I admired. In my mind, starting a new diet and losing weight was going to position me to look better and feel good about myself.

    Through high school my friends and I frequently dieted together. We’d restrict ourselves to look great for the next dance or school event….then binge on all our favorite foods as soon as it was over. We also started getting interested in boys…which led to my first boyfriend!

    Weight Loss & Approval

    Once I started hanging out with my boyfriend all the time, I was no longer using food to comfort and distract me. (I was having so much FUN!) Initially, that resulted in a lot of natural weight loss. My boyfriend’s mom owned a high fashion clothing store, and on a trip to LA once she had me try on some of the clothes. I was the smallest I had ever been….but I couldn’t fit into a lot of them. When we left, she said “Now you know what you need to work towards.”

    As I got more comfortable and settled into my new normal, however, I gradually put that weight back on. Unfortunately, his mom noticed, and she was not thrilled about it. She walked in on us eating ice cream once, squeezed my leg, and said “Caitlin! You’re going to get fat!” Once, in front of his whole family, his mom told his aunt not to pressure me to try a donut because I needed to lose weight. Agh!

    If you’ve had someone in your life offering you that sort of “advice” or feedback, I feel your pain! That sort of thing really gets into your head, and it doesn’t feel good.

    As I progressed through college, I went through cycles of partying, having tons of fun, and gaining weight….then going home for summer, dieting hard, and trying to return thinner than ever. In fact, I once got a terrible stomach bug over the summer and ended up thinking of it as “the jump start” my body needed because it resulted in me losing 7 pounds.

    Loss and Comfort Food

    Losing my mom to breast cancer was tremendously hard, and I turned quickly to food to deal with the pain. Between the eating and the partying, I gained any weight I might have lost, sending me back into the restricting/binging cycle typical of all diets. Looking back now, I can see that I was seeking comfort. At the time, however, it seemed like just eating.

    My first “break” from the dieting mentally came when I went abroad after college. I decided I wasn’t going to calorie count or restrict myself, and that I could eat whatever I wanted. This was kind of like the first step of intuitive eating, except I wasn’t doing any internal work alongside it!

    Pair that with the stressors of being in a new country, observing the anniversary of my mom’s death far away from my family, and general struggles feeling comfortable with who I was….and you have a recipe for eating as a form of comfort and relief. When my family visited me for Christmas, my brother was immediately concerned for me.

    Up-Leveling My Dieting Game

    I realized I hadn’t been taking care of myself very well, and I wanted to change. So…back to dieting! I started using My Fitness Pal and attending spin classes. Eating “healthy” became an obsession, and I was constantly pushing myself to eat “right”. (Although Sundays were all about enjoying and overindulging since I knew I would be back to restricting on Mondays. You’re probably familiar with that cycle!)

    I didn’t yet know how to stop counting calories and enjoy eating!

    I tried running (and ran my probably-only-ever half marathon), and got into the smoothie cleanse trend. My friends and I were all doing a lot of the same things; eating “good” food, working out, counting calories and following trends.

    And then…

    I started a baking blog! Even though I was giving away as much of it as I could, it was a struggle because the comfort of baking made me think of my mom.

    New Ways of Thinking About Food

    When I was dating my (now) husband, I remember thinking it was crazy he would quit eating with food on his plate. He’d have a few bites left and just…stop eating.

    When I questioned him he shrugged and said he just wasn’t hungry anymore. Having grown up in a family that insisted you don’t waste food and always cleaned your plate, that was crazy to me! (Plus, it just didn’t make sense with the dieting story I had believed for so long.) Now I realize that Jon was just already practicing intuitive eating principles; when he was full, he stopped eating.

    As I prepped for my wedding, I was working hard to lose weight. I tried a yoga retreat and working out 2 hours a day and all sorts of other things. Ultimately, I settled on doing Whole 30, which ended up being my last major diet! It also taught me that my body doesn’t really love dairy, which I discovered when I reintroduced it.

    Enjoying My Food & Eating for My Body

    Post-wedding, we headed back to Switzerland and I started yoga teacher training. I realized pretty quickly that I had to eat appropriately to have enough energy to get through the long days. I also realized that yoga training and dairy weren’t going to be a great fit for me, for reasons you can guess!

    It was the first time in my life I started eating for my body, which was crazy! Around that time, I also came across an intuitive eating class. It was perfect timing, and I dove in headfirst.

    I started eating food that felt good for my body.

    Vegetables and lighter foods became something that I chose because I wanted them.

    Sweets were something I could indulge in with joy and pleasure – no more guilt.

    Eating more food when I already felt full didn’t work for me anymore.

    Dieting no longer seemed like the key to feeling good in my body.

    My emotions were something I could talk about and journal through, rather than eat.

    Body acceptance became real and possible; not something other people were able to do that I could never attain.

    Practicing yoga became about doing yoga and feeling strong, rather than losing weight or changing my body. (Yay for intuitive movement!)

    My {Real} Dieting Story

    Dieting does NOT work.

    Intuitive eating is powerful because you get to incorporate everything: your body, mind, emotions, and full self. You get to practice self-care, love yourself without guilt or shame, and grow in confidence and acceptance of who you are.

    Now that I’ve experience this, I can say with confidence that my dieting story has come to an end. I’m free from that, and I’m here to say that you can gain that same freedom yourself!

  • Happy New Year! This is often the season for New Year’s resolutions…and all too often people start looking for fad diets as a result. I’m here to tell you you don’t have to do that! There are so many amazing things you can do for your body, your life, and your health that do NOT require dieting. Today, we’ll talk about five of them!

    Just a reminder, you can access my on-demand training, How to Ditch Food Guild and Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free, for FREE! This framework sets you up for New Year’s resolutions that will help you start enjoying food and feeling good in your body. It’s actionable and fun, and you can start now! (Also, if you’re looking for more support, I’ve re-opened my 1-1 coaching container and Quit Dieting for Good group program! You can check that out HERE, or apply now!)

    5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions Better Than Dieting Tip #1: Get The Support You Need

    This isn’t isolated to health coaching! I’m talking about kind of specialized support that might make your life easier, more enjoyable, more balanced, or less stressful. For myself, that includes a weekly session with my therapist. I specifically reached out to someone because I knew having a new baby + all that transitioning was going to be tough! Being proactive in seeking support was a really good decision for me.

    In the past I’ve had business and life coaches. Right now, I’m getting a lot of help from my mother-in-law with childcare. I also have friends and other family members I know I can call to vent, chat, or get support.

    Are there areas of your life you could use some support? That could mean a therapist, a trainer for support and accountability, asking family or friends for help with childcare and transportation, or anything else.

    Something else to think about: If you’re really struggling with the temptation to diet right now, you probably have something else (beyond just food!) that you could use some support with. Past trauma, body confidence, self-image, anxiety/stress – all of these (and more!) can equate to reasons you might be struggling with eating. Rather than start another diet to try and control your food intake….what if you worked with someone who could help you address the real problems instead? That sounds like a healthy resolution!

    Tip #2: Move How You WANT to Move

    In addition to diet talk, New Year’s resolutions lead to lots of conversations about working out and moving your body. That can be exciting…or sound really terrible, depending on what movement has been like for you in the past.

    Do I feel better when I move my body? YES! But I don’t do it to burn calories, lose weight, or “punish” myself for not looking a certain way. Instead, I find a form of movement I actually enjoy. Then, I choose to engage in that from a place of joy and celebration. I do movement that I like to do, and it makes such a difference in how it feels!

    Also, don’t forget to consider how movement makes you feel afterwards. There are some forms of movement that I don’t always love “starting”…but I feel amazing when I’m done. I’ll still do those, because it’s worth it (even if I have to push myself a little to get started). On the other side of that: there used to be a class I dreaded going to…and afterwards I was always sore, tried, and frustrated. That is NOT worth it to me!

    Now, more than ever, you can access all sorts of classes with people you might not have ever been able to learn from. Online fitness classes, including live opportunities with celebrities and pros, are super common as a result of Covid. You might find a new favorite exercise you would have never considered in the past, especially if you’re willing to reframe fitness. Let 2021 be the year you enjoy movement.

    Tip #3: Let Go of Old Food Stories & Restrictions

    I used to make food-based rules, like: “Monday I won’t eat any chocolate.” These little food stories (like not eating carbs, not eating after 7pm, avoiding sugar, or only being vegetarian) can really weigh us down.

    We constantly hear that some foods are “bad”, or that others are “good”, and we can get really wrapped up in those stories! (Then we use them to make rules and start restricting.) What if you just let those go, and you tried eating things that taste good and make you feel good?

    You might really really like a tasty treat that you have a “rule” about…and you’ll end up binging/overeating on something else instead of just enjoying what you actually desire. Trust yourself, and your body, to let go of restrictions and enjoy a variety of foods!

    Food is food. Young kids eat a variety of foods, with no stress, because they don’t have any rules or food stories yet. You can get back to that place too, and you certainly won’t get there with another diet!

    Tip #4: Do Different Enjoyable Things Daily

    This is a form of self-care! I firmly believe that one of the best forms of self-care is to do things that you love daily.

    For example, one of the best parts of my year in 2020 was working on my paint-by-number every day. It brought me SO much joy! I’d listen to music or podcasts (or just my own thoughts), and it was a personal “me time” hobby I loved. Doing something for yourself that you can enjoy is powerful — and it’s a really easy way to honor your self.

    Daily joys can include food, like treating yourself to a latte or your favorite baked good. It could also mean watching a show you love, calling your mom, taking a starlit walk around the block, visiting the pet store, painting your nails, or anything else that lights you up.

    Being happy helps you be healthy. Mental and emotional health are just as important as your physical body and its health — adding daily joys helps you tap into that! If all your current New Year’s resolutions are serious, I’d encourage you to mix it up with FUN!

    Tip #5: Work On Your Relationships & Connections

    A lack of relationships, or too much stress and conflict within your relationships, can really take a toll on your health. Even if it feels overwhelming, I’d encourage you to look for ways to build stronger relationships in 2021.

    This last year I’ve made it a priority to have a weekly phone date with a friend. I found that Zoom calls with big groups just didn’t work for me (I miss the side conversations too much!) Instead of just missing out, I made it my mission to connect 1-1 or in smaller groups online or via the phone. You might set up a phone date with your sister/mom/cousin/bestie, or set up a virtual coffee chat with a new connection from a local FB group.

    If you have a partner, you could also take inventory of how that relationship is going for you. Could you spend more time together? Are you encouraging and supporting one another? Are there conversations you need to have? Do what you can to make this important relationship a source of pleasure and health!

    No Food Restrictions Required in 2021

    There is so much more to health than the way you’re eating!

    Rather than creating yet another new year’s resolutions based on the diet industry, what is one thing you can focus on that will improve your health and take the emphasis away from food? Choose one thing and start practicing! Once it’s going well, feel free to add in something else. (Don’t be tempted to do *all the things*….that’s a recipe for overwhelm!)

    If you’re done feeling guilty about food, shaming your body, and struggling with food….I’m here for you! Head HERE to apply to work with me; we’ll hop on a call and talk about what’s going on in your life, and how I can help.

  • The big question I’ll be discussing today is this: How do I practice body acceptance if I still really want to lose weight?

    It’s a great question because when you learn about intuitive eating, you read you are supposed to accept your body as it is right now. But what if you don’t feel good in your body right now? How can you accept that? And isn’t it easier to make change if you don’t just accept what is? These questions, and more, are common. So if you’ve been wondering about any of them, you’re not alone. Let’s talk about it!

    Also, just a reminder that you can access my free training on demand: How to Ditch the Guilt and Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free! If you’re already dreading a new round of dieting, body shame, and weight loss guilt…this is perfect for you!

    What Body Acceptance Really Means

    What can you do about your desire to lose weight while you’re also learning to eat intuitively? Does body acceptance mean you can never want to change anything about your body ever again?

    First off, I want you to know that accepting your body as it is right now does not mean that you are giving up on health. It’s also not about giving up on feeling better in your body! What body acceptance really means is that you are giving up the fixation or obsession you have with trying to change your weight.

    You accept your current weight as it is. You accept that this is where you are at right now. And from that acceptance, you start on a journey to learn how to feel the best you possibly can in your body and mind. Body acceptance lets you embark on that journey from a place and self care, rather than from a place of shame and guilt that pushes you to “punish” yourself for not being the way you think you should be.

    An Example of Acceptance

    Let’s use accounting as an example. Maybe you never learned it in school, but now you’re a business owner (or just an adult trying to get your budget together!), and you’re frustrated because you feel like you don’t “get it”.

    You want to be able to use accounting and understand your financials, but you’re clearly not fully equipped to do so. The best way to get started is to accept the fact that you don’t know what you need to do. Boom. No need to shame yourself for not knowing it all and being a pro. Instead, you just accept and understand that you don’t know it yet. You know you can find a way to learn, and being honest about your current lack is a good thing – it means you’re ready to get started!

    Once you’ve identified the problem, you might decide that you’d like to learn how to do accounting for your business and personal needs. You could sign up for an accounting course to learn the skills you need. It will take practice, but eventually, accounting will become second nature to you. Once that happens, you can do your own accounting! You never had to feel ashamed or guilty. There was no need to put yourself down or shame yourself for not knowing something. You could accept where you were, and still start the journey towards growth.

    The Acceptance of Your Body Weight

    Now let’s go back to your body weight, and the idea of accepting it as it is right now. First, you have to gain some knowledge and understanding of what your body does for you (it’s amazing!). You’ll also want to consider what might not be working the best, since every body is unique. Then, you get to take action.

    This action is a combination of accepting your weight for what it is and treating your body with love and kindness. This enables you to feel better in your body, as well as about your body. It also translates to positive outcomes physically, mentally, and emotionally. Nice!

    Key Points of Body Acceptance ONE: Your body has a set point in weight.

    Just like you have a shoe size, just like you have an eye color, you were born with a weight that works well for your body. If you are constantly trying to be under that weight, you will forever be eating less than your body wants and needs. Your set point has a range that it likes to stay within. Think about the oven.

    When you set the oven to 350 F, the temperature will fluctuate from 320-380 throughout the time that you are cooking. (Surprise! It doesn’t stay exactly at 350 the whole time, even though it’s filled with sensors and other tech.) When it hits 320, the heat turns back up again. When it hits 380, it stops adding heat to the oven so it can cool a bit. This is similar to your weight.

    If you are regularly eating an amount of food that your body needs and you’re moving your body, scientists predict that your weight will most likely fluctuate 10-20 pounds. (Why isn’t this ever talked about?!)

    This is a key point to understand so you can accept weight fluctuations as being a normal part of your body. Those weight fluctuations can be due to what you’ve eaten, water retention, menstruation, medications you may be on, and a whole slew of other reasons. What can you do? Throw out the scale and buy different size pants for different days, and just keep eating normally!

    TWO: Fat is not “bad” and thin is not “good” (or vice versa).

    Also, it’s important to understand that thin does not equal “happy”.

    Is every thin person happy? No! Unfortunately our society has put being thin on a pedestal. But even this has fluctuated over time! A while back, being fat proved your wealth, which was a good thing.

    Our expectations around weight have actually fluctuated and changed with every trend. Look around: thick eyebrows are in now, but thin eyebrows used to be popular. Permed hair was huge in the 80’s, and we’ve seen trends for straight hair, wavy hair, crimped hair, and everything else. Big butts are taking the place of big boobs, with a whole movement around removing breast implants.

    How the heck are you supposed to keep up with it all? The point is, you can’t (and you shouldn’t feel like you have to)! Our body shape and size is the same way. Whether you fit whatever trend happens to be “in” right now or not….you shouldn’t be forcing your body to attain an ideal it wasn’t meant for. Especially when that ideal is based on nothing more than a passing fad!

    You have to realize that your body wants to weigh what it wants to weigh – it has a natural set point. If you’re always trying to make it be something its not, you are going to forever be at war with your body. Learning to accept that your body has a certain size, just like you accept that you have a shoe size (and you buy shoes in that size) is key!

    THREE: Fat does not automatically equate to being “unhealthy”.

    A naturally thin person with unhealthy habits is definitely not as healthy as a naturally larger bodied person that has healthy habits. You literally cannot look at someone and know anything about the true state of their health just because you are observing their physical size.

    Our culture is so focused on this lie that fat = unhealthy. In reality, the shame that fat people feel for being fat is worse for their health than the fat itself. The healthiest decision you can make about fat is to stop shaming yourself, and stop shaming other people.

    FOUR: Body size does not define worth.

    The last thing I want to remind you, because I know you know this is true, is that your body size does not define your worth. When you move this knowledge past the surface level and really feel it, it can change so much about how you perceive yourself!

    You are worthy. No matter what you look like, how much you weigh, how much money you have, or how well you fit societies mold (or don’t) – you are worthy. So many of have a hard time with this one, because a part of ourselves is clinging to the idea that if we lost weight, or made more money, that we’d be more loved, seen, accepted, wanted, or worthy. It’s just not true. You are absolutely worthy just the way you are.

    Take a moment to think about all the wonderful inner traits you possess that are so uniquely you. The way your mind works, the things you love to do, the way you treat others, the passion you hold, the abilities you have. There is SOOO much more to you than your weight or body shape!

    Get to know yourself! Spend time with yourself. Ask yourself what you want to do on a regular basis. Ask yourself how you’d like to be treated. The more you can get to know, honor, and appreciate your true self, the easier it will be to treat yourself kindly and accept your body exactly as it is.

    Body Acceptance Actions to Take Today 1. Stop weighing yourself.

    You know now that this number means nothing, so why potentially trigger yourself with old thinking patterns by stepping on the scale? Just so you also know, you can usually refuse to be weighed at the doctors office (ask them why they need it), or turn around and not look at the scale if it’s a must.

    2. Move your body in a way that feels joyful.

    You’ve probably worked out as a form of punishment to make your body look a certain way. Most of us have at some point! Once you stop punishing your body, you can start moving her just because she is a body that likes some sort of movement! Turn on your favorite podcast and go for a walk. Turn on your favorite songs and dance. Go exploring your neighborhood on foot. Walk to the lake and get an ice cream cone on the way!

    3. Start feeding your body what it wants and needs.

    Allow yourself to have food that you desire. Feed your body food that provides nutrients and energy that will allow your body to function. Eat regularly and eat an amount that your body needs, depending on the day. I know this part is easier said than done, but it feels so good once it becomes a practice.

    4. Stop making comments about your body or other people’s bodies.

    You may not even notice the little comments you are making. Things like: “Ugh, I’ve gained so much weight.” Or, “Wow did you see how big she is now?”, and even “Sorry, don’t mind me and my pimply face/” On and on it goes! You don’t have to apologize for your body; if someone else is offended by something, it’s their own problem.

    You also don’t need to compliment other people’s weight loss. Pointing it out might bedetrimental to them in a way you don’t realize, and you’re just adding more weight stigma to the world. Any comments about weight are just unnecessary.

    5. Start living exactly as you would if you were in your dream body.

    If you’ve ever held back from dating, swimming, wearing a red dress, traveling the world, riding a roller coaster — if you held back from doing anything simply because you were waiting to be in the perfect body – go do it now! Find out if you are holding back, and if you are, go out and do the thing you’ve been withholding from yourself!

    But What About the Desire to Lose Weight?

    So what do you do with the desire to lose weight?

    You can’t just drop a desire that has been engrained in you for years! So yes, the desire to lose weight can still be in your mind, even as you begin to practice body acceptance. Let it be in your mind, but, as one of my clients said, “Put it on a shelf”.

    You have to power to take the desire and “shelve it”, rather than letting it sit front and center for you to think about every single day. When you put the desire to lose weight on a shelf, you allow yourself to focus on taking care of your whole self in a loving way, instead of punishing yourself to change.

    In place of that obsession about losing weight, find something else to add in. Maybe more fun! Add in more self-care! Add in more vegetables! Try some formerly restricted foods! Add in more movement!

    You CAN accept your body while still having the desire to lose weight. The only stipulation is that the desire to lose weight can no longer be top priority. It can’t be the “thing” that fuels you. After months or years of practicing body acceptance, the desire to lose weight will go away on its own. You won’t even have to force it out.

    Think of it like a friendship that would be very difficult to cut off completely (for example, someone you may still have to see in a group setting). Instead of a big dramatic break up, you could just slowly turn down offers to hang out, and slowly stop answering their calls and texts. Eventually, they’ll just stop trying to remain in contact at all (except for maybe a few times a year, at which point you are free to politely decline).

    The desire to lose weight might try to come back into your life, but once you know better, you can simply decline the invitation.

    Instead, you can rest in the knowledge that your body has found its happy weight. Once your inner self has finally found peace, you’ll realize weight loss never meant what you thought it meant (acceptance, belonging, peace, contentment, happiness, self-love)

    Are you ready to accept your body and stop prioritizing weight loss? I hope so! If you’re ready to take action now, you might head over to Episode #16 – 3 Tangible Ways to Love Your Body.

  • Jenn Green is a body acceptance movement and mindset coach for Mamas. That includes post-partum mindset! She helps us get strong while unlearning everything we’ve been taught about our bodies not being “good enough”. In our awesome interview, we discuss what you need to be doing post-birth (instead of trying to get your pre-baby body back). Hint: It’s all about self-love and personhood! Jenn also shares tips on how to build strength without focusing on losing weight.

    New to intuitive eating, or just want to work on increasing your own self-love? You can check out my FREE training here! It’s called: How to Ditch the Food Guilt + Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free. In it, I’ll walk you through four steps that will move you towards feeling like your best self again! No need for any crazy detoxes or restrictive diets….just plenty of self-love and self-care.

    Helping Mamas in a Body Positive Way

    Jenn shares that she works with mamas on both movement and mindset! She got her start with strength work, and for quite a while she fully focused on that.

    Over time, however, she found that mindset stuff was getting in the way. Her clients would express a desire to get back to feeling good physically…but they kept circling back to the number on the scale. No matter how much Jenn tried to de-prioritize weight, it was a clear and constant issue. A few years in, she realized mindset work had to be part of what she was doing in order to help women overcome the weight preoccupation and focus on self-love and movement.

    Having grown up as a dancer and worked as an actress, Jenn knows all about body pressure. She’d auditioned for roles that came with stipulations like “lose 15 pounds”, and she’d seen her body through the lens of dance expectations for as long as she could remember. Getting pregnant, however, changed everything.

    Amazing (But Not Always Fun) Body Changes

    What your body does during pregnancy is amazing. Also, if we’re being honest, it’s not that fun sometimes! (Even though lots of people love to talk about the miracle of life and how amazing women’s bodies are….it’s still okay to not love or enjoy everything that’s happening!)

    Pregnant women often get a lot of praise *while* they are pregnant…and immediate expectation to lose weight and “snap back” very quickly afterwards. It’s stressful and unfair! One minute you’re getting compliments on your glowing skin and luxurious hair, the next you’re getting major side eye because you’re not wearing pre-pregnancy jeans yet.

    Mamas get caught in the middle, and it just adds one more thing to the post-partum mindset mix. Agghhh!

    Jenn feels like the whole pregnancy experience gave her more insight into her body. It also left her feeling like some things about her body were foreign to her. She found that, post-pregnancy, she had to get to know her body once again. Most mamas are in the same boat!

    She notes that for many women, getting our “bodies back” can feel like tangible growth. This can feel really good when we are seeking some form of post-partum normalcy. After all, there are so many new challenges and experiences once you bring a baby home! It’s natural to want our bodies to quickly revert back to how we remember them being – it feels comfortable and safe in a world that is often stressful and chaotic.

    It’s often not the most helpful place to focus though.

    What if You Got Your Identity Back Instead?

    Jenn encourages women to focus on identity rather than body.

    During the act of caring for a child, we sometimes forget that we love to curl up with a book and tea. Or that we deeply enjoy yoga class. Or that we need a night out with the girls (or with our partners) to stay joyful!

    Moving our bodies still has a place in all this. But instead of doing it as punishment, or to force ourselves to quickly bounce back, we can do it from a place of love.

    Rather than obsessing over food and exercise in an attempt to make our bodies “look right”, what if we put some energy into being our fullest selves? There may be things we need to mourn and let go of, but there are also things that we may be able to add. What parts of yourself can you celebrate and encourage? What would it look like if you took your focus off your body, and placed it on your life?

    Hormonal Changes are Normal

    As women who are dealing with post-partum mindset, we’ve all gone through another major hormonal change: puberty. Jenn points out that we don’t sit around wishing for our 10-year-old body back. Why? Because we get that puberty means big changes, and there is no going back! It’s part of the experience of living.

    As we age and grow, we constantly shift and change. For some reason, something about pregnancy makes us think we need to rewind time and get “that” body back. But just like a 20 year old would seem strange in a 14 year old body that doesn’t reflect her individual growth and journey….you would seem strange in some fantasy, pre-pregnancy body that doesn’t reflect your journey to motherhood.

    Of course your body is different now. It’s supposed to be!

    You can still be strong in your body, achieve our goals, and live your fullest, best life! You can do that now, in your body.

    Jenn also notes that, post-partum, many women are using weight loss as a way to gain acceptance and love. We want to be seen as full people, and we often think if we “improve” our physical appearance we can achieve that more quickly! But honestly, the increased pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way doesn’t serve us at all.

    I remember that after my first child, little things like going out to breakfast alone helped me feel like a full person again. I needed that! Losing weight or wearing my old jeans again wasn’t what my soul actually desired (even though it sometimes seemed like an easy fix) — and over-focusing on those things wouldn’t have done anything for me.

    Boundaries Are Gifts

    In a toxic relationship, you know you have to build boundaries to keep yourself sane. And NOT that your kids are toxic…but you CAN teach them, by example, what it looks like to set boundaries.

    If you need space, you can create that for yourself. If you can’t play with them because you need to take a walk or take a break or take a breath, you can do that!

    Jenn noted that she’ll tell her son, “I just need a break right now.” when she needs space. Now her son uses that line too! He’ll let her know that he needs a break from a conversation or situation, which is wonderful! He’s empowered by her empowerment — and they are both better off for it.

    A huge part of building a positive post-partum mindset is building your own identity! That doesn’t have to have anything to do with your body or weight. Instead, it can be all about engaging in the things you love, and maintaining a strong sense of self-hood. How awesome!

    Working On Strength (Without Focusing on Weight Loss)

    Regular post-partum mindset can be SO weight focused….and it can make it hard to engage in movement without getting wrapped up in weight loss. Jenn wants to make working out and strength building FUN! She aims to make mamas laugh as much as they sweat, and she engages in lots of dialogue and positive talk.

    She also does her best to minimize micro-aggression comments. Things like “burn off that cheesecake” or “get rid of those cottage cheese thighs” are not welcome. Working out can be about pleasure and self-enjoyment, and it’s much more enjoyable when you focus on the outcomes that matter to you! There’s no need to demonize food or punish yourself for not looking the way you want to. That doesn’t feel good!

    Jenn also offers a weekly group coaching call where women can process their post-partum mindset and ongoing thoughts. It’s a place to share what’s on their minds, and to connect with others who can support them with positive messages. Those conversations are so key!

    Working out can be a way of building your identity and self-concept. It can be FUN! (It should be fun!) Just like we tell our kids to go outside and play because it’s fun to run and move and express and be free….we can let ourselves move that way as well.

  • Lauren Redwine is an anti-diet coach who helps health conscious entrepreneurs heal their relationship with food. (Our interview is for anyone who wants to heal their food relationship; not just entrepreneurs!) Lauren shares how to look out for the “wellness diet” that can sneak up on us so fast. Even when we have good intentions, we can inadvertently turn “being healthy” into another form of dieting. If you’re ready to relax around food this holiday season and create more joyful new year resolutions, this is a great episode for you!

    I have a special Food Freedom Holiday Workshop that’s available on demand now! If you need some help having fun and enjoying the holidays, I’d encourage you to check it out. Learn how to take care of yourself, stop stressing about what other people might be thinking, and create an amazing holiday. No wellness diet needed!

    An Industry Fueling Perfectionism

    Ultimately, Lauren works with wellness entrepreneurs who want to heal their relationship with food and their bodies. She finds this particular industry holds a lot of perfectionism, and there are constantly messages being sent about what’s “good”, what’s “bad”, and what you can and can’t do. The pressure to look perfect, play a role, and run a business can really feed into distorted body image and food relationships. This is something Lauren knows from first hand experience, as it’s where she got her own start in business.

    As an adult, Lauren realized she’s dealt with emotional eating since she was a child. During her higher education, however, she realized just how disordered her body image and eating were. For so long, the wellness rhetoric had made her believe that something was wrong with her….instead of being wrong with the industry.

    When she stepped away from wellness as a field, she realized she didn’t deal with binging and restricting nearly as much. But when she came back into the industry after a few years away…..she started having problems again. The big question on her mind?

    How come every time she got involved in the “health and wellness” space….she started to have so many more body image and eating problems? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    Always Obsessed

    Lauren realized that her own wellbeing decreased when she was knee deep in the wellness industry. Her final straw was an elimination diet she wen through, after which she hit her breaking point with business-as-usual. She knew there had to be something different out there.

    As soon as she found intuitive eating and the health at every size movement (HAES), it clicked with her. All the focus on her appearance and body hadn’t served her at all; in fact, it had been making things worse. And all those wellness diets hadn’t been working either!

    Now, Lauren is able to listen to her body. She eats foods that she loves, and trusts herself to know what will be best.

    I noted that many women will say that they DON’T diet….they just like to “eat healthy”. They make all of their choices based on wellness diets and “rules” about what it means to be a healthy person. Lauren shares this is often connected to a lot of fear mongering that goes on in the industry.

    There is so much pressure to be in a certain school of thought: vegan, Paleo, Keto, Whole 30. This list goes on and on, and most people in the wellness space are very aware of what “camp” they are in, and what rules apply. Even though wellness is supposed to be holistic (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual health), what we tend to see most of the time is very focused on body image and weight loss. It promotes the message that weight is everything: that weight = health.

    The Trap of the Wellness Diet

    Even if no one would actually say that weight is the paramount factor in health, it very much is the message being sent. “Clean” diets and wellness diets are also still very focused on weight loss and body image as well.

    Within the industry, Lauren notes there is often a lot of pressure to get aligned with some sort of wellness diet. There is an attitude that if *have* to be low carb, or vegan, or {today’s trend} in order to be doing it right. And if you aren’t doing it right, you’re doing it wrong.

    In addition, there is very much an “image” that goes with the wellness field. Thin women with the income for daily pilates, personal chefs, constant supplies of fresh green juice: there are so many ways in which the picture being painted isn’t accessible or realistic for the average person!

    People find themselves not knowing what to eat, or how to eat. They also feel guilty about everything they are doing wrong. There is so much pressure to get it right, and it’s stressful and confusing to know what to do.

    Lauren reminds us that are so many ways we can move for free; we don’t need special outfits and expensive memberships to enjoy moving our bodies! We can also make an effort to follow more diverse voices and bodies within the wellness space. There are so many different ways to *do* wellness, and we have the ability to choose what we want to prioritize and focus on. Wellness diets and body image don’t have to be centered in our narrative!

    Give Yourself a Break

    This is collective hard time. This is the time to focus on mental and emotional health first. There’s no need to pressure yourself into losing weight during quarantine, or coming out of this slimmer or fitter.

    Wellness is holistic. It encompasses your entire life, and it is not about what you weigh.

    At my last prenatal appointment I asked my doctor about postnatal mental health practitioners in my areas. Why? Because we may not have child care, we’re working from home, family may not be able to visit….and I’m not worried about getting back to yoga and fitting into my pre-pregnancy pants! For me, I know the most important form of wellness I’m going to need to protect is my mental health. For that reason, I’m being proactive about that! (And when yoga feels good again, and I’ll fit that in too.)

    It’s all about listening to your own body and needs.

    Be Present and Enjoy It

    Lauren notes that the holiday season can bring up a lot of stress and anxiety around eating and food. She also shares she’s been in that place where she was so worried about what would be served that she brought ingredients and made her own food, rather than eating the holiday meal that was prepared.

    That involved so much extra stress and worry. In retrospect, it would have been so much better to just eat was there and enjoy being present. Worrying about every bite you’re going to eat, or ways in which to avoid eating “bad” food, robs so much joy from your life. It also makes you feel deprived and even ostracized. Your attention span and willpower are so engaged with what you “can” eat (and what you “can’t” eat) that you don’t get to be fully there with the people you love.

    It’s okay to just go. Have fun. Engage with who is present, and eat what your body will enjoy.

    Ringing In the New Year (No Wellness Diet Needed!)

    If you’re moving away from diets and the dieting mentally, January doesn’t have to mean you’re focusing on some new wellness diet or way of eating. What a beautiful time to focus on a goal that will be more nourishing and exciting for your overall wellness!

    Lauren suggests choosing a resolution that is nourishing and additive, rather than restrictive and based on deprivation. (What you WILL do, instead of what you WON’T do!) This is also great because it’s easier to add something new to your life than to remove something. It’s also more fun!

    There are so many things in our days (and lives) that we already don’t want to do. (Here’s looking at you, dishes!) Why not let your goals be a source of joy and inspiration this year? Pursuing your dreams, engaging with your favorite hobbies, or trying new things are such worthwhile endeavors. Give it a try! (And if you do, I’d love to hear about it! Tag me in a social post or send me a DM and tell me all about it.)

  • Ingrid Helander, LFMT, helps chronic worriers resolve their self-criticism & doubts so they can live a life without chronic anxiety, worry & stress. As an author, speaker, therapist, and coach, she helps people embrace all of their being in order to live their fullest life possible. I see so many clients who experience worry about what others think about their bodies, their weight, their food choices, and more. It’s so common! If you’ve been feeling a need to let go of worry — join Ingrid and I for today’s powerful episode!

    Are you worried about the holidays? From what you’ll eat, to what others might say about your body or your choices, there can be a lot of things that create stress this time of year! My Food Freedom Holiday Workshop is designed to help you DECREASE stress and anxiety and fully enjoy the holidays! And since it’s a recording, you’ll get the workshop as soon as you sign up — no need to wait!

    Counseling & Coaching

    As a trained marriage and family therapist, Ingrid has worked with people of all ages. Recently, she’s been expanding her online coaching business, like so many others! That’s also involved moving away from the therapeutic model and more fully into the coaching field. She’s working at creating a culture and group around unlocking your own way of being with yourself. This includes the ability to release worry as well, which is so important for our wellbeing.

    Ingrid notes that eating and food is very central to who we are, and she finds that it comes up in her work quite often as well. We receive so many messages that tell us we shouldn’t be who we really are, and those apply to what and how we eat as well.

    Growing up, Ingrid was highly attuned to the idea that you certainly didn’t want to be fat. She watched her own mother diet, including with a program that insisted you must eat liver weekly. Her own thoughts about food and body image were all tangled up in social messaging about what was “right” and “healthy”. She did a lot of restricting as a result, and also connects her food experiences with anxiety and worry.

    Baking to Cope

    There was a period in time where Ingrid found baking was a way of coping with stress and anxiety. She would find new recipes, and at her peak may have been baking a cake a day….but she would never allow herself to eat any of them. She loved food, and yet was terrified of it at the same time.

    When she went off to college, Ingrid started her undergrad work in nutrition (listen in to hear what she changed her major to her senior year)! Rather than gain the Freshman 15, she ended up losing 15 pounds. Primarily, she was living off the salad bar and cottage cheese. The obsession gradually shifted; although she can’t exactly put her on finger on it, she thinks her mental health training, yoga teacher training, and menopause experience all played a roll.

    As she’s gotten older, Ingrid has come to see it as a shame that we don’t communicate more to our young people about how good and right their bodies are. Our bodies know. They know how to breathe and sleep and nourish us, and they are capable of so much. We ought to be embracing them and celebrating them – there is so much to love!

    Trusting Our Bodies

    One bit idea that made a difference in Ingrid’s life was this:
    I want to trust this body.

    She realized that she was living her life in a way that caused her to fight against and distrust her own body, and she no longer wanted that to be the norm. Part of that was recognizing thought patterns like: “If I let go of that control for even a moment….I’ll lose control!” and “I can’t trust my body, and I can’t trust myself around food.”

    In her work, she’s found that the body heals itself so much better when we trust it. When we love our bodies, feed our bodies, and listen to what our bodies are telling us, we’re in a real relationship with them.

    As a teenager, she realized that her body probably felt it couldn’t trust her at all. She didn’t listen to it; she didn’t feed it when it asked for food, and she disregarded it’s needs. Why should her body have trusted her?

    Now, she leans in to trust and let’s go of worry, restriction, and guilt that tempt her to disregard her own needs and desires.

    Chronic Worriers

    What will people think if our bodies aren’t perfect?

    If we gain weight?

    If we quit dieting?

    These types of questions create constant worry in so many women’s lives. Ingrid notes that we all have personalities, and different parts of our personalities tend to run the show, carry burdens, or get the highlights.

    If you’re seeking out a lot of other people’s opinions (about your body, eating, etc), it’s likely self-protective. Receiving approval and validation may be a way of “proving” you are loved, worthy, or accepted. And not receiving that approval can be a painful message that leads us to believe we are NOT those things.

    The chronic worry we carry, then, isn’t necessarily about someone approving what we’re eating; it might hold a much deeper meaning about whether we can be loved or wanted. Part of Ingrid’s work is to help women move to that deeper level. How? Well, she does that partly by helping people more fully enter their bodies.

    This allows them to begin peeling off the protective layers and learning more about their true selves. Although protection can be a good thing, if we’re primarily carrying around heavy protective layers all the time they can become a burden.

    So much of our eating and dieting journeys are connected to these deeper desires to feel accepted, worthy, and loved. Rather than forcing yourself to diet the rest of your life, you can take a different approach to healing and trusting your body.

    Taking On Wounds

    Ingrid shared a terrible story about another girl’s comments in the shower after gym. Although it happened years ago, she remembers it vividly. And at the time, she also remembers that a part of her thought the other girl was ridiculous…and a part of her thought she was right.

    There is so much pressure to look “right”, and to be perceived as having a “good” body. It overwhelms us! It also creates the message that “I have to buy in to the story I’m being told, or I’m in trouble.” When we see others being shamed, ridiculed, judged, or rejected for not fitting a certain mold, the message is reinforced even more deeply. Even when we want to push back and choose to love and accept ourselves, it can be hard! After all, we want to be loved.

    Ingrid notes that the pressure is great to look like some external version of “beautiful”. All too often, the people who are the most cruel about reinforcing those standards are the people who are most wounded and locked up in those areas. As people learn more about themselves and begin to heal, they are often able to begin releasing these painful mindsets and judgments, which have impacted not only themselves, but others as well.

    (Ingrid shares some amazing thoughts on how the sympathetic nervous system and our flight/fright/freeze instincts can kick in when we receive cues about our bodies!) With, Not In

    Ingrid recommends finding ways to be with strong sensations. This is not the same as being “in” the sensation!

    By finding ways to return to and observe our body and sensations, we can engage with them safely. You might try visualizing, journaling, and even drawing as part of being with sensation.

    How did it feel? What did you body do? Where did you feel tension or pain? What internal voices were speaking up? What were they saying?

    Allow yourself to be with sensations, and see what you learn about yourself! There is really so much happening, and going into the deeper sensations is such a powerful way of beginning to gain clarity in your own life.

    Most of us weren’t raised to pay attention to what is going on inside of us, and as a result we can be very lost by the time we’re adults. We don’t know how to trust ourselves, and we’re completely detached from our full selves. We don’t have to stay that way! There is an invitation for each of us to choose to engage our bodies and our selves today. We can learn to trust ourselves, no matter where we are now.

    This episode was so powerful. I hope you listen in, as Ingrid had some wonderful things to share! Also, here are the two books we mentioned on the show:
    The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

    The Body is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor

  • First off, Happy Thanksgiving! I am personally so excited to watch the Macy’s Day Parade, especially since it wasn’t aired in Switzerland when we lived there. You can imagine me all cuddled up on the couch, along with my boys. (It’s a pre-recorded event this year due to Covid, but I’m still excited to watch!) And since it’s the holiday season again, I thought it might be the perfect time to talk about how to reduce bloating with intuitive eating!

    If you’ve had a tendency to spend previous Thanksgivings feeling super stuffed, gross, or overfilled, this is a great episode for you!

    Intuitive Eating Over the Holidays

    You’ve seen jokes about Thanksgiving-based overeating on all the American sitcoms. (You’ve possibly even experienced the discomfort yourself!) And maybe you’ve strategically worn your best stretchy pants to the meal, or fallen asleep shortly after dinner…

    Holidays can be tricky, especially if you’re new to intuitive eating!

    If you’ve been practicing intuitive eating for a while now, you probably struggle less with holiday overeating than before. (I know I do!) I love leftovers, and enjoying a delicious slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast the next day is way better (to me!) then eating an uncomfortable amount of dinner and pie all in one sitting. But – breakfast wasn’t always something I allowed myself, which meant I “had” to eat as much as possible the day of any holiday.

    And that’s can be a real temptation when you have a strong dieting mentality you’re still working through! Since overeating can be a major contributor to bloat, you could potentially be pretty bloated tomorrow if you give in to the holiday binge today!

    Honestly, no matter what stage you’re in, you could potentially be bloated any day of the week. Over the holidays you may be consuming more unusual foods and drinks, and at different times. In addition, most women experience bloat at various times of the month naturally. So let’s talk about bloat!

    Reduce Bloating with Intuitive Eating

    A restrictive diet would give you a list of foods you “should” eat, and those to “avoid”. These rules will tell you that if you do this magical thing, it will make it all better. Basically, do everything right, don’t mess up, and you won’t get bloated. But our bodies are complex, and there is so much more to consider on this topic! (And of course all the “health” companies are going to start pushing commercials that will tell you to do a juice cleanse to detox from the holidays – you don’t need that!)

    Your body can naturally detox on its own – that’s what the liver and kidneys are for! (Claire Chewning and I talk more about on last year’s holiday themed intuitive eating interview!)

    So let’s get this straight: there is more to bloating (and reducing bloating) than controlling the food we eat/don’t eat. Here are a few practical things to consider!

    Reframe Your “Bloat” Mindset

    The first part thing we’re going to address is the mindset you need to have when you are bloated.

    Often, bloating sets off our inner critic – she’s immediately telling you you’ve done everything wrong, asking why you let yourself eat so much, blaming you for not having the willpower to just say no to the dessert…

    And on and on and on. (It’s your inner mean girl!)

    When this starts to happen, just remind yourself that bloating is a natural part of life. It literally happens to EVERYONE. Just because you are bloated today does not mean that you are a bad person, or that you did anything wrong. This is a chance to listen to your body’s signals, rather than shaming or blaming her.

    Now that we’re listening (without judging!), we can get practical. What can we do about being bloated in a loving, non-restrictive way? How can we reduce discomfort from bloating with intuitive eating principles?

    Tip #1

    The first practical thing I want you to do when you’re bloated is to wear clothes that are comfortable.

    Nothing is worse than being bloated while wearing pants that are too tight. Plus, a tight waistband puts even more pressure on your digestive system, which is already working hard!

    I suggest you either have a pair of pants in a size up, especially for bloated days (every woman should have these already for that time of the month)!, or have some stretchy pants on hand. Another fun option? A flowing dress!

    Note: These can be CUTE clothes! They should be things you love to wear, and will be excited to wear! Having clothes that comfortably accommodate your body is not a “punishment” for getting bloated. (Judith Gaton and I take this concept even further in our episode about fashion for every body.)

    One of my clients bought a pair of pants that she absolutely loves in a size up. When’s she’s bloated, now she has something to look forward to wearing that she can’t wear otherwise! How cool is that?

    Tip #2

    Next, ask yourself” “What food and drink sounds good right now and would allow me to feel the way I want to feel?”

    The WANT in this question is key. If you aren’t feeling great in your body, it’s easy to turn to foods that will keep you feeling that way. But reminding yourself that you have a choice to feel better can help you make a different decision.

    Maybe that means a smoothie instead of a pastry, or eating breakfast a little later because you are still feeling full. (But not skipping it! You still need to eat!). Maybe that means oatmeal instead of cereal because the extra fiber might help your digestion. Maybe it means eating some protein, like eggs, will feel the best right now. Or maybe it’s increasing your water intake to flush out some of the salt you ate, or to rehydrate you after drinking too much alcohol.

    It might mean drinking a little extra coffee because that helps your digestive system! Or adding more veggies and protein into the day if you ate more carb-heavy yesterday.

    I don’t know what helps you feel better. Only you can know that, and it comes from listening to your body! I’m not going to tell you what to eat, but I would encourage you to take the time to ask your body what would make you feel good.

    Tip #3

    Next, think about movement. Is there a type of movement you could do at some point today that would help you feel better in your body? (Again, this is not about “punishment”! This is about loving your body and reducing bloat with intuitive eating principles.)

    If you’re feeling really sluggish, maybe a walk or some light stretching would be best. If you feel like a good sweat would help, maybe try a higher intensity workout (that you would enjoy). And if you feel like you are bloated due to slowed digestion, maybe some twisting yoga postures might be helpful to you. The movement you do should NOT be punishment for feeling bloated! Remind yourself that your body loves to move, and you should respect that wish.

    Tip #4

    Next I want you to think about your stress level.

    Bloating is so often caused by stress…but everyone wants to blame it on the food! Is there anything causing you extra stress or anxiety at the moment? If so, what can you do to help ease that?

    Bring out those self-care tools – journaling, meditation, breathing exercises, talking to someone. All these things can help ease your body and mind, which can help release whatever it is you are holding onto. (You can find TONS of self-care tips from my first 100 episodes in the self-care celebration episode!)

    Tip #5

    Think about your sleep habits in the last week or two. Have you had enough shut eye lately? Could it be that you simply need to go to bed super early tonight? Is there a way to fit in a long nap and restore your body? Allow yourself to do that if your body and mind need it!

    (And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you have kids. As this airs, I’m home with a toddler and an infant. I’m guessing I’ll know all about lack of sleep! Even though I’m not in the ideal time of life for naps and restful nights….I’m going to do my best to get sleep when I can. No guilt here!)

    When you sleep, your body releases hormones that help it repair and restore. And when you don’t sleep enough, your body and mood (and digestive system) really start to feel the impact!

    Tip #6

    Finally, do you have some favorite supplements that might help you through the bloat? Maybe a probiotic or a fiber supplement? Possibly some ginger or peppermint tea? I love to try tea first; I enjoy drinking it anyways, AND it’s extra hydrating. Two wins, and no downside!

    Reflect on Your Body’s Signals

    Throughout the day, keep checking in with yourself. See how you’re feeling, and try to take note of which things seemed to really help. That way you can start there next time as you work to reduce bloating with intuitive eating.

    If I wake up bloated, the things that help me are to first throw on comfy and cute clothes. Then I’m intentional about adding more water to my day, plus more protein and veggies. (Because those things make me feel good!)

    I also go out of my to schedule in time for whatever kind of movement I’m in the mood for, as well as some extra self-care, like journaling or meditation.

    At the end the day, I like to wind down with herbal tea. Usually a day like that will reduce my bloating immediately (and gently). No juice cleansing or fasting required!!!

    And a note for my intuitive eating newbies:

    You might experience more bloating than you usually do when you first start intuitive eating. Usually this happens while your body is getting used to you eating a wider variety of foods. Don’t get discouraged, it will get better! (Or if it doesn’t, really try to take notice of which foods might be causing the bloat so you can reduce them out of love for your body).

    For anyone with extreme or continued bloating, please reach out to your doctor or a registered dietician. There might be something bigger going on, and they will be the best people to help you!

    And for those of you that just get bloated every once in a while and want to feel better quicker, try these tips out and see how it goes! I hope you can reduce bloating with intuitive eating!

    Have a happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll be back next week with a special guest!

    PS – Thanksgiving is a holiday about gratitude! Last year I went in-depth on some of my favorite gratitude practices. You can check that episode out here!